Editorials, RickyAnon?; and the US Supreme Court


There goes Martinelli, spreading
gringo conspiracy theories…

Early polls suggest that in 2024, Ricardo Martinelli is the front runner to be president again. With his two sons serving US prison time for admittedly having laundered their father’s Odebrecht bribe money, the guy has the temerity to suggest that Panama’s foreign relations will be better with him back in charge.

The reality would be something like a return to the international pariah status of the late 1980s, when Panama was crushed under US and other nation’s economic sanctions.

But if the Republicans can find Americans dumb enough to believe QAnon conspiracy theories, Don Ricky is thinking that he can get Panamanians to fall for Breitbart lies, even as Steve Bannon fights contempt of Congress charges and has been kicked off of the major social media. Doesn’t translate. Old timers here will read the Breitbart stuff and get the whiff of the worst of unreconstructed Zonian thinking, of the colonial racism that mostly fled Panama after the Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

What Martinelli promises is a medically unprepared Panama, even as in the last decade or so we have seen some old diseases reappear from their wild vectors but lucked out not to have encountered anything local that’s severely contagious. We need to be prepared for new epidemics. Joe is right about that and the conspiracy freaks are irresponsible to make an issue of it.

Martinelli glomming onto the worst and weirdest of Americana? Panamanians, for all of our faults and for all of our political system’s failures, should look to Panama for our better alternative to the former president’s bizarre politics.


The religious fanatics won the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” too…

In a 1925 case, The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, a high school teacher was convicted of a crime for teaching evolution. Two silver-tongued stars of the US legal profession — William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense — went at it in a small-town trial that drew national and international attention.

That legal battle in Dayton, Tennessee was and is often depicted as a religious battle over the interpretation of the Bible — Bryan arguing Old Testament fundamentalism, Darrow arguing a more modernist understanding. When you look at their trajectories through those times, it was in many ways Darrow arguing for Jesus Christ’s examples of upholding the law but with mercy and discretion, and Bryan arguing for inflexible “letter of the law” jurisprudence right out of the book of Leviticus. It was the legends of ancient scripture against the discoveries of modern science.

Scopes lost and was fined $100, but on appeal the conviction was thrown out on procedural grounds.

However, in US society fundamentalism was widely discredited and became a cultural, political and religious backwater until some decades later televangelists salvaged some of that loss. There always were backwoods jurisdictions where somebody could be elected by flaunting fundamentalist thinking but for most Americans it became the butt of jokes.

Now, with a contrived Republican majority on the Supreme Court, huge majorities in favor of the rights to privacy and the legality of women choosing abortion to terminate pregnancies if they must, the high court has thrown out the cornerstone of abortion rights, the Roe v. Wade decision of 50 years ago.

Bad religion. The Bible does not mention abortion.

Bad law. The high court makes mockeries of both US history and the principle of stare decisis in a string of its recent decisions.

Bad politics. With certain religious minorities cheering, the great majority of Americans disapprove of this ruling and of this court.

It’s now up to the voters, to throw out the Republicans who gave the United States this warped court and to reform the court itself — perhaps by impeaching some egregiously unethical justices, more certainly by expanding the number of justices on the court, which the Congress has the right to do.

If you are a US citizen living in Panama, be sure to exercise your right to vote in this year’s US elections. Register to vote and order your ballot at https://www.votefromabroad.org/.


Statue at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center near Cambridge, Maryland.
Photo by Craig James.

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

Harriet Tubman


Bear in mind…


The artist is a receptacle for emotions derived from anywhere: from the sky, from the earth, from a piece of paper, from a passing figure, from a spider’s web. This is a spider’s web. This is why one must not make a distinction between things. For them there are no aristocratic quarterings. One must take things where one finds them.

Pablo Picasso


I too shall lie in the dust when I am dead, but now let me win noble renown.



My father never was and isn’t a mean man. You know, he never was ruthless. And he succeeded in life without sticking it to anybody. And that’s a great example for a man, a strong man, a man’s man, to give to his children. You can succeed, you can be successful, without walking over somebody.

Maria Shriver




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