Uh huh — to correct the record here (Eric Jackson for DA Panama secretary)

DA stuff
“WE?” What board meeting did THAT? Disciplinary measures against a past chair, past vice chair, current media volunteer with the Global Seniors Caucus? On the authority of WHICH membership meeting was that decision made? This was the work of the dictatorial, dishonest and self-promoting JOYCE KINNEAR, who is arranging her own promotion and the rigged election of her slate.

Say WHAT? Let’s get real

To get to the truth of these matters, first understand that I have been doing journalism, part or full time, for some 53 years in two countries.

In all of those years I have run many a correction. Should I feel ashamed? Would I be so pompous to pretend infallibility and never corrected something I got wrong, THEN I should feel ashamed. As the Muslims put it, “There is no god but God.” I’m not God. I sometimes err and I don’t pretend otherwise.

Sometimes part-time, in recent decades full-time, I have been doing journalism for all of my adult life.

And yeah, one of my undergraduate majors was history and I try to keep up. An intersection between history and journalism that caught my attention a while back was an interview with this old German lady, telling about that day in 1945 when she was much younger, one of Adolf Hitler’s stenographers. 

She was called into that part of the bunker under Berlin and Hitler started reciting his testament. She thought that there might be some new revelations, why he had led Germany to such an abject defeat rather than suing for peace much earlier. But all she got was an unspecified rant about “The lying Jewish press,” something that she had heard many times before, about Jewish institutions that had been eradicated in Germany years before. She didn’t get any details, and shortly after she left the room Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were dead.

Yep. The unspecified accusation of defamation. Der Führer didn’t invent that stuff, let alone Joyce Kinnear. So let me guess.

PREVIOUS MEMBERS? She means two in particular, and I did not and do not lie about them

Sean Hammerle, who was imposed briefly as Democrats Abroad Panama chair, by way of maneuvers prohibited by our bylaws and without an election? You know, there are Republicans who similarly feel the need to defend George Santos. He and Sean are very similar people. Might those muckety-mucks still around who eased his fraud — gotta stand up for the gay brother and all those identity politics, or gotta stand against the Bernie guy, or — the reason for this groveling urge to rewrite history? The guy was a fraud, he was saying some very unlikely things, and I began to look things up and ask other journalists. It all came tumbling down, but later came Joyce Kinnear to call me a liar about what I concluded? That kind of stuff went on in many state and local Democratic Party organizations that year, and it’s why we got Donald Trump as a president. And as a Bernie guy in the primary, I did work hard for Hillary in the fall because I knew the alternative.

Joan Stack, who put together that slate of officers that included Joyce Kinnear and Tim Connely the last time around? The lady flaunting wealth at every possible occasion, and driving away those unimpressed? well, look at her LinkedIn page and understand what it means:

  1. The Stanford Financial Group. That was history’s second biggest ponzi scheme, only surpassed by Bernie Madoff’s fraud. She was their personnel director until the FBI came to shut them down. They stole some $7 billion, and there were people here, including Democrats in Chiriqui, who had their money frozen for an inconvenient long time.
  2. Ernst & Young. Champions of systematic discriminatory practices and the creation of hostile work environments to drive away any employee who said anything about it. With mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts they kept that stuff off of the case law record for many years. There is an ongoing legislative battle in New York about such abuses.

“…the accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) organized a leadership training for its female executives. The one-and-a-half-day course was offered after a partner at the company went public with sexual harassment claims. It was supposedly an “empowerment” workshop, but it ended up being something else entirely.

Numerous sources, including HuffPost and the Chicago Tribune, reported on what was said. “Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus,” the attendees were told. “Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.” Women were also allegedly told, “Don’t flaunt your body—sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”

Let me clarify, as I have been variously accused of lying about people, AND of randomly investigating people.

Spotting a con artist, part of something I do as a journalist

From a childhood trauma, I have some fairly well destroyed instincts about trust. On the one hand, the usual con game — look you in the eye, have firm handshake, sound self-assured and all that — are just lost on me. I cope by alternative means, and when certain flags go up I look things up. Sean was secretary but the chair and board had appointed me to do post-primary press releases. These I drew up and had my Spanish checked and corrected by the late Kevin Harrington — who had been the chief translator and interpreter for the Panama Canal AND the Panamanian consul in London. Sean, who did not speak Spanish, blocked the release on the basis of alleged bad Spanish.

Sean Hammerle was telling about his call center business in Santiago, AND his fabulous speaking business that had him bringing in millions speaking at universities in the USA, AND his ties to Houston’s gay political scene and former lesbian mayor. And said improbable things about these matters, like what he said that students told him that Bernie Sanders promised them. Hmmmm.

Look up the media reports of the business in Santiago, and they told of owners other than Sean Hammerle. The business section press clippings told of one of them being a former senior accountant with the Arthur Andersen accounting firm. Looking up that guy and Sean, and the former accountant was not one of the CPAs who lost his license in the Enron scandal, but that ex-Andersen guy showed up again and again on Sean’s postings. That’s his living partner. Guilt by association? Don’t want to get into that, but Andersen was a thug firm with a thug culture even if most of the people who lost their jobs in its collapse were never even charged with crimes. But still, red flag raised.

Plus, Houston is one of the cities with a significant Afro-Antillean community that traces roots through Panama. ONE such variety of Panagringo is an independent journalist and podcast host who knows the beat, and I asked him. Sean, he told me, is a gay man who ran as a sacrificial lamb Democrat in a GOP district, but is and was nowhere near the leadership circles of either Houton’s LGBTQ movement or its political leaders.

The speaking gigs? No evidence of any of that online.

I consulted a Dutch colleague who had covered Panama for a number of years, and he took a look at Sean’s speaking business website, and searched the photos. Turns out his “company staff” was people in suits whose photos were swiped from California business websites. Hammerle just took the photos, put other names and invented biographies on them and voila!

Hammerle was also at the timeclimbing up in the American Society of Panama. There are too many people in that outfit whose eyes glaze over when shown displays or claims of wealth, but there are also people in the club who are not so gullible. I talked to some and one of the claims that he was making in those circles, of yet another career as an opera singer, didn’t seem very believable. I looked it up and could find no evidence of that online, either.

The chair, a Hillary guy, resigned because, in part with my instigation, Bernie won Panama with some 71% of the vote in 2016. And while some were saying that we should go with a younger generation — Sean — I was telling people that I was not looking to be chair and not against someone younger, but that this guy was not who he said he was.

Sean got the global DA counsel to make him chair, with no election, appointed a bunch of officers and board members and moved to have me removed from the board. No reason given. A date set for an alleged meeting but the place kept secret. And then Okke Ornstein in Bananama Republic, David Young in Newsroom Panama and me in The Panama News published the tale. The American Society kicked him off of their board. The kingmaker DA global counsel changed his tune and told Sean and his appointees and acolytes to resign en masse. That left me as the only board member left standing, and people accusing me of making a power grab.

But actually, there was no quorum left of the board so it had lapsed but I had been legitimately elected and on that basis convened a meeting to start the process of forming a new board and — this being the summer of 2016 — getting our general election campaign together. WITHOUT me running for any position as an officer or with the board, to take that stuff out of the picture. A new board and set of officers was elected, the new chair asked me to take on communications tasks as I had done as a volunteer without a title before, and despite opposition and obstruction from Hillary people in the global organization, we did put together a fall campaign.

But multiply that sort of nonsense how many times across how many places, and that year the Democrats grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. We really did beat ourselves, and could do it again. The Hillary general election campaign was one of the dumbest ever run, with Russian troll farms and alt-right dirty tricks just providing a bit of gravy. Immense damage was done to the United States of America by too many petty, grasping Dems playing creepy games at the wrong time in 2016.

Fast forward to Joan Stack

In 2017 I was elected chair, with the plan to be a one-termer. In 2018 I was contacted by the chair in Costa Rica, which was playing host to a regional meeting that I had neither the time nor the money to attend. She asked me to designate Joan Stack, who had never attended anything with Democrats Abroad Panama, as the country chapter’s representative. And NO, I don’t pick some unknown to represent us, just as a general precautionary rule.

Joan later introduced herself, and covered a registration fee for which I lend money that I could not afford to spend so that we could have a Democrats Abroad table at the Antillean Fair. Joan started coming to meetings, and making displays or claims of wealth. She was from a rich Republican family in New York, she told me. She took me to see her condo in Coronado.

Others in the organization swooned. The DONOR BASE!!!

I didn’t swoon. I had seen too many hustlers come to these shores and impress the gullible with shows of real or imaginary wealth. Part of my job. Plus, I was taught by my parents and at Sunday school not to be taken by such displays. Not to be economic determinist about it — Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were raised as oligarchs, but became champions of working people. Karl Marx had Manchester factory heir Fred Engels as a benefactor and collaborator. It was the rather upscale attorney Clarence Darrow who drove the religious fanatics to the margins of American culture by his brilliant if losing defense of John T. Scopes, whose animalistic crime was to teach evolution at a public school in Tennessee. Democratic socialists are against a system of privileges for the rich, but not against rich people per se.

Then came the bad-mouthing, the ghosting, the announcement that she’s blocking me on Facebook so that if, as chair of Democrats Abroad Panama I contacted her about any Democratic business, I’d be walking into a stalking allegation trap. Then the screaming, the bogus allegations, the put-downs in front other members. Who is THIS? So I looked up her LinkeIn page.

THE STANFORD GROUP?!?!?!?!? Multiple alarm fire call there. Was she really from a rich family, or was she flaunting stolen assets at us? Didn’t that much matter, and I noticed that she was not arrested along with her former boss, but as a former executive for a major ponzi scheme Joan was coming to us from the world of organized crime. If she really had no idea, that’s also a cause for concern.

And Ernst & Young? I did the online searches, and then went to resource people from my past. 

It so happens that I had ties with four past presidents of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Not that women never had cause to admonish me for sexist behavior in my life. But when I was elected to the Ypsilanti, Michigan city council, I was the young hippie radical stepping into some scenes were feminism was on the offensive. Just before my election the city had taken a stand that if Little League baseball was boys only, they couldn’t use city parks. We had created a women’s commission, but state law kept us from funding it so I went with a NOW delegation led by a county commissioner from Ann Arbor to see if we could get the legislature to change that. After my time on the city council, my ward was later represented by another NOW leader. Then I worked my way through law school at a day care center, taking care of two sons of yet another NOW leader, who was on the board of a neighboring township and a union activist among the non-teaching professionals at Eastern Michigan University. (It was a UAW local, and when I did battle with sticky fingers who privatized my alma mater’s endowment for in the end personal benefit, that union filed an amicus brief for my lawsuit, which was decided in my favor after I had returned to Panama.) I went to old friends and asked about Ernst & Young.

“A pig farm!” I was told. And I was directed toward a New York legislator who was working to remove obstacles for women at that company trying to get legal recourse for being paid less than men and being driven out by hostile work environments if they tried to do anything about it.

That same sort of stuff was being pulled on me in Democrats Abroad by Joan Stack and her acolytes.

Give me reason and I will look things up. We have George Santos in a swing district on Long Island because his Democratic opponent didn’t have a diligent opposition research operation as part of his campaign.

How far does it go? There are protected private zones. Children especially are to be protected. The son is not the father. The father-in-law is not the daughter-in-law. Grounds for suspicion are not probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If there is some grand overarching conspiracy, too many people would know and its veil of secrecy would fall. Occam’s Razor, that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, is still valid. If someone offers you a heads he wins, tails you lose coin toss, don’t accept it and be duly offended.

And what happened to Joan Stack? She climbed above Democrats Abroad Panama, to become the number two DA person in the Americas, taking her wealth flaunting and back stabbing ways with her. And got a protege, who had been chair of DA Colombia, promoted to be global treasurer. Said woman in Bogota had this college admissions consulting business, promising to help rich Colombian kids get into Harvard. Then, a sudden bye-bye, business closed without forwarding address, sudden unexplained resignation as global treasurer, and soon enough Joan Stack was also gone from the regional organization. The particulars? I dunno. But certain kinds of businesses just don’t meet the smell test.

So is Joyce Kinnear calling me a liar about Sean Hammerle and Joan Stack? You’d think that if she had a case she’d be citing specifics.

The aggravating circumstance:


So tell me more, Joyce:  

Who? What? When? Where? How much? Under which circumstances?

YOU banned me from a Facebook group that I created in 2009 as a volunteer at the board’s direction. NOT because of any lies. Because you want to be promoted without opposition or serious questions.

And serious questions ARE in order, because you and Tim Connelly had the power and the duty to call for board meetings in the chair’s absence, yet the Democrats Abroad Panama board did not meet AT ALL during the crucial 2022 midterm election campaign.

Yes, I raise the question. I point to the Panama page of the global Democrats Abroad website, which has no reference to any board meeting during the summer and fall of 2022. Our country chapter bylaws provide for board meetings that are publicize in advance and open to the membership. No such notices went out in the summer or fall of last year.

You didn’t do your job, and now you want to be promoted and you ban any mention otherwise exceeding and abusing your power to close the DA Panama open group.

~ ~

To the extent that my business is being attacked: YES, for many years The Panama News has been run as a no-paid-advertising, reader-supported medium. In Panama there is an ad agencies cartel that will destroy or take over a news medium if they can, with all sorts of monopolistic practices that would be illegal in the USA. In part because of this, there are advertisers who think it’s all pay-to-play, that to buy an ad is to gain editorial veto power. It’s a problem, not a new one but an increasingly difficult one with the concentration of media ownership and general hard times. One of my favorite journalists, Gloria Steinem, talked about how degrading it was dealing with advertisers when she ran Ms. magazine. My solution, and The Panama News isn’t the only one that has taken the same route, is to survive on reader donations — plus the food that I grow on my tiny farm. 

Now Joyce portrays what I do as an extortion racket.

But I don’t do pay to play either in journalism or in politics. I’m not the one who runs with and swoons over and defends racketeers.


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