Editorials: The resource extraction economy; and McCarthy’s creepy failure

But THIS time, we are ASSURED…. Photo of part of the Donoso copper mine project by the Presidencia.

The resource extraction economy trap

The Cabinet Council has approved a new copper mine contract to replace an unconstitutional one. The National Assembly or the Supreme Court may stop them, but don’t hold your breath. It’s smash and grab season in the final year of a PRD administration.

Not to defame a political party of nearly a quarter of a million people, but it is a political operation with a long history and a recent history.

In this incarnation they showered more than $200 million in public funds to generate some votes for the recently concluded PRD primaries and got an embarrassing result. They ran the national debt way up and are behind in payments to public employees and government contractors. They will plead necessity in an extreme economic squeeze.

The strip mining mess has been a long time in the making, so you can’t just blame the party now in power. However, it was a lazy, destructive to the nation set of ideas in the first place. The politicians accepted “easy money” offers from hustlers, putting Panama into the yoke of a resource extraction economy that lends itself to public corruption as long as it lasts. The old Petaquilla gold mine, the old Cerro Quema gold mine, the copper mine in Donoso – all stories about how Panama was literally ripped up and financially ripped off, with promises of how it will be different this time.

Had they ever talked about a mine project that involves Panamanians making things out of the minerals extracted from the ground, it might have promoted national development in spite of the environmental damage. What has been done and is being proposed to continue – letting foreign companies cut down our forests and dig up our mineral and ship the valuable parts away – is a recipe for national dependence and penury.


Christine Fang – was she a Chinese “honey trap” spy? The FBI suspected that but could not prove it. They did, however, warn Adam Schiff about her, and after that the US representative from California banished her from all contact with him. A Chinese citizen who has gone by various names, she was in the United States between 2011 and 2015.

Kevin McCarthy’s purge trial

It takes a simple majority of the US House of Representatives to impeach – bring formal charges – against someone in the executive or judicial branches of government. It takes two-thirds of the US Senate to convict someone who has been impeached. It’s a high bar to clear.

Both houses of the US Congress have the power to judge the qualifications of their members, but in each case need two-thirds of the members to remove an elected colleague from their midst.

So there went Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and his MAGA Republicans, moving to censure California Representative Adam Schiff. Why?

The stated reasons?

  1. A woman suspected of being a Chinese spy came around to his campaign events and promised to raise funds and recruit supporters from within the Chinese-American community for him. She didn’t actually do these things, the FBI alerted Schiff about what they thought she was, and the congressman told her to stay away and barred her from his campaign.
  2. Schiff led the two House moves to impeach Donald Trump, which passed the House but were rebuffed by the then GOP-controlled Senate. Which is not to say that Trump and his campaign didn’t seek to enlist the aid of foreign powers in US political disputes, nor to say that Trump was not behind the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

The political realities?

Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Greene, George Santos and that crowd live a lie, and play off of the years of lies spun by Donald Trump, Fox News, Breitbart and the far right in general. Other than cutting taxes for the ultra-rich and primitive hatreds, they have no ideas. So they give the American people and the rest of the world show trials.

But they can’t even do that right. Too many Republicans won’t tolerate the smell of that stuff. The MAGAs lost the Schiff censure vote in the House and the damage will last. Until the next election they remain as this discredited obstruction, after which it’s very unlikely that McCarthy remains as speaker.



             In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.

José Narosky             


Bear in mind…


In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.

Peter Ustinov


If I have learnt anything, it is that life forms no logical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?

Margot Fonteyn


Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.

Nora Ephron


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