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Zimmerman, GOP goes after Social Security

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oink
With their Speaker circus over, the party now threatens to crash the economy unless they can slash your benefits. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has called for Social Security cuts. Shutterstock photo.

Republicans turn to mugging Social Security

by Mitchell Zimmerman — OtherWords

Now that the Republican Party has suspended its internal chaos long enough to elect a Speaker, Republicans face a challenge.

Leading party members are eager to use their new majority in the House of Representatives to trash two programs conservatives have long detested: Social Security and Medicare. But Republicans control only one house of Congress by a slim margin, and slashing Social Security and Medicare benefits is wildly unpopular.

Even three-quarters of those who voted for Republicans for Congress last year are against cutting benefits, as well as similar majorities of Democrats and Independents. In fact, 83 percent of Americans support increasing Social Security benefits — including 84 percent of Republicans! And big, bipartisan majorities want to tax the rich to do it.

The GOP is determined to go the other way.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wants seniors to “take a little less” and “pay a little more in” for Social Security, and Republican policy makers want to increase the retirement age to 70.

Given how unpopular the idea is, a direct legislative attack on benefits is destined to go nowhere. Instead, the Republican strategy is indirect: to hold the government itself hostage.

Extremist House Republicans now say they will refuse to increase the nation’s “debt limit” this year — causing a government shutdown, a default on our debts, and a global economic calamity — unless Social Security and Medicare benefits are slashed.

The credit and debt evaluator Moody’s says a default would trigger a recession wiping out 6 million jobs and erasing $15 trillion in household wealth.

The GOP scheme spits in voters’ faces. In polling, virtually no Americans want the debt limit to be tied to cutting Social Security and Medicare. Indeed, over two-thirds of Republican voters say they favor increasing the debt limit increase without such cuts.

Republican excuses for attacking these programs are that Social Security is going bankrupt and that the country cannot afford more debt.

It is true there’s a shortfall in income going into the government’s Social Security trust account. But the fix doesn’t have to rely on slashing benefits.

The causes of the shortfall include the aging of America’s population and the rise in economic inequality. The distribution of income has shifted in the last 50 years, and the share of the very rich has grown. Since Social Security limits how much of a person’s income is subject to Social Security taxes to $147,000, the rich escape taxes on most of their income, limiting revenues.

Eliminating the cap would reportedly eliminate three-quarters of the Social Security funding shortfall. But since Republicans wish above all to protect the wealth of the rich, they are prepared to ignore the preference of three-quarters of Americans, including their own voters.

The second claimed excuse, the size of the national debt, is also meritless. The national debt has grown under every presidential administration since Herbert Hoover in 1928, but there’s no reason to conclude it is more than we can afford. Our debt is among the highest-rated and safest in the world — unless Republicans destroy our credit for political reasons.

Refusing to pay what is already lawfully owed because it exceeds an arbitrary “limit” is no answer. Failing to raise the debt limit means cheating those who, in good faith, bought government bonds or sold things to our government. The economic effects would be devastating.

Why would Republicans use a back-door tactic with such risks to force through cuts opposed by giant majorities of their own supporters?

Their determination to defund Social Security and Medicare appears to rest on the “principle” that the government should do nothing to benefit ordinary people — and that the wealth of the ultra-rich must be protected at all costs.

Mitchell Zimmerman is an attorney, longtime social activist, and author of the anti-racism thriller Mississippi Reckoning. This op-ed was distributed by OtherWords.org.

 

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Rodrigues, Bolsonaro y las Fuerzas Armadas en Brasil

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JB and his coup guys?
Jair Bolsonaro presidiendo un acto de promoción de oficiales del ejército brasileño en el Palacio de Planato, Brasilia, el 1 de diciembre de 2022. Clauber Cleber Caetano / Estevam Costa / PR

¿Es posible alejar el bolsonarismo de
las Fuerzas Armadas en Brasil?

por Thiago Rodrigues, Universidade Federal Fluminense

La presencia de los militares en la vida política brasileña es una constante desde el siglo XIX, con una larga lista de intervenciones y golpes militares. Los períodos democráticos han sido pocos y breves. El actual empezó con la proclamación de la Constitución de 1988. Sin embargo, estas tres décadas han sido testigo de crisis institucionales que se profundizaron en el último decenio.

Las primeras señales de una grave fractura política e ideológica en Brasil fueron percibidas en las protestas de 2013 que pronto fueron instrumentalizadas por las oposiciones conservadoras contra el gobierno de Dilma Rousseff. Luego sobrevino el golpe parlamentario contra Rousseff, en 2016, y la caza de brujas de la operación anticorrupción Lava Jato –rematada, en 2018, con el encarcelamiento del entonces expresidente Lula da Silva– seguida del gobierno de Jair Bolsonaro entre 2019 y 2022.

Durante esta década, los altos rangos de las Fuerzas Armadas y los clubes militares volvieron a intervenir en el escenario político nacional emitiendo opiniones y presionando a la opinión pública por medio de comunicados o tweets de apoyo a las acciones anticorrupción y a las protestas nacionalistas y ultraconservadoras.

En este escenario emergió la figura de Jair Bolsonaro, un excapitán del Ejército brasileiro que se dio de baja de la corporación en 1988 tras verse involucrado en episodios de insubordinación contra el nuevo régimen democrático. De inmediato empezó una carrera política como diputado federal, y fue reelegido ininterrumpidamente hasta lanzar su candidatura presidencial en 2018.

De parlamentario exótico a azote del Partido de Lula

Durante dos décadas, Bolsonaro fue considerado un parlamentario radical y exótico que vociferaba principios de ultraderecha. Sin embargo, ganó proyección como el gran opositor de los gobiernos del Partido de los Trabajadores. Luego, el antiguo militar sin prestigio en la caserna pasó a ser escuchado y recibido en las academias militares, tanto de las Fuerzas Armadas como de las policías militares.

Bolsonaro se convirtió en la figura representativa de los valores de ultraderecha, encarnando y adoptando el lema del Integralismo, movimiento de masas brasileño de la década de 1930 inspirado en el fascismo italiano: “Dios, Patria y Familia”.

Al llegar al poder en 2019, Bolsonaro abrió las puertas del Estado a sus aliados militares. Su grupo cercano de asesores contó con altos rangos militares responsables por la comunicación, la seguridad institucional y la inteligencia del gobierno. Los ministerios, órganos de Estado y empresas estatales se vieron pobladas de militares. En 2020, el número de militares en funciones civiles alcanzó la cifra de 6.153 personas, número más grande que el registrado durante la dictadura cívico-militar.

Esto es precisamente lo que la politóloga Polina Beliakova llama “militarización”, es decir, cuando militares o exmilitares ocupan funciones de caracter civil, como la dirección de empresas o la gestión del sistema de salud pública.

El ejemplo más importante de la militarización del Estado en la administración Bolsonaro se produjo, precisamente, en el campo de la salud. En el auge de la pandemia de COVID-19, el Ministerio de Salud fue ocupado por un general activo del Ejército, Eduardo Pazuello, quien no tenía ninguna formación como profesional de este área o cualquier experiencia previa con el sistema público de salud. Brasil ha sido uno de los países más duramente golpeados por la pandemia, con 695.000 muertos hasta la fecha.

Toma de posesión como ministro de Salud de Brasil, tras cuatro meses interino, del general Eduardo Pazuello, en presencia del entonces presidente del país, Jair Bolsonaro. Brasília, 16 de septiembre de 2020. Erasmo Salomão / MS, CC BY Creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

La conexión entre el bolsonarismo y los militares

En 2022, durante la campaña presidencial, militares en todo el país apoyaron abiertamente a Bolsonaro a pesar de la prohibición legal de manifestación política por militares en servicio. Muchos de los militares bolsonaristas disputaron puestos y salieron victoriosos, como Eduardo Pazuello (diputado federal) y el general Hamilton Mourão, vicepresidente de Bolsonaro, elegido senador. En octubre de 2022, policiales militares de la Policía Vial Federal actuaron para dificultar o impedir que electores de zonas favorables a Lula llegasen a los puestos de votación.

Tras la victoria de Lula, el bolsonarismo radical se movilizó a nivel nacional para contestar el resultado de las urnas. El punto de convergencia de los sublevados fue, una vez más, las Fuerzas Armadas. Proliferaron campamentos frente a cuarteles demandando una “intervención militar” que impidiera la ascensión de Lula. Los asesores militares y civiles de Bolsonaro siguieron operando un sistema de fake news difundido por las redes sociales con el reto de radicalizar aún más a sus seguidores.

Cientos de camioneros bloquean la carretera BR-381 en Timóteo, estado de Minas Gerais, el 1 de noviembre de 2022, en apoyo a Jair Bolsonaro y como rechazo del triunfo de Lula da Silva en las elecciones presidenciales de octubre de 2022. Wikimedia Commons / HVL, CC BY-SA

El decreto de Lula y el cambio de actitud del Ejército

El resultado de este proceso fue la invasión y depredación de los edificios sedes de los poderes constitucionales en Brasilia, el 08 de enero de 2023. Pronto circularon imágenes de policías militares pasivamente permitiendo la entrada y destrucción del patrimonio público y militares conversando pacíficamente con sublevados.

La actitud de las fuerzas de seguridad solamente cambió cuando Lula decretó la intervención federal en la seguridad pública del Distrito Federal (DF) que desembocó en la dimisión del secretario de seguridad (exministro de justicia de Bolsonaro) y en la suspensión temporal de funciones del gobernador del DF.

No hay ejemplos en el mundo contemporáneo de democracias estables que no hayan establecido un sistema robusto de control civil de las fuerzas de seguridad del Estado. Este tema es el pináculo del sistema político estadounidense y de las democracias europeas, pero es un punto extremamente débil en casi todo el mundo. En América Latina, las historias de construcción nacional ha sido marcadas por múltiples intervenciones militares y períodos autoritarios apoyados o conducidos por las fuerzas de seguridad.

Durante la Guerra Fría, los Estados Unidos impulsaron la tendencia intervencionista de los militares latinoamericanos en nombre del combate al comunismo o a cualquier alternativa autonomista frente a la potencia americana. Terminada la Guerra Fría, el intervencionismo militar siguió activo bajo el manto del combate al crimen organizado.

En Brasil, los militares jamás abandonaron la creencia de que son el poder moderador nacional y, por ende, nunca aceptaron plenamente el marco constitucional del control civil de las Fuerzas Armadas. La creación del Ministerio de Defensa, en 1999, ha alterado poco esta creencia, como se puede constatar en el presente momento.

La vuelta de Lula a la presidencia no dio señales de disposición para enfrentar el “poder militar” brasileño. Aunque haya empezado una operación de dimisión masiva de los militares en puestos civiles, no está clara la intención de actuar junto a las Fuerzas Armadas para someterlas a la Constitución. Es indicativo el hecho de que, en los meses de transición, Lula haya creado grupos de trabajo para todas las áreas (agricultura, economía, educación etc.), menos para la Defensa. Es significativo, también, que el ministro de defensa indicado sea José Mucio, un civil sin experiencia en el tema y con larga carrera política conservadora.

Policías antidisturbios preparados para intervenir durante una manifestación a favor de la democracia y contra el Gobierno de Bolsonaro, en el barrio de Pinheiros, en São Paulo el 7 de junio de 2020. Shutterstock / Alf Ribeiro

La politización de las fuerzas de seguridad

Frente un escenario así de complejo, ¿sería posible pensar una “desbolsonarización” de las fuerzas de seguridad (fuerzas armadas y policías)? Si Bolsonaro es el nombre actual que da forma a una tradición intervencionista, el problema es mucho más profundo, pues se trata de una cuestión estructural y vertebradora de las fuerzas de seguridad brasileñas. Bolsonaro como figura política puede desaparecer, pero la politización de las fuerzas de seguridad seguirá existiendo.

El problema de fondo es el tipo de seguridad que desean los ciudadanos brasileños. El modelo vigente es de confrontación y de mano dura. Las poblaciones marginadas son controladas por fuerzas policiales –y a veces por las Fuerzas Armadas– a partir de una lógica militar, es decir, de enfrentamiento, asesinato y ocupación territorial.

Ante el crecimiento de las desigualdades sociales, una parte de la ciudadanía brasileña elige la violencia como modelo de orden social. Ello, combinado con la tradición intervencionista de las Fuerzas Armadas, produce un escenario difícil de ser cambiado.

Brasil no ha pasado por periodos de evaluación crítica de su pasado. No hubo en el país el ejercicio de la memoria y de la reparación histórica. No hay museos o memoriales sobre los años dictatoriales y abundan todavía las calles, plazas y carreteras con nombres de generales y dictadores.

Mientras no se haga este ejercicio, no será posible que la ciudadanía conozca los efectos de las soluciones represivas para problemas sociales y económicos complejos. Seguirá habiendo una memoria inducida de que los militares son la solución para todo tipo de problemas mucho más allá de sus funciones propiamente de defensa de la patria contra amenazas extranjeras.

Hasta el momento, las fuerzas socialdemócratas que se pusieron al mando del país no han enfrentado esta cuestión. El temor de los militares sigue vivo y las fuerzas de seguridad siguen creyendo en su rol excepcional para proteger el Estado de una democracia que les parece frágil e ineficaz. “Desbolsonarizar” las fuerzas de seguridad no es la cuestión central. Lo fundamental es desmilitarizar a la ciudadanía brasileña.The Conversation

Thiago Rodrigues, Professor of International Relations, Universidade Federal Fluminense

Este artículo fue publicado originalmente en The Conversation. Lea el original.

 

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Belated census time / Tiempo de censo tardío

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census
Census takers like the ones who will come around to count you and others and to make a survey of how you live. Photo by CensosPanama.
Los censistas como los que vendrán a contarte a ti y a los demás y hacer una encuesta sobre cómo vives. Foto por CensosPanamá.

Don’t be afraid to be counted

They are NOT coming to take you away, although if you live on one of Panama’s islands they MAY come in a SENAN police boat because that’s their available transportation. They are the census takers who began working on January 8 and will be done sometime in March. If they miss you on your first visit they are supposed to try again.

The census will not ask questions about your immigration status, nor check you for outstanding arrest warrants or unpaid obligations. They want to count the people in Panama and get some solid numbers on how crowed and sanitary our living conditions are, how we make our livings and how well we live, how many of us have disabilities, how many lack access to the Internet and so on. These data, when added up for the nation, are important for making decisions about public policies. They are supposed to be confidential as to individuals, neither sold nor given away. Answering the census taker’s questions will not bring you email spam or sales representatives knocking on your door.

This is a job that should have been done in 2020, but was delayed by the COVID epidemic. Because the government lacked some of those numbers at the time, Panama’s school by Internet during the big early COVID waves policy didn’t work so well because we didn’t know where kids would likely have not Internet coverage. It’s no guarantee that the government will make good decisions, but they need to have some reliable statistics to have much hope of doing the right things.

What follows is a link to the census form, in the Spanish language and PDF format. Generally you will not have to fill out this form – the census taker will do that. However, if your Spanish is not so fluent, you might translate it, figure out what your answers will be and translate those back into Spanish, such that language difficulties can be reduced.

Download the census questionnaire form — for your use, not directly theirs — by clicking here.

No tengas miedo de ser contado

NO vienen a llevarte, aunque si vives en una de las islas de Panamá PUEDEN venir en un bote de la policía del SENAN porque ese es su transporte disponible. Son los censistas que comenzaron a trabajar el 8 de enero y terminarán en algún momento de marzo. Si te extrañan en tu primera visita, se supone que deben volver a intentarlo.

El censo no hará preguntas sobre su estado migratorio, ni verificará si tiene órdenes de arresto pendientes u obligaciones impagas. Quieren contar a la gente en Panamá y obtener cifras sólidas sobre qué tan pobladas e higiénicas son nuestras condiciones de vida, cómo nos ganamos la vida y qué tan bien vivimos, cuántos de nosotros tenemos discapacidades, cuántos carecen de acceso a Internet, etc. en. Estos datos, sumados para la nación, son importantes para la toma de decisiones sobre políticas públicas. Se supone que son confidenciales en cuanto a individuos, ni vendidos ni regalados. Responder a las preguntas del censista no generará spam ni representantes de ventas llamando a su puerta.

Este es un trabajo que debería haberse hecho en 2020, pero se retrasó por la epidemia de COVID. Debido a que el gobierno carecía de algunos de esos números en ese momento, la política de escuela por Internet de Panamá durante las grandes olas tempranas de COVID no funcionó tan bien porque no sabíamos dónde los niños probablemente no tendrían cobertura de Internet. No es garantía de que el gobierno tome buenas decisiones, pero necesita tener algunas estadísticas confiables para tener muchas esperanzas de hacer lo correcto.

Lo que sigue es un enlace al formulario del censo, en español y en formato PDF. Por lo general, no tendrá que completar este formulario; el censista lo hará. Sin embargo, si su español no es tan fluido, puede traducirlo, averiguar cuáles serán sus respuestas y traducirlas de nuevo al español, de modo que las dificultades del idioma puedan reducirse.

Descargue el formulario del cuestionario del censo, para su uso, no directamente de ellos, tocando aquí.

 

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Editorials: Palacio de las Garzas up for grabs; and Strange times

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Ricky Youth
Martinelismo without Martinelli? What would that be like? Photo by Eric Jackson.

Early into the 2024 election cycle

Vice President Gaby Carrizo is stepping down as minister of the presidency to run for president. National Assembly president Crispiano Adames says he wants to be president. They’re both PRD, the current PRD administration has been beset by disaster and hard times that can’t be fairly blamed on President Nito Cortizo, but in any case Panamanian voters tend to throw the party that holds the presidency out of office in the next election.

The leading alternative in the polls is former president Ricardo Martinelli, but he faces a pair of criminal trials this year and is surely despised in Washington, such that if he were to be elected US-Panamanian relations would sour. Under a Democratic administration Martinelli’s two sons were convicted in a US federal court of laundering millions in Odebrecht bribe money for their dad. If a Trump administration is the US future, Martinelli and Trump had their falling out when a Trump signature hotel was built on a known flood plain, there were flooding problems, and Trump blamed Martinelli.

If we get the independent breakaway from the PRD candidate – still sitting as a member of that party’s caucus in the legislature – Zulay Rodríguez, consider that the lady not only rails against foreigners that the American Embassy might be expected to in some way defend if they are US citizens, but that the US government is said to have had a hand in her removal as a judge when she granted bail to some Colombian drug running suspects whom the DEA wanted to take off of Panama’s hands.

No PRD, no Martinelli? The Panameñistas have still not recovered from Varela times gaffes and Juan Carlos Varela himself is scheduled to go on trial for Odebrecht bribes this year. The shell that was CD gives us the blandest of corporate lawyers in Rómulo Roux versus the sleaziest sort of grasping politician in Yanibel Ábrego. The eternal mini-parties that angle for spots in a coalition and jackpots of political patronage seem unlikely places from which a presidential contender might emerge. The fragmented left may get someone on the ballot here or there but won’t win the presidency and is also likely to repeat the less pardonable blunder of failing to elect at least one regular voice in the legislature from that end of the spectrum.

It adds up to instability. Might that open the door to bitcoin hustlers, proponents of mass arrests or those who would incite and exploit ethnic strife? It might. Or, as bad as the usual may have been, might Panamanians opt for a more moderate, ordinary next leader? There will be some of those to choose among in this process, too.

It becomes a problem when we have but one round in the general elections. Get a half dozen or more people on the ballot and a fringe candidate can come to office with a quarter of the vote. That candidate could then turn out to be an admirable leader but would always have his or her legitimacy questioned. That, too, can be destabilizing.

 

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‘LOOK! It’s a Jew-ish space laser!’ An unattributed photo of Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos during the speaker election marathon, widely posted on Twitter.

A halfway House for the weird

Let’s not get too nostalgic for the way things were. However, a US House of Representatives that mainstreams QAnon will have entertainment and not much else that’s positive to offer a country with serious unmet needs. Don’t expect this show to be long-lasting.

 

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1718 portrait of Voltaire by Nicolas de Largillière.

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.

Voltaire

Bear in mind…

Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves.

Germaine Greer

Should you shield the valleys from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their canyons.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.

Rabindranath Tagore

 

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A dry season day trip — or more — to Veraguas

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The road
The town itself has its many attractions, but past Santa Fe de Veraguas is the network of roads upon which builders have been working for years, which now runs by the national park and to its destination at Calovebora and the Caribbean Sea. It’s a road that his writer has yet to take but will someday. Photo from Carlos Camarena’s Twitter feed.

A pilgrimage heading north out of Santiago

captions by Eric Jackson, other people’s photos
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What’s your pleasure? We’re headed toward the town of Santa Fe, but along the way there is the town of San Francisco de Las Montañas, and this old stone church. Are you religious, or not so much but a real fan of the arts? Or do you want steep yourself in Panamanian history? You’ll want to check this place out to know more about any of those things. Wikimedia photo by Wikimedia by Kiam-shim.
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Inside this church you have the centuries-old work of the first generation of indigenous wood sculptors who converted to Christianity, bringing ancient local arts to the themes of the worldwide church. As in hardwood carvings with a whole lot of gold leaf overlaid. Wikimedia photo by Wikimedia by Yolany Arauz G.
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St. Michael the Archangel figures not only in Roman Catholicism. The legend is also found in Judaism, Islam, the Bahai faith and Orthodox Christianity. It’s a popular one in Panama — San Miguel, San Miguelito and so on being attached to many places and institutions. This 17th century carved relief depicts the Archangel and his battles with Satan’s minions. Wikimedia photo by Ken Mayer.
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Along the way you will have occasion to cross, occasionally see from the road, and have opportunities to detour for bathing or sightseeing in the Rio Santa Maria, which comes down out of the mountains of Veraguas and runs into the Pacific Ocean. Photo by the Municipio of San Francisco.
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North of San Francisco there is the remarkable little town of Santa Fe de Veraguas, under the shadow of Cerro Tute, which you can see in the background here. Wikimedia photo by Pierre75018.
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The mountain gives a name to two local coffee brands, the best of which is almost entirely exported to a federation of cooperatives in Germany. This is the good stuff, which is attraction enough, but it’s also produced by a farmers’ cooperative that owns and runs the coffee mill, and whose farmer members grow the coffee. Photo by the Cooperativa Esperanza de los Campesinos.
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It’s not just another farmer’s co-op. The man who founded it was disappeared by the dictatorship’s Machos del Monte (Tapirs) infantry and his remains have never been found and definitively identified. The Colombian-born Jesús Héctor Gallego Herrera — Father Gallego, the parish priest — was taken away when he was 33 years old. There are lots of theories about the crime, and years after his June 9, 1971 disappearance his abductors were convicted of murder but never came clean about why, on whose order or any of the other particulars. It is popularly believed that he was killed because the little cooperative store where farmers could avoid long travel and monopolistic local prices to buy their farm supplies was unappreciated business competition. His congregation wanted, and a growing number of folks want, Father Gallego to be recognized by the Catholic Church as a saint. However, church rules prevent that if no body is found. Photo by the Cooperativa Esperanza de los Campesinos.
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“If I disappear, don’t look for me…. Just continue the struggle.” Graphic by the Archdiocese of Panama.
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Continue the struggle, they did. After its founder was disappeared, the co-op grew into a multi-services local conglomerate that dominates the town’s and surrounding area’s economy. The biggest single addition was the coffee mill. There are also several stores, a restaurant, buses and taxis, agricultural extension projects that teach farming skills and experiment with different methods and crops, refuse collection and other environmental projects and small steps into tourism within the sprawling municipal district and the Santa Fe National Park. Some of their ventures are in alliance with other cooperatives. Photo by the Cooperativa Esperanza de los Campesinos.
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The co-op may have grown to be the town’s biggest business force, but it has not monopolized. Both standard businesses and popular capitalism co-exist there, even if like all over the rest of the planet COVID and then high inflation have brought hard times. Here at the town’s public market farmers sell produce and some of the artisans who sell their work are superb. Not far to the west of Santa Fe the Ngabe-Bugle Comarca begins, and it’s reflected in some of the handicrafts you may find for sale. Photo by the Municipio de Santa Fe.
 

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¿Wappin? HE LIES! Take him away. / ¡ÉL MIENTE! Llévenselo.

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THEM

Lo dijo en televisión… ¡Debe ser verdad!
He said it on TV — it MUST be true!

Mavis Staples – Slippery People
https://youtu.be/HF1z7IQYfWA

Peter Tosh – Till Your Well Runs Dry
https://youtu.be/jlB6UJmpybs

Cássia Eller – Malandragem
https://youtu.be/NJz-H-DcyAU

Imagine Dragons – Bad Liar
https://youtu.be/yrJWR_D3Qho

Samy y Sandra Sandoval – Mentiroso
https://youtu.be/3xGO_vH2um8

Es Mentiroso – Olga Tañón
https://youtu.be/ASnkzgvBf0o

Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies
https://youtu.be/uCGD9dT12C0

Sinéad O’Connor – The Emperor’s New Clothes
https://youtu.be/yhfATC9baPo

Fats Domino – Telling Lies
https://youtu.be/JIokWEbo_v8

Charly & Johayron – Mi Mentirosa
https://youtu.be/5Jma_lmTT4k

Erika Ender – Mentiritas Blancas
https://youtu.be/jEk7c2ABCh4

 

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López, Un divorcio entre en mundo real y el mundo imaginario

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Genaro
El líder sindical Genaro López se dirige a los miembros del sindicato de trabajadores de la construcción SUNTRACS. Foto por CONUSI.

El informe de Cortizo

por Genaro López
2

 

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…and where have Kevin McCarthy’s special funds gotten him?

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McC failure
“These types of shady, backroom deals—which indebt our lawmakers to corporations and special interests—are corrupting our democracy,” said Repesentative Ro Khanna. CSPAN screenshot.

Dems raise concerns over ‘creepy’ role of McCarthy super PAC in speaker talks

by Jake Johnson – Common Dreams

Why is a billionaire-funded super PAC aligned with Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy playing a role in talks over who will become the next speaker of the House?

Democratic lawmakers and campaign finance watchdogs raised that question Wednesday after the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) and the Club for Growth—another right-wing organization bankrolled by billionaires—announced a deal under which CLF won’t spend any money on “open-seat primaries in safe Republican districts,” a key demand of McCarthy opponents who felt their preferred candidates have been snubbed by the deep-pocketed super PAC.

As Fortune reported Wednesday, “far-right lawmakers have complained that their preferred candidates for the House were being treated unfairly as the campaign fund put its resources elsewhere.”

CLF spent nearly $260 million during the 2022 election cycle, including millions to help reelect Republicans who are trying to tank his speakership bid. The super PAC’s top donors in the midterm cycle were banking scion Timothy Mellon, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, and Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin—all billionaires.

The deal between CLF and Club for Growth came as McCarthy continued his frantic efforts to cobble together the necessary 218 votes, offering a number of concessions to Republicans who have rejected the California lawmaker in six consecutive votes—and possibly more on Thursday.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) was among those who raised concerns over CLF and Club for Growth’s role in the ongoing speakership debacle.

“It is creepy that dark money super PACs are explicitly part of the negotiation regarding who becomes speaker of the United States House,” the senator wrote on Twitter.

Federal law prohibits candidates from coordinating with super PACs, though the independence mandate is often flouted in practice. In a press release, CLF and Club for Growth insisted that “no one in Congress or their staff has directed or suggested CLF take any action here.”

“Interesting that an independent super PAC that isn’t supposed to coordinate with members of Congress comes to an agreement to benefit a specific member of Congress,” responded Adam Smith, action fund director of End Citizens United.

Club for Growth, which bills itself as a “leading free-enterprise advocacy group” that promotes tax cuts and deregulation, originally opposed McCarthy’s run for speaker, pushing him to agree to a number of concessions backed by far-right House Republicans.

But the organization, which has received funding from the Koch network and other right-wing forces, suggested Wednesday that it will support McCarthy if he upholds the concessions he has offered thus far.

“This agreement on super PACs fulfills a major concern we have pressed for,” Club for Growth president David McIntosh said in a statement.

While the CLF-Club for Growth agreement was seen as a major victory for the anti-McCarthy faction, it’s not clear whether it will be enough to end the impasse. The House is set to convene again Thursday at noon.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, argued in a tweet Wednesday that “these types of shady, backroom deals—which indebt our lawmakers to corporations and special interests—are corrupting our democracy.”

“This is why I started the bipartisan Congressional No PAC caucus and have never taken PAC money, and refuse to start,” Khanna added.

 

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Take it from a professional bartender…

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AOC
The Member from New York who actually tended bar for a living. Wikimedia photo by Dimitri Rodriguez.

Say WHAT?

“If only! If Dems took a shot every time McCarthy lost a Republican, we’d all be unconscious by now.”

Representative Ocasio responding to GOP Representative Cammack’s accusation that Democrats were drinking in the House Chamber as Republicans stalled on electing a speaker.

 

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Calendario 2023 de ferias locales / 2023 calendar of local fairs

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Esta lista incluye las principales ferias, pero no las fiestas patronales de las comunidades, ni el Carnaval, ni ciertos eventos anuales como la Fiesta del Toro Guapo en Antón o la Fiesta de los Diablos y Congos en Portobelo.

This list includes the major fairs, but not celebrations of communities’ patron saints’ days, nor Carnival, nor certain annual events like the Toro Guapo Festival in Anton or the Diablos y Congos Festival in Portobelo.

 

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