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Antiwar group urges end to ‘chicken’ games around Taiwan

The Panama News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 11:19am
The co-chairs of the Committee for a SANE US-China Policy called on American and Chinese leaders to “immediately take unilateral and bilateral steps to reduce the risk of an accidental or unintended clash.” The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) in the Taiwan Strait in November of 2020. Barry was assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the US 7th Fleet’s principal surface force, forward-deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations. US Navy photo by Lieutenant Junior Grade Samuel Hardgrove. Peace group urges halt to “blatantly provocative”
US and Chinese military maneuvers around Taiwan by Brett Wilkins — Common Dreams

Writing to US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Committee for a SANE US-China Policy co-chairs Joseph Gerson and Michael Klare warned that “combative” US and Chinese naval and aerial maneuvers “could result in the outbreak of accidental or unintended conflict with unforeseeable and possibly catastrophic consequences.”

The group documented 115 “provocative maneuvers and close encounters” between US and Chinese forces this year, with a dramatic increase following a controversial August visit to Taiwan by a US congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

According to the document, China initiated 93 of the incidents, while the United States triggered 22. They ranged from “modest actions” by one or two ships or planes to “large-scale maneuvers” like a Chinese air force exercise involving 62 warplanes along China’s maritime border with Taiwan.

“Whenever these maneuvers occur, it is common for the opposing side to mobilize its own air and naval forces to guard its territory (or those of its allies) and ward off any intruders,” the letter notes. “This has resulted, on some occasions, in close encounters between the ships and planes of the opposing sides — with only the skillful action of pilots and helmsmen preventing a potentially deadly collision.”

“This good fortune, however, is not likely to last forever,” the group cautioned, “and, with the frequency and scale of these maneuvers increasing by the week, the likelihood of a mishap is increasing exponentially.”

“Given this danger, we call on you to immediately take unilateral and bilateral steps to reduce the risk of an accidental or unintended clash between US and [Chinese] air and naval forces in the West Pacific by discontinuing or scaling back military exercises that could be deemed threatening by others,” the letter continues.

The activists also urged the two countries’ leaders to hold talks “between military officials of the two sides,” plus “other interested parties such as Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines,” to create “‘rules of the road’ for safe, nonthreatening air and naval maneuvers.”

The group’s letter comes amid intense US diplomatic efforts to persuade China to be less supportive of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It is peculiar,” wrote South China Morning Post opinion contributor Dong Lei on Friday, “how Washington expects help from China on Ukraine while maintaining a campaign of hectoring and humiliation, including on China’s refusal to condemn Russia, and on Taiwan.”

2 “With the frequency and scale of these maneuvers increasing by the week, the likelihood of a mishap is increasing exponentially.” The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts long-range live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait in August of 2022. Chinese Ministry of Defense photo.  

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Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

US citizens living abroad, it’s time to return your ballots (or at least make plans)

The Panama News - Mar, 27/09/2022 - 12:30am
The Federal Voting Assistance Program — FVAP — has its roots in the offices to help overseas US military personnel vote. It has evolved to the point that it will help any US citizen who is abroad to exercise voting rights, but its funding and prominence have waned a bit due to Washington gridlock. Contact them here. Have a US passport? Return your ballot today

Sound advice, and as time ticks by then other options come into play, but with rules that vary state by state.

Basic rule of thumb is that Americans living overseas and otherwise eligible to vote have a right to cast absentee ballots for at least the federal offices, generally where they last lived in the USA, or if they never did where a US citizen parent did. That part is guaranteed by federal law and for those who registered in time the ballots were supposed to have been mailed out, also per federal law. A lot of states will let overseas voters cast ballots for state officers, local officer and ballot proposals.

Deadlines vary from state to state. As do rules about voting for down-ticket non-federal offices, and whether voting for state and local offices makes you a state resident for tax purposes. (By federal law, voting for federal offices can’t be used by states to make you a resident for tax purposes.)

Getting REALLY late with no ballot having arrived, there are the federal write-in ballot forms. And then, some states say the ballot must arrive by Election Day, while others say must be postmarked on or before Election Day, and there are variations on the arrival theme.

Does it sound horribly complex? It really isn’t, although there are sometimes local and state officials who will write “rules” as they go to play partisan games. Every election year a bunch of these have to be challenged in courts.

It’s not horribly complex because Vote From Abroad exists and is online to help you through the particular mazes of the place where you can vote absentee. For questions, assistance or the most up-to-date information, see https://www.votefromabroad.org

It's Return Your Ballot Day! Do you have your ballot? YES? Send it back immediately. NO? If you requested your ballot to be sent to you by email, you should have it by now. Check your spam folder. Still not there? Call your Local Election Official. #BallotDay #VoteFromAbroad pic.twitter.com/mdfpwEVKy5

— @DALionCity (@DALionCity) September 26, 2022 “The Lion City” is Singapore, from whence US citizens are now voting.  

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Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

Hartmann, When the Supreme Court enabled the hustlers

The Panama News - Lun, 26/09/2022 - 10:17am
Because of key decisions by the court equating money with free speech, the US political system is now overrun with grifters, con artists, and career criminals. Clarence Thomas, from the Supreme Court’s archives. Photo by Steve Petteway. How the US Supreme Court unleashed
a corporate criminal takeover by Thom Hartmann — Common Dreams

Republicans in the Senate yesterday killed legislation passed through the House that would require “dark money” to be publicly disclosed: not a single Republican voted for it, although every Democrat in attendance did.

Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition, we learned Wednesday, is going to spend $42 million on the midterm elections, focusing on flipping evangelical Hispanics toward the GOP.

Leonard Leo, head of The Federalist Society so famous for providing Trump and McConnell with rightwing judges to pack federal courts and the Supreme Court, recently received a $1.6 billion contribution, tax-free.

So much money is sloshing around in our political system — both what we know of and the billions in truly dark money that we know nothing about — that honest politicians are buried and actual criminals are stepping up.

Donald Trump‘s phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was probably the clearest illustration of this recent incarnation of his lifelong criminality. Although it’s rapidly being eclipsed by his theft and probable sale to foreign dictators of classified documents.

Over the last 40 years, career criminals like Trump have increasingly moved out of the business world and the streets and into politics, something for which we can thank the Supreme Court.

There are, among us, a small number of individuals who are career criminals. They have literally spent their entire lives skirting or outright breaking the law, and not only believe the law doesn’t apply to them, but actually delight in getting away with their crimes.

Because all of us have, at one time or another in our lives, broken a law or told lies; we tend to assume that these career criminals are just like us but only got caught in that one unlucky moment, like that time you drove home after a second glass of wine, or made up an excuse to tell your boss.

But they’re not like you and me. There’s something fundamentally different about these people. And the failure to recognize that goes to the core of the crisis within the Republican Party and our overall political system today.

Back when I was in my late teens, I got a job as a manager of a GNC store in a mall in Okemos, Michigan. There was a test that I had to give to all job applicants to determine their “honesty.”

The test asked really weird questions, along the lines of:

“One of your very best employees just came to you to return some money to the till, money that she had borrowed from the till because a few months back she needed it to help pay for an emergency medical procedure for her child. She has saved up to pay the money back, and is now trying to do so. What do you do?”

Or: “Your mother just called and told to you that she’s been shoplifting at the local store when her food stamps run out and your younger sister is really hungry. What do you do?”

The test, from a national testing chain, went on with 20 or 30 similar questions. In almost every case, the only correct answer to the multiple choice test was, “call the police and send them to jail.”

I protested to my district manager, saying that I would’ve flunked the test, or would’ve had to lie to pass it. There’s no way I turn in my mother or call the police on somebody with a sick child.

My manager pointed out to me that the only way to pass the honesty test is to lie on it, and it was actually designed that way. They expect people to say that they will call the police even for the tiniest of crimes. I protested that I thought that was crazy, that we were requiring people to lie to pass an honesty test, and that made no sense at all to me.

What he explained was that there’s no test in the world that can tell if a person really and truly will or will not call the police on anyone. But the test does tell whether a person understands the difference between right and wrong.

“I know it’s hard for you to realize or believe,” he said as I recall, “but there are some people who literally don’t know what is right and what is wrong. And the people who don’t have that basic understanding, or do know but don’t think the rules apply to them, are the ones most likely to steal from us or let their friends come shoplifting.

“The test expects people to lie by representing themselves as being honest, because to lie on the test they would first have to know the difference between right and wrong, so they could lie and say that they would always do the right thing.”

One of the big challenges the American media and our political system have with Donald Trump and a number of his enablers is that, like the people I was testing to filter out from our potential pool of employees, they are actually career criminals with no deep understanding of, or respect for, right and wrong.

They may know the words and concepts, but truly believe they don’t apply to them.

Donald Trump has been scamming, grifting and stealing his entire life, going all the way back to stealing his father’s money from his parents and his siblings. He is a career criminal.

Many of the people he surrounded himself with are, similarly, career criminals even though they appear to have had high profile, high powered positions in government or industry.

Even Forbes magazine called Trump’s commerce secretary, billionaire Wilbur Ross, a professional “grifter” for all the scams he has perpetrated in his career, and now we learn that Clarence Thomas’ wife was allegedly in on trying to overthrow our democracy.

While fundamentally dishonest people has been a problem for our society and business community for centuries, it has particularly become a problem in our political world since 1976 and 1978.

That was when the Supreme Court explicitly ruled that billionaires or corporations giving massive amounts of money to politicians and political parties is no longer considered bribery or corruption but, instead, is “free speech“ protected by the First Amendment.

Never before in all of American history had bribing politicians been considered free-speech, until the Buckley v Valejo and First National Bank v Belotti Supreme Court decisions as I laid out in The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America.

In 2010, conservatives of the Court doubled down on these decisions and even expanded their scope with Citizens United.

The result after these SCOTUS decisions was an ocean of corporate and billionaire money flowing into politics, sweeping Ronald Reagan into the White House on a tsunami of cash from the fossil fuel industry.

In the 40+ years since then, billionaire and corporate bribery of politicians has become the norm, and even institutionalized with national and state-based “policy networks,” PACs and SuperPACs, and dark money groups like the ones affiliated with Mitch McConnell that just poured tens of millions into this year’s elections.

All this money now sloshing around in our political system has produced the result the dissenting Supreme Court justices worried about.

It’s become a giant magnet that draws career criminals and authoritarians into politics, and then helps them become fabulously wealthy as they do the bidding of the corporations and wealthy people who fund their elections and careers.

It’s normalized the “revolving door” where people go into government positions, particularly in regulatory agencies, and make decisions that benefit giant corporations while drawing a modest government paycheck, only then to leave government and pick up multi-million dollar a year jobs in the industries they were regulating.

Trump is a career criminal, and he has surrounded himself with career criminals. Just look at their mob-like meeting just a week or so ago on one of his golf courses: it was right out of The Sopranos.

But he and many of his criminal Republican allies could never have gained power if the Supreme Court, back in the 1970s, hadn’t struck down the “good government” laws that came out of the Nixon bribery scandals and other laws to keep money out of politics, like the Tillman Act that dates back to 1907.

Because of these Supreme Court decisions equating money with free speech, our political system is now overrun with grifters, con artists and career criminals.

Even worse, this dark money spree Republicans are enjoying courtesy of rightwing billionaires and giant corporations is also empowering the recurrent criminal underbelly of the political world itself: authoritarians.

Authoritarians like Mussolini, Hitler, Pinochet, and Trump each came to power through manipulating the political system in ways that, if not overtly in violation of criminal statutes, were certainly so dangerous to democracy that they’re rightly described as “crimes against the nation.”

Job one of the new Congress must be to overturn these corrupt Supreme Court decisions and get big money — and the criminals it draws and empowers — out of American politics.

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of “The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream” (2020); “The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America” (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

 

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Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

Martinelli plays youth movement, Italian far right, other cards

The Panama News - Lun, 26/09/2022 - 2:16am
The youth movement card — Ricardo Martinelli is pumping up a young woman, Lourdes “Lulu” Castillo, to be the next legislator from Anton. It’s a sprawling municipality and swing circuit, but how valuable is a Marinelli endorsement? Most polls say that the former president is well situated for a 2024 comeback, but court developments suggest that by then he stands a very good chance of being a convicted criminal who’s ineligible to run. This is his latest party’s youth organization office on the Pan-American Highway in Anton. He also has volunteer groups active in the corregimientos. It represents a head start on the others if you don’t count the PRD political patronage machine.

Coclé
Gran convivio en Capellanía de líderes, juventud y miembros de Realizando Metas organizado por Lourdes Castillo miembro de la JD de #RM y pre candidata a diputada @lucastilourdes @rmartinelli @pepecamposrm @FMoulanier_RM @camachocastro @Fameglio pic.twitter.com/gvkA6Gk8JQ

— Realizando Metas (@somosrmpa) September 25, 2022 2 He’s promising more jobs and more cash, and revenge against everyone who calls him a crook. From his Twitter feed. Martinelli, a dual Panamanian and Italian citizen, is celebrating a far right victory in Italy (as well as Sweden and other parts) and mostly ignoring the recent trend toward the left in much of Latin America. At the moment it would be a problem for him to go to Italy, as he’s wanted for hiring men to stalk and electronically spy upon a former mistress in Spain, so there would be a warrant in force for all of the Eurpean Union. Plus, after his two sons testified in a US federal district court in Brooklyn that they laundered some $28 million of Odebrecht bribe money for him, Uncle Sam would probably also be looking for him to be extradited and tried there. Tick, tick, tick, ka-BOOOM! Tick, tick, tick, ka-BOOOM! What’s a right wing politician without a conspiracy theory these days? Whether literal or figurative, any bombshell that the vice president may have in store for Martinelli is most unlikely to produce a Carrizo or a PRD victory in 2024. Should the derogatory Panamanian Spanglish word be used? It would be surplus. Panamanian voters generally throw the party that holds the presidency out of power in the next elections, and in this summer’s crisis Gaby Carrizo has shown his slickest moves to be incredibly clumsy. And if the ailing President Cortizo is unable to finish his term? By stepping up to that challenge Carrizo would make himself constitutionally ineligible. By declining the top job the VP would perhaps demonstrate even worse characteristics to the voters.

Stay tuned, folks. The editor is no prophet, but think about how unstable Panama could get over the next year and a half. Martinelli ineligible to run, the last Panameñista president convicted of Odebrecht kickbacks, people fed up with the PRD, most people unhappy with the way things are, nobody able to fully capture the public imagination? It might happen that way.

 

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Kosher rules don’t much change, but what observant American Jews eat evolves

The Panama News - Dom, 25/09/2022 - 3:31pm
Gefilte fish balls for Rosh Hashana. Wikimedia photo by Ovedc. “Traditional” Jewish American foods keep changing: cookbooks and how Jews mark Rosh Hashana by Deborah Dash Moore, University of Michigan

The end of August inaugurated the Hebrew month of Elul, when Jews all over the world start getting ready for the High Holidays: the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana followed 10 days later by the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

Rabbis are polishing their sermons for one of the few times they can be confident of a large congregation ready to hear what they have to say. Cantors, who lead congregants in worship, are practicing the special nusach, melodies used during the High Holidays for prayers. Choir leaders meet with their group members to rehearse hymns and other songs. And those who cook are thinking about the meals they will serve.

Although Yom Kippur is a day of fasting, it is preceded by a large dinner and concludes with a meal to break the fast. Rosh Hashana, by contrast, summons up many meals. A large, multicourse feast opens the first evening, to be followed by another full dinner midday on the first day of the holiday and then a third substantial meal for the second day of the holiday. These feasts traditionally include fish, soup, meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, wine and, of course, a sweet dessert.

The wish for a sweet year gets expressed in food. Honey is a key ingredient. So are apples, since they are plentiful in this season.

As a historian of American Jews, I have been fascinated by the changing character of what are considered “Jewish” foods as expressed in cookbooks. These recipes have shaped the foods that American Jews have eaten, guiding what scholars call “vernacular religion,” or religion as it is lived.

Jewish American cookbooks across the 20th century have influenced the shifting tastes of American Jews’ vernacular religion, even as they have often reflected those tastes.

How kosher food changed in America

Judaism possesses an elaborate system that determines what food observant Jews can eat and which ones can be eaten together. Following these guidelines is called “keeping kosher”: either something is kosher and can be eaten or it is not.

In the United States, the growth of industrial food production for profit stimulated a wide array of products that could receive a symbol that labeled them as kosher. These range from the Orthodox Union’s OU symbol to a simple K to symbols that have a male rabbi’s name attached to them indicating his approval of the product. These multiple branding systems mean that Jews encounter a supermarket of Jewish choices, allowing each individual to decide just what products to buy.

Some people buy only products labeled “glatt kosher,” a reference that originally referred to meat and the inspection of an animal’s lungs. In the United States, Jews expanded the definition to emphasize a stringency that labeled only some foods sufficiently kosher to be eaten. Other people adopt a wide range of individual options.

Some reflect the prosperity of American Jews, such as having two sets of dishes, silverware and pots – one for meat and the other for dairy. Other variations register Jewish desires to enjoy “eating out” and tasting tref, or nonkosher, combinations.

Still other versions of kosher stem from industrial food production and the development of labels that allow each consumer to decide just which ones they will follow. The result leads to a kind of personalized form of kosher practice, one potentially with almost infinite variety.

As literary scholar Josh Lambert observed in his essay “One Man’s Kosher is Another Man’s Treif,” “my parents have never tasted swordfish, but adore caviar. In other words, they – like many people – have a kashrut [kosher] standard that makes sense to nobody but themselves.”

Cookbooks and changing tastes

This diversity leaves American Jews, especially women who still do most of the food preparation in Jewish homes, with a complex conundrum. Which foods should they cook? How should they cook this food? Should they turn to recipes handed down by mothers and grandmothers? Or should they try something new and different?

The conundrum is not new. Jews initially came to the United States as immigrants. Many left behind their parents and grandparents. Most possessed a limited knowledge of food preparation. Into this gap stepped women who wrote cookbooks.

Although the earliest Jewish cookbooks date to 1815 in Europe, the first American Jewish cookbook did not appear until 1871. Esther Levy’s “Jewish Cookery Book on Principles of Economy Adapted for Jewish Housekeepers” was published in Philadelphia.

Aunt Babette’s 1889 “Cookbook” soon eclipsed Esther Levy’s. Bertha F. Kramer, who wrote the “Aunt Babette’s Cookbook,” included American foods alongside Jewish ones, promoting integration of two types of foods.

Soon competition flourished as other publishers and writers saw the potential market with increasing numbers of Jewish immigrants arriving on American shores.

These Jewish cookbooks, written in Yiddish and German as well as English, guided women in how to prepare traditional Jewish foods even as they also promoted American food, such as apple pie. In a sense, they stepped into the breach within families caused by immigration, teaching their readers what to do and how to do it. Many also included explanations of the kosher system as well as holiday menus.

Even after Jewish families became intergenerational, and children often had access to traditional Jewish recipes through their grandparents, the popularity of Jewish cookbooks did not diminish. As Joan Nathan wrote in her 2004 “Jewish Holiday Cookbook,” “Like many Jews in America, I have become passionately involved in discovering my roots.” And that passion has led her, as a food writer, to seek “to discover the origin” of Jewish dishes and their ingredients along with the recipe.

Bagels and Jewish history Wicker basket with bagels in itBagels came to be seen as Jewish food even though they have no particular association with Jews.
Photo by Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography/Moment via Getty Images

The ongoing interest in Jewish food as expressed in diverse cookbooks prompted Nurith Gertz, an Israeli scholar of Jewish culture, and me to include excerpts – both recipes and the stories often told that accompanied them – from Jewish cookbooks in an anthology for The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization.

We recognized the recipes and the stories told around them as forms of vernacular Judaism – what Jews, especially American Jews, turned to when they wanted to cook Jewish food. Jewish foods as presented in recipes formed part of Jewish culture just as much as poetry and sermons, paintings and memoirs.

One of the recipes we decided to include was one for baking bagels by Matthew Goodman in “Jewish Food: The World at Table.” The round roll with a hole in it arrived in America with Jewish immigrants. Over the course of the 20th century, the hole grew ever smaller and the bagel ever more plump. But the bagel makers’ union kept a pretty tight lock on the two-step process of making bagels – first boiling, then baking – until frozen bagels were introduced.

After frozen bagels came all sorts of other innovations, like blueberry bagels, not to mention bagels that were only baked and so not particularly chewy. As it turns out, Jews began to celebrate bagels as a distinctively “Jewish food” as they became more popular: Bagels were leaving the Jewish fold and starting to be seen as an American food, with no particular associations with Jews.

Although bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon are still popular among American Jews to break the fast at the end of Yom Kippur, many Americans put all kinds of foods on bagels, including lots of nonkosher combinations.

Jewish food on the move

Only some of what American Jews ate for Rosh Hashana a century ago, or even 50 years ago, endures today.

Chicken soup and gefilte fish, which came to the United States with Russian Jews as foods associated with the Friday evening meal at the beginning of the Sabbath, are still part of the Jewish American palate. But brisket and even turkey have retreated before preferences for tastes such as Moroccan or Persian chicken dishes or vegetarian stews drawn from less familiar Jewish cultures.

I particularly miss a sweet dessert called taiglach. The small cubes of baked dough drenched in spiced honey, decorated with nuts and shaped into balls appeared on our table only during the High Holidays. Everyone pulled pieces to eat and licked their fingers. Neither my mother nor my grandmothers nor I ever made it – although my more adventurous sister did. We bought it from Jewish bakeries. But those bakeries are long gone.

The memory remains, as does the wish for a sweet new year that can be tasted.The Conversation

Deborah Dash Moore, Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History and Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

¿Wappin? Intensive Soul Transplant / Trasplante Intensivo de Alma

The Panama News - Sab, 24/09/2022 - 9:59am
BWAHAHAHAHA! Whit Bissell and his werewolf formula were the crudest of precursors! Now we have SOUL TRANSPLANT TECHNOLOGY!!! Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg, 2019. Vivian Caccuri – A Soul Transplant © Hendrik Zeitler. ¿Estás lo suficientemente enfermo como para desear saber cómo se traduce al panameño? To bind the wounds of broken hearts
Para vendar las heridas de corazones rotos Patti LaBelle – On My Own
https://youtu.be/KsH63qJlIMM Los Mozambiques – El Niño y El Perro
https://youtu.be/3CZiavWtv6Y Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
https://youtu.be/cQywZYoGB1g Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
https://youtu.be/H-kA3UtBj4M Joss Stone – Stoned at Luna Park (2015)
https://youtu.be/10lpglxnM0I Gladys Knight & The Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia
https://youtu.be/uw_t_o-LluM Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come
https://youtu.be/wEBlaMOmKV4 Johnny Rivers – The Poor Side of Town
https://youtu.be/vAI24i825_E Aretha Franklin – Gospel Concerts in Watts (1972)
https://youtu.be/Ib4YX7bjtUc Cry to Me – Solomon Burke
https://youtu.be/h1U2GfCGIEs Chaka Khan – Through the Fire
https://youtu.be/TjWmw-8-OEk  

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Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

Editorials: Nito the lame duck, Ballot time for US citizens here

The Panama News - Ven, 23/09/2022 - 7:08pm
President Cortizo delivers bags of soccer balls and other sports equipment in the Ngabe-Bugle Comarca. It’s a traditional political thing, and here it seems to be a matter of the presidency delivering the goods to local activists to distribute. ‘Here’s a soccer ball for your kid in exchange for your vote’ isn’t something unique to the PRD but it’s a multipartisan sort of politics that is enshrined in the dictatorship’s constitution under which we live. It’s also a sorry substitute for kids having enough to eat, access to medicine, a relevant and high-quality education and a future in a society that has justice within the rule of law. Photo by the Presidencia. They think they can go back?

With July’s protests ended and the talks that arose from them having run their course, all of the worst people in Panamanian public life are laughing at those less wealthy than themselves for falling for the ruse. It has to be a terrible letdown for President Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo Cohen.

He made a good agreement and gave us some reasonable decrees to lower Panama’s high medicine prices. But those would take a bit of time to fully implement and meanwhile pharmacies are generally not stocking price-controlled medications, some that do have them available have defied the price controls, bureaucratic obstacles to the establishment of independent pharmacies’ medicine importation and wholesaling cooperatives loom and we see little or no promised relief on food prices. The automotive fuel subsidies are unsustainable over the long haul — as is the subsidy on tanks of cooking gas — and many gas stations make it a terrible pain to refuel at the promised price-controlled rate.

Nito killed a notorious and expensive subsidy to developers, originally created in the name of “tourism promotion,” but NOW the legislature is moving to revive it. They’re also defying the president and the courts to revive the practice of multiple salaries on the public payroll. In a bunch of local governments the politicians are giving themselves big pay raises.

On the world stage, Nito, who has been ailing, did not go to New York to speak at the UN, but sent Vice President Gaby Carrizo to speak in his place. What Panamanians and the world heard was not a description of how Panama tackled high medicine prices at least as well as most of our Latin American neighbors have. Nope. What we heard was a plea to the world community to solve a problem created in Panama by a little clique of monopolistic hustlers. Like those who thought a bloody US invasion of Panama was just the remedy we needed, this iteration of the PRD is again betting on foreign intervention as the solution to national problems that we should solve.

Is the thinking that the July protests failed, so now those who provoked them can go back to what they were doing, only taking sterner measures to slap down anyone who complains about it?

And is the thinking within the ruling party that they will be voted out in 2024 anyway, so now’s the season to smash and grab?

Another ugly cycle, except moved forward a bit because the president has some health problems? Like the wheel of Panamanian politics runs eternally, but the wheel of karma doesn’t?

It isn’t just a higher mean temperature on the planet. Winds of change are blowing around the world and across the region. These are unpredictable, but it does seem likely that the corny old tricks won’t be able to withstand them.

 

For more information and the links you need, go to https://www.votefromabroad.org

 

2

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.

Ida B. Wells

Bear in mind…

The inescapable fact is that when we build a society based on greed, selfishness, and ruthless competition, the fruits we can expect to reap are economic insecurity at home and international discord abroad.

Tommy Douglas

If you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.

Stephen Hawking

We cannot feast on global resources while the world’s poor struggle to survive on inhospitable lands. It is as simple as that. It is the rich who are making the world poorer. Environment and Poverty are one crisis, not two.

Petra Kelly

 

 

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Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

What Latin American and Caribbean leaders said at the UN General Assembly (II)

The Panama News - Ven, 23/09/2022 - 2:38am
Bolivian President Lucho Arce proposed “expanding our restricted vision of human rights and democracy. … We should overcome the capitalist order that puts us into a steep, dangerous and unlimited race of consumerism, putting humanity and the planet at risk. Rather, let us build a more just, inclusive and equitable world.” From his Twitter feed. What they said at the UN General Assembly click on the links to the videos, most in official English translations, of what they said Lucho Arce, Bolivia
https://youtu.be/58uzWQ0JRNg Mia Amor Mottley, Barbados
https://youtu.be/vfBNZPDSXXM Andrew Holness, Jamaica
https://youtu.be/pxQxFeBUEW0 Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador
https://youtu.be/3jlhlgcJ2wY Pedro Castillo, Peru
https://youtu.be/IslcdxjM_kU Nayib Bukele, El Salvador
https://youtu.be/VLCTv_cv-jk Mario Abdo Benítez, Paraguay
https://youtu.be/vFbnYaRPuMA Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Guyana
https://youtu.be/w05V6Iw2dD4  

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Las termitas y el cambio climático

The Panama News - Gio, 22/09/2022 - 11:11pm
Un estudio que abarcó seis continentes exploró el papel de las termitas y los microorganismos en la descomposición de la madera. Experimentos de descomposición de madera en el bosque tropical de Isla Barro Colorado en Panamá. Foto por Carolina Sarmiento. Las termitas podrían tener un rol importante en el cambio climático por STRI

A la mayoría de la gente le estorban las termitas, ya que se comen la madera en las casas y comercios. Sin embargo, este tipo de termitas representan menos del 4 por ciento de todas las especies que existen.

En general, estos insectos son fundamentales en los ecosistemas naturales, especialmente en los trópicos, donde ayudan a reciclar la madera muerta de los árboles. Sin ellos, el mundo estaría lleno de plantas y árboles muertos.

Una nueva investigación en la que participaron científicos asociados al Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI), y más de 100 colaboradores alrededor del mundo, reveló que pronto las termitas podrían tener un impacto mayor a nivel global debido al cambio climático.“La cantidad de carbono que se almacena en la madera depende en gran medida de las tasas de descomposición y sabemos que estas varían según el clima y tipo de ecosistema”, dijo Camilo Zalamea, investigador asociado de STRI y profesor asistente en la Universidad del Sur de Florida. “Los estudios regionales han demostrado previamente que las tasas de descomposición de la madera por microorganismos se duplican con un aumento de temperatura de 10°C, pero antes de la publicación de nuestro artículo, se sabía menos sobre la sensibilidad climática de otros actores esenciales en la descomposición de la madera como las termitas”.

Liderado por la profesora de biología de la Universidad de Miami, Amy Zanne y publicado en Science, el estudio realizó experimentos de descomposición de madera en 133 sitios en 20 países y seis continentes, incluyendo la Isla Barro Colorado, la Reserva Forestal Fortuna y el Volcán Barú en Panamá. Uno de sus hallazgos fue que las termitas son muy sensibles a la temperatura y la lluvia y que su actividad podría aumentar, incluso más que la de los microorganismos, a medida que la tierra se vuelve más seca y caliente.

“Las termitas tuvieron sus mayores efectos en lugares como sabanas tropicales, bosques estacionales y desiertos subtropicales”, dijo Zanne. “Con el aumento de las temperaturas, su impacto en el planeta podría ser enorme”.

Aunque los microorganismos y las termitas descomponen la madera muerta, existen importantes diferencias entre ellos. Los microorganismos necesitan agua para crecer y consumir madera, mientras que las termitas pueden funcionar con niveles relativamente bajos de humedad.

“Los microorganismos son importantes a nivel mundial cuando se trata de la descomposición de la madera, pero hemos pasado por alto en gran medida el papel de las termitas en este proceso”, agregó Zanne. “Esto significa que no tenemos en cuenta el efecto masivo que estos insectos podrían tener para el futuro ciclo del carbono y las interacciones con el cambio climático”.

Como si fuesen unas vacas diminutas, las termitas liberan metano y dióxido de carbono al descomponer la madera, que son dos de los gases de efecto invernadero más importantes. Por lo tanto, con el cambio climático y el aumento de su actividad a futuro, las termitas podrían contribuir cada vez más a las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero.

“Con las tendencias actuales de cambio global en las que esperamos que muchas áreas del planeta experimenten climas tropicales el futuro, es probable que aumente el efecto que las termitas podrían tener en la descomposición de la madera, pues se prevé que las termitas tengan acceso a ecosistemas donde actualmente no están presentes”, dijo Zalamea.

Un ejemplo de esto es la expansión y aumento de abundancia de termitas en ecosistemas como los de clima Mediterráneo, los cuales actualmente se están “tropicalizando”.

“En nuestras zonas de estudio en la cuenca mediterránea las tasas de descomposición por parte de las termitas fueron mucho menores que las que hemos visto en regiones tropicales como Panamá”, dijo Guillermo Peguero, investigador post-doctoral en STRI que también participó en el estudio. “Sin embargo, nuestros resultados apuntan a que esto podría cambiar en el futuro, lo cual podría acarrear cambios muy considerables en el balance de carbono de toda la biosfera”.

2 Camilo Zalamea, uno de los co-autores del estudio, en la Isla Barro Colorado en Panamá, uno de los sitios donde se realizó el experimento. Foto por Jorge Alemán, STRI.

 

3 Se realizaron experimentos de descomposición de madera en los bosques nubosos panameños del Volcán Barú y la Reserva Forestal Fortuna. Foto por Jim Dalling.

 

Experimento de descomposición de madera en un sitio de la cuenca mediterránea de los Pirineos. Foto por Guillermo Peguero.  

Contact us by email at / Contáctanos por correo electrónico a fund4thepanamanews@gmail.com

 

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Categorie: Papua Nuova Guinea

At the UN General Assembly: four takes from heads of American states

The Panama News - Gio, 22/09/2022 - 3:38am
“War is just a trap that brings the end of time closer, in a great orgy of irrationality. From Latin America, we call on Ukraine and Russia to make peace.” Colombian President Gustavo Petro, at the UN. Photo by the Colombian Presidency. What they said at the UN General Assembly click on the links to videos of the official English translations of what they said Gustavo Petro, Colombia
https://youtu.be/rFIBY0tDoSg Xiomara Castro, Honduras
https://youtu.be/261VgCIFK70 Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
https://youtu.be/2fu5Hl84Qdg Gabriel Boric, Chile
https://youtu.be/qizf-MfeYPk

 

 

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