The New Praetorians

Irony battles satire; where there’s smoke there’s fire.  Or maybe not, but there’s at least the perception of fire so get out those damned smoke machines and pump baby pump!! – Interesting how truthful negative information concerning the Clintons is “dirt” while the virtually manufactured cacophony against Russia and Trump involves a patriotically noble quest for truth by the “new Praetorians”.  (Anonymous, …  Ok, it’s really me, but this may be based on highly placed anonymous sources, or maybe not)

Where there's smoke, there's fire, unless there isn't.jpg

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, unless there isn’t

I just finished translating an important article for the Institute of Political Studies and International Relations involving the Colombian communications media and its very uneven relationship with the current Colombian peace process.  It was well researched, well analyzed and very instructive but to me, perhaps its most useful aspect lay in the basis it provided for analysis of phenomena associated with the current mainstream media in the United States.

In Colombia, with the 2000 election of right wing president Alvaro Uribe Velez, a combination of rightwing demagogue, illicit drug enterprise facilitator, corrupt nepotist and folk hero, his artfully orchestrated political communication policy converted the media into a monolithic propaganda machine echoing the perspectives of a single person, … his.  The terms used to describe the concept in the article included: “”monologic” or “monoglossic” (single voiced) contrasted with “heteroglossic”, one inclusive of differing voices; or perhaps as … “oracular” … where oracles … equate to paternalistic, vertical and unilateral forms of communication (others do not count, their voices being faint or simply conceived of as servants or subjects).”  President Uribe’s message drove the Colombian people towards odium and intolerance using legitimate security and safety concerns as the catalyst.  More objective, liberal or tolerant perspectives were painted as at best utterly naïve and at worst treasonous.  The eight year period involved, the period from 2000 to 2008, left the country more secure but very, very polarized.  Where it stands today.

In today’s United States the results are eerily similar but the path almost the obverse.

Its mainstream media is definitely monolithic, speaking with but a single voice endlessly and loudly repeated, but the theme is not driven by the president but against him.  It is driven by a coalition of groups with very special interests, i.e., maintaining the financial cascades generated by the antithesis of Emmanuel Kant’s concept of “perpetual peace”.

There are two themes involved: an end, i.e., undoing the results of the 2016 presidential election, and the means, demonization of Russia.  A fortuitous convergence artfully designed and implemented as the latter may have been the only issue capable of uniting the orchestra’s conductors, the Clinton – Obama faction (note the precedence given the former) that succeeded in gutting progressive accomplishments from Democratic Party politics but which in doing so had dismantled its electoral coalitions, replacing them with seemingly endless streams of money for both political and personal purposes, – with  their traditional nemesis, the GOP, or at least enough of it.

On November 7, 2016, the Clinton – Obama faction of the Democratic Party faced the threat of extinction, both from within (from Sanderistas albeit not from the then tamed senator) and from without.  It reacted to that threat not by gracefully bowing out and permitting a new, more progressive generation of leaders to emerge (that would have been anathema to its corporate, neoliberal masters), but by insightedly (a neologism, I know) and with malice aforethought having prepared for possible electoral defeat with a machiavellian plan B (apologies to Niccolò, probably maligned by history but the adjective is apt).  The success of such plan was made possible by the slavish devotion of the mainstream media, both because of philosophical temperament and perhaps much more so because of the reality of its literal takeover by financial interests bloated with military industrial complex profits (and generous CIA contracts).

Only an anti-Russia initiative could have created the necessary critical political mass uniting the extreme neoconservative right and enough of the GOP with the amorally power mad clique within the Democratic Party (Clintons, Pelosi, Schumer, Obama, etc.) to mount the unprecedentedly daring (at least in the context of United States political history) counterattack.  It just required some sort of tie-in to the proposed victim, that awful brute (and former pal) who had dared to deprive the uncrowned queen of her prearranged throne.  Game of Thrones indeed; this one was fixed and just couldn’t fail; it wouldn’t, no matter what; no matter the price; … or who had to pay it.

You know, in quantum physics it seems the impossible is routine making even the improbable likely, and, as W.C. Fields noted, a sucker is born every second.  There have been a lot of seconds over the past half century thus, reality being relative, truth is irrelevant and determined only by how it coincides with goals and objectives.  So whether or not there are any “facts’ (troublesome, pesky concept but like mosquitos, something that can be swatted away or sprayed, or something), something could be constructed, even if pieces to the puzzle didn’t quite fit (imagery of square pegs being driven by sledgehammers into round holes).

Creative writing having become essential to what now passes for journalism among the mainstream press, and, the “authoritative but unnamed source” having become a “free, get out of jail card” counterfeited in the millions, it was childishly simple to thicken the plot and, voila, special investigative Congressional committees and Special Prosecutor in hand, … let Creative History making ring!

Purported facts can not only be created but real facts obfuscated, a concept, if not crystallized by the amazingly still with us (will he never die) Henry Kissinger, expertly used by him while in governments “service”.  During the past quarter century, it has been even more effectively used by Mr. Kissinger’s “mentees” (interesting, in Spanish that term might imply something to do with lies rather than disciples).  “Compartmentalization” it’s called, something in which Bill Clinton was purportedly an expert but in which, as with everything else, his kind-of-spouse intents to exceed him.  Of course, it seems utterly akin to what parents have all too often been accused of demanding “do as I say, not as I do”, or its technical term, “hypocrisy, oh blessed hypocrisy”.  “What we do is irrelevant, it’s what we accuse others of doing, falsely or not, that counts”; “don’t change the subject”, “answer my question”, “he said she said”, on and on and on and on, ….

So, … the tools assembled the “opponent” can be tarnished with his opponent’s sins, complemented with the removal and addition of convenient negative signifiers (e.g., “I did not do that” becomes “I did that”) and embellished with colors and curlicues.  Voici, … we have created the necessary scandal (OK, not “we”, technically “they”), and if experience proves its falsity, well just keep repeating it louder and louder until it eventually sticks.  “Iraq has WMD’s”, “Kaddafi is murdering his people”, “Assad is using chemical weapons”, etc., etc., etc., ….

The conspiracy prospers (whether it does or not), the tyrant is on his way out so the once and future tyrants can take his place.  “My turn, my turn, my turn, my turn, ….”

….  Unless of course, we destroy ourselves first.

Oh well, or perhaps even better,

Oh Hell!!

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen).  Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He and can be contacted at or and much of his writing is available through his blog at

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