Verity the Shibboleth

Guillermo Calvo Mahe

Verity the Shibboleth

Verity the Shibboleth woke confused, nothing was familiar, not even herself. She was naked but for some reason, that did not bother her, in fact, that seemed right, although at the moment “right” seemed at best a nebulous notion. Somehow that seemed appropriate as that morning (she assumed it was morning but because of the haze she couldn’t be quite sure and what was morning anyway) everything was unclear, one of the consequences of remembering virtually nothing, or perhaps even absolutely nothing; she wondered whether there was a difference between remembering absolutely nothing and not remembering anything, then wondered if she had anything to remember.

She was standing but didn’t remember having stood although for some reason she felt she hadn’t always been standing, then wondered if it would be appropriate to do something other than stand naked in the mists that obscured everything. She wondered if…

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On the Ninth Circuit’s Recent Inadvertent Decision on Immigration

On the Ninth Circuits Recent Inadvertent Decision on Immigration

I am and have been during my entire adult life an advocate for liberal, quasi-open immigration. I believe that despite our many national sins involving other countries, the spirit of Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty is what led to our being perceived as that shining city on the hill and the beacon of liberty, and what made us a great power. I have long believed that much illegal immigration is due to ineptitude or bad faith in the manner in which our national immigration and consular services process immigration applications leading to decade long delays but also more recently, that it is due to our destruction of other states or participation in the overthrow of their legitimately elected governments which has led to rivers of refugees, both political and economic. During the past six years, when I have lived in the Republic of Colombia heading a local university’s political science programs, women with whom I have been in relationships have been denied US visas to accompany me on visits to my alma mater, the Citadel, three times, without justification and without recourse. The US has never needed justification for denial of visas, nor explanations, and there are no appeal processes; perhaps until now.

As I read the Ninth Circuit ruling’s generous grant of US Constitutional due process rights to everyone on the planet, logic dictates that should change. I regret the fact that it has no real statutory support or support in relevant legal precedent, but if it reflects a real change, I welcome it. The logistics would be nightmarish for US consulates but justice would be served. I wonder how honestly this new philosophy on procedural due process rights will be applied and how long it will survive.

I also believe it was a hypocritical, political decision, both by the Court and by the state attorneys general involved, all of whom had remained utterly silent on the issue until the advent of President Trump. The executive order involved was in no manner qualitatively different than prior policy under the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations, although its tenor was certainly more honest, straightforward and unpleasant but reflecting the unpleasant and ugly reality.

Given how that advent has apparently and conveniently woken long dormant consciences on all kinds of themes that were just fine during prior administrations, Mr. Trump’s election may prove the best thing that has happened to the United States in terms of equity and justice in modern history. However, unless the dominant political classes in both major parties are rejected and replaced by decent statesmen, hypocrisy and political opportunism will remain our modern hallmarks.

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

Cards on the Table, Divorce, American Style

Cards on the Table, Divorce, American Style

In the winds I hear Murphy, in a wonderful mood, whispering seductively:

“Isn’t it time to realize the dream some Founders shared, of a league of independent republics?  After all, the discipline imposed on rebellious states after the Civil War has run its course and there are now serious efforts to overthrow the federation’s duly elected government.  Why not a federation of three Pacific States in the West and another with New England and New York in the East with the rest remaining as they are, army, air force, navy and all?”

Hmmm, where would the two new capitals be?  And would there really be a league?  And what about Key West?  What would the flags look like and would there be seats in the UN for all three?

Is Murphy always wrong?

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

The Counterproductive Media and Partisan War on President Donald J. Trump

The Counterproductive Media and Partisan War on President Donald J. Trump

Very young children look on, amused but perplexed.

They’ve been taught that temper tantrums, hissy fits, throwing things and hitting people are not appropriate reactions to not getting one’s way. Not to say anything about burnings. As for the truth? Well, they’ve been told that it’s a must but observation has long taught them that it’s respected much more in the breach.

Respect for authority? Ha, you’ve got to be kidding. Perhaps not all the lessons they’re learning are bad. They may, however, make for somewhat problematic times in the very near future.

Just a year ago the politically correct crowd was properly chastising red necked right wingers for a lack of respect for our president and his lovely family, and they were right to do so. The conduct of right wing opponents of the government then in office was inappropriate as was the obstructionism of the legislators they’d elected, albeit they were then the majority party.

Today, all that’s changed. We’ve had new free and open “democratic” elections. And they were very carefully planned too. And carefully choreographed. The media were just darling about it.

A short refresher first though. According to the electoral debate analysis, media and pundits and at least three of the four principal candidates (even though three were never supposed to have a chance), the refusal to accept the results of the 2016 presidential election would be not only unheard of and unpatriotic, but treasonous.

Now that the results are in, very, very unexpected results, apparently somehow someone not authorized to win by the powers that be, i.e., the mainstream media and the shadowy deep state, won, and now, the clarion call blaring from most television sets, newspapers, radios and street corner criers is to not only delegitimize the resulting government, but to make it non-functional (it’s always been dysfunctional) and then to overthrow it.

Some of us (independents and third party supporters, our parties and candidates having rarely if ever been in office) are the perpetual opposition. Joined every four years by what can at best be described as “fellow-travelers-of-convenience-for-a-while-until-we-get-back-in-power”, whereupon we’ll be ditched crowd. Ditched, but with a very pleasant “thanks for the company”. We have our issues to fight for and policies we oppose year in and year out regardless of who is in power, a stark contrast, especially right now, with the core groups of the two major political parties, best described as a single, two faced tool of the highest and mightiest puppeteers among us.

Among the losers of the last election, one faction, commanded by the “we-couldn’t-possibly-lose-ladies-in-pant-suits” leading their lesser evil poodles by their leashes, sometimes gently but too often with churlish yanks (that’s how fake revolutionaries do it, a twist of wrist and a subtle kick in the rear, or sometimes elsewhere, depending on the sex), this time it’s going to be different. “No more Ms. Nice Guy!!!!! We’ve worked too hard and too long to take this lying down (or sitting down, or standing up, or …)!!!!”

“It’s time for scorched earth, and scorched skies, and scorch you too!!”

Everything concerning the almost spontaneous quasi-revolutionary war on everything Trump, including his family, his taste, his manner of speaking, what he thinks, what he wears, how he wears it; well, … everything, is not just bad, it’s horrible, unacceptable and won’t be tolerated, regardless of past professions on the importance of accepting electoral results in a democracy.

Interestingly, for some of “us”, the above mentioned independents and third party supporters, that craziness, while a bit unsettling, has some benefits. It exposes the utter hypocrisy of that segment of the anti-Trump movement who either sat quietly by while the Clinton-Obama-Clinton administrations engaged in very similar, all too frequently identical actions, or actually cheered it on. For serious and honest opponents, those of us who’ve been crying into the wind for four years and a score, the good thing is that, amazingly, the issues are out in the open (although responsibility, … not so much):

  • The horror of the Zionist organized and implemented world-wide anti-Muslim campaign (although those responsible remain safely shielded) with its resulting wave of Islamophobia reflected in discriminatory immigration practices not only in the United States but in many other parts of the world from Argentina to Sweden, which is now being hysterically (or histrionically criticized through massive demonstrations, legal actions and judicial decisions, in the media, in show business, in sports, everywhere. Xenophobia and racism are no longer cool (as they were, for example, when the anti-African American Clinton welfare reform and criminal justice reform programs were proudly introduced), when prisoners of one specific religious persuasion were kept at Guantanamo without trial, and when anyone who broke the news was promptly imprisoned).
  • The deportation of two and half million undocumented residents, including children forced into refugee status by US policies.
  • The overthrow of sovereign governments in Latin America, the Ukraine and elsewhere through either coups or rigged elections, or if those did not work, invasion.
  • The watch the Palestinians die as Palestine disappears with a little help to our friends program
  • The war on drugs, war on terrorism, war with Russia, war with China, war with Iran and if that’s not enough, we’ll find someone new to blame (but don’t worry, the war on poverty’s been permanently postponed)
  • The perpetual wars investment plan for the military industrial complex (but not for veterans)
  • The row, row, row your drone killing fields
  • The failure to do anything meaningful on environmental issues extravaganza (frack, frack, frack goes the doomsday clock)
  • The free pass and get out of jail card to Wall Street looters (do it again Daddy, do it again)
  • The foreclose on college student debt program
  • The watch the infrastructure decay, doesn’t it look wonderfully rustic programs

Of course, these are only illustrative, they’re many, too many to name. And they need resolution. But should those of us who really care about the issues, really care about justice and equity and the common welfare and really oppose racism and xenophobia, join forces with those who time and time and time again have shown that their only interest is to regain power for power’s sake and who take every opportunity on any issue to deluge us with pleas for funds, despite their enormous personal wealth? Shouldn’t we distance ourselves from all the bad guys and act on our own, with principle and consistency, with courage?

“What?” they shout, anger etched on incredulous faces at our apparent naiveté. “And let those bastards win? They’ll destroy everything good, everything!”

So some of us, a very few, it’s true, remind them of their own records. Most ignore our observations, apparently too busy protesting or granting interviews or sending out pleas for more and more donations. But a very few among them take time to respond:

“OK, we admit we’ve made some mistakes in the past” (although their big kahunas never admit error). “But we PROMISE” they shout to us (that’s why I used all caps)!!!! This time it’ll be different; trust us!!! Plus, our protests are fun, come meet stars and celebrities and other fun people.”
Somewhere a gentle breeze, perhaps a zephyr or a zephyr in training, although a bit too jaded for that, seems to whisper in a sing song voice: “Fool me once, shame on me, fool me 2,723,762 times …. Well, perhaps 2,723,762 times will prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back”

But remember, we, collectively, are that camel.

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