On the Ironic Nature of the Emerging Financial Crisis

The Biden administration’s economic policies are clearly a disaster, largely because of the administration’s insane efforts to destroy the Russian and Chinese economies, rather than concentrating on improving our own.  That is not a partisan issue as both major political parties bear at least some blame, but the architects of this disaster are clearly Barak Obama, Joe Biden and their Ukrainian misadventures.

The latest problem, that of failing banks, very large banks, involves something that impacts all banks, large and small, and that involves the diminution in the value of their investment portfolios, especially the fixed, legally required portion invested in United States government securities.  The diminution is not the fault of the bankers, regardless of what the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission seek to imply.  It is a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to curb the inflation caused by poorly thought out economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union all over the world.

By raising interest rates to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve causes interest on all new debt to rise, making new debt more desirable for investors, including all kinds of financial institutions, than debt previously issued.  The older debt comprises a major portion of the assets held in portfolios. Consequently, the value of the principal on old debt decreases compared to the value of higher interest paying new debt.  It does so in order to equalize yields.  For example, a $100,000 dollar bond paying interest at the annual rate of five percent yields a $5,000 annual return.  If new $100,000 bonds paid ten percent, their annual yield would be $10,000 and in order to compete, that is, to yield a comparable return (10%), the old bonds, rather than having a price based on their face value, would have to be deeply discounted, in this case, to $50,000.  That would vastly reduce the value of portfolios holding the older debt.

That is exactly what happened to Silicon Valley Bank’s portfolio, seriously impairing its liquidity by souring initially sound investments, and putting the depositors’ savings at risk.  More seriously, that is what is happening to the portfolios of every financial institution required to maintain a portion of their assets in United States’ securities, securities issued by the same Federal Reserve that is responsible for the national banking system.

So, it is the state itself that is guilty of the disaster for not taking into account the consequences of its actions that resulted in inflation in the first place when imposing economic sanctions, getting involved in expensive armed conflicts abroad, and taking other reckless economic actions, such as forgiving debt, etc., and then the reactions to combat the resulting inevitable inflation

There is a belief in the United States, especially among Democratic Party strategists, that the United States can merely print its way out of the problem, increasing the national debt and inflation; but the world is no longer as accepting of such conduct.  Acceptance of irresponsible United States fiscal policies relies totally on maintaining the United States dollar as the world’s medium of exchange.  However, the arbitrary imposition of economic sanctions and the freezing of other countries assets are quickly resulting in the evolution of mechanisms to clear international transactions in currencies other than the dollar.  In addition, no longer will most countries feel secure in maintaining their assets, their gold, etc., in facilities subject to United States or even European Union control, and as that happens, a different doomsday clock approaches an economic apocalypse.

Fasten your safety belts and hang on.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Reflections on the Feminine versus the Transgendered on International Women’s Day, 2023

International woman’s day falls on March 8 this year, 2023.  A Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the week.  An interesting coincidence given the nature of this article.

It is, of course, more than anything, a commercial holiday.  One designed to induce men to spend more money or else be considered inconsiderate, insensitive cads.  But as superficial as that reality is, there is an underlying verity and it’s not limited to one day.  It involves the transcendental importance of the feminine in our lives, and that is true whether one is a matriarchalist-feminist (possibly a neologism) or patriarchialist-misogynist (also possibly a neologism).  I wonder if rather than concentrating on the superficial requisite compliments, obeisance and, of course, gifts, one might not consider the challenges being faced by women not only from men, but now also from men who have decided to compete directly against women through gender reassignments of varying degrees.  Most noticeably in athletics, but also in areas of aesthetics formerly the realm of women and, when one considers the issue seriously (as it deserves to be considered), in a number of much more important areas. 

The transgender issue is highly volatile and controversial with purportedly “woke” cancel culture warriors (dedicated to ever increasing polarization and avoidance of empathy) forbidding serious discussion concerning its controversial aspects.  Aspects such as how it relates to the rights of minors versus the societal duty to protect them (e.g., the concept of statutory versus assault based rape).  Aspects involving quota based allocations in the area of employment, political candidacies (in Colombia for example, half of all candidacies are reserved to women), economic and employment set asides and commercial opportunities.  I believe the transgendered, whether male to female of female to male, have a fundamental right to be free of official discrimination but how does that conflict with the special set asides to promote the ability of women to compete in diverse fields?  Whose rights should prevail?  How valid are the arguments on both sides?  Is there an area for reconciliation?  What date has been set aside to honor the transgendered, one might ask, and then, is one day enough, shouldn’t there be two, each based on the original biological gender?  And what about the non-binary?

There is now an ideological as well as practical battle among liberals and progressives between feminine oriented feminists on one side and transgender activists on the other, a fundamental rift involving a number of critical areas, a conflict as serious in many ways as is the battle between feminists and misogynist, perhaps, in reality, even more so.  This is an issue former Congresswoman and current army reserve lieutenant colonel Tulsi Gabbard has raised, firmly supporting the side of the feminine oriented feminists (Tulsi, whom I admire, very much exudes the aroma of a presidential candidate wannabe).  But, of course, there’s another side to the argument.  One with its own champions although their arguments appear poorly articulated, appealing more to woke ideology (if it exists) than to reasoned logic.  A seemingly objective and charismatic spokesperson akin to Tulsi on that side is essential if any equitable resolution is ever to be attained.

The foregoing is easy to ridicule, but ridicule and calumny are really the toys of the purportedly woke, not of those seriously interested in fairly and equitably resolving important societal problems (rather than using them to promote personal political agendas).  These issues have profoundly serious as well as superficial components and perhaps, on this day, a day dedicated to honoring women, they merit serious consideration and active, objective discussion.

Something on which to reflect in a non-judgmental fashion, one free of censorship, on this eighth day of March in 2023.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Ironically: In Defense of the Filibuster

Unfortunately, not a satire

I have been a long-term critic of the “filibuster”, an antidemocratic legislative concept requiring supermajority approval for legislation and other functions assigned by the United States Constitution to either the House of Representatives or the Senate, although it has long been abandoned in the House and heavily diluted since the Obama presidency in the Senate.  But an open mind can be a dangerous thing, at least to long held and calcified perceptions.  And as the saying goes, “the proof lies in the pudding”.

My change of opinion, cautiously, is based on an analysis of the consequences of the destruction of judicial neutrality orchestrated by former president Barak Obama in order to mold the federal judiciary in his egoistic image, something he accomplished, at least temporarily.  The so called “nuclear option” to accomplish the foregoing was invoked in November of 2013 when the Senate Democratic majority led by Harry Reid used the procedure to eliminate the de facto 60-vote rule for judicial nominations (other than with respect to nominations to the Supreme Court) which permitted the Obama administration to pack the judiciary with judges willing to follow his lead and that of his Democratic Party on a large number of issues of interest to them.  As was foreseeable to any objective observer, when the Democratic Party lost control of the Senate, in April of 2017 the nuclear option was invoked again, this time by a Senate Republican majority led by Mitch McConnell to also eliminate the 60-vote rule for Supreme Court nominations, permitting Republicans to balance Democratic control over the federal district and circuit courts through a strong majority on the Supreme Court comprised of justices favorably disposed to Republican priorities.  The result during the Democratic Party’s Biden administration has been a totally politicized federal judiciary with proposals to make it even more politicized by increasing the size of the Supreme Court’s membership to counter its current GOP majority, and packing it with blatantly pro Democratic Party jurists.

As a result of the foregoing, every branch of the federal government is now riddled with political operatives with little interest other than in the accumulation and preservation of power and in sowing related financial benefits for their wealthy patrons, unfortunately, primarily by ever increasing military and intelligence expenditures justified by clandestine operations at home and abroad, bringing the world ever closer to nuclear annihilation, for fun and profit.  And that seems true regardless of which major political party controls the government because the electorate has little real choice in for whom or for what it votes, candidates being preselected and preapproved by an informal alliance among powerful interests which have riddled the federal bureaucracy and the judiciary with moles loyal to them (what some call the “Deep State”).

While the foregoing has been true in the United States for many decades, perhaps even centuries, it became utterly obvious when the Deep State briefly lost control during 2016.  That year, both left and right wing branches of the electorate, disgusted with omnipresent political corruption and ineptitude and the threat of perpetual war, simultaneous revolted.  The Democratic Party’s calcified establishment was attacked from within by populists who rejected attempts to found a Clinton dynasty, while the Republican Party’s similarly calcified establishment was attacked from within by populists who rejected attempts to further the already established Bush dynasty.  While, with the tacit betrayal of left wing populists by their erstwhile leader, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party crushed its populist wing, traditional Deep State Republicans led by the Bush brothers, John McCain, Mitt Romney and others lost control over their nomination process and saw political chameleon Donald Trump (a former Democrat, a former independent, a former follower of renegade politician Ross Perot and a best friend of Democratic Party leaders Bill and Hillary Clinton) somehow capture their presidential nomination, and then proceed, against all odds, to trounce the Deep State’s great white hope, Hillary Clinton, in the electoral college. 

Because Mr. Trump opposed the bipartisan traditionalist state of permanent belligerence and sought to dismantle NATO (which he deemed anachronistic after the end of the Cold war), to reduce defense spending and to close foreign military bases, the Deep State was forced out of its comfortable, money-lined closets to engage in a four year guerilla war against Mr. Trump, aided by all of its minions, including many in Mr. Trump’s administration and the GOP, as well as in the politicized judiciary and federal bureaucracy.  Mr. Obama had planned well for such a contingency.  The counter Trump insurgency became blatant in the controlled corporate media as well as in the monopolistic social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc.) which, by curtailing participation by Mr. Trump and his defenders, manipulating and engaging in censorship, distorted the free flow of information many hoped the Internet would guarantee.  Such manipulation of information as well as related manipulation of the electoral process in state’s controlled by Democratic Party governors assured Mr. Trump’s political defeat in the 2020 presidential elections, as well as Democratic control over all branches of government (with the possible exception of the Supreme Court).

The efforts were so successful, at least temporarily, that inept Deep State favorite and renowned plagiarist Joseph Biden, was successfully nominated by the Democratic Party, again quashing its populist wing (with the collaboration of its leaders) and then, in a controversial election with loud assertions of electoral fraud, managed to install Mr. Biden as president.  Objectors were promptly attacked as traitors (unlike those who objected to the results of the 2016 election) and fiercely prosecuted by a vengeful Department of “Justice”, political imprisonment no longer viewed unfavorably by the United States bureaucracy or the docile corporate media.

That democracy is a mere illusion in the United States is obvious, but then, even fully fledged real democracy is no guarantor of good governance, or of justice or of equity.  Just ask the followers of classical Greek philosopher Socrates, whose principal admirer, Plato, developed the antidemocratic philosophies which place the state over all, insisting that only the good of the state promoted the good of its subjects.  A philosophy very much in line with that of the Deep State and its minions, although its results undermine that platonic premise.

Good governance while not reliant on democracy, is dependent on its acceptance by a majority, both of the citizenry, and of society’s political and economic leaders, and that cannot exist in a society as polarized as the United States has become since Barak Obama’s 2013 brainstorm to limit the filibuster.  The filibuster forced consensus by giving the political minority in a two party dictatorship a veto over the selection of members of the federal executive and judicial branches, and that resulted in a sense of comity, a scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours realization that, at least between the two major parties, made it unlikely that power by one or the other would be perpetual.  The United States had experimented with one party government in its youth, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the Federalist Party was overwhelmed by Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans (the ancestor of today’s Democratic Party) but it quickly broke up into factions from which eventually emerged first the Whigs, and then the GOP (largely based on antipathy to the dominant political figure of that epoch, the Trump-like populist, Andrew Jackson).

So, I am forced to acknowledge two things:

  • First, that the experiment in democracy has proven a failure, not just in the United States but everywhere.  Indeed, the truth is that it has not really been seriously attempted since the communist Jerusalem Community formed by the apostles of Yeshua of Nazareth following his crucifixion, an experiment dashed when Saul of Tarsus found it more productive to coopt that Jewish sect than to destroy it, and became Paul.  The verisimilitude of democracy seems omnipresent, useful as an illusion to permit the citizenry to blow off steam, just as it does with sports fandom and other forms of popular entertainment, but govern. 
  • Second, that government has always been a forum for elites, regardless of its form, whether monarchy, empire, theocracy or republic. 

Those are “just the facts”, as fictional detective Joe Friday used to demand in the ancient television program Dragnet.

The unpleasantly pragmatic conclusion? 

That in a two party dictatorship, government through consensus is the only option for minimizing destructive polarization and thus, that for now, only if the consensual concept of filibuster is reinstated and amplified are we ever likely to reintroduce civility and a modicum of efficacy to our government.  More’s the pity.

Of course, a real solution would involve transition from a two party political system to a multi-party system such as is present in most of the world, with legislative seats allocated based on the percentage of the popular vote attained (instead of single member, first past the post systems), but that would imply a more effective verisimilitude of democracy depriving political elites of total control and thus, anathema.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

On the Nature of the Historical Political Spectrum in the United States

It is not surprising that given today’s truth-free, all fake all the time narrative expositions, there is a complete lack of clarity in the United States as to what people on the left of the political spectrum believe.  Or on the right.  Or on the non-existent center.  Everything centers on the need for government to continue to financially squeeze its citizenry for more and more of its hard earned earnings to pat for more and more weaponry leading to more and more profits for the defense industry, big pharmacy, the financial sector, etc.  But understanding the nature of political theories is probably important, should a functioning democracy with accurately informed rather than merely manipulated voters, be a goal.  Sooo, in an effort at a bit of clarification, perhaps essential for our survival, I offer the following:

With respect to the left wing of the political spectrum, popular ignorance is due to two principal factors:

  • First, the appropriation of the labels “liberal” and “progressive” by groups that have only superficial understanding of what the left wing of the political spectrum is about, and, their use of slogans seemingly tied to leftist objectives but with their actions (through polarizing tactics) guaranteed to assure that such objectives are not attained, in some cases, deliberately so, and in others, through inexperience, superficiality or ignorance.  That pretty much defines the United States’ Democratic Party which is neither leftist, nor socialist, nor communist, and certainly neither liberal nor progressive.  It is merely a Deep State tool dedicated to perpetuation of power in order to maintain the world at war and to keep military related profits flowing, while domestically, it is dedicated to maintaining the United States population segmented into groups controlled through divisive polarizing policy proposals.  The GOP was historically not all that different until it was impacted by populists who sought to wrest if from Deep State control and won one major battle in that regard, adding a wing dedicated to reduced military spending, non-intervention in other countries’ conflicts, withdrawal from regional military organizations, and ending omnipresent foreign military bases.  That same wing, the “Tea Party”, also sought to reduce internal polarization by reducing the invasive role of government in individual lives.  However, that populist revolution soon faced a massive counter attack by “traditionalist (read Deep State aligned) Republicans like the Bush family, the McCain family, etc., and its viability in light of concerted attacks through a politicized legal system is highly suspect.
  • Second, like the Democratic Party, but in a very different manner, the GOP also generates massive confusion concerning the nature of the leftist portion of the political spectrum by using terms like “socialism” and “communism” with no idea of what they mean, distorting them by conflating them with authoritarian and totalitarian forms of government.  The truth is that both socialism and communism, in their actual tenets, are virtually synonymous with the economic doctrines espoused by the first century Jerusalem Community comprised of the apostles of Yeshua, the Nazarene, after his purported crucifixion.  Doctrines to which most conservative Republicans believe themselves religiously devoted. 

Then, what beliefs are those that are really espoused and sought by the leftist wing of the political spectrum?  Fundamentally, that everyone has dual natures: as individuals, on the one hand but concurrently, on the other, as integral parts of collectives, including structural collectives such as families, local communities, regional communities, the state, mankind, etc., and thematic collectives such as churches, religions, philosophies, political alignments, etc.  An essential corollary of such beliefs is the realization that such dual natures will frequently appear to be in conflict, and that in resolving such conflicts, the first stage is to seek a way to reconcile them so that both will be respected, but, that in the event the conflict cannot be reconciled, that collective interest should prevail, something the fictional Star Trek character, “Spock”, defined as “… the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.  Libertarians reach the opposite conclusion, holding that individual rights trump collective rights when the two cannot be reconciled.

Based on the foregoing, the real left postulates the following policies, many of which are shared by many among the real right and others:

  • First, rejection of conflict resolution through violence at all levels, from interpersonal through international.  Thus leftists are anti-family violence, anti-death penalty, anti-“cruel and unusual” penal sanctions, antiwar; opposed to large military budgets and to international military alliances and to establishment of military forces abroad.
  • Second, that in conjunction with the foregoing, equality of opportunity regardless of inherent characteristics (such as gender, race, religion, national origin, social class, etc.) is essential as is equity and justice tempered with mercy. 
  • Third, that freedom of expression, regardless of the merits of what is expressed, is essential and consequently, that censorship is rarely if ever justified, and, as a corollary, that we should strive to maintain open minds, accepting that what we think frequently changes, and that admitting our mistakes and learning from them is essential to progress.  Thus, that listening is an essential corollary to espousing.
  • Fourth, a concept related to the third, that social interaction requires that empathy trump polarization and that disagreements be dealt with transparently but respectfully, especially avoiding calumny and ridicule.
  • Fifth, that the principal role of the collective known as the state is to “provide for the common welfare through a social safety net including access to education at all levels, access to all necessary health care, provision of superior infrastructure, provision of unobtrusive domestic and international security, and provision of a system for equitable conflict resolution, free of corruption, inefficiency and nepotism.

Clearly leftist beliefs are utopian but leftists much prefer the utopian to the dystopian.

While those on the right of the political spectrum, those who are labeled conservative, would seem to be the principal opponents of those on the left, that perspective is inaccurate.  Real conservatism is a procedure-based philosophy rather than one based on specific policies and its goals frequently coincide with those on the left of the political spectrum.  Conservatism is premised on a profound respect for consensus as a decision making mechanism, but consensus that takes into account the opinions of those who have preceded us as well as those yet unborn.  Consequently, the decision making process is characterized by inertia, making change difficult to attain and thus, solutions to problems difficult to implement.  Respect for tradition is an essential aspect of conservatism and that sometimes leads to perpetuation of mistakes and to an inability to deal equitably with changed circumstances, leading to calcified social and economic relationships.  On the other hand, it also prevents erroneous policy deviations and promotes the attainment of long term, strategic goals.

Libertarians are a difficult to place on the political spectrum.  Their underlying philosophy is based on the primacy of the individual and a deep distrust for accumulated political power, refusing to delegate any but a bare modicum of sovereignty to the state.  Consequently, they are perceived socially as leftists but economically as rightists, even insisting on adherence to the “gold standard” as the basis for monetary policies.  Like leftists, libertarians are anti-war, anti-foreign interventions, welcome unfettered immigration, oppose large expenditures on the military and oppose infringements on individual liberties and criminal sanctions for “victimless crimes but, like many conservatives, are opposed to taxes for collectivist social programs.  They were once a growing independent political movement in the United States and may still be the largest non-major formal political party, but their energy was zapped when many of their leaders were coopted into the “Liberty Caucus” of the GOP.  Minor leftist parties are numerous, but like cats, seemingly impossible to shepherd and thus, largely ineffectual.  The minority status of the foregoing has seemingly been made permanent through what they refer to as the corporate media’s “conspiracy of silence”, i.e., the deliberate policy of ignoring their candidates and policies as a result of which they are virtually unknown to the United States electorate, and that even when they are noticed, they are ridiculed or vilified (for drawing votes away from the corporate media’s preferred candidates).  Ironic given the United States’ electorates’ dissatisfaction with both major parties and the predominance of voters who reject being identified with either.

The real adversaries of the left, libertarian and right wings of the political spectrum are political pragmatists, those without any real beliefs but a strong imperative to accumulate and perpetuate power (political, economic, social and cultural).  Being free of principles, truth and consistency are not obstacles to the realization of their goals and thus they freely advocate principles which they have no intention of implementing if such advocacy advances their quest for power.  Consequently, they can proclaim admiration for democracy, pluralism, liberty, equality, equity, justice and peace while, through their actions, utterly subverting them all.  Power and the quest to accumulate anything and everything appear addictive and, as with most addictions, ignore long term consequences in favor of immediate gratification.  Thus, they are reactive rather than strategic.  The lack of principles make pragmatists operationally flexible, especially if they attain control of the means of mass communication and access to the principal sources of capital.  That confluence equates to dictatorial political power in societies that base their political systems on the appearance of democracy.  Such operational flexibility permits political pragmatists to coopt collectives from both the right and left wings of the political spectrum, as has occurred in the United States, and prior to that, in the United Kingdom, and like viruses, to propagate their power almost unchecked.  To them, dystopia is just fine (as dystopian authors like George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Yevgeny Zamiatin, Kazuo Ishiguro and many, many more, have warned).

In the United States, there are only two major political parties and neither is leftist.  The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP (Grand Old Party, although it is by far, the younger of the two), is a meld of right wing conservatives and libertarians with Deep State pragmatists while the Democratic Party is died in the wool Deep State pragmatist, but presenting itself as progressive and liberal in order to maintain its deluded power bases.  How deluded is exemplified by the reality that most African Americans vote for the Democratic Party, no matter what, regardless of the historical nature of the Democratic Party as the political party that opposed emancipation, which promoted the Ku Klux Klan, among other politically aberrant movements, as do feminists, regardless of the misogynist conduct of many of that party’s leaders (e.g., the Kennedys, Bill Clinton, etc.) and as do members of the auto-denominated LGBT communities.

One wonders at the naivety of the United States electorate, a collective generally comprised of decent people who espouse ethical and moral values, tend to be hard working and generous, but then, history teaches us that people with noble traditions can empower virtual monsters, as occurred with the German nation which from the world’s most socially progressive people during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, permitted the rise to leadership of the Nazis, and the Jewish nation, one of the world’s most enlightened populations from which evolved today’s Jewish State Zionists.  In each case, emotional manipulation overcame deeply rooted principles, as has occurred in the United States since the start of the twentieth century.

One wonders if the reverse can somehow be attained, i.e., whether an emotionally manipulated people can overcome the historic victories of the political pragmatists who now rule them by becoming cognitively aware of the realities concerning those who cultivate political, economic and social power through the quest for their votes.

Unlikely, I know, ….

But one can hope.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony.  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

An Objective Rant Pertaining to Abortion and other Issues

Word games are tempting in a world fraught with apparently imminent disaster (or is that eminent), but they’re not productive by themselves, not if problem resolution is the goal.  Unfortunately, the only problem that really concerns our corporate media and political “leaders” is the maintenance of power, and that requires that polarization be heightened, which in turn requires the “creation” and maintenance of polarizing issues, not their resolution.

Abortion is a great example right now, given the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (No. 19-1392, 597 U.S. ___ [2022]).  The underlying issue seems to me to be irresolvable morally or ethically because it involves the clash of two fundamental social premises (not rights, the concept of rights is incoherent).  First, the purported sanctity of life (notwithstanding our addiction to perpetual wars and the death penalty); and second, the right of humans to control their own bodies (notwithstanding government interference in diverse health related issues, including recent pandemic oriented mandatory measures).  Law, however, is notwithstanding platitudes to the contrary, not bound to moral or ethical factors.  It merely involves the exercise of raw power over individuals based on collective decisions, though it is usually justified using arguments disguised as morality, ethics, justice, equity or pragmatism.  In reality, in fact, a great deal of law involves norms imposed in order to maintain a parasitic minority in permanent power.

For about half a century, the availability of optional abortion in order to eradicate errors of judgment by women was protected by the United States Supreme Court through usurpation of constitutional and legislative powers.  Not a rarity, unfortunately. Men, on the other hand, did not enjoy a related privilege in conjunction with support related obligations based on their own errors of judgment, and of course, embryos, well what the hell are they anyway but inchoate child rearing problems and drains on our personal economy, especially now that the family has broken down and there is no real tradition of progeny caring for their forbearers in old age.  Well, that’s one perspective.  The other focuses on the incoherence of state mandated reproduction without shared responsibility for the consequences, responsibilities such as guaranteeing sustenance, housing, education, freedom from violence and adequate employment.

That abortion was rendered conditionally immune from state imposed prescriptions by inappropriate judicial action did not impact the reality of the important social issues involved.  They should have been dealt with by the People through their representatives; through exercise of constitutional and legislative duties unfortunately abdicated based on fears of ballot box consequences.  They should have been dealt with through constitutional means at the federal level, or constitutional or legislative means at the state level.  Unfortunately, notwithstanding emotional angst and hyperbolic outbursts, those responsibilities were ignored and proponents of abortion on demand were too lazy to undertake the social campaign required to condition society to accept their sociopolitical premises, instead, they resorted to the antithesis of democracy, the unelected, life tenured judiciary to come up with an arbitrary solution.  But recourse to such strategy inherently involved the probability that the judicially crafted solution to a social and constitutional issue, a political issue, would eventually be undone by a future judicial coup de’ grâce, also circumventing democratic institutions and requirements.

The foregoing is problematic but not malevolent, it is merely lazy and inept.  What is malevolent is the use of an issue as important as abortion for purposes of political polarization, specifically, keeping it in constant play as a means to secure political fundraising and political power by those on both sides of the debate, rather than resolving it through democratic decision making.  The recent United States Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, while constitutionally sound, does nothing to resolve the issue, nor do purported opponents of the decision appear interested in taking any meaningful actions to legally resolve it in their favor.  Rather, they are merely using the case in order to salvage the disaster that seemed to await the political party that has made them its captives, its tools, in this autumn’s Congressional elections. 

A lot of noise and fury has been generated, albeit most demanding a continuation in power of a political party that traditionally betrays those who vote in its favor, and protests, a bit of violence and threats of violence, have been omnipresent.  However, no tangible efforts to legally and constitutionally attain that which they claim to be essential are being undertaken.  That would require reconciling diverse societal perspectives and convincing adversaries through education and logic, but we have come to perceive logic as a disease that afflicts an imaginary race we refer to as Vulcans, and education requires empathy, takes too long, and does not yield immediate and ongoing political dividends.  So, riots it is, perhaps with a bit of arson and mayhem thrown in, notwithstanding the platitudes and hypocrisy on display in the so called January 6 Congressional hearings.

And the purported victims?  The women who may be unable to obtain abortions and the unwanted children they will be forced to bear and perhaps raise?  Why, in an exact analogy to what is occurring to the populace and infrastructure of the Ukraine and the two self-proclaimed Donbass republics, they’re being efficiently used and abused for tawdry political purposes by politicians with nothing but disdain for ethics, morality, legality, democracy or constitutional government, caring only for the acquisition, maintenance and abuse of political power.

The foregoing is true regardless of which side of the abortion debate you call your own.  And the same is true with respect to the Second Amendment and gun rights; with respect to superiority hypotheses based on race, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identification, nationality, religion, ethnicity, age, etc.; indeed with any of the emotionally polarizing issues used by our unethical and ruthless elites and their minions to keep us divided and docile, too confused by our emotions (especially fear and hate) to defend ourselves from their predations.  The foregoing is true whether you’re a liberal, a progressive, a conservative, a libertarian or addicted to any other ideology.

The real issue today, as it has been through most of history, is the struggle between elite minorities who use their designees to abuse the concept of popular governance for their own greedy ends (today generically identified as “deep states”), and populists on every part of the political spectrum who seek liberation from those ubiquitous predatory parasites by eliminating their monopoly on political power.  Unfortunately, like addicts of all kinds, we are drawn to the issues that most effectively polarize us and are all too easily distracted from those that we really need to address, those issues involving real democratization of our political systems and processes and replacement of the political vultures who inhabit all current major political parties.  Issues we need to address so that we can civilly and efficiently resolve the policies that divide us, and, recognizing that our society is dynamic and our values variable, develop the ongoing mechanisms necessary for us to justly and equitable govern ourselves, permitting us each, individually and collectively, to realize our best potential.

Freed of our predatory political masters, perhaps empathy (the opposite of polarization) could again become a viable attribute in our political discourse and we could disagree without ridiculing and belittling each other and our respective belief’s, and perhaps we could, in good faith, understand that we all have valid points, and that legitimate democratic governance involves finding those perspectives we share, and granting our government the right to regulate them, but retaining individual autonomy with respect to those areas where a reasonable consensus is unattainable, rather than feeling compelled to always have our own way on every issue.  Perhaps someday, hopefully soon, we’ll awake from our induced traces and take our political responsibilities (they’re much more than mere illusory rights) seriously and vote for things in which we believe, rather than against illusory straw arguments crafted to confuse us; vote in favor of candidates in whom we believe rather than against those we’re manipulated into despising, and perhaps then we can cast “lesser evils” into the hells where they belong.  We would make mistakes and not always get our way, but at least it would be, “We the People”, governing ourselves.  We could not do any worse than the deep states that rule us now.

Something to at least think about.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Observations on the Supreme Court’s Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

In the cases of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), the United States Supreme Court rendered ill-considered decisions that have polarized the United States electorate for half a century.  They involved lazy, ill-conceived and hasty jurisprudence designed to address important moral questions through legal rather than philosophical or religious channels at a time when a national consensus had not been attained.  The underlying moral and ethical issues have always remained unresolved and, perhaps, that is appropriate.  To an objective and honest person, the concept of abortion would seem to involve irreconcilable issues, the right to life on the one hand, versus the right of women to make fundamental decisions involving their health and welfare on the other.  A third element is rarely considered although it may be equally important, and that involves the right of a man to participate in a decision that materially impacts his financial and moral obligations.  A critical element in all three is the concept of what constitutes a right in the first place, and a second related and more tangible issue involves the appropriate scope of governmental authority within the context of a constitutional system and in this case, specifically, the United States Constitution, as amended to date.  A third element involves the concept of federalism in the United States context and a fourth, the doctrine of separation of powers.

The third, which is probably the best starting point for an analysis of the issues involved, would seem to turn on the usually ignored ninth and tenth amendments to the United States Constitution which provide as follows:

The Ninth Amendment says, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the People”.

The Tenth Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the People”.

The United States are an experiment in shared and fragmented sovereignty on both geographical and thematic bases with the principal role of the Constitution being identification of the frontiers of the complex jurisdictional boundaries thus created.  In essence, all governmental power is retained by the People except such as is specifically allocated by them to the various states, and, of the power allocated by the People to the various states, such as is allocated by them to the federal government.  The idea was that a competition among the various states for differing schemes of governance would identify those most beneficent and lead to their being adopted elsewhere, a process expected to be dynamic in order to deal with changing values and problems.  It was an interesting, percolate from below, concept contrasting with the traditional perspective that government was imposed from above, either from deities or humans endowed for one reason or another, either individually or collectively, with sovereignty superior in authority to individual autonomy.  The concept has never really worked, although politicians, lawyers, journalists and philosophers use tortured reasoning and rhetoric to make it seem otherwise, in order to impose their values over those which we, as a collective, are willing to accept, or might be willing to reject, but for compulsive coercion from those who deem themselves more morally and ethically suited to make our decisions, or, just much more powerful.

In the system of governance adopted in the Constitution but never really implemented, if social norms were not addressed in the federal Constitution, they were beyond the federal government’s power to regulate, but the federal Constitution could be amended by three quarters of the states in order to devolve additional powers, powers within the states’ competence, to the federal government, just as state constitutions could be amended by the People, to devolve additional powers to the states.

The fourth factor referenced above (important only because we as a People purportedly decided that it was), involved division of legislative, executive and judicial powers among separate branches based on the determination that government efficiency was much less important than preservation of the autonomy that liberty guaranteed.  As in the former case, it is a theory that has never really worked as the allocation of power in the Constitution itself violated the doctrine through the contemporaneous contrary doctrine of checks and balances.  The judiciary further eroded separation of powers when, in the Supreme Court case of Marbury versus Madison, it usurped the power of constitutional control (in a decision as unartfully reasoned as were those in Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey).  That decision eviscerated the concept of democracy, concurrently rendering the Constitution virtually moot, as the Constitution, and hence the entire artfully crafted scheme of governance designed for the allocation of governmental authority among the United States, came to be whatever, at any given moment, a majority of the unelected and life tenured members of the Supreme Court thought it should be, regardless of the perception of the Congress, or the President, or the People, or all three.  And thus we inevitably faced situations such as those decided in Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, as well as that now decided in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

But, for the sake of argument, assuming the schemes of governance reflected in the Constitution, as amended, were to apply, what would the correct decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization be?  Well, first, we need to clarify, correct in what context because, if the answer is in a legal and constitutional context, the answer might be different than if the context were socio-moral, the latter being the context in which policies should be designed and implemented.  But perhaps a more important question would be, is there a rational means to help resolve the quandary in which this issue has placed us.

In the first instance, the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization seems sound.  There is no debate that neither the Constitution nor the 14th amendment to the Constitution nor any other amendment thereto in any manner refers to abortion in any manner, thus, at best, it is an issue reserved to the states, assuming that the People in any state have conferred such issue for determination at a state level, and if not, it is left to the individual consciences of the people involved.  That is what federalism is all about.  In the latter case, no state in which the power to regulate abortion has not been constitutionally delegated by the People to that state would seem to have authority to prohibit it.  An interesting logical situation which the Supreme Court, were logic an important element in its decisions, might have considered way back in 1972.  Thus, it could be argued that while there is no right to abort, states have no power to regulate the issue, absent specific state constitutional authorization.

In the absence of a nationwide constitutional “right” vested in women to an abortion, proponents could develop such a right, even if none now exists, by first creating it at a state constitutional levels which might thereafter permit the states, by a three fourths majority, to amend the federal Constitution to incorporate such right there.  Case closed.  In such a context, perhaps serious discussions and research could precede such policy determinations leading to a reasonable balancing of interests embodied in a rational policy that could take into account the rights of unborn children, the rights of women, but also the rights of men (who might be forced to support a child they do not want).  Conversely, perhaps, in states that decline to accept a woman’s right to abort at will, policies might also consider what role such state should bear with respect to the financial and custodial responsibility for the resulting progeny.  Those kinds of decisions are not, however, the province of the judiciary but rather, of the electorate and of its legislatures.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization should not be the final word on point.  The issue requires rational, not just legalistic resolution, and the citizenry has the constitutional tools at state and federal levels to meet that responsibility.  Unfortunately, the issue has, during the past half century, as in the case of the purported right to bear arms, been too appetizing a political tool for political fund raising and appeals to emotion rather than good sense and logic.  Hence it is more politically pragmatic to leave the issue unresolved regardless of how much suffering it causes children and women and men; and how much it polarizes our society.

Some concluding thoughts:

The issue of abortion is too serious an issue to ignore or to leave to unelected, all too frequently jaded elites, responsible to no one but their whims of the moment.  Perhaps the answer ought to follow the federalist ideal, with different states having different rules, and people free to live in those states that best reflect their values, but perhaps it really may prove, after serious deliberation and serious, well thought out and good faith proposals, to rise to something involving rights, either for the unborn, for women, and even, perhaps, for men.

Things to consider as the United States is once again thrown into politically opportunistic bedlam.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Absence of Systemic Faith in Democracy:

The Colombian and United States Experiences

Faith in democracy is at a nadir.  And with good reason.  Democracy today is at best dysfunctional, in large part, because of voter participatory apathy.  Perhaps it always has been.  

Widespread complaints? Absolutely.  But participation?  It’s subject to the same excuses an attractive woman makes to an undesirable suitor: “my hair, I need to wash it, … again; my period; my great aunt died again, … really”.  But systemic faith is something else.  It’s usually been reasonably strong, albeit deluded.  Perhaps we are just more aware today that electoral fraud of one kind or another is probable.  Gone are the days such as the fall of 1961 when Richard Nixon lost, because most of the dead in Chicago voted for his adversary, but declined to challenge the results for the good of the country, something the media and historians both studiously ignore, except perhaps, for good old Theodore White in his Making of a President series.  But if some of us are more aware nowadays, hypocrisy is still King.

In many parts of the world, a significant segment of the electorate does not believe in the reliability of their systems, either due to perceived ineptitude or, more frequently, a belief that it is manipulable and corrupt.  And for good reason, it all too frequently has been.  In the past though, there was a semblance of media objectivity that at least seemed to align it with vigilance over possible governmental improprieties.  That is no longer really the case.  Perhaps it never has been.  Especially in the United States and in the United Kingdom.  Actually, in much of the so called Western World.  The past two presidential elections in the United States are particularly instructive.

But first, a bit of good news, perhaps great news.  The Republic of Colombia just held presidential elections and despite a massive effort by the traditional elite, the corporate media, all traditional political parties and United States intelligence agencies, for the first time in Colombian history, an outsider won.  A Latin American trend continued.  For a while it seemed as though, the election might be “stolen, as has occurred on a number of occasions, especially during 1970.  The head of the electoral commission refused to permit an audit of the electoral software, as mandated by law, and the director of the national police warned that it would be out in force to deal with any post-election protests, an indicia that there might well be something about which to protest, but, despite such warning signs, the election went off without a hitch.  As in most of the world (except perhaps the United States), there are safeguards in place to minimize electoral fraud (given human nature, it can never really be eliminated): official, government issued identification including a photograph, fingerprint and signature is required to vote, with ballots issued at polling places directly to the voter, who must immediately complete them in a private booth, and then deposit them in a box in front of electoral witnesses representing the candidates.  Contrast that with the United States where, in too many states, ballots are mailed en mass, without required identification and returned by whoever wants to assume the task for deposit in unsupervised “boxes”.  That, my friends, is an electoral fraudster’s dream, but to approximately 40% of the voters in the United States, totally acceptable.  It should be.  It helps them magically morph into a majority should they decide that such sleight of hand is called for.  But if you dare to realize that, you are in big doo-doo.  That would make you a seditious, antidemocratic racist, or worse.  Seems strange to Colombians.  Actually, many all over the world refuse to believe that to be true, but, then again, the same can be said for many United States voters, even if they participate in elections under those strange parameters.

Anyway, now for a not-so-positive history lesson a bit to the north of Colombia’s borders. 

In 2016, despite an all-out media blitz and electoral shenanigans in favor of the pre-crowned favorite of the United States’ bureaucracy, especially the intelligence community, the financial community, the corporate media and of course, their masters, the billionaire class (popularly referred to collectively as the “deep state”), a blitz that steam rolled over the left’s popular favorite, Bernie Sanders, an irascible and improbable right wing anti-establishment populist won.  One who, of all things, had been induced to run as a straw candidate by his opponent’s husband.  The deep state was shocked but not immobilized.  A myth explaining the defeat was immediately concocted, paid for and set in motion: the election “had been stolen”, the loss was not legitimate, it would not be tolerated, the Russians were at fault and a resistance movement was immediately organized, set in place and mobilized!  A myth that the victorious GOP would eagerly bite into as they could always be counted on to fall in line behind anything anti-Russian (who knows why but that’s the way it is).  A putsch you might ask?  Of course, perhaps even a sort of “soft coup”.  Seditious you might ask?  Sure, but what the heck, a real democracy can absorb a bit of seditious shenanigans.  And anyway, when the corporate media’s on line, and all traditionalist politicians, regardless of party, and bureaucratic moles as well, … well, … can they all really be wrong?

The myth was taken seriously and investigated both in the Congress and by the Justice Department for three years at a huge expense in tax payer funds.  It succeeded in largely immobilizing what should have been the victorious candidate, but, after all, that was the point; delegitimizing him, delegitimizing the election.  Delegitimizing democracy.

At the conclusion of the investigations it became clear that it was a cynical scheme without any substance but with a whole lot of impact.  It facilitated a takeover of Congress in 2018 by the theretofore defeated Democratic Party, which then proceeded on two occasions to impeach the 2016 electoral victor in the name of, … wait for it, … “democracy”, and fellow deep state allies, especially in New York, launched a series of politically motivated criminal investigations designed to preclude Mr. Trump from being able to steam roll the deep state again. 

The predictable end result was a significant loss of faith in the electoral system which set the stage for a sort of political comeback for the deep state in 2020, with a huge amount of help from what now appears to have been a hyperbolically orchestrated response to a possible pandemic, which savaged the world economy but helped secure an electoral victory, even if, once again, the deep state party selected the least popular possible candidate.

In 2020, no chances were taken.  As in 2016, the corporate media engaged in a one sided blitzkrieg, first, against the populist candidates on the left, the collaborative Bernie Sanders, but even more so against a real left wing populist, an ideal candidate, a woman of color from an alternative religion and who was a military officer with experience in the Middle East but steadfastly antiwar, Tulsi Gabbard.   She was crushed through a conspiracy of silence which excluded her from most Democratic Party debates, even if it required a change of rules in mid stride, and then death by silence in the corporate media, which acted as though she was not in the race, notwithstanding polls or, internet search results.  But that was just the appetizer.

The heretofore described pro-electoral-fraud voting procedures were set in place in a number of critical states by Democratic Party governors, despite contrary constitutional requirements and over the objections of state legislatures charged with designing voting methodology.  It was done based on the claim of emergency dictatorial powers (in the sense that separation of powers was not respected) because of the “pandemic” which, in the name of democracy, apparently required facilitation of potential widespread electoral fraud, assuming that a sort of “honor system” would assure that absolutely no fraud would take place.  No ballots would be bought, sold or fabricated despite the lack of any safeguards because, well, that would not be honorable.  And the United States judiciary at all levels, federal, state and local agreed.  So obviously no fraud occurred, at least as far as the deep state and its followers were concerned.

Unfortunately, a large segment of the United States electorate refused to play along, and, having seen over the previous summer that rioting and arson and looting were appropriate vehicles for political protests, a few hundred zany kids (of all ages) turned a non-violent political protest in the nation’s capital (in front of the United States capitol, of all places), into a black-lives-matter like riot, but with very different consequences.  Strangely, the rioters seem to have been motivated and directed by embedded government agents charged with, well, who knows, purportedly monitoring to assure they would not riot.  One protester who invaded the nation’s Capitol, a place we all now know is reserved for politicians, was murdered by a police officer.  Apparently only black-lives-matter and she was only a non-black civil servant.  That police officer, unlike others charged with illegally slaying criminals in the act of resisting arrest during black-lives-matter protests, was deemed a hero.  Strange to some, but the corporate media and deep state made the difference stick, no explanation required.

While political dissidence, protest and resistance from November of 2016 through November of 2020 had been patriotism at its best, immediately following the 2020 presidential election, it became treason and sedition, and, instead of investigating allegations of electoral fraud and electoral meddling, as had been the case from 2017 through 2020, Congress instead, along with the Justice Department, decided it was essential to investigate the protesters rather than the alleged electoral fraud, protest now having become vile and evil rather than noble and courageous.

Amazingly enough, a huge segment of the population did not buy into the change in script, and refused to accept the results of what they honestly believed to have been a fraudulent election.  Videos of suitcases full of ballots surreptitiously introduced while polling places had been mysteriously cleared in Georgia seemed to have led them to believe that not all was as the deep state’s spokespersons assured them was the case, indeed, evidence of alleged electoral improprieties seemed omnipresent, but, legal and administrative actions seeking explanations were summarily rejected, thus, apparently, the refusal to investigate allegations of corruption was definitive proof that absolutely no electoral fraud had taken place.  So there!!!

Criticism of the 2016 presidential electoral results was characterized by the corporate media and Democratic Party as “patriotic, pro-democracy resistance but, … criticism of the electoral results four years later is anathema and actionable sedition and treason.  Go figure, … if you dare.  If you don’t mind being deemed a Big Liar.

Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin are both credited with having espoused the notion that, if a lie is big enough and repeated incessantly, in no uncertain terms, why, … it becomes the official truth.  The technique is popularly knows under the appellation of the Big Lie.  Interestingly, that tactic has long been favored by the corporate media in the United States and the United Kingdom.  After all, Freedom of the Press was established in the United States in two cases, several hundred years apart, the colonial Peter Zenger case in the eighteenth century, and the United States Supreme Court case of Sullivan versus the New York Times several centuries later.  In each case, the judiciary sanctioned and protected the right to calumny, to report false news, as essential to a functional democracy.  So, despite the irony, it ought not to be a surprise that the people who, whether they are right or wrong, firmly believe that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen”, including the deposed former president, are now accused vehemently, on a 24/7 basis, of being Big Liars, and televised, one sided Congressional hearings without any right to refutation, are being staged in prime time television, to assure the American people that any claims that the 2020 presidential elections might have been tainted by fraud or manipulation are just “Big Lies”.  I can sort of sense Hitler and Lenin chuckling, or perhaps guffawing.

Given the foregoing, one wonders what awaits the incoming administration of Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, the populist victor of the June 19, 2022 Colombian presidential elections.  The United States deep state was subtly involved in backing Mr. Petro’s opponent, as was its Colombian variant, but, as in the United States in 2016, they were unsuccessful.  Now, they are angry and determined to make Mr. Petro and his populist followers pay.  Plans are already afoot to destroy the Colombian economy through foreign manipulation (think of what was done to Venezuela and Cuba and Nicaragua, etc.) and internal elite manipulation of the local stock market and currency exchanges.  And Colombia’s version of Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post, Jaime Gilinski Bacal’s Semana, is already spewing a permanent stream of calumnies and distortions.  Thus, given the United States’ experience since 2017, some of us in Colombia who support real democracy and liberty and equity and equality and justice and free elections are a bit concerned.

But fortunately for us, Colombia is not alone in Latin America, a continent which at long last seems to be waking from a long nightmare of United States abuse.  Many countries have selected leaders who demand respect for their sovereignty and express support of their sister states.  And Colombia’s declaration of independence may resound a bit in Brazil in the near future, leaving the United States virtually excluded from the region, except for its recently purchased president in Ecuador.  Mr. Petro is no Donald Trump, indeed, his opponent was a meld between the worst qualities of Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden.  The only political similarity between Messrs. Petro and Trump is that both are opposed to armed conflicts and foreign intervention (which is what probably led to the successful, anti-Trump coup).  Still, notwithstanding how brilliant, ethical and motivated Mr. Petro may be, it will be hard to resist the combined power of two deep states, unless of course, the Colombian people are less gullible and less manipulable than the voters in the United States. 

And that, only time will tell.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Uncomfortable Reflections on an Easter Sunday

Manipulable mass hysteria is the incoherent albeit pervasive characteristic of mankind’s collective consciousness.  It explains the power religions of any kind hold over their adherents, regardless of how illogical and incoherent their premises and how inconsistent with such premises their practices, both collective and individual tend to be.  A bitter illustration involves the pleas made to the same deity by opposing warring factions, both seeking divine intervention to rain death and destruction on their co-believers.  But it is far from only in the religious sphere were collective incoherence and delusion reign supreme.  Nationalism is a closely aligned phenomena, sometimes involving multiple individual states as part of a multistate collective, and within such states, multiple political associations vying for power in a perpetual quest to control governance.  For example, the Hispanic nation comprised of almost thirty different states and within each such state, myriads of political parties and movements.  Or the German nation where the same phenomena arises (i.e., Germany, Austria, and parts of other regions in Central and Eastern Europe), or the Slavic nation, witness the current intra-Slavic conflict between the Ukraine and the Russian Federation, historical Siamese siblings.

The United States is, in many senses, sui generis, an amalgam of immigrants from diverse nationalities that sort of coalesced on an ethnic, then regional, then religious, then racial, then gender basis into something similar to quasi-internal-polarized nations, perpetually at war with themselves but capable of uniting so as to be perpetually at war with outsiders (and of course, with the original indigenous population).

Yesterday (April 16, 2022) was “Holy Saturday, commemorating Yeshua’s brief sojourn in Gê-hinnōm (really around thirty six hours rather than three days as usually reported), and I chanced to read an article in Consortium News written by Patrick Lawrence entitled “The Great Acquiescence — Glory to Ukraine” (see Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 105 — Saturday, April 16, 2022).  As so often happens when I read that rare source of accurate information, it set me off.  The fact that such “holy” day is so ludicrously incoherent may have helped.  The article dealt with how easy it seems to be to manipulate the well-meaning among us in order to secure their support for anything under the sun, regardless of how antithetical and opposed to our purported values.  The case in point dealt with the Nazi reincarnation in the current Ukraine which the United States is not only vigorously supporting, but which it in fact gleefully orchestrated with the unwavering support of its corporate media (i.e., the 2014 Ukraine project orchestrated by Obama’s assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as recorded in her infamous call to United States Ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt; see transcript provided by the government owned British Broadcasting Corporation  at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957).  As Clinton supporting Arkansas hog farmers might exclaim, “Soooeey!”.  Their own sweet sonata, to which we might add the qualifier, “generis”.

The omnipotent if hardly independent and certainly not free “corporate media”, a consolidated branch of the United States entertainment industry that operates not so much for fun as for the “profit” of those whose brainchild it is.  A brief historical lesson is probably in order.  Hollywood, the California version, was turned into an arm of United States and British intelligence during World War I (the War to End All Wars) by George Creel on Woodrow Wilson’s instructions, and it never really looked back.  We are a thoroughly manipulated People, not only through Hollywood but through every aspect of our culture, education and sports, all of which both direct our perception and emotions and distract us from the realities under which we live and which we help impose on others.  And I say that as a Yankees and Jets fan (they tend to balance out) who has come to realize that the energy I expend on sports as a fan and as a participant desensitizes and distracts me from realizing serious goals, such as my autonomy, my quest to do what is correct and honorable, my quest to separate truth from the narratives to which all of us are constantly subjected.

So!  Paraphrasing Yakov Smirnoff “what a media!”  It can accomplish almost anything.  Think of it, by labeling opponents to their manufactured narratives, almost always false, as “Big Liars” and their honestly held assertions as “Big Lies”, both terms repeated constantly, they deflect meaningful evaluation, and, by censoring any other opinions, they hide uncomfortable truths (e.g., the misadventures of the Biden and Clinton and Obama families, most recently staring Hunter and Jimmy and the Big Guy).

Can you imagine if the original Nazis (or any of history’s worst villains) had enjoyed the benefits of today’s Deep State narrative managers?  Why, if they’d wanted to, they could have founded a Zionist Nazi Party in Israel, although there are those who believe they did.  We Americans have been bred not to question the carefully crafted narratives we are fed on a 24/7 basis.  Bred and trained like Pavlov’s dogs, the stimulus of choice, not a bell, but our mass-produced pseudo culture.  In our Hollywood, no ties to any sort of reality are worthy of respect and that philosophy has been successfully transplanted to the fecund territory of our news media a/k/a pseudo journalism.  Or perhaps the transplantation evolved from the opposite direction, after all, the purportedly free-press in the United States was founded on the precedent established in the famous Peter Zenger trial held three centuries ago in the Royal Colony of New York, a decision premised on the absolute right to calumny and defame (truth being merely an inconvenient irrelevancy; ahhh, the joys of liberty. Ring that bell!!!). 

We have been bred to accept without question the incredible profits available as a result of massive violence, domestically and abroad, perhaps a residue of the ancient Viking glorification of pillage and rape as a valid economic model, but in our case, oxymoronically fused with delusion and denial.  Consequently, as Patrick Lawrence observes in the cited article, most of us are indoctrinated to reject reality and are thus virtually oblivious to our record levels of incarceration, oblivious to our record levels of local mass shootings, oblivious to our record levels of foreign interventions, oblivious to the hundreds of millions of resulting deaths.  To us, they are all irrelevant abstractions or justifiable collateral damage.  Compared to our penchant for pillage and slaughter hidden in plain sight, the Vikings and their Nazis descendants were pikers.  But we came about it honestly, the British taught us how to do it, the British of the infamous Opium Wars, and of course, of our own quasi-Revolution.

For us, the denizens of the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave” (epithets made famous by that famous champion of slave owners, Francis Scott Key), “mass murder” is and has apparently always been a growth industry (just ask the original inhabitants of our continent).  It is our most important crop, a gift that keeps on giving.  We sow death and profitably so.  We glory in armed conflicts at home and abroad, but without the disadvantages of victories which might insure accursedly unprofitable peace; that would devastate us.  So we need to keep our enemies at least on life support lest we have to go to all the trouble of creating new ones.  That may explain why our country has not won a war since World War II, with the notable exceptions of the invasions of Grenada and Panama; but it also explains why our government cynically created and funded Al Qaida terrorists in the Middle East, terrorists we created to fight the Russians but whom we eventually found to be useful allies, kind of like the Romans with the Visigoths, etc., albeit those proved to be alliances they eventually very much regretted.  That explains the 2014 Ukraine project orchestrated by Obama’s assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; a “project designed to assure the 2022 Russian Special Military Operation, the bonanza that we needed for pillage based economic survival.

Of course, not all our leaders have wanted to be mass murderers.  During my lifetime, two United States presidents refused to play ball with the evolving Deep State, that military industrial complex against which Ike warned in early 1961.  But both were overthrown, even if what passes for history and news portrays their demise very differently.  One was forced to resign to avoid impeachment, and the second, well he was impeached twice but conviction was unsuccessful, nevertheless, well, you know about the 2020 election, the first perfect, absolutely no fraud election in United States history, despite evidence that would seem to indicate otherwise (given all the technocratic meddling, the “pandemic”, etc., the free flowing ballots everywhere, where the “honor” system worked to perfection to assure the absence of sales and related fraud, but, after all, we are a capitalist society).

Despite their character flaws and insecurities, in both cases reflected above, it was the inclination to work towards a world without war and specifically their desire for positive relations with the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union, now the Russian Federation, which proved anathema.  In each case, the presidents appeared to enjoy widespread public support for such policies, but rather than insulate them, that exacerbated the “problem”, rendering the situation intolerable to those who really run our “Western” world.  Thus, today, we are blessed with the ultimate good old boy as “president”, the ultimate Deep State crony, a guy who, if you pay him (or his family) stays bought because that is his unwavering concept of honor (ask the credit card industry, or well, … the Ukraine).  And of course, hurray for the Ukraine, that bastion of liberty and democracy, notwithstanding the imprisonment of all political opponents and closing of all “unpatriotic” media outlets and slaughter of 14,000 residents of the Donbass.  Hunter, in any case, is ecstatic.  Lucky that Obama made the Big Guy proconsul there.

And of course, again referring to the Ukraine, now we have the great little war we needed after the Afghan fiasco to assure the economic welfare of the very few who rule us, one where we are not directly involved, except for the massive defense expenditures being authorized in what now looks like a perpetual stream.  As planned, “defense” industry stocks are zooming so who cares about the rest of the markets and the economy and inflation and scarcity, or Ukrainian lives and infrastructure, so long as the Russians are debilitated.

We the People of the United States, especially those who ironically believe that they share liberal and progressive values and abhor violence, racism, sexism, uncomfortable history and uncomfortable journalism, are just fine with plenty to criticize in order satisfy our need for faux moral outrage against others (which makes us feel good), but without really rocking our comfy boats or changing the way things are, the way we’ve been indoctrinated to believe they should be.  The way things will remain as long as we keep finding troublesome people against whom to vote, even if we have to settle for “lesser” evils like Joe Biden, the Obamas, the Bush family, the Clintons, etc.  One wonders what plans Hunter has for a future presidency, after all, he has huge experience in avoiding the consequences of past mistakes and still remaining in good standing as an honorary victim.  The latter being essential today.

Just some things on which to reflect as another Easter flows by, flows by obliviously, a holiday in honor of the Prince of Peace in the name of whom so many, many wars have been fought and so many, many lives have been crushed, and in the name of whom so many people have been and continue to be enslaved.

If Yeshua (the purported Christ) has truly risen after his brief sojourn in Hell, what might he be thinking? 

Probably that it’s as if he’d never left his former colleagues in Gê-hinnōm. And probably wondering, somewhat confused, about Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Critical Context in Perilous Times:

Demythifying the Ukrainian Crisis

This is a bit long, and I hate long.  I usually give up and read something else, unless, of course, I’m reading a book.  But given the circumstances in which we find ourselves, I believe we needed a comprehensive and timely analysis and hope that you read it and agree.  And that you share it.  The articles cited in the footnotes are by recognized independent media authors and are an integral part of this reflection; essential because real news is almost impossible to find and too many of us are drowning in an ocean of Kool-Aid. 

The world is facing an existential crisis as the Euro-Atlantic-centric economic and political elite who have dominated the world since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution are facing a realistic challenge to their power from Chinese led Eurasian upstarts[1].  They have, in the past, successfully turned aside challenges from socialist reformers, fascist corporatists, communist-light experiments and political idealists.  Now the threat may prove more serious.  The world, as usual, is the battleground, but Europe, again as usual and as usual in traditionalist hands (but showing strains) seems to be the focal point (with Latin America and Africa pretty much, as always, just taken for granted, used and abused).  The Middle East burns, as usual, with NATO inspired or supported wars and armed conflicts in Yemen, Libya and Syria while the Palestinians remain imprisoned in Israeli dominated ghettoes where they are frequently hunted like animals by Harkonian-like “settlers” and soldiers[2].  The Sino-Russian Eurasian project, which seeks to shift the fulcrum of politicoeconomic power from the Atlantic towards the East and South, has attained viability because the Atlantic alliances have, for the past half century, been engaged in costly military interventions in diverse areas of the world.  Aggressive NATO expansion which seeks to derail the Sino-Russian Eurasian project has included not only most of Eastern Europe but also Latin America where the Republic of Colombia was granted “global partner” status[3] in 2017, perhaps as a means of placing military pressure on neighboring Venezuela and Bolivia as well as on Brazil, should a leftist government regain power there, as seems likely (assuming free and fair elections, no longer a sure thing in many parts of the world).  Trump proved a nuisance but was efficiently removed in a political blitzkrieg but his epiphany concerning the anachronistic nature of NATO as a white elephant run amuck needed to be obfuscated, hence, the Ukraine has been converted into a sacrificial goat, and speaking of goats, the Russian Federation has been cast as the scapegoat.

Last month, the new Cold War orchestrated by the United States turned hot as Russia reacted to United States and NATO provocations (accelerated as temporary fixes for domestic political problems faced by administrations in the United States and the United Kingdom) by invading the Ukraine, which had itself earlier invaded the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics whose populations had apparently bought into the premises of the United States Declaration of Independence[4].  Perhaps they should have known better given the documented hypocrisy of its author, hypocrisy which has echoed throughout the history of the country he helped found.

A Bit of Context

While it finally ignited last month, the current crisis in the Ukraine started on October 3, 1990 when, with the concurrence of the Soviet Union, World War II ended as to Germany.  The Soviet Union’s concurrence to German reunification was predicated on a tacit understanding memorialized in internal NATO memoranda to the effect that NATO would not expand.  Unfortunately, as with so many other of today’s problems, the Clinton administration, which assumed power in the United States thirty months later, broke that promise in 1999, and in an accelerating fashion, NATO has expanded closer and closer to the Russian border, actually touching it in 2004 when the Baltic States were admitted to membership[5].

The situation was exacerbated drastically when the United States orchestrated a coup d’état against a pro-Russian, democratically elected government in the Ukraine in 2014[6], a violent overthrow resisted by three Ukrainian regions with overwhelming majority Russian populations, the Crimea and the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of the Ukrainian Donbas.  All three petitioned to rejoin Russia.  After a plebiscite, the Crimea did, but Russia had no interest in incorporating the Donbas, instead suggesting that the Donetsk and Lugansk regions be granted autonomous status within a Ukrainian federation.  The Ukraine responded by attacking and partially occupying the Donbass, sparking an armed conflict eerily similar to the American Revolution. 

On September 5, 2014 the Ukraine, the Russian Federation, France, Germany and the then-leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic signed an agreement, supplemented on February 12, 2015, calling for a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines, release of prisoners of war, and, constitutional reform in the Ukraine granting self-government to the Donbas but restoring control of the state border to the Ukrainian government.  However, the Ukraine never implemented the required constitutional reforms and neo-Nazi[7] Ukrainian militias armed by the Ukrainian government, the United States and NATO continued to occupy large portions of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions attempting to forcibly destroy the pro-independence forces, in the process, killing more than 14,000 Donbass residents.

The addition of the Ukraine (and Georgia) to NATO would have resulted in a contiguous NATO border with the Russian Federation and the increased possibility of such adhesion with respect to the Ukraine, the deaths of the more than 14,000 ethnic Russians in the Donbass and the flight of approximately 100,000 Donbass refugees into the Russian Federation in the face of an emerging Ukrainian military advance finally led the Russian Federation to draw a red line.  The Russian federation demanded that neither NATO nor the European Union expand into the Ukraine; that NATO withdraw nuclear weapons from countries bordering the Russian Federation; that the Ukraine, as promised in 2015, grant autonomy to the ethnic Russian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk; and finally, that the plebiscite in favor of a return to the Russian Federation by the people of the Ukraine be recognized.  However, such proposals were disdainfully rejected by the United States, NATO and the Ukraine.  Instead, with a cynicism for the welfare of common people common to the myriad of wars orchestrated by the United States and its allies since the end of World War II, the people of the Ukraine were placed on the sacrificial bloc of “Western Hubris”, but bathed in oceans of crocodile tears.  Perhaps as partial revenge for the defeat of American invaders in Afghanistan by the Taliban, the Russian Federation was lured into what the United States hopes will prove to be a comparable quagmire that will lead to the destruction of the Russian economy and hopefully, sabotage the Sino-Russian Eurasian project which threatens economic elites’ domination of the world economy for the benefit of the privileged one percent.

A Bit of Ukrainian and Russian History (often the same thing)

The world seems more insane than usual this year as winter winds down into spring, with truth having become utterly irrelevant and hypocrisy sublime.  “Fool us again, please, please!” seems a mass refrain.  Censorship in the name of liberty and democracy has become the real pandemic.  Still, for those to whom the truth and the future of the human race are important enough to do a bit of research, perhaps there really is a vaccine.  A vaccine comprised of a bit of elbow grease mixed in with common sense and seasoned with sanity.  Take the current crisis in the Ukraine, perhaps it’s worthwhile understanding what it’s about, even if the story started a long, long time ago.  And that requires an acknowledgment of the historical interrelationship of the Russian and Ukrainian people.

The Ukraine, as a polity, can theoretically be considered to have initiated when a legendary Slavic prince by the name of Kyi, along with his brothers Schek and Khoriv, and their sister Lybid, founded the precursor to the city of Kiev (name recently modified in the “West” to Kyiv) in the fifth century.  By the middle of the seventh century, the town of Kiev was conquered by the Khazars, an amalgam of Bulgars, Huns, Turks and Caucasians (people from the Caucuses, not a racial group).  The Khazars were immensely successful traders who ingeniously played off their Byzantine and Islamic customers’ demand that they select either Islam or orthodox Christianity as their religion by instead, selecting their common denominator, Judaism, to which they converted en masse.  Indeed, it’s possible that most Jews today are descendants of the Khazars rather than of the ancient Semitic Hebrews who originated in the Middle East (which may be why so many Jews are fair haired and fair eyed).  The Khazar Empire extended from the Volga River and Caspian Sea to the Dnieper and the Black Sea. 

During the ninth century, three existential changes occurred.  First, Norsemen (Vikings) discovered and conquered much of the area; second, Christian missionaries from Byzantium began to proselytize in the area; and third, in a related manner, two Christian missionaries by the name of Cyril and Methodius facilitated the crystallization of a common Slavic language through the introduction of an alphabet patterned on the Greek alphabet used in the Byzantine Empire.  During the second half of the Ninth century, Slavic merchants (probably descended from the Khazars) who controlled a merchant center known as Novgorod sought stability and protection as well as a diminution in political strife from internal political infighting, by inviting[8] one of the invading Viking tribes, the Varangians, to assume governance and made their leader Rurik, a somewhat legendary and mythic figure, their monarch.[9] 

Prior to Rurik’s “association” with Novgorod, two other Viking leaders, Askold and Dir, had conquered the small Khazar trading village of Kiev described above and had organized a confederated Viking fleet of 200 ships with which, in 860, they attacked Constantinople.  Unsuccessful in their attack but having plundered much of the surrounding countryside, they returned to Kiev which they ruled as vassals to Rurik.  Rurik’s brothers, Sineus and Truvor had also engaged in conquests but soon died, leaving Rurik in control their domains.  By the time of Rurik’s death in 879, he and other Viking leaders controlled an area that stretched from the Russian steppes to the Black Sea and included large parts of the present day Ukraine, Belarus and Western Russia.  In time, however, the indigenous conquered people, the Slavs, subsumed and incorporated the Vikings into their culture.

Rurik was succeeded by a more aggressive Viking ruler, Oleg, regent for Rurik’s son Igor.  During his regency, Oleg consolidated numerous theretofore independent Viking conquests, moved the capital of the consolidated domains to Kiev, and successfully attacked the Byzantine Empire.  By the time Igor assumed the principate, the domains consolidated by Oleg had been recognized by the Byzantines as equals and Kiev had been transformed from a trading village into the queen city of the “Land of the Rus” (as the Byzantines had christened the consolidated domain). 

In short, modern Russia was born in today’s Ukraine, with Kiev as its original capital.

During the second half of the twelfth century, Russia became a fragmented confederation of warring principalities until it was conquered by the Mongols in 1241.  In 1362, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania conquered Kiev, followed by a Polish conquest in 1569 but finally, in 1667, Kiev and the Ukraine were reunited with Russia.  The Lithuanian and Polish conquests materially impacted the Ukraine as they involved not only Lithuanian and especially Polish immigration, but the introduction of Catholicism as an alternative to the Russian Orthodox Church and to the native Jewish remnant of the Khazar population, an impact that has remained as a divisive historical force.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 impacted major regions of Russia which briefly became independent and then autonomous republics within the Soviet Union.  In 1952, the Crimea, a historical part of Russia, was “administratively” transferred to the Ukraine Socialist Republic by Nikita Khrushchev, then the Ukrainian born leader of the Soviet Union.  In 1991, when the Soviet Union was dismembered, the Ukraine declared its independence but kept the Crimea (without having obtained the consent of its population), as well as the Donbas, also a predominantly Russian region.

Some Comparisons

Despite the massive sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation by the United States, its allies, and the international organizations they control, such actions seem to have nothing to do with violations of international law or opposition to armed invasions of sovereign states.  Indeed, except as a theory and aspiration, the concept of “international law” as a legal system is a failed experiment, primarily because of the historical hubris of the United Kingdom and the United States and their insistence on impunity in the face of their continuous violations of international treaties, refusal to join the principle treaties that seek to implement a framework for international law and de facto repudiation of the Charter of the United Nations.[10]  Examples:

  • I recall the United States invasion of Grenada which began at dawn on October 25, 1983, and ended when the United States replaced Hudson Austin, the countries provisional leader, with an interim government selected by the United States.  The excuse was that the procommunist government of that country had become incoherently deadlocked, threatening possible civil strife.  I do not recall any sanctions imposed on the United States by anyone as a result of such action. 
  • I recall the United States invasion of Panama which started on December 20, 1989 and purportedly ended on January 31, 1990; after the United States forcibly replaced the de facto leader of Panama (and former CIA operative) Manuel Noriega with the Cali Cartel’s purported treasurer, Guillermo Endara.  The excuse was purportedly than Mr. Noriega was engaged in drug trafficking and racketeering.  I do not recall any sanctions imposed on the United States by anyone as a result of such action.
  • I recall the many attacks by Israel on Gaza, the horrible resulting destruction and loss of life, and the daily quotidian assaults by the Israeli State on Palestinians, the indignities and mayhem and murders.  But I do not recall any sanctions imposed on Israel by anyone as a result of such action.
  • We all, I think recall the unwarranted and horribly costly invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.  But none of us, I think, can recall any sanctions imposed on the United States by anyone as a result of such actions.
  • I recall the Saudi led and United States supported ongoing invasion of Yemen.  But I do not recall any sanctions imposed on Saudi Arabia or its allies by anyone as a result of such action.
  • I recall the French inspired and NATO led invasion and destruction of Libya in which the United States was a leading participant, with its secretary of State, the beastly Hillary Clinton, crowing, “we same, we saw, he died”, referring to the brutal murder of Moammar Gaddafi.  But I do not recall any sanctions imposed on them by anyone as a result of such action.
  • I am reminded that today, United States, French, English, Turkish and other troops are illegally engaged in military operations inside of Syria.  But I do not recall any sanctions imposed on them by anyone as a result of such action.
  • I am reminded that the United States and its allies have recognized the pretender Juan Guaido, a self-declared president of Venezuela, have supported more than one coup attempt orchestrated by him, and have turned over to him and his cronies a great deal of the wealth Venezuela requires to care for its population impoverished through their sanctions, as they would impoverish Russia today.  But I do not recall any sanctions imposed on them by anyone as a result of such action.

Now the Russians are following in the footsteps of the United States and its allies in NATO and the European Union, in their case, to eliminate a racial supremacist infestation in the Ukraine and to eliminate the threat of NATO expansion to Russian’s borders.  In this case, the “Western World” (whatever that is)[11] has decided that sanctions designed to destroy the Russian economy are appropriate, apparently without thought to any consequences.  How utterly cavalier.  Indeed, the continuing imposition of brutal sanctions on the Russian people seemed designed to goad a nuclear response, incredibly stupid as that would seem to the few sane remaining among us.

International law and the United Nations were to have prevented all such actions, but they haven’t, and they don’t.  Hypocrisy and hubris rather than equity and justice reign.  And the consequences may well be all too predictable.

A Bit of More Recent Historical Context and Some Personal Observations and Conclusions

Since Dwight David Eisenhower left office during January of 1961, the United States and its allies have been free to engage in military aggression all over the world, invading and overthrowing governments in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia: governments as small as Haiti and as large as the Soviet Union.  Until the dawn of this millennium, it seemed that such tactics had succeeded in attaining hegemonic power, politically, economically and militarily, as well as domestically.  With the assistance of a docile and duplicitous corporate media and the tentacles of the wealthiest and most ruthless among us, a Deep State was ensconced in the United States and among its allies, unresponsive to popular needs or popular opinion. 

Until 2016, the United States Deep State ruled that country with a hidden almost velvet glove.  But in 2016, a two pronged populist rebellion in the United States, echoing earlier populist rebellions elsewhere, shook the “Western” sociopolitical firmament.  From the left, a leaderless progressive group sought to induce purportedly native American Senator Elizabeth Warren to challenge Clinton dominance of the Democratic Party, but when that failed, the movement was usurped by opportunist, purported socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders.  Unfortunately for the leftist populists, he led their charge waiving a white flag and surrendered to traditionalist Democratic Party leaders who had obviously stolen the 2016 Democratic Party’s presidential nomination from his followers.  The GOP faced a similar challenge from the right, from the so called Tea Party, but despite massive resources and well known candidates, the traditionalist among the Republican Party where ambushed by political pragmatist Donald John Trump.  Ironically, the apparent right wing populist victory was orchestrated by Clinton Democrats who felt that Mr. Trump, a buffoonish political novice, was the only Republican candidate their idol, Hillary Clinton, could defeat.  Indeed, Mr. Trump was urged to run by non-other than Ms. Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton.  Unfortunately for them, they’d misjudged the extent of populist discontent and Mr. Trump won a devastatingly shocking victory.  Devastating most of all to the Deep State which, until then, had successfully remained a manipulative force behind the scenes, fully in control of both political parties.

While most of Mr. Trump’s economic policies were somewhat in line with the Deep State’s neoliberal economic goals, he seemed averse to the Deep State’s neoconservative interventionist tactics, calling for collaborative relations with both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China and eschewing interventionism except when it benefitted Israel (his beloved daughter Ivanka having converted to orthodox Judaism upon her marriage to Goldman Sacks protégée, Jared Corey Kushner). Mr. Trump’s antimilitarist tendencies even extended to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which he perceived as a dangerous anachronism looking for missions to justify its existence.  All of that, of course, was anathema to the military industrial complex against which Eisenhower had warned but which, despite such warnings, had become an integral part of the Deep State. 

Mr. Trump, independently wealthy and unbearably arrogant, was not for sale and thus, had to be destroyed, and he was, although he and his followers have put up an unexpectedly spirited fight.  No weapon was ignored by the Deep State which, under the leadership of former president Obama, perpetual candidate Clinton and former attorney general Eric Holder (who styles himself AG Holder), as well as the Democratic Party’s congressional leadership, first organized an insurrection denominated “the Resistance” with mass rallies frequently converted to riots, then exacerbated racial tensions by pitting Afro Americans against law enforcement in a manner designed to mobilize the African American vote.  The Deep State then had its moles planted throughout the federal bureaucracy, especially the intelligence services, engage in a campaign to constantly undermine the Trump administration through leaks to its wholly owned corporate media.  When none of that seemed enough, the Deep State politicized the Covid 19 virus, orchestrating a global economic shutdown justifying extreme electoral measures in sufficient states to assure desired results in the 2020 presidential elections, and with the assistance of billionaires who controlled the Internet, through a combination of algorithms and censorship, deprived the populist right wing, including the president, of access to social media and thus, of any meaningful ability to defend themselves in the electoral arena.

The unusual 2020 elections, characterized by last minute floods of unverified mail-in ballots (facilitated through constitutionally questionable emergency measures justified as necessary to permit voting during the medical “lockdown”), resulted in the election of the Deep State candidate, Joe Biden, results rejected by a sizable segment of the United States electorate which found the refusal to investigate claims of electoral fraud on “technical” grounds unjustifiable.  That, in turn, resulted in a war against such nonbelievers by the corporate media and social media platforms which characterized them on a 24/7 basis, as fools and traitors, and imposed even stricter censorship to prevent the spread of their purportedly false, seditious claims, especially after a small minority of people protesting the electoral results in front of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, invaded the Capitol itself and engaged in destruction of government property, albeit much less violently than the Democratic Party inspired riots which characterized numerous protests during Mr. Trump’s term in office.  In contrast to what occurred during Mr. Trump’s administration where the Congress spent millions of dollars and several years examining Democratic Party complaints of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections (with the alleged collaboration of Mr. Trump and his staff), the Congress and the Justice Department instead opened investigations into the January 6 Capitol protests and ensuing invasion of the Capitol, condemning a number of the participants to prison.

The results of the foregoing were that the Deep State reacquired total power over the federal government in the United States, but that its existence was exposed, as was the reality that the corporate media was entirely under its control.  The new president, Mr. Biden, although fully supported by the Deep State and the corporate media and with his political party, the Deep State’s own Democrats in power, quickly proved extremely unpopular.  Of course, he had never been popular.  Indeed, during the 1988 presidential campaign season, he’d had to withdraw his candidacy when that era’s corporate media, liberal but not yet wholly lacking in objectivity, reported on numerous instances of plagiarism and political corruption where it seemed that rather than representing the State of Delaware in the Senate, he’d represented the credit card companies which had, in turn, provided Mr. Biden’s son Hunter and brother Jimmy with lucrative contracts for questionable or non-existent services.  But those episodes were seemingly forgotten by the 2016 version of the corporate media, which instead, covered up numerous instances of questionable conduct by son Hunter, which seemed to also implicate his father, referred to in numerous damaging but obfuscated emails as “the Big Guy”.  The concept of the “Emoluments Clause” of the Constitution, so often raised by the corporate media with respect to Mr. Trump and his family had evidently been tacitly repealed when it came to the Biden and Clinton families.

As 2021 dawned, the Biden administration and the Deep State’s Democratic Party, were tanking in all political polls, many of which have been traditionally skewed in favor of Deep State favored candidates and policies, and it seemed probable that right wing populists were likely to take over Congress in 2022, and that Mr. Trump might regain the presidency in 2024, despite intervention against him by Democratic Party controlled prosecutors in both the federal government and a number of States, especially New York State, who seemed determined to prevent him from running for the presidency.  Mr. Biden’s problems were mirrored across the pond by the travails of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the European version of the Deep State was determined to destroy him as punishment for his successful efforts to have the United Kingdom withdraw from the European Union.

In both cases, the Deep State had a solution and as has so often happened in the history of our planet, the answer to domestic political problems involved turbulence in international affairs, something always useful and profitable in the extreme for the Deep State’s owners (the billionaire class), albeit at the expense of the tax payers and of reasonably priced medical care, education, welfare benefits and infrastructure.  Having put conflict with the Russian Federation in play in 2014 through the overthrow of the pro-Russian government in the neighboring Ukraine in 2014 and its replacement by a virulently anti-Russian, Nazi admiring regime, the Biden administration in the United States and the Johnston administration in the United Kingdom together with NATO began providing the Ukraine with purportedly defensive armaments with which to confront their Russian neighbors and to conquer the parts of the Ukraine that had refused to accept the 2014 coup d’état, while launching a massive propaganda campaign to the effect that the Russian Federation was about to invade and conquer the Ukraine, with the ultimate goal of reconstituting the defunct Soviet Union.  A well planned and orchestrated, self-fulfilling prophecy.  Goading the bear seemed the most useful means of defusing political problems at home as fueling anti-Russian sentiment would, in all likelihood, at least temporarily, unite the electorate against the manufactured foreign threat.  Not novel but tried and true.  And successful once again.

The Joe Biden and Boris Johnson administrations seem to have obtained that for which they most hoped, at least in the short term.  Their political opponents have joined with them demanding that the Russians be severely punished for their atrocious conduct, be declared war criminals and be subjected to trials like those that took place in the German City of Nuremberg following World War Two.  That the intermediate and long term costs may be devastating to most of us is not relevant to them.  They needed military confrontation to shore up their plunging ratings and exploding unpopularity although perhaps this time they may have bitten off more than they can chew and certainly more than they can digest, and they’ve pulled their NATO and European Union allies along with them.

As referenced above, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and NATO attempted to preempt Russian reaction to their provision of lethal aggressive military weaponry to Ukrainian groups attacking the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics by hysterically and consistently claiming that Russia was planning to invade the Ukraine, accompanied by a continuous stream of insults and threats (what in the “West” is today referred to as “diplomacy”).  They hoped for a win/win situation for them and a lose/lose situation for Vladimir Putin.  If Mr. Putin was goaded into a military reaction, they could impose devastating economic sanctions on Russia, as the United States did to Japan in the prelude to World War Two; if he did not react, they could paint themselves as the tough guys who had forced him to back down.

The Ukraine and its people, as they have been during the last eight years, were the expendable pawns.  Mired in misery and corruption since the United States orchestrated coup in 2014 (as they’ve almost always been, but seasoned with civil war and resurgent neo-Nazis inclinations), they are now the fodder for neoliberal ambitions and machinations run amuck.  Having patiently called for peaceful resolution of the consequences of the 2014 overthrow of the Ukraine’s democratically elected president, the Russians have finally been successfully goaded into reacting.  As the Japanese were on December 7, 1941.  As the Austrians and the Germans were on July 28, 1914.

The current situation in the Ukraine is the Cuban missile crisis in reverse, except that calmer heads are not prevailing.  Instead, brinksmanship is leading to disaster.  Except that now, all the players are armed with enough nuclear weaponry to destroy our planet as it now exists.  Only the People’s Republic of China among the world’s major powers appears to have maintained its sanity, but the United States is active there as well with arms sales to the estranged Chinese province of Taiwan and encouragement for it to declare independence being actively fomented.  Perhaps the situation in the Ukraine can be duplicated there.  On the brink of losing the opportunity for hoped for political and economic hegemony, the United States, under a weak president and corrupt, power mad political class, seems intent on courting Armageddon and unfortunately, it is succeeding.  We have climbed atop the razor’s edge.  The brink on which the world has teetered since Hiroshima and Nagasaki is only one more miscalculation away from realizing the promise of mutual self-assured destruction that dystopian writers have been predicting for so long.[12]

Sometimes there are justifiable reasons for indefensible actions, but perhaps not this time.  Sometimes we fight hopeless battles because our culture or our families or our way of life are threatened with destruction and odds are not relevant.  But this time the underlying reasons are incredibly petty and short sighted.

And what are they? 

Well, the short term reasons, the catalysts, involve the political problems of Messrs. Biden and Johnson, the intermediate term reasons involve the Deep State’s resolve to maintain power, and the long term reasons involve the related United States’ strategic goal, with the collaboration of its NATO puppets, to militarily and economically isolate and surround the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China and to the Islamic State of Iran, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Republic of Bolivia and any country that will not bend to the neoliberal policies of the United States and its NATO allies.  As in the case of the fictitious Borg, they seek to demonstrate that resistance to hegemonic domination is futile, but perhaps they’ve miscalculated this time.  Perhaps they’ve finally gone too far.

Russia is not Iraq or Afghanistan or the Palestinians or Libya or Syria or Yemen or Yugoslavia.  It’s not Cuba or Venezuela or Nicaragua or Bolivia.  Russia can bite back.  And it has.  So can the People’s Republic of China.  The question is, will Russia limit its reaction or will it permit the so called “West” to goad it into further and more extreme reaction.  Reaction that only serves the long term interests of those who wish Russia and its people misery and domination, or a reaction that may lead to the long promised mutually assured destruction.  That of course depends on the nature of the unprecedented and hypocritical sanctions which the United States, the European Union and others impose.  If they hurt enough, then the Russian Federation must and will retaliate, and we will enter into the kind of cataclysmic measure, counter measure, counter-counter measure spiral which will rid the universe of its human infestation. 

Perhaps for the better.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

[1] See Blinova, Ekaterina (2022).  Interview of Jacques Cheminade, “Ex-French Presidential Candidate: West Upended Minsk Agreements, Now Reaps What It Sowed in Ukraine”; Sputnik International, February 24, 2022, found at https://sputniknews.com/20220224/ex-french-presidential-candidate-west-upended-minsk-agreements-now-reaps-what-it-sowed-in-ukraine-1093329336.html, first accessed on February 24, 2022.

[2] See AbuKhalil, As’ad (2022).  “The Angry Arab: The Middle East & the War in Ukraine”; Consortium News Volume 27, Number 75 — Wednesday, March 16, 2022, available at https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/16/the-angry-arab-the-middle-east-the-war-in-ukraine/?unapproved=429977&moderation-hash=7623d2c54762770b523fde22d248e29d#comment-429977, first accessed on March 16, 2022.

[3] See North Atlantic Treaty Organization (2021).  “Relations with Colombia”; available at https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_143936.htm.

[4] See Hedges, Chris (2022): “Waltzing to Armageddon”; Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 74 — Tuesday, March 15, 2022; available at https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/15/chris-hedges-waltzing-to-armageddon/, first accessed on March 15, 2022.

[5] See Johnstone, Diana (2022): “For Washington, War Never Ends”, Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 75 — Wednesday, March 16, 2022, available at https://consortiumnews.com/2022/03/16/diana-johnstone-for-washington-war-never-ends/, first accessed March 16, 2022.

[6] See, “Victoria Nuland, architect of the 2014 coup”, Transcript of intercepted call (“Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call”; BBC News, February 7, 2014, available at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957).

[7] The term Nazi and neo-Nazi are admittedly hyperbolic and overused but have come to reform to racial supremacist who abhor racial melding and are here used in that context, although, in the Ukraine, actual empathy for the Nazis has always been present.

[8] It is probable that the relationship between the merchants of Novgorod and the Varangians started out as a protective mercenary arrangement which, with or without the consent of the merchants, morphed into a more permanent institutional meld.

[9] Rurik, for those enamored of Netflix fantasies disguised as history, is the protagonist in the Netflix series, “Vikings”.

[10] See Johnstone, Caitlin (2022).  “International Law Is a Meaningless Concept When It Only Applies To US Enemies”, March 17, 2022, available at https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/03/17/international-law-is-a-meaningless-concept-when-it-only-applies-to-us-enemies/#comment-77044, first accessed on March 17, 2022.

[11] Most of Latin America (with the notable exception of the Republic of Colombia), most of the Middle East, most of Africa and the Peoples’ Republic of China have refrained from joining the anti-Russian crusade.

[12] For an example of how close we are to a terminal miscalculation, see Bedenko, Daria (2022).  “India Has Accidentally Fired Missile into Pakistan, Incident to Be Investigated – MoD”, Sputnik News, March 11, 2022, available at https://sputniknews.com/20220311/india-has-accidentally-fired-missile-into-pakistan-incident-to-be-investigated—mod-1093779228.html, first accessed on March 11, 2022.

Blithely Travelling on the Road to Perdition

This morning I read an article[1] in Consortium News, one of the few reliable sources of objective and critical information on national and international events in a world dominated by manipulative propaganda.  I recommend that it be read and shared widely.  I’ve provided details in the footnote below.  It warms me to think that, although it is perhaps a tiny club, the “sane” still, to some extent exist.  It also motivated me to make some observations as to how delusionally we permit ourselves to be governed.

These observations could have been shared at almost any time during the past two hundred years but seem even more relevant today when it seems obvious that the great experiments of 1789 have failed to fulfill their expectations, but that nonetheless, criticizing them is an intolerable heresy.  Still, the following question just won’t go away:

How reasonable is it to propagate a dysfunctional system, in this case, the oxymoron which the term democracy has come to represent? 

While direct democracy may somewhat function, its oligarchic variants, representative and participatory democracy have been utter failures.


First of all, as majority-premised representative systems, representative and participatory democracies require widespread participation by the citizenry with citizenship open to at least all adults impacted by governmental decisions.  Majority means more than 50% of the total, not more than fifty percent of a fraction, thus, in a real democratic system, non-participation at best qualifies as a negative vote.  In most so called democracies, the best that is attained is a plurality of those participating, i.e., a fraction of those participating larger than any other fraction, but all too frequently, less than the combination of all participating fractions and hence, not close to a majority.

Secondly, perhaps the most obvious characteristic of representative and participatory democracies is corruption in an ever expanding plethora of forms ranging from the concept of gerrymandering criticized but frequently implemented in the United States by all major parties, to structural rules designed to facilitate electoral fraud in the name of “counting every vote” (even those of people who don’t exist or vote several times and in diverse jurisdictions).  In addition to electoral fraud, there is fraud associated with false electoral promises by those elected, as to which there exist no means of enforcing compliance.  Finally, there is the massive use of deception in electoral campaigns by special interest groups meant to perpetuate governance by wealthy economic elites, now expanded beyond electoral campaigns into an omnipresent system of constant organized deception maintained through controlled corporate and social media and heavy handed censorship facilitated by the growth of communicative technology.

Even if representative and participatory democracies functioned as a means to permit rule by majorities, there is little hope that such rule would be just and equitable rather than selfishly oppressive of the rights of individuals and minorities.  Democracy is not synonymous with liberty and certainly not synonymous with the concept of individual or group rights.  One only has to consider the current “cancel culture” which the purportedly liberal “woke” seek to impose on everyone.

Finally, one has to take into account that political and economic power is not centered in political entities but rather, has been concentrated in systems that not only do not answer to political or judicial institutions, but rather, which effectively own and control them, and which use them to fleece the huge majority of people through endless wars either carried on directly or orchestrated through manipulation.  Manipulation through which the majority of the world’s resources are filtered in the form of “defense” expenditures necessary to orchestrate and fund wars.  The current United States and NATO orchestrated conflict between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine is only the latest example.  Such wars, are, ironically defended, in large part, as necessary, to expand the use of the dysfunctional representative or participatory forms of purported democracy described above.

As individuals at least many of us appear capable of discerning the situation in which we find ourselves. A form of slavery more or less comfortable for some but devastating to a huge segment of the world’s population.  As groups, however, sociological dynamics come into play which obfuscate our perceptions and render us all too easy to manipulate.  The concept of “others”, our opponents conceived of as brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and friends, seem, to disappear, along with our empathy, and society becomes polarized into an us-versus-them, self-destructive organism, one all too easy to control through tried and true divide-and-conquer strategies and tactics.

Given the foregoing, is there no hope?  Are there no better possible systems?  The answer is: probably.  Some form of meritocracy perhaps (not currently in vogue in the face of a “handicapper general” quota mentality).  Plato believed in a benign fascist führer based system led by an all-powerful philosopher king who could own nothing and have no family and would thus be immune to corruption.  Indeed, the concept of concentration of power in a dictatorship, not in a pejorative sense but representing the opposite of today’s popular purported division of power systems, was popular for limited periods in Republican Rome and is, in fact, an emergency feature in most modern governments under circumstances where governing efficiency is essential.  At the other end of the political spectrum lie anarchism and communism, both predicated on a belief that humans are innately good and that little or no governance is required, a philosophy to some extent shared by libertarians.  Somewhere in between one might hope lies an answer.  But implementation of reforms is almost impossible given the concentration of power everywhere in the hands of the most selfish, most ruthless and most corrupt who (as Donald Trump may have learned and Vladimir Putin may be learning) are not willing to accept any changes in a system that works so well for them and for their friends and families.

So we vote, at least some of us, then complain about the results; usually all of us.  And we continue to fruitlessly spin our wheels while, all around us, millions are murdered or sentenced to unfulfilled lives and early graves to feed the boundless greed of the very worst among us, many of whom are those who, in our ignorance, we most admire.

Like automatons we are programmed through purported entertainment, video games and news programs.  We grow to hate those who seem different (although in most cases the differences are illusory or minor), fighting over things that will not change, their continued existence being essential distractions from our real problems.  And we blithely continue on the road to perdition.

But to the tune of a Bing Cosby and Bob Hope road movie.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) 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 also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

[1] Brenner, Michael (March 5, 2022).  “War, Conflict & Enemies of Truth”, Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 66 — Monday, March 7, 2022.