Thanksgiving 2022

My reflections on the national holiday denominated Thanksgiving in the United States.

The concept seems beautiful.  A day on which to give thanks without asking for anything, just a general sense of gratitude directed at both our fellow men and women, and to a sense of the divine.  Unfortunately, it was a hypocritical concept since its inception set in stolen indigenous lands denominated New England by an intolerant and racist religious sect totally at odds with the humanitarian philosophy of the incarnate man, whom they judged divine and claimed to follow.  Of course, they were very much a reflection of the Romanized Jew, Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, and who swiped the emergent innovative Hebrew religious variant right from under the noses of its progeny.

As a “Pauline” rather than “Nazarene” sect, the conduct of the Pilgrims was utterly predictable.  Orthodox hypocrisy followed by virtual genocide.  Still, the thought is beatific and noble even if its implementation by the Pilgrims and Puritans in general fell far from the mark.  But that does not, in any sense, mean we need to do the same.  Or, more accurately, to keep doing the same.  It would be awesome if on this day of thanksgiving we dedicated ourselves, not just to watching football games and stuffing ourselves, but to replacing polarization with empathy and to doing unto others as we would have them do to us; and to insisting on a peaceful world were swords are beaten into plowshares and equity and justice reign and truth is relevant; and if we did so, not tomorrow but today.

I wonder if resolutions need, for some reason, to be limited to the New Year.
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© 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/.

“Divinimorphic”

“Divinimorphic”, an interesting hypothesis.  The obverse of anthropomorphic in the quest to contextualize the human-divine relationship, … whether real or fictional. 

It’s a term that should exist in the Abrahamic context if humans were made following a divine template, albeit, obviously, a deliberately imperfect template, which raises questions about what sort of divinity would strive for imperfection.  But the term apparently doesn’t exist, at least not yet.  What does that say about our religious studies programs?

Instead of “divinimorphism”, humans have seemingly anthropomorphized divinity, returning the favor by making our divinities imperfect as well.  A weird sort of symbiosis. 

So, “divinimorphic”, a neologism which ought to catch on.
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© 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/.

A Call for a Real Liberal, a Real Progressive Political Movement in the United States

As usual, the United States is embroiled in an armed conflict.  Since war is supposedly illegal, we no longer have them, we have police actions and special military operations and clandestine interventions, etc.  The latest, that one involving the Ukraine, is a bit different, a bit more Machiavellian.  The United States orchestrated it (with help from its NATO allies) and is financing it but is maintaining that it is not actively participating in it, other than through assuring and facilitating its continuance in order to weaken both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, regardless of the cost in lives and infrastructure for the Ukrainians (the United States designated tools) and perhaps, in the near future, if its luck holds, the Taiwanese.  That nuclear holocaust is a risk is irrelevant.  The ends, apparently, justify the means, and narrative management will take care of all but the radioactive fallout.

Thank goodness Donald Trump was eliminated to make the foregoing possible, after all, it’s a project started during the Clinton administration and implemented by the good old troika of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden (with an assist by Hunter).

So, how is the foregoing feasible, you know, with the United Nations Charter, the United States Constitution, etc.?  Well, well-orchestrated political dynamics in and through the United States certainly help.  There’s the purportedly defensive “North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, now morphed into a world-wide neoliberal enforcement organ predicated on “Mafian” principles; there’s the European Union, NATO’s echo chamber; and of course, there’s the  United States’ bipartisan dictatorship.

Let me explain the latter. 

There are two major political parties in the United States which, between them, split almost all political offices and posts at every level.  One, the Democratic Party, has under the leadership of a certain Nancy Pelosi, with the assistance of a certain Chuck Schumer, become monolithic in its voting patterns (except for two recalcitrant senators, one from West Virginia and one from Colorado, considered pariahs and traitors).  The other is a strange collection of feuding caucuses under divers, would be leaders, who find it difficult to govern.  Not a bad thing as Will Rogers, a noted political comedian from the first half of the twentieth century once noted when he explained that “no one’s life or property was safe while Congress was in session”.  Oddly, he was a Democrat and once described that political party in terms that now apply to its principle opponent.

Until fairly recently, interestingly enough, both parties were controlled by the same people, whose artfully planted moles in the federal bureaucracy shielded their interests from any populist threats.  Somehow that managed to briefly change in 2016, making formal and informal structural changes in the electoral system necessary in order to preserve democracy’s innocuousness.  After all, democracy’s supposed to be just for show.  The control by the unorganized but highly disciplined state within a state that some of us refer to as the Deep State was shaken, perhaps bent a bit but not broken, and it is now firmly back in place.  Thanks to an artfully crafted, controlled and managed “pandemic”.  A curse for many but a blessing for the privileged few who rule us.

But, what does the foregoing mean? 

Well, to all appearances, it means that ideology free monolithic autocracy and pragmatism have triumphed over principles, equity, democracy and liberty, nasty things the latter, every one.  Monolithic autocracy, is maintained, sustained and fueled by the hate, disdain and polarization which the Deep State, now a memeplex all its own, loves.  It sets us against each other domestically by gender, by race, by nationality, by sexual orientation, by religious beliefs and then does all it can to absolutely silence dissent through censorship, censorship directly by our government (all three branches) as well as through its allies in Internet technologies and platforms, and through abuse of the criminal justice system to attack political enemies, all while loudly accusing everyone else of doing exactly what it is it is in fact doing (the foregoing phrase kind of reminds us of the famous observation, “that depends on what the meaning of “is”, is).  There is a problem though.  Today, only the Democratic Party is sticking to the script, although a number of traditionalist Republicans keep trying to bring the good old GOP back into line.  But fortunately for the Deep State, at least right now, the Democratic Party controls all of the federal political branches (although how legitimate that control is and how it was attained is questioned by all too many potential voters; but that is irrelevant).

To the delight of the Deep State, that “Democratic” Party applies Deep State principles and tactics internationally, as well as domestically, seeking economic and political control by planting conflict everywhere which permits perpetual sowing of the profits of perpetual war, albeit in the name of peace, democracy and liberty.  And admittedly, those profits are not meant to be shared, at least not broadly.

To opponents of violence as a means of conflict resolution, to those to whom equity, truth and justice are somehow relevant, GOP traditionalists are not much better than Democrats, but at least the GOP is not monolithic, there is internal dissent expressed in actual congressional debates and non-uniformity of votes, with a wing led by Rand Paul that demands de-escalation of external conflicts and freedom of belief and speech at home, opposed to GOP traditionalists like the Cheneys and the Bushes.  And there are civic leaders like Tulsi Gabbard, an awesome statesperson, except for her Islamophobia, but she at least thinks for herself and is not owned by the billionaire class.  In truth, there are viable political leaders everywhere, in third parties and among those who refuse to be part of political parties (which have become the self-serving sectarians James Madison promised in the Federalist Papers would not evolve.  The anti-Federalists, unfortunately for us, were right on almost every point, as history has shown). 

Federal elections in the United States (now a dysfunctional mess as promoters of electoral fraud in the name of “democracy” obliterate traditional norms) are set to take place in a few weeks.  Elections that impact men, women and children everywhere, most of whom cannot participate as they are not United States citizens.  I wonder what would happen if they could?  How might all of the people in all of the countries that the United States has fragmented and looted, … purportedly for their own good (or at least that’s the story), usually under Democratic Party led administrations (think WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and now the Ukraine but that’s barely the tip of the iceberg) vote?  But they can’t, at least not unless they have managed to enter the United States and surreptitiously usurp the franchise, … and vote for the Democratic Party.

The foregoing makes United States voters committed to peace and equity morally responsible for selecting world leaders who really believe in peace and in sane environmental policies and in sustainable economics and in equity and in real justice.  A daunting task at which we too often fail because our choices are drastically limited to those of whom the Deep State approves.  As to those who do not come up to Deep Sate standards, well, not that he was great, or even decent, but look at what happened and is happening to Donald Trump, whose main crime is that he does not believe in perpetual war and dared to suggest dismantling NATO and bringing troops back from overseas.  Look at what happened to Tulsi Gabbard, the star of the Democratic Party’s presidential debates until the rules were changed to exclude her.  Look at what happened to Dennis Kucinich, gerrymandered out of a congressional district by his own party (the Democrats, who with crocodile tears now constantly scream against gerrymandering, at least any gerrymandering that is not their own).

All of this is possible only because, notwithstanding the famous “First Amendment”, the United States does not have (and really, never has had) a legitimate free press but rather, only purported journalists tasked with spewing mind-controlling narrative on a 24/7 basis.  There are, of course, miniscule exceptions, exceptions like the imprisoned Julian Assange and those who look up to him, but there are less and less of those as more and more realize on which side their bread is buttered, or how dangerous it is to actually investigate and honestly share findings.

So, … as elections once again approach, we, the electorate, find ourselves confused, bored, disillusioned and disinterested, anticipating results we feel are preordained.  Except of course, for dedicated and either well compensated or deluded Deep State activists, some of whom, like lemmings, vote in blocks regardless of how often they have been deceived.  But then, that’s what polarization is for.

Going into these imminent elections, we are once again unprepared for alternatives, either because they have been prevented from evolving or because the corporate press and social media moguls have obfuscated them.  At best, once more, we can vote against greater evils, although they are difficult to identify.  If only Tulsi Gabbard could run for everything, but alas, she’s not running for anything, although she has endorsed a few candidates.  Still, perhaps by recently resigning from the Democratic Party (but not joining the GOP), she has provided a sort of benchmark for our personal electoral decisions.

Too many of the most decent among us will refuse to participate in what they see as a charade but that may well perpetuate the Deep State’s hold on power, and that, in turn, may well accelerate the day on which our political decisions will no longer have any relevance, as the universe may at last find itself rid of the infection posed by our species, decisions which will no longer be relevant as our, and many innocent species, will no longer inhabit this sphere we call home.  Is that a depressing or hopeful thought?  I guess that depends on one’s attitude towards being rebooted.

Not that there isn’t hope for a peaceful world.  One where equity and justice prevail; where truth is relevant and where we are each not only free, but empowered to attain or full potential.  But that requires a great awakening and a rejection of those who currently enforce de facto, if not de jure slavery over so many, either in a pretty velvet casing or through brute force.  Rejection of those dedicated to ruling us through polarization and perpetual war.  Rejection of those who hoard the world’s resources forcing hundreds of millions to live in abject poverty and to die or be maimed in meaningless conflicts.

There is a saying that it is always darkest before the dawn and it is pretty dark right now.
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© 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/.

Some Observations and Reflections as we Once Again Head to the Polls in an Existential Election

I am not and never have been a supporter of former president Donald J. Trump but I’ve defended him against the myriad false and misleading accusations to which he’s been subjected.  I also recognize the current witch hunt against denominated “Election Deniers” for what it is.  That’s because as a dual United States Colombian citizen, I have the benefit of a somewhat broader historical perspective. 

For example, the events surrounding the 2020 federal elections that crystalized in the protests turned violent on January 6, 2020, as well as the ensuing government reaction have an analog in recent Colombian history.  Current Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, was, in his youth, part of an insurgency (unfortunately armed) against the theft of the 1972 presidential election in Colombia by a coalition of the two traditional parties, an insurgency known as the M-19, a movement that was not a communist conspiracy, as described by its detractors, but one whose goal was to protect both democracy and liberty.  The insurgency soon lost its focus and egregious acts against the innocent public resulted but eventually, a positive although very slow healing process ensued, culminating first in a new constitution, and eventually, in Colombia’s recent presidential elections where for the first time in its history, a progressive movement emerged victorious.

The United States is currently experiencing a similar crisis.  While it is probably impossible to determine that electoral fraud in 2020 was enough to impact the electoral results, there is little doubt that, as in every federal election in United States history, some fraud occurred, and that the electoral mechanisms introduced in 2020 purportedly due to necessities imposed by the apparent Covid 19 crisis (a crisis now deemed by many as artificial at best), mechanisms such as mass mailing of electoral ballots and acceptance of completed ballots through intermediaries, facilitated the process for vote harvesting and the buying and selling of electoral ballots.  At least some credible allegations of electoral fraud were raised but as in the case in Colombia in 1972, they were neither seriously investigated by responsible government agencies nor prosecuted, leading a large segment of the electorate to question the election’s legitimacy.  The refusal to investigate the allegations and instead, to investigate and in too many cases, to prosecute those who made them (either in judicial proceedings or through Congressional hearings designed to impact future elections) have led to the complete polarization of the United States electorate at levels threatening domestic tranquility.

Insurgencies are usually the result of justice blatantly denied leading to a loss of faith in all governing institutions deemed responsible for the repression of democracy and liberty (two very different things).  That sometimes, although fairly rarely, leads to popular reaction, something detractors refer to as “populism”.  Populism is neither a right wing nor a left wing phenomenon and examples in recent United States history include the ill-led Sanders revolution (which flopped) and the Tea Party revolution (which succeeded until it was stamped out).  It is thus a phenomenon which occurs when a significant segment in any given society rejects constitutional institutions designed to hamstring democracy and decide to really “throw the rascals out”, although all too frequently without having reflected on with whom or what they’ll be replaced. 

It may be that populism is the only thing that can save the world in which we find ourselves, today although hopefully (as is the current case in Colombia), with a well thought out and planned alternative ready for implementation.  The traditional parties in the United States are leading the world deeper and deeper into a dystopic disaster and need to be replaced. Not all options are viable and many are worse than the “disease” they need to eradicate (kind of like the Covid 19 vaccines seem to be), but some options are indeed viable and additional options can be crafted by men and women of good will who want to maximize debate while minimizing polarization, and to find common ground for solutions while acknowledging that, where consensus cannot be attained, in a democracy, there are things which are beyond the legitimate control of government.  That minds and hearts are not changed by ridicule, censorship and false narratives (at least not in the long term), but that long term solutions are desperately needed if our species is to survive.

While it is losing respect and influence everywhere, the United States is still powerful enough militarily and through control of mechanisms of international finance (with ill conceived, unfair and illegal economic sanctions) to create havoc almost everywhere.  Thus United States politics impacts people everywhere and its elections are of universal import.  Indeed, it would seem normal and justifiable for people all over the world to seek to impact the elections in a would-be hegemon (what after the 2016 elections was hypocritically referred to as foreign meddling), given that the results of such lections are likely to impact their own future, and even, their survival.  Once again, as seems to happen at least every other year, existential United States elections are again at play.  Once again, we are again about to go to the polls without viable options, but at least some fundamental things are clear:

  • One political party and the traditionalist remnants of the other are totally controlled by the state within the state many of us refer to as the Deep State (unelected bureaucrats, corporate news media, intelligence agencies, billionaire technocrats, etc.) and are dedicated to perpetual war in quest of worldwide political and economic dominance for the benefit of a tiny few, albeit claiming to merely be seeking racial and gender justice and recognition of human rights, purported rights they themselves violate constantly. 
  • The other is comprised of confused and angry populists who know in their hearts that the “system” is not their friend and who seek solutions mainly in what they mistakenly recall as a better past. 

Not great options, but the reality is that one party is willing to risk the survival of humanity, and the other is not.  A crude choice, … at least for now.  A third alternative is one being crafted by an interesting albeit imperfect stateswoman, a former United States Congresswoman who concurrently served as a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaiian National Guard but who abhors war.  However, she has neither a political party’s backing nor an organized political movement fielding candidates in the next election, although there are a few candidates she is supporting, without regard to their current political affiliations.  Her name is Tulsi Gabbard and she recently resigned as a member of the Democratic Party, recognizing it for what it was become.  It may be that her recommendations and endorsements are worth considering.

Most of us want very similar things.  A world without war.  Economic and personal security.  The ability to successfully raise and protect our families.  Access to real justice with respect to resolution of interpersonal and international conflicts.  Freedom to think and to express ourselves however we want free of censorship of any kind and free from those who insist that we think and believe as they do, even if we are wrong (it may well be that only by being free to make mistakes will we ever be able to be experienced enough to find correct solutions).  A world free of international organizations like NATO whose goal is to dominate others through military force, and to force conflict on societies whose people derive no benefits from the ensuing mayhem (e.g., the Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Palestine, etc.).  A country that spends its citizens’ hard earned money for education, healthcare, infrastructure and a social safety net rather than on foreign military bases and a bloated defense industry.  What seems clear is that the political party than now controls all political branches of government at the federal level and which has turned the federal bureaucracy into an Americanized version of the Gestapo is an unmitigated disaster in every respect and should be consigned to the dust heaps of history, and that were it possible, its leaders and elected officials should somehow be barred from ever again participating in political leadership, or indeed, leadership of any kind. 

This is not an endorsement of the GOP but rather a rejection of the Democratic Party and a plea for consideration of new alternative political options.  Your survival depends on the evolution of new viable alternatives and unfortunately we are no longer dealing with a long term solution but rather, with one which requires immediate action.

Please consider the foregoing when you go to the polls in a few weeks.  Please also consider sharing the foregoing observations.
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© 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/.

A Measure of Sad Times

He is very sensitive to all kinds of external stimuli, which he internalizes and, after profound reflection, synthesizes and sometimes grasps an idle lie.  And he loves music, he considers it the primordial language, the most effective language, one speaking directly to the soul.  But for some reason, of late, he has not wanted to heed it.  An affirmative wanting not to listen to it.  And he is perplexed, he doesn’t understand the why of it.  But, then again, there are so many things he just can’t comprehend.

Perhaps it has something to do with the state of the world.  With the current dearth of truth and omnipresence of vitriol and violence. 

Music, without words, he has long believed, rarely lies, except perhaps for martial music.  In that case, it’s as though music was forced to perform, like a beautiful woman being ravished.  Beauty turned inside out and violated.  National anthems tend to follow that pattern, at least frequently.  Unfortunately, he’s come to feel that, like a virus, that pattern seems to be spreading.  Marketing “jingles” of course almost always lie, as do their political variants.  And they’ve overtaken beautiful instrumentals, symphonies and boleros and gipsy inspired variants of flamencos.

Words can apparently pervert anything, and he wonders at the folk wisdom that claims speech evolved to facilitate deception, and thus, of course, the legal profession, and journalism, and politics. But then, what of poetry?

It has dawned on him that truth is not always beautiful and that beauty is all too frequently dishonest.  Even, he guesses, where music is involved.  Perhaps it’s that epiphany that has him down.  Perhaps it is reflections such as these that are muddling and blocking his instinctive love, indeed his need, for music. 

A measure of sad times. 

Perhaps that’s what Don McLean once sensed when he wrote his epic and second best song (Vincent was the very best), without realizing it.

“A long, long time, ago, I can still remember how the music used to make me smile ….”
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© 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 Passing of Mikhail Gorbachev

He was a courageous and creative humanitarian, ironically the product of a justifiably paranoid regime, a man whose vision for a just world, where individual and collective interests might be reconciled, was thwarted by the power mad egoists who rule us in the so-called West. 

As Yeshua ben Miriam is reported to have observed, “a prophet has no honor in his own home”, and so, he is all too frequently blamed in Russia for the misery occasioned by his successor, Boris Yeltsin, who virtually sold Russia to Western backed gangsters, a prelude to our modern, post-truth world.  But some of us who were both alive and alert at the time know the truth: he almost singlehandedly ended the age of the Iron Curtain and the first Cold War. 

Unfortunately, he naively felt that leaders in the United States, Germany and NATO shared his vision, and he and Russia were promptly betrayed.  Something from which the Chinese and the current Russian leadership appear to have learned.

It may be a long time before a conciliator of his stature appears on the world stage at an opportune moment, a long time we perhaps no longer have.
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© 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/.

Reflections on the Nature of Divinity, and on its Delusions

Why do I feel compelled to take up the defense of those society considers the worst of the worst when, once upon a long time ago, as an attorney, I refused to either defend or prosecute, preferring to walk away from the legal profession, having sensed that it was soiled?

I don’t mean just ordinary villains, but legendarily evil forces like Lucifer and Cain?  Why do I sense that both history and myth have misjudged them and that it is my role to make their cases, at least through my writings?  Why do I sense that the entity so many of us humans worship is the real villain and that my role is to defend them and expose him, not only to my fellow beings but to the purported Divinity as well?   The Divinity I promised to seek so very long ago, and to honor whether I found him or not? 

With all due respect to current and ancient matriarchic and feminist concepts, the Divinity to which I allude definitely seems masculine, although perhaps not uniquely divine.

The evidence seems clear.  Being prescient, omniscient and omnipotent the mythical Abrahamic Divinity would also have to be guilty of every wrong ever committed, at least derivatively, and even more, the ultimate entrapper.  Lucifer’s sin was to love too much in the face of disdain, and, innocent Cain had no way to know that his actions would have terminal consequences.  Death was virginal then.  So how to convince the Divinity of his guilt, and that the only way to assuage such guilt is to admit the truth (there go the Bible and the Torah and the Koran), to seek the forgiveness of his victims and to make restitution.  In essence, to keep the promises originally made to Adam and Eve, and perhaps even more so, the promises to Lilith of which we’ve not been made privy. 

Why does this seem so clear to me but anathema to most?

Just what happened along the way that turned me into a contrarian?  Was it possibly Divinity itself who, in placing negative as well as positive aspects of destiny in my path, maneuvered me into this role?  Perhaps as a means of permitting itself to face its own guilt, and perhaps helping it assuage it an eventually heal?  Is that what the novel I started a decades ago is about and perhaps why, to make me understand complexities, it then placed Inanna’s avatars so precariously in my life?

Are good and evil inverted reflections in a chaotic sea, shifting with the setting sun and rising moon?

How can I ever know unless I accept the challenge and either succeed or fail?

So many questions.  And proof may be all around me, all around all of us; the world as it is seems so incoherent that it may well be proof that divinity and infernity are not what we’ve been led to believe.  Perhaps my contrarian intuition is the ultimate tool in my quiver, the one that long, long ago, at age seven, first led me to question the nature of the divine, and reject our age old conclusions.

Who’d have thought that after rejecting the legal profession as immoral I’d accept the ultimate contingency case?  Apparently someone or something did, which is why I am what I am and how I am, the essence of the inchoate but the inchoate always remains to be seen.

Infernal reflections?

Perhaps.
_______

© 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/.

Conan the Barber

He was not related to the much better known Cimmerian after whom he’d been named, although, like him, he was somewhat expert in the use of sharp implements, just not in the same manner.  Actually, in a very different manner with very different goals and very different results.  His only involved butchering when he failed, while his namesake engaged in that activity when he was most successful, at least in his own lights.

Robert E. Howard would probably not have thought much about Conan the Barber, although, perhaps, he might have patronized him, as might his great albeit very different pal, H. P. Lovecraft.  But this Conan also took his profession seriously, and at times engaged in cosmetogolical competitions where, every once in a great while, his creations emerged victorious.

It may well be that he took as much care of his scissors and razors and blades as his namesake did of his swords and spears and lances and arrows, so in that, at least, they were similar.  And of course, they were both Cimmerians, although not many people today know just what that entailed.  For readers who have no idea, well, according to a popular source that will remain unnamed due to its erratic reputation for accuracy, they were “a nomadic Indo-European people, who appeared about 1000 BC”, originating in the Pontic-Caspian steppe but subsequently migrating “into Western Asia and into Central and Southeast Europe”.  Interesting definition, especially the part about “originating in the Pontic-Caspian steppe”, since it begs the question, … well, where were they before that, did they spontaneously come to life there, perhaps from a bit of molded clay onto which a stray divine wind blew?  I would guess that they were a link in the chain of tribes that for diverse reasons kept pulsing out of central Asia, perhaps out of what is now Mongolia, and scaring the hell out of their neighbors who cascaded south and west.  But that’s just my unsubstantiated guess, which is as good as yours.

One wonders what kind of coiffeurs our Conan specialized in, whether he ever invented any, perhaps the Mohawk, or the Pictian spike look, or, perhaps, the faux bald look so popular nowadays.  I can almost see him, concentrating profoundly and perhaps fantasizing about his name sake as he clipped and scraped and combed and parted and started the process all over again.  One wonders if he had a special flair, perhaps a unique style, and what kinds of faces he made as he worked, perhaps as though he were a bass player in a late twentieth century New Orleans late night dive, lost in his melodies.

Of course, in antiquity and even not so long ago, barbers were also sort of surgeons, and engaged in therapeutic, curative bleeding, hence today’s barber poles.  It would be sort of ironic if our Conan was a healer, rather than one who generated a massive need for healers.  Kind of symbiotic.

What about his clothing?  Was it as minimal as his namesake’s?  Did he wear loincloths or trousers, beads or shirts, and what was his own hair like?  Did he change his look frequently or prefer a classic, easy to recognize look that would identify him?  Was it long, short, or somewhere in between?

Was he a contemporary of his name sake?  Not likely, unless, of course, he was twenty or thirty years younger, a lifetime in those days.  Did his namesake ever meet him, perhaps patronize him, and, if so, in what sense?  Double entendre possibilities abound there.

Interestingly, many millennia later, at least a few people have taken to the name and appellation, check out twitter, and evidently there’s also a current musician who uses that name, and not a few barber shops.  So his legacy too lives on.

“Conan the Barber”, a nice ring.  Was it a given name, an adopted name or, perhaps, a professional moniker?

Guess we’ll never know.  Regardless of how carefully one “combs” through the related chronicles compiled by Messier Howard, not a trace of Conan the Barber can be gleaned.  Then, of course, perhaps one would need a sleuth out of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s imagination to take up that particular task, although, why would he.

Wouldn’t it be something if Sherlock Holmes’ creator was somehow distantly related to either of our protagonists?  Of course, after so many generations of intermingled genes, almost anything is possible.
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© 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/.

Alta Rei Publicae et Veritatis Inopia

Another in a series of probably non-productive rants, — but, … who knows?

How does one capture a reader’s attention enough so that, curious, he or she will at least glance at what one publishes?  The infamous “hook”?  I confess that I may well have no idea, so this time, I thought I’d use a title in Latin.  We’ll see how that works.  In this case, the title deals with the association between the dearth of truth at all levels, and the rise and predomination of “deep states”.

As a young historian during the 1970’s, I first taught history along official lines.  Eventually, however, I came to realize that the “official versions of history” were contradictory and incoherent[1].  My epiphany started, appropriately enough, with the Abrahamic sacred texts (the Talmud, Bible and Koran), in large part, based on observations with which I became acquainted, first by Sigmund Freud in his book, Moses and Monotheism, then in Lloyd M. Graham’s Deceptions and Myths of the Bible and Isaac Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, and then based on a torrent of other sources which made clear that the Talmud, the Bible and the Koran were, more than anything, fictitious narratives seeking to justify genocide and other aberrations in order to promote the Abrahamic faiths.  Given that such bedrocks of Western civilization seemed fallacies, I followed up with other critical supposedly historical events and found them equally unreliably reported.  That seemed especially true in the areas that I taught at the time with respect to the causes ascribed to armed conflicts such as the American Revolution and subsequent Civil War, the two acknowledged World Wars, the purported Cold War (really a collection of small hot wars interspersed with coups d’état and political interventionism) and the current crises in the Middle East.  In short, just about everything. 

One of my most disturbing epiphanies (or possible epiphanies) is that what we’ve been taught about the horrors of the Nazi regime in the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century was only partially accurate, and that the entire truth was much more disturbing.  Clearly, evil lay pretty equally divided on all sides (think Hiroshima and Nagasaki, only the tip of the iceberg).  Like the ancient Hebrews, the British especially, and their progeny, the United States and now NATO, have been especially adept at demonizing their adversaries while whitewashing their own inequity.  For example, taking an extreme case, an objective analysis of Nazi policies during its Third Reich would lead to the conclusion that the regime was extremely successful in social programs, medicine, education, urban and rural renewal, transportation, manufacturing and scientific research but, of course, it is most remembered for its racism, xenophobia and mass murder.  However, the latter also pretty much describes the European-United States-Israeli colonial regimes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, assuming anyone is daring enough to undertake a similar objective analysis, an analysis that ought to be reflected in future history books (except that, as in the case of journalism, history is rarely if ever accurately or truthfully recorded and taught).  It is only a very efficient system of public relations that whitewashes and distorts the numerous misadventures by the Western Allies (think Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Latin America and Africa in general, and other invasions, interventions and regime changes too numerous to mention), in reality all too similar to purported historical villainies by our adversaries and no different than the horrors visited on all sides during the first and Second World wars, including the Holocaust (See, e.g., Chris Hedges: “NATO — Most Dangerous Military Alliance on Planet”; Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 189–Monday July 11, 2022).

We cannot change history and reporting of current events (our future history) is following historical deficiencies which are, in all likelihood, assuring that historical mistakes will not be corrected, or even acknowledged.  For example, take the current Ukrainian situation, an exercise in destructive fiction if ever there was one.  An objective historian, analyzing the current Ukrainian crisis, would note that it involves the sacrifice of the Ukrainian people and of their infrastructure, wealth and natural bounties in order to derail Russian efforts to attain reasonable security and economic welfare and, as importantly, to prevent Chinese economic progress to predominate, ending the unipolar, hegemonic aspirations of the United States and threatening to derail the economic cornucopia enjoyed by ill named Western “defense” industries.

It seems clear to virtually everyone (except, perhaps to cancel-culture-woke-warriors) that we live in a post truth world, although that begs the question of whether or not truth has ever really been a driving force among our species.  We disagree as to who is deluding whom but we are certain that delusion reigns.  As unfortunate as it’s been predictable, narrative control has become an effective science thanks to behaviorist theories and their manipulative tools made famous by psychologist and author, B.F. Skinner almost a century ago.  For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Skinner, he was Eric Arthur Blair’s (known to us by his pen name, George Orwell) chief intellectual antagonist and believed that the techniques criticized by Orwell in his two most famous dystopian masterpieces, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, were actually beneficent and could be used to mold us into a more humane species (see his answer to Orwell, the novel Walden II), as today’s counter-culture-woke-warriors also seem to believe.  Behaviorism has successfully eliminated empathy from our lives and filled the gap with polarization, to the delight of our “betters” (at least as they perceive themselves), who so adeptly manipulate our emotions and minimize our use of reason.

The foregoing brings us to the concept of “deep states”, a phenomenon forecast by Eric Arthur Blair under the phrase, “Big Brother”.  The concept of “deep states” haunt our realities.  By a “deep state”, I and others apparently afflicted by “civic insomnia” mean that informal complex of government functionaries (elected but also and perhaps especially, unelected), purported journalists, internet platform owners, intelligence agencies, “think” tanks, major universities and, of course, multinational corporations and the elite billionaire class that, in one fashion or another, own them all, and which are the means through which democracy and liberty are rendered into oligarchies subservient to the whims of the few.

Until the right wing populist tide in the United States unexpectedly, indeed shockingly, brought Donald Trump to the verisimilitude of power (real power remained vested in our deep state, as he quickly discovered), the United States’ version of the deep state lay well camouflaged despite the attempt by President Dwight David Eisenhower to expose it in early 1961 (see “President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address”).  Well camouflaged perhaps but successful, with success measured by the increasing accumulation of wealth and power by the unscrupulously at the cost of starvation and poverty for the majority of our planets denizens.  Accumulation so thorough and complete that the vast majority of the world’s wealth is owned by one tenth of one percent of the global population while more than half of the world’s children go to sleep hungry each and every night. 

Such accumulation of wealth is defended by those who possess it as the fruit of diligence, prudence and discipline but, as French economist Thomas Piketty made clear to us in his epic Le Capital au XXIe siècle (Capital in the Twenty-First Century), such wealth was not accumulated through hard work but through fortuitous financial manipulation, inheritance, and the blessings of constant armed conflict (see, Scott Ritter’s latest article, “The Fantasy of Fanaticism” (Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 174–- Saturday, June 25, 2022), as well as that of John J. Mearsheimer, “The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis” published in The National Interest based on a speech he made to the European University Institute in Florence on Thursday, June 16, 2022).  For a general description of the morass in which we find ourselves, I recommend Tom Valovic’s article entitled “The Corporatization of Just About Everything” in Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 183–- Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

Deep states are a phenomenon prevalent primarily in states whose governments are superficially structured as “western style democracies” (just as the Roman Empire vestigially maintained the populist institutions prevalent in the Roman Republic) with their democratic aspirations subverted through manipulation of available information.  In such contexts, truth is as elusive today as evil is ubiquitous.  Of course, with so very many of us effectively somnambulant in the United States (the most powerful country controlled by a deep state), those conditions are all too easy to maintain. 

As in the famous foreign policy doctrine of “divide and conquer”, domestic control essential for the implementation of global policies requires the replacement of empathy with polarization through the creation of illusory divisive issues that distract us from solving actual problems to which they are tied.  Thus we rail about abortion and the right to bear arms, and historical monuments and even, the misadventures of our favorite sports teams, while we watch propaganda laced “entertainment” spewing out of Hollywood and we insult each other and donate, a dollar at a time, to purportedly benign existential causes to be decided based on fraudulent elections, as The World Turns”.

With truth passé and replaced by fictitious, manipulative narrative, deep states thrive as we drown.  We have become a diseased society, the collective victims of a sort of social cancer who perhaps do not deserve to survive.  We have been artfully molded into an amazingly gullible and cognitively challenged society whose members refuse to accept their individual and collective responsibility for the consequences of political cowardice and gullibility.  The reality is that, rail as we do against our favorite villains, each of us who shares in the responsibility of political participation but supports a version of the deep state shares in the responsibility for the emerging Holocaust towards which we are racing as though we were Olympic sprinters.  It is claimed that Albert Einstein once defined insanity as continuing to engage in the same conduct while expecting different results.  That is what we do during each purported existential election (they are all characterized in that fashion) where we are required to compromise our values in order to save civilization by electing evil people in order to prevent even more evil people from attaining power, this despite a plethora of other options (e.g., Tulsi Gabbard).

We are being herded to our own metaphorical incineration chambers just as surely as were the Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals and Catholics and Slavs (contrary to current dogma, the Holocaust was a multicultural affair) who were gassed and then cremated in Nazi “death camps” (interestingly, in a morbid sense, concentration camps were invented by the British during the Boer Wars and adopted by the United States with respect to its Japanese citizens during World War II, and to Muslims during its more recent Middle East misadventures).  Unfortunately, as in their case and as in the case of today’s Ukrainians, we just can’t believe that it’s true.  So we ignore reality and suffer on, complacent because at last others suffer much more, … because of us.  Besides, we have our sports teams to worry about, and beauty pageants, and soap operas, and Netflix binges, and bingo, etc.  And we also have to meddle in each other’s affairs, finding fault everywhere but in our mirrors.

So, about the relationship of evil to the dearth in veracity?  Pure, undistilled 24 karat evil resides prominently among us and its purest strains exude from those among us, who, without even needing Tolkien’s one ring, rule us all and bind us to their will, albeit with velvet chains, as we sleepwalk where poppies daren’t grow.
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© 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/.


[1] Credible alternative versions of United States history include Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States and the Gore Vidal series of historical novels, Narratives of Empire.

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.
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© 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/.