Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World

Given that, unless a truly dark horse emerges amidst a tsunami of voters who finally find their courage and discard their blinders, I’ll need to dull my sensibilities a bit, … so, … I’m about to settle in to abide our continuing dystopia, re-reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Thank goodness for decent whiskey, although Irish is hard to find here so I’ll settle for Scotch.

A prelude first though.  An introductory act to set the stage.

“A rant, a rant, my kingdom for a rant”, although not being a king, or a prince, or a duke, or a count, that may not get me much of a rant.  So, “Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World”!  What might that mean the week before another ultimate existential presidential election in the United States, where “the sky is really falling this time, …  Honest mister”!  An election too much like the last one albeit with an even worst Democratic Party candidate, but a Hell of a lot more manipulation by the media and pollsters and Deep State operatives, and Hollywood celebrities basking in their self-proclaimed wisdom.  As it was back at the end of the second war to end all wars but which like the first, utterly failed in its mission thus wasting tens upon tens upon tens of millions of lives, now become hundreds upon hundreds of millions, it is again the Russians who are being blamed, although they are no longer Stalinist-communists, or communists at all really.  And of course the Chinese, and the Iranians, and perhaps the Venezuelans and Nicaraguans and Syrians and who knows who else too.  Paranoia???  Who, .. us?  Is there a reason mirror sales are down and those of deceptive self-portraits of ourselves-in-others’-faces are up?  And “selfies”, well what can one say about that phenomenon.  And what is “sexting” all about (and why didn’t it exist when I had something to sext about?)

Or perhaps the title should be different, perhaps something like “Reflections on a Dank and Dark, All Hollows Eve”, but one where Halloween parties are outlawed under Puritan anti-fun strictures in their modern day, politically correct incarnations, and “tricks or treats” are what our major political parties play at, constantly and consistently”, but that seems a bit lengthy.  “Observations from Deep within Dark Shadows in a Blairian World” it is then although, from “Utopia to Dystopia” fits rather nicely as well

Anyway, …

Back to Animal Farm!

Sooo, to start:  George Orwell, a name associated with dystopia, both in fairy-tales-of-sorts and science fiction.  Who and what was he to have become so prescient?  A much more eloquent Edgar Cayce perhaps; a more transparent Nostradamus.  Or a Cassandra for our times.  And politically?  Anti-communist conservatives have loved him for three quarters of a century, but so have anarchists and liberals and libertarians.  So, what was he?

A “democratic socialist”, of course, what else?  Like Einstein and Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  And, until recently, Noam Chomsky.  But, then, we wasn’t even really George Orwell.  I’d forgotten that George Orwell was a pen name; that he has really christened Eric Blair and thus, instead of Orwellian, our world is Blairian.  That he had transplanted roots that saw first light in South Asia, solid colonialist British Civil service roots, and that he as an “Eatonite”, fabulously incongruous, although not a happy Eatonite.  And I’m only at the third page of the 1996 Russell Baker preface.  This should be fun.

….

So, I’ve finished the preface and wonder how Russell Baker could have been more mistaken in his jubilant optimism at the “defeat” of the dark forces Blair and Huxley and Koestler had identified.  Indeed, Baker’s heroes are, in fact, today’s villains, virtually identical in all too many respects to the bad guys of the second war to end all wars, just more subtly so and with better narrative creative control.  Thus Zionist-Israel, almost incredibly, mirrors the Nazis (how Blairian) and the United States, as it has always been, remains true to the worst of the British, those islanders who have for centuries been as ruthless and deadly as any of the axis powers but have impacted many more people for a really long time, a record the United States seems determined to break.

….

On to the C. M. Woodhouse introduction.  “Woodhouse”, that name has a pleasant populist ring to it but set amidst aristocratic anglophilic echoes.  One wonders at its origins, perhaps in the mists, humble, but then, its evolution steadily climbing, until, ….  Then again, how is the name “Baker” any different?  Blair deserved better “introductors”, although Woodhouse was not bad, just not phantasmagorical or truly prescient, although, unlike Baker who was “prefacing within a decade of Animal Farm’s publication, Woodhouse had a half century during which to observe and ponder, still, it was a meaningful decade, one that introduced us to the GOP’s Joe McCarthy, now apparently a Democratic Party icon.  Interesting that for some utterly inexplicable reason, that makes me wonder what one of my childhood heroes, Walter R. Brooks’ Freddy the Pig, would have thought of his literary species-mate and star of Animal Farm (at least as seen from his own mirror), “Napoleon”.  And Napoleon, of course, makes me think of bees.  No bees in the book though, at least none that I can recall.

So, on to the book itself.  It’s been a decade over a half century since I first read it (three score years I think that is), and, more’s the pity, that long since I last read it as well.  I was a high school student then, also reading things like Ayn Rand’s mysteriously mystical blend of pseudo-philosophy which, for some reason, had no place for widows or orphans or for the residual detritus of endless wars.  I’ve morphed frequently since then, wondering just yesterday whether, in fact, there is anything behind my own mask, or anyone else’s for that matter, except, of course, for very young children, perhaps the only real human beings among us, assuming that being human is a good thing.

“Napoleon”, sheeesh!!!  How British to name the villain after the only real threat the British Empire ever faced, yester-year’s “Hitler”, which makes one wonder if perceptions concerning that most infamous of Austrians will ever change.  Napoleon certainly has, in every direction possible, not surprising given his complex character and even more complex genius, flaws and all, and his apparently acquired taste for arsenic as a seasoning.  But, … in Animal Farm “Napoleon” it is.  Ironic given his association as a porcine with Joseph Stalin (who we are told, Blair intended to excoriate in the novel), the Man of Steel (almost contemporaneously with the introduction of Superman) who did to the Nazis what Czar Alexander did to the French in the preceding century.  But we all have our ethnic prejudices to “bear”.  Perhaps it’s a sort of karma.

“Moses, the tame raven, the spy, a treacherous prophet preaching the importance of accepting things as they are, and of enjoying rewards for such predelictive apathy in the afterlife.  A very clever metaphor without varying the name, just the form.  “Sugarcandy Mountain”, like the Abrahamic variants of Heaven, in this case seemingly premised on a delightfully addictive poison, a Marxian opiate of sorts for the Animalist masses.  Clever fellow that the Moses, the original as well as the Blairian.  Damned apples and milk too!!!  Especially the apples.  Again the fruit at the center of the demise of a fledgling Paradise, the forbidden fruit that the One had reserved to himself now once again reserved to the privileged few, a metaphor morphing into allegory, … but why pick on the milk?

The coup by Napoleon and the subsequent perpetual threat of the return of Jones and demonization of the Trotskyite “Snowball” is, of course, all too familiar, but now, today, it is unexpectedly echoed in the perpetual calls to beware the Russians, and the Chinese, and the constantly replicated Russiagate fraud.  As in Animal Farm, truth in the United States has become utterly irrelevant, hypocrisy rampant, and while Stalin is very, very long dead, as is the Soviet Union, they are still all too useful in ways Blair may have foreseen but perhaps tactically misunderstood.  I wonder if he believed that any of the international political contenders at the time wore white hats?  Certainly none of the principle contenders in the United States have since Blair wrote Animal Farm (although I did like Ike, but I was very young then).  Still, saving the worst for last, sort of, journalists today have assumed a role combining the porcine Napoleon’s trained dogs (my apologies to canines everywhere for the comparison) and “Squealer”, the pig.

….

Finished, yuck!

Done once again, and once again it seems so easy to transpose this inspired collection of metaphors into allegory, and allegory into dismay.  The observation “we have seen the enemy and he is us” comes to mind, both in the sense of our gullibility on the one hand (Boxer the wonderful horse), our pernicious bleating on another (the sheep, so reminiscent of protestors for fun and profit who deprive everyone else of the right to an opinion, while not really holding one of their own), the utterly selfish self-propagating elites (the pigs) on one foot (having run out of hands) but especially, those who so consistently distort the truth and rewrite our history (“Squealer”) and make possible every travesty and betrayal, our purported journalists (I prefer not to speculate to what bodily appendage or part I ought to ascribe them).  Without them, evil cannot prosper, or at least prosper for long.

Eric Blair is beyond the veil, he has been for a long time, but as is the case with the Trojan princess and seeress Cassandra, with Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Gore Vidal and with myriads of other fruitless prophets, possibly watching us, glad to no longer be incarnate among us.

Animal Farm, a depressing fairy tale, but one very worth reading.

Next, a reread of Eric Blair’s “1984”.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; 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 consultant 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.

So, … Just Which Lives Matter and Why?

Echoes of Cassandra, and of Huxley and Orwell, and of Heinlein as well.  The counterintuitive blues.  Perhaps our hidden pandemic.  The real plague among us.  Our mirrors don’t seem to work anymore.  Narrative is all that counts.  “Resistance is futile”!

As so often happens, diverse parts of the world are being stricken by social convulsions, spontaneity now become a carefully organized production.  Good causes immediately perverted into evil.  Sauron wins again.  At least for now.  As usual, the United States is the focal point the catalyst, and then, the betrayer.

Although denominated “Black Lives Matter”, the movement convulsing the United States and resonating around the world would be better described as “Criminal Lives Matter”, at least if facts mattered.  And they do.  Both criminal lives and facts.  And they should.  And they must in a system that seeks to reflect the values to which most societies aspire.  But it seems to me that there are three very different issues at play that are being hysterically conflated in the United States into only one for no purpose other than to attain political advantages in upcoming elections.  They involve: (1) the problems of police impunity and corruption; (2) the reality that too many of our citizens find themselves immersed in a life of violent crime; and, (3) the accelerating polarization of our society that increasingly divides us by race, nationality, religion and gender.  Black lives matter.  All lives matter (strange that this statement is now considered racist).  Human dignity matters.  Equity matters.  Equality matters. 

Criminal lives matter but police lives matter just as much.  In each case, both the victims and the perpetrators are human beings.  They are parents and siblings and sons and daughters, cousins and uncles and aunts.  Friends.  They are us, … but for fate and blind fortune, as Joan Baez sang so long ago.  And we probably all agree, regardless of how the corporate media and Deep State seek to confuse and divide us.

Impunity is a poison that leads to corruption and needs to be eliminated, not expanded to criminals as well.  The United States, indeed the world, is full of African American and minority heroes, real role models.  Role models like Mandela and King, and a bit east, like Gandhi.  And their modern variants are myriad and exist at every social level and in most political and social movements.  But career criminals, injured or killed resisting otherwise lawful arrest, do not fit that bill unless what we want to create are more violent criminals resisting arrest.  Role models are people we hold up to emulate, those in whose footsteps we want our children to follow.  But during this past century that role has been perverted.  Our role models are now too often selfish athletes, or selfish singers, or selfish actors, or selfish plutocrats.  And now, seemingly, selfish violent criminals resisting arrest.  Still, notwithstanding that violent criminals ought not to be our role models, extrajudicial killing ought not to be accepted and much less justified.  Criminal lives matter and police impunity deprives the state of the justification for its monopoly on the use of force.  That is the real issue tearing the United States apart, and now the very real issue spreading throughout the world.

As should be the case with public servants across the board (especially those holding higher office), police should be held to higher standards of conduct and perhaps, conviction for misconduct should involve a lower threshold of proof given how easy it is to hide official wrongdoing, and more serious punishment.  But with reference to public servants of whom we demand that they place their lives at risk in order to protect us and our property, that reality also needs to be taken into account.  A complex conundrum not attained through politically expedient, simplistic solutions designed to appeal to emotions of the moment rather than to reason and logic.  The same is true of our military.  In each such case we teach that both killing others and risking their lives are acceptable options, then, after those dehumanizing lessons have been inculcated, we seek to bind the resulting impulses with rules of engagement that are all too frequently impossible to analyze in the split seconds available.  And when the predictable consequences take place, we seek to wash our bloody hands and blame them, and only them.  We fulminate and excoriate and make ludicrous suggestions in lieu of solutions and we do so because their crimes are ours as well.  And that, we prefer to ignore.  If the violators of the public trust are depraved and sick human beings, it is the depraved society that we not only tolerate, but which we select at the polls that is ultimately responsible.  When war abroad makes killing and mayhem quotidian events (a price to be paid only in collateral consequences), how can we be surprised when it comes home to roost?

But what of criminals? 

Well, … they obviously should not resist arrest!  But then, they should not have been criminals in the first place.  The reality is that most criminals did not choose to be criminals for the fun of it.  While some are subject to mental aberrations, most have been drawn to crime by “opportunity-denied” generationally.  By failure assured.  And the resulting self-loathing is relieved and hidden only under layers of readily available psychotropic drugs.  Those responsible for the evolution of a society where such problems are festering social wounds are much more to blame than are aberrant policemen and women.  In that regard, the Clinton administration with its lurch to the right to attain power at any cost may be the most to blame.  Its penal and welfare “reforms” are what most exacerbated an already seriously unfair economic system whose primary victims were African Americans and Latinos.  Its “reforms” have led to the incarceration of a higher percentage of our residents than are incarcerated anywhere else in the world; worse than in Russia or in China, worse than in our allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel.  Its “reforms” destroyed the nucleus of the Black family with males driven out so that welfare benefits might alleviate the existing abject poverty.  Its reforms are responsible for the fact that African Americans are responsible for more violent crime than any other ethnic group despite being a minority of the population.  Odd that African Americans adopted President Clinton as one of their own but then, they don’t call him “Slick Willy” for nothing; feminists have done the same thing.  And now they’ve adopted the other shoe, the one who assured passage of the Clinton era “reforms” in the Senate.

As in the case of all aspects of terrorism (and violent crime is just that, whether perpetrated by criminals or rogue police officers), it will not be minimized by eliminating those who engage in terrorist tactics but by minimizing the social factors that maximize inequity and injustice.  “Palestinian lives matter” but we did not care and the Israeli tactics designed to permanently eliminate the reminders of their own “peculiar institution” have been imported by police departments all over the United States where they now form an integral part of domestic police practices.  Iraqi lives matter but we murdered hundreds of thousands of them, a price Madeline Albright found acceptable.  Afghan lives matter but we murdered tens of thousands of them, a price Bush II, Obama, Clinton and Biden found acceptable.  Libyan and Syrian and Honduran and Ukrainian and Yemeni lives matter too, but every one of our major political leaders in both major political parties have found the price acceptable.  And we, the voters, especially those willing to settle for lesser evils, are personally responsible.

This is who we have become thanks to the bellicose oligarchs we permit to dominate us (and the current president is far from the worst among them; not exactly a tribute).  The Obama-Clinton-Biden triad happily led us into Libya and Syria and Yemen and Honduras and the Ukraine.  And current GOP allies of the Biden presidential campaign such as the Bush family and Colin Powell, and numerous generals and admirals and intelligence officials, current and former, etc., led us into the continuing Iraqi and Afghan quagmires.  So for all the noise and blunder, for all the protests and riots, for all the looting and arson, we keep headed in the same direction.  Not the blind leading the blind but lemmings following bloody murderers to the polls to vote for the same old options.  To vote for evil in the name of lesser evil, but with the same results.

Is America Headed for a Race War” is the headline in an article published on RT by Robert Bridge, an American writer and journalist and the author of Midnight in the American EmpireRT is much maligned in the United States, especially among partisans of the Democratic Party, traditionalist Republicans, the Deep State, etc., but many of its authors have academic credentials from “Western” sources far superior to those of “journalists” writing in the corporate media. Hopefully Mr. Bridge’s article is hyperbolic as its conclusion ought to be unthinkable.  But it raises valid points.  Points we should consider.  Unfortunately, Mr. Bridge continues to associate the left with the Democratic Party as though they were synonyms, which they are not.  While some leftists are indeed trapped in the Democratic Party, leftists I admire like Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich, and others are seduced by fantasies of a shortcut to attaining power by capturing one of the two existing major political parties (but will more likely become what they believe they are fighting), the Democratic Party has since 1992 been controlled by neoliberal, neoconservatives little different from those that control the GOP.  One need only consider who their candidates for president and vice president are.  The truth is that, rather than being “leftist”, the Democratic Party does not even qualify as center right.  Furthermore many of today’s rioters (as distinct from protesters, two very different social roles) are anarchists rather than socialists, and anarchists are not leftist either; they are far to the right of libertarians in the individual-to-collective spectrum. 

The United States is obsessed with hyperbolic labels (seemingly more now than ever).  Republicans falsely equate the Democratic Party with communists and Democrats return the favor, associating the GOP with fascism.  Neither cares for the truth, only for power.  Something most voters understand but feel incapable of correcting because, this time, the election really is existential  This time one opponent of the other party must be stopped, even if evil will win again as it has in most of the “democratic” elections during our lifetimes.  Perhaps, due to our political apathy coupled with the naivety of too many of us, we’re receiving just what we deserve. 

But does our progeny deserve it as well? 
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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.

Political Evolution: A Post becomes an Article, an Article becomes a Rant-of-Sorts

Craig Paul Roberts, PhD (University of Virginia, not Moscow), has published a daring article, albeit one that smacks quite a bit of hyperbole, unless of course, it’s accurate.  It’s entitled “The United States & Its Constitution Have Two Months Left”.  Read it, either because you enjoy being terrified, or because you enjoy a good laugh.  Only time will tell which is the more appropriate response.

I initially discarded Dr. Craig’s article as, after all, despite impeccable credentials, he does write for RT and anyone who even relies on RT is considered a Russian dupe by a growing segment of the US population, a segment that prefers to religiously rely on the corporate media, even when it is incoherent, contradictory and hyperbolic, especially when it attacks the current administration and super-duper especially when it attacks the current president.  Not to do so is worse than heresy and at least anathema.  At least that is the way I sometimes feel after being serially attacked with respect to posts I share or articles I write, attacked relentlessly by a small but very vocal minority, one that seeks to keep me engaged in useless responses, frequently demanding that I conduct research with cites to support my opinions (something they should consider doing themselves).

But his warning seems prescient, and being a fan of the Trojan princess, Cassandra, a seer without peer, always right but never taken seriously, I’ve blinked.  His postulate seems to be, at least as seen through my filters, that the Deep State has had enough of fooling around and, perhaps, shaken by the threats to its bipartisan hegemony posed by the Trump presidency, is ready to assure that never again occurs by stepping in directly.  Given that the nature of opposition during the past three years seems unprecedented, at least in the United States, perhaps anything is possible (anything not always being positive).

So I’ll post and await the wrath of the killer trolls from inner space, the domestic rather than Russian variant.  After all, that is their job (as they see it), to contradict my pleas for voters to reject evil and vote their conscience instead of their induced fears, or, failing to make their case, their job seems to be to at least insure that I am unproductively engaged with visitors to my posts who have no interest in considering what I or the authors I share have to say, only in ridiculing us, frequently by insisting we have no minds of our own, no independent memories, no values, or are Russian dupes (albeit perhaps not quite as well qualified as Dr. Craig).  They, on the other hand, see themselves as antifascist crusaders, unfortunately forced to rely on censorship to protect free speech, liberty and what they perceive of as “democracy” (i.e., voting as they see fit or else).  After all, the fact that their “lesser evils” keep turning out to be “greater evils” now means the law of averages is on their side, the corporate media told them so and the corporate media cannot lie.

I await the onslaught with trepidation.

In some instances my visitors are specifically instructed by their political club leader in charge of “talking points” to seek and attack posts by people they do not know, or with whom they have a sort of sidereal social media relationship, and to stay there as long as they can.  If I remain engaged, I cannot share my heretical perspectives.  Of course, if they spark my interest and I visit their sites to share my views, I am promptly blocked (I understand the reaction, but resist it myself).  More insidious and hurtful is when “inadvertent” trolls take to doing the same thing in a frenzy of misplaced patriotism, when they are friends or family for whom I care deeply, usually acting as second or third level recruits, usually without realizing it.  Pretty much what they claim the Russians are doing.

This is a kind of projecting as I’m obviously writing before I post, so my personal trolls have yet to react, but, as though leaking in from the future, I sense their presence, ready to pounce, “ready, ….. set, …..  Go!!  But my courage holds up, at least for now, at least so far.

I think I’m ready to publish.  Dr. Craig’s reputation so far outshines most members of the corporate media (see for yourself, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Craig_Roberts) that, …

Here goes. 

I am daring to share his article and damn the torpedoes.  The fact that having lived through this weird epoch, actively engaged in politics and academia, I am not as surprised as others might be by his observations is helping me to get up the courage to risk the wrath of the Lesser Evil, Identity Politics, Woke, Antifa, etc., partisans who grace my posts. 

As always, I note I am not a supporter of the current president and less so of the Deep State that seeks to overthrow him (of which Dr. Craig writes).  I am a dedicated third party activist and politically, an anti-war, anti-sanctions, anti-interventionist social democrat whose choice for president was Tulsi Gabbard before she turned and endorsed Joe Biden.  Had Dennis Kucinich run again, I would have cheerfully endorsed him.  My kind of people.  Of course, my troll friends have advised me on numerous occasions that regardless of what I think, I do not believe the foregoing but rather, that I am a closet right-winger, perhaps racist and xenophobic, they, of course, being “Woke”, know best.

At any rate, I also note that being an optimist, I am not convinced that Dr. Craig’s prophecy will come true, after all, we’ve survived the de facto dictatorships of Abe Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and FDR.  Although our time as a democratic, libertarian republic do seem to be running out.  Indeed, our times seeming much too much like those of the late Roman Republic. 

But perhaps our luck will hold this time as well.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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.

So, … Just Which Lives Matter and Why?

Echoes of Cassandra, and of Huxley and Orwell, and of Heinlein as well.  The counterintuitive blues.  Perhaps our hidden pandemic.  The real plague among us.  Our mirrors don’t seem to work anymore.  Narrative is all that counts.  “Resistance is futile”!

As so often happens, diverse parts of the world are being stricken by social convulsions, spontaneity now become a carefully organized production.  Good causes immediately perverted into evil.  Sauron wins again.  At least for now.  As usual, the United States is the focal point, the catalyst, and then, the betrayer.

Although denominated “Black Lives Matter”, the movement convulsing the United States and resonating around the world would be better described as “Criminal Lives Matter”, at least if facts mattered.  And they do.  Both criminal lives and facts.  And they should.  And they must in a system that seeks to reflect the values to which most societies aspire.  But it seems to me that there are three very different issues at play that are being hysterically conflated in the United States into only one for no purpose other than to attain political advantages in upcoming elections.  They involve: (1) the problems of police impunity and corruption; (2) the reality that too many of our citizens find themselves immersed in a life of violent crime; and, (3) the accelerating polarization of our society that increasingly divides us by race, nationality, religion and gender.  Black lives matter.  All lives matter (strange that this statement is now considered racist).  Human dignity matters.  Equity matters.  Equality matters. 

Criminal lives matter but police lives matter just as much.  In each case, both the victims and the perpetrators are human beings.  They are parents and siblings and sons and daughters, cousins and uncles and aunts.  Friends.  They are us, … but for fate and blind fortune, as Joan Baez sang so long ago.  And we probably all agree, regardless of how the corporate media and Deep State seek to confuse and divide us.

Impunity is a poison that leads to corruption and needs to be eliminated, not expanded to criminals as well.  The United States, indeed the world, is full of African American and minority heroes, real role models.  Role models like Mandela and King, and a bit east, like Gandhi.  And their modern variants are myriad and exist at every social level and in most political and social movements.  But career criminals, injured or killed resisting otherwise lawful arrest, do not fit that bill unless what we want to create are more violent criminals resisting arrest.  Role models are people we hold up to emulate, those in whose footsteps we want our children to follow.  But during this past century that role has been perverted.  Our role models are now too often selfish athletes, or selfish singers, or selfish actors, or selfish plutocrats.  And now, seemingly, selfish violent criminals resisting arrest.  Still, notwithstanding that violent criminals ought not to be our role models, extrajudicial killing ought not to be accepted and much less justified.  Criminal lives matter and police impunity deprives the state of the justification for its monopoly on the use of force.  That is the real issue tearing the United States apart, and now the very real issue spreading throughout the world.

As should be the case with public servants across the board (especially those holding higher office), police should be held to higher standards of conduct and perhaps, conviction for misconduct should involve a lower threshold of proof given how easy it is to hide official wrongdoing, and more serious punishment.  But with reference to public servants of whom we demand that they place their lives at risk in order to protect us and our property, that reality also needs to be taken into account.  A complex conundrum not attained through politically expedient, simplistic solutions designed to appeal to emotions of the moment rather than to reason and logic.  The same is true of our military.  In each case we teach that killing and risking our lives are acceptable options, then, after those dehumanizing lessons have been inculcated, we seek to bind the resulting impulses with rules of engagement that are all too frequently impossible to analyze in the split seconds available.  And when the predictable consequences take place, we seek to wash our bloody hands and blame them, and only them.  We fulminate and excoriate and make ludicrous suggestions in lieu of solutions and we do so because their crimes are ours as well.  And that, we prefer to ignore.  If the violators of the public trust are depraved and sick human beings, it is the depraved society that we not only tolerate, but which we select at the polls, that is ultimately responsible.  When war abroad make killing and mayhem quotidian events (a price to be paid only in collateral consequences), how can we be surprised when it comes home to roost?

But what of criminals? 

Well they obviously should not resist arrest!  But then, they should not have been criminals in the first place.  The reality is that most criminals did not chose to be criminals for the fun of it.  Some are subject to mental aberrations but many have been drawn to crime by opportunity-denied generationally.  By failure assured.  And the resulting self-loathing is relieved and hidden only under layers of readily available psychotropic drugs.  Those responsible for the evolution of a society where such problems are festering social wounds are much more to blame than are aberrant policemen and women.  In that regard, the Clinton administration with its lurch to the right to attain power at any cost may be the most to blame.  Its penal and welfare “reforms” are what most exacerbated an already seriously unfair economic system whose primary victims were African Americans and Latinos.  “Reforms” that led to the incarceration of a higher percentage of our residents than are incarcerated anywhere else in the world; worse than Russia or China, worse than our allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel.  “Reforms” that destroyed the nucleus of the Black family with males driven out so that welfare benefits might alleviate the existing abject poverty.  Reforms responsible for the fact that African Americans are responsible for more violent crime than any ethnic group despite being a minority of the population.  Odd that African Americans adopted President Clinton as one of their own but then, they don’t call him “Slick Willy” for nothing; feminists have done the same thing. 

As in the case of all aspects of terrorism (and violent crime is just that, whether perpetrated by criminals or rogue police officers), it will not be minimized by eliminating those who engage in terrorist tactics but by minimizing the social factors that maximize inequity and injustice.  Palestinian lives matter but we did not care and the Israeli tactics designed to permanently eliminate the reminders of their own “peculiar institution” have been imported by police departments all over the United States, now forming an integral part of domestic police practices.  Iraqi lives matter but we murdered hundreds of thousands of them, a price Madeline Albright found acceptable.  Afghan lives matter but we murdered tens of thousands of them, a price Bush II, Obama, Clinton and Biden found acceptable.  Libyan and Syrian and Honduran and Ukrainian and Yemeni lives matter too, but every one of our major political leaders in both major political parties have found the price acceptable.  And we, the voters, especially those willing to settle for lesser evils, are personally responsible.

This is who we have become thanks to the bellicose oligarchs we permit to dominate us (and the current president is far from the worst among them; not exactly a tribute).  The Obama-Clinton-Biden triad happily led us into Libya and Syria and Yemen and Honduras and the Ukraine.  And current GOP allies of the Biden presidential campaign such as the Bush family and Colin Powell, and numerous generals and admirals and intelligence officials, current and former, etc., led us into the continuing Iraqi and Afghan quagmires.  So for all the noise and blunder, for all the protests and riots, for all the looting and arson, we keep headed in the same direction.  Not the blind leading the blind but lemmings following bloody murderers to the polls to vote for the same old options.  To vote for evil in the name of lesser evil, but with the same results.

Is America Headed for a Race War” is the headline in an article published on RT by Robert Bridge, an American writer and journalist and the author of Midnight in the American Empire.  The law of unintended consequences strikes hardest when long and intermediate term consequences are ignored in favor of immediate goals such as victory in a single election.  Hopefully Mr. Bridge’s article is hyperbolic as its conclusion ought to be unthinkable.  But it raises valid points.  Points we should consider.  Unfortunately, Mr. Bridge continues to associate the left with the Democratic Party as though they were synonyms, which they are not.  While some leftists are indeed trapped in the Democratic Party, leftists I admire like Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich, and others are seduced by fantasies of a shortcut to attaining power by capturing one of the two existing major political parties (but will more likely become what they believe they are fighting), the Democratic Party is utterly controlled by neoliberal, neoconservatives.  One need only consider who their candidates for president and vice president are.  The truth is that rather than being “leftist”, the Democratic Party does not even qualify as center right.  Furthermore many of today’s rioters (as distinct from protesters, two very different social roles) are anarchists rather than socialists, and anarchists are not leftist either; they are far to the right of libertarians in the individual-to-collective spectrum. 

The United States is obsessed with hyperbolic labels (seemingly more now than ever).  Republicans falsely equate the Democratic Party with communists and Democrats return the favor, associating the GOP with fascism.  Neither cares for the truth, only for power.  Something most voters understand but feel incapable of correcting because, this time, the election really is existential  This time one opponent or the other must be stopped, even if evil will win again, as it has for most of the “democratic” elections during our lifetimes.  Perhaps, due to our political apathy coupled with the naivety of too many of us, we’re receiving just what we deserve. 

But does our progeny deserve it as well? 

Perhaps it is their lives that ought to matter most.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

Guillermo Calvo Mahé
Image for post

Boycotts may be the only way to attain change in a world controlled by the billionaire elite. Whether your political leanings are in favor of the Democratic Party, the GOP, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the diverse socialist, conservative or special issue parties, etc., or independent, it seems that the only way your voice will be heard (certainly given the lack of options that won’t be at the polls) is by withholding your hard earned money from those who will spend it on causes in which you do not believe. Abandon them not, just until they change (they’ll change back when your back is turned), but forever.

We will need constantly updated data bases, and they are certain to be hijacked by the same-old-same- olds, but we’ll just keep generating new ones distributing the information we need. In fact, much of the date we can obtain ourselves. For example, if there are professional athletes or entertainers whose views or actions you loath, boycott their sponsors forever (e.g., Nike, Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc.) as well as advertisers in their events (e.g., the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA, etc.). If you feel the Washington Post is a disgrace, boycott Amazon and all advertisers in that publication. The New York Times? Boycott Carlos Slim’s companies (e.g., TracFone, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Coffee Factory) and products and all advertisers in that publication. Fox News? The same.

The most interesting and difficult part will be to develop and update national, regional, state and local websites that include local alternatives for the products boycotted. That would probably be great for the local economy. The big boys will, of course, try and sabotage the effort, co-opting the websites, using algorithms to censor the data, having their paid tools in the legislature pass laws making the boycott illegal, filing lawsuits for slander or defamation, but properly structured and monitored, we can fight back. And politically, we’ll know that those who oppose will never receive our votes, nor will their party.

A real solution for a sick time. A peaceful, non-violent rebellion of which Gandhi and Mandela and King would be proud.

Let’s make this proposal viral but even more importantly, let’s make it a reality. Start now, on your own. If we have thousands of sites on the Internet providing the information we need to both boycott and purchase, we will be that much more difficult to destroy.

Something not only about which to think but on which to act, … and to act now.

Lesser evils? Not anymore!!! Direct action is the way to go.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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 www.guillermocalvo.com.

Reflections on another Nine-Eleven, this One Very Different

Photo creator: Peter Morgan, credit Reuters

A strange anniversary today.  Sad, as always, but very, very different this time around.  Perhaps it was time.

Nineteen years have passed and I do not perceive that we have ever reflected as a People on why that terrible day occurred or how it would affect or has affected our collective psyche  There are plenty of conspiracy theories and at least one of them is valid, perhaps several.  It shaped who we became, at least for a while, and millions have been displaced and died worldwide as a result.  But our cycle of despair and mourning and furious overreaction with patriotism become jingoistic seems to have run its course and a contrary dystopian overreaction has set in, violence having subsumed reasonable and necessary protest.  Self-loathing replaced American exceptionalism although the balance is somewhere in between.  Perhaps karma has caught up with us at last.

It is said that those who live by the sword die by the sword and we as a People have lived by the sword for way too long.  Apparently, we have now become fratricidal and suicidal as a society as well.  It ought to have been expected.  Indeed, the “Sleeping Prophet” predicted it a century ago.

The past three and a half years have been terrible as well and perhaps in the long term more destructive than that day in September almost two decades ago, at least to us.  The rest of the world may see things differently.  Perhaps dreaming that its long nightmare may soon come to an end. 

The foundation of a functioning democracy: that the winners govern, that the defeated accept their defeat at least during the next cycle, and that the government stays neutral during the election, have been shattered in the United States, less “united” than at any time since our first “Civil” War.  As in the case of Pandora’s Box, I doubt that the harm and disruption occasioned since that fateful day in November of 2016 will ever be repaired or that future elections, regardless of the winner, at least for the foreseeable future, will ever be accepted as legitimate by large segments of the population.  I doubt that the reaction to such delegitimization will, in the future, be as patient as that shown by the current president.  “Dictatorship”, from the Democrats or from the GOP is in the air, and it will, as was the case in the Roman Republic, as has occurred three times in the United States already (Lincoln, Wilson and FDR during war), be found acceptable by many members of a weary People. We will have become enured to “lesser evil”.

For good or most probably, as seen from where we sit today, for ill, we the People are deeply enmeshed in a fundamental transition, pulled hither and yon by selfishly chaotic forces that care little for our welfare, only for their own.  For power and wealth perpetuated on the one hand and for instant gratification on the other, instant gratification sometimes bred of despair but too often just out of selfish, childish boredom: on the one hand an urge to accumulate and on the other an urge to destroy.  We are firmly focused on the instant blithely ignoring the future, consequences be damned.  But we have been bred that way for almost two centuries, it is who we have become, and the chickens have come home to roost.

I wonder what the next nine-eleven will be like.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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.

Political Antigens: Destroying Democracy in the Name of Democracy

Furious at rejection by the American electorate, the Deep State, through its two principal tools, the Democratic Party and the monolithic corporate media, have engaged in an Orwellian four year war against American democracy, against freedom of expression, and against individual liberty, all, purportedly, in the name of “protecting” them.  A no-holds barred war structured to disassemble the American polity by setting race against race, gender against gender, friends against friends and fracturing the concept of family in the name of “equality”; by reigniting the Cold War against Russia and China in the name of peace; by using the spread of a dangerous pandemic in order to destroy an unfortunately (for them) thriving economy, and, by installing the Orwellian concept of an antithetical ministry of “truth” (defined as “deception”) as the new normal.

The fury expressed externally may reflect a self-loathing at their inability to enthrone the Democratic Party’s monarch despite having utterly rigged the 2016 presidential election, both internally, to insure that notwithstanding profound popular rejection, she attain the prerequisite nomination, and then, by manipulating the other major party’s primaries so that a candidate she could defeat, notwithstanding her unpopularity, would be selected.  But, while successful, such machinations proved inadequate; the federal system conspired to pull defeat from the orchestrated jaws of victory and the victor was the utterly unpredictable and bombastic Donald Trump.  Worst of all, he turned out to be less inept as president than the Democrats had promised he’d be.  Not that he has been a good president, at least as measured in the long term, but his many successes, although suppressed and distorted, were an unpleasant surprise.  To make it clear, the author is not a supporter of President Trump nor will he be voting for him, the author is an avowed leftist, but a real leftist, not the kind trapped in the Democratic Party.  He merely believes that opposition ought to be ethical and civil, that when credit is deserved it ought to be acknowledged, and that society ought not to be destroyed in the political process.  Because of the foregoing he has been accused by family and friends of being a Russian stooge (at best).  Hurtful, but, in the end, perhaps given the times, unavoidable.  As a caveat, he confesses that he reads RT, a Russian news source (and finds it useful), but he also reads, on a daily basis, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, MSNBC, CNN, the Christian Science Monitor, Fox News, the Guardian, Al Jazeera, and numerous alternative news sites including Truthdig, Common Dreams, the Duran, Consortium News and the Medium.

The great Democratic Party defeat of 2016 made it clear to the Deep State that neither democracy nor liberty, nor freedom of expression nor peaceful coexistence, could be tolerated in the future. The time had come for more direct intervention, for censorship and for large scale brain cleansing; the time had come to generate civic dysfunction using every tool available, especially the politicized judiciary at the district and circuit levels that the Democratic Party led Senate of 2013 had wisely planted when changed the rules for judicial selection.  However, the damnable law of unintended consequences stuck its ugly head into the fray and, adding even more frustration to fury, the GOP captured the Senate in 2014 and, with the unanticipated presidential defeat of 2016, the Democratic Party’s restructuring of the judiciary to ensure long term power was foiled.  Harbingers of more political chaos in the future, it was the damnable GOP that selected new Supreme Court justices and judges at the district and circuit levels, and, as in a bad divorce, it was the citizenry of the United States that has been shamelessly battered and abused as a result.  Chaos, in all its glory reigns for the nonce, with structured oligarchic order waiting in the wings.

So, where do we find ourselves as we head to the federal elections this time around? 

As divided internally as at any time since the Civil War with no resolution in sight.  Truth has become an irrelevant inconvenience dealt with by a deceptive corporate media on the one hand and multidimensional censorship of opposing voices on the other, censorship not only through lack of access to the corporate media but also by limiting contrarian access to social media Internet platforms (e.g., Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).  Even worse, by loosening an army of both carefully trained and supported and unwitting trolls on those who dare to share information critical of the Deep State, the Democratic Party or the corporate media by introducing information that contradicts their narrative.  Foreign sources, especially having anything to do with opponents on the world stage are especially verboten.  Leakers of truthful information are tortured, imprisoned or exiled (think, for example, of David Snowden and Julian Assange, the prometheuses of our age), with the focus shifted from the accuracy of the message to the origin of the messenger while planted and orchestrated leaks of misleading information have become omnipresent.  Hyperbolic faux news reigns supreme, Hallelujah!

That’ll teach anyone to defy the Deep State and its money-to-power-to-money machine!  And if it causes despair and misery to the citizenry, well it’s a hard but necessary lesson.  “Democracy” in the United States was not meant to be populist and rebellious but rather, as our Constitution makes obvious, a ratification process for decisions made by our oligarchic masters.  As the illusory Borg once exclaimed on television, “resistance is futile”, fortunately the Deep State’s resources are virtually endless and our attention spans and patience are brief.  A happy coincidence.  Manipulation should be easy, 2016 a mere aberration.  We’ll soon learn and return to political docility, … or else!

From an academic perspective, analysis leads some of us to conclude that there is still hope for the populace, albeit barely, that perhaps resistance is not futile and that we need not reinvent the wheel to attain it.  Some of us have come to realize that effective dictatorship does not require a one party state but can be even more effective in an illusory “democracy” limited in terms of real participation to two political carefully cast wholly owned actors, but that increasing the base of political participation to four or five actors makes control by the Deep State much more expensive and difficult, kind of like overloading an electrical current or in more modern terms, the Internet system, so as to render it ineffective. 

We have the means, at least for now, at least theoretically, to liberate ourselves from political and economic slavery, but we may not have them for long.  The maverick presidency of Donald Trump has woken the sleeping tiger of autocracy in the United States, not from Mr. Trump’s denizens but from his ironically and oxymoronically named opponents.  But if we don’t act soon we may soon find that our window has closed.  That is why we are subjected to the omnipresent crescendo of “lesser evil, lesser evil” until soon, evil will really be the only option as “not yet” morphs into never.

It may well be this November or never.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo 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.