A Dark and Dystopian Diatribe.  Again.  They’ve become the Norm

An introductory query might go something like this:  Evil or merely inept? Which is worse?  In what combination?  An initial response might speculate:  Well, inept evil would probably be the least negative.  Unfortunately, evil and inept is what we have, with evil all too apt.  Would a less than perfect divinity find that funny?  Imagine Groucho Marx (or maybe just a grouchy Karl Marx) as God!

Another day, another trillion or so dollars; a few hundred thousand or so lives thrown into the pits needed to feed insatiable armaments industries, but we’re still giving birth to more and more babies so that’s all right: look at the newborns and weep but keep’em coming.  Fortunately (sort of, … at least for a few) there are still plenty of Ukrainians in the wings, and perhaps Lithuanians and Poles as well.  And of course, Muslims: a surfeit of Arabs and Iranians and Palestinians to dispel.  And when they’re gone, well, “first they came for ….” and there’ll be plenty left until, fighting among themselves, like Heinlein’s Igli, they eat themselves into oblivion. 

And then, merry Christmas and a good riddance to all. “Bah humbug”!

But till then we’ve got video games and Hollywood spectacles and Disney and Netflix, and new model cars and designer clothes, and aren’t the Yankees something this year and sure hope the Jets come through this time, perhaps God’s forgotten the promises we made during Super Bowl III.  The latest abortion decision has us up in arms (as did the first), that’s true, and murderous guns and bullets keep attacking our children in schools:  And inflation plus rescission, ain’t they depressing?  And gas prices rising are a pain (for some).  But still, all and all, ain’t life just sort of grand?  After all, we’re lucky to be Americans: the brave and the free (sort of, … at least in the movies and on television) who can solve any problem because we are so exceptional, except for the half that are too stupid to see the light (so sayeth each half).

Anyway, ….

What if synonyms and antonyms decided to have a war?  Or if verbs and adverbs formed a coalition of the willing against nouns and adjectives, with propositions and pronouns sitting on the sidelines confused, while social science majors removed all of those troubling and scary page numbers from their treatises and physics and math majors looked on with vacuous expressions on their faces wondering why mirrors had become anathema?  What would we get if all the odd numbers subtracted all the even numbers?  Would it be different if all the even numbers subtracted all the odd numbers?  And what about those prime numbers, all odd except the number two.  Interesting.  Is there a profound metaphysical meaning there?  Or at least some obscure symbolism?  And just what is a solipsism?

Where are we today anyway? 

Perhaps happily mired in banalities while in a real world, one on the other side of a looking glass, a one way mirror of sorts, sad eyed, lean and hungry people deal with our residue.  An image:  Insane mariners cruising on a ship of fools doomed to disembark onto quicksand flavored shores singing songs about how happy pigs are when they wallow in mud (or less desirable excrement oriented substances), collectively following piebald pied pipers playing merrily discordant tunes, vacuity become an art form.

But out there, rocking boats, a few just won’t let sleeping dogs lie.  The ones who, like that pain-in-the-ass (or is it arse) Cassandra, keep finding dark linings surrounding silvered clouds, insisting on freeing bluebirds from gilded cages, for some reason believing that it would be hard to imagine anyone or anything more troubling than the world around us, a world seemingly careening from crisis to crisis, … but profitably so.

Anyway, … again:

Is pure evil a tangible thing?  As tangible, or perhaps as intangible as truth?  Or are they both moronic oxymorons.  Or perhaps, they’re a curious blend reflected in the eyes of billions of confused beholders, beholden beholders, although beholden to whom may be a puzzle writ by an insane enigma following lemmings of a cliff in Dover.

I can’t really personally vouch for the existence or impossibility of absolute truth, although math seems to echo that something must be at least somewhat accurate, but as to absolute evil, the scent seems omnipresent, and it smells a great deal like rotting corpses doused in expensive perfumes.  Pure evil kind of sounds like an ambivalent oxymoron though, doesn’t it?  Oxymorons seem popular today.

What might it be like to drive to hell in a handbasket?  Perhaps Toto knows which may be why he barks as Momba (more recently renamed Evillene to avoid racist undertones), slowly melts, albeit soaking wet, bemoaning the world in which we live, and Dorothy laughs as Lucy once more pulls away the football and Charley Brown falls flat on his back wondering who the hell “Peanuts” is.

Do you think Biden will really win this time if he runs again against Trump?

Things on which to reflect or introspections to avoid?
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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 an Early Summer’s Eve in June, 2022

(A satire out of sorts)

The lid on Pandora’s Box refuses to budge and out pops an explosive date, apparently somehow akin to July 4, 1776: January 6, 2021, and now a judicial decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, all joining the Black Lives matter movement, the Cancel Culture movement, the dozing Woke movement, the Second Amendment (pro and con) movements, the Covid 19 “pandemic”, etc., in a constant stream of pejorative laced diatribes next to which putrescence seems a delightful desert.  And just when the Democratic Party Congressional majority and its allies were regaling us on public and commercial television, on all available channels, about how noble and just they’ve always been.  But I’m confused.  Are protests and riots and arson and mayhem permissible indicia of a vibrant libertarian democracy or not?  Or are they, as most philosophers believe about most things, as relative and inconsistent as truth or the “currently recognized laws” of physics.  Is two plus two four, or isn’t it?

Black lives matter protests and riots and arson and mayhem are good!  Challenges to the validity of elections are bad, at least if they involve voters who reject Democratic Party victories (think 2020).  If they reject Republican Party victories (think 2016), they’re good.  Destruction of government legacy property, say, in the Capitol, is bad, treason and sedition even.  Destruction of legacy monuments honoring historical figures is good, positive, a sign of more tolerant times around the corner.

Apparently, the answers, “depend”, and the “depends” are variable.  Hmmm, “depends” good name for an adult diaper. 

So, with what depends are we dealing?

Evidently, as long as the protests and riots and arson and mayhem deal with pre-approved themes, they are good.  But only if they deal with themes sacrosanct to the conglomeration of government functionaries (most unelected), traditionalist politicians of diverse political parties, the corporate media and the Internet “mogulith”.  If not, if they oppose the themes dear to the conglomeration of government functionaries (most unelected), traditionalist politicians of diverse political parties, the corporate media and the Internet “mogulith”, they are horrid.  A manual on the issue should be coming out of the United States Printing Office any decade now, with regular amendments and supplements to follow.

The foregoing is not as unreasonable as some of the treasonous and seditious among us may believe.  After all, our form of government is best described, not as a democracy but as a hypocrisy.  Poor confused me, for some reason thinking of geese and ganders and believing that there is an underlying equivalency in the right of the citizenry (in whom, purportedly, governmental authority rests, at least according to the Declaration of Independence) to protest and even, to change the nature of their government when it fails to meet the premises on which it was established.  But as the conglomeration of government functionaries (most unelected), traditionalist politicians of diverse political parties, the corporate media and the Internet mogulith make clear to us (sort of), only power counts, and its exercise  need be neither logical nor consistent.  Just loud, with a monopoly on the use of force and on the right to manipulate the justice system to suit its purposes.  Especially if it is reinforced with obligatory viewing of legislative proceedings run by kangaroos.

Soooo:

All together now: God bless America (unless the concept of “god” is anathema to you), the home of the brave (unless being brave contradicts the day’s acceptable norms) and the land of the free (assuming “free” means free to follow orders). 

As Yakov Smirnoff says “what a country!!”
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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 Supreme Court’s Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some concluding thoughts:

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

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

Absence of Systemic Faith in Democracy:

The Colombian and United States Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that, only time will tell.
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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/.

“Big Lies” in the State of Texas and the Republic of Colombia Contrasted on June 19, 2022

The “Big Lie” in the United States is really that refusal by the judiciary at any level to investigate apparently credible allegations of electoral fraud which will forever taint the results of 2020 as a result of which a large segment of the United States population may never again trust in the purported “sanctity of the United States electoral system, or in the purported democracy that supposedly permits the citizenry to select its leadership.  Yesterday, June 19, 2922, two apparently unrelated but vitally important events took place, one in the State of Texas and one in the Republic of Colombia with a direct impact on the concepts involved in functional, as opposed to dysfunctional, democracy.

In Texas, as indicated in an article in the right wing Epoch News by Gary Bai entitled “Texas GOP Passes Resolution Declaring Biden ‘Not Legitimately Elected’”, the Texas Republican Party, the largest in the nation, directly challenged the House of Representative’s orchestrated national reality show staged by its January 5 Committee.  Such challenge is not as negative a thing as the corporate media will portray, assuming it does not ignore it.  But much more meaningfully for the world, Colombia held presidential elections that may have altered its traditionally corrupt leadership, and they did so with required voter identification via national identification cards bearing the voters’ photographs, signatures and fingerprints, which in turn had to be recorded at physical polling places.  No ballots were mailed, whether requested or not, making them available for sale or “rental”.  All of them were issued at polling places in front of witnesses selected by the candidates and deposited there, not in scattered, unsupervised lock boxes, and if that can be done among the very poorest and most vulnerable Colombians, it can be done anywhere.  Certainly in the technologically advanced and much wealthier United States of America.

Not that Colombia did not experience an attempt by the corrupt corporate media to subvert the election with a flood of cynically malicious misinformation by Colombia’s own versions of Bezos (think Washington Post), Slim (think New York Times), Zuckerberg, et. al.  Colombia had the Gilinski billionaires’ owned news magazine Semana, the La Patria national newspaper, and the RCN and Caracol radio and television networks spewing away with distorted news, as well as Colombian’s own version of Watergate, presented as positive journalism rather than an illegal break-in, but they were not enough to change the outcome, although it was more narrow than it should have been. Colombians, at least, do not fall for the absurd Democratic Party mantra that “democracy” requires easy to circumvent electoral procedures.  “All votes count” ought not to include illegal ballots, or counterfeit ballots, or ballots bought and sold.

Even given all the safeguards inherent in Colombia’s electoral system, Colombians are not so naïve as to believe that the latest election was free of fraud.  Of course some people accepted bribes for their votes.  That happens everywhere, always, unfortunately.  But at least it is not facilitated and then, aggressively ignored with ludicrous claims that “there was no fraud at all” because evidence of fraud was studiously ignored and a campaign of intimidation waged against those who honestly feel they were defrauded.  Against those who, convinced that they were defrauded, dared to protest, and their protests ignored, dared to riot.  The latter is profoundly regrettable but still, understandable.  That is what tends to happen when justice is blatantly denied, whether to black lives matter activists or any other seriously concerned group.

No one will ever really know whether the Texas Republicans are right or not because the “deep state”, that informal conglomeration of government functionaries and purported journalists who do the bidding of the wealthy elites who rule us, regardless of electoral outcomes, will not permit us to know, which itself says a great deal with regard to probabilities.  But at least in the Republic of Colombia, democracy finally triumphed, at least for an instant. 

Not that the triumph will prove long lasting.  As the United States version of the “deep state” proved after the 2016 elections, it never sleeps and there is nothing it will not do to retain power.  But in Colombia the new government will at least do whatever it can to attain a real peace, both internally and abroad, and equity, and inclusion, and justice and the common welfare.

An example for us all.  Positive at last.  Perhaps it will last and maybe even spread.
_______

© 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/.

Thoughts As I Await the Dawn on an Apparently Critical Day in the History of Colombia, June 19, 2022

I can’t sleep.  It’s not yet 4:00 a.m. but I’ve been up for several hours as I await Colombia’s presidential elections.  On one side, camouflaged, sit Colombia’s traditional elites, the corrupt billionaire class owned media, the Colombian state and the United States intelligence community backing a version of the Simpson’s Mr. Burns, a man proud of having cheated the poor as the best way to increase his fortune, who promises to increase their work day to ten hours and reduce their lunch to half an hour, who proudly refused to ransom his daughter from who knows whom (the insurgency he accuses always proudly admits their kidnappings but have denied involvement), who has publicly proclaimed his admiration for Adolf Hitler, and who, despite being under serious investigation for numerous instances of corruption, predicates his campaign on, the battle against corruption and impunity.

Their candidate combines all the negative qualities of Donald Trump (his personality and tendency to boast), Joe Biden (his ineptitude and corruption, including a Hunter clone as a son), Brazil’s Jair Messias Bolsonaro and the Philippine’s Rodrigo Roa Duterte.  Perhaps even a trace of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.  To the extent the foregoing have positive qualities, he shares none and yet, the United States’ style corporate media’s total support and potential electoral fraud have made him a potential victor.

The conclusion that the foregoing has reinforced is that politics today is not about left versus right, but about deep state power, that combination of government functionaries and a corrupt news media in service to the billionaires who own them, against anyone who threatens their hold on power, whether from the right, as Donald Trump did in the United States, or from the left as Bernie Sanders pretended to do in the United States and Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, a leftist populist in Colombia is seeking to do now.  But also that deep states are chameleons with no problem, despite blatantly obvious facts, in presenting themselves as the vehicles for change and the champions of the fight against themselves, i.e., the utterly corrupt traditional wielders of power.

It is hard to imagine two more different people that Donald Trump and Gustavo Petro, whether measured by temperament, background or policies, except that both advocate avoidance of armed conflicts and runaway defense spending, and both challenge the status quo, but the weapons used against each are virtually identical.  A 24/7 media campaign of distortions and outright lies designed to generate fear, loathing and hate; a vote for anyone but them philosophy, regardless of how horrible; and, a profound belief that you do not have to fool all of the electorate all of the time (paraphrasing Lincoln) but only enough of the electorate during election days.  Cynicism is the key, cynicism tied to gullibility.  And gullibility is not synonymous with lack of education or cognition, it works regardless of education or intellect.

As was true during the epoch of Gaius Julius Caesar two thousand and sixty years ago, the most evil among us describe themselves as the “boni” (the good), while those who seek to improve the lot of the vast majority are cast as evil.  Apparently, it is all too frequently true that the more things change, the more they stay the same, but “all too frequently” is not the same as “always”.  Much of Latin America has woken and smelled the roses, or at least the coffee, and corrupt regimes have been ousted, at least temporarily, in Honduras, Uruguay, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.  Brazil and Colombia may seek to join them.  The voters in Ecuador thought they had, only to have United States intelligence agencies stem the tide with bundles of cash.  As they so often do, everywhere, including in the good old USA.

So, in about twelve hours (it’s now 5:00 a.m.) we’ll see whether as it did in 1970, the Colombian deep state with United States assistance will succeed in stealing a presidential election, or whether too many Colombians refused to be intimidated into accepting large scale electoral fraud, much more difficult in Colombia than in the United States.  We require voter identification and ballot delivery only at monitored electoral sites, … But not impossible: Colombian electoral authorities have refused to abide by legal requirements that electoral participants be allowed to audit electoral software, a tactic copied from United States practices in 2020.

So, like many others in Colombia, both the wise and the deluded, I pass a sleepless night wondering what tomorrow will bring, what the next four years will bring.  Even if democracy prevails, as the United States saw during the period which started in 2016, deep states never sleep, and never surrender, and there is absolutely nothing they won’t do to stay in power. 

But where there’s life, there’s hope, and there’s still quite a bit of life left here.
_______

© 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/.

Superciliosity: Apparently an Evolving Neologistic Synonym for the Purportedly “Woke” Sleepwalking among Us

It’s late May, 2022.  In the Republic of Colombia, the presidential electoral process starts on Sunday with the possibility of change (at long last) in the air.  Possibly a real progressive populist evolution that will obviate the need for an eventual revolution.  In the United States, the antithesis reigns: a country divided against itself and at war with too much of the outside world, a country currently orchestrating the massacre of the Ukrainian people in order to teach the Russians a lesson, and to assuage hurt feelings in the Biden administration with respect to its Afghan fiasco, and Coronavirus response fiasco, and its economic fiasco, and its electoral prospects.

The world is full of devastating problems but, ironically, even more full of potential solutions.  No one need go to sleep hungry, or be denied access to a complete educational cycle, or fail to receive required medical treatment or medications, or lack adequate housing or clothing or food, or lack income adequate for an acceptable albeit not luxurious lifestyle, or live in fear of violent conflicts.  Yet most of the world’s population suffers from each of the foregoing maladies while a tiny fragment lives in incredible luxury, a fragment whose wealth would be sufficient to ameliorate all of the world’s physical problems.  But even if that privileged, elite, micro-minority was too greedy to share its ill-gotten (in most cases) wealth, all funds required to guarantee every human being a decent lifestyle could be obtained if we just minimized our war and hegemonic related addictions.

Why don’t we adopt available, obviously reasonable postures?  Why can’t we, as a global society (or at least enough of us), wake up and smell the roses (or the coffee, I’m writing from Colombia after all)?

Unfortunately, a great deal of the problem ironically lies at the feet of the purportedly “woke” cancel cultural warriors among us, the incredibly non-productive supercilious “woke” who do more damage to the causes they espouse than do such causes’ most vehement opponents.  Who instead of helping to resolve or at least to minimize the social and economic problems against which they rail, exacerbate them, exacerbate racism and misogyny; do nothing to help attain peace, or promote education and healthcare for all, or political reform.  They rant against “bullying” by others, while most actively engaging in that practice against anyone and everyone who does not immediately and unconditionally accept their poorly thought out postulates.  But their ranting and raving and rioting and calumny and criticism and ridicule and bullying only polarize us all and generate mass resistance to the policies needed to resolve our economic and sociopolitical dilemmas.

Why?

If they were malevolent Machiavellians it would make sense.  Perhaps some are, but in general, they don’t seem cognitively talented enough to orchestrate such a strategy.  Rather, they just seem inept, albeit very loudly so, magnifying their presence through expertise in trolling, bad manners and weak attempts at satire and irony.  Name calling and moral posturing is their style.   The corporate media, the Hollywood mafia and the Lords of the Internet love them, as does the Deep State.  But the large majority of people who, at its most critical and elemental levels, make this world function (albeit dysfunctionally) are largely repelled by them, especially by their autocratic and intolerant tendencies.  Incoherent tendencies such as censorship in pursuit of open discussions and the truth, the “woke’s” current mantra.

But what to do about them.  We purportedly coincide in goals: peace, non-violent conflict resolution, equity, justice, real common welfare, sustainable economic development equitably and efficiently shared, minimization of corruption and impunity.  But, rather than help attain any of the foregoing, they make them all less and less likely, much less likely, bordering on the impossible.

The “woke” seem to be a strange brew of old, failed activists and naïve young attention seekers, each full of misguided energy, all too easy to manipulate by cynics who see them as useful tools, tools not to affect change, but to calcify the status quo.

How to really wake the “woke” up from their misguided stupor?  How not to waste their energy and good, albeit misguided, intentions.  How to attain that which they and we all need and most of us seek?

Wouldn’t it be great if the foregoing were more than mere rhetorical questions?  How might we harness the energy of the young, the experience of the downtrodden yearning for equity and the wisdom that age sometimes brings to make of this world something in which we can all share justifiable pride?

Hopefully, perhaps, starting this Sunday, May 29, 2022, we in Colombia can start providing some answers.
_______

© 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/.

Delusive Illusions – Freedoms of Expression and of the Press

On May 19, 2022, Consortium News published an important article dealing with the dwindling light of truth available to us as another dark age seemingly approaches (see Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 138 — Thursday, May 19, 2022 “West’s Free Speech Threatened by Ukraine War”).  Please read it, … and please share it.

It’s probably worth noting that in the United States, freedom of the “press” has never been about accurate information.  The two major legal decisions that underlie United States journalism are the Peter Zenger case in the Crown colony of New York in 1735 and the 1964 United States Supreme Court decision in Sullivan v. The New York Times.  Both cases dealt with the inalienable right to slander with impunity.  While that sounds terrible, and perhaps it is, the idea was that the interchange of ideas, whether right or wrong, was essential to functioning democracy, and that no one should be trusted as an arbiter of the truth, other than the citizenry itself.  The ill-named Democratic Party in the United States has destroyed that concept in its efforts to attain and retain political power in the name of the Deep State and its conflict-based empire.  Conflict internally through racial, gender, ethnic and religious polarization, and externally through the antithesis of Kant’s perpetual peace, our history of perpetual war.  Only a few brave souls, real journalists like Julian Assange, the late Bob Parry, Chris Hedges, Joe Luria, Caitlin Johnstone, etc., stand in the way, and they are being bled to death with a thousand small cuts, not all tiny.  Among us, Julian Assange’s martyrdom at the hands of the United Kingdom and the United States stands out as the most egregious symbol of perfidy, but every citizen who votes for Deep State candidates, those villains or dupes who keep us in the dark, who have always kept us in the dark, … is an accomplice.

It is impossible to be an accurate historian in this context and I now question everything I’ve been taught and which I in turn once taught, other than those things I experienced in real time.  Things which, notwithstanding such experience, the corporate media and corporate historians, both nothing more than narrative managers specializing in destructive (as opposed to creative) fiction, assure us are too complex for you and I to deal with, so we should just trust them in the manner ridiculed by the old joke, “who are you going to trust, me or your lying eyes”? 

Real historians would leave nothing untouched, regardless of how vile and horrible it may have been presented as being, and regardless of the purported “facts” we have been “ordered” to believe.  The times in which we are living have taught me, as George Orwell once suggested, that yesterday’s monsters may be today’s saints, and tomorrow, who knows?

I find myself wondering what the real truth was about the two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century.  Even superficial history discloses that the United States Civil War was not fought to free the slaves (as is now taught as irrefutable dogma), and that the American Revolution was not fought to guarantee the right to democratic representation in legislative decisions.  It turns out that the sacred texts of the Abrahamic religions in which most of the world places its faith are largely based on falsehoods as well.  So what is left of those professions which purport to exist to glean truth from the chaff of the elitist propaganda which keeps the vast majority of us in a state of velvet lined slavery?

Well, at the very least, if nothing else, to support those who oppose censorship of any kind, and oppose with all our might those who seek to silence dissident voices.  And to do it now before it’s too late, although that Rubicon may already have been crossed.

Something on which to ponder and deliberate, but most of all, on which to act.
_______

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

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Uncomfortable Reflections on an Easter Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.

Filthy Feet of Clay

This morning, April 13, 2002, Scott Ritter published another important article.  “Twitter Wars—My Personal Experience in Twitter’s Ongoing Assault on Free Speech” (Consortium News, Volume 27, Number 101 — Tuesday, April 12, 2022).  “Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of [weapons of mass destruction]”.

As usual, Scott’s article made me think and reflect, both on the current history we are busy making and concurrently distorting, and on the history which I, as a young academic, once taught.  The phrase “the Deep State’s own Twitter” popped into my mind, a kind of parody of the way British regiments are named, “the King or Queens own” followed by the name of a subjugated people; oxymorony at its best.  The article led me to imagine myself as a “real” historian in the future, one realizing how utterly false almost everything the United States government proclaims turns out to be.  For some reason I wondered how, assuming there will ever be “real” historians with access to accurate data, they’ll view the Second World War.  Clearly the narrative concerning Japanese perfidy was utterly distorted if not outright false.  It’s turned out to have been very much like the situation today with Russia and the Ukraine.  In the Japanese analogy, the United States and the United Kingdom schemed and manipulated until the Japanese were left only with the choice of attacking or being attacked themselves.  The United States National archives contains a telegram instructing MacArthur to either goad the Japanese into attacking or attacking them himself as the United States need an excuse to gain popular support for a war the People did not want (see John Tolland’s “The Rising Sun”).  Pretty much the same scenario was used by young Winston Churchill in the First World War, then known as the War to End All Wars, when as first Lord of the Admiralty, he arranged for the sinking of the USS Lusitania in order to draw the United States into that war.

It made me wonder what really made the administrations of Richard Millhouse Nixon and Donald John Trump so despicable and whether it wasn’t Watergate (mow the norm) or Russiagate (an orchestrated farce) but Nixon’s Glasnost and outreach to China and Trump’s desire for a non-interventionist foreign policy and decent relations with Russia and China all of which were the unforgivable sins which farsighted Ike warned would not be tolerated by the Deep State he foresaw?

Given our own experiences with reality turned inside out and upside down, can we really take for granted all we’ve been told about things now as orthodox as the evils of Germany and the Nazis?  Remember, demonology was an invention of the Catholic Church, as it turns out.  It is illegal in most countries to question official narrative as to World War II which to real researchers, ought to make it all the more questionable.  It is devastating to even consider that much of that narrative may not be wholly accurate, but even if it is, how “credible” will it remain given the postwar conduct of the United States and Western Europeans and their corporate media.  How much of the history we’ve been spoon fed can we believe if gathering accurate information critical to learning from the past in order to avoid its errors is our goal.  Not everything a liar says is necessarily a lie, but it all certainly becomes suspect when we realize that someone in whom we believed turns out to have had no value for the truth.  The little boy who cried wolf, on a massive scale.

I recall watching “cowboys versus Indians” entertainment genre as a young boy, where white hatted cowboys were always the good guys, before, as a historian, I learned of President Andrew Jackson and the Cherokees’ Trail of Tears.  Or when Columbus Day celebrated something positive, rather than physical and cultural genocide.  Or when the United States invaded and occupied countries all over Latin America to make the world safe for democracy, but democracy turned out to be the United Fruit Company, a practice expanded worldwide starting with the Spanish American War in 1898.  I even remember when watching television “Father Knew Best” and “Amos and Andy” were just happy go lucky friends.

Oh what a twisted web we’ve woven!  I wonder what its ultimate price will be.
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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 http://www.guillermocalvo.com.