Alta Rei Publicae et Veritatis Inopia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, about the relationship of evil to the dearth in veracity?  Pure, undistilled 24 karat evil resides prominently among us and its purest strains exude from those among us, who, without even needing Tolkien’s one ring, rule us all and bind us to their will, albeit with velvet chains, as we sleepwalk where poppies daren’t grow.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

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


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

An Objective Rant Pertaining to Abortion and other Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief but Important Reflections on the Fourth of July

I’ve long believed that holidays, all holidays, are days best suited for introspection, reflection and reevaluation rather than celebration, especially those based on some ethical principle, like today.  So today is a day to reflect on Thomas Jefferson’s hypocrisy, which we’ve inherited, but also on the warnings of two presidents in their farewell addresses: Washington’s, to avoid entangling alliances (like NATO, our special status with the United Kingdom and Israel, and our disdain for Muslims, Russia and China); and, Eisenhower’s warning about the deep state which, without the one ring, still manages to rule us all more efficiently that Tolkien’s villain, Sauron, ever dreamed possible. 

Perhaps it’s also a day to reflect on the reality that until we vote our consciences, rather than permit ourselves to be manipulated through orchestrated fears and emotionally polarizing issues, until we develop empathy and tolerance for opposing viewpoints, we will never be truly free, or truly independent. 

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

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

A 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/.

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/.