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/.

Ecce Homo

“Ecce Homo”!  The phrase purportedly uttered by Pontius Pilate on the first “Good” Friday as he presented Yeshua to a crowd allegedly demanding his execution for blasphemy, unsuccessfully washing his hands of all responsibility for what was to follow.  Perhaps it is even more fittingly a phrase for our times and for what we have become: oxymoronically incoherent, awash in orchestrated poetic orthodoxy belittling empathy and keeping us chaotically in line.  “Ecce Homo”!  The collective image we would probably see were there a mirror large enough to encompass us all. 

A mirror that would reflect fear and hate in the name of love and tolerance.  Race, religion, ethnicity, gender, nationality, class, history and philosophy all perverted in order to divide us and set us at each other’s throats in orgies of faux self-righteous indignation.  Exuberant hate exalted.

The price of our folly in declining to exercise our better judgment, permitting ourselves instead to be manipulated through fear rather than embracing the courage of our convictions.  Bacchanalias deifying purportedly lesser evils.  Illusions of a democracy we’ve never attained.

Another message from Cassandra’s archives.
_______

© 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.

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.
_______

© 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.

Critical Context in Perilous Times:

Demythifying the Ukrainian Crisis

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

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

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

A Bit of Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Comparisons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what are they? 

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

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

Perhaps for the better.
_______

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blithely Travelling on the Road to Perdition

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

“Do as I say, not as I do”, an old parental refrain we kids hated.  I assume kids still do although they seem so much different than we were.  Of course, Plato made the same refrain two and a half millennia ago.

It’s a pretty day high in the central range of the Colombian Andes from which I view ugly developments far way, but which may all too soon impact us all.  The situation today is not the result of sudden, unpredictable events.  Rather, it’s as though the Trojan seeress Cassandra had returned to once again prophecy while no one cared or listened.  The mad leading the mad to our mutual perdition.  Kind of like what Simon and Garfunkel described when they recorded Ian Campbell’s desperately beautiful but horribly sad song, “The Sun is Burning”:

The sun is burning in the sky; strands of clouds go slowly drifting by; in the park the lazy bees are joining in the flowers among the trees; and the sun burns in the sky. 

Now the sun is in the West; little kids go home to take their rest; and the couples in the park are holding hands and waiting for the dark.  And the sun is in the West. 

Now the sun is sinking low; children playing know it’s time to go.  High above a spot appears, a little blossom blooms and then draws near.  And the sun is sinking low.

Now the sun has come to earth.  Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death.  Death comes in a blinding flash of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash.  And the sun has come to earth.

Now the sun has disappeared.  All is darkness, anger, pain and fear. Twisted sightless wrecks of men go groping on their knees and cry in pain.  And the sun has disappeared

Since the overthrow of progressives and liberals in the Democratic Party as a result of the Clinton coup of 1992, and the resulting consolidation of the neoconservative-neoliberal Deep State in the United States, the European Union and NATO (now spread substantially outside of its original borders and actively engaged in offensive rather than defensive operations), a number of countries have been dismembered by that unholy alliance.  They include Palestine, Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria, while others have been invaded and conquered totally (Iraq and Afghanistan), at least temporarily.  In the case of both Iraq and Afghanistan, involuntary dismemberment were seriously considered.  In addition, the Soviet Union was, of course, dismembered, but with a promise that NATO would not move in to fill the vacuum, a vacuous promise.  Each such disaster involved serious violations of international law, which was shown to be little more than an aspiration and the United Nations Charter just an illusion. 

The shoe now seems snuggly ensconced on the other foot, something totally predictable based on the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” school of geopolitics.

One wonders why it is almost always the Democratic Party in the United States that leads us into major wars (major characterized by tens of thousands of United States casualties):  World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam?  And also into other wars, wars that while to us may not seem major, to the countries we’ve destroyed are devastating, wars like the “interventions into Libya and Syria.  Not that they’re not backed by the GOP (although it is frequently the GOP that inherits the aftermath).  And that of course does not include countless coups throughout the Western Hemisphere, Middle East and Africa orchestrated by the boys from the “Company” (as some call the Central Intelligence Agency and its myriad progeny).  Today, it seems that we in what we call “the West” are being led by two stooges the Keystone Cops would not accept, the United States’ Joe Biden and the United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson, but there are plenty of bit players in the European Union as well.  And of course, there’s the Ukraine’s own autocrat, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  On the other side sits Vladimir Putin, apparently holding all the cards and playing chess while Biden, Johnson et. al., play checkers.  And on the other side of the world, with another deck of cards at the ready, sits Xi Jinping.

This morning a close and admired friend and Citadel classmate posted a message on Facebook comparing the Russian recognition of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics to Hitler’s forays into formerly German territories lost as a result of the Entente’s victory in World War I, a resemblance which, as a very loyal member of the United States’ Democratic Party, he has not noted with respect to the comparable, earlier situations described above.  Of course, not all actions that bear some aspects in common are analogous.  Hmmm, unless maybe they are.

A bit of context:

The situation in the Ukraine did not start yesterday but rather in 2014 when the United States, the European Union and NATO orchestrate a coup d’état in the Ukraine, overthrowing a democratically elected pro-Russian president and installing a puppet government tied to their interests, ironically, in the name of democracy and the elimination of corruption.  If that was the goal, it’s been an utter failure.  Autocracy rather than democracy remains the rule in the Ukraine with opposition media shut down and opposition leaders imprisoned.  On the other hand (think sleight of hand) corruption, always endemic in the Ukraine, is at least now shared with the families of Western leaders (think Hunter Biden).  The 2014 Ukrainian coup d’état was rejected in the Crimea and in the eastern parts of the Ukraine bordering the Russian federation.  There, two regions declared independence, the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics.  After a plebiscite overwhelmingly in favor of union with the Russian Federation, the Crimea returned to the status it held prior to its administrative separation from Russia during the middle of the last century.  The situations in the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics, however, were not so easily resolved.

Until yesterday, the declarations of independence by the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics were not formally recognized anywhere.  One wonders what the United States’ founding fathers would think of that, especially Thomas Jefferson, author of the former British colonies’ declaration of independence.  The Russian Federation, until yesterday, insisted that the controversy be settled through negotiation and implementation of settlement proposals agreed to by the Ukraine and the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics in 2015 under the mediation of France, Germany and the Russian Federation, the so called Minsk Agreements.  However, rather than implementing such agreements (which called for a Ukrainian federation with autonomy for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions), Ukrainian government forces, supplemented by highly armed semi-independent anti-Russian militias, have occupied a majority of the disputed territories from which constant low key attacks have been continuously launched against the separatist forces and their civilian populations.  No military forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics have engaged in military activities outside the borders of such regions although they frequently exchange fire with occupying Ukrainian and militia forces.

During the current domestic political crisis being suffered by the administrations in power in the United States and the United Kingdom, Ukrainian forces and the related semi-independent anti-Russian militias have been reinforced with substantial military armaments through NATO, the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, and such armaments have been supplemented by a constant barrage of anti-Russian propaganda to the effect that the Russian Federation was about to invade and conquer the Ukraine and murder and imprison its anti-Russian leaders.  Apparently it was hoped that an international crisis could ameliorate the tenuous domestic political climate in both countries, and it certainly would not hurt Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron’s prospects in the pending French presidential election.  In the Ukraine itself, the situation was mare tenuous and confusing.  On the one hand, the Ukrainian government sought to distance itself from such propaganda, while on the other, the semi-independent anti-Russian militias fully bought into it and this past week dramatically increased their military activities against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics. 

The consequences have proven completely predictable.  Baiting the bear on a consistent basis and crying wolf incessantly led to a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The Russian Federation has, following in a very limited manner the example set by the United States and NATO in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics and entered into related mutual defense treaties.  Unlike NATO in the former Yugoslavia however, it is not bombarding Kiev and the other parts of the Ukraine, but that may occur in the not too distant future, depending on how carefully reactions are measured.  While the world’s financial markets are generally down, armament industry stocks and gold are flying high, as are oil futures.

The echoes of the summer of 2014 sound all too clearly and things may quickly spiral out of hand, especially given the stupidity and cupidity of the current power mad United States administration and its puppets in Europe.  There is a worst case scenario that I hope is improbable.  But as in the tumbling dominos of the myriad military alliances that characterized Europe at the beginning of the First World War (some secret and some open), our world presents a bizarre mirror image of that sad season.  One mostly orchestrated by the United States which continuously forms alliances and understanding with a large number of countries (against the wishes of most of their citizens) seeking to contain the Russian Federation and the Peoples’ Republic of China, such alliances now supplemented by de facto economic warfare through “economic sanctions” against a host of countries deemed “enemies”.  In addition to the two super powers referenced above, such “enemies” include the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.  It reminds me of a clumsy waiter trying to bring a huge pile of dishes to the kitchen, while snickering customers stretch their legs to try and trip her.  Only we’re the plates.

Prospects for another world war, to some extent, depend on a mirror image situation on the other side of the planet, the unresolved issue of the estranged Chinese province of Taiwan.  That issue is always threatening to blossom into an inferno, more so now that the United States deems the Peoples’ Republic as serious a threat to its economic primacy as the Russian Federation poses to hegemony in Europe, but it is only simmering at present.  That could change very quickly and that, in my opinion, depends on whether or not the Peoples’ Republic of China, the Russian Federation’s de facto ally, recognizes the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics and then, whether in retaliation, the United States and its allies recognize the independence of Taiwan.  That would almost certainly lead to an invasion of Taiwan by the Peoples’ Republic forcefully reintegrating Taiwan into the Chinese state, somewhat the opposite of what is occurring in the Ukraine.

One would assume Western leaders would not be so abysmally stupid as to make that scenario possible but the hubris of current leaders may be worse than that of Kaiser Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas, H. H. Asquith, Raymond Poincaré and, of course, the duplicitous Woodrow Wilson. 

The situation in the Ukraine is regretful on many fronts, all instigated by the unholy alliance of the governments of the United States, the European Union and NATO (much to the detriment of their people and to the people of the Ukraine).  These include the 2014 Maiden Coup, the refusal of the Ukraine to implement the Minsk Agreements, the abuse of economic sanctions against the Russia Federation and other countries outlawed under the Charter of the United Nations, their constant penchant for foreign intervention and NATO’s disregard for promises made to the Soviet Union with respect to German unification and NATO expansion when the Warsaw Pact was dissolved.  They have brought us to the brink of disaster.  That is as obvious today as the then pending disaster should have been in the summer of 2014, but perhaps nothing was really learned from the War to End all Wars and its sequel, the Second World War, and its sequel, the Cold War, and its sequel, the War on Terror, and its sequel, the Second Cold War, other than perhaps, how to utterly and constantly distort the truth and to pervert journalism, and how to make trillions of dollars for the military industrial complex against which Ike warned us almost sixty-two years ago.

So, here we are, nervously listening to shoes dropping, geese berating ganders and immature adults crying wolf, as the world turns.  Not a very comfortable place in which to find ourselves.  “The Sun is Burning” is a beautiful song with horrifying lyrics.  The same year that it was recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, 1964, the Democratic Party’s National Committee, on behalf of the Lyndon Johnson presidential campaign, produced and played, on one occasion, a political advertisement perhaps inspired by that song, the so called daisy girl ad[1].  It featured a little girl playing with a daisy in a field, then suddenly consumed in a nuclear explosion.  The ad was massively successful and changed advertising history.  Unfortunately, it was utterly hypocritical as the Johnson administration shortly thereafter orchestrated the infamous Vietnam War. 

Perhaps it’s time to take Pete Seeger’s anthem, “When Will they ever Learn” (also known as “Where Have all the Flowers Gone) and Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” seriously.  Perhaps it’s time to change the bellicose world order before we, as humans, are unable to change anything again.
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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 is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.


[1] See the following Wikipedia article on point at Daisy (advertisement) – Wikipedia.

Of Happy Days, Intellectual Property and Real Choices

As we watch endless reruns on cable, I wonder how they’re selected.  The choices get worse every year.  For some time, television for me has been pretty much limited to news and sports, well, what passes for “news” and after the recent NFL Pro Bowl, something all too similar is happening to sports.  Perhaps this is how “dark ages” start.

Of course, our travails with entertainment are the least of our problems.  Today’s problems seem not only existentially dangerous but seemingly irresolvable.  Plato thought pretty much the same two and a half millennia ago.  “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, but do they have to?  Let’s start on a light and superficial note, but one that illustrates our quandary.

To many of us, today’s television programs and movies are insipid, politically motivated, politically correct drivel, but, omnipresent insipid, politically motivated, politically correct drivel.  Choice, other than abstention, is pretty much non-existent despite the vast quantities of great material produced during the second half of the 20th century.  How many of us would love to binge watch “All in the Family” or “Sanford & Son” or “Welcome Back Kotter” or “Different Strokes” or “Happy Days” or “Whats Happening” or “WKRP in Cincinnati” or “The Jeffersons” or “Night Court” or “Julia” or “The Wonder Years” or “The Jamie Fox Show” or “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” or “Martin”?  And going back even further, “The Ozzie and Harriet Show” or “I love Lucy” or “Amos and Andy” or “Father Knows Best” or “My Three Sons”.  The examples are legion!

Admittedly, sitcoms are not a high art form but the programs cited and many others were entertaining and a relief from the stress of daily life rather than superficially disguised demands that we criticize ourselves and our ancestors into oblivion for not having been born perfect.  Damn Eve and her apples (hmmm, that may be resundant)!  We enjoyed those old sitcoms and would enjoy them still, if we could, if they were available.  But as in politics, our choices are all too few; filtered for us for incomprehensible purposes other than that perhaps, entertainment is not about our own preferences but an effective behavioral means of manipulation.  Initially to sell products but now, for social control.

A primary tool for the exercise of social as well as economic and political control is the abuse of intellectual property rights.  The concept of intellectual property is sound (albeit ironically totally contrary to capitalist theory).  Its purported goal is to reward creators for their efforts and thus incentivize innovation.  Of course, the “benefits generally go to investors and corporate executives rather than to creators.  In any event, the “warehousing” of intellectual property, whether in the field of entertainment or other fields (such as technology, energy, transportation, etc.) has exactly the opposite effect.  Indeed, the abuse of intellectual property rights forces consumers to acquire inferior products at inflated prices, all too frequently designed for accelerated obsolescence.

How can something so antisocial exist in a democracy?

Well, the truth is that it couldn’t, and there’s the rub. 

The concept of democracy (like the concept of capitalism where the market purportedly makes the decisions) is a ruse and exists in name only.  It is no more than a way to placate us and to fool us into thinking that we have control over our own lives when, to an objective observer, it would be obvious that we don’t.  Just as government supported monopolies deprive us of choice in all markets, political parties (political monopolies) filter out the leaders we deserve and would chose if given the chance at least as efficiently as do autocratic dictatorships, something a student in a Comparative Politics class I taught once pointed out to me when we were covering governance in contemporary Iran.  Constitutions should be the vehicles that resolve the tensions between liberty, democracy and minority rights but instead, they create the organic anomalies that protect the ability of elites to govern us all, as though they possessed Sauron’s One Ring. 

Perhaps they do.  I can almost hear the echoes of “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them; in the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”

How is it that nowhere (other than perhaps tiny Iceland and once upon a short time ago, some of the Nordic countries) is there a country where the citizenry takes its political obligations (not political rights) seriously enough to have a serious shot at attaining (rather than fruitlessly pursuing) happiness?  How is it that being able to control the right of others to make their own decisions became a higher priority for us collectively than enjoying our individual autonomy?  Is there no way out of the incoherent social mess we’ve permitted others to force us to endure?

Strange that the foregoing is so aptly illustrated by the entertainment we watch, not having a viable option to enjoy the entertainment we would prefer, had we the option.  The reality is that there are numerous answers to all the socioeconomic problems that we face: to inequity, inequality, injustice, impunity, poverty, etc., had we the collective will to demand their selection and to participate in their implementation.  Instead, we seemingly live in a world as controlled and manipulated as the one presented in the Matrix series of movies; and most of us know it, at least most of the time.  Unfortunately we tend to forget all semblance of reality during electoral cycles when most of us apparently lose our collective minds under an avalanche of electoral posters, electoral ads and dire warnings of existentially greater evils.  And we do so time after time after time, ad nauseaum

If only the fury and disdain for our political, social and economic leaders that we feel during the years in which elections are not held could be preserved, then we could make make a difference, ….

We do have effective options, elections may be one, although there are serious doubts as to whether legitimate elections are still a viable option, but there are always mass boycotts.  Boycotts of all products sold directly and indirectly by mass media advertisers, whether in print, through social media, on television, etc.  Interestingly, in response to a question from a former student as to how to identify corrupt politicians during an electoral cycle I replied that those with the most posters and most commercials were in all likely hood, the most corrupt.  The same seems true of most advertisers.  How much more productive would it be for us, and for our communities if we prioritized local purchasing from family businesses?

Ahhh …. Oh Happy Days!
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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 is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Reflections on our Tortured Political Realities

It’s 2022.  February. 

The world is (as has come to be the norm) on the brink of war, with many small conflagrations keeping munitions industry investors busy counting their profits.  Massive demonstrations lauded by the corporate media from January of 2017 until January of 2021 are now anathema, despicable and unjustifiable traitorous insurrections.  Those who believe that abortion is a right because our bodies are ours to do with as we will now demand that others consume medications they oppose, … well, just because.  Political incoherence reigns; truth is irrelevant, hypocrisy has become an art form.  In the United States we are more polarized than at any time since the Civil War.  The Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” is clearly in place.

But: … who are we and how did we get where we find ourselves?  Who or what is responsible?  How likely are we to survive as a civil society?

A fundamental analysis may be a good place to start answering these existential questions.  As a political analyst, writer, academic and historian, it seems to me that a starting point is exploring the fundamental philosophical tensions that impact our sociopolitical decision making process and that starts with the dual nature each of us shares: we are both individuals and members of concentric rings of collectives, and the stress we place on one or the other of such natures is a dividing point.  It seems obvious that reconciliation of both aspects of our nature, when possible, is the best policy.  Both our autonomy as individuals and the collaboration required to participate in groups need to be respected in order for collaborative concepts such as the economy, the family, government, religion, education, etc. to function.  But what happens when one or the other aspects of our nature conflict in a manner that cannot be resolved and one has to be prioritized over the other?

To collectivists on what has arbitrarily come to be defined as the left wing of the political spectrum, as the fictional character Spock noted, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few); individualists on the right disagree by favoring individual rights.  Of course, there are those who react rather than philosophize and to whom logical consistency is irrelevant.  Some of those can be classified as a center comprised of a conglomeration of the apathetic and those who have no fixed values but are conflict averse (a good thing).  Unfortunately; a dangerous second group, a tiny minority, is comprised of a non-ideological but immensely powerful social cancer that has come to be referred to as a Deep State. 

One form of Deep State or another exists everywhere and has probably always existed.  There is a political theory that posits that humans are always ruled by an elite minority.  Elite theory is superficially dealt with in Wikipedia where, in very general terms, it is defined as: “… a theory of the state that … posits that a small minority, consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks, holds the most power—and that this power is independent of democratic elections.”  As with most articles in Wikipedia, it is subject to manipulation and its accuracy is not assured, but as a broad outline and starting point for research, it is at least adequate.  In essence, Elite Theory claims that democracy is at best an illusion and a tool used by elites to manipulate the vast majority into actions of benefit primarily to the small group of dedicated individuals, families and professions who have attained and will not relinquish economic, social and political power.  That certainly seems to the society in which we find ourselves; however, because it is so one sided that the gap between the wealthy and everyone else is increasing exponentially (see Piketty, Tomas [2013, English translation 2014], “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674430006), a populist counter reaction has been building and had a very direct impact on the United States presidential election in 2016, from both the left (the Democratic Party’s so called Sanderistas) and on the right (the GOP’s Tea Party).  The right wing populist victory threw the Deep State into a panic, forcing it to reveal itself in order to stage a “soft coup” with the assistance of the Democratic Party, traditionalist Republicans, the corporate media and the newly emergent elite controlled social media platforms, and to impose authoritarian methods in the United States and elsewhere, including large scale censorship in order to prevent a recurrence.  Left wing populists, led, in the Democratic Party by Tulsi Gabbard, were successfully contained with the assistance of perceived populist leaders like Bernie sanders and Elizabeth Warren who proved all too willing to work with Deep State elites to derail their own populist revolt.

With the essential assistance of the corporate media and social media platform censorship, Deep State elitists were able to manipulate the Covid 19 pandemic to assume unprecedented control by strategically sabotaging the world economy through socioeconomic lockdowns and medical mandates as well as by divisive social polarization that set the population to bickering over historical events rather than populist solutions to current socioeconomic crises, with race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and religion all used to distract the electorate while concurrently, protecting elite investments in the profitable armaments industry by aggravating international tensions keeping the world on the brink of war, both is a series of local conflicts and the threat of major power nuclear confrontation.  But right wing populist resistance, overcome in the United States through media control and electoral gimmicks during the 2018 and 2020 elections, seems to have recovered enough to significantly impact United States congressional elections set for November of this year.  Left wing populists, on the other hand, with the exception of followers of Tulsi Gabbard and perhaps Dennis Kucinich, seem quiescent, and are being driven by elitist manipulation into support of the Deep State, of censorship and of restraints on civil liberties, all policies which they have traditionally opposed and abhorred.  They are now the “woke”, Cancel Culture warriors, the thought police of whom George Orwell wrote in the late 1940s.  Ironically, the elites’ best friends.

It remains to be seen whether those on the “center” will prove as gullible as those on the populist left, as gullible as Abraham Lincoln once noted when he reflected that “you can fool all of the People some of the time and some of the People all of the time” or, whether even the apathetic center is fed up enough to bring the third part of that quotation into play: “but you can’t fool all of the People all of the time”.

It is interesting that right wing and left wing populists, while disagreeing as to policies, have a great deal in common and have usually been able to coexist, with the assistance of the apathetic and disinterested center.  But not now, not today.  Not when orchestrated polarization by Deep State elites have manipulated them into dysfunction through use of illusory issues, especially abortion and gun control now supplemented by racism, xenophobia and misogyny, issues not meant to be solved but rather, exacerbated for fun and profit.  That is where we stand today, a day in February 2022. 

Assuming that the electoral process has not been completely compromised through legislation and rules designed to facilitate electoral fraud, perhaps we may once again catch a glimpse of a populist wave this November.  Unfortunately, one thing seems sure, elitist Deep Staters will not just sit back and watch, and in the long term, their faith in the usual disinterest of the vast majority of the citizenry in political matters which keeps them from participating as candidates and from even voting, is likely to return the elites to power (should it again be temporarily wrested from them), keeping the rest of us in chains, sometimes velvet but all too often in shades of stainless steel. 

Exactly what happened with the socioeconomic revolts in 1776, 1789, 1848 and of course, in the nineteen-sixties!

Most children have beautiful smiles, at least until they are taught to hate.  I wonder what kind of people the children born since 2019 will grow into given that hate has been converted into a virtue, given that they have experienced their socially formative years, in large part, in politically imposed isolation, with education limited, with playgrounds closed?

Children tend to be resilient, after all, they survive, even in Yemen and Afghanistan, at least if they’re not killed by drones.  Will humankind perhaps have learned that calumny and ridicule and censorship do not change hearts, by the time they’re grown?
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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 is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com

Of Circles and Singularities and Love and Life

Circles, in some aspects, seem the perfect shape, but they also represent closed systems, at least when considered alone.  Spheres add dimension.  And groups of spheres, almost infinite groups of spheres, well that is a very different thing.  Groups of spheres seem to surround us, from micro, sub atomic structures to the shapes of ever expanding universes.  We humans, and perhaps other biological entities, seem trapped in the middle, although, the gift of volition would seem to impact the concept of a closed system, a flaw in the predestination that geometry and mathematics and physics seem to imply.  It is interesting to speculate on whether or not there was any volition inherent in the transition from singularity into everything which eventually evolved.  That might, to some extent, explain the imperfections in that first great conflagration.  Of course, that could imply a demiurge and, to be honest, demiurges are currently out of fashion.

Circes are symbols as well as archetypes, especially when configured in groups.  And while the potential configuration of circles is infinite the classification of their configurations are not.  They can be singularities (theoretically), solitary circles, groups of solitaries, concentric, overlapping, intersecting, and combinations of the foregoing.  As combinations they represent the fascinating possibilities inherent in chaos where all that can be, “is”, and is simultaneously notwithstanding inherent contradictions.

As archetypes, concentric circles represent hierarchies, authoritarian systems, each level encompassing a prior level around a singularity in the middle.  Overlapping circles represent interactions among some groups of circles without a hierarchy and without a centric singularity, and, intersecting circles represent interaction among all members of a group, without a hierarchy but with a common nucleus: circles interacting around a central axis with a portion of their circumferences overlaying, generating a small shared area, one that they occupy in common while the rest reflects a sort of independence.  The latter variant represents very special things to me on a number of levels.  The ideal blend of intimacy and independence in intimate interpersonal relationships, or the ideal relationship among social groups with shared values but also, with treasured differences; the antithesis of the revered melting pot concept much more accurately reflecting the ideal in a multicultural society and a multinational state.  No one’s values superimposed over those of others even as important values are shared.

Ideals are such frustrating things though, they posit idealized solutions to intractable problems: unstoppable forces crashing into immovable objects, but with the hope that faith can indeed move mountains.  Somewhere in chaos, in the multiverse posited by the variant of string theory that encompasses eleven, rather than ten dimensions, where everything that can happen happens somewhere or some-when, idealized solutions function but not here, not now.

It is very sad that in today’s polarized world where purported progressives have exchanged almost all of their values in a quest for perpetual power, the balance in my vision of intersecting circles is being brutalized and the quest for individuality, for harmonious liberty, for tolerance and mutual respect is being savaged.  It’s as though an intellectual pandemic infected many of the people who once shared my values and my goals and turned them into negative mirror images of what they once were.  Inexplicably, at least to me, metaphorically their quest seems to involve converting intersecting circles into concentric circles, and then, into singularities, reversing the tolerance-for-difference humankind once seemed determined to attain into Orwellian conformism.

I recall the hope and love inherent during the chaotic nineteen-sixties, a blend of incoherent emotions demanding change, demanding an end to bellicosity at every level; and end to war; an end to racism, xenophobia and misogyny; an end to intolerance; an end to inequity and injustice, but endings to be attained through empathy and love rather than conflict, conquest and suppression.  We lost our way though, and flower children became politicians and entrepreneurs and journalists, and instead of great writers, many became great publicists, enamored with the apparent magic of the tools behavioral psychology made available, tools that, like the mythical philosopher’s stone, permitted almost total manipulation of feelings and beliefs.  And truth became irrelevant, a merely relative concept; and rhetoric became a divinity at whose feet, amidst the sounds of silence, we became that against which we once railed.

As we changed we propagated and, under the leadership and guidance of many us who for diverse reasons, like Luke Skywalker, aka Darth Vader turned to the dark side, much of our progeny became more and more incoherent, incongruent, vitriolic, violent and intolerant.  Slogans replaced goals and to them, the changes in the present we so need, required that the historical past be destroyed and replaced: in essence, that our historical mirrors be exchanged for discordant pseudo-art: visual as well as vocal, cinematographic, etc.  To them, censorship, rather than the evil we once believed it to be, ought to be imposed in the name of security from discordant opinions, as though rather than the music of the orbs, only a single unending, unwavering, invariable note should be permitted to exist, and that what it lacked in terms of diversity, should be replaced with volume.

In essence, in this temporal instant, in this corner of the multiverse, we are experiencing a battle of discordant circular configurations, perhaps a battle between the armies of chaos (intersecting and overlapping circles, the good guys) and the armies of the concentric circles seeking the singularity we once were, singularity which provides security through the absence of choices and the absence of opinions but which, in the end, crushes us all.
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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 is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Observations Concerning Intergenerational Relationships among Warm-Blooded Vertebrates on the Planet Terra in the Sol System

Query: Is procreation a duty?  If so, to whom?  Are there any corresponding or at least compatible duties owed by the procreated to their progenitors?

Response and Observations:

As to the first question:

Given the constancy of procreation, the answer is apparently yes, probably an imperative duty reinforced by instinct and by the profusion of related dopamine production associated with the act of procreation as well as thereafter as evinced by the predominance of activities to maximize preservation of the procreated. 

As to the second question:

In one sense the duty appears owed to the entire ecosystem but in concentric levels of importance given that beyond the closest nuclei, a destructive tendency appears towards destruction appears increasing in frequency at each level away from the nucleus.  In some species, the tendency towards destructive intra species aggression is even exhibited at the closest levels, hence the Cain and Abel myths among the species denominated humanoid.

As to the third question:

The answer is apparently not as, only during certain historical periods and limited primarily to humanoids, do the procreated concern themselves with the wellbeing of their progenitors once the progenitors’ utility has been exhausted and they instead become a burden.  This appears precisely the obverse of the instinctual behavior of progeny to their progenitors since for so long as the progeny remain a burden, progenitors usually subsume their personal welfare to that of their issue.

The latter is explained by a combination of physical and social factors.  There appear to be chemically driven psychological changes that create a rift between progenitors and progeny as progeny transition through adolescence.  Among humanoids, the chemical changes reinforced by social attitudes usually promote disdain for elders and a sense of rebellion in the young which make continued cohabitation uncomfortable (unless progeny fail to successfully attain independence, in which case they tend to linger in pre-adolescent modes).  The social impact of the foregoing tends to vary epochally with social pressures at times forcing a continued close familial association while at other times, such pressures constitute a divisive force.  Interestingly, in this regard, epochs seem to oscillate in pendulum fashion over several generations.  The most difficult periods occur as one cycle transitions into the next, frequently resulting in large scale societal convolutions and disruptions predicated on incompatible generational mores.

Conclusion:

Trusting that this clarifies certain apparently incoherent psychosocial tendencies among the inhabitants of Terra and the predilection for constant apparently irrational conflicts among humanoids, this summary report is respectfully submitted.

Mork
Resident Agent on Terra from the Orkian Federation

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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 is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.