Observations regarding the decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of the Patriotic Union (a political party) versus the Colombian State

Today, January 30, 2023, I am proud to be a Latin American, the place where, perhaps more than in any other part of the world, there is a supranational institution truly dedicated to the protection of the rights of our population and its members against the corruption, ineptitude and violence of the governments which, for centuries have managed our countries under the direction and in the service of foreign powers. The truth is that today, when hypocrisy and falsehood reign throughout of our planet but especially among those countries in the northern hemisphere which proclaim themselves exceptional and morally superior, perhaps only in Latin America is real progress being made in the great battle (perhaps started at the beginning of the French Revolution) to achieve respect for the dignity of the individual, the dignity of minorities and the dignity of those who are different or believe in ways different from those established by elitist traditions. Respect for the dignity inherent in a world at peace where the sovereignty, dignity and rights of others are respected.

A horrible injustice, the torture, murder, calumny and genocide perpetrated by prior Colombian governments against the Patriotic Union and other social, cultural, civic and political movements has been, at least acknowledged, and some blame has been somewhat assigned, albeit directed at a Colombian State that under its recently elected center-left government (the first in Colombia’s history), has initiated profound attempts to effect change. But real justice calls for external processes with respect to those foreign countries responsible for so many barbaric episodes in our continent (and elsewhere), and it calls for internal processes that really establish the responsibility of the specific individuals involved in these crimes and the responsibility of their families who enjoyed and continue to enjoy the benefits illegally stolen from their relatives’ victims and from the innocent Colombian people. Processes with real consequences, consequences similar to those imposed by the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II, although those cases were almost entirely hypocritical, as were those who organized them but exempted themselves from answering for their own massive crimes against humanity, the “Allies” which were already planning similar crimes against billions of future victims through neoliberal economic policies enforced through neoconservative military and clandestine means.

I am proud to be a citizen of the newly evolving Colombia, although I am extremely embarrassed by the Colombian State of the past. And I personally deeply regret that I was not in Colombia during my formative years, working, as were the members of the Patriotic Union and other truly civic groups (many of whom paid with their lives), to attain the justice and common welfare that every Colombian deserves. Like so many other Colombians and Latin Americans, my family fled the violence orchestrated elsewhere, and I, as a six year old, became a member of the Latin Diaspora, only returning fifteen years ago after a life abroad.

We can do little to change the past, but we can learn from it, and as the Jews constantly urge (although unfortunately not through example), we can do everything possible to avoid the past’s mistakes. That, at least, seems to be what the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision and related orders directed at the Colombian State demand. In furtherance of such goals, all Colombians and all Latin Americans can join the Patriotic Union and the numerous other social, cultural, indigenous, Afro-descendant and related political movements, and with the many victims of our unjust (until now perpetual) conflicts, to finally begin to extinguish violence, to extinguish impunity, to extinguish inequity and inequality, to extinguish injustice and intolerance towards those with different perspectives, to hold those who govern us accountable for their corruption and ineptitude, and to assure that our supposed public servants (too many of whom believe that they are superior to those to whom their duty is really owed) come to understand what just what a “servant” is.

January 30, 2023: a day upon which to reflect and a day on which dedicate ourselves to creating the Colombia that we all deserve. A day to always remember. A day for understanding the complex emotions we should be feeling, a synthesis of pride, elation and joy, intractably intertwined with shame and remorse and dedicated to doing better in the future, much, much better.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé

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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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/.

Another Missive from Troy’s Cassandra

A rant in e minor sharp

While doing research on a “reflection on sentience, self-awareness and their possible existence in non-biological forms”, I came across the following information, admittedly in a Wikipedia article (a starting point for research rather than a reliable source).  I share it because so much of the information we receive lacks context, perhaps deliberately, in order to manipulate such information for electoral, rather than merely political purposes, i.e., to manipulate us into perpetuating specific power blocs, in most cases, apparently, neoliberal systems using neoconservative tactics for their own selfish ends, regardless of the costs to others (the Ukraine being today’s most glaring example). 

Because of the nature of the following information, I hasten to indicate that I am very environmentally conscious and not a climate change denier (admittedly phrasing designed to rebuke and belittle those who deny the existence of climate change).  I am admittedly a true leftist (not the faux variant of purported liberal or purported progressive so often referenced by the corporate media and most traditional political parties today) but I do not react with my eyes tightly shut and ears carefully plugged so that my mind can remain tightly closed. 

Anyway, … according to the following quote from a generic article on the evolution of our planet (which can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Earth):  “It is estimated that 99 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, over five billion [of them ] have gone extinct.  Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million are documented, but over 86 percent have not been described.  However, it was recently claimed that 1 trillion species currently live on Earth, with only one-thousandth of one percent described.”

We humans today are for the most part antievolutionary in our own interactions, in our ethics and in our morals, rejecting nature’s postulates concerning “survival of the fittest” which have been historically espoused by fellow humans we find reprehensible (most recently the Nazis and their “ilk” (admittedly a negatively charged description).  Thus we reject discarding the infirm and handicapped and seek, through social means, to level the playing field apparently established by nature, seeking, for example, to eliminate the relevance of health, gender and racial differences.  We are also seemingly antievolutionary with respect to avoiding natural factors that lead to species extinction in the animal and vegetable realms. 

I admit that, emotionally and intellectually, I am in accord with those antievolutionary beliefs.  But, the information cited above concerns me.  I have to admit that we, who claim to love Gaia and respect and seek to protect nature, seem to be doing so in total opposition to historical “natural” tendencies, in essence, having decided that we know better than nature, and that we are more moral than nature, and that our role in the scheme of things, is to correct nature’s erroneous tendencies, a job we are not doing very well, perhaps, because rather than having attained a real consensus, we are hopelessly polarized, pulling in myriad opposing directions, and, like confused lemmings, seemingly heading desperately towards our doom as a species.  Perhaps a doom that nature will relish.

Still, I love our species and, as an individual, intend to do what I can to avoid what, to an outside observer (were there any), would seem our obvious fate should we prove unable to somehow drastically change directions.  That leads me to reflect that most of our current philosophies and strongly held beliefs need a fundamental reevaluation, one based not on what we wish were true, but on unvarnished truth. 

I frequently write concerning the fallacies of popular beliefs concerning the nature of “logic”, interpretations where “logic is perceived of as a method of proving accuracy, when, in truth, it is just the middle of a quasi-mathematical equation that may be reflected as follows: premises + facts x logic = conclusions.  If any of the components are defective, the equation is not only useless, but dangerous.  The two elements most likely to be defective are premises and facts.  But even when defective, it has a self-correcting empirical aspect, if we just face reality.  If the “conclusion” arrived at does not pan out despite the accurate us of the logic component, then we know that either the premises or the facts were inaccurate, and we should acknowledge that we need to go back to the metaphorical drawing board.  Unfortunately, that is something we as humans are loath to do, having an almost instinctive aversion to admitting we’ve been wrong.  Mistakes, when recognized and properly analyzed, are the best tools for approximating verity, they are the best teachers and probably our most valuable experiences.  But they are a tool we ignore, which leads us as a species to where we find ourselves: a myopic race towards a suicidal dead end.

That may well be what one of our most brilliant and flexibly minded geniuses meant when he described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  Something especially dangerous in what passes for democracy but which is in reality, merely a means to keep us pacified while the worst among us keep us controlled.  Imagine a purported libertarian system where opinions are tightly controlled through censorship purportedly essential in a quest for accuracy?  Well, perhaps “imagine” was a poor choice of words.  That is exactly where our currently trendy, “woke, feel-good, virtue-signaling cancel culture has us.  And, we will never find new alternative solutions to our myriad problems by closing as many minds as possible, by punishing and ridiculing alternative viewpoints, by destroying what passes for history in favor of narratives we find more palatable.

One of the things that I find most frustrating in our quest to resolve our problems is that there is no dearth of viable solutions, only of the will to implement them.  Solutions are, like many useful inventions, patented, not to be used but to be warehoused in a suicidal quest for a profitable income stream; a delusional pivot towards living for the moment and, as French King Luis XV is reputed to have said: let our descendants face the storm, something Luis XVI and his family certainly experienced during the French Revolution.

It is vastly understating the case to describe our current means of communication through corporate and social media as “problematic”.  It is the poison designed to destroy those best able to lead us towards equity and justice and peace and sustainable economics, and thus those mediums are all too likely to assure that we will not be around all that much longer, that we won’t be around to muck up nature’s slow but steady pace towards its own goals and aspirations, with or without us.

Something on which to ponder as we are collectively drawn along to our own perdition.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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/.

None are so Blind, as They Who Refuse to See: … a rant of sorts …

It seems like the “Mother” of all conspiracy theories, but Tucker Carlson’s article and television episode “The Deep State Removed Nixon, The Most Popular President Ever, to Cover up CIA’s Murder of JFK” smells accurate.

Conspiracy theories bloom like weeds when the information we’re provided lacks credibility and when information we ought to have is nowhere to be found.  Hiding facts is the hallmark of successful conspiracies, but loose ends seem to echo endlessly.  The argument that no definitive evidence has been judicially found to be accurate when the judiciary refuses to investigate, makes the echoes ring louder and louder and sometimes even frees bits of what would be evidence, but for the foregoing negative imprimatur, from the shadows.

Few events fit the foregoing description more than the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but strangely, those in the public arena who most claim to have loved him seem most willing to accept an official narrative reminiscent of Swiss cheese.  I lived through the event and played a role in a requiem mass for the assassinated president held in New York City’s Episcopal Cathedral, St. John the Divine, during that awful November in 1963.  I was also a young adult during the Watergate affair and, at the time, one of my law professors was former New York governor Mario Cuomo (Andrews’s father).  I recall being surprised at the time as the most ethical person I knew, then professor Cuomo, a Democrat, cast doubts in class on how the corporate media was handling the scandal.  I also recall how massively popular Richard Millhouse Nixon was before the corporate media and his political cronies orchestrated his destruction.   I recall that rather than being the right wing conservative that history, calcifying media accounts, has portrayed him to be, he was a real progressive in foreign affairs, attaining peace with both Russia and China, and that domestically, he championed progressive programs we have yet to attain, including universal health care, and a universal guaranteed income (which he referred to as a negative income tax), and that during his administration, cabinet level departments dealing with education and the environment were first introduced.  I also know, having lived through those times, that he was hated and feared by the Democratic Party, having politically “stolen the Deep South” and resented by members of his own party, the GOP, because he promoted people in his administration from outside the traditional channels of power.  Nixon certainly was not close to perfect and he was probably justifiably paranoid with racist and anti-Semitic residue, something from which most leading Democrats and Republicans at the time also suffered.  And he cursed and used bad language in private (as if that was unusual in politics).  But he was not close to the corrupt monster most people today are taught to despise, sort of a prequel to how a really unpleasant former president is treated today (perhaps more deservedly so).

I recall the foregoing today because Tucker Carlson, an extremely popular journalist in an age when most journalist are despised and mistrusted, has openly articulated in the above referenced article what many, many ordinary citizens have long suspected, both with respect to the assassination of JFK and the removal of RMN.  And based on my experience, something similar was involved in the failure of the Jimmy Carter presidency.  If true, if accurate, and those are big ifs, it would be devastating confirmation of what a fourth president, JFK’s predecessor, warned as he left office. 

Dwight David Eisenhower warned us to be beware of the military industrial complex, what we today know as the Deep State.  And if that’s true, and if the cancerous Deep State has metastasized onto the federal judiciary, as seems to be the case, then we find ourselves temporally entering portals that advise us to “Abandon All Hope”, as so many authors of dystopian literature have long warned.

All too soon, as many of us fear, the truth will not save us, nor will it set us free.  Not that it will have arrived too late, it’s always been there.  But, reminiscent of the curse suffered by the Trojan princess Cassandra many millennia ago, too many otherwise decent people just refused to listen.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; 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/.

The Revelations of John (an Exile in Patmos) Reconsidered ,… Sort of

Or perhaps, the “Reconsiderations of Bill or Guille” (an expatriate of sorts in Manizales)

Introduction

(The serious part)

The purported revelations of John of Patmos (really, an expatriate who fled to Patmos), a John who styled himself the Elder, the purported book of revelations written on or about the year 96 of the Common Era, seem, in their apocalyptic aspects, almost completely Zoroastrian.  A cartoonish culmination of the doctrine of ethical dualism.  Indeed, the version of Yešu[1] it envisions, denominated “Christ”, seems utterly different than the loving Jesus reflected in modern imagery, much more the messiah longed for by racist, ethnocentric Hebrews, to whom all others were inferiors, now, ironically, subsumed in fundamentalist Paulist Christianity[2].

Interestingly, old Johnny seemed most bothered by the sexual and dietary heresies of the Nicolaitans, followers of Nicholas the Deacon, a real apostle (unlike Saul, albeit as a replacement) and member of the Jerusalem Community.  As in today’s uber polarized world, relatively irrelevant issues were used to divide people who had much more in common than in conflict, the apparent goal (as it is today) being the elimination of any who held contrary views, regardless of how innocuous.  The Nicolaitans’ horrible heresy (according to their detractors, including John but strangely, not Saul), involved the belief that monogamy was not essential and that sharing those beloved with others was a positive, rather than a negative thing, true love promoting the joy and pleasure of the beloved, rather than restricting it; but also, the belief that it was not inappropriate to eat food (specifically meat), offered in sacrifice to idols if it had first been exorcised, … probably important when food was scarce.

John was not original in his revelations, primarily using imagery, threats and promises old before Yešu had purportedly incarnated.  Imagery, threats and promises made in writings such as the books of Daniel and Ezekiel in the Old Testament, 1 Esdras in the Apocrypha, the Book of Enoch in the Pseudepigrapha, the Assumption of Moses, and, portions of the Synoptic Gospels.  He merely placed them in a new, anti-Roman Imperial context, and directed them specifically against the Roman Emperor and those who followed him, especially followers of Yešu willing to compromise the beliefs Pauline Christianity required of them.  In essence, he was a plagiarist, but that was not looked down upon in antiquity.  Indeed, a popular literary device at the time was the antithesis of plagiarism, giving famous others credit for what one had written in order to enhance its impact.

Of course, all of the threats and promises reflected in John’s purported revelations were to take place while the Roman Empire continued to exist in its pagan version.  It’s hard to believe that they applied after the Roman Empire became Pauline, when it became Pauline Christians who engaged in persecution, torture and murder, as well as who placed restrictions on religious beliefs; actions such as those attributed by John to the Romans.  Hence, everything predicted should have taken place prior to the Emperor Constantine’s decrees in the year 331 of the Common Era, decrees which made Pauline Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. 

Through distorted rationalization (such as are common today in journalism) disassociated from the religious aspect of John’s purported revelations and focused exclusively on their political dimension, i.e., the existence of the Roman State, one could, albeit unconvincingly, argue that the promised (or threatened) events need only have occurred prior to the fall of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire in the year 1453 of the Common Era.  And if later, only if today’s Vatican State is seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire against which John railed can an argument be made that the prophecies of John’s purported revelations remain merely inchoate, rather than utter claptrap.

Interestingly, the sexual beliefs associated with Nicholas the Deacon seem to never have gone out of style and seem, at least since the 1960’s, to have emerged from the closet, as it were.  As to eating food sacrificed to idols, well, who knows?  Who can tell where today’s food has its origins, regardless of labeling laws, … except perhaps for Kosher food.

Summary of John’s Imagery

(The satirical part.  Accurate, but satire just the same.  Unavoidably so):

Yešu, in his role as the Pauline “Christ”, purportedly speaking from heaven to John, addresses messages to seven angels, each responsible for one of seven specific Pauline churches in Asia Minor.  One might ask why Yešu, in heaven, would need the assistance of John, to address his angels, but evidently the divine communication network was not functioning at the time.  So much for ubiquitous omnipresence.

With reference to the seven angels, one each had purportedly been assigned the role of guardian to Pauline churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Thyatira, Pergamum, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  Evidently, five of the angels were not doing such a great job at eliminating those who found the doctrines of the Nicolaitans reasonable.  Yešu seems especially miffed with the angel charged with guarding the Pauline church at Pergamum, where “Satan”[3] was purported to have his headquarters. 

Interesting. 

One wonders if Pergamum has been carefully searched in quest of a portal leading to the infernal regions.  For anyone interested, the site of Pergamum is located sixteen miles from the Aegean Sea on a lofty isolated hill on the northern side of the broad valley of the Bakır River, a site currently occupied by the modern town of Bergama, in the province of İzmir in Turkey.  One wonders if, as in the Colombian municipality of Rio Sucio, they have biannual carnivals dedicated to “the Devil”.

Following Yešu’s message to his angels, strangely, via John (as I’ve noted), he describes to John, evidently for transmittal to us, a message concerning seven seals (no, not the animals, just scrolls) on which is (or will be) purportedly written an account of events that “are about to take place” (the term “about” was evidently to be interpreted in a very broad manner, a manner to include any temporal period whatsoever; hmmm, a bit suspicious that).  But only Yešu is purportedly authorized to open the seals (no one else being worthy). 

There follows a bit of equine fantasy (I’m rather fond of horses myself) as the first four seals, if ever opened (John assures us they will, be, Yešu told him so) for some reason deal with horses.  Sigismund Schlomo Freud might have had something to say concerning that imagery, had it ever been brought to his attention.  Perhaps it was and perhaps he did.  Hmmm, on at least one occasion Freud did discuss equine fixations as follows: he interpreted horses, as a phobia (unfortunately he did not discuss them directly as a fixation), as symbolic of the father, and that fear that a horse would bite represented fear of castration as punishment for incestuous desires towards the mother, an expression of the Oedipus complex.  One might wonder what that tells us about John.  As far as I know, Yešu had no personal interaction with horses, only asses, although certain ranks of Roman soldiers in Palestine (where Yešu lived) did use them.  For the safety of my eternal soul then, I’ll limit my observations to John.

Anyway, again according to Yešu (via John), when Yešu opens the first seal, a white horse will appear whose rider will go forth to conquer. Other seals will then be opened, and three more horses: a red one, a black one, and a pale one, will appear in rapid succession.  According to analysts of John’s purported revelations, the four horses and their respective riders purportedly symbolize the conflicts that will mark the beginning of the final destruction of the Roman Empire (and have nothing to do with an Oedipal Complex, but, … who knows).

When the fifth seal is opened, the souls of those who have been waiting for the purported second coming, in duly respectful tones but obviously “verily” annoyed, will demand to know (respectfully of course), how much longer they have to wait until their suffering is avenged, but will be advised (one assumes by Yešu) that they still have a while to wait, and that their wait is likely to be unpleasant, but that if they are patient and faithful (it seems they were not merely souls, but living entities as well), they will be among the redeemed whose names are written in a “Book of Life”.  Evidently, such souls will never have been previously exposed to the revelations of John and will thus be ignorant of what is happening; apparently not being all that conscientious in complying with their Pauline educational obligations.

According to good old John, the scene then changes and we will embark on act two of his revelations.  One wonders if John’s production might not make a good video game.  Four angels representing the four winds of heaven will be told to hold back their winds (hmmm, flatulent angels) until “the servants of God have had seals placed on their foreheads”.  “Ouch”; one wonders if that will hurt.  It seems quite a bit like branding.  Then, apparently, notwithstanding the billions who have, since the dawn of the Common Era, attempted to comply with the usually incoherent, incomprehensible and contradictory instructions they keep receiving from the heirs of Paul (and presumably John) in Yešu’s name of course, all but a very few of them, 144,000 to be precise, will be sentenced to perdition.  As of the dawn of 2023, the world’s current population is approximately eight billion people, most of whom may have souls (although most politicians, lawyers, journalists and priests may not).  As of the dawn of 2023, it is estimated that 117 billion people have lived on Earth, the vast majority having lived following the start of the Common Era.  Assuming that Yešu decarnated (a neologism for when he abandoned his “carnate” form) approximately 1,990 years ago, as 2023 dawns, that means that, were the events “imagined” by John to occur today, an average of only about 72 people per year would have been “saved”.  One wonders at those stuck in Limbo, all the unbaptized infants, etc., what is to happen to them?  That means that fewer people will be “saved”, regardless of their piety, belief and conduct, than currently comprise the 0.01% who rule and own us.  What are the probabilities that such 0.01% have somehow cornered this market as well?  Hmm, they currently constitute about 800,000 people; that means that less than one in five of them will make the cut.  Interesting situation, at least for them.  For the rest of us, it’s apparently “Abandon All Hope”.

Anyway, according to Yešu (according to John), before Yešu opens the rest of the seals, another series of disasters will be heralded by seven angels, each one carrying a trumpet. One wonders if the seven angels are the same each time, or if they arrive in teams of seven.  The trumpets must be huge as they have massive destructive power when blown, although they perhaps are only indicia of coming calamities, Harbingers in Black, perhaps like those that the Latin American poet César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza wrote about in his poem, “Los Heraldos Negros”. 

Following the blowing of the trumpets, a massive earthquake will purportedly occur, turning rivers to blood.  The light of the sun and the moon will be extinguished and the stars will come unglued and fall to Earth.  Then things will really get bad, especially for any surviving persecutors of (one assumes) the 144,000 lucky ones.  Given all the schisms in Pauline Christianity since John’s day, where members of each Pauline denomination claim all others are to be condemned to Hell as heretics, certainly a form of persecution, it would seem that the most avidly religious may well be both among the punished and the vindicated, concurrently, which may explain the 144,000 number.

John, apparently paraphrasing Yešu, unless he has a really good memory, then maligns dragons, equating them with poor old confused Satan (remember the whole thing with Hêl él, Lucifer, and Sama’el; now they’re turned into a dragon, yeesh!!!).  But apparently, Satan and Marcus Cocceius Nerva, the Roman Emperor in the year 96 of the Common Era (when John purportedly wrote his “revelations”), are to be considered one and the same.  Poor Nerva; he did not reign long at all, just fifteen months, and he was a reformer of sorts, no Caligula or Nero.  But then, perhaps communication was slow back then and good old John thought that someone else was in charge.  However, one would assume that Yešu would have known better.  Perhaps poor John just misunderstood.  After all, it may be that Yešu was declaiming to John in Enoquiano, the mythical celestial language.  And there have never been all that many certified, or even qualified Enoquiano translators and interpreters, at least since the fall of that tower in Babel.

Anyway, ….

The “Dragon”, a-Satan (clearly a reference to Hêl él who rebelled in Heaven against YHWH and then purportedly schemed with Herod I, also known as Herod the Great, to do away with the infant Yešu) will somehow have been busy along with his retinue of angels (supposedly fully one third of the former Heavenly Host), challenging Yešu, YHWH and the Holy Spirit, purportedly working through poor Nerva (more probably his predecessors as Nerva was the first of the Five Good Emperors, or perhaps his successors, or perhaps the Papacy, or who knows who).  At any rate, “he” (whoever “he” is) will have been the one who will have been persecuting Yešu’s followers.  Hmmm, that “he” could be any leader of any purportedly Pauline church[4] since, based on the aforementioned thousands of Pauline schisms, almost all followers of Yešu will have been commended to condemnation in Hell and to damnation (assuming the two things are different) by other followers of Paul, given that they each consider all others blasphemous heretics.

Actually, the aforesaid “he” ought to be easy to recognize as, according to good old John (as told to him directly by Yešu), “he” will have seven heads and ten horns and will be somehow further identifiable by calculating his number, it should be “666” (although how our numbers are calculated remains a mystery); so be in the lookout for anyone fitting that description.

As the end finally draws near (again), again according to John as told directly by Yešu, or perhaps only by Yešu’s voice, three angels will appear (one wonders what will have happened to the other four, if indeed they are the same, or why the change in numbers if they are different; and whatever will have happened to the horses and their jockeys?).  One angel will announce that the hour of God’s judgment has come, the second one will yell that Babylon has fallen (which happened millennia ago so is no surprise) and the third will be doing his best to terrify anyone who’s been worshipping “the Beast” (probably the Dragon, you remember, our composite nemesis), all of whom are to then be thrown into a lake of fire where they will forever be destroyed. Hmmm, that seems a bit oxymoronic at best, poor phrasing, as destruction seems a final event rather than a process.  But then again, as you may recall, it may be that Yešu was declaiming to John in Enoquiano, hard for mortals to understand.

As if that’s not enough, with all the bad guys frying in a lake of fire (sounds sort of like something the Nazis were accused of doing), seven more angels will then appear (ahhh, the seven reunited perhaps), each one carrying a bowl filled with one of seven plagues as YHWH will be really wroth!!!!.  One wonders at the interaction of the fire in the humungous lake into which billions of bodies and souls are frying, with the plagues, which are to be as follows, almost as though they were a recipe: the first bowl will have some sort of agent generating “foul and evil sores” on the men who at the time bear the mark of the beast and who worship its image (does that mean women will be exempt, just asking, that will certainly please feminists); the second, will be poured into the sea (which sea is not clear), and will turn its waters into blood (which supposedly had already occurred to rivers somewhat earlier), but this time, killing everything there (assuming our pollution has not already done that).  Hmmm, it seems YHWH will become a mass polluter. Then, similar calamities, all different, will follow as each angel carelessly empties its bowl, without any thought for the consequences.

So, having destroyed everyone and everything except for the 144,000 lucky prize winners, Yešu will finally return, riding on clouds (hopefully not thoroughly polluted) and, amazingly, it appears that the fiery lake and plagues will not have been enough to destroy all the “wicked”, because more will be slain by the light Yešu’s coming generates (as though he were radioactive).  Apparently, concurrently with that event, the Dragon (a-Satan, etc.) will be bound underground for a thousand years and the Earth itself will be condemned to a thousand year period of desolation.  In the meantime, the 144,000 lucky righteous ones will have been flown to a celestial city where they can hang out with YHWH, Yešu, the Holly Spirit, and those angels who’d declined Hêl él’s invitation to rebel.

But that’s only for a single millennium.  Apparently, somehow, during that time, the remainder of the 117 billion will have recovered; revived so that they can be destroyed again.  Interesting to speculate as to when they will have died as their torment was to have been perpetual, what with the fiery lake, the plagues and all.

Anyway, according to John, as told to him by the voice of Yešu (one wonders if his voice is an entity in and of itself, which would seem to make the trinity a bit crowded), the celestial city will land on earth and someone or someones will engage in one more wars (which will probably make the 144,000 very happy, as, assuming they coincide with the current 0.01% who rule us, war seems to be their favorite pastime), and the wicked will be destroyed … again.  After which, the residue of humanity will live happily ever after, perpetually partying with YHWH, Yešu, the Holly Spirit, and those angels who’d declined Hêl él’s invitation to rebel, in the celestial city now on earth.  Given the slight population, it could be on a tiny Island somewhere in the Caribbean perhaps, perhaps near Eden, a new Jerusalem with streets of gold,  walls of jasper and gates of pearl (and what about windows?), in the midst of the good old River of Life, which will flow eternally from the throne of God, with neither sorrow nor crying allowed (or else), for God will wipe away all tears (one wonders, with no crying, from whence tears will appear), and there will be no more death.

One does wonder a bit what might happen to any of the happy denizens of the grounded celestial city, should they become a bit too independent; one wonders whether “free will” will be an aspect of that paradise; one wonders, … just asking, what would happen to any who might transgress.  You know, sing out of tune or harp off chord or something.  Perhaps wonder about dear old Nicholas the Deacon.

Anyway ….

Amen.

Concluding Observation

One wonders what happened after good old John sobered up.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

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


[1] Yešu, commonly referred to as Jesus, or the Christ, or Joshua, or Yeshua, but the correct Aramaic variant (the name he might answer to) was Yešu.  He never, ever, ever answered to Christ.

[2] The adjective Paulist is added because Saul of Tarsus perverted the original teachings of Yešu, for his own purposes, in opposition to the religious movement that initially sought to promote the beliefs espoused by Yešu as promoted by Yešu’s brothers and apostles through an organization known as the Jerusalem Community.  He referred to his counter movement as Christianity and to Yešu as the “Christ”, a Greek term roughly analogous to messenger or messiah.  Saul, who renamed himself “Paul” for some reason, first tried to destroy the Jerusalem Community through legal and religious means within Judaism (including assassinations) but eventually found it much more profitable to coopt it, disassociating them from their Jewish origins by melding Jewish beliefs with Greek spiritual philosophies.

[3] Known to latter pre-Pauline Hebrews as ha-Satan, the unfortunate syncretic composite through mistranslation by Jerome of Stridon of the Hebrew archangel Hêl él, Lucifer, the Roman god of truth and light, and, YHWH’s chief legal advisor and prosecutor, Sama’el.  Poor Lucifer, eternally calumnied since then.

[4] All leaders with the possible exception of a certain Jorge Mario Bergoglio, also known currently as Pope Francis I.  He’s an unusually forgiving and empathic sort who refuses to condemn anyone.

A Political Reality Check as we Remember Martin Luther King, Jr., DD

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., DD, who we remember and honor today, would, I believe, be profoundly ashamed of us.  He believed in love and empathy, in equity and justice, and in peace.  Instead, we have polarization and perpetual war.  Instead of seeking to remove the chains that bind us, we proudly polish them, in the name of hypocrisy.  We revel in a non-existent democracy, and in non-existent liberty, our freedom of expression is censored so that opinions contrary to those necessary to maintain the hold of the few over the many will be silenced and reality distorted, as we are continuously bled of the little wealth the powerful still do not control.  And like good slaves, we are grateful that it isn’t worse, …  although it is much worse than we believe.

An example: We have become so used to fake scandals manufactured by the Deep State in order to tighten its grip on power that we are in a turmoil over the purported “privately held government records scandal” now impacting Deep State darling Joe Biden, reflexively, declining to think.  The reality is that some “government records”, including those classified as secret, top secret, etc., have always been retained by previous office holders and probably more so by members of the Deep State’s core, the intelligence community.  Of all the recent faux scandals, this may be the most stupid, and that applies to both its Trump and Biden aspects.  The Hillary Clinton aspect has been all but forgotten, as has that which dealt with Barak Obama. 

There are real scandals that should concern us rather than the continuous stream of invented scandals that keep deflecting us from realizing the real source of most of the world’s problems, the Deep State and its penchant for perpetual war in order to shift wealth to the worst among us, no matter what the price.  Those were scandals that mattered to Dr. King, who we purport to honor today as we destroy the legacy which he died to bequeath us.

The Deep State has us utterly polarized and consequently, paralyzed, as we are robbed, killed and maimed purportedly in the name of democracy, liberty and human rights.  Greater hypocrisy would seem impossible.  Wake up, but really, not like the somnambulant cancel culture puppets who do so much to divide us and to deflect us from resolving the issues that most harm us.

Without empathy we will never attain real equity, real equality, real justice, real peace, real democracy or real liberty.  Dr. King had a dream which the Deep State and its minions have turned into a nightmare.  Ridicule, calumny, destruction of historical monuments, hate and disrespect are not the tools that will lead us to the metaphorical mountain from which Dr. King saw the future we and our progeny deserve.

Something to ponder on this anniversary of Dr. King’s birth.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

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

Reflections on the Genesis of a Nebulous New Year

The first day of 2023, a Sunday, dawned cloudy and foggy in a special city, one set high in the central range of the Colombian Andes, a city for some reason associated with the soul.  The word “nebulous” comes to mind, both for its climactic connotation and for the lack of clarity in which we find ourselves mired as a world.  The colonial “Western” empire formerly led by the United Kingdom and now by the United States has been in its “death throes” for a long time, kind of like a wealthy old relative on her deathbed, on her deathbed for several decades now, one who refuses to die and who seems insistent on wreaking as much havoc and chaos as possible before she leaves, if she ever leaves; one whose once beautiful body has been possessed by a selfish and bitterly jaded specter.  She just can’t help herself it seems, she has to own and control everything, and, except for a tiny few, to hold everyone in bondage.  Bondage which, in a more honest age, would be perceived as slavery.

Not exactly an optimistic perspective as one starts a New Year but the old one has been so utterly controlled by evil, as though Saul of Tarsus, that evil quack, had correctly perceived the coming of an antichrist (even if his timing was a few millennia off).  The Deep State’s own Democratic Party, after more than fifteen years, has finally succeeded in goading the Russian Federation into a war with the Ukraine, that bedeviled and utterly corrupt land haunted by its Nazi past and neo-Nazi present but now firmly under Deep State control, a Deep State prepared to sacrifice the Ukrainian People and to expend the hard earned taxes paid by people in the nebulous West to assure that the world never progresses beyond its hegemony. It’s just too profitable a state of things to permit change as populists from both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum in the United States have discovered (the real left I mean, not that simulacrum that passes for the left in the Deep State’s Democratic Party and corporate media).  Odd that the utterly obnoxious and self-centered leader of the populist right is more honest and trustworthy (not that he’s honest or trustworthy, it’s a relative comparison) than the leader of the populist left, but naivety reigns there, which may be why it is not perceived as a real threat by the Deep State.  At least not yet.

Things are bad but, to an extent, pure evil has been forced into the light.  It is now clear that “democracy”, as a political reality not only does not exist but, in all probability, has never really existed.  What has passed for democracy during millennia has only been its convoluted verisimilitude specifically designed to assure that real democracy is never attained.  Then again, democracy is not synonymous with justice, or with equity, and it is certainly antagonistic to liberty and pluralism.  Apparently no political system we humans have tried has even been truly benign, although a few individual rulers may have briefly, from time to time, evaded systemic trends and governed both wisely and fairly.  However, in the end, self-defined “elites” always attain control and once attained, do everything they can to perpetuate themselves in power, corrupting all efforts to effect positive change, or else, “eliminating them” by means camouflaged as fair or else, just blatantly foul.

It should be clear that the current political paradigm is premised on a meld of electoral fraud and electoral manipulation through withholding accurate information, in place of which, fiction disguised as news is offered as gruel for the masses, of course spiked with propaganda disguised as information, and even spectator sports, used as means of misdirection emotions that might otherwise lead to addressing uncomfortable realities.

In that context, “nebulosity” seems a downright positive concept. 

Thinking about it, an air of nebulosity seems, at least to me, to pervade the all too accurate dystopian literature of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley (his French teacher at Eton) and Kurt Vonnegut.  It pervades Tolkien’s Mordor, into which we seem to be morphing.  However, nebulosity would seem to imply the possibility of an escape and I don’t recall that being the case in any but Tolkien’s novels.

What a negative manner in which to start 2023, but then again, we have the results of the recent purported elections in the United States as a catalyst.  The phrase “two wrongs don’t make a right” comes to mind, but United States voters are at best mired in a system designed as a quest for lesser evils (which, by definition, are always evil), never considering that evading evil is an option.

On the other hand, the global south may be waking and at least attempting to cast off the neoliberal chains which, through neoconservative pressure, have shackled it, seemingly forever.  Many Latin American countries are doing their best to veer to the left, although the Deep State’s own intelligence communities, freed of any restraints by the Biden administration, are waging a frequently successful rear guard action, most recently in Peru and Argentina, with fifth columns artfully planted in legislatures and judiciaries everywhere else.  Hell, that’s even true in the United States.

Which all makes for a probably all too interesting 2023.  “Interesting” in terms of the Chinese curse which wishes on its enemies “interesting times” in which to live.

And speaking of China, …. 

Well that’s a similar topic best left for another day.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

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

Reflections on a Black Friday: 

Sports versus Team Fandom – A sort of Ode

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become an important commercial holiday, both to those who sell as to those who purchase, although it is also a reflection of the reality that prices have been unjustifiably high, at least in terms of equity and decency, than they ought to have been all year long.  Consumers are easily manipulated but no consumers are more easily manipulated and abused than sports fans, those “fanatics” who shell out trillions of dollars in attendance and viewing costs, memorabilia and incidentals, while the recipients (owners, not players) seem to snicker, and generally, to ignore them.

Being a fan is generally a passionate but passive activity, with frustration the most obvious aspect, especially when one is a team fan and the ownership views the team as business, rather than a hobby.  Consider the current New York Yankees as an excellent illustration.

When father George was at the helm, he was an owner and a fan concurrently, and, although a businessman, the fan aspect was paramount.  Indeed, he treated the massive ongoing investment in the team by the fans as a trust, and it was to the fans that he felt that owed the highest loyalty, although he was also loyal to the players and former players from whom he demanded so much, in so emotional a manner.  Even those he’d mercilessly bullied.

His son Hal, as in almost anything and everything, is a negative of his father whom he does not respect but from whom, everything he has, was inherited: a typical second generation syndrome.  Calm and profit oriented, the Yankees, to Hal, are primarily a vehicle operated for the benefit his creditors and investors, and it is to them, rather than to fans or players, that his loyalty is rendered.  And his chief advisor and operating officer, the aptly named Irishman, Brian Cashman, is his ideal henchmen.  Randy Levine, the Yankees president seems to be a seldom seen illusion, and apparently likes it that way.  While an extreme example, the model is not unique.

Yankees fans, the ideal illustration of “team” rather than “sport” fans, are for the most part, a masochist lot.  Vocal, emotional, passionate and pretty well informed, but kept at bay, carefully, by management trolls who infiltrate their social networks to support management decisions, suggesting that fandom is a permanent state whose prime virtue is loyalty to ownership.  In essence, Team fandom, in the view of ownership and its trolls, involves a sports variant on the “my country right or wrong” slogan that led the Germans to morph from liberal social leaders of the nineteenth century to the obedient masses who watched their values destroyed in the first half of the twentieth.

Team fandom is a strange but effective means of social control, diverting attention away from issues that really impact society and thus permitting a tiny elite, which now includes billionaire owners who also disproportionately exercise control over just about everything, to rule us all just as surely as if they collectively wore Sauron’s one ring.  But it is so addicting, that, notwithstanding acknowledging the foregoing – I’m a passionate Yankees’ and Jets’ fan.

Being a sport fan is quite a bit more rational and hardly masochistic at all.  One does not care who wins, only that the sport is brilliantly played.  It is much less passionate than team fandom and many team fans can enjoy that passive distraction too, when “their” teams (not theirs at all, fandom is not democratic) are not involved.

Fandom, a diversion that lets off steam so that the issues that impact our real lives can be safely obfuscated, manipulated and controlled.  Machiavelli would be proud.  He’d probably approve of Black Friday as well.

Go figure.

Anyway, Happy Black Friday!
_______

© 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/.

Thanksgiving 2022

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

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

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

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

© 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/.

Day Four Following the 2022 United States Elections: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma, … Again

Editorial cartoon, in another context, from CentralMaine.com.

Many things are possible and few are really certain, unless we ourselves are directly involved; still, there are circumstances that raise doubts, and doubts that may involve probabilities. And the negative probabilities tend to be accurate an unfortunate majority of the time.

As a neutral observer in the sibling political rivalries that engulf the United States (I despise both major political parties) between two groups which, failing to listen to each other, fail to realize how unfortunately alike (for everyone else in the world) they are, the scent of chicanery is overwhelming in the delays involved in the counting of votes in several states during the recent elections, elections which in almost any other part of the world would have concluded on the day they initiated but which, in the western portion of the United States, as they did four years ago, have yet to be decided … now four days later.

This occurred in the Republic of Colombia (where I now reside, although I am a citizen of the United States) in 1972, and it involved a stolen election which led to a long and bitter insurgency, one in which, ironically, Colombia’s current president was a participant. During the electoral delays involved, vast quantities of mysterious votes kept appearing after the votes should have been counted, votes which appeared to turn the tide, and which, in fact, proved decisive. Perhaps that history makes me understand the lack of faith which many participants in United States elections have in the veracity of their own results. Even more, the refusal of authorities in all branches of government to seriously investigate the delays and the ensuing reversals of fortune, instead of putting the matter to rest, unfortunately lend credibility to allegations of electoral fraud, despite a massive, ongoing media campaign to cast “election deniers” as dangerous and eccentric lunatics, probably violent, but in any case, too deranged to ever be permitted to vote again and certainly not fit to run for political office.

Not that fraud (or at least more fraud than is traditional) was actually involved, or that improprieties, if any, were enough to impact the results; but the appearance of the possibility of electoral improprieties answered only by slandering and ridiculing of those aggrieved shakes the faith essential for a functioning democracy, and in fact, encourages those who feel that they’ve been denied justice to either mimic the tactics they believe were practiced against them, or at least as bad, to resort to violence, as occurred in Colombia in 1972.

The United States has, during the entirety of this millennium, alleged that elections elsewhere were fraudulent. I’ll use the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as an example. Notwithstanding international observers and prompt electoral counts as well as unexpected victories by those internally alleging fraud, “election denial” in that resource rich but impoverished country, elections there have been “certified” as fraudulent by the United States and its allies, without the benefit of any sort of due process, and what’s more, in the total absence of jurisdiction. Those denials of legitimacy have in fact been used by the United States and its allies as pretexts to steal that country’s gold reserves, cash, oil, and large corporate assets. Given the foregoing, why is it virtually impossible to understand the feelings of those citizens of the United States who earnestly believe that United States elections lack legitimacy, that the government currently in place lacks validity, and that it is their political duty, especially if they’ve taken oaths to uphold the United States Constitution, to take steps to correct that situation? They may well be wrong, but is their conduct really criminal? Doesn’t the freedom of expression guaranteed in the 1st Amendment to that Constitution also protect a right to believe what you will? Even if you’re wrong? Especially in a scheme of things filled by as much duplicity and manipulation as are United States elections.

No wonder United States citizens are utterly polarized, confused and dissatisfied, almost always immediately regretting their own voting decisions, in elections where campaign pledges are acknowledged to merely involve poorly written and poorly thought-out creative fiction. Were it not for the overwhelming imbalance of paramilitary power enjoyed by the state within a state that actually governs the United States, I would fear the likelihood of a new civil war. But I don’t. It would be short and utterly futile.

Perhaps it’s better that democracy in the United States is a fallacy. Elections seem meaningless anyway, fraud or no fraud (as Donald Trump ought to know by now but refuses to acknowledge). So, … what does a bit of “necessary” electoral chicanery matter, … if it in fact exists.

Ineptitude all too frequently smells just like corruption, while corruption finds excellent camouflage in apparent ineptitude.

The American West, what a fascinating place. Apparently as wild and wooly as ever. 
_______

© 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/.

Perversion of the Electoral System and Electoral Deniers, Now an American Tradition

Donald Trump is, as the old phrase goes, “a riddle wrapped in an enigma”, but a very boisterous, pompous and unpleasant riddle.  However, he is not the criminal his enemies portray, whether in politics or the press.  And he was far from administratively inept, in fact, his instincts for demilitarization (except on behalf Israel, admittedly) and for avoiding international military conflict and for redirecting “defense” related expenditures towards social programs and infrastructure were down right progressive.  Much more progressive than the performance of those who purported progressives managed to ensconce in his place.  As in the case of Richard Millhouse Nixon, history is unlikely to be kind to Donald Trump, which says much more concerning the lack of veracity and ethics among historians and journalist than it will say about Mr. Trump.

The ruthlessness and perversion of the Deep State’s minions in the Democratic Party and the corporate media have converted the populist threat posed by Mr. Trump into a useful electoral tool, as the article published in Fox News (admittedly a non-objective right wing organization) on November 10, 2022 (this morning as I write) entitled “CLEAN SWEEP: Democratic meddling in GOP primaries paid off in a big way on Election Day” makes clear.  Truth and accuracy being irrelevant and engaging in that of which one accuses others as a preemptive defense against criticism is a powerful offensive weapon, and, well, … sort of fun.  Dishonesty has become standard policy in politics, especially from the Deep State, erroneously self-identified as the left, or as liberal or as progressive.  No tactic is unacceptable as long as it works and fooling the electorate has become an art form, and again, sort of fun as well.

Frustrated victims smell the broad spectrum of electoral fraud to which they’ve been subjected but, given the Deep State’s control of the judicial system and the administrative bureaucracy, complaints are as futile as is resistance to the fictional Borg.  In fact, it will only result in being labeled an “election denier”, a new pejorative catch phrase that denoted stupidity coupled with malevolence and fascist proclivities.  In many cases it is possible that some of those so labeled fit that description, or are very wrong in their beliefs, but being wrong is not the same as lying, and the saying “the lady doth protest too much” would seem to apply, not to them, but to those in politics and in the media who label them as such, making it see, at least likely, that there is indeed something to hide, something sinister and inappropriate, something unethical and immoral.

As an academic and political analyst I recently participated in an international forum on the nature of corruption, sponsored by the Facultad Interamericana de Litigación A.C., Barra Interamericana de Abogados A.C., which included speakers from Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, México, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Panamá and Costa Rica.  I was one of five speakers representing Colombia.  Thus I have some knowledge concerning the nature of corruption and the tactics used to implement and obfuscate corrupt practices.  Practices one can frequently almost smell, but which are difficult to “prove”, especially when those responsible for preventing them are either inept or actively collisional.  And unfortunately, the latter is the usual case in all aspects of corruption.  But never more so than when corruption involves politics.  As another saying goes, “something smells rotten in Denmark”, and it’s not the cheese, but then again, it’s not emanating from Denmark.

In my experience when it comes to corruption, apparent ineptitude, disorganization and confusion are actually the signs of very clever dishonesty, usually successful.  Then again, sometimes it really is ineptitude, disorganization and confusion, which is what makes them so useful as camouflage.  As I write this I imagine the fictional Vinnie Barbarino from the old program, “Welcome Back Kotter”, uttering his catch phrase, … “I’m so confused”!  Many good United States citizens are confused today but also angry at the ineptitude of those charged with safeguarding the integrity of elections, and the appearance of possible improprieties they generate, especially, today, in the State of Arizona where results of elections held on November 8 are not yet available.  Especially given the ethical improprieties disclosed in the above cited Fox News article.  That such activities are unethical, immoral but not illegal says a great deal about the United States political system.

In the Republic of Colombia, where I currently reside (although I am a United States citizen), I have worked alongside several organizations dedicated to rooting out and minimizing electoral corruption.  Minimizing rather than eliminating it because we are aware that corruption, including political and electoral corruption, is ubiquitous.  The one certainty is that those who claim there was absolutely no electoral fraud in any large scale election in the United States are either incredibly naïve or collusive in obscuring it.  Because we want to minimize corruption in Colombia, we take fairly simple safeguards akin to protecting chains of evidence in penal proceedings.  Ballots are only available at polling places at the time set for voting and are provided only to the voters themselves, subject to their providing officially issued picture identification, which also includes fingerprints and signatures, and requires that the voter acknowledge receipt of the ballot by signing for it, and that he or she promptly return the executed ballot prior to departing from the polling station.  All of the foregoing is deemed essential in order to avoid a market in votes through the purchase and sale of ballots, and the use of counterfeit ballots.  Since 2016, the United States has taken a very different path, purportedly in the name of “democracy”.  Ballots are now often mailed out in mass and collected anonymously in “drop boxes.  To us in much of the world, that seems either amazingly naïve or cleverly facilitative of corruption.  Thus we can understand how electoral results may seem suspect to normally intelligent decent citizens in the United States.  Those lambasted and publicly shamed there by the corporate media as “election deniers”.

In Colombia and in almost the entire world, outside of the United States, electoral results are tabulated, posted and certified a few hours after elections.  And delays are viewed with a great deal of suspicion.  Such suspicion is deemed not only healthy but essential to protect the integrity of electoral processes.  In the United States, criticism of electoral delays and irregularity is deemed almost akin to treason.  Very, very strange.  But then again, the financing of campaigns to sabotage the candidate selection process is not deemed here (and elsewhere) as merely, “boys and girls will be boys and girls and they’re just having fun”, though fun it may seem.  Such activities here would be deemed criminal.

Something on which to reflect as the United States awaits electoral results, several days late, from Maricopa County, Arizona.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

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