Why single out Charlie Rangel?

Something’s fishy here, the timing and everything.  And I mean oily-fishy, if you get my meaning.  They all do these things.  What about all those Repugs who “disgraced Congress” for a dozen years in charge, and took corruption to whole new levels, and had no “trials” or “hearings,” basically got away with it?  They made what Rangel’s accused of look like child’s play!  And what ever happened to going after all the Bush White House lawbreakers, even W. himself, Cheney, Gonzales, Ashcroft, Powell, etc etc etc?!  (So much for their “Christian nation”!)  Some of us only voted for Obama/Biden because of that promise — not revenge, merely justice, The Rule of Law.  Rangel’s charges are little worse than Lewinskygate.  But the MSM will hype this to the hilt, 24/7, we’ll have a special prosecutor who’ll find some link to Obama-Girl, and “What will we tell the children!” 

What we’ll tell them is that there really are Two Americas, like de jure 47th Vice-President of the USA* John Edwards said.  But I’d describe them this way: One America of Law, “for the little people,” and Another America Free of Law, for BP and Verizon and Comcast and Corporate lobbyists and Republicans and Teabaggers and militiamen.

But a progressive senior Black Democrat in the leadership, selling out to Big Business?  As Andy Samberg’s Rahm Emmanuel would say, “You f*ing turncoat!”

(*–Lieberman was 46th, not Cheney.)

Lumbee Indians near Federal Recognition

That’s Heather Locklear‘s tribe.*  They believe they do it by swearing-off casinos they say they’ve never been interested in anyway.  Like my Nanticokes and many other East Coast tribes who’ve borne the brunt of the colonization of what is currently the U.S. the longest, Lumbees have been heavily intermarried for many generations. 

Issues around racialism, after 518 years of European-American politician and governmental influence and oppression, have unfortunately penetrated parts of America’s Native community also, hence the references in some WWW comments to certain Tribes or individuals as Black or White or “Wannabes,” attempting to deny their Indianness.  This is despite the claim of U.S. “Indian Law” and every Federally-Recognized Tribe that their Sovereignty gives them the inherent right to regulate their citizenship just like any other nation; tragically this basic U.S. law is contradicted by other laws, such as Congressionally-supported regulatory Recognition criteria requiring a nearly-Amish level of endogamy thruout the Tribe’s recorded history, and remaining in a small geographical area, despite the violent, racist, anti-Indigenous, economic, and cultural pressures of the Settler polities.  (Their own Common Law stipulates that a criminal should not profit from his crime, yet these crimes go studiously and dishonorably unpunished in a tradition as old as British settlement here.)

Anyway, Many Years to the Lumbee Nation!  And their website!

*–(Locklear is a frequent surname among Lumbees.)

No Child’s Red Behind Left

Imagine an education concerned with students, instead of with the corporations that only want docile drones, or with (Wannabe-)Suburbanites who want quiet, dead neighborhoods and conforming, boring, ‘vanilla’ neighbors.  They do tell us the word education comes from two Latin words meaning to lead out … not to repress and conform and restrain….

Atypical Native American perspectives

Census 2010: Further thoughts

occasioned by Native American students in Idaho and an ’08 MSNBC piece on the increasing profile of ‘mixed-race/multiracial’ folks, what with Obama and all.

Black Indians at Smithsonian

Specifically, the National Museum of the American Indian.  Fascinating, maddening, enlightening, racist and anti-racist, historical and anti-historical discussion among the Comments, too!

Here’s the exhibit’s website.

Speaking as a controverted Nanticoke (who doesn’t qualify for Indian Assn. membership at this time AFAIK) who also likes his Irish background too, the U.S. Metis Identity movement looks more and more appealing….

“Muslim-Americans”

Why do MSM use an expression, Muslim-American (with or without hyphen), as if it’s an ethnic background or something?  We don’t hear about Protestant-Americans or Catholic-Americans or even Orthodox-Americans or Mormon-Americans (though arguably many Mormons, like most Jews, are an ethnic group, not just — or even necessarily — religious).

I think maybe they’re trying to be sensitive, if unknowledgeable.  Remember when NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey came out of the closet as “a gay American”?  I dunno….

The fact is, American Muslims may be immigrants, or born here.  They may be Arab-Americans, Iranian/Persian-Americans, Afghan-Americans, Pakistani-Americans, Turkish-Americans, Kosovar-Americans, Albanian-Americans, Indo-Americans, Bangladeshi-Americans, Indonesian-Americans, Malaysian-Americans, even African-Americans … again, born here, or immigrants.  And lots more.

The plot thickens.  Arab-Americans may be Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Protestant, atheist, Syriac Christian, Sufi, etc. (listed only in the order they occurred to me, without any prejudice … except in favor of the Orthodox!).

It’s like a-whole-nother world!!!  And most of us are clueless….

Light-skinned Mixed-Blood harassed on IHS clinic staff

But a dense Federal Appeals Court ruling doesn’t seem to get it!

What if it was the NAACP discriminating against a light-skinned Black employee?  In recent years they had one in charge, so maybe they don’t, but one other member of the Court panel might have been swayed by substituting Black for Indian ISTM.  Indians’ and Mixed-Bloods’ issues aren’t taken seriously in America; actually they’re only starting to be taken more seriously in Canada.

Even in the pages of Indian Country Today it seems open season on Mixed-Bloods.  In America you always must be either/or … maybe, like Fr. Andrew Greeley and David Tracy say, it’s that [sectarian] Protestant “dialectical imagination” rather than the Catholic “analogical imagination” for both/and.  The constant questioning and attacking and innuendoes and doubts are a real plague for us, and divide an Indigenous community that really can’t afford it.  U.S. Mixed-Bloods need a place where they can safely be who they are and know themselves to be and faithful to what’s been handed down to them by their forebears.  Yes, I know I look like the oppressor, but I am not, I never have been, and neither have any of my ancestors, and in fact once you go back about a thousand years if not sooner, we all have the same number of individual Indian ancestors, so the (unconstitutional, racist) “Blood Quantum” is a wash, if you really want to go that way!

I note the dissenting Appellate Judge was a woman, the majority two men.  (One with the CV of an Irish Catholic, which only goes to show you that’s not always a guarantee of social justice!  She’s a Clinton appointee; the men were appointed by Bush I and II respectively.)  Is it possible a woman brings necessary extra “experiences,” sensitivities, “biases,” to questions of “hostile workplaces”?  [You GO, Justice Sotomayor!!!]

This isn’t to say “Get over it,” at all.  (This is personal now, obviously.)  I grew up lower-working-class, without much known Irish OR Native culture or connections.  I would like more now, especially the Native because it’s HERE, in North America, where I have spent every moment of my life, and to which I have a special attachment since I’ve been learning more about my Native background.  If I ever am able-bodied again, I’d like to do more, too, even help.  But folks like me, “the 7th generation” perhaps?, need your help, humbly seek your help.  Why can’t it be a mutual give-and-take?  I didn’t grow up “On The Rez;” I grew up urban Poor Overextended “White” Trash, OK?  Sure, I won’t get called lazy by White South Dakota farmer-settlers at first glance, and I’m not proud for not speaking up when I heard that; but they were hosting me for the night, free of charge, and I had no other options at that time in my life … and it was July … you know what I’m talking about there, July in Dakota….  Anyway, WANNABE” STANDS FOR WHITE AND NATIVE NORTH AMERICAN BY EXOGAMY!  (I wanna claim the rights to that expression, but I don’t want to restrict its dissemination, so if you ever meet me, keep that in mind, ’cause I could really use the money….)

In any case, was that poor woman counseling at that clinic because it pays so well?!!  That’s not what I hear.  Probably she could’ve gotten much better pay and benefits elsewhere, even Passing For White, or not: Some Whites have more regard for someone being “part-Indian” than some Indians it seems.  But she stayed there 11 years, helping kids, the next generation, while enduring that racist crap from her own people.  She herself seems to be an elder — Worse yet!  This is the Appeals verdict, including Dissent (PDF).  I wish her lawyers had demanded proof/testimony of the faxing of a copy of her original EEOC complaint by and from the EEOC to the Clinic, supposedly within minutes of her filing it; then if the Clinic couldn’t produce it, nor reasonable cause why not, there might’ve been a question of withheld or destroyed evidence in discovery — very nasty for them, and helpful for her case.  One would wish Ms. Nettle had taken notes of the harrassment she received — names, dates, verbiage used; but good-faith employees aren’t always looking to build a case against someone until it’s too late — management has the built-in advantage: they can fire you, you can’t fire them.  But the male judges don’t see that in questioning her very Indianness they were directly attacking her employment there, because of the legal preference for “Indian” hires; these aren’t run-of-the-mill skin-color disparagement insults, so to speak.  They DO “alter her conditions of employment,” in a very technical sense of the term: presumably her skin color didn’t change much between 1993 and 2004!  It was OK enough to hire her, but not OK to make her feel welcome when she first arrived at least, and for her last 5 years there.  Because her employment was under what I must refer to as a racio/legal preference system, these insults struck directly at her continuing employment there, as well as any future employment anywhere else where they’d ask, What happened at the Clinic?  Maybe their job descriptions should state clearly, Must look like a Hollywood Injun!  “Hostile work environment”?: How about one where you might be fired because of how you look?  Isn’t that what EEOC and civil rights laws are all about?!!!  If not, My God, what!  Even “jokes” pile up after 11 years, especially “race” jokes!  And I’m not even a lawyer, though I was a Shop Steward.  The male judges, Republican appointees, just don’t get it, and as usual, analyze a complaint to pieces unjustly.  (What the Dissent goes on to call disparagingly, “divide-and-conquer analysis”!)

It is interesting to see “light-skinned Native Americans … in a protected legal class” though, even from the GOP!  Though only they would consider loss of some pay or benefits NOT “an adverse action”: She wasn’t a volunteer!!!  What I really wish is that she had a union in there, with a Shop Steward and a collective bargaining agreement — They’re present in many nonprofit workplaces.  When I was a Steward (in admittedly very different circumstances), I spent most of my time having complaints from my members bounced off me; most of the time management was allowed to do what was complained of (I inherited a lousy contract), but we at least cultivated a Shop where these things were talked up, evidence gathered for when Grievances were eventually filed in other cases. 

I have to question the competence of her counsel also, though her only appeal from here, within the U.S. system, would be to the still-GOP-dominated Supreme Court; although it’s possible even they would feel the need to send the case back to District Court for a full trial (This was only “summary judgment”), since there are so many holes in the Appellate Majority’s reasoning (if it can even be called that).

Healthcare rationing as “New American Genocide”

Read all about it.  Except it isn’t just killing and threatening Blacks, but Native Americans, Hispanics, the disabled non-elderly like me, the poor like me, even the elderly who despite Medicare’s successes still can’t manage to get what they need, urban residents, rural** residents….  [*I* should be on Medicare, but that's another story...!]

Yes, folks, we’ve been rationing healthcare all along: TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, or in more “economical” terms, “as high as the market will bear.”  Reform ideally should care on the basis of need, without regard to class, party, religion, orientation, race, Tribe, language, Ability, age, religion, color, intelligence, or any other criterion.  Frankly, I think we get an NHS like Britain (once had), add the benefits of the French and Norwegians and Germans AND America … and KICK BUTT!!!!!  AND SAVE MONEY!!!!!

PS #1: Is Rachel Maddow getting cuter and cuter?  Sweetheart, if you ever want to give “the other team” a try….  I kid!  God grant you and your loved ones Many Years!

PS#2: “Whitey On The Moon” — ah, the ’60s, great larks!

(**–Now THAT’S going to make you “Bitter”!)

Arming-up against Obama, Democrats, poor, and probably those of us in need of healthcare too

You saw it on the front of Monday’s USA Today

Not just licenses, but permits to carry concealed!  This was a followup to an Election Week story.

You don’t need Concealed Carry to protect your home from break-in … unless you don’t even want your own family to know about it?!?!?!  And getting more guns when you think rational gun control is coming?  Only if you plan on murdering cops, sheriffs, ATF agents … you remember, “jackbooted thugs”?   (See Time magazine’s expose of ‘the new NRA’ – radical, militant, rebellious – around then, 1995.)  And just recently we were faced with the possibility of NRA/nationally-imposed  least-common-denominator Concealed Carry rules?!!  (So much for “States’ Rights”!!!)

No, at a time when GOP leaders, (formerly-)mainstream public figures like Chuck Norris, traitor Rush ‘I hope America fails’ Limbaugh, (let’s not forget their godfather G. Gordon Liddy,) and more than a few followers, are talking publicly about Secession and a New Civil War, it’s clear who these new guns, more and more guns, are being pointed at right now: the rest of us, our elected officials, our duly-appointed government officials, government employees just doing their legal jobs as apolitically as they can (Remember harrassment and threats against County Clerks in the Midwest based on 18th-century spelling and capitalization rules, not to mention a Day One of Law School grasp of Common Law?), anyone they consider “traitors” or “godless” or a “threat to civilization” or “persecuting” … THEM!

USA probably should’ve clarified that that gun seller claimed an elderly couple came in afraid Pres. Obama was going to personally ‘invade their home’ and take their guns, since presumably the USA reporter didn’t meet the couple in question.  The seller could’ve just made them up, like the fake couple — actors — who torpedoed healthcare reform the last time, Fred and Ethel or whatever their names were.  And as for those Richmond, Virginia, suburbanites living on wild game shot by pre-adolescents in the cul-de-sacs — Rats? Squirrels? Raccoons? Possums? My Native ancestors ate groundhog stew, but didn’t “rely on it,” except maybe in lean years, or when English colonists penned them up in Reservations! — I’m just glad I don’t live next-door to them!  (Raising growing boys on rodents? I guess they’d better learn how to shoot!)  The Associated Press (that time) again should’ve said that that family claims to rely on game for food, even though Midlothian and vicinity seems to have no shortage of Food Lions, Krogers, and even a chain called Ukrops.  In journalism it’s called attribution.

As KCBS-AM Radio News in San Francisco reported in November, this spike also happened when Democrats last came into the White House (or last succeeded in coming into the White House), with Bill Clinton’s election in ’92.  [Coincidence, or marketing ploy?!!!]  But now is not then, and with all due respect to mainstream poli-sci academics, the other side has sounded a whole lot scarier since ’92.  At the time of the First Civil War, “paranoia” was stoked by “extremists” on both sides of the Slavery and other arguments, tearing the rest of the Federation apart.  The only difference this time is that our side isn’t too fond of violence; that could be good, or bad, relative to history … I’m not sure.  Does that mean no war, or a onesided rebellion … or a coup d’etat?

I’ve been wondering if it isn’t time to tamp down the rhetoric by giving our urban and suburban and other such areas, their own states, letting each not have to follow the other in areas so fundamentally (no pun intended) offensive to it: e.g., same-sex marriage for them, Wild West for us.  Or even some kind of extra layer of Sovereignty or Autonomy within their current States: e.g., on their side, even though marriage is often presented in religious terms, its cultural ramifications are undeniable, so let them have their culture; on ours, city/suburb-appropriate gun control.  Creative thinking, please, at least; Civil War is not creative.  Then again, there’s the idea of a voluntary, amicable parting of the ways between “Jesusland” and “the United States of Canada” — only, not by Red State/Blue State, but more as discussed in this paragraph!

In the meantime, go with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

On the sneakier side, can’t someone provoke a schism within the NRA, deprive them of some of their vaunted numbers and monies?  A sort of Rational Rifle Association?!!*  ‘Cause right now, between them and Big Business and the (so-called) Religious Right, this country and this planet are being run into the ground.  What about revoking their home-state Corporate Charter by the people’s Sovereign Prerogative…?  Make it an issue in the next legislative, attorney general, secretary of state, or gubernatorial election!

More esoterically, it’s real certain that the guys who put together the Constitution of 1787 had no intention of subjecting their power and that of their “heirs and successors” to the kind of revolution they had just forced upon 80 percent of their neighbors, their constitutional parliamentary Monarch, and his lawful officials and forces.  If Tom Jefferson opined otherwise, he was obviously being facetious, and if not, he certainly didn’t feel strongly enough to do anything about it: “Every 20 years”?  Let’s see, he missed 1796, 1816….  OTOH, “a free state’s well-regulated militia” would’ve been the first line of defense against such nonsense, as Shays and the Whiskey Rebels found out real early on.  Arguably their more-or-less-permanent federalization, and dispatch to multiple long intensive wars and adventures overseas (not just Iraq and Afghanistan, but Central America in the ’80s, foreign drug interdiction since the ’90s, etc.), as opposed to Congress using its power to raise sufficient armies and navies, subjects us to the risk of just such nonsense here at home.  Although considering the infection of our military and paramilitary ranks with these folks, we may be safer this way, here at home at least….  Unless a draft were to draw from all walks of life, ideologies, demographics, etc…..

(*–14 years ago Time seemed to think it was possible to bring out the voice of those 40 percent who turnover every year, kind of like a fitness club:
Such talk leaves little space for people like Dave Richards, 37, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a target shooter who joined the N.R.A. to support the rights of sportsmen. Two years ago, Richards quit after concluding that the N.R.A. had become “more about lobbying for extremes than the mainstream people who just want to go hunting.” A large number of those mainstream folks are now ex-members. Currently, four of every 10 members drop out when it comes time to renew their $35 annual membership. “All the smaller voices like mine,” says hunter Ray Guzman, “aren’t being heard.” Speaking with a louder, shriller voice clearly works within the n.r.a. [sic]  The question is whether America’s other citizens, including responsible gun owners, will make themselves heard as well.
Yes, the time may have come for The Rational Rifle Association … or at least a simple, mainstream, anti-ideological Sport Rifle Association, to fight the NRA who give a bad name to target-shooting enthusiasts and recreational hunters everywhere.  Or even just a pissed ex-nra.org outfit to go tit for rat-a-tat-tat with them!  Or compete with them and re-focus gun enthusiasts’ attention on something more wholesome. 

[Even though this post retains my inherent copyright, I hereby grant permission to anyone with aims consonant with what I've expressed here to use the URL "ex-nra.org," "x-nra.org," "exnra.org," "xnra.org," .net, .com, .us, .ws, .info, .biz, and such.  You'll be doing a real public service.  OTOH, if you just commandeer it against these aims, I reserve the right to litigate for violation of my copyright!])

Hypocrisy on Sotomayor

One thing Judge Sotomayor’s defenders won’t say is that it’s OK with her critics for a Rich White Conservative Republican Man to bring his life experience and its insights to his job, in fact it’s expected.  But not a Latina Democrat from The Projects, even if Poppy Bush himself (not Papi!) nominated her to the Bench!  That’s because we all know who’s really in charge in this country and who isn’t, “that damned piece of paper” to the contrary notwithstanding!

Thank goodness Minnesota’s Republicans let Senator Sixty — er, Franken! — finally go to Washington, and just in time!

Saving endangered Native American languages

There’s a fair bit about this online, but I’ll just highlight the following:

Canada’s National Post newspaper recently did a multimedia series including the Delaware Indian language Munsee, called Lunaape (ie, Lenape)* at the Moraviantown Reserve in southern Ontario.  Behind the scenes of that story is that First Nation’s Bruce Stonefish, profiled in the Newark Star-Ledger a few years agoHe’s behind a weeklong Language Immersion summer camp at Moraviantown (PDF) that at least went on as late as 2007, maybe last summer too, I’m not sure.  Various ‘official’ and other Lenape and other groups got together with Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania a year ago to rap Indigenous Language preservation.  “Unofficial” is that article’s “Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania,” but they seem to be kicking butt in promoting the language at least!  (See here, and this curriculum intended for parents to catch on to and share with children.  I’m not sure if their Lenape language is Munsee or Unami [see "Language Links" below the lessons on that page].)

As you may have seen, Stonefish has taught some lessons to some of my kin, the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape in New Jersey, and visited the State of Delaware, where my Nanticoke ancestors lived after 1742 or so.  But the Nanticoke Indian Association a couple years ago started to resurrect the Nanticoke language with the help of an Anishnabay (or Ojibwe or Chippewa) dialect from Manitoba, since it’s a sister Algonquian language.  Maybe you heard how Hollywood did something similar for a Virginia tribe descended from Jamestown’s neighbors (WaPo link may break).

Why?  In my reading, the folks at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, say Native Language Immersion is the best if not the only way to treat some of Natives’ social problems both on the Reservation and in larger Settler society, from problems with school grades and academic learning in general, to cultural preservation, to self-destructive behavior, a/k/a internalized oppression/repression/genocide.  Bicultural competence is something many people in Canada know something about.  We’re literally talking about saving lives in many cases.  As Stonefish’s Immersion Camp brochure states: “In order for the Lunaape Language to survive, it needs to once again become an instrumental part of our lives, our everyday conversations and everyday view of the world. Within our language we will find our original Lunaape worldview. It is within our language where we will find the concepts of how we related to all that is around us. It is within our language where the Lunaape people will find keys to understanding our true original identities, gifts and responsibilities to ourselves as well as those around us.”

(*–Both words are correctly pronounced “luh-NAH-pay,” more or less.  The vowel in the first syllable is closest to an American English schwa, that upside down ‘e’ thingie, or more technically, a vowel in an unaccented syllable.)

Alex Haley’s Red “Roots”

According to this page (text-search him — no matter what Google’s cache says, he’s there!), the author who in his famous book traced African roots and heritage, also claimed Cherokee ancestry.  Cool twice over!  Whatever one may say about the book or the man, God be good to him.

“WE SHALL REMAIN” Public broadcasting series on Native America

debuts tomorrow night (Monday) on PBS-TV: as they say, consult your local listings.  The idea is a series of Native perspectives on the history of the settlement of what is currently the U.S.  The producers concede in a public email that they couldn’t cover all bases:

“With 560 federally recognized tribes in the US, it was impossible for us to tell everyone’s story,” says WE SHALL REMAIN executive producer Sharon Grimberg.

If you have Native roots, now it’s your turn to share your experiences through WE SHALL REMAIN’s Online Story Sharingtool. It allows Native people across the country to publish video, audio, or written pieces on the Web sites of public media broadcasters in their communities.

Not to mention the hundreds of Native communities/groups not yet “federally recognized”….  We ALL Shall Remain!!!

The 2 Most Powerful Governmental Leaders in the Americas are now both Black

President Obama and Governor General Jean of Canada meet before Harper meeting

President Obama and Governor General Jean of Canada meet before Harper meeting

I missed this picture in U.S. media from President Obama’s Canadian trip.  HE is the elected President of the United States of America, with his finger on The Button, the son of a Black African student with distant kin descended from chattel slaves.  SHE is Michaelle Jean, appointed “Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada” by Her Majesty The Queen of Canada and Her Other Realms and Territories, Elizabeth II, on the advice of HM’s Canadian Prime Minister of the day.  Mme. Jean is a Haitian immigrant to Quebec, her first language is French (or Haitian Creole), and she is descended from chattel slaves.  In the name of The Queen, she holds all constitutional power in Canada, though according to custom, she too governs in Privy Council, acting only on the advice of HM’s Canadian PM of the day … normally.  She’s married to a White Frenchman, and they are raising an adopted little Haitian girl.

Some photo op, eh?!  Every Black kid on Earth should get a copy free!

Canadian media covered their meeting in greater detail than you’ll find elsewhere: here, for now (link will break).

2010 Census: Part-Indians, Part-Blacks, etc.

After looking over this 2001 story from a fine journalistic publication that maybe needs a new name(!!), IOTM that ‘traditional’ Census-Indians and Census-Blacks are poorer, disempowered, oppressed, discriminated against, etc., raising the question whether an increasing number of ‘non-traditionals’ laying claim to their Mixed Race Ancestry skews the demographics in ways that harm the discriminated-against, darker-skinned Americans?  (The same thing has been happening in Canada.)  ‘Ah, yes, Indians have now made it into Scarsdale, Redmond, Beverly Hills, West Palm Beach, so we don’t have to worry about them anymore!’

I ask this of myself too (as I did last May).  For logistical reasons I was not counted in the 2000 Census, but in 1990, feeling cheeky, I wrote myself down as Native American, in the only choice allowed me before 2000’s multiple-choice Census.  (Though I wasn’t living in a particularly upscale neighborhood at the time.  [I've been growing slowly in my Native self-consciousness since my mother informed me of it in the early '70s ... more quickly since I got on the Internet in the late '90s!])

Ironically, this is the flip-side of a concern voiced by some Black leaders in the runup to 2000 — that traditional Census-Blacks claiming other races or ethnicities might dilute their political strength.  Remember that Congressional, State, and Local legislative and election districts are re-drawn every ten years in part on the basis of race (along with Party registration, neighborhood voting habits, income, etc.) — including Federal-Court-ordered “majority-minority” districts to redress racist housing segregation or exclusionary zoning.  So this isn’t just about paid-up membership in the NAACP.

Maybe those of us interested in claiming additional identities officially besides the one (North) America thinks we belong to, for which we don’t suffer as much from (North) America actively anymore [I'm choosing my words carefully here], should assert a specifically Mixed i.d., distinct from African-American or Native American or whatever — standing totally in solidarity with our oppressed cousins, whatever our internal disagreements.

What term or terms to use?  Metis, to those who have ever heard of it, usually connotes French-Canadian-Indian, although the term, as I have reported, historically and again now increasingly has broader usage.  Mestizo, again to those who have heard of it in the U.S., usually connotes a Spanish-Indian Mix somewhere in the family tree, although some have tried to apply it also to us Eastern U.S. “tri-racial isolates” (a term we have traditionally eschewed).  Mulatto is usually thought to mean a Black-White Mix, although Jack Forbes believes that historically it was mostly Black-Indian.  It’s said Forbes tried to broaden the local (colonial Carolina and New Jersey) term Mustee/Mestee* to cover all us “tri-racials.”  I once toyed with the equivalent Irish Gaelic term, Meascach, at least in regard to myself.  Some folks at the National American Metis Association have used the historic English Halfbreed or even its historic contraction ‘Breed, though my question here is what if my Native blood quantum — a racist, racialist, and unconstitutional category in the U.S. — is less than “Half”?  I haven’t seen anybody trying to revive the terms Quadroon and Octoroon, or any of the dozen or more other historical terms Forbes chronicles!

We could unite on a term like Mixed Aboriginal, going on to specify the Mix we wish to claim for ourselves on that same line on the Census form, eg, “Mixed Aboriginal: Irish and Nanticoke Indian.”  Except apparently the 2010 form won’t accommodate such a thing; see this 1.7MB PDF, and when it opens, go up in what is usually the page number box in the Reader toolbar and type “Sec1:5″ without spaces or quote marks, then hit Enter/Return.  We get only 17 letters and spaces.  [I'm sure someone tried hard, but this is not well-designed even generally speaking.  What if someone is both Asian and Pacific Islander, as many traditionally-"Asian/Pacific Islanders" are?  What if they're more than one "other race (sic)"?: Jewish, Arab, Turkish, Kurdish, Iranian/Persian, Azeri/Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Indigenous Siberian, Tatar, Chechen, Aboriginal Australian?  By some estimates Armenians and Georgians are Asian too.  Many of these are small groups in this country, but it could happen!]

Yup, the 2010 Census discriminates against us ‘Breeds: Part-Indians, Half-Blacks, part-Whites, whatever, wanting to claim “All My Relations”!  They want to break us into tiny little pieces!  Actually it wants to break down traditional Census-Blacks and Census-Indians, hoping to be done with legal or political obligations to them.  That’s called genocide, the same old story. 

 

(*–I believe it’s pronounced mis-TEE, derived from the same French, Spanish, and Latin words like Metis [formerly, Mestis and Mestif] and Mestizo.)

How long have Europeans been here more-or-less continuously?

This Wikipedia article reminds me that it’s probably been pretty much 1,000 years, not just since 1492.  Leif Erikson and Co. didn’t just visit.  There were Norse settlements in Greenland and coastal northeastern Canada from around AD 1000.  They first settled in Greenland in 984, the original Norse settlements disappearing, possibly to malnutrition, “by the late 1400s.”  Seasonal settlements seem to have dotted coastal Canada starting not long after 984, and tantalizing evidence is that Norse visited and traded even farther down the coast, into New England, and less credibly, even farther south.  In the same late 1400s, Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, and French fishermen started seasonally fishing Canadian  Maritime waters once again, making use of coastal lands in doing so, soon after Spanish and Portuguese ‘rediscovered’ the Americas, farther south.

When you think about it, it’s doubtful that Vikings didn’t have intimate relations with Native women, by force or voluntarily, so they may have even left behind Mixed-Blood descendants among the Aboriginal populations here.  So even when Europeans seemed to disappear from here, in a sense they may not have.

Virtual Poll Tax disenfranchises lower-class voters

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s nickname for overlong lines at polling places.  I seem to remember allegations that these were sometimes engineered in Ohio in ’04 by Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell in Democratic precincts, by assigning them busted voting machines….

Voter Fraud

…is not at all a serious problem in this country on a national scale, and never has been.  Hype about it is a mere Republican and/or racist / bigoted scare tactic, ‘red meat,’ or worse: a way to take away our rights and freedoms, suppress votes, not to mention waste taxpayer dollars “investigating” it and setting up complicated systems to “prevent” it, which work like polar bear repellant: “Haven’t seen one around here in years.  It must be working!”

Native American rights not equality vs. inequality

The human rights case against a neocon former MP in Canada gives me an opportunity to explain briefly how he misunderstands (or perhaps deliberately confounds) Native peoples’ position in the United States and Canada … a misunderstanding shared by most Americans, not cleared up by our civics or history classes, which treat Natives as nothing more than a vanishing, if uppity, ethnicity.  Although Natives’ legal positions in the two countries are not identical at this time because of legal divergence since the American Revolution, for my current purpose they are close enough.

There are over a thousand societies in North America: the U.S., Canada (perhaps Francophone and non-Francophone!), and hundreds of Indian, Inuit, Aleut, and Mixed-Blood Indigenous Sovereign Nations, from Florida and the Caribbean to the North Pole, and from the Southwest and Pacific to Alaska.  Legally all these societies live side-by-side with each other.  Obviously the first two, the US and Canada, currently have a certain pre-eminence on account of military or other inequality, respectively, vis a vis the Native peoples.  But the Native peoples retain certain rights or privileges never ceded to the US or Canada, possessed by them from before European establishment here.  The English/North American Common Law, at least since the 17th century, as well as subsequent Acts of Crown, Parliament, or Congresses, have held that Native peoples are to be “treated with” — hence “treaties” — for what the European Sovereign — British or North American — desires from them, otherwise its seizure is generally not according to law.  And generally, these treaties did not deprive Native peoples of everything they ever possessed (just almost everything).  In addition, in recent years US and Canadian governments have felt a desire to make good to Native persons and peoples for centuries of INequality, illegality, unfairness, etc., by some (relatively few) programs of affirmative action or “privileges;” also, to help them as persons and peoples to make better of a bad situation.

Native North Americans are not the same kind of ‘thing’ as non-Native ethnic groups.  Irish-Americans, Ukrainian-Canadians, etc., have never had Sovereignty in North America as such, except through the non-Native governments of Canada or the American States.  The Natives have, and still do.  If not for British/American treaties with the Natives, the colonization of this continent could not have happened, or only by truly wiping out the Natives militarily, rather than just most of them.  Native residual rights and Sovereignty isn’t a question of equality or inequality with non-Native North Americans; in fact, if we Natives would just assimilate, all our problems would be solved, right?  Except we would be unfaithful to ourselves and what we are, like no other group here is required to be.  Therefore, ironically, occasional preferences for Natives in hiring or admissions are a sign not of Native superiority, but Natives’ inferiority and discrimination in US and Canadian societies.  They’re not “special rights,” just the same rights Europeans would retain if 350 million Native Americans had colonized Britain instead of the other way around.

Settlers are a Tribe — a very large and powerful tribe, but just one among hundreds or thousands here — it’s a whole continent, after all, just like Europe or Africa or Asia! — each having certain rights and, on a good day, recognizing or according others to others.  Natives cling to these rights because they continue to exist as Sovereign Peoples, and hope to restore some of what they have had taken from them over the last 500 years and more, of their life together, cultures, self-sufficiency, freedom from discrimination and racism and exploitation; and for these reasons they also attempt to use any help forthcoming from the big “tribes” that the US and Canada are, as small as that help may be, and as seldom.  For the Settler Tribe to call for the unilateral dismantling of Native Peoples is indeed racist, in fact genocidal, whether it stems from ignorance or intentional malice.  I prefer to believe most of it does stem from ignorance, though culpable on the part of Settler education systems, which teach Settlers all kinds of things in all kinds of depth and detail, but not these facts which are fundamental to the very existence and founding of their States.

Consider if the Honourable MP had instead called for the absorption of Canada’s Jews into its Christian Churches … or its Hindus, Muslims, atheists, etc.  Or for the abolition of, say, Catholic schools and colleges in Canada — ‘No more special rights for Catholics; old Churches have no relevance in modern times.’  And with taxpayer-funded mailings, yet!  ISTM religion is a helpful analogue to Native sovereignty and rights and “privileges” and existence.  It’s not just “political correctness” that prevents him from doing so, but the legal freedoms increasingly recognized by liberal democracy … and entrenched in Canada’s constitution by 1982’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms … the same constitution that now explicitly guarantees the Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of Canada’s Indians, Inuit, and Metis.  And considering the evidence that inflammatory public speech can tend to incite violence against the targets of that speech, the MP might even be held liable.

Indigenous genocide

Andrea Bear Nicholas teaches and works in Native Studies at/from St. Thomas University in the Province of New Brunswick, Canada.  Read through this brief talk transcript at least twice for an inside sense/feel of the genocide that’s still going on against Indigenous people and peoples around the world, including the U.S., as well as “kinder, gentler” Canada.  Against children as well as adults.  Even now, after the closure of the Residential Schools, even now, in “politically correct” government schools.

I think if there’s even ‘one drop’ of ‘Red blood’ left in you, it’ll “cry out to Heaven for” redress.

Professor Bear Nicholas’ talk also raises the question for me, as an Irish / Native American convert in the Greek Orthodox Church, of, What about more-recent immigrants and their languages and cultures?  (UPDATE: Also see FURTHER, below.)  Well, bilingualism, English-French, remains the federal ideal in Canada, although as we are told, there are probably more Chinese speakers than French in British Columbia!  (Tho BC is perfectly entitled to adopt Chinese as an official language … and Manitoba, Ukrainian … and Nova Scotia, Gaelic … etc.  How about Mohawk in Quebec?!  Send Gilles Duceppe back to school! ;) )  As Bear Nicholas points out, when even school is a “cross-cultural experience” for an oppressed minority child, it’s alot harder: Look at how some majority adults need to receive special training in cross-cultural this and that!  So the alternative is not necessarily two – or more – “solitudes” in a country; she also points to so many Europeans who are multilingual.  (As British “executive transvestite” comedian and actor Eddie Izzard reminds us, “The Dutch speak four languages and smoke marijuana!”)  But it also reminds me how unnatural and perhaps unnecessarily difficult, such humongous and “diverse” conquest / immigrant countries are … maybe frees us to think of better, time-tested ways, tolerant rather than physical-force- or other-force-genocidal.  Can you imagine the Romans trying to impose Latin on the Greeks or the Jews?!  (Tho that scene has more to do with latter-day English schools than 2,000-years-ago Mideastern politics!)

Just thinking…!  Not advocating the violent overthrow of the government or anything.  (I need my driver’s license!)

She also shows how we *all* need Aboriginal education, not just Indians.

Finally, what kind of mental health can be expected from what imperialists have put the rest of the world through?  What blowback?  Suicide, schizophrenia, substance abuse, terrorism, rebellion, revolution, desperation, “unreasonableness,” dangerous romanticism, ideology, demagoguery, fragmentation, civil strife, sectarianism, overdependence, “fundamentalism,” “radicalism”…?

FURTHER

The difference between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples is just that, indigeneity.  In nearly every land there have been Indigenous peoples compromised by non-Indigenous settlers, conquerors, invaders, exploiters, overwhelmers, displacers, etc.  Sometimes their ancestors may not have relocated voluntarily, as with Slaves in the Americas from Europe and Africa.  But non-Indigenous peoples in one land are indigenous to other lands, or their families, their family cultures, languages or dialects, surnames, physical appearance, etc., are.  In theory – I say in theory - if they decided they didn’t like it in the new land, they would in some sense have a home … land … to “return” to, one where they might not stick out as much as if the Indigenous of their new land moved there, one where, if many Irish-Americans are typical, they might even feel an instant ‘mystical’ connection to, even before the plane lands there.  For Indigenous, where they are IS their home … land.  As hospitable as folks in other lands might be, it wouldn’t be the same, especially if the Indigenous in question have managed to retain some Indigenous sense of connection to their home … land … soil … etc.  In the ’90s I thought a little about emigrating to Ireland, but since I’ve learned more about my American Indian background, I wouldn’t dream of leaving the Americas permanently!  I’ve realized as never before in my life a relationship to this soil that goes back literally eons; it’s part of me.

All this may be one good way to understand the special status Indigenous peoples have in international politics, often in domestic law, treaties, countries’ customary law, social ethics or morality or social justice, racial or ethnic justice, etc.  Or should, or aspire to.  Indigenous peoples have been victimized in ways that prove to be fundamental to the very existence of the modern countries in which they now find themselves encapsulated, ways that in doing so fundamentally compromise Indigenous peoples’ way of life, spirituality, economy, language and self-expression, freedom and rights, homes and habits and customs, etc etc etc.  In former times often Indigenous peoples would simply be “terminated with extreme prejudice,” forcibly assimilated, exiled – all things we now consider criminally genocidal, or aspire increasingly so to do.

Obama “liberal” charge racist, groundless.

I’M a liberal (in America), and he ain’t!  Do they just presume because he’s Black, he’s “liberal”?  As if social justice is “liberal”!  Guess we know where that places the “conservatives”!!!

As for “Obama’s liberal allies in Congress,” we could USE some!  Congressional Democrats at large haven’t been “liberal” since the ’70s!

Then again, this might just be that syndrome where “conservative” talk radio mouths call anyone more moderate than themselves liberal.

Obama “celebrity” attack is racist.

As if a Black man can only get diverse votes in America if he’s a football or basketball player, a TV or movie star, a network TV newsman, a singer or an author.  This from the man – McCain – who’s been on Leno no fewer than 13 times, as many as Jennifer Love Hewitt!  They say Obama’s the media’s darling, but really it’s McCain, Leno’s “good friend.”

Obama “Elitist” attack is racist.

It makes use of the Mulatto Elite Stereotype to try to alienate him from Blacks and non-wealthy Whites simultaneously.  To historic U.S. Blacks, he’s “not Black enough.”  To (stereotypical) non-rich Whites, he’s an “uppity Negro.”  In this view, not being descended from American Slaves is a double disability: SNRWs already aren’t sure about an African Black or the son of one, but having a White mother and grandparents just adds insult to injury.  And to American Blacks, he lacks “credibility” if they see him this way.  The fact is, most “mulattos” in this country are poor and working-class, urban or rural.

Some of us went ballistic when Fox News and all those other Repugs who really are The Elite in this country started calling Obama that, saying “He’s out of touch.”  But naturally, they knew exactly what they were doing: It’s many of us Democrats who are “out of touch” with the racism that’s still out there in this country — not because we’re “elitist,” but because we struggle with it (on a good day), whereas the Rove-publicans aren’t afraid to employ it to keep their stranglehold on power.  Obama can’t be White enough for SNRWs, nor Black enough for some Blacks.

It’s necessary to expose the McCain/Palin/GOP/Fox/AM radio operatives’ cynical racist ploy, to deflate it.  Shine the light on how they’d manipulate Americans for their own benefit and not America’s.  And say it’s OK for White women to have Black men’s babies if they want, and vice-versa, and for those offspring to enjoy Sonny and Cher or Donny and Marie … or 50 Cent or Buffy Sainte-Marie.  America’s always been diverse, even if Hollywood and Madison Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue haven’t always been so.  Even if the world according to Jim Crow was only “White” and “Nonwhite,” or sometimes “White,” “Black,” and “Red” or “Hispanic” or “Asian.”

Weird names, not just Black after all

this piece from Salon (you can tell I’ve just been there) reminds us.  Although the author should’ve come across the fact that even the ancient Romans sometimes named their children numbers after their birth order – Secundus/a, Quartus, Quintus, Septimus, Octavius – which sounds alot more impressive if you don’t know Latin – Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth…!  (I’d give in to the temptation to claim that Augustus and Julius Caesars were named after months, but of course it’s the other way around!!)  The only thing weirder is George Foreman and his five sons named George.  But understanding the “weird Black name” phenomenon as liberating, yeah, I get that.

Electa, Valantine, and Zebedee are religious names: one or more of St. John’s Epistles were formally addressed to a parish he called the Lady Electa (ie, Chosen, or perhaps Elect, ie, predestined, from Calvinism); Zebedee was father of the Apostles Sts. James and John; and Valantine is just Valentine, the early Christian martyred bishop and patron saint of February 14.

I think I can understand “unique” names (though the Orthodox Church usually insists on Orthodox Saints’ names, for role models, Holy t/Tradition, and Heavenly intercessors for the named), but do they have to sound as ridiculous as some of them do?  Worse, they often defy English-language spelling conventions, as an old radio hand leaving some doubt as to pronunciation, with or without apostrophes, post-initial capital letters, or strings of consonants without a vowel where needed (outside of Polish, of course!).  (And as an Irishman, I must insist that the correct spelling of one common name or name-particle is Sean! ;)  Though I was impressed to meet a young lady named Shavaun, which is simply Siobhan with the spelling anglicized!  Tho I didn’t realize it until I sounded it out in my head … a problem with innovative spellings.)  In any case, is a name truly “unique” simply by changing one letter?  Computers think so, but I don’t know….

As for Arabic-language names, it’s no big deal in itself, though of course alot of people these days have issues with the religion usually suggested, Islam.  Senator Obama’s name, of course, came from his father, a lapsed Muslim who still wanted his kid named after him.  (My legal name is similar in that respect.)  His native Kenya’s Muslim population, like that of other near-Sahara countries, continues to grow.  (But its Orthodox population even faster!)  But critics seem to forget that King Hussein of Jordan was a great friend of the United States; OTOH, Hussein was Saddam’s last name, not his first name … and neither the king nor the future President were named after him!!!  It just happens to be a relatively common Arabic name in various spellings.  For that matter, as Obama has reminded us, (Ehud) Barack was an Israeli prime minister – so I guess it goes both ways, eh?!!

Some of these names are, or seem like, surnames, being used as given names.  This practice of course is well-known in the White Protestant community, though even Catholics have been known to use them for middle names though rarely first names, like John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Speaking of English Protestants, let’s not forget Praisegod Barebones, and another 17th-century Puritan whose given name was – I swear I am not making this up – “Christ Died To Save Us.”

What’s unfortunate about “Luxury Latch-on” names is that increasingly the original corporate names themselves are totally made up words, and not real names at all, rendering the personal names based on them a second-generation phenomenon, or twice-removed from the real world.

Orencio sounds Shakespearean, like those fake Italian names some of his characters had.

Other than that, my biggest concern as someone who hopes to acquire naming rights over someone someday in the not-too-distant future, is how they’ll deal with the name for the rest of their lives … something that doesn’t seem to enter into as many other parents’ or would-be parents’ minds as I would expect.  Was their own childhood so long ago?  Not longer than mine in most cases, except maybe Dave Letterman and Donald Trump….  But I figure weirdness is for nicknames, totally optional, appearing in no government databases or legal documents (unless they’re in the Mob of course).

“My friends call me Xfrkgyuip.”
“Gee, that’s interesting. Why do they call you that?”

And so on.

Then again, since I learned it, I’ve always thought the Irish Gaelic name for Wednesday, Ceadaoin (Céadaoin), pronounced something like kay-DEEN, would make a pretty girl’s name: hmm, Céadaoin Ó Faoláin….**  [As for its meaning, "First Fast-day," it refers to the ancient Christian (and continuing Orthodox Christian) practice of cutting-back on food on most Wednesdays of the year; Fridays also, Aoine, meaning simply "Fast-day," suggesting the Irish didn't do Wednesdays at first.]  And speaking of Irish names, I dislike the growing trend of giving girls Gaelic boys’ names: Murphy Brown, McKenzie Phillips, even Phelan, an English form of my last name.  I suspect these parents (or writers) aren’t aware that these Irish (or Scottish) surnames are based on (in most cases) ancient men’s given names … witness the constant attention in Irish surname / family history recitations to the supposed derivation of the surname, as faolan, little wolf, rather than the more real and relevant reference to an eponymous ancestor!  There’s also Rory Kennedy, an almost unforgivable sin considering that the last reigning High King of All Ireland bore that name, Rory (Roderick) O’Connor, King of Connacht – variously spelled Ruaidhri, Ruairi.  (Also because she didn’t marry me! ;)  )

But by all means visit this site the Salon writer points to.  It’s so funny you just might cure cancer!  I laughed so hard I cried and had a coughing fit, probably the hardest laugh of my life, no kidding!

(I remember the Black comic who told us a couple years ago about the crap he took for “fighting the good fight” and then turning to dating White women for a while, before again reversing himself.  “A Loqueeda makes up for two Megans and a Becky.”)

(**–Though in proper Irish she’d have to be Céadaoin ní Fhaoláin.)

Complex math among ancient indigenous

So complex I can barely follow this 16-minute talk (blog post linking to video with pictures; maximize video if possible to see the pictures), maybe since I only got to Algebra II, junior year of high school!  But fascinating!  Even roots of computer science.

The guy says informing young minorities in the U.S. of this fact improves their performance in math and science.  Very cool!

(I just hope he got that African Native priest’s permission to share with the whole world what he was reluctant to share with him at first on account of its cultural / religious sacredness….)

Mixed-Blood Indigenous

Poignant reflections about being “half-caste” as they call it Down Under (British influence), from a Suite 101 columnist and a big Aussie historian who discovered himself part-Aboriginal.

Rethinking Obama’s electability

Have we miscalculated?  The opening bit on Saturday Night Live two weeks ago scared me a little.  Look at it this way: Every ‘Racist for Hillary’ and other Clinton supporter who votes for McCain in November takes not one but two votes away from Obama, because they reduce us by one and increase them by one.  Whereas, in cold calculus, every Obama supporter – of any race or class or educational level – who stays home in November takes only one vote away from us.  So it may not be ‘democratic’ or just or politically correct, but each of some number of Hillary backers may be worth two Obama backers.

Somebody should probably do the math via the primary exit polls (as reliable as they may be), add a grain of salt, and figure out who the party’s elected leaders, the ex officio or so-called superdelegates, should favor, since it’s being thrown to them.  If whatever the result of the nomination process is, is favored by numerical evidence, that could be a big help.

Or maybe not.

(Also note that if the Repugs steal this one again, none of the above matters much, except for the history books.)

(PS–Isn’t Amy Poehler absolutely versatile?!  I didn’t notice her much till she joined “Update” after Jimmy Fallon ["NOMAAAAH"] left.  So listen Ames, if things don’t work out with what’s-his-name….)

Two Africas

Speaking of ancient North Africa, haven’t there always been Two Africas,” at least throughout recorded history – a Northern part in contact with Europe and the Middle East, and a Southern part not so much?  This isn’t “race” or genetics or class or wealth, just the intersection of geography and cultures.  Certainly Northern Africa itself was in more touch with southerly peoples than Europe and Western Asia were.

I’m somewhat familiar, but not enough to know where exactly to draw the line.  Mauritania / Sahel / Ethiopia / Horn of Africa?

And it’s not like one was “better” than the other, any more than ancient Western Europe’s “barbarians” were “better” than Eastern Europe’s, or Iroquois were “better” than Salish, or whatever.  Africans had empires all over the continent – if that’s a good thing(!).  Remember the original Zimbabwe?  “Recorded history” has known about the more-northerly ones longer because writing AFAWK started around there, the Near East and all.  Before “the winners wrote the histories,” the writers wrote them!

It’s a big continent, and it’s definitely not a single country, no continent can be.  (Australia is the exception that proves the rule … or something … because the English settlers did that, without consulting the Aboriginal Australians.)  Does stereotyping it do anybody good?

Just wondering.

Media spin against Democrats

Maybe I’m missing something.  MSM keep saying the Democratic race between Rodham Clinton and Obama is “mudslinging” and bitterness, etc.  I don’t see it or hear it.  I think they’re still mad at having to even follow primaries this “late,” that there really is a race rather than some foreordained outcome.

Look.  Just the facts, man, alright?

I even just heard Obama’s middle name for the first time.  I predicted it.  To say the Muslim world will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name is plainly stupid and ignorant.  He’s a liberal Protestant, OK?  What about his first name, Barack?  It’s an Arabic form of the Proto-Semitic for some principle part of “blessing,” the same as Egyptian President Mubarak and Israeli politician Ehud Barak.  Big woop.  There was Saddam Hussein, but there was also King Hussein of Jordan, OK?  It’s a common Arabic name; his father was a secular Muslim from Kenya.  Ironic, but no big deal.

“Stuff White People Like: Grad School”

LOL!  Been there, done that, alot!

Though obviously some people are taking that blog way too seriously!!!

A woman or Black president?

The Man” will not allow a woman or African-American into the Oval Office, except to dust and clean (or make cookies)!  Even if a majority (or plurality) of voters leave their homes intending to vote Democratic in November, “something will suddenly come up,” just like in ’00 and ’04.  I don’t have inside information, of course, and I certainly oppose this implication, but I hope Sens. Clinton and Obama have enough security, bodyguards, etc., and keep weapons out of public events, rallies, etc.  Is even the Secret Service trustworthy?

More mundanely, look for “conservatives” to start calling Obama by his full name, or talk about the two (atheist) Muslims in paternal relationships with him (father and stepfather), or raise more questions about that Muslim school he attended in Indonesia, and if all else fails, bimbo eruptions.  For Sen. Clinton, maybe a mimbo eruption, or even a lesbo eruption, although she has the advantage that they’ve pretty much thrown everything at her over 16 years, so it’s all old hat by now: most people already either love her or hate her so much that their minds aren’t about to be changed.

Realistically, though, I doubt enough American voters will support a woman or Black for president yet, maybe not even VP; I think it’s too soon for them.  And so we’ll be stuck with whichever Evangelical preacher the Repugs nominate.

And if it’s McCain the NON-maverick: Being a POW and torture are not things to joke about, but what if during some national crisis, he goes Post-Traumatic in the White House?!  And they had a problem with Tom Eagleton‘s shock therapy!

Could a State join Canada?

The article from the last post is about people in Maine interested in having that State secede to Canada.  The author lightly opines, “we would need to change our system of government to Canadian standards and start calling ourselves a province.”

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT.

A State is a sovereign, like “the State of Israel;” a province is a subdivision of a sovereign, like the provinces of the Roman Empire, or of many countries today.  When the UK colonies of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia (as we now call them, more or less) decided to get together in 1867, after watching the Union of sovereign States to the south go through a bloodbath of a  Civil War, they decided they wanted ‘a more perfect union,’ and so remained provinces (as all Britain’s North American colonies were sometimes called), legally giving more power to the central “Confederation” they were creating, Canada.  (Up there this word denotes the exact opposite of what it does for Americans, reflecting on the traditional propaganda about America’s previous “weak Articles of Confederation.”)

It’s true that after over a century of legal adjustments, court rulings (especially by the Brits aiming to protect the constitutive Provinces from Federal encroachment), and political compromises, Canada today seems among the world’s loosest federations, and it’s common to say the Provinces are “co-sovereign” with the Confederation (or Dominion), in almost American terms.  And while, in theologian Stanely Hauerwas’ perfect phrase, “there may be no denying the descriptive power of this statement,” and the Provinces of Canada may have evolved nearly into sovereign States, it still remains a bit of an exaggeration, constitutionally speaking.

Let me elucidate.  As described in their unilateral Declaration of Independence, 13 of the colonies / provinces to the south considered themselves “free and independent States” on or about July 4, 1776 – and they meant States, not State.  Over the next 11 years several wars among them almost broke out, one-on-one affairs IIRC, including New York vs. New Hampshire over the territory claimed by yet another one, the independent Republic of Vermont which everyone forgets, which wasn’t cooperating much with the other 13 at all, sought to exchange ambassadors with the Mother Country, and even to reunite with it!  So in 1787, when a mostly-secret “convention” proposed their “more perfect union,” one thing these “free and independent States” didn’t give up was sovereignty.  The new (written) Constitution merely delegated some of these States’ sovereign attributes or powers or rights to the Union, retaining all those not explicitly delegated.  In this arrangement, similar in species to the “pooled sovereignty” often referred to in connection with the European Union, these States and their Union were definitely co-sovereign (though the term isn’t used in the U.S., being of more-recent Canadian coinage), the Union in the areas delegated to it, and the States in every other way.  American law takes this very seriously, even though the States delegated to the Union powers the world usually considers primary reflections of sovereignty, such as international relations, defense, and currency … and even though there’s been some growth of Federal power due to Constitutional Amendments and court rulings down through the years.  Perhaps the best illustration of this is the fact that not just any case can be appealed to Federal courts; it has to be “a Federal matter,” otherwise the State courts have the last word.

(This came up after the 2000 Presidential Election.  As you may have heard, we don’t actually elect the President of [the Executive Branch of] the United States, Presidential Electors do.  And these Electors are State officers, not Federal.  Each State legislature is completely free to prescribe how to choose its Presidential Electors.  In the first place, as the mischievous Florida Legislative Republicans reminded us, Electors don’t have to be popularly elected; it’s up to each State.  [Though it's debatable whether they would've gotten away with changing the rules after the fact. Would the U.S. Supreme Court have been that brazen?]  More importantly, how each State elects its officers is entirely its own business, and not normally “a Federal matter.”  Therefore, most of us considered that the Federal courts had no business hearing GW Bush’s appeal from the Florida Supreme Court regarding interpretation of Florida’s election laws and administration, by its own State courts.  To get around this, Bush had to concoct a laughable argument that his civil rights – a Federal matter – would be violated if every vote were counted in the counties in which Republican shenanigans were alleged by the Al Gore campaign and many others.  This was an argument of the proverbial “legal mind: the ability to think about something intimately related to something else, without thinking about that to which it is related”: Civil Rights, intended to protect Blacks from re-enslavement after the Civil War, used to deny many Florida Blacks and others the electoral franchise accorded them in this contest under Florida law!  [This is exactly the same area of law that supposedly bestowed human rights on corporations in the U.S., and of course the irony is identical. It's also the kind of reasoning made famous by the medieval {Western, Catholic} Scholastic philosophers and theologians, now employed by a son of the Protestant Reformation, a Methodist: rationalizing about how many teeth a horse was allowed to have based on made-up prior principles ... instead of opening his mouth and counting them!!!  Instead of rationalizing, Florida law provided that the winner of the election would be determined by counting the votes cast.  WHAT A F*CKING CONCEPT!!!]  In a tragic example of expansion of Federal power by court ruling, the Federal courts allowed Bush, and ultimately so did a partisan Supreme Court – although they sure didn’t want their ruling used against  Republicans, when they said, in flagrant violation of every legal principle and tradition this country – and all Common Law countries – supposedly stand on, that their ruling shouldn’t be used as a precedent in any future case.  So much for independent judiciary and rule of law … and the last 7 years of American and world history!  Yes, Canada, courts aren’t always legally correct.)

This is the opposite of what happened in Canada in 1867: the Fathers of Confederation delegated to the Provinces some powers, rights, and privileges, delineated others as shared by the Confederation and Provinces, with the rest remaining with the Confederation.  Arguably, legally, the Provinces are creatures of the Confederation – and hence Provinces – even though they antedated it!

For comparison purposes, in 1901 the drafters of the Australian Commonwealth constitution, fearful of a Canadian-style (theoretically) stronger center, went more with the American model again, on behalf of the federating colonies there.  And so Australia’s constitutive parts, like America’s, are sovereign States, not Provinces – and BTW, their State viceregal officers Governors instead of Lieutenant-Governors.  (Which brings up another illustration: Canadian Provinces have LGs because historically they are lieutenants to the Governor General, even Federal employees, appointed on Federal Advice, not Provincial employees, clearly subordinating the Provinces to the Federal Crown, in spite of the fact that they can have “Her Majesty In Right of” a Province … even suing “Her Majesty In Right of Canada”!)

This is not to say that a State can’t create additional sovereign States; in fact it’s alleged to have happened in a number of newer “federal” countries, essentially constituting their subdivisions Sovereigns in certain areas.  The Holy Roman Emperors even bestowed actual sovereignty on some of their subject principalities (while they remained subject).  I fully expect this century that some Canadian court will find Canada’s Provinces are, have always been, or have become, Sovereign States.  Whether this would require formally reopening the constitution, or could take effect by itself in the British tradition of uncodified constitutional evolution, I don’t know.  Or else Provinces will insist on (greater) involvement in nominating their LGs, and then, on the exclusive right.  Quasi-American Alberta might even be the first to declare itself a (Canadian[?]) State!

Nevertheless, the question before us for now is whether, as the words of the columnist quoted atop this post suggest, an American State would have to give up Statehood to join Canada.  (I doubt she had this question in mind, so I must take full blame myself!)

Before answering it, just for the record, let’s establish whether Maine and other things like it in the U.S. really are States.  After all, only 13 States formed the Union … Vermont joined having formerly been independent just as they … so did Texas, maybe California … that’s it.  The rest were carved out of Federally-controlled/occupied “Territories” (including Indian Lands), settled by Whites and others from elsewhere, then elevated to Statehood and “admitted to the Union.”  But if we accept that sovereigns can create other sovereigns, that’s OK.

So.  Could the Canadian Confederation include both Provinces and States?  Well apparently there’s such a thing as “asymmetrical federalism,” best illustrated by the Russian Federation at this time, the Holy Roman Empire previously (sort of).  But theoretically two ‘levels’ both claiming all but delegated powers would seem to cancel each other out!  Furthermore, Maine residents would be used to the theory of the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, saving an undetermined reservoir of rights to them even against the government of Maine … as well as the whole three centuries of experience with The Common Law of Maine (including Massachusetts before Maine’s separation from it).  Section 26 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms brings the 9th Amendment into Canada so to speak, but only insofar as it relates to “any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada”: here’s one place where the competing “residual powers” doctrines collide head-on, because Mainers might not want to give up U.S. or Maine Unenumerated Rights, especially if they don’t know the extent of what they’d be giving up – kind of like the reluctance to codify the Royal Prerogative for fear of leaving out something that’ll become important in the future.  Then again, not knowing might make it easier for the Mainers!  Aside from this perhaps academic conundrum, in terms of legal systems it might go OK, since each Province does have its own version of the Common Law already, we’d just be adding Maine’s to the mix.  Maybe even the Residual conflict could be finessed with words saving as much of what each side is used to already as practicable.

What’s Admission look like?  Several of the relevantly-named documents here convey an idea, although they all cover admission of British territories … without a lapse of 250 years! ;)

Does Maine remain a State in all this?  I don’t see why not.  The physics of the balance of powers between State and Federal might be shuffled slightly in the move from the USA to Canada, and some shared powers would probably be introduced that America isn’t used to constitutionally … but then again, in reality America has evolved some degree of sharing via Federal mandates and/or funding, it’s just that the method and tone are very different, less ‘interactive’ you might say!

Then there’s the matter of the 3 Indian Reservations and associated Trust Lands in Maine (our example).  I don’t believe Canada holds lands in trust for First Nations groups or individuals like the U.S. Federal government does.  Quite a bit of the U.S. is actually Indian Trust Lands!  The U.S. exploits the land, pursuant to Treaties, and is supposed to collect the revenues and forward them to the Tribes or individual Indians who own them.  (They’ve been screwing this up for years though – so bad they even had to take down their website? – and Indians suing the government allege they’re out 12 Billion dollars all tolled!  Maybe they’d have better luck going to the Chinese!)  Especially Out West, Trust Lands have farms or ranches on them, or mineral extraction, or even towns, counties, railroads, highways, etc.  I don’t know how much land we’re talking about in Maine, but they originally claimed more than 2/3 of the State on the basis of unratified Treaties before a settlement agreement in 1980.  There’s also the matter of the Reserves themselves.  I’m not too familiar with Indian Law in Canada, and it’s pretty rough down here, but there’s the potential to consider that Reserves and Tribes are in fact subject sovereign States themselves (the 1800s Supreme Court’s “domestic dependent nations,” as bad as that sounds!), and my impression is that Tribal self-governance and Sovereignty are farther along here than in Canada.  For that matter, there are also a fair number of French-speakers in Maine … and the theory that most of them are Métis, facing potential recognition under the Canadian constitution as Aboriginal North Americans, and whatever that may entail – adjudication of Aboriginal Rights, Land Title, Sovereignty, hunting and trapping rights….

Does Canada accept a State though?  Well, talks with Maine might “call the question” of the Statehood of the other Provinces anyway.  OTOH, constitutional sticklers might consider it too great a risk to the union; as I’ve said, courts aren’t always legally correct.

As for the columnist’s other comment, “we would need to change our system of government to Canadian standards,” the British North America Act 1867 presumes the kind of government the Provinces have now, ie, the Lieutenant-Governor appointed by the Governor General (on advice of the Prime Minister) in The Queen’s name, governing with the advice of a Ministry retaining the confidence of (in Maine’s case I guess the lower house of) the legislature; and a legislature consisting of the LG and its one or two houses.  ISTM any deviation from this would require a Constitutional Amendment.

Another way might be a Treaty of Union between all Canada and Maine, or USA and Canada with respect to Maine, which Canada could simply receive into its law as constitutional legislation.

Métis are Legally Aboriginal

I’ve just remembered why the Canadian Constitution Act 1982 says Métis are as Aboriginal as Indians and Inuit: Because Métis have Aboriginal and/or Treaty Rights of which Canadian Law is required to take notice.

I have said I think Indigenous is a better word for Métis than Aboriginal, because as I read the word in its plain meaning, Aboriginal means “here first” (or at least, before actual European-led settlement began) or “from the beginning.” Métis as such, being of Mixed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestry by definition, wouldn’t be described that way.  But I was looking at the matter perhaps anthropologically (Heaven forbid!) or sociologically, even just grammatically.  The constitution is a legal document, addressing a special set of concerns not necessarily identical to or coterminous with those of the anthropologist, sociologist, or grammarian.

For centuries in the Anglo/American legal system, Aboriginal groups, and sometimes Aboriginal individuals, have been held by courts to continue to possess certain rights in tenure (Aboriginal Title) and/or use of territory and resources (Aboriginal Rights), to the extent that the rights in question are not incompatible with Crown rule “where The Queen’s Writ runs,” or have not been extinguished* by the Crown-in-parliament, ie, by competent, valid legislative statute.**  This ultimately goes all the way back to when the Welsh and Anglo-Saxons were the Aboriginals when William the Conqueror arrived in Britain in AD 1066, since the Common Law in England has been held to antedate the Conquest.  It also would have applied to Ireland if The Case of Tanistry had gone another way in the 1600s; the court ruling was that the Celtic chiefly or clan succession system (to lands) by that name, by a competent, previously-appointed, -nominated, or even -elected adult near relative (rather than strict primogeniture) was incompatible with Crown rule.  (I remember thinking when I read about it a few years ago that, in the light of more recent and diverse Imperial and Commonwealth jurisprudence and governmental experience – my gosh, India! Africa! – that the Irish practice of tanistry might have been upheld vis a vis British rule had the case only been brought today rather than 400 years ago.  I forget exactly why, though.)

Since the 1600s the Crown, its successors (eg, the USA) and its agents (eg, colonial proprietors or governors) have frequently tried to free-up lands and/or resources they desired, in the hands of Aboriginal groups outside Europe, by Treaty – not always accompanied by the threat or reality of violence as commonly in the case of the U.S. … nevermind broken Treaties.  It’s possible they thought relatively-voluntary relinquishment would be easier than by war, which would inevitably follow mere legislative extinguishment way off in London or Ottawa.  Even the U.S., I suppose, is to be lauded for not simply extinguishing – or trying to – all rights by a piece of paper on Capitol Hill, despite its mostly “warlike”(!) approach to Aboriginal peoples since the Revolution.

In any case, any land title or other Aboriginal Rights not ceded by Treaty (or sometimes equivalent negotiated settlement) remains in the hands of the Aboriginal possessor(s).  In what is now Canada many Métis groups and individuals in the past or even the present have lived “on the land,” occupied territories for centuries alongside or “in-between” Indian Tribes, hunted, gathered, fished, trapped, signed or “adhered to” Treaties ceding some but not necessarily all Aboriginal Rights – who knows, maybe even have mineral rights!  There are even a handful of Métis Reserves (reservations) in Canada.  And Métis living elsewhere may still hold unceded Aboriginal Rights or Treaty Rights, whether as Métis or even strictly as Indian/Inuit descendants.

In addition, like the U.S., Canada often offers benefits or assistance – never enough of course – to Aboriginal groups and individuals as part of (lobbied) social legislation or executive government functions.  While not technically part of the constitution or Treaties, these may be more available to Métis from lawmakers and Governments now that they’re officially recognized in the constitution as Aboriginal.  Métis in Canada suffer much from discrimination, poverty, and health problems, little different from their Indian or Inuit cousins.

Now how about other countries?!!

(*–I do not believe this use of extinguished is the same as when, in the 20th century, the United States Congress acted to “terminate a Tribe.”  Congress has since “unterminated” some “terminated Tribes,” but Aboriginal Rights “extinguished” are considered incapable of being “unextinguished” or restored, at least in Commonwealth Nations.  However, I am not a lawyer, just an amateur legal scholar!)

(**–The way I read U.S. constitutional documents, I’m not sure any U.S. legislative body is empowered to extinguish Aboriginal Rights without Treaties or similar agreements, like a Westminster Parliament probably is by Common Law, since U.S. lawmakers have only powers explicitly or clearly implicitly delegated to them by written Constitutions, Federal or State, respectively.  Thank God!)

MLK Day

  1. “Martin Luther King Sales”?!!!  I guess it was only a matter of time.
  2. “Day-on, not day-off”?  I’ve been familiar with this since the ’80s.  I understand the sentiment, but I think it makes non-Black adults (ie, not in school) question whether it’s a “real holiday” (as they say) if it’s not a day off except for government.  Fewer and fewer of them are “real holidays” anymore, with stores open, malls, even businesses / workplaces, factories, customer service….  It seems only Christmas, New Year’s (mostly), 4th of July, and Thanksgiving are “sacred” anymore, know what I mean?  And Europeans get all August off…!  Even Canadians get a couple unnamed, theme-free “bank holidays,” while we’re merging holidays – Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday into “Presidents’ Day.”  Frankly, I think February is too long as it is; we should un-combine them, and in fact, get every Monday in February off!  How about every Monday in August, too?  Christmas Eve … Black Friday … Thanksgiving Eve … Easter Monday … Friday before Memorial Day … Halloween (Trick-or-treat all day, kiddies!) … Election Day … Friday before Labor Day….

Hillary, MLK, LBJ, ETC…

Obviously Hillary Rodham Clinton is not my candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the Executive Branch of the United States.  But let’s keep it real here.  Sure, Martin Luther King Jr. and the rest of the Civil Rights Movement were necessary to bring change in the nation’s laws and dominant racist culture.  But they were not sufficient.  If you want to change the laws, and don’t want (another) violent revolution, you have to do it through the Constitution and elected officials like Congress and the President, and/or judges – the last of whom, as we have seen in the last 7-plus years, are not to be relied upon for legality or Constitutionality after all.  It shouldn’t have to be so difficult, it should be a no-brainer actually for anybody whose business is law or politics or government or justice, but as someone has said, Common Sense ain’t so common!

This is all she was saying.  Please, she’s married to “our nation’s first ‘Black‘ President,” I think she knows a thing or two about this!

Conan Don’t Do It!

Don’t move to Los Angeles when you take over The Tonight Show!  (OK, so, I’m boycotting you; the Writers’ strike won’t last that long – Fall ’09?!!  NBC’ll cave long before then!)

Lala-land will ruin you just like it ruined Leno!  Jay used to be a great standup comic, which of course is why he got The Tonight Show.  And he promptly turned Hollywood-mean, celeb-suckup, glamor-glitzy, and Kansas-conservative (anti-Mexican, Jay?!!) and at the same time amoral (in his “humor”).  I stopped watching him in first-run years ago, and now that NBC has fecking Poker instead of Tonight reruns, I never see him anymore!

Carson Daly is Carson Daly, but still, even he was better, edgier maybe, when Last Call was in New York.  NYC is a character on Late Night, Conan.  Moving to LA would be like firing NY from your show – as if you were replacing Carol Leifer, say, with Paris Hilton!  Paris is always good for a laugh, but she’s no Carol Leifer.  (Ask Jerry Seinfeld!)  In any case, I don’t imagine Daly’s moving Back East, so unless Late Night gets a new host and stays here in the real world – the East Coast! – NBC late nights will be all-LA all the time – BORING!!!

Mrs. Conan O’Brien, Liza Powell, is from Seattle, so maybe she prefers the West Coast.  Trust me, I can understand that.  But New York is New York, man!

Diabetes Blindness hope?

Speaking of Diabetes, this article reports an interesting-sounding theory about how people with diabetes sometimes lose vision, how this might be stopped, maybe prevented, maybe even reversed?

Maybe I should get my blood sugar checked, as my GP recommended a few years ago(!), ’cause needles in the eyes sure don’t sound pleasant!  I’m really weird about my eyes as it is, and always have been.

I wonder if this treatment could even be delivered orally?  After all, some meds go just where they’re needed on the basis of distribution throughout the blood, and so get concentrated somewhere because there’s lots of extra blood where needed, eg, anti-inflammatories.  One would have to work on the underlying cause(s) of the retinopathy too, I guess, including the diabetes….  Hmm….

I’m definitely not a doctor.

What about eyepatches delivering the treatment through the skin, one at a time even if necessary, to localize the effect more, versus body-wide via a pill?

But if they slow/stop new vessel formation, they don’t solve the “leakyness” problem….  I guess like that last quote said, this tackles just one aspect of the diabetic retinopathy problem.

Another take on Canada’s ‘conservative progressiveness’

from a Boston Globe writer who seems to just about ‘get it’!

I would just add a comment on this paragraph:

The differences between the two countries are captured in their founding documents. As Canadian textbooks often note, Canadian politicians deliberately avoided the eloquence found in the Declaration of Independence, which ringingly celebrates ”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Instead, Canada’s much more prosaic bedrock document, the British North America Act of 1867, promises ”peace, order, and good government.”

I wouldn’t call “peace, order, and good government” prosaic, or even excessively deliberately anti-demagogic vis a vis the Declaration of Independence.  Isn’t “POGG” the proper basis for “LLPH”???  Isn’t LLPH “a house built on sand” without POGG?  Couldn’t we use some POGG in America today, after all these years of so much of the opposite?!!!  As the writer says at the end, Canada’s progressive Classical Conservatism is “a conservative worldview – albeit a type of sober-minded conservatism that has few parallels in an ever more radically right-wing America” (emphasis mine).  And of course, most Americans have had to keep struggling for LLPH even since 1776: most Catholics, women, Blacks, non-landowners, the poor, workers, the disabled and elderly, the sick, Classical Conservatives, radicals, cities, immigrants, pacifists, progressives, gay people, Indigenous people/s….

Mixed-Blood/Mixed-Race artists

I.e., Young Indigenous and European and/or African.

Currently a show in Phoenix, moving to New York next summer.  They question the ‘required Indianness content’ of artificial Indigenous-of-the-Americas art, identity, etc.  Looks fascinating.

(Damn, Great-great-great-great-Grandma shouldn’ta slept with Whitey!!! ;) )

Obit: First Nations “Picasso,” shaman

Norval Morrisseau, Ojibwa (aka Chippewa) from northern Ontario (which has been called Canada’s Alaska – and no, that’s not really redundant!! :) ).  Sounds fascinating (NY Times link will break w/o $$$) … but this even more so.*  Do yourself a favour and Google himImages too, of course!

(*–Although note that the form of Christianity that devastated his people’s culture was Roman Catholic; Orthodoxy doesn’t treat evangelized peoples like that [the Church doesn't, anyway...], witness the Alaska Native Orthodox! [LA Times archive fee required for this article]  Why did Catholicism have to destroy Native cultures of the Americas, when it didn’t destroy Irish culture, for instance?  Catholicism became Irish.  Why couldn’t it become Ojibway??)

An Andy Rooney moment

(Upon further review, I’ve decided not to keep this post.  Too graphic, too curious, too frivolous, too unrestrained.  C-ya.)

An Indigenous way to look at a Global Warming and Peak Oil future

Do U.S. farmers and shippers really want to kill foreign poor kids?

Of course not.  Tell your Representative and Senators mercy is more important than profits.

Indian Lieutenant-Governor for British Columbia

I.e., First-Nation – a former Chief, actually, as well as a provincial judge.  Sounds like he’s already served both worlds, Native and Settler, exceedingly well, so representing the Queen in BC will crown – no pun intended – quite a career.

(Toronto Globe and Mail coverage [link will break, I think].  Photos/slide show from his inauguration in the BC Legislative Chambers in Victoria [I've been there!] omits the drummer!  The big fancy chair in the front of the room is the Provincial Throne, where you’ll see the Viceregal sits after he officially takes office.  Each Province has one, as does the Senate in Ottawa, and the House of Lords in the UK, from which the Lieutenant-Governor/ Governor-General/ Queen officially and ceremonially opens each new legislative session by informing lawmakers of Her Majesty’s respective Ministry’s plans for the upcoming session.  [Until very recently - during the term of previous GG Adrienne Clarkson - the GG or her Deputy gave the Royal Assent in the Queen's name to Federal legislation in person by sitting on the Throne, having the bill presented to her, and simply nodding her assent to it, making it the law of the land.  As I understand it, Canada was the last place in the Empire/ Commonwealth Realms to do Assent by ceremony.  Now they all just sign bills like the U.S. President, or even have someone else sign them for them.  Too bad.  I would like to have witnessed that ceremony.  It was very meaningful and demonstrative of the Monarchical parliamentary-democracy.]  Later, outside, you see him wearing the official Viceregal uniform; not many in the Commonwealth still wear it, and there’s something jarring and/or profound to see it donned by an Indian Chief!)

Although I have to wonder if he isn’t being “kicked upstairs” with this appointment.  The First Nations Treaty process in BC has been raucus and very stop-and-go – though as the Globe points out, progress is now being made.  Even the involvement of the province at all, instead of just the Federal government, irks me as an Indian “encapsulated within” the United States, since in the U.S. constitutionally only the Feds are empowered to officially “treat with” Sovereign Indigenous Communities.  States have rarely been allowed a say, and IMHO for good reason, since they’ve usually been very anti-Indian; by my (admittedly scant) reading, the Canadian provinces have been generally similar, sad to say.  (This opinion is far from a complete picture of comparative Indigenous relations between the two countries: in some ways Indians and Inuit have it better in one country, in other ways, the other; though Canada now at least constitutionally recognizes its Metis, or Mixed-Blood [European and Native], communities, whereas in the States we have to disappear, if we can, into the White, Black, or Native communities – which isn’t always easy either!)

Just to be clear, I know nothing about His Honour’s involvement in the Treaty Process, so my concern may be groundless.

FYI, Canada has had a number of Aboriginal (or as I have said I believe is more inclusive, Indigenous) LGs.  Until recently Ontario’s – he just retired – was sometimes identified as Indian, sometimes as Metis.

Also, Point’s hope to make one of his emphases ethnic harmony is key because in Canada, Indigenous occupy the dubious position Blacks do in the States, as the largest oppressed minority, disproportionately arrested and imprisoned, poor and sick and discriminated against, and dying younger.  And this is particularly poignant in BC on the streets of the province’s largest city, Vancouver.  In addition, growing – and often wealthy – Chinese immigration to the Vancouver area irks some Whites.

2008 Starts Now!

I can’t afford to give to the Democratic Party just now, but maybe you can, to support their 50-State “strategery.”  Just look at all those brown people, and attractive young women!  They beat the Repugs hands down!  Who would you like to “have a beer” with?!!

W = Clinton = Reagan = Thatcher/Major = Red China

Interesting data from the Wikipedia page on the Gini Index of income/wealth inequality.  The U.S. experienced three big spikes in inequality since WW2, under Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II, all similar to the last “Conservative” regime in the UK, and Communist China embracing “capitalism.”*  (See the graphic of Selected Countries Over Time, and the CIA’s own US estimate since 2000 at the link below.)

So who are the best non-poor countries (or regions) in terms of equality?: Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Benelux, Ireland, Australia, France, Canada… the usual suspects!  And the Baltics.

As for Poverty in the Developed World, “We’re Number One“… in Probability at Birth of not Surviving to Age 60… and in Population Below 50 pct. of the Median Income!  Overall we’re 16th out of 18… and we’re Number 4 in functional illiteracy.  And the percentages are probably even worse for U.S. poor and non-Whites.  We’ve got to do something about this, people!  Health care, books, a family wage, and something about structural racism!

(*–More evidence of what I recently said, that the PRC is basically where America was a century ago… not a good place to be, and quite a “fall” from Marx and Mao!!)

Political Correctness

See how long it takes you to decode the jargon this website is written in!

Now, I’m a pretty PC dude.  I’m also a little bit of a “mental health consumer,” I may be a “survivor”(?), you might even consider me “mentally ill”: I have Major Depression, Social Anxiety, and who knows what else.  But sometimes PC obscures communication even for me, and I have the equivalent of two Master’s Degrees, a couple years as a caseworker, several years as a journalist, and a lifetime as an aware, reading person!

Some use of PC seeks to improve how people – especially those not involved in whatever industry is being talked about from time to time – think about, or at least speak about, and treat, each other.  But if they don’t have Clue One what you’re referring to in the first place, you’re wasting your breath and their time, and not making any inroads at all… and probably p’ing them off too, which helps no one.

I’d rather PC were called something more common: politeness.  Would that simple politeness were “politically correct”!!!  (Maybe the American people could have their airwaves back, then!)  It’s also nothing new, as much as “conservatives” would have us believe that it is.  Human beings have been opposing being called names probably as long as they’ve had the power of speech!

But please, submit your website to a good technical writer for translation, OK?!

Speaking personally, I AM DISABLED.  I’m not “differently-abled,” or “minority-abled.”  One of the first things alot of people need to know about is me what I can’t be relied upon to do for them, so they don’t expect the impossible of me, disappointing us both.  Maybe I feel this way because most of my Disabilities aren’t “visible,” so people do expect the impossible of me sometimes, even family who should know better!  Maybe it’s different for the “visibly disabled,” when people try to do everything for them and think they’re totally helpless.  But I will defend my right to use language I deem appropriate in my own regard, and their right to do the same.

Speaking of Canadian “visible minorities,” first off, sure, some Aboriginals – Indians (“First Nations”), Inuit, and Metis – aren’t visibly so, because of the traditionally pale skin and/or plain features of some communities; but to call us all White is insulting, OK?  Second and ironically, some of the groups considered “visible” in the pie chart include members who also aren’t visibly so.  This is a case where O Canada sought a more PC term, but it falls short, and confuses.  Technically, for the same reasons, “people of color” as used sometimes in the States may fall short.  So how about “European Canadians,” “Aboriginals of Canada” (though I still think “Indigenous” is better: Metis aren’t aboriginal but are indigenous!), “African Canadians,” “Latin Canadians,” “Asian Canadians”?  Of course, then you run into the question of Other Indigenous of the Americas, not all of whom (like me!) qualify as “Latin” or “of Canada”!  (That’s not so bad though: In Irish Gaelic we still have to be called Red Indians, to differentiate from Asian Indians!! Why not “American Indians”?… “America” in the bi-continental sense, that is!!!  OH it’s so frustrating sometimes!  ;)  )

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.