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.

IQ and Thanksgiving

I just read here about Inuit (Canada Eskimo) traditional knowledge being called (in the Inuit language, Inuktitut) Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or IQ.  LOL!  That’s so cool!  I know *I* couldn’t pass this IQ test!!!  Hell, if what we laughably call civilization collapsed tomorrow, I’d probably unknowingly eat some noxious weed growing out of the ground and croak!  That’s right, we’ve all been “taught” how to survive in a supermarket – or worse yet, McDonald’s – and Heaven forbid we should ever find ourselves without one!  Seriously, we should all learn some Native knowledge about wherever we live, in case we need it someday;* we probably need it NOW!  It might help us more to “walk lightly over the earth.”

(*–Interestingly, it took the Peanuts gang to remind many of us that when Squanto, one of the last Patuxet Indians after a British smallpox epidemic devastated “New England” and the Maritimes, taught the Plymouth “Pilgrims” and Co. how to survive in their accidental new home in Massachusetts [vs. New York], he was passing on to them the traditional knowledge of his by-then-dead village nation, something not done lightly by Indigenous Peoples today because they usually end up regretting it.  Had he not done so, the colonists might have died, or abandoned the colony.)

Renewable energy

Great Wikipedia overview here.  We gotta do it, people, governments, charities, everybody!

Except burning stuff solves nothing, whether it’s imported or domestic.

I only recently heard of geothermal heat-exchange, which sounds like a no-brainer just about universally!  Heating and air-conditioning from the same cheap process and equipment?  Many buildings can even be retrofitted.

How about legally requiring implementation of as many non-burning renewable energy technologies as possible, with government help for the needy to do so, etc etc etc?!!!!!  It seems there’s so much that can be done RIGHT NOW.  We can’t let this slip by us like we did with motor vehicle gasoline mileage standards since Reagan: remember when we were supposed to be up around 100 mpg by the ’90s?!!!

Detroit Bailout: A Modest Proposal

How about if Washington bails-out Ford, GM, and Chrysler (How many times do we get to bail-out Chrysler?!!) the way it bailed-out the TV-makers?  Ban all existing motor vehicles from the road as of February, and allow only new Fords, GMs, and Chryslers from then on!  Congress can even give out coupons to help folks “make the transition.”

😐

(OTOH, it’d be great for Global Warming, improving our oil-independence, and we could dump the used cars on China and India so they don’t have to manufacture new ones for a while, helping their greenhouse emisions and our economics simultaneously – get back some of our money and “paper” from them!  Hmmm…!)

PS: Isn’t it weird that Repugs, including W., are OK with bailing-out banks and bankers and speculators, but not Union-dominated / Blue-State Ford, GM, and Chrysler?  Hmmm….

No more Highlanderz?

😦

When I was in the media, I wasn’t in sales, so it didn’t automatically occur to me that this was pursuant to a very-limited-time contract.  Nor OTOH that this would go on forever!  Brain just wasn’t engaged at all — pure pleasure!  At least the video clips are still available.

(Who are we kidding, anyway?: The Ford Flex is just a glorified station wagon.)

City farming grows

Good thing, with the Perfect Storm coming: Peak Oil, Global Warming, yada yada yada.  But I don’t think you can really call it “subsistence” if you’re not subsisting on it, if it’s merely supplementing your bought-food — as good an idea as it can be.

Hu’s on First

Speaking of the leader of Communist China, there’s actually a Chinese (et al.) restaurant at Winnipeg’s minor-league baseball stadium called “Hu’s on First,” a takeoff on the old Abbott and Costello baseball routine, “Who’s on First?”

(The team is the Winnipeg Goldeyes, so I wonder if they serve goldeye at Hu’s?  Sounds like one nasty fish, in both temperament and flavor!  But I guess if you smoke the hell out of anything it can be rendered fit for human consumption….  Canadian cuisine, gotta love it, eh?  While in the Northwest I was a vegetarian,* so I only tried a couple tiny bits of alder-smoked salmon one day for the local cultural experience, and it seemed interesting; though of course salmon doesn’t need the help.  And nowadays you can buy smoked salmon in the Sahara I think!!!  I even tried alder-smoke-flavored potato chips there once, but it was too much of a good thing, if you know what I mean.)

(*–Of course, fish is not a vegetable.  You wouldn’t think of saying that, but for all the self-described vegetarians who eat “vegetables” such as fish, chicken, milk, cheese, eggs, yogurt, butter, etc etc etc….)

“Elective dictatorship”

That’s the pejorative critique of parliamentary government (ie, Westminster-style).  Part of the problem is that AFAIK, political parties under that system are themselves elective dictatorships, whether their “Leaders” are voted on by MPs, or more widely by party members nationwide.  The model is Party as Political Machine.  They could use more of a committee-style leadership or shared authority within the party like our Democratic and Republican Parties with their national committees, or House and Senate party caucus leadership teams.  This doesn’t rule out “strong leadership” when needed, as U.S. State and local party machines prove.  Today I can’t see a U.S. party chairman picking-and-choosing primary contestants like parliamentary Leaders do, even in Canada (Stephen Harper, Paul Martin, etc.).  We do sometimes have “party-endorsed” or “committee-endorsed” primary candidates, but that doesn’t prevent challengers from running, or even winning the primary.  But abroad, combine “elective dictatorship” within the party, and strong “party discipline” within Parliament, and you have your little dictators.  Especially if it’s thought the Monarch or President isn’t allowed to decline their “advice.”

Bill Richardson for Secretary of State

He has the personality, the skills, the experience, and respect from friend and foe alike.

Hillary Clinton?  I’m not sure she can work for someone else, especially Obama who beat her for the nomination; I’d trust Bill C. better in this regard.  Furthermore, does Hillary have the personality? skills?  She DOESN’T have the experience.  America’s friends abroad like her, but you don’t make peace with your friends: Do our foes like or respect her?  I don’t know that they do, whereas I do know they like or at least respect Richardson.

Besides, we need our Senate Democrats.  New York’s current Governor is a Dem, but there’s no guarantee NY voters would elect a Democrat to succeed Hillary eventually.  Remember Al D’Amato?  With GOP/corporate hackers stealing elections, and how stung they feel after last week’s losses, let’s not give them the chance.

In this day and age, State is too important a job to treat as a mere political plum, or even an intra-Party olive branch.  And the Senate is also too important to risk: Realistically, we have a year and a half to turn this country around, or get it well on the way.  We can’t expose ourselves – or the nation – or the world – to Republican political games in Congress.

“Highlanderz” video available

Yes, it’s true!  They’ve added it to the Late Late Show video clip page now.  If you can, listen with headphones for the full audio effect, including all kinds of funny, subtle snippets you couldn’t hear on TV last week.  (Nothing dirty, just hilarious!  “I enjoy golf!”  Well, OK, “we’re packing so much heat that our kilts are extra long” … but that’s not subtle, and I already mentioned it last week….)

I nearly fell on the floor when Craig – er, “Angus” – stood in an alley with flip-sign messages like in that INXS video, saying things like “Braveheart is Australian,” “Scotty is Candian,” etc.!!

Obama’s campaign money

No small bit was made of what seemed like gillions of dollars the Obama Presidential Campaign had raised and spent on staffing, advertising, etc., especially opting out of federal campaign financing and limits — all as if a Democrat had displaced the Republicans awash in money from their wealthy and large individual and business donors.  But according to Obama’s people, McCain/Palin and the national GOP had 20 million more than Obama/Biden and the Democratic National Committee as of October 15.  Just to set the record straight.

Let Democrats be Democrats

After all, they didn’t elect us because we’re Republicans, but because we’re Democrats, right?  If they wanted Republicans, they would’ve elected Republicans, right?  Even the Republicans were calling for “change” from the way things have been going; so logically, it was a question of whose “change” the voters wanted, right?  And it was ours, not the Republicans’.

By all means, let’s try to bring as many Republican lawmakers on-board as reasonably possible — that could only be better.  But if we ourselves end up changing into Republicans, then haven’t we betrayed those who voted us in?

How many Republican members of Congress have become Democrats, literally or figuratively, since they came to power in ’94, huh?  Only two or three, right?  They didn’t betray their voters, so how can we betray ours?

In any case, hasn’t President-elect Obama shown us we don’t need those rich and corporate campaign donors and lobbyists???

Think the Election went off without serious problems?

Think again.  Brad Blog reports a slew of them, including an Al Franken 12-point exit-poll win reduced to a virtual tie in “results” by suspicious voting machines … a probable 60-seat Democratic-caucus Senate imperiled by suspicious voting machines … a question of whether California’s anti-Gay referendum really passed … a question whether the good people of Alaska really intended to send a convicted felon back to the Senate … and a GOP threat to sue if any results diverge much from exit polls – talk about chutzpah!!!  Also material on Black Box Voting.org.  And I read somewhere an allegation of vote-machine hacking in Virginia.  And another from our Republican Irony Department: Alleged “voter fraud” by Pennsylvania’s fired fascist senator Rick Santorum, formerly a young GOP rising star.

Could I be as Irish as I am and not suspect that the powers behind the power have ‘allowed’ us a President Obama in order to fuel a roaring comeback in 2 or 4 years???  Have they shown as much real concern for the things they claim they’re concerned about, regarding Obama, as about their own power, cynicism, manipulativeness, enrichment (trillion-dollar-bailout, anybody?!), “liberties” (theirs not ours), impunity, corruption, etc.?

Change Prez election procedures?

If you think too long and hard about the question, they might close Comments on you!  (Maybe that’s one of the MSM’s problems!!)  So here’s what I was gonna say (and maybe more):

  • Simple paper ballots, hand-completed in ink (X, check, or circle; no dots to fill in or chads), hand-counted in public at the polling place, no matter how long it takes (no matter what Wall Street or Fox News say), with protections against old-fashioned stuffing. Yes, LOW-TECH. It was good enough for the Founding Fathers….
  • Enough precincts for the population to have no more than a reasonable wait.
  • Non-partisan administration of elections. (And no “privatization” of THIS!)
  • Federal regulation of elections to Federal-related offices: Presidential and Vice-Presidential Electors, Senators, Representatives.
  • Right to Vote: no more “determined by the legislative authority of each state,” like when the 2000 Fla. GOP legislature threatened to throw out the vote and select GOP Electors themselves.
  • Total public financing of campaigns, no private or party or third-party (eg, Swiftboats) donations or money at all … with an amount of free ad time on TV, radio, satellite, and cable.
  • Automatic voter registration with citizenship / adulthood.
  • Regional Primaries.
  • Enforce truth-in-advertising standards, especially if now we’re paying for them!!!
  • Paid holiday, and/or mandatory paid time-off for those who can’t plan to take the whole day off.  No matter what employers say.
  • Simultaneous 24-hour polling nationwide, so as not to disenfranchise the West.
  • No re-election of President: only one term ever per person.
  • Make the presidential runner-up President of the Senate as effectively originally (just, no longer VP, since that has become an important part of the Prez’s Administration), with only a tie-breaking vote, but chairing Senate sessions, etc.
  • Require polling places to be able to accommodate all expected voters indoors in any way possible, in case of bad weather, even if they have to be tents in parks, rental trailers, commandeered big-box stores, supermarkets, malls, etc.
  • Electoral Votes for Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Am. Samoa, Guam, and Northern Marianas Islands — maybe one or two apiece. After all, they’re Americans too, and affected by Presidential decisions! (How about a voting Senator and Rep. apiece, too, and 2 Sens. for DC?)
  • No ballot initiatives at the same time as elections for President or Congress, effectively “federalizing” state and local issues (so much for States’ Rights!!); nevermind that I&R is unconstitutional in the first place, denying States “a republican form of government,” ie, representative democracy!
  • Warmer-weather elections and changes-of-government
  • Apparently it needs to be clarified that Federal Courts have NO role in election of a president or VP
  • Put teeth in the requirement that Prez and VP can’t be from the same state, by adding “in the last 4 years,” to avoid another Dick Cheney sham-move from Texas to Wyoming to be eligible
  • Lame-duck restrictions on abuse of powers, maybe for the final six months of his/her term, maybe unless consented by a supermajority of Congress or the Senate (“advice and consent”), or something

Biggest defeat of U.S. forces ever

…was at the hands of an American Indian confederation in the Midwest, the (original) Battle of the Wabash (River), near present Ft. Wayne, Indiana(!).  Seems the Revolutionary War didn’t end there with the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which amounted to little more than a ‘separate peace’ between His Majesty King George III on the one hand, and the United States of America on the other.  Hostilities continued between Old Northwest Natives and their Native allies on the one hand, former allies of The Crown, and illegally encroaching U.S. settlers on the other, unrestrained by the U.S. government (as usual).  What the Wikipedia article leaves out is that British forces took a few years to evacuate the Midwest, leading the Indians to believe they might rejoin the struggle – and to feel betrayed and abandoned by their Britannic ally when they didn’t.  In addition, the Lenape of this war were the first Native Nation the new U.S. had signed a Treaty with (ceding it most of central Pennsylvania), and had been promised a seat in the Continental Congress as well as a Lenape-led Indian state in what became instead the Settler state of Ohio.  (Cf. Delaware County, Ohio.)

Long story short, although the Paris Treaty transferred Britain’s claims over the Old Northwest to the U.S., the US still had to “treat with” the Native Nation-occupants before exploiting any part of the territory itself or on behalf of its Settler-people.  This the US failed to do.  In fact, President George Washington, other “Founding Fathers,” and many other settlers had long improperly speculated on land in the Ohio Country, back to the French and Indian War as a result of which its claims transferred from France to Britain … and Washington’s home-colony of Virginia (then including West Virginia) even long claimed Ohio as part of its territory.  King George had tried to put a stop to all this illegality with his Proclamation of 1763,* setting colonial boundaries at the top of the Appalachian Mountains and restricting settlement to the West, but was unable to police it in such a remote area against his own settlers.  Many Native Nations were acquainted with Britain’s Sovereigns and their ostensible rule over their settlers and colonies, and again, felt betrayed when the settlers got other ideas, with impunity.  Thus the colonists, especially their Planter elites (the future Founding Fathers), sowed the seeds of continuing conflict with Sovereign Indian Nations west of the Eastern Seaboard – just as many of their encroachments on the coast were also at first illegal, only justified by Treaty after the fact.  Is it any wonder that they were (are!) said to “speak with a forked tongue”?

(*–I can’t find a comprehensive online treatment of the Proc. of 1763, ie, that isn’t narrowly-focused on U.S. or Canadian interests.  However, there were and are many more Indian Reserves in eastern and central Canada — Ontario and eastward — than in the U.S. east of the Mississippi, in part because the British Crown continued to ‘honour’ this Proclamation somewhat, whereas the U.S. assimilated, denied, or “removed” west the overwhelming majority of its eastern Indians.  OTOH, Founder speculation and Settler western ambitions, along with Crown resistance to them and attempts to protect the legal rights and territories of the Natives sort-of under his protection, were a significant cause of the U.S. Revolution in the first place — a cause little-emphasized in standard U.S. histories and school systems.)

E-voting “malfunctions”?

When it happens repeatedly, is it a “malfunction,” or is it performing EXACTLY AS PROGRAMMED?!?!?!  The first law of computer programming: Garbage In, Garbage Out = GIGO.

Funny, I haven’t seen complaints of attempted votes for McSame being accidently recorded for Obama/Biden … just like in ’04!

Just because it seems to record a vote for Obama ONCE after many, many tries, does that guarantee that that vote will “stick,” or that it won’t happen to the next user, or a subsequent user, of that machine?  Modern science says a result must be repeatable … even computer science!  (Yes, I know it’s easy to forget computers are supposed to be actually scientific…!)

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….

5 GOP dirty tricks to keep Dems from voting

Watch out for these and many others.  Ignore them, even!

Report and Track Voting Problems

at Huffington Post, the NEW “most trusted name in news”!!!

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!”

McCain’s qualifications to be President

Those who have known him for up to half a century call him hot-headed and fear him having his finger on The Nuculer Button, including a fellow POW (you might have heard he was a Vietnam POW) and two GOP Senators.  He’s “abused everyone he’s dealt with,” according to another long colleague.  That same webpage quotes McCain himself saying he’s been conceited and embarrassed himself at times; while we appreciate the honesty, since we do know him, we have to wonder if it was ghost-written, and in any case, it offers no promise of an improvement in issues of war and peace, over the last 8 years.  Another Arizona politico says he holds grudges big time, even against (then-)relatively insignificant functionaries who cross him.  He even picks on women, threatens to hit them, reduces them to tears in public hearings, even relatives of fellow POW/MIAs.  But most disturbing to me is how, according to respected GOP Senate colleague Thad Cochran, he went into a foreign country and manhandled one of its officials in front of armed guards – totally out of control.  I’ll take the liberty not to name my source for this version of this well-known account because it could be prejudicial, but it’s certainly public and easily available:

In January of 2008, Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi had this to say about McCain:

The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine.  He’s erratic.  He’s hotheaded.  He loses his temper and he worries me.

A chill down the spine?  You have to understand that Cochran is considered to be a soft-spoken southern gentleman and is not prone to hyperbole in the Senate.  When he made this comment, people knew he would not be saying it unless he meant it.

Cochran also told a reporter about the time he remembered being with McCain on a diplomatic mission to Nicaragua.  They were sitting at a table with the president of Nicaragua and suddenly McCain reached across the table, grabbed a government official by his collar and lifted him out of his chair:

I don’t know what he was telling him but I thought, good grief, everybody around here has got guns and we were there on a diplomatic mission.  I don’t know what had happened to provoke John but he obviously got mad at the guy and he just reached over there and snatched him.

{BTW, that president is once again President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, though now more pro-business.  I can’t determine when this incident is alleged to have taken place; presumably no later than 1990, when the Sandinistas fell from power, and McCain was 54.  Henry Hyde’s homewrecking affair, what he called his “youthful indiscretion,” ran from ages 41 to 45.  Was McCain’s assaulting a foreign official also a “youthful indiscretion”?!!  So much for his so-called foreign policy experience….}

…I wonder now what they are going to do to New Hampshire’s former Republican Senator Bob Smith to get him to retract this comment from April of 2008:

His [McCain’s] temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger.  In my mind, it should disqualify him.

Smith added:

I’ve witnessed a lot of his temper and outbursts.  For me, some of this stuff is relevant.  It raises questions about stability….  It’s more than just temper.  It’s this need of his to show you that he’s above you — a sneering, condescending attitude.

{Sounds like Cheney!  Yikes!}

He called Cindy a trollop and a c— in front of staffers and reporters.  Apparently he admits his tantrums go back to infancy; he never grew out them. 

Speaking of the current Mrs. McCain, her father, whose fortune she seems to have access to already, is said to have ties to Organized Crime, just like the Bushes, only more recently.  And it appears that either Cindy is ‘wearing the pants’ in that couple, or sheltering the vast majority of their wealth behind records she has sworn she will never let us see, for reasons at which we can only speculate.

By his own admission he doesn’t ‘do’ economics; poor timing, since we’re in a bad Recession just now!

McCain’s ties to extremists and other unsavory characters.  Jeremiah Wright is just a Black Liberation Theologian — if you were Black you might be pissed too; and Ayers is “a washed-up ex-terrorist.”  McCain’s buddies are present-tense, White, and powerful!

Which McCain are we voting for anyway, or which one will we get, the supposed maverick, or the Bushie hack?

He has an inordinate number of “senior moments,” raising questions about his lucidity, sanity, memory, good faith, etc.  I’ve read he’s shown 6 of the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease already.  And as reported here:

Gerontologists and retirement planners have learned that aging brains compensate for cognitive decline by relying on templates of familiar knowledge more than problem solving. That’s usually a good thing, but neuroscientists have also found that memory loss can lead people to substitute incorrect information. This phenomenon, called confabulation, rather than being random, often takes the form of untrue “facts” that make them feel better — giving them what scientists have called “the pleasantness of false beliefs.” So are McCain’s stumbles simply misstatements, or evidence of a mind filling in blanks with wish fulfillment? Well, we really have no idea. But neither does McCain: His aides told reporters in May that he has had no mental evaluations in the past eight years.

And according to a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder doctor also cited there (typos in original):

Sen McCain’s life history indicates that his brain is at greater than average risk of dysfunction and impairment in the following areas:

  • capacity to learn, recall, and reason with complex new information
  • judgement and impulse control
  • capacity to devote sustained attention.

Sen McCain – like all victims of trauma and torture – is entitled to absolute privacy regardiing his personal medical history. We as American citizens, however, are entitled to all possible information about the men and women who choose to ask act us to select them as president.

At the very least, Sen McCain’s history raises many questions about the presence of objectively determinable disruption in neuropsychiatric function. He and his camapign have been forthcoming with his medical records in the past; his brain history strongly suggests that obtaining and releasing the results of current neuropsychiatric testing, imaging studies (perhaps including functional MRI and or auditory evoked potential findings) and other relevant assessments would be required in order to conclude that Sen McCain would bring to the Oval Office a brain functioning sufficiently well to serve as the second President of the 21st Century.

He has a greater than 1 in 3 chance of being dead in two years as a result of having had Stage IIa melanoma, one of his four cancers, in combination with his age (72).  Sorry to say it, but a vote for McCain may be a vote for a President Sarah PalinReally “Not ready to lead,” to coin a phrase.  She even already thinks highly enough of herself to address someone on the phone she thinks is French President Nicolas Sarkozy as “Nico”?: How many fake hockey moms do you know on a nickname basis with a foreign head of state?!!  She’s not salt of the earth, she’s epsom salt: softening us up, and corrosive!  In any case, the Palin nomination was McCain’s first “Presidential” decision; not a good sign.  There are many better-qualified Republicans he could’ve selected, even with broader appeal, even connectable with the Religious Right like she is, but he didn’t.  Too bad for America, win or lose.  This ticket has already lowered the bar even further than W did, and that won’t be good for American politics or elections or governance.

Why would a good Catholic vote Democratic?

(Aside from the candidates’ personal qualifications to do their jobs, that is.)

Abortion shocks the well-formed conscience, especially when it’s not necessary to literally save the woman’s life.  Also, I never knowingly met a Gay person until I left the Catholic Church in the early ’90s.  And I’m a virgin, but I still feel a little weird about birth control, and sex ed in public schools.  And yes, I’m concerned about Islam’s progress in Europe and North America, when they don’t seem able to rein-in their radicals enough to prevent something as heinous as 9/11, the East Africa embassy bombings, the Cole bombing, 7/7, or Madrid.

Catholic radio is telling you to vote Republican for one, more, or all of the above reasons, or more, though they’re really not allowed to endorse candidates or parties.  Some or all U.S. Catholic Bishops are pronouncing abortion a transcendent issue.  Now, I’m a Catholic-trained ethicist.  I studied 5 years for the priesthood and religious life.  I attended 11 years of parochial school (Balto. Catechism questions and answers!), 4 of Catholic high school, 4 of Catholic college, and 2 of Catholic graduate school.  I don’t have a Ph.D., but I respectfully disagree with the idea of abortion as transcendent political issue.  Fr. Frank Pavone’s (of Priests for Life) logic that without “life” no other issue matters, is an emotional slogan, not a philosophical or theological or moral argument.  As such, it does a disservice to the Catholic tradition of moral theological reasoning.

I submit that the Global Warming Cataclysm and the restoration of (small-D) democratic, constitutional, law-respecting, internationally-cooperative government to the United States, are the two most important issues in this campaign, not only for Americans but literally the entire world, more than 6 billion people, exponentially more than are affected by the “conservative Catholic” issues.

Global Warming is expected to create at least a billion refugees by mid-century, and many will die of GW-related disease, hunger, thirst, war, and instability.  Some scientists believe it may transform much of the surface of the Earth, in bad ways.  And if my cumulative analysis is correct, by 2200 we will lose one-third to two-thirds of humanity because of the Global Warming Cataclysm and other parts of the coming “Perfect Storm”: Peak Oil, Third-World ‘dirty’ industrialization, the spread of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles and asthma and allergies, and the (temporarily) declining planetary magnetic field with rising cancer rates from reduced solar shielding.  To be honest, neither major party is positively addressing these latter issues yet.  And the Republicans have been at the beck and call of Big Oil for 8 years — Bush and Cheney are oilmen, talk about the fox in charge of the henhouse — and have dropped the ball even on the Global Warming Cataclysm, whereas the Democrats say they’ll start trying to work to lessen and counteract its effects, the most compassionate, realistic plan available.

Linked to this is the restoration of respect for law and international aid and cooperation to the U.S. government.  What Washington does or fails to do – politically, economically, militarily, culturally – affects the entire world like no other single country.  We are today’s Rome, for good or for ill … the world’s sole hyperpower.

In the U.S. about a million abortions take place each year.  Even if each involves a father, mother, doctor, nurse, etc., that’s still a few million, against 6 billion plus, and tens of millions of lives if not more; plus, the Global Warming Cataclysm’s effects have been building since the dawn of industrialization in 1750, and will continue building even after we start doing something about them, so the longer we wait, the worse it will be, especially for the world’s weakest and poorest.

OTOH, what have the Republicans really done about abortion anyway, besides use it to raise funds and votes – “red meat for the base”?  There appears little to gain even on the abortion front by voting Republican, whereas Democrats for Life is gaining traction within their party by proposing to prevent most abortions performed in this country by working to remove their social causes: The 95-10 Initiative.

So I conclude that morally a Catholic should vote Democratic, and support Democrats for Life.

Not to mention the Democratic stands on all the other Catholic Social Teachings of the last century or more!

Welfare accountability

Why do Republicans think there’s no accountability on Welfare, Assistance, etc.?  How many of them have ever been on it??  Since 2000 I’ve been on General Assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and SSI/Disability (not all at the same time), and been turned down for Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability.  I’d also worked for a couple years helping other people try to get help from various governments and other agencies, so I knew what I was doing.  The questions they ask, the re-asking every few months to a year, the unreasonable rejections, the unhearing appeals….  Haven’t they even heard of the Intrusive Social Worker? — it’s so common it’s a stereotype!!!  There are few secrets, and little dignity left when you’re done.

I think this may be an example of something Ronald Reagan kicked into high gear, Government-by-Anecdote.  Sure, a few people game the system, and DA’s like to trot out the accused Welfare Queens with three Rolls Royces and such.  But probably government loses more money each year from rich folks and businesses gaming the system than people on various forms of Assistance!  Welfare Cheats vs. Tax Cheats?  You do the math!

When politicians or their surrogates trot out negative examples, suspect that there’s an agenda, and deception, going on.  Ask for total numbers, credible statistics, before collectively punishing all of us for the relatively-insignificant sins of the few.

Nader ad

Yes, I heard a Ralph Nader presidential campaign ad on the radio in the middle of the night the other night.  First one I ever heard in all his years of running.  How deluded must he be to still be saying, after the last eight years, that there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats in Washington???  What does Nader really stand for when all’s said and done?  Certainly not the environment or consumer protection, not workplace safety or civil rights, not even the automotive safety he cut his teeth on all those years ago, because all these have backslid since W. stole the 2000 election with Nader’s help.

Yup, yup, America’s done just swell under Bush/Nader these last 8 years!

Ralph, you belong with us liberal Democrats.  Please!

McCain on Obama’s 30-minute commercial

Getting caught-up here, but if McCain can’t even tell the truth about the timing of the World Series — it WAS NOT affected by Obama’s commercial, as any regular viewer of baseball on Fox TV could have told him  —  and if McCain can’t accept the “market forces” or “free enterprise” that allowed Obama to air it, McCain is clearly not ready for prime time … just Leno and Saturday Night Live, real “celebrity” that he is!!!  Apparently market forces and free enterprise are only for SOME Americans, not all of us: rich, White, Republican, conservative, corporatist, anti-constitutionalist, above-the-law, etc. etc. etc.

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.

NONPARTISAN “ELECTION PROTECTION COALITION” NATIONAL HOTLINE

2006 e-voting election theft even bigger than 2004?!

Exit Poll plan

All networks’ “experts” locked up together all day Tuesday, no leaksI smell a coverup.  Collusion.  Probably in favor of the Republicans who sign their paychecks.  They sound more concerned about their own embarassment than about the shredding of the Constitution and of the Rule of Law.  But no, millions of us ‘just misunderstood, didn’t know’ in 2000 and ’04, we’re all just ‘too dumb.’  Well, we’re not too dumb to know when the wool is being pulled over our eyes; when formally published, supposedly complete exit poll data change before our eyes.

Why only one exit poll, anyway?  This is like the lazy science we’re also increasingly subjected to, where one experiment is considered proof of something new.  Every experiment should be duplicated before publication — isn’t that what they told us in elementary school? — and every poll should be too, preferably by someone else.

Increasingly in this country, voting becomes a ‘religious’ act: we do the right thing even if it might not have any effect in this space and time, simply because it’s right, even if McCain eerily predicts a ‘miraculous’ comeback, like W. swearing Jeb promised him Florida in ’00, and Mr. E-voting pledging to deliver him Ohio in ’04.

So get ready for every excuse in the book: imperfect election systems, imperfect voting devices, lost ballots, imperfect ballots, not enough voting devices, lying Whites, cheating Blacks and Hispanics and Democrats and liberals, massive last-minute shifts in opinion, Republican judges and Justices, elite losers’ “civil right to a presumption of victory,” imperfect vote-counting devices, illiterate Democrats, analysts’ stupidity, yada yada yada.

But do the right thing anyway.  Even if McCain and the Repugs steal it again, “God who sees in secret will reward you.”  And He will not let us suffer all the way until He returns again in Glory….  “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Maybe it’d be better if we had a warm-weather change of government, rather than in the dead of winter, November-January, when people are less apt to come out and protest a coup d’etat in Washington and most of the rest of the country….  Elections just before Memorial Day, Inauguration Columbus Day weekend perhaps, also leaving more time, enough time to make sure the election was done right?

For change, vote for the Same?!

Nobody’s really said it better than the comic strip Non Sequitur a month ago….

They’re even politicizing Halloween!

Is this what we have to look forward to in a Bush/McCain/Palin America???  Punishing babes for their parents’ freely-chosen, legal (for now!) views and votes and associations?  Good thing Jesus isn’t so picky!

Of course, her use of the word handouts underlines who she thinks deserves them: not those who need them, but only those who don’t, like herself and other rich folks and Big Business: wealthfare not welfare.

In reality, her denial also to “liars and tricksters” would rule out her own candidates, McCain and Palin, too!!!

Just like they’ve politicized the public airwaves, “fair and balanced” journalism, even Christianity as a religion.  Then they complain about “the tone in Washington” … the tone they instilled there!!!  (In reality, “democratic” republics do tend to politicize everything; nothing is sacred, everything’s a political football, nothing is presumed — except militarism.)

The American people really should turf this party or sect for a whole generation, like the Israelites in the desert who weren’t allowed to see the Promised Land after worshipping the Golden Calf.  This all-consuming partisanship isn’t politics at all, it’s not give-and-take for the Common Good, it’s just corruption.

As for “Trick or Treat,” the traditional penalty for not treating the kiddies used to be having your property or car TP’ed, egged, vandalized, etc.  There’s a “traditional value” that maybe should be brought back, at least in this one case!!!  Seriously, it arguably constituted community regulation of undesirable behavior, community promotion of generosity and not being so tight-fisted or close-minded or un-neighborly.  Of course, with today’s corrupt, egotistical individualism, we’re not allowed to do things like that anymore, neither from the left nor the right.  Mixed blessing, eh?!

As for her putting GOP campaign flyers in kids’ treats (isn’t that redundant, since she only wants to preach to the choir?), I’d no more want them in my kids’ bags than (literal) poison or razor blades or needles: I consider Republican propaganda these days to be that dangerous and unhealthy, especially to the young.  I wouldn’t want my kids’ brains polluted with such filth and selfishness and heresy!

Why don’t they just go back to protesting the existence of Halloween at all, like good Fundamentalists!  LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE!!!!!