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.)

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….

A corporation has no opinions or endorsements.

Only the people behind it do, especially the powerful and rich ones.  They have every right as individual “natural,” God-made “persons” that you and I have … even more since they are rich and powerful, if you know what I mean.  I struggle not to begrudge them that, after all, the Lord said, The rich you will always have with you … sort of.  It has ever been so; nothing new under the sun.

So why do they need to increase that influence of theirs exponentially by means of the money their customers entrust to them in good faith while making, in most cases, apolitical “consumer” purchases?  Why indeed?

And why, with extra privileges and “rights” that We The People have supposedly freely and graciously, Sovereignly bestowed upon them?  Why indeed?  What are they up to, and why should we “trust” them?

Why do they always want more, and more, and more?  Fool us once, shame on you.  Fool us twenty times … shame on us.

ADA doomed?

Will New Corporate America — The Second American Republic, if you will — chuck the Americans With Disabilities Act?

After all, look how expensive we are!  Do we spend enough to be worth it?

Hell, they could take away Disability assistance / benefits, and basically put us out on the street and/or kill us!

GOP Big Lies

“The Obama economic fix isn’t working.”

Right.  That’s why we’re not in the freefall the Republicans got us into and left us in / we threw their asses out over, which we were in until this plan kicked in.  Coincidence?  The economy is a somewhat complex machine (like a corporation, it’s not a person).  At the very least, it didn’t make things worse.  It didn’t create jobs?  You want corrupt (Republican) no-show “created jobs,” or somewhat ethical, legal government contracts that are focused, as they usually are, on accomplishing tasks, not creating jobs per se.  They clearly SAVED JOBS.  Did the President overstate or oversimplify?  Yeah, he does that; I wish he wouldn’t.  But same difference.

“Healthcare reform is about a government takeover.”

That’s why all anybody in Washington, Democrat or Repug, is talking about is money, money, money, no takeover.  *I* want a takeover, just like civilized nations have, like the UK and NOT Canada.  But on this I’m to the Left of the centrist Demos who mathematically should be in charge at this time by virtue of (unstolen) election.

How would I do a takeover?  Wellll…  Since corporations are creatures of the State [Hey, “Statist”! Real conservatives would strike out on their own without the legal figleaf of incorporation, like their pioneer ancestors on the Frontier! Oh, that’s right, they stole that too….] created for some Public Good, I assert there’s no such thing really as “corporate property,” they’re just holding it in stewardship for the Chartering Sovereign, ie, the State in most cases in the U.S.  When the Public Good for which they were Chartered has been accomplished, or set on basically autopilot … OR they’ve turned the law on its head for their own enrichment and the project needs to be terminated or taken in hand … the State yanks their Charter, dissolves them or gives them to better stewards, or takes it over itself.  I figure between the bloodsucking, opportunistic, profiteering health insurance companies and HMOs … overcharging providers … mercenary, “ask your doctor” Big Pharma … vicious or spineless politicians … and even under-reimbursed good Medicare/Medicaid providers …  “politically” active / bribing Corporations all (or most) … (Have I forgotten anybody?) … I think I’m on good grounds here, don’t you?  Anyway, it’s cheaper than having to buy back our own Corporations from the people we Chartered only to have them leech from  us “for the Public Good.”  As a greater Mind than I said once, “They already have their reward.”

Otherwise, I can’t find out how the Brits actually engineered it after WW2 — eminent domain, purchase, dissolution?  But what’s wrong with socialized medicine, alongside

  • socialized police and fire protection,
  • socialized water and sewer,
  • socialized trash and garbage collection,
  • socialized primary and secondary education,
  • socialized electricity,
  • socialized roads and highways and bridges,
  • socialized national defense!,
  • socialized money (Oh, actually that’s privatized: See what a great job they’re doing with it?),
  • socialized Corporate Welfare/Wealthfare,
  • socialized farm subsidies,
  • socialized homesteading (Stolen: see above),
  • socialized airports,
  • socialized trade promotion,
  • socialized ports,
  • socialized Corporate industrial waste cleanup,
  • socialized diplomacy (sometimes),
  • socialized union-busting,
  • socialized religion and charity subsidies,
  • socialized technology subsidies (to get us caught-up with Europe and Japan!),
  • socialized tax loophole subsidies (Oh yes, there’s wealth redistribution … upward, not downward!),
  • socialized road signs,
  • substantially-socialized higher education (State universities, ROTC, CIA, etc.),
  • socialized parks and recreation centers,
  • socialized stadiums (and subsidized pro sports teams / Wealthfare),
  • socialized imperialism and war,
  • socialized Protestant evangelism (of American Indians and Alaska Natives, well into the 1900s) and catechesis (of public school children, also well into the 1900s),
  • etc etc etc.

So what’s so offensive about health care?

Massachusetts “Upset”?

Did the Repugs steal Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat?  Why are the MSM calling their win an “upset,” after telling us 24/7 right before it how it was a tossup?  Election fraud investigators say if there’s an otherwise inexplicable spike in polling numbers in the final days before an election, something fishy may be going on.

Maybe the Senate needs to investigate before letting the Democratic substitute go and seating the GOP “winner.”  Or even pull one from the Repugs’ playbook and just seat Coakley like they did in their own favor in the House a couple years ago.  But after 8 years of Republican shenanigans, Obama, Coakley, et al. still practically fell over themselves to declare defeat — very strange.  If this is “socialism,” basically it’s the kind where there’s just one party, or token opposition, and the one party governs even when it’s not technically in office … and pours taxpayers’ money into corporations, fixes elections under sham democracy, etc etc etc.

Terror, Health care

How long have we been running from (alleged) terrorists and lacking healthcare?:

THE QUESTION IS MOOT!

(For the blogger’s actual video, go here though.)

PS: Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ puffy shirt and hair there in 1984!  It’s eerie how young she sounds, though.  And God be good to Gilda…

Socialism

If it were socialism, its critics would be unheard from, in jail, in Siberia, under heavy sedation or other psychiatric drugs… or dead.

How soon we forget.

Spontaneous Joe Wilson

I doubt it.  Why was a camera trained on him at just the right moment to capture him pointing and yelling?  Members of Congress received advance copies of President Obama’s address to last week’s Joint Session.  Wilson probably tipped-off someone in the media about his planned “outburst.”  Such cynicism and manipulation rules us today….

When they attack Obama, they attack America.

That’s right.  One has the right to disagree with healthcare reform, though it seems irrational to me to do so.  But to fundamentally question Obama’s Presidency is to seek to overturn the 2008 Election just because they disagree with the outcome.  That’s sour grapes, breaking the rules of majoritarian democracy.  Has he succeeded in doing anything he didn’t “promise” to do in getting elected?  Arguably he has gone back on several promises already.  In any case, it’s too soon, 8 months into a new Administration, lacking High Crimes and Misdeeds (not that they ever get prosecuted anyway … only sex).  These attacks are driven by something less political than anti-constitutional, anti-democratic, racist, deceptive (fake “grassroots” incited, recruited, planned, and bankrolled by Big Business, Big Lobbyists, etc.), libelous (probably actionable), etc.  Unlike 2000 and 2004, there are no serious accusations that Barack Obama was not the choice of both a majority of the voters or intended voters last Election Day, and of the Electoral College.  Attacking his very being President, then, without grounds as I have said, is attacking America, democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law, the voting majorities of Nov. 4.

Just like they did with President Clinton.

That’s right: They now believe no Democratic Party member can ever ‘legitimately’ be President.  They persecuted Clinton, they kept out elected Presidents Gore and Kerry, and it seems they will persecute Obama.

Just so we’re clear what’s going on here.

And when they openly bring guns to political rallies and public meetings, they mean to threaten democracy itself.

THAT is Fascism.

BUSH-SPY-GATE

Bush crimes have continued under the nose of America and Obama?  Everyone responsible, in both Administrations, should be locked up for life, no parole, for threatening the country, our safety, and the rule of law.

It’s not “revenge,” it’s criminal justice.

Recession Advice: Stay Home

As seen on KABC-TV Los Angeles previously, and on ABC News tonight probably courtesy of the NY Times Wednesday, now is not the best time to relocate if you don’t absolutely have to, unless you have money to burn, or if price is no object of course….

When I was a reporter in the suburbs and exurbs of one of this country’s major cities in the ’80s, “homeless hotels” and mega taxicab fares to jobs closer-in to that city were being picked up by some local Public Housing Authorities, but I don’t hear or read that in this week’s stories.  Were Bush/Cheney really worse for the needy — of whatever supposed “class” — than Reagan/Bush?!  Persons more in-touch with recent homelessness and hunger stats than I, might know.  Maybe it’s just the combined onslaught of the whole last 28 years (DLC/Clinton included).  I guess our REAL long national nightmare isn’t quite over yet….

New Repug boss wants to be “Hip-Hop” Mussolini

I swear!  “Make the trains run on time“?!!!  “One-armed midgets”?!!  “Off the hook”: Does that mean he won’t answer his phone?  We can only hope….

Of course, the Republican Party isn’t “in the crapper.”  They just feel like they are because they don’t have (obvious) absolute power for the moment, like they have for most of the last 28 years.  But that’s true not because of “PR” or a dearth of young, Hispanic, or Black “messengers” in Virginia and North Carolina, but because they put THIS COUNTRY, INDEED, THE WORLD, IN THE CRAPPER, INCLUDING YOUNG PEOPLE, HISPANICS, BLACKS, NATIVE AMERICANS, WOMEN, AND EVERYBODY ELSE, INCLUDING THEMSELVES!!!  (Ever hear of cutting off your nose to spite your face?)

To think it’s PR, that substance doesn’t matter, is the ultimate in self-serving cynicism.  It’s kind of like Big Tobacco getting us hooked all those years they knew they were killing us.  Or Big Energy “putting lipstick on a pig,” pretending to be “green” — Please, “Clean Coal”?!!!  Hitler* had Goebbels and Riefenstahl, PR geniuses, “hip” messages and state of the art, and even held on for a while; but win or lose, they were equally wrong.

They’re gonna do “beyond cutting edge”?  That worries me, after a decade of stolen elections, stolen airwaves, stolen bookstore shelves, stolen bandwidth, stolen cable TV space, stolen newspapers, hijacked websites and campaigns, lies, racism, sexism, pseudo-religious bigotry, lock-step churches, wedge pseudo-issues, government funding of “conservative” religion, corruption we haven’t even begun to investigate and prosecute and fine and jail, one or maybe even two fake wars with real casualties, etc etc etc.  If we thought we could rest a little after 12:01pm EST Jan. 20, we may have been sorely mistaken.  Like the man said, I guess democracy and justice really do demand eternal vigilance.

Maybe the GOP picked this loon because his last name sounds like steal….

This new ad campaign is gonna look like that tokenist national convention they had in 2004, where just about the only People of Color were on-stage in front of the cameras.  “Hip-hop” Repugs, can you imagine?!  They won’t touch us.  Now, if they cared about more than just the votes of youth, Blacks, and Hispanics, etc., we might be seriously worried.  But all they really want to do is make their next big stolen election look credible where folks don’t typically vote GOP — that’s what really concerns me.

(*–Don’t blame me, he started it by quoting Mussolini!)

ROUNDUP: Fitzmas II et cetera

Remember Fitzmas carols?!  They’re singing U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s praises again for accusing Rod Blagojevich – remember, innocent till proved guilty, and it’s possible not all us Eastern Orthodox Christians are saints (yet!) – but let’s remember all we got out of him in the Plamegate Treason case was a token conviction of Scooter Libby who took the fall for probably Cheney and many other scum, then walked unconstitutionally.  I have a feeling Blago’s right, and we haven’t seen the end of this, and there’s more to be revealed.  Meanwhile let’s get the Bu’ushists on their way out the West Wing, so they don’t get away with all their High Crimes, and nobody else in the future thinks they will either….

Did you hear about the White Racist vigilantes during Katrina in New Orleans killing poor Blacks escaping the flooding Lower Ninth Ward while cops batted an eye?  Me neither.  (Yeah, OK, it’s Katrina vanden Heuvel from The Nation….)  Sign the petition.

Did you hear Orthodox, former Evangelical bigwig, Frank Schaeffer sounding almost like a progressive conservative?!!!  (What those he calls “conservatives” and “progressives” have in common is Classical Liberalism, as he articulately characterizes without using the term.)  Alright, a pissed one, who forgot in that particular article to take some of the blame himself for driving the Religious Wrong all these years.  (That may be in his new autobiography, thankfully.)  He owes most of us a big honkin’ apology, quite frankly (no pun intended).  But, hell, welcome aboard, Franky, the water’s warm!  Besides, you’re my brother in Christ now, so I have to forgive you.  Do any of us get to retract our mistakes (or any do-overs, to use W’s typically-childish boxball analogy)?

Cheney: If President does something during war, it’s legal.  “Go F*@# yourself,” “Dick”!  Or let your cellmate do that for ya….

Finally, for something completely different(?), “Ten Ways to Make Your Kids More Likeable (and Yourself Too)” or something like that.  Happy Solstice!

Bush-Cheney-Powell Treason?

Isn’t lying your country into at least one war a fundamental undermining of its military position akin to treason?  Especially if those same parties are claiming we have millions of “enemies” all over the world to be worried about?

I quote Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution of 1787:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

Certainly no bigger aid or comfort can be given to our alleged enemies, Muslim terrorists, than to divert half our armed forces from the “Global War on Terror,” to what Bush and others have admitted was a war of choice (ie, aggression) against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his government and political party, leaving us fighting the GWOT with one hand tied behind our back.

And we are all witnesses.

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….

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….

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….

Bush interferes in Ohio voter case, flouts his own Supreme Court

Is this unprecedented?!!  Even the corrupt Supremes threw the case out unanimously, ie, even the Republican ones, yet the Bushies aren’t taking No for an answer.  Is this a case of “How many legions has the Supreme Court”?  Will they have to send over a unit of U.S. Marshals to inhibit the White House from abetting the theft of this election?  Take command of the Secret Service?  Do they have the stones?!

Undercounting Obama survey support?

So suggests this article.  But watch the GOP scream “voter fraud” if it happens!

Liberals for States’ Rights!

Yes, it’s true!

MY reason is I’m tired of the W. abuses of power and neutered or compromised Congresses’ lax oversight, and compromised Republican courts.

The dirty little secret is that usually the party out of power Federally favors States’ Rights where they ARE in power, or hope to use to regain power, and opposed by the party IN power Federally that wants to impose its will nationally, and finds it easier to do so through one government than 50, 51, or 52!  They don’t always use the language of States’ Rights, though.  Because the phrase has been tainted by racists, slaveholders, and Confederates, I prefer State Sovereignty — an absolute value under the current Constitution.

I’ve admired the late Marc Chaitlin, but he underestimated the need for State Sovereignty.  Suffice to say he passed away during W.’s first 100 days.  It’s possible to see our States today as Chaitlin’s mere “state-like provinces,” and as theologian Stanley Hauerwas might say, there’s no denying the descriptive power of that statement.  But we need to restore States’ dignity as a hedge against Federal dictatorship like we’ve experienced now, or worse in the future.  Certainly not to roll back true progressive improvements in America, or give greater power to reactionary elements among State and local politicians … indeed, to protect or restore those improvements, and make them even better!  Actually I think most Americans today think of States as little more than provinces, pointless holdovers from somewhere around the Middle Ages, with non-understood differences in drinking or driving laws, court systems, governmental structures, tax structures, practices — Patriots’ Day?  Freeholders?  I&R?  California Emission?  But all this proves is the need to fix Civics classes, and educate pundits and journalists also.  (While we’re at it, let’s teach about the legal status of Native American Tribes, and their rights and Reservations / Villages also.)

NATO expansion, Polish Missiles, bad ideas

  1. Must we crowd Russia, the largest country in the world, still a “nuculer” power, with Westerners still trying to control it and take advantage of it just like in the 17-1800s?  At least during the Cold War the West was considered to be counterbalanced by the Communist world….
  2. Remember high school history?  It’s a commonplace that one of the things that made World War 1 possible was that day’s military alliances, almost like the war, or the size it became, was an accident.  The alliances were too cute by half, as we Irish say.  Today, will expanding NATO eastward entangle the West in the petty ethnic nationalisms of Russia and its neighbors, like Georgia and Ukraine and the Baltics?  Will we end up with WW3 yet?!!!

I’m Orthodox Christian and demand America get over its Eastern-European blindspot.  Remember that Orthodox Christians, Eastern Catholics, even eastern Latin Catholics, Muslims, etc., never had a Reformation or Enlightenment, and Modernity was forced on them by Communism (from the West, if you remember!).  Rightly or wrongly, ethnicity or tribe or blood or nation (in the old sense) or father- / motherland, even religion, still mean to them what they meant to the West many generations ago.

I’m not saying to let Russia have its way with its neighbors carte blanche, nor vice-versa.  But it’s incredibly provocative and foolhardy to tie ourselves to troubles there by Treaty, “the highest law of the land.”  It’s bad enough we have Presidents who go to war without a State of War declared by the lawful authority, Congress.  But in NATO “an attack against one is an attack against all / us”!!!  (Though it’s laughable that WE are the only power to ever activate the North Atlantic Treaty, after 9/11, when we weren’t even attacked by a country.  What are we, Luxembourg?)  Our first national interest is peace and security; this is increasingly not being served by our post-Cold-War policies.  Unless our real “interest” is Russian conquest and Liberalization and Protestantization, Americanization, Westernization, corporatization, Snickerizatsiya.

We need to respect Russia.  We need to return to diplomacy, public but also discreet.  (Not just “expecting” and shaming and pushing leaders around publicly.)  We need competent, non-ideological experts and advisers about parts of the world we’re unfamiliar with … including a depoliticized Intelligence function – “independent,” like the independent judiciary – taken seriously and not just used for partisan, ideological, or corporate purposes.  (How about an semi-independent Intelligence Czar like the independent Comptroller General / GAO?)  We need Congressional equality, assertiveness, oversight, and expertise.  We need to stop insisting that other countries or civilizations or religions become just like us / ours; we need to accept difference in others.*  Pluralism, what a concept!

Anyway, who agreed to turn a military alliance into one pushing certain forms of government or economics or religion, or a World Police Force (ie, European / American Police Force!)???

(*–Ironically, the Bible itself and scholars say the sin of Sodom wasn’t homosexuality, but the gang-rape of strangers, like the angels in the Genesis account: “rape as public policy” as I heard one scholar call it.  Supposedly the idea was to make the unfamiliar visitor ‘familiar’ and ‘like us.’  Bush “sodomizes” Putin, Kim Jong Il, Saddam, Ahmadinejad…!)

GOP borrow-and-spend, engineered fiscal crises

The Republicans like to run against Democrats by calling us “tax-and-spend liberals.”  They also pretend to fiscal restraint and conservatism, competence and responsibility, supposedly in contrast to us.  What’s become clearer to more and more Americans in the last 28 years is just how untrue this all is.

Anybody who gets into power in government has political or financial ‘debts’ to pay, support to buy, punishment to mete out, interests of their own to pursue, maybe even once in a while sincere attempts to do the right thing.  We Democrats are supposedly averse to cutting programs – for the rich as well as for the poor – because we’re softies, or usually feel sensitive to cross-aisle criticism with an eye on re-election.  In fact Democrats in Congress are frequently brutalized into cutting programs for the poor, rarely for the rich.  But when we want to do more, we’re generally honest about the cost, and try to “pay as you go.”  It’s cheaper that way: no years of interest piling up.  But it’s politically costly unless it’s a ‘home run,’ and national Democrats haven’t hit many of those since the ’60s and ’70s.

Republicans, OTOH, have figured out a neat way to spend what they want.  They borrow the money, cynically put the government, ie, you and me, into debt to finance their grand schemes usually for the rich and business, stockholders I mean – certainly not workers who do the work!  This may be called BORROW-AND-SPEND.  It ingeniously separates the issue of the proposal from the issue of paying for it, by years.  And their beneficiaries are very grateful, and show it.  Doubt me?  Reagan was a master at it; the fact that Clinton left office with a huge surplus was little short of a miracle.  But just as fast, W. and Co. have put us back into a deep hole with no bottom in sight.

But surely the chickens come home to roost eventually, you say?  So much the better from the Republican perspective.  Fiscal crisis makes it politically easier for them to get away with cutting help for the poor, needy, and workers; they’re definitely not softies.  Also, by the time crisis comes, all that accumulated debt is just a huge dollar sign, and they can make us forget what it was for.  “Certainly we have to pay our debts,” they say, and everybody agrees.  “But if we overtax the rich and businesses, they’ll leave us in the lurch.”*  And so our already-regressive tax system goes into a higher gear, hitting the poor and workers even more, while their rich, powerful friends remain grateful, and keep on showing it.  To add insult to injury, the GOP now gets an undeserved reputation for fiscal restraint and responsibility.  IT’S PURE POLITICS, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, BAIT-AND-SWITCH.  More recently, they “create facts on the ground,” getting us into wars that benefit mostly nobody but their contractor buddies; now it’s, “We can’t leave that country in a mess, can we?”

There’s a place for borrowing by government: needs such as capital construction or repair or purchase, or emergencies.  But Republicans borrow excessively, at least at the federal level.  In effect they SPEND-AND-TAX: They tax future generations!  That means interest on top of the initial (unworthy) cost.

This habit of theirs actually undermines two foundational principles of English/American democratic government: The people may not be taxed without the consent of their legislative representatives, aka, “Taxation without representation is tyranny**;” and, No legislature may bind a future legislatureDebt-abuse taxes future generations unnecessarily without their advance consent.  And it binds future legislatures to tax, to pay for this unnecessary debt.  Historically these principles are on a level with the Magna Carta, and ought to be considered more weightily than they have been in recent decades, especially by the GOP as it claims a “conservative” and “small government / anti-government” mantle … unless these too are just blowing smoke.

(*–What an undermining of our sovereignty!!  That’s treason!)

(**–Although there are certainly worse forms of tyranny!)

Arctic Indigenous in U.S., Russia, protest Alaska offshore oil prospect

U.S. caused Croatian ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Georgia war, Russian ’90s econ collapse, etc?

Also the Serb attacks on Albanian Muslims in Kosovo, and is provoking a ‘Polish Missile Crisis’?  According to Noam Chomsky here.  Even that the Georgia war was timed by the Bushies to help McCain show-off his (fake, like his maverick status) foreign policy expertise?

Meanwhile is Chomsky’s premonition of Russian forces in the Caribbean about to come true after all, via Chavez’ Venezuela, also Bushie-provoked?

And why is every little troublemaking country all of a sudden a U.S. “ally,” according to the Bushies and MSM?  The Defense Department informs me that America’s only official allies in all the world are the members of NATO: “The official allies of the United States can be found on the NATO website at http://www.nato.int/structur/index.html.”  No Georgia, no Israel, no Saudi Arabia, no Jordan, no Iraq, no Afghanistan, no Pakistan, no Ukraine, no Colombia, not even Japan or South Korea or Taiwan or Australia or New Zealand or Palau….

And does the Iran/Contra/October Surprise conspiracy/coverup continue at/above the highest levels of our Constitutional, official government, a generation later?!  Do they even explain the Sarah Palin nomination, and even the W. nomination and the Wall Street Mess and who knows what else???  (Two-part series at Counterpunch: Read the article linked from the linked article first, since Part I doesn’t link to Part II, only the other way around.)

OTS calls Wall Street’s fears “misplaced”

That’s the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision – which I didn’t know was still around after the ’80s S&L crisis cleanup – near the bottom of this AP piece.

New Bushie ‘Business Plot’: Take Bailout Money and Run

It looks like Democratic leaders in Congress, and the MSM, are prepared to let them, too.  Here’s the details, and here’s a little different perspective.

I believe that “no review” provision is unconstitutional.  It comes from arrogant “conservatives” who propose using Congress’ power to delineate Federal courts’ jurisdiction, to exclude altogether pet projects like anti-flag-burning, public school prayer, anti-abortion, anti-pornography, etc etc etc.  But that’s at best a misunderstanding, at worst a vile perversion, of the provision, otherwise Congress could just explicitly exclude ALL its laws from judicial review, and do whatever it wants, the Constitution be damned.  But this power has never been seriously interpreted this way by Congress or the Courts.  Every act of the legislative or executive branches has to be reviewable judicially, even if just to say “It’s a political matter” or “It’s a Constitutional Amendment” (which would be obvious of course), “they’re allowed.”  If Congress (and the White House) sought to exclude a new bill from review by existing courts, they would be required to establish a new court just for that bill (like FISA), or designate State courts or something.  We can’t have NO review!

And a dictatorship of the Treasury Secretary, who works for the President?  Please!  I don’t see these powers granted in the Constitution.  Congress spends money.

As for the artificiality of the current “crisis,” you just know these guys were sitting around one day saying to each other, “What’ll they do, let us go under, and take the economy with us?!!”  This may be the culmination of W.’s “planned train wreck,” to totally “discredit” government by ballooning the deficit (incl. erasing the Clinton / Democratic surplus!), instigating a reaction to “shrink government small enough to drown it in a bathtub.”  (Of course, it all started with the Revolution of the Colonial Ruling Elites against The Crown and legitimate traditional government….)  They scream about “handouts” to us who are needy, but demand this total governmental giveaway to predatory corporations and the rich?!!!  This is right up there with trying to abolish Habeas Corpus and spy on us without a warrant.  And for the Democrats to just roll over and play dead on this when they have the majority in Congress would be a mortal sin.  RED states may not be buying it, but will they take that outrage to the polls in November and thrash the GOP that brought it on them?

Again, I have to wonder how much of this “bailout” money will find its way into Repug campaign coffers, or perhaps the corporate paychecks of Bush officials if they leave office in January?

Just more Republican “borrow-and-spend” “voodoo economics”!!!

Bushies destabilizing Bolivian progressive government?

So it may seem.  Sign petition against it, and begin returning our country to the community of nations.

The Pentagon Channel

Good Classical Conservatives respect and honor servicemen and women who serve with honor, in spite of the politics around different wars and other military activities.  It goes back to Monarchies and service under the command of the Sovereign.

However, should The Pentagon Channel be available on U.S. territory?  The same law that forbade the Bushies from paying domestic journalists (and pseudo-journalists) and pundits for favorable coverage (for which they have not been prosecuted to my knowledge), also forbids them from directly broadcasting domestically (which is why we can’t listen over the air to Voice of America Radio, FWIU a classy, relatively-independent and professional source of U.S. and international news and cultural broadcasting).  The United States government is not permitted to disseminate propaganda internally, ie, to propagandize its own citizens.  The government as such is not allowed to attempt to influence internal political views one way or another (though politicians and officeholders of course are).  That would put government and taxpayer dollars flagrantly at the service of the party or persons in power.  Of course, so does the Congressional franking privilege, ie, free postage to constituents, usually maximized during reelection campaigns!  But theoretically that’s not its purpose.

Totally Without Class

Time was not too long ago when our political parties let each other have their weeklong TV commercial, er, party convention, to themselves.  But this minute-by-minute media-contesting of the Democrats’ ‘pre-convention VP Day’ today by the McSame / Rove / Swiftboat campaign is a new low in what had been a tradition of brief respite from all the partisan BS, our “quadrennial national civics lesson” — now down the toilet with the rest of the McCain offal.  So much for that “maverick” image.  He must be really running scared.  Today’s performance is totally without dignity or honor.  I’m torn between whether Obama / Biden should “go and do likewise,” or stick to the high road.  After all, it is apparently a way to get the “news” channels to air your instant ads for free nationwide and worldwide….

I have to add that CNN’s performance today is worthy of Fox News Channel, “loyally” getting all those McCain minute-by-minute retorts on the air.  I wonder if they’ll keep hammering at his “I don’t know how many homes I have”….  After all, he is the MSM darling….

BTW: So Biden once ran against Obama?  From what they’re saying, McSame may be about to nominate a mate who ran against *him.*  So let’s dredge that up too, OK guys?!!  That’s politics in a democracy: temporary rivals band together in party unity in the end: Our base isn’t thinking of bailing on the party in the fall, while theirs is.  It may be easy to forget during the last 8 years or more of non-democracy in America!  But we are a “democratic” party; the Republicans are a “religious” party.  We had a primary season; they had a traveling revival show, even with a bona fide preacher running!!!  Make your choice, America.  Just be sure and let everybody vote, and let every vote count, no matter race or party or class or liberal religion or no religion or sexual orientation or neighborhood or anything else.

And McCain “congratulating” Biden on the phone while at the same time releasing his classless ad?  Totally insincere and cynical.  %#@* him and the horse he rode in on!

About these insta-ads: Should we really be shown them before they air on paid TV?  Don’t we risk a fiasco like that ad one of the GOPs “unveiled” during the primaries, only to pull it the same day before it aired?  Are we newsmedia, journalists, or YouTube-on-the Air?!!!  Is it an ad, or just a campaign video?!!!  We don’t know yet!!!

For that matter, are they “journalists”?  Jour is French for day, as in daily.  French for moment is moment, oddly enough, so maybe they’re momentarists instead of journalists!  Does that really serve the public interest or the Common Good?  In some disaster, coup d’etat (like 2000 or ’04), or traffic jam, yes; otherwise, let’s stop and think a few hours once in a while….

(And no, I don’t speak French, I had to look it up.  I did take four years of Spanish, but  r e a l   s l o w  ! ! !   I catch about every fifth word on Spanish-language TV news!)

Do we really know McCain?

McCain is touting America’s familiarity with him over Obama.  I guess it’s the devil you know over the devil you don’t know?!!  If that’s the best he has against the Democratic nominee, this’ll be a slam dunk!

But seriously, does the McCain America knows really exist?  The “maverick” buddy of the Religious Right and Bush/Cheney?  The “maverick” beloved of the MSM who votes mostly with the Hard Right?

Who’s zoomin’ who, Senator?  America is having the wool pulled over its eyes, I think.

How to solve Israel’s Iran problem

Israeli leaders – in the midst of a growing domestic scandal, interestingly – threaten to attack Iran, which would be an act of war and perhaps provoke the holocaust – if they will pardon the expression – that they claim to want to avoid.

They’d take alot of wind out of Iranian sails if they just made peace with their neighbors, especially the Palestinians.

This wouldn’t be “appeasement.”  Letting Israel hang on to the Illegally-Occupied Territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights, and attack her neighbors Lebanon and Syria with impunity and out of all scale to the problem that was emanating therefrom, is appeasement.  Letting Israel continue to make innocent Palestinians’ lives hell on earth, and not pay for the excessive devastation in Lebanon, is appeasement.  Letting Israel perch the whole planet on the precipice of World War III / Global Jihad / World Crusade for its own shortsighted, misguided, narrow policies and international noncooperation and dictation, is appeasement.  Bu’ushist threats of a nuclear first-strike against a non-nuclear Iran, besides illegal in themselves, are an appeasement of Israel.  New French “neocon” threats of a similar nature are shockingly disappointing for this formerly-responsible member of the world community, as well as appeasement and “red meat” for their “base” in France and the U.S.  US and French disingenuousness is similarly appeasement.

Iran is most definitely not “a direct threat to the national security of the United States and our allies,” because we have no treatied allies under Iranian “threat.”  Such a statement is ignorant of the situation at International Law as it currently stands.  Iran is a nation of more than 70 million population, a modern State and economy, and a major world culture.  It cannot be simply ordered around like some tribal sheikdom or Third-World Banana Republic.  Bu’ushists bluster in perfect Middle Eastern fashion, while “the West” claims to be heir to a better-developed international legal and diplomatic tradition.  Bush thus gives the lie to Western claims, makes Mideasterners nervous, and they would reasonably feel the need to prepare to defend themselves against violations of their territorial sovereignty, even if they weren’t making such preparations, as Iran, and US and international intelligence estimates claim they are not.  (Of course, reason is not something the Bu’ushists are known for, as they belittle The Reality-Based Community!)

The real rogue states in this process so far are Israel, the US, and now France also.

More Torturegate

I approved.”

–George Walker Bush, de facto 43rd President of the United States of America

How many confessed (non-sexual) “high crimes and misdemeanors” does it take to get impeached in this country?  Do we really have to get him an intern?!!!

Torturegate

The torture ball rolls on and the administration unravels.  At least ABC News didn’t sit on this one like the supposedly-liberal NY Times on Spygate!  Way to go, Charlie!  Condi must go, and they all must go before The Hague!

What shocks me almost more is that this isn’t having signed-off on a general memo a few years previous, this is pre-choreographing specific torture sessions with specific individual “suspects,” probably mere hours before the specific torture acts occurred.  Bush and the other “Principals” were basically puppetmasters, all but going to Gitmo or Abu Ghraib or Afghanistan or Poland or wherever and doing the torturing themselves!  Not that the actual torturers bear no responsibility for following unlawful, unconstitutional orders, but that these civilian officials BEAR MORE!  Even the Nazis weren’t this dumb!  No “plausible deniability” here!

FBI/Bu’ushist lawbreaking

Let me make sure I have this straight: The Executive Branch can issue so-called “administrative subpoenas” anytime it wants and do whatever it wants with the information, without prosecution for admitted illegality (link will break) … and can ignore real subpoenas from the Legislative Branch, ‘the high court of parliament.’

Got it.

McCain’s Hundred Years’ War

He said he was thinking of our long-term presences in places like Japan, South Korea, Germany.  But he also mentioned engaging “al Qaeda.”  Americans aren’t killing or being killed in Japan, Korea, Germany, but they would be in Iraq.  Hence it’s entirely fair to say he’s implying a hundred-years’ war there.  He may not have intended to.  Either he’s lying now, or was imprudent then.  (We’ve had enough of that for the last 7+ years!)  Either way, it’s a bad sign for someone who wants to have his finger on The Button for the next 4 years.  Bad news.

Is it too late to bring back Bill Richardson?!

Nader go home

One of Ralph’s mantras is that it doesn’t make a difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.

I guess we’ve all been disabused of that notion over the last 7+ years!

But I’ll take his single-payer health care….

Kosovo II

Lemme make sure I got this straight: Serbs and Albanians go to war inside Serbia, we take the Albanians’ side, bomb Serbia back to the Stone Age, dismember their country … and threaten to hold their government ministers “personally responsible” when their people by the hundreds of thousands don’t take it lying down?  Serb Christians, and Albanian Muslims – some of whom have been implicated in international Islamic terrorism and insurgency IIRC?

What are we gonna do, kidnap them?  “Rendition” them to Poland?  (Romania won’t work this time because they’re Orthodox like the Serbs, and not thrilled with our “Balkanizing” their neighborhood.)  Afghanistan?  Egypt?  Syria?  Israel?

Look, what we’ve done to Serbia in another time would be ACTS OF WAR.  Sure, we have the nukes and bombers (and we have schoolkids write Happy Easter on bombs before dropping them … on Orthodox Easter … while we honor Ramadan and Eid) and NATO and the EU (not looking down your noses at “Old Europe” just now, are ya) … but does might make right?  Excuse bad faith negotiations?  What, was the Treaty of Dayton too difficult?

What was the better solution?  At least trying good faith peace and final status negotiations.

Cuba transition

So, with Fidel Castro retiring from governmental office, how long before America’s Cuban emigres – or their children – along with its government, corporations, wealthy, Protestant churches, etc., move in on Cuba, to restore neoliberal (“neocon,” in US terms) elite rule there, or even prepare a “liberated” island for U.S. Statehood?  Stripped of health care, the respect of much of the world, and the dignity of sovereign nationhood, they’ll be in great shape to join the Union….  But how can it be otherwise, when so many of its ‘saviors’ will be US citizens?!

Can’t whatever new order finally gets established there try to retain what good there is, rather than try to make Cuba over into Florida, or Puerto Rico, or Tijuana?  (Great places all, of course – and each different from the others.)  Why not “one Greater USA, Two Systems,” so to speak?  Cuba can be a little more socialized, with those great doctors, a sense of peoplehood and distinct culture (and language), pride in Cuba for Cuba’s sake rather than compulsively running into Bush’s arms (or McCain’s), etc.  It’s not the 1950s anymore … nor the ’20s.  Let’s not be destructive, but improve on what good is there, and of course work on the problems brought to the Island by both Communism and the U.S. Blockade.  Obviously there needs to be greater individual freedom, freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, etc.

Kosovo independence

I’ve already said at least once I’ve had second thoughts about Woodrow Wilson’s project to give every subethnicity in Eastern Europe an independent micro-state.  (And you thought “Balkanization” had something to do with Slavicness or Christian Orthodoxy or “Byzantineness” or something like that!)  In the case of Kosovo, of course, if the Serbs weren’t trying to exterminate the Albanians, the Albanians were trying to exterminate the Serbs.  (And the foreign ‘protective’ forces that have been there have not done so well at preserving the peace for minority Serbs and their ancient churches and monasteries.)  Though we must remember that we in the West have been the ‘beneficiaries’ of a decade and a half of professional PR against the Serbs, as well as amateur anti-Orthodoxy on the part of so-called human rights monitors.  Were the militant Serbs saints?  Of course not.  But it seems at least some of the militant non-Serbs also fell short of canonization, during and since the wars that tore Yugoslavia to shreds (with foreign help), for good or for ill.

Nevertheless, ISTM the West was going through the motions when it seemed to be trying to bring about a genuine agreement regarding Kosovo between Belgrade and the Albanians there, treading water till “an opportune moment” to finally end it – they hoped – by just tearing Kosovo away from Serbia permanently.  It seems the Republic of Kosovo will be an instant Haiti, with no economy.  And if anyone thinks the substantial Serb communities in its north are going to take this lying down….  I’m not calling for more war, but I don’t see how it can be avoided without a miraculous conversion on the Western/Albanian side, toward more moderation, and listening to the needs and interests and ideas of the vast majority of Serbs who are not guilty of war crimes.

I have come to believe the ideal situation for most world states and peoples is not independent micro-statehood, but constructive engagement within a larger State that protects minorities, as well as individuals regardless of background.  Maybe there was never going to be conciliation between the Serbs and the Albanians … but the evidence suggests the effort wasn’t even made by the parties with all the resources, the West – the US, UK, EU, UN – as well as the Albanians themselves.

In labor-management relations, we call that negotiating in bad faith.

Lord Have Mercy on all concerned in this matter … and the rest of us!

Shooting down satellites?

This from the gang that can’t get two missiles in the atmosphere to hit each other?  The spy satellite is probably smaller than the missile they say they’re gonna use against it … and it’s gonna be at the top of the atmosphere … and CBS Radio Network News was told that the hydrazine fuel really isn’t that big a danger of people inhaling it if it makes it to the ground in one piece … and the White House has been involved?

What’s all this spell?  MISSILE-DEFENSE COMMERCIAL!  If they luck out and hit it, they’ll say that means full steam ahead for their (“faith-based”) Missile Defense, that battery in Poland, and who knows what else.  And if they miss it, they’ll say that’s why we need full-blown Star Wars – weaponized satellites, lasers in space, etc. (which we probably have already, even if they deny it).

I wouldn’t even be surprised if they lie about the results … or even if they’re already lying….

Anyway, how come satellites don’t have self-destruct mechanisms for just such eventualities, especially spy satellites with confidential equipment or data on board?

Very suspicious….

Rolling Stone: FBI-induced Terrorism in the ‘homeland’?

You saw it here a year and a half ago.

God help us.

PS: RS’s writer says the FBI’s alleged behaviour is almost entrapment.  Maybe he knows law better than I do, but it ‘looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck’ as far as I can see….

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.

Soldiers evangelizing, harassing?

So says one of those Gay-looking men’s magazines I saw in the supermarket the other night.  Apparently nearly half “the troops” in Iraq and vicinity are “Dominionists,” ie, real theocrats (vs. those who just want “conservative” Evangelicalism to be the Established Religion) – think Christianized Jewish/Old Testament ‘Sharia’ law* – and they’re preaching their gospel to Iraqi Muslims, and non-Dom comrades in arms – and harassing and/or shunning the latter in their units if they don’t convert!

Because of the danger to whatever “the mission” in Iraq is this week, and more importantly to the non-conformist troops, and to the future of U.S. and “Coalition” foreign policy throughout the Muslim world, this near-total breakdown in military discipline has to be stomped out.  This behavior is entirely inappropriate for soldiers and officers in a Theater of Operations.  Unit solidarity is the whole point of armies, boot camp, Drill Instructor abuse, etc.  When you’re out doing one thing 24/7, you can’t be doing other things, especially when lives and nations are at risk (humanly speaking, of course).  You may evangelize, harass, and shun Stateside, not on the battlefield.  Period.

Classical Conservatives don’t have to be hawks or imperialists to respect war, soldiering, sacrifice for the Common Good (hopefully for the CG), etc.

(*–Yes, that’s the sound of Martin Luther turning over in his grave.)

FREE CANADA!, or, What else American Red Tory means

Many Canadians feel economically dominated by the United States, the 800-pound gorilla to the South.  Though what should be done about that should probably be guided by Canadians who have that country’s best interests at heart.  For instance, letting them tear-up NAFTA and US-Canada Free Trade as well as other agreements prejudicial to Canada – or reopening them for fairer negotiations – and impose domestic corporate ownership quotas.

Some Canadians also feel culturally dominated by us.  Certainly they get all the American TV shows, books, movies, and music – though somehow they don’t seem to affect them like they do us, ie, making us kill each other and others different from us!  Also, Canadian influence on U.S. TV, movies, music, etc., is strong, or at least, the influence of Canadian-born persons (Pamela Anderson, Michael J. Fox, Lorne Michaels, Neil Young, Peter Jennings, etc.).  Interesting question for further examination.

But worst of all is U.S. influence on Canadian politics.  Not merely keeping an eye on the 49th Parallel since we are the local 800-lb. gorilla, but putting up with us exporting American republicanism, Republicanism, Classical Liberalism / irrational libertarianism, political Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, other ideologies, horse-race campaign news coverage and attitudes, greed and Rationalized Capitalism, giving orders to Canadian Forces behind the back of their own government, dictating policy to Ottawa, our government influencing their elections, Bay Street a carbon copy of Wall Street, the question of Fort Drum,* etc etc etc.  Now, ‘children must play,’ but must America muck around with such a loyal ally and generous neighboUr, when instead we should be learning from them?!!!  MAKE AMERICA IN CANADA’S IMAGE!!!

PS: Why don’t Canucks, with more guns per capita than us, kill each other like we do?  Why don’t our TV and movies have such a bad influence on them if any at all?  Why do they have health care, multiple parties, Responsible Government (read accountable executive),** hand-marked paper ballots, profounder education, more peaceful diversity, nicer cities, less-“concentrated” Indians, recognized Mixed-Blood Indigenous, true friends in all parts of the world, etc etc etc.  They’re not perfect.  But the answers must lie in their culture, their heritage, their history, even their legal tradition.  (Conversely, our late friend Marc Chaitlin firmly believed our violence today was rooted in our violent Revolution and replacement of legitimate government with “the Slavemaster Republic.”)  How do they differ from us?  Monarchy, peaceful evolution vs. violent revolution (They’re ‘the American Evolution’!), Classical Conservatism, gradual independence, British tutelage (vs. enmity) in statecraft and soldiery and diplomacy, “Peace, Order, and Good Government” more important than mere “Pursuit of Happiness” (sounds like a motto for Hedonism!), a sense and tradition of the Common Good as an active not passive thing, national solidarity even in peacetime, self-restraint, a check on politicians even in the appointive offices of Governor General and Lieutenant-Governors, greater High-Church influence (Roman Catholic and Anglican), an Empire-cum-Commonwealth of Nations, etc etc etc.

(*–Rudmin alludes to the “unprecedented” Congressional appropriation behind the initial construction of Ft. Drum, unprecedented because it was unconstitutional!  Being for three years, it violated Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which limits military appropriations to two years!  Somebody in Washington really wanted Ft. Drum, bad enough to risk public exposure and a court case, neither of which apparently came.)

(**–Think about how our elite structure their own corporations.  There isn’t a Board of Directors in the land that would give a CEO the carte blanche any U.S. President has for 4 or 8 whole years, unless he was already majority owner or the inventor of the product or something, of course.)

Israel: a Mideastern country?

Has Israel become a Middle Eastern country?

I think we’re used to thinking of it as a sort of European / American island in that region, kind of a Jewish / semi-Anglophone version of the former French Lebanon.  But has it turned more into a Jewish version of, say, Syria, or Egypt?

Christians are certainly freer to be Christians in (secular) Ba’athist Syria, as they were in (secular) Ba’athist Iraq, than they are in Israel, or (Islamist) Bu’ushist Iraq for that matter.  But even generally, Israel’s treatment of dissidents, ‘liberals,’ peaceniks, or even Reform Jews, nevermind the overwhelming majority of law-abiding Arabs in Israel Proper and the West Bank (Gaza is clearly currently a special case, though even there, they’re way excessive), is really wanting.  “Democratic island”?  Sure, there are elections, and discos, and newspapers, and kibbutzim, and multiple political parties (in this last sense more democratic than America).  But not so much on human rights after all: ask Mordechai Vanunu.  [That’s Vanunu, not Sununu!]  Speaking of him, Israel is the only clear and present nuclear weapons danger in the region (besides the Bush regime), and (like the Bush regime) has frequently threatened to attack Iran (admittedly, no poster-child).  Conventionally, Israel has frequently invaded or attacked Lebanon, occupying its southern portion for a generation, accomplishing nothing while doing so.  And it has shown consistent bad faith in its relationship with the incipient Palestinian State, and with the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Greek-ruled, but traditionally predominantly-Palestinian in makeup), the Mother Church of Christians.

Rogue state?  Typical bully, if a formerly abused bully?

In the end, very like many other Mideastern countries?

366 Days and counting

A few worthy insights here.

Personally, I won’t believe they’re gone till the plane touches down in Texas … or Gitmo … or The Hague!!!  Remember when Giuliani wanted more time as Mayor of NY after 9/11?  I’m still seriously concerned about “Bush Overtime” or “Extra Innings.”

Nevermind how the Repugs will steal this election come what may anyway….

The Democrats could still cut this term short, if they had stones.  (Sorry, Nancy P.)

Bush “stimulus package” buying votes for GOP?

Inquiring minds want to know.

And I thought he was just “stimulating his package”!!!

Maybe this is even a well-timed recession, to produce this “lovely parting gift” for the voters?!!!  Flash a check in front of some people, and they forget the last 7-plus years….