Is Prince Charles crazy, or Maclean’s?

A ‘newsmagazine’ I hardly recognized, on the eve of the ‘critically panned’ Fall Homecoming of the Heir to the Throne (including of Canada), published an opinion that he’d taken leave of his senses.  Is it possible that His Royal Highness is just a Classic, ie Progressive, Conservative, such as I’ve tried to be*, rather than the U.S. regressive Republican (GOP) kind?

Is it also possible HRH is “becoming Orthodox“??  Certainly he has opportunity to reflect on the world he sits almost at the top of in terms of wealth, fame, and access to power.  And/Or just chat with our First Among Equals, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (yes, that’s Istanbul in Turkish), “The Green Patriarch.”

But children must play … instead of providing reportage and analysis that knows what on earth it’s talking about.  Looks like I got out of journalism just in time – ‘My skills, it seems, are no longer required!’

(*–He said humbly!! 😉 )

Looking down on State Recognition of Indian Tribes?

Sure, it’s not the same as a Treaty … er, Supreme Court ruling … er, Executive Order … er, Act of Congress … er, BIA ruling….

OK, now we realize anything government (pretends to) give* it can and will take away.

Be that as it may, check out what some Metis in Alberta, Canada, have got themselves!

(*–Including “recognize” as “inherent from time immemorial,” am I right?!)

Update from Buffalo Commons

from NY Times Magazine in 2006, an intriguing ‘surface-level,’ face-to-face, “up close and personal” *  encounter with the emptying Plains.

The article isn’t a very enticing ad for a region theoretically trying to attract ‘new homesteaders’ or semi-homesteaders not already from or IN such a place, if you get what I mean.  But does it have to be hopeless?

Indians said a century or more ago that it really was (all due respect to the writer) more desert than farmland….  The Dust Bowl just added insult to injury.  There are a couple large Reservations near the communities featured, Fort Berthold and Fort Peck Reservations, that maybe could be asked about helping ‘re-vision’ the larger region’s future ISTM.

More conventionally, the Dakotas are already home to “National Grasslands” that maybe could be a future attracting visitors … and wildlife … maybe even hunters … and/or bison or other ranching.

Going out on a limb, let me say as one American who’s never been to ND that winter there sounds intolerable to most Yanks!  At least Alaska has windbreaks (trees, mountains…), mild Pacific currents and breezes, etc.  HOWEVER: Remember that scene in the recent HBO remake of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee where the Mountie welcomes Sitting Bull across the Border in Queen Victoria’s name with the polite warning, “The winters get pretty cold up here — This isn’t Dakota!”?  I’m sure some scriptwriter had tongue planted firmly in cheek at that point.  But my world atlas’s climate maps suggest a kernel of truth after all: ND as a little bit warmer than most of Canada, and drier than most of Settler Canada … you know, that ribbon of population that stays pretty much within 200 miles of the Border, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver?  I mention drier since they say Manitoba’s provincial bird is the mosquito!  So, a “modest proposal”?: Instead of being America’s Icebox, how about … well … The Fridge, to the Rest of Canada’s Icebox!?  If North Dakota became the 11th Province (ND residents might prefer the sociopolitical approach of this post!  And spooky: exactly two years ago…!), right away it’d have nearly the same population as New Brunswick, well larger than Newfoundland-and-Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, respectively — two provinces also losing residents.  And long term, I’d imagine lots of Manitoba and Saskatchewan folk moving south now that they could do so without changing countries … followed by Alberta Oil Sands layoffs once the world starts recovering from its hydrocarbon addiction.  (Many Sands workers are the expatriates from Atlantic Canada, where it IS less cold in winter than Alberta, though wetter … and increasingly desolate of Settlers’ descendants.)

And provincehood isn’t even necessary ISTM.  MB and SK are sometimes referred to as “North America’s socialist heartland,” traditionally strongholds of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), actually social democratic rather than strictly socialist.  Point being, a healthy sense of the Common Good — not unlike many ND’ans’ ancestral Scandinavia — and they just might open their bleeding hearts to ND’s economic needs, especially if ND were to join one or both provinces.  Either way, sounds like a Win-Win proposition, eh?

Otherwise, I guess some version of the “Buffalo Commons” idea will pretty much replace ND.  And/Or some version of the outstanding Great Sioux Nation claim.  Waving grasses, thundering herds, fenced-in towns if any at all, elevated highways/railroads if any, Tribal Villages / ranches / farms…. 

Your call.

(*–…what with the Olympics coming up and all…)

Sarah Palin, meet Jean Poutine!

UPDATE: Found a mostly-usable form of the video from 22 Minutes, not on their site but at YouTube.  I dunno, but did anyone hear what Palin actually said the same way I did?  In fairness, I didn’t hear “dismantle,” only that the government should share the market with the private sector, IOW a single (big) step backwards, not the giant leap.  No difference though.  “Commonsense conservatism”?  Sweetheart, it left the U.S. during/after the Revolution, and remained among Canada’s Red Tories until they lost their party in the Harper/Reform takeover a couple years ago.  And Sarah and Steve ain’t it!

The other thing I noticed is that, while the lovable “Marg Delahunty” (OK, I really can’t take the voice, but admire her “all lies” review of the book!!) was woman-handled out of the library, her camera crew was allowed to stay.  PURE PHOTO-OP!  No questions, just pictures.  I hope Muscle-Melon wasn’t on the public payroll facilitating that ‘un-campaign’ appearance for Palin.

——————————————

ORIGINAL: That’s right, the Canadians who ‘punked’ W. got last week what may be the only policy remarks Alaska’s disgraced, resigned, unqualified, eye-candy governor will allow herself to be drawn on involuntarily, unscripted, during her eternal, fluff book tour/photo-op … and her own country is not the subject (nor is Russia!): ‘Yup, yup,’ like most self-important Republican politicos, she’s now become an expert on Canada’s model single-payer healthcare system — and all she cares about is corporate profiteering instead, and RATIONING on the basis of wealth, Whiteness, suburban residence, non-Indigenous status, etc.

If that’s “going rogue,” then John McCain’s a maverick!  The free ride she’s been getting from the MSM ever since her (losing) nomination is a danger to America and the world, because the hard right wing will back her as their savior just to feel they get back in power, even if she doesn’t know what to do with it in any way that will benefit, apparently, anyone other than CEOs and wealthy stockholders … short-term, anyway….  TALK ABOUT “DEATH PANELS”!!!  ‘Whose plug would Jesus pull?’

Harper Catholic Communion: IT *IS* A SCANDAL!

Near as I can tell from the NY Times’ unusually dense syntax, self-righteous Canadian theocon minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper received, and an archbishop administered to him, Roman Catholic communion, a no-no since Harper’s Evangelical Protestant, specifically the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.

The fact that it was at the funeral for former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc July 3 just magnifies the technical scandal — theologically speaking — of this joint action by Harper and the unnamed “archbishop,” identified by Canada’s Catholic Register (a weekly newspaper owned by the Archdiocese of Toronto) as Moncton, New Brunswick, Archbishop Andre Richard, who ISTM (they don’t say) may have been chief celebrant of the Mass, since it took place in his archdiocese.

I don’t know why they’re “covering the controversy” rather than the main story; maybe I just missed that.  ISTM that putting the consecrated host in his pocket might have been the least-worst thing Harper could’ve done, especially if afterward he or a flunkie returned it respectfully to the Church, which regards it as truly though mystically (and not symbolically) Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood.  After all, it’s not exactly a State secret that, with very few exceptions applying mostly to certain Eastern Christian Churches,* NON-CATHOLICS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RECEIVE CATHOLIC COMMUNION!!!!!  In the U.S. an announcement to this effect is commonly made at mass vocally or in print, especially if a significant number of non-Catholics are known to be in attendance, such as would have been the case at His Excellency’s State funeral (presumably in Both Official Languages … and I don’t mean Latin!).

As the Register tells us:

During the Mass, Moncton Archbishop Andre Richard approached the front row where Harper and other VIPs were standing and distributed Communion to everyone, including the Protestant Harper. Though video shows Harper receiving Communion, it does not show him consuming it. Harper insists he did and told CCN in a July 11 interview he made a decision when entering public life not to seek Communion in Catholic churches but to accept it if offered.

Having served in my Catholic days as an altar boy or music minister at many “big Masses,” and also as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, I can easily imagine Abp. Richard being preoccupied with many things that day.  In addition, Latin Rite clergy aren’t commonly tasked with “guarding the chalice” in quite the same way Eastern clergy are (unless Democrats in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania are concerned! [scroll down]); it’s just a different approach or attitude toward administering communion, though the fundamental principles are outwardly similar.  Nevertheless, IT’S THE FRIGGING PRIME MINISTER, NATIONAL TV, A “STATE” FUNERAL, WITH AN ARCHBISHOP, not some summer cottage chapel in the woods with some anonymous guests of uncertain affiliations wearing cutoffs and flipflops!  A deacon or “master of ceremonies” could have taken some of the worry out of the occasion for the Archbishop and helped guide him discreetly around ‘landmines’ such as prominent non-Catholics in the VIP pew.

Ironically, although many of today’s “conservative Catholics” attack the Latin Rite’s modern option of communion-in-the-hand, receiving it in his hand instead of right on his tongue left Harper with the option of saving the Archbishop’s face as I’ve suggested above, even voluntarily taking some temporary heat himself from attack-dog media and politicians, coming up roses in the end if he returned the host respectfully at an opportune moment, even a “teachable moment.”  IOW, Major Brownie Points with Catholic voters!

Of course, more points if Harper had been able to say not that he made himself a unilateral theological decision to receive forbidden Catholic communion if mistakenly (or improperly!) offered, but that he’d consulted his local Latin Rite bishop in Calgary “when entering public life,” and even gotten a second opinion when he became a national figure from, as the kosher hot dog ad used to say, “an even higher authority.”  Don’t they have Protocol people in Ottawa anymore?!!!  In any event, Catholic authorities would have kindly and gently explained the impropriety to him, ways to politely decline or step aside when approached by a priest or EM, even thanked him for his concern to inquire … and probably gossipped about it, increasing his “cred” in their midst!  (Not that I want to help the man politically or anything!)

Now, I’m not a Latin canon lawyer or approved theological ethicist, though I have plenty of background and training.  But ISTM holding the host for later respectful return would have been at worst a mild sacrilege in Catholic eyes, with good intentions.  Eating it is pure scandal, the worse because of how publicly it was done (even if not shown on TV, but hyped in the media for days afterward).  And there are really considered to be no other options: Even dissolving it in water would require disposing of the now-sacred water in a sacrarium, a special sink in a Latin church’s sacristy that empties directly into the ground by sacral arrangement, rather than the sewage system or septic tank.  (‘Can’t dump Jesus in the sewer, dawg!’)  While water may be more easily portable, as in an empty bottle, if it had to be returned in another city … bottles of water are too easily discarded or otherwise mishandled.  An undissolved host is unmistakable, and can be carried reverently in any suitable container. 

Of course, Catholic Church sanctions are useless against non-Catholics, unless they want to try to physically lock Steve-o out of their churches and ceremonies.  From his perspective, it should be about respect for Catholic faith, just like you take your shoes off when visiting a mosque and wear a yarmulke when visiting a synagogue, and if the Orthodox parish you’re visiting stands males on one side and females on the other, going along without protest.

This piece, seemingly drawing from wire copy, suggests there was indeed protocol confusion of an uninformed variety on the part of both the Prime Minister and the Archbishop, who I’m certain doesn’t have such high-level guests in his archdiocese every day!:

Richard said a protocol officer told him before the ceremony that anyone who wanted to take part in communion would signal their willingness to do so.  “I’m sure he (Harper) didn’t mean any desecration or nothing of the sort,” the Archbishop said. “Somehow, the gesture was misunderstood. I think he should have been briefed by the protocol of what has to be done in a Catholic ceremony.”

OK, I have a guess about what’s going on here now.  If there was a huge crowd — and it’s just a parish church, not a large cathedral — and VIPs were seated in the front pew, it was probably arranged, by government staffers, for the Archbishop to serve them in-place, while everybody else who wished and was able to receive, would leave their pews farther back, get in line, and receive from him and/or other ministers in the building.  Rather than have the GG, the PM, etc., standing in line when the missiles come over the North Pole (or the foreign navies intrude in Nunavut).  It’s not a question of special treatment, merely reasonable logistics given the 24/7 responsibilities of these specific attendees, halfway across the country from the National Capital.  Similar accommodations are often made with communicants with mobility challenges.

An added issue would be the presence of M. LeBlanc’s coffin near the front of the church, probably where communion is often administered to people standing in line on normal Sundays and weekdays, etc. … as well as the unfamiliarity of many if not most of the attendees with how to receive communion in this particular building with its architecture, internal furnishings, etc., since it’s not their own parish.

For their part, the VIPs were probably briefed generically by a government (not Church) staffer, without regard for their denominations or (if Catholic) specific communion intentions (which ISTM Canadians more than even Yanks would consider intensely private matters, perhaps not to be “signaled” in advance through a flunkie: a cultural thing).  I could see this adding to the confusion of a ‘principled’ Evangelical Protestant Canadian like the PM who at least once in his life considered just such a scenario … hence his perceived hesitation, a kind of sacramental “decisijig” owing to miscommunication, or what tabloids might style a “miscue.”

This doesn’t appear to have been the only such, if my friends at the Monarchist League of Canada are right.

Last word: While it’s common for Protestants to use the verb take in connection with communion, for Catholics it’s receive — though the actions commonly involved are outwardly the same.  The would-be communicant approaches or in special cases like this is approached by the minister, and the minister gives him or her the communion.  (Unless your denomination does the trays and little cups served from pew to pew like on an airline — no disrespect meant.  Also, sometimes there’s more ‘self-help,’ like the bread and/or wine left on the altar for folks to administer to themselves as invited by the minister.)  If you find yourself about to be given communion when you believe you should not, for whatever reasons, you are permitted, hoped, and/or expected to “signal” your intention not to receive without making a big fuss, yelling, gesticulating grandly, turning your back, running away, or anything of the sort.  Like they say in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, DON’T PANIC.  Remain calm.  “No thanks,” a small but clear hand gesture, fingers over the lips, something like that.  Remember that when you’re in that situation, it’s just you and him (or her), two fallible human beings, face to face.  Most Latin Rite clergy these days are less anal about the flow of the almighty ritual than in former days perhaps, and will be understanding; the Vatican II Mass / in English (I can’t say for sure about French! 😉 ) is less pompous than its Tridentine / Latin predecessor — relatively more laid-back, as its critics will tell you(!).  I received in an Episcopalian cathedral once (while Protestant, on a normal Sunday, even with a “priestess” presiding — a cute one too!), and I’d guess the same there.  Most other situations, even more so. 

Even a State funeral on national TV.

This extended meditation on the pitfalls and pratfalls of public life has been sponsored by the letter Q, the number 69, and the word Sniglet!

(*–Without having consulted Eastern Christian bishops or councils!  Orthodoxy, my Church, forbids receiving non-Orthodox Mysteries [“sacraments”], and administering them to non-Orthodox, for reasons familiar to most Catholics my age or older.)

PS: For the record, Catholicism excludes non-Catholics from communion because they believe the sacrament properly reflects the “communion” of the main participants in the church service itself, to wit, Catholics.  It’s not a question of hospitality or inhospitality, “ecumenism,” “liberalism” or “conservatism,” “niceness” or “meanness.”  Catholics consider themselves the Body of Christ “mystically,” and communion as I said, also, though in a different way.  And non-Catholics, in varying degrees of “communion” or out of communion with them, especially with the Pope of Rome at their head.  This is all Catholic theology, not church politics per se.  They take the same attitude towards us Orthodox — as we do them and all non-Orthodox — although Rome permits us in extremis, as well as permitting their own people to receive our Mysteries in extremis, though they did that unilaterally.

PPS: Then again, given that LeBlanc was formerly a Liberal MP and Senator, and/or that Maritime Tories — even Catholics? — are likely to be Red Tories vs. Harper’s Blues (aka “American [GOP] Republicans”), maybe it WAS a conspiracy against Harper!!!  😉  (Just kidding; I know nothing.)

PPPS: Communion-in-the-hand is not an option in Orthodoxy, for the simple reason that Communion is served thusly: The priest has previously sunk a large piece of the Bread into the chalice and poured the Wine and water over it, filling the chalice.  As each communicant approaches, they tip their head back (or their baby’s head!) and open their mouth.  Father takes a long-handled spoon with a tiny bowl at the end, obtains a tiny piece of this mixed Bread and Wine, and tips the spoon’s contents into the person’s mouth.  So if Harper was at LeBlanc predecessor Ray Hnatyshyn‘s funeral in ’02 … well, it wouldn’t have been an issue, because Orthodox funerals don’t include Communion!  I’ve seen Orthodox priests serve communicants in wheelchairs by approaching them, but most of the time we line-up for Communion, so you can’t get in line by accident, so it’s no problem either. 

So … Go Orthodox, sir!

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Scottish Metis

Fascinating little article here from 2001!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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….)

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.

Younger generations re-embracing their Indigenous backgrounds

These people aren’t all Wannabe’s; some of them ARE Indians or Metis in Canada and the U.S.!

“Social justice is a matter of life and death”

Speaking of Canada, some reports out up there and elsewhere suggest maybe we all need more than a little dose of “socialism.”  As someone else put it, “The rich get richer, and the poor get sick” … AND DIE EARLY!  Even in Toronto.  Although they haven’t had a true progressive federal government up there in decades….

It’s called The Common Good, people.  You ARE your brother’s keeper: Genesis 4:9Remember the Rich Man and Lazarus: Luke 16: 19-31.  And the Last Judgment: Matthew 25: 31-46.

New Exodus to Canada?! (satire)

A droll piece purporting to be from a Manitoba newspaperPLEASE!!!  VOTE FIRST, THEN  SPLIT!!!  I know it’ll be a month colder up there, but we can’t give up YET, and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!!!  Besides, I’m disabled, I’d never make it, even if I was an English major!!! 😉

Then again, if Palin’s gonna get away with hinting about Rep. “Uncle” Barney Frank as a pedophile*….  Race-baiting, pedo-baiting, Red Scare / McCarthyism (I don’t mean Jenny!), bigotry, woeful judgment, a hot temper and violence, questionable health, corporatocracy, potential PTSD, faked assaults — If we let them steal this one, it might be hard to get it back from them.  So much for your vaunted rights and freedoms, “inventory and investments”**….  😦

(*–Honestly, that’s right up there with Dick Armey’s “Barney Fag” — as if a guy named Dick Armey has any right to talk!)

(**–Yeah, that’s Joe the Plumber, “inventory and investments”!  TOTALLY OUT OF TOUCH AND OUT OF CONTROL!)

Aboriginals making the difference in Canadian elections?

Could be.  It could be that close.

Canadian Election tomorrow: Anybody but Harper!

Danger, Canada, the regressive Conservatives are trending upward!  They got you into this mess, do you really think they can, or want to, get you out?!  Remember these aren’t good-ol’ Canadian PCs, but Reform/Alliance!  Even a real PC in that party is just another MP for Harper!  If we can crash the CPC, maybe some kind of arrangement can be made among the Liberals, NDP, Bloc … hey, how about the Greens?!!!  After all, minority government is doable … just not by them!!  So I guess what I’m saying is STRATEGIC VOTING for any (real) non-Conservative with a chance to win your riding.  This one’s too important!  Save your Sovereignty, save your economy, save your healthcare, save Confederation, save your rights and freedoms, save a Constitution that’s the envy of the world!

Canada ends constitutional links to Britain

Yes, it’s true.  Way back in 1982 Canada ended the pro forma necessity for the Parliament at Westminster (UK) to ratify amendments to its constitutional law.  In Canada this is commonly referred to as the patriation of the constitution, ‘bringing it home’ so to speak.  This includes the Monarchy, because it is part of Canada’s constitutional system.  Therefore, Canada is most clearly no longer ruled by the Sovereign of the UK, but by the Sovereign of Canada.  Canada agreed in a way extemely difficult to change, to continue sharing its Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors, with other interested countries, such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, etc.  In fact, Canada freely and democratically adopted the strongest pro-Monarchy constitution in the Commonwealth, stronger even than the UK itself.  The fact that Canada’s Monarch is shared, and resides in the UK, diminishes this not one iota, since Her Majesty is represented in Canada federally by the Governor General of Canada, and separately in each province by that province’s Lieutenant-Governor, all appointed on the advice of the democratically-elected federal Ministry, ie, the prime minister.  Furthermore, for the last half-century, all Canada’s GGs have been Canadians, not Britons or Australians or anything else.

My headline is a poke at Canada’s few thousand (small-R) republicans, who tend to get disproportionate MSM coverage there (while the Monarchy, the GG, the LGs, and monarchists get very little, usually negative or stereotyped, such as relatively unimportant “gaffes,” or “tea and crumpets” Anglophilia), and who claim to desire to “end constitutional links to Britain” by abolishing Canada’s Monarchy.  They clearly either don’t understand Canada’s constitution, or deliberately obfuscate the issue for ulterior motives: Many want to make Canada a clone of the United States (though others claim not to).  The fact is that Monarchy vs. Republic is not an issue as far as the general Canadian public cares; they’re content with the status quo.  If some MSM “journalist” or pollster asks a leading question like a bad prosecutor, then sure, they think about it, because they’re caring, intelligent people, less likely than Yanks to tell them to do something unpleasant to themselves.  But for the Canadian democracy — as opposed to the Canadian (U.S.-influenced) punditocracy — constitutional change of this magnitude is a non-starter.  They remember how a whole generation from the mid-1970s to the mid-90s was consumed with constitutional questions, and they just want to get on with normal life.

Do some Canadian politicians want to dump the Queen of Canada and become President?  Canadians are wiser to the ways of politicians than most Americans I think, perhaps because they have an option to deny them absolute power: the Monarchy.  Even the most powerful politician in Canada is nothing more than Her Majesty’s Canadian chief servant or advisor; “The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen” (Constitution Act 1867, paragraph 9 [formerly known as the original British North America Act that created the Canadian confederation out of 4 UK colonies]).

So it’s true, Canada has ended constitutional links to Britain … as of 1982.  In fact, HM came to Ottawa and signed it herself!

PS: I wonder if at least some who oppose Prince Charles succeeding his mother perceive her as having been weaker than some of her recent male predecessors, whereas His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is well-known for having definite opinions that call into question the accumulation of power — to society’s detriment — by politicians, businesspeople, ideologues, gratuitous anti-traditionalists, even ‘regressive’ pseudo-traditionalists, and such.  I certainly don’t agree with everything HRH has said or done publicly or personally, but he does strike me as sometimes a real ‘progressive conservative,’ or Red Tory in Canadian terms!

Indigenous liberation through language-immersion?

That’s the premise of this essay from Andrea Bear Nicholas.  I can certainly say how “neat” it felt taking a weekend ‘semi-immersion’ course in Irish Gaelic in the ’90s, I who previously “studied” Spanish, Latin, Biblical Greek and Hebrew.  (Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams once commented how he “loved to talk Irish in front of the White House!”)

I might even extend the usefulness of the idea a little more, such as one time when I was involved in discussing labor union business in Spanish right in the lunchroom, in an Anglophone workplace that subsequently sought to ban this behavior.  I guess there’s more than one kind of community-identity that can be facilitated by “minority” language!

Corporatocracy and Native Americans

Interesting (briefly-)detailed history (PDF) of New Brunswick’s Loyalist American settlement, illegitimate growth of corporations’ power, politicians’ conflicts-of-interest, and how all of the above left the province’s Natives destitute, as they largely remain.  A newspaper commentary by Professor Bear Nicholas.

Indigenous genocide

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

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

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

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

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

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

FURTHER

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

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

So much for Fixed Election Dates!

So, Stephen “Fixed Election Date” Harper decides going on like he has with his heavily-indulged theocon minority government in Canada is no longer to his liking?  Hypocrite — typical theocon.  Trash constitutional law tradition until it suits them to fall back on it.  Not that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition should’ve let him go on this long either….

Morgentaler honour?

Yes, those words will be meaningless to most Americans, but Canada’s highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada – similar to a knighthood – has been given to, among several dozen honorees this month on the occasion of Dominion Day (as it used to be called more meaningfully), July 1, the Auschwitz survivor who got abortion legalized in Canada by performing tons of them illegally, even in front of documentary cameras, and even going to jail for it, before getting the Supreme Court of Canada to outlaw outlawing it in 1988: Dr. Henry Morgentaler.

Whatever one thinks about abortion, it’s inappropriate to give a national honour in Canada to someone who is not only politically controversial – lots of good people are politically controversial – but considered by millions of good, sincere, law-abiding, even progressive,* Canadians – leaving to one side the hate-spewing anti-abortion extremists – to be a butcher of innocent, viable human beings, and at their most defenceless: in the womb, by their own mothers.  Morgentaler is officially cited “For his commitment to increased health care options for women” and for his services to humanism and civil liberties.  I’m not aware of what he may have done for the latter two areas, but throughout Canada his name means one thing, legalized abortion – just like “Jane Roe” in the States.  Can you imagine “Roe” (of Roe v. Wade fame, the appellant being kept officially anonymous at the time) getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom – again, whatever you think of abortion?  Not even the most “liberal” US President would think of doing so, even if s/he wanted to; it’d tear the country apart.

Furthermore, using the Order of Canada to enshrine the abortion euphemism “health care options for women” in the national Honours system is not only offensive, it just demeans Honours; it sounds Nazi or Bolshevik, like something out of 1984.  OK, that opinion may depend on what you make of abortion in the first place.  And clearly I oppose the liberalization of abortion since the 1960s in the US and Canada and elsewhere.  But drawing back to the matter of the honour itself, millions of good, sincere, law-abiding, even progressive, Canadians – leaving to one side the hate-spewing anti-abortion extremists – might consider instead that he worked for decreased health care options for children!  Should someone get an award for that?!

As the newspaper article describes, Canadian Honours are supposed to be apolitical, non-ideological.  (So anti-abortion activists lamenting that it happened under a “Conservative” Party government don’t get it.)  Her Majesty’s Canadian Ministry, aka the government of the day, is supposedly not involved, and neither is The Queen herself AFAIK.  I don’t even know how much discretion the Governor General herself has in the face of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, before the fact anyway.  Honours are supposed to reflect Canada as a diverse yet unified nation.  This kind of thing just divides.  George W. Bush is ‘a divider, not a uniter;’ and so is this honour, for Canada.

That said, I’m not sure that, bestowed, it can or should be revoked just on account of the firestorm of criticism – for the very same, apolitical, reasons.  But it does raise a question, for good or for ill, about the people and/or the process that chooses honorees.  Britain’s recent cash-for-honours scandal was nothing new there,** and Canadians designed their Honours system in the 1960s explicitly to try to avoid scandal and the taint of politics, corruption, etc.  Furthermore, not only are honours in a Monarchy a national feel-good exercise; the Sovereign is fons honorum, the Fount of Honours, so in theory they reflect on her.  Scandal in honours dishonors The Crown itself, and thus symbolically the whole nation.

However you feel about abortion, this bestowal of an honour is dishonorable.

(*–I don’t know what George Parkin Grant thought of Dr. Morgentaler personally, but he bitterly opposed the idea of legalizing abortion, as a signal turn from ‘progressive conservative’ ideals.)

(**–It’s not frequent there, but not exceedingly rare either.)

The U.S. Metis dilemma

Reading about Obama’s goals for Native policy reminds me of the dilemma faced by Mixed-Blood Indians within the United States who may be luckier (for now) than our Indian-identified cousins: In some ways we would wish, like our brothers and sisters within Canada, to receive some kind of recognition under U.S. law, considering that many of our communities antedate 1776, or the later U.S. conquest / cession of our territories.  But doing so could detract from the material help so many other Indians and Tribes receive from Washington, which is already far from enough, reflecting continuing illegal and genocidal policies and negligence on the part of the American government.  This was pointed out to me in recent years by one or more U.S. Métis groups like this one.

What’s the goal of “recognition” if not money, reservations, casinos, etc.?  Most basically, the government-to-government relationship of co-sovereigns.  Beyond that, influence in U.S. policy that concerns us and even our Indian cousins.  One thing not commonly mentioned in the U.S. is non-Treaty aboriginal rights, such as hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering, when such rights have not been ceded by Treaty.  But even “Federal recognition” as currently set up takes decades, sometimes generations, and to add hundreds of non- (or semi-)Indian-identifying Indigenous communities to that process would probably bring it crashing down!

Some US Metis spokespersons even say non-Indian-identifying Metis who are currently luckier than our Indian-identifying cousins shouldn’t seek individual recognition, Tribal membership / citizenship, for similar reasons, but instead should join one of the newly-forming Metis groups.  But, at least since the ’60s, Tribal membership is sometimes seen to have a certain cachet, especially for those of us separated by miles and/or generations from our Native roots.  (Sure, if we don’t “look Indian,” and society doesn’t maltreat us like it does those who do….)  This is a little like Black-activist objections to the mixed-race option introduced in the 2000 Census, fearing Whites will perceive a smaller Black community and belittle their aspirations for equality and social justice and fairness – “divide and conquer.”  In fact, a majority of historic African-Americans have also Native American and European ancestries, just as most persons with Native American ancestries also have European and/or African ancestries now, and more European-Americans than realize it – especially Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch – have African and/or Native American and/or South or Southwest Asian ancestries.  (BTW, most non-Latinos don’t realize that most Latinos have substantial Native American ancestry, either.)  And more than a few Indian-identified persons treat Metis as “wannabe’s,” rather than “are’s.”  The fact is that America usually treats you based on what you look like … unless they know that there’s more to you than what you look like, and then they mistreat you on that basis!  So by no means should equality, fairness, social justice continue to be denied somebody, simply because he or she doesn’t meet the deniers’ traditional definition of this or that.

OTOH, in Canada at least, Metis often share Indians’ problems with health, poverty, and discrimination.  It might be interesting to investigate whether American Metis are worse-off in these ways than any of their non-Indian cousins, and perhaps more like their Indian cousins in this regard than currently suspected.

If Mixed-Blood profile, roots, and culture(s) could be raised in this country, their groups might be able to take pressure off needy Native communities.  Indians or Tribes could help with this perhaps.  But as currently understood here, no Metis group as such has any claim on the U.S. (except perhaps the couple cheated out of “Halfbreed Reservations” promised in Indian [sic] Treaties in the Midwest), and so like the group linked above, their aspirations are mostly less tangible and more voluntary.

The other thing is that Halfbreedness in the US has been mostly a highly-localized phenomenon, somewhat below-the-radar, with few if any of the larger kinds of groups, communities, and cultures that developed in what is now Canada – even a couple short-lived regional Republics in the Plains!  (This Wikipedia piece, while somewhat semi-comprehensive, focuses on the Plains Metis of Canada, especially their French-derived; this one, on what might be called Plains British-derived Metis; these links provide a bare hint that there are Metis in and rooted in Central and Eastern Canada; this site seeks to do much better, as does this oneThis document suggests that at one point ALL QUEBEC could be considered a Metis Reserve, and this long and quirky but rewarding one, that most French-Canadians are in fact Metis, “Creole [continental] North America,” not-quite-White, not-quite-French!)  As the links in parentheses indicate, Metis have a higher profile in Canadian history than here.  In fact it has been documented that many of the ‘border tribes’ the US warred with, stretching from the Great Lakes to Texas, were in fact Mixed-Blood Nations.  And many “White” cities from the Midwest to the Northwest were founded by Metis, even Francophones, even immigrants from Canada.  But in US historiography – as in fiction, movies, TV shows, etc. – ” ‘Breeds” usually have to choose between Native and Settler peoples.  [How many Old West cowboys were Metis / Mestizo???]  And so we have more than 200 relatively-tiny, loosely-organized communities in the Eastern U.S., identified around 1960 by Brewton Berry in Almost White, and by others before and since, most with a tradition of Native roots as well as Old World(!), most of whose neighbors seek to deny them any origins sounding more ‘exotic’ than mixed-Black-and-White: Nanticokes, “Turks,” “Portuguese,” Brass Ankles, Redbones, “Blackfoot Cherokee,” Melungeons, “Moors,” etc etc etc.  (OTOH, it’s highly likely that many of the early-modern Blacks and Whites invoked, had acquired Indian ancestry too, since Indians were enslaved as part of the Greater-Atlantic Slave Trade since the 1400s or earlier [sic], according to Powhatan-Renape / Lenape Metis Jack Forbes.)  And culturally, often these have been forced ‘underground,’ to largely assimilate to surrounding White or Black communities – though always retaining a certain distinctiveness, even if often uncertain to others or even themselves or their kin, or “hidden in plain sight” – unlike the ingenious blended Euro-Indian culture(s) of Metis in Canada.

THEN AGAIN, this US group thinks the solution isn’t to go along with the problem, but to challenge it head-on – “apply directly to the forehead,” so to speak! – not by simply joining the competition for a small or even shrinking pie, but with greater numbers to get the pie enlarged!  (They do perceive a need in the US Metis community similar to that in the Native-identified community.)  By some estimates one in three people in the U.S. has Native ancestry!  Imagine THAT Mixed-Blood Nation – 100 million registered voters!

In true Native fashion, one wants to honor “All My Relations.”  But how to do that – ah, that is politics!

Using Government for Partisan Purposes?

It’s being alleged in Canada that theocon minority pseudo-Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff leaked the information about the conversation between a Barack Obama aide and a Canadian diplomat in Chicago implying Obama’s tough talk on the North American Free Trade Agreement – wanting to amend it to help U.S. workers, or pull out(!) – was just talk.

‘There was another leak on Wednesday. CTV News — which tends to get leaks from the Tories as CBC tends to get leaks from the Liberals — reported that Barack Obama representatives had quietly told Canadian diplomats that the anti-NAFTA rhetoric being spun out in the Ohio Democratic primary is just rhetoric. When CTV broke the story, it was embarrassing to Mr. Obama, who faces voters in the make-or-break primary today.

According to ABC News, the story was leaked to CTV by Ian Brodie, Mr. Harper’s chief of staff. This angered the Democrats, who accused Canada’s Tories of interfering in their election to the benefit of Republican John McCain, although Hillary Clinton actually looks more likely to profit from this story.

Mr. Harper’s spokeswoman issued a denial, saying Mr. Brodie “doesn’t recall” leaking the story, which seems odd, since you’d think he could remember whether he leaked secret diplomatic talks just last week.

So, did Harper’s people hope to embarrass Mr. Obama by revealing his double-talk on NAFTA?’  {Emphasis added.}

If true, this behavior by the Harpies would cross the line that should exist between Her Majesty’s Canadian diplomatic corps and the partisan political process – not to mention once again  meddling in U.S. politics.  It dishonours The Crown, imperils diplomacy, endangers Canada(!), is filthy filthy dirty, and tries to glorify the party in “power” like the American republic does in the White House.  Canada’s Monarchy separates politics from the honourable duties of the Crown such as diplomacy; unlike the U.S., it’s said to be rare in Canada that diplomatic postings are doled out to big campaign donors or turfed incumbents of the “ruling” party.  If Canadian diplomats routinely sound-out U.S. candidates, it’s not to interfere – God knows U.S. anti-Canadianism would bite them in the rear – but to keep their masters informed of potential changes down here.  For Harper to politicize that diplomatic factfinding would be disgraceful and unbefitting the office of HM Canadian Prime Minister.

Moving-to-Canada humour (sic)

Yes, I’m not totally without a sense of humour about it….

An IBS pacemaker?

(UPDATE HERE.)

When your heart acts up, sometimes implanting a device that delivers occasional electrical shocks to it gets it to “straighten up and fly right.”  More recently they’ve been putting them in people’s brains for things like epilepsy.  What about what we used to call “spastic colon”?

Turns out they’re working on it (PDF)!  Muscles do what they do in response to electrical impulses from the nervous system.  Some researchers believe that in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, haywire impulses cause the muscles of the colon to act up, messing with how quickly or smoothly your fecal matter moves through, bringing on constipation and/or diarrhea, and the other symptoms.  They also believe they’ve helped IBS patients to manually administer helpful shocks to the end of their colons – the sigmoid colon – that restored normal function!

Since this report was published a few years ago, I’m surprised I haven’t come across it before now.  Maybe that means it didn’t pan out, or that it’s still in the pipeline, so to speak.  Contrary to what we’ve heard sometimes more recently, it can still take years for research to result in “approved” treatments … especially for IBS in the U.S., which isn’t taken as seriously here as in Canada or Europe. 😦

A “Canadian World Domination” Valentine

courtesy of The Wayback Machine.

BTW, I note alot of people are looking for them, and they have tons of web fans too (Google it!), but apparently they’ve disappeared into the past now, so TWM’s most recent version – from 2003?!! – appears to be reachable through the homepage link on that page (or TWM itself, of course, but I’ve already done the work for you!).

Generals Claire and Jenny, come back, the world needs you now more than ever!

As you can see in the quote box at the bottom of this page, my list of influential Canadians already in America – advance invaders, no doubt – left out a few names!!

Could a State join Canada?

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

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Métis are Legally Aboriginal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now how about other countries?!!

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

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

Why Canada’s Different, and Getting More Different

This quote I found here is related to that book a little while back on this topic:

While America was founded on the idea of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Canada’s constitution is dedicated to “peace, order, and good government,” a decidedly less individualistic, more community-minded stance, which explains Canada’s predisposition for “balancing individual autonomy with a sense of collective responsibility,” according to Adams.

The rampant individualism found in the US comes at the expense of security and stability. “[I]n an instant, illness, crime, or an injudicious investment portfolio can turn the proverbial American Dream into an outright nightmare,” Adams writes in “Who Are the Real Masters of Docility?,” an essay found on theglobalist.com.  As a result, “an ever greater proportion of America is clinging to old institutions — family, church, state … even gangs — as anchors in an increasingly chaotic world.”  Americans are seeking stability in traditional authorities: “a strong police force, a strong military, a strong nation, the President and Commander-in-Chief.”  Ironically, then, in this land of the free, people are afraid to explore new perspectives, new ways of living.

And from the article to which the above is a sidebar:

Sure, {Canada}’s a capitalist country and there’s competition, but it’s less ferocious, less cutthroatTrue, if rankings of Gross Domestic Product are any measure, the US is richer than Canada.  But Canada has a higher quality of life.

This isn’t in the first place Canada-worship on my part, but Classical Conservatism, aka progressive conservatism, aka Red Toryism, aka reason not ideology, pragmatism not experimentation (‘American pragmatism’? Hah!), the Common Good of everybody – all of us – not just MEMEME.

And Time magazine complains about Russia under Putin?!  Worry about real nascent(?) Fascism here!

“Club Paradise” and Monarchy

OK, I know this is a little weird….

Club Paradise was a diverting 1986 light comedy featuring Robin Williams, Peter O’Toole, a Twiggy wondrously evoking Olivia Newton-John, and a cast of thousands.  Williams goes in on a dive Caribbean would-be resort with Jimmy Cliff, who’s a “revolutionary” reggae singer on the side (a stretch, I know), trying to fight-off foreclosure by a crooked island Prime Minister who wants to turn it over to international developers who would build it all up and destroy “paradise.”

Here’s where Tiernan comes in.  When the PM thinks he’s gonna lose the deal, he declares martial law, mobilizes the island’s army, and there’s almost (mini) civil war – provoked by him.  Just as the PM and his forces are about to attack Williams and Cliff and Co. on a beach, here comes a few hundred (that’s all it takes apparently there) of the island’s common people to confront the out-of-control PM, and at their head is the island’s “representative of Her Britannic Majesty,” O’Toole, who rallied them.  O’Toole rides up on horseback in full viceregal regalia, ostrich plume(?!) and all, like something out of Gilbert and Sullivan, hops down, almost literally reads the PM the Riot Act, draws his own pistol, and threatens to blast the corrupt politician right between the eyes.  The PM backs down, especially when Williams draws his attention to his foreign developer-sponsors in their massive yacht sailing off to easier pickings – but O’Toole and the people were the linchpin of the whole scene: the delay they caused allowed the yacht to sail into view on its way … away … taking the wind out of the PM’s sails with it.

Now for housecleaning.  I missed the beginning of the movie when I saw it in rerun a few weeks ago, but this fictitious island of St. Nicholas seems to be an independent nation: the PM refers to “army” or “defence forces” or words to that effect, and they’re Black, not White Brits as one might expect in a movie if it were still being considered an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom (although certainly there are many non-Whites in the UK armed forces today).  So the “Governor” should’ve been titled “Governor-General,” as some U.S. reviews at the time corrected, and certainly all the Canadians involved in its production should’ve known well.*  Also, as a Caribbean Commonwealth Realm even in the 1980s, it probably would’ve had a Black GG, not a White Englishman whom Robin Williams repeatedly addressed as “Your Grace” – a Duke? a Bishop?! although maybe Williams’ character wasn’t expected to know that, as an American, and just made up the honorific.  Also, in a finer technicality, “Her Britannic Majesty” has nothing to do with her non-Britannic Realms; she is sometimes (rarely) referred to as “Her Canadian Majesty,” but in this case, “Her Nicolite Majesty” or something like that wouldn’t have meant anything to anybody, since it’s a fake place whose name was probably even forgotten by the original viewers by this point in the film (I only know about it because of the WWW!), nevermind its obscure adjectival form.  Finally, of course, none of HM’s viceregals is authorized to execute her errant Ministers without trial, nevermind personally!

Nevertheless, one Canuck analyst has called the Crown – and by extension, its viceregal representatives – “a constitutional fire-extinguisher,” meant to exercise authority personally in the event of some breakdown in governmental order.  (They could use one in Kenya about now.  As they once had.  Arguably, we could’ve used one before, during, and after the 2000 election, and since then.)  Now, St. Nicholas is also described in the movie as a Third-World country, and many of them have “martial law” provisions, so the Prime Minister might not have been technically breaking the law.  But in movies, for dramatic (or even tragicomic) effect, you can have GGs intervene even when the politician just has a seriously bad idea, like embroiling the nation in a civil war over a corrupt land deal, and when when the GG can rally most of the population in favor of calm and reason also.  Other constitutional alternatives would’ve been the island’s Parliament, or firing the PM, or even (presumably) refusing to sign the Order for Martial Law itself, and dealing with the fallout later.

But none of these would’ve been as much fun to watch!

Anyway, what was visibly dramatized for us was the ability of “symbols” and “figureheads” like The Queen and a Governor-General and a uniform on horseback and a system of tradition, to rally a nation in time of crisis, like chickenhawk W. couldn’t even do on 9/11 quite like “al Qaeda” itself did – even the ability of these things/persons to bring rogue politicians to their senses.

(*–Maybe the Canadians in the movie thought we ignorant Yanks would be confused by a “Governor-General” title, taking the “general” as a military role, undermining the sense of danger and drama from the martial law regime under just the PM.  Although the GG would probably be constituted Commander-in-Chief of the island’s Army in The Queen’s Name anyway – another finer point, one that I find some Canadians who should know better – nevermind actors and comedians – aren’t fully cognizant of.)

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.)

MLK Day

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

More on Norman Mailer’s “Left-Conservative”

I didn’t know he’d died.  God be good to him.

Anyway, this Google seems to hold some promise!  Looks like one will have to poke around a bit, if one is not familiar with him, like me.

Another take on Canada’s ‘conservative progressiveness’

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

I would just add a comment on this paragraph:

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

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

Stephen Harper is no Tory

This piece says a little more about what this blog is about.

U.S. liberals’ progressive conservatism(!)

To hear “conservative” politicians and “pundits,” we try to get government to help the needy, sick, and disabled, as a way of buying their votes, that is, bribing them.  Same with labor and workplace rules for workers and unions … public education for kids(?) and the teachers’ unions … a little more social justice, for city people’s, women’s, people of color’s, immigrants’, and gay people’s votes … reduced censorship and looser broadcast content guidelines for, well, pornographers’ and bohemians’ and atheists’ votes, I guess … Evolution and equality and compassion in said public schools, for, I dunno, Unitarians’, “social engineers’,” and wimps’ votes? … environmentalism for the treehuggers’, EarthFirsters’, and eco-terrorists’ votes … “well-regulated” firearms control for the “jack-booted thug” vote I guess? … and peace, for the huge Muslim vote in this country!

They talk as if we’ve all devoured the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, the Quran, Gustavo Gutierrez and Chairman Mao and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, all ‘baddies’ like that.  We’re all free-loving, swinging, acid-dropping, rock-and-roll-listening(!), non-breeding stereotypes from the ’60s – just like they sound!

With my own life’s study and observation, I think the large number of native-born Americans – I don’t have alot of in-depth exposure to Americans born elsewhere at this time – being American (small-R) republicans, *are* somewhat ‘ideological,’ very much attached to the words of this country’s individual liberties, to the vote (preferably free and clean and counted correctly – How hard is that?!), to the Constitution of 1787 as amended and generally as interpreted, and to our accustomed, historical/evolved form of Rationalized Capitalism.  I also think the large number of them, being what might be called center-left in social ethics(!), or such awful terms like ‘caring’ or ‘sensitive’ or ‘polite,’ also believe this status quo isn’t perfect yet, has generally been getting better through the labor of alot of people in our society over the years, and can always be tweaked and improved: “Our best days are yet to come.”  We care about the Common Good, generally for those worse-off than ourselves in this country and abroad, even those different from ourselves.  On a personal basis we are the most philanthropic in the world (though as I’ve said, that may be in part because morally we have to be, since per population or economy, our government is not; in any case, it’s not enough to meet the need and the Common Good).  We generally support fairness especially to those worse-off, even some extra help if they really need it and we can give it.  Our biggest problem is such a disconnect with our government that we always feel overtaxed, but when we’re correctly informed, we’re often even ready to adjust our stances in politics, economics, ecology, society, etc., not because we “flipflop,” but because we discover we didn’t know as much as we thought we did about this or that situation.  It’s a big country, after all, and an even bigger world!

Therefore, when our critics and (supposed) ‘betters’ accuse us of mere cynical angling for power for power’s sake, such charges are patently false.  We don’t wage “class war,” though some of us seek to *end* the one being waged against us!  And we certainly didn’t make up Global Warming because we thought it’d put us back in power, but we espouse doing what we can about it because we just don’t want the planet to FRY as much over the next couple thousand years!!!  I don’t want to engage in potentially false gainsaying, but in the era of Karl Rove, it seems our critics doth protest too much!

In fact, IOTM that the large number of native-born Americans display qualities of progressive conservatism or Red Toryism, of a kind not entirely unlike what I’m constantly discussing in this blog!  Obviously relatively few have studied the British, Canadian, and Australian constitutions and legal and political systems, or other comparative government, or consider themselves Monarchists at this time, or explicit critics so much of Classical Liberalism or Modernity, or, obviously, Orthodox Christians.  But this is only to be expected in an environment of over two centuries of school and media brainwashing.  But the large number of native-born Americans show signs of convinceability, if the truth, the facts, the history and the causes of things, can be gotten out to them, and they can be reminded to think carefully before they vote or lobby, and to remember that what unites us is far greater than whatever may be perceived as dividing us.  Their real ‘conservatism’ manifests itself as it is able, in a country where we exiled or suppressed our true Classical Conservatism, and where heartless, brainless, even unFaithful and traitorous actions masquerade under the name of “conservatism” today.  Actually, as I recently read someone else suggest, we are the ones, in the absence of any other relatively-viable alternative at this time, seeking to ‘conserve’ what good there may be from the republic as described above, while our critics and ‘betters’ defy the agreed Constitution, undermine its interpretation, neuter Congress and the States, and risk “World War 3” several times over, in the last few years alone.

Which is why I blog.

OTOH, our critics are the ones who show signs of blind faith in innovative, false, artificial, unrealistic, inhumane, lethal, unChristian, Classically Liberal and Modernist ideologies … of hypocrisy, cynical manipulation, divisiveness, and incivility … of sinister agenda on behalf of a minority of vested interests … of moral and ethical corruption … of military, foreign policy, fiscal, and intelligence-management malfeasance, misfeasance, and/or nonfeasance … of lost Sovereignty over our own and other countries’ created corporations … of “voodoo economics” which basically are the single biggest cause of most of our people’s real material problems for the whole last generation, such as increased hunger and homelessness, falling wages and health-care coverage and assistance to the needy, rampant profiteering and offshoring instead of the promised reinvestment of corporate and wealthy tax giveaways, etc.

Mixed-Blood/Mixed-Race artists

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

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

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

THIS JUST IN: GW: Canuck theocons to derail Bali?

Sounds really possible.

Global Warming: Heat already worldwide killer

According to the senior climatologist for Environment Canada, already and for many years, heat has been the most lethal weather phenomenon worldwide (though cold up there … for now….).  It’s Question 13 on this Toronto Star weather quiz, and includes video commentary from himself.

Obit: First Nations “Picasso,” shaman

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

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

The truth about Carolyn Parrish

She was the Canadian Member of Parliament who, we’re to believe, was a witchy, bitchy, shrill (you know: all the stereotypes) anti-American, went ballistic on a W. doll, and after Washington pressure was booted from the parliamentary Liberal Party just before they themselves (just barely, for all their troubles) fell from power.

Believe it or not – horrors! – it was all overblown.  This is just Wikipedia, but it looks pretty factual, not much commentary for or against there.  And if you peruse the famous(?) video from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, it looks to me like the business with the voodoo doll was set-up by the show, not her, and she’s actually back-pedaling from her harshest past comments (seen in the cue-cards).

Now, I know nothing about her politics apart from criticism of Bushie war-mongering, and invoking a Cuomo Doctrine in opposing same-sex marriage (‘personally supportive, but my constituents oppose it,’ like former New York Catholic Governor Mario Cuomo’s “personally opposed to abortion but don’t feel I can impose my religious views on others”).

So I’m just saying, she was railroaded, at White House bidding.  A better U.S. foreign policy would be to try to make peace with whomever is in foreign governments, rather than trying to change them, especially when they’re reasonably-democratically elected (or constitutionally succeeded, in the case of Monarchs) … and OURS AREN’T!!!  It used to be called diplomacy.

Introducing Britain’s healthcare system

In ‘honour’ of Mike Moore‘s SiCKO coming out on DVD just in time for the holidays (give it to someone who needs it!):

“[S]ocialised medicine is not just a hallmark of a decent society, but economically rational as well. If one leaves behind capitalist-romantic theories about private-sector efficiency and looks at real-world privatised medicine, which may be observed in America, it is an obvious disaster. It is vastly more expensive and delivers mediocre results outside of luxury care. Britain spends about 1/3 the money per person and we have public health statistics roughly equivalent to America. Except for the fact that the bottom 1/4 of our population is vastly healthier.”

Who said this?:

Sorry, it was no less “conservative” a source than the fascist* British National Party!

One phrase I don’t see in the Wikipedia article on Britain’s National Health Service (linked just above) is “two-tier system,” even though those with money are perfectly free to pay to see docs ‘on the side,’ or “jump the queue” as they put it.  This I know is a concern in Canada, maybe elsewhere too.  Maybe it’s not seen as a problem in Britain, or not done alot, or not needed alot; I don’t know.

Speaking of France’s health-care system….  A few more details about it that Mike couldn’t work-into the movie … though I’m not sure I trust insurance companies, eh?  And Mike didn’t pick-up that even before W.-soundalike Sarkozy came to power in France, they were moving away from Mike’s iconic nanny-laundry setup, tragically.

Now Mike is pushing Norway (scroll down for video)Not bad, but lots of co-pays, plus it’s still married to the employer-employee system (PDF), which is a pain in the rear.  (Though a couple years ago I heard a theocon radio “host” claim that in Norway, the mothers look hotter than the daughters … and I’m getting to be an age where I might appreciate that!!!)

Maybe the Brits are still The Bomb after all…!

(*–Naturally, they deny the “fascism” charge.  Judge for yourself here and here.  Not that it matters, since they have a snowball’s chance of attracting anything besides sensationalistic “news” coverage….)


Looking at the tail-end of the Nightwatchman video on Mike’s site linked above, the scenes from Cuba, reminded me that it’s not a matter of national wealth, just national will.  Cuba is virtually cut-off from the outside world, remember?  And whatever the shortcomings of the Castro government, they’re kicking our ass when it comes to health care for those who need it in their country and overseas!Between Cuban doctors and Venezuelan Citgo oil, who’s really helping the needy around here???

Know Your Canadian History

“Know know know…know know know know know know…know know know know…know know know know know know…”

Some of these questions are gimmes, and sometimes the accompanying pictures give it away, but it’s an education nonetheless!

Indian Lieutenant-Governor for British Columbia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ontario Elections: Funding “Christian” private schools?

That’s one proposal of the province’s Progressive Conservative Party.  I’m not there, and don’t have time to research the matter more fully, but here’s the PCs’ page on it, here’s the Liberals’, and here’s another groups’, pro-funding.  The Liberals seem to fear diverting funding from currently-funded schools with less demand, such as in rural areas or Francophone communities.

First of all, I take exception to the proponents differentiating “Catholic” and “Christian/faith-based”: Catholics consider themselves Christian and faith-based, even if conservative Protestants don’t, so that’s a bad sign right there.  And this cursory examination leads me to believe we’re mostly talking about conservative Protestants, not primarily Jewish or Muslim schools like they’re making it out to be: could this be a “Tory” sop to their new Reform / Alliance constituency?  I don’t know about Catholic schools in Canada, but as a child I got *my* anti-Protestantism outside of parochial school; what are Ontario “faith-based” schools teaching their students about Catholicism, I wonder?  I can only guess….

Second and not unrelated, they forget that where there’s a Catholic school system, the non-Catholic school system in a Protestant-majority province is already Protestant, at least traditionally, though probably a bit more diverse today than in former generations in Old “Orange” Ontario.  Just like in Northern Ireland.  In both places minority Catholics didn’t want Protestantism pushed on their kids.  So is this an intra-Protestant struggle after all’s said and done?

Thirdly, concern about Muslim education in this volatile time is not necessarily misplaced, especially with Saudi Arabia exporting Wahabbism to North America.  And what do Jewish schools teach about Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims, Christians (of all sects), etc.?  I honestly don’t know: maybe they’re OK, especially in Canada, especially in Ontario.

All that said, I prefer another approach for here in the States: let’s fund ALL education – child-care, pre-school, primary, secondary, tertiary, graduate, religious, not-explicitly-religious, secular, atheist, liberal, technical, vocational – except that promoting (or teachers or sponsoring organizations / sects / clergy promoting) racism, bigotry, violence, intolerance, misogyny, bullying, and (violent) revolution or war against the United States or its treatied allies, and possibly, explicit parish / congregational ministry training (eg, priests / pastors / rabbis / imams as such, preachers for whom that is their only job or training, unlicensed religious counselors, missionaries / proselytizers, youth ministers, etc.).  Let’s hold that this doesn’t constitute “an establishment of religion.”

Does this approach help the Ontario discussion any?

What will happen in a Little Ice Age?

If Global Warming shuts down the Gulf Stream – not currently expected this century, but very possibly in the 22nd – will we have mile-high glaciers as far south as the Mid-Atlantic United States, the Upper Midwest, etc.?  Ocean waves freezing in mid-surge in New York Harbor?

I’m no scientist, but from what I’m reading, they’re talking in terms of a “Little Ice Age,” maybe not even this bad, but similar to just one “year without a summer,” and apparently ‘only’ restricted to Western Europe – though I have to think Eastern North America as well, since the Gulf Stream influences weather there also.

IOW, perhaps liveable climatically, but damned unpleasant even for the hardiest hockey fan!

But combine reduced agricultural output there with that coming from Peak Oil and the end of petro-fertilizer, and that could be more than unpleasant!

Fight Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Obesity: Eat less!

(Those of us who are able, that is.)

Drink less non-human animal milk, too.  (Unless you need what’s in it, like calcium, and can’t find it anywhere else.)

See, factory farming on land – cows, pigs, chickens, etc. – may be America’s Number One source of Greenhouse Gases.  Factory farming in water – many seafoods – is a very bad scene for other reasons: diseases, unhygienic, pollution, etc.  But demand for flesh-foods of all kinds is going through the roof, with big parts of the Third World (China, India, etc.) now ‘coming online’ in that regard.  And many natural fisheries are already in danger of being ‘fished out.’  Hence, we need to eat less of all flesh foods.

But substituting plant foods is problematic because the recent “Green Revolution” was mainly wrought by petro-fertilizers, and they’re going the way of the dinosaurs, so more plants is not an option.  And I think letting GMOs out into the planetary gene pool – eg, to increase crop yields or selected nutrients that way – is way too big a threat without knowing the long-term and even very-long-term consequences; we’ve only got one planet folks!  (For now.)*  And increasing arable land by burning forest adds carbon dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases to the atmosphere, and takes away trees that help remove these gases from the atmosphere.

Hence, eat less of everything if we can.

Obviously people with eating disorders who don’t eat enough, or with malnutrition or simply true hunger (vs. psychologically-induced pseudo-hunger) or certain health problems, or perhaps who are elderly and/or frail, etc., shouldn’t worry about this.  But the rest of us, especially the 2/3 of Americans who are overweight (Canadians and Brits are up there too), could use this for extra motivation, if overeating is a problem.

Also, let’s not stop partying, people!  But is every meal a party? every supper?  Not where I come from!!!

And let’s not cold-turkey it and drive ourselves crazy and set ourselves up for failure.  Perhaps a good program to start with/build up to (in the beginning) is the Orthodox Church’s “fasting” schedule.  (That’s “abstaining,” for you Catholics and High Church Protestants.)  Most Wednesdays and Fridays of the year, the 40 days before Christmas, the 40 days before Holy Week, Holy Week itself, the period between Pentecost and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29), the first half of August, and a few other “fast” days throughout the year.  (Old Calendar or New Calendar.)  Before I became Orthodox, but was considering it, I was told I shouldn’t try to fast; spiritually it wasn’t a good idea.  But I see no reason why people not currently considering Orthodoxy couldn’t adopt some or all of its fasting practices as a simple eating program.  Like I’ve said, Orthodox “ascesis” may turn out to be a great idea for the whole human race and the earth!  Fortunately or unfortunately, the decentralized structure of the Orthodox Church means there is not in every sense a uniform practice of fasting.  I could point you to websites that might seem to conflict, or in going overboard in describing the strictest forms of the fast may discourage and demoralize.  What you might want to do is consult an Orthodox parish near you; I’m sure they’d be glad to help!

(*–An experimental community should move to a bubble-enclosed island and mess around with GMOs for a few centuries to make sure they’re safe.  I mean it.  Otherwise, we could f— ourselves for good!)

Least Arctic ice ever; “NW Passage” thru Canadian internal waters!

This AOL News link will break.

Actually ISTM they could keep the “passage” open year-round by running enough ships through there to keep it from re-freezing, ever.  Not that I wanna give them ideas or anything, but surely it’s already been thought of.  Screw the polar bears, screw the environment, screw Canada.

This is separate from “who owns the Arctic Ocean.”  [“Who owns an ocean?” That’s greed!]  Every map since the French and Indian War has depicted the Far North of North America as belonging to Britain, or now Canada.  The inhabitants of the islands north of the Canadian mainland regard themselves as Canadian citizens, and always have.  But Washington says it doesn’t recognize Canadian sovereignty even there… without saying who they think does have it… surely not the U.S.?!?!?!  But the Bushies will provoke a war even with our best friends, Canada!

American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man

Did you ever hear of this?!!  According to Wikipedia, it’s considered binding on the U.S. and Canada, as members of the Organization of American States who haven’t signed-on to the equally obscure American Convention on Human Rights.  But even the Declaration is pretty darn progressive!  There’s even an Inter-American Court and a Commission on Human Rights….

Seems to me these things could be used against Gitmo, torture, rendition, spying without warrant, and all the Bushies’ other human rights crimes!

Guess those Latin Americans know a thing or two of what they’re doing here!

Still think Canada is like the U.S.?

Is there much quite like this combination of pictures, south of the 49th parallel and north of the Caribbean?!!

(BTW, I believe it’s skirl of the pipes, not swirl!  Google has over a thousand of the former and only 300 of the latter, so I think that settles it! 😉 )