Debt Ceiling/Shutdown, and real journalism

I was a serious journalist a long time ago, inspired by Woodstein, Geraldo’s Bellevue expose, and 60 Minutes.  So I HATED doing press-release news and he said/he said.  But that’s all we get from mainstream news these days, not just broadcast/cable but also newspapers.  I guess you can’t get paid to tell THE TRUTH anymore, like this piece of debunking Reaganite mythology that underlies Republican government shutdown threats, and even Democratic compliance.

Journalism used to be called “the rough draft of history” or “the first draft of history” (or more correctly, of historiography).  Today it’s not even that — at least I hope not!

Lumbee Indians near Federal Recognition

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

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

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

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

Terror, Health care

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

THE QUESTION IS MOOT!

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

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

Black Indians at Smithsonian

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

Here’s the exhibit’s website.

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

Socialism

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

How soon we forget.

“Czars”

An adviser is not a czar, at least not as the term was used when the nation’s first Secretary of Energy had grouped under his authority numerous formerly-independent executive agencies, or the first Secretary of Education similarly, or the first “Director of National Intelligence,” or “Secretary of Homeland Security” (didn’t they used to call that “defense”?!?!?!).

An adviser has no direct power; a “czar” has LOTS of power.  If you have LOTS of “czars,” that’s a contradiction, because their power is diluted.

Go back to the dictionary, fascists.  “Are advisers unamerican?”  Only if an “American” President is required to be an expert in every area of government or administration!  I used to think they were electing a National Pastor, but now it seems they want to elect a god!!!  Now that’s “godless”!

As for “dictatorial style,” look to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; as for “secrecy,” look to Cheney’s secret energy policy meetings we’re still trying to get to the bottom of.

Irish Jacobitism/Legitimism?

A fascinating discussion here!  I’m not sure I buy it all, whether as an Irishman, an Indigenous person (whether of North America or of Ireland/Europe), or a half-baked Red Tory … even an Orthodox Christian … but intriguing reading and thinking.  I may have to re-read it.

We hold this truth to be self-evident

The opening line of the U.S. unilateral Declaration of Independence of 1776, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” ISN’T!  If they’re self-evident, you don’t have to say you hold them to be so: they simply are so.  “The lady doth protest too much, methinks!”  Certainly they went on to deprive myriads of their fellow Colonial residents, Native Americans, and Africans of their “unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”….

Was England’s claim to N. America pre-empted by Norway?

At its recent Church convention, the Episcopal Church of the United States, traditionally America’s branch of the Anglican Communion, denounced the late-medieval “Discovery Doctrine” which encouraged / justified (Western) Christian nations’ annexation and exploitation of newly-discovered non-Christian lands, nations, peoples, and persons.  This appears to be at this time an unofficial or ‘semifinal’ version of the adopted resolution, minus the strikeouts.  They also call on the Successor of one royal perpetrator of this legal doctrine, in her capacity as “Supreme Governor” of their Sister Church, the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II, to also repudiate it … for their government lobbyists to press overturning this legal basis for a kind of suzerainty over Native American Tribes with the U.S. Government … and for their member dioceses and adherents to support Tribes’ struggles for their God-given rights as Indigenous Nations.

As Wikipedia relates, this “doctrine” backed-up Western European overlordship of Indigenous Peoples not previously Christianized.  Commonly it was considered for the “heathens’ ” own good, as well as providing cover for all the depredations Indigenous have suffered at their hands and those of their “legal successors,” including the United States, down to the present.  More to the point, also for the seizure of their lands and resources, especially all the gold that was rumored to be here.  I don’t know enough about the claimed legalities beyond this, for Spanish- and Portuguese-claimed territories … but for English, “the rule of law,” i.e., the English Common Law, eventually developed at least a legal fiction of respect for existing inhabitants of lands they were interested in acquiring, as having actual legal rights to or in those lands, as long as they lived in them — rights to which ambitious English rulers and explorers needed to at least pay lip-service.  (Remember, this is the system wherein the lawyer asks his client, “What do you WANT the law to say?”!)  This was an evolving thing, as I’ve said previously here.

American relevance was nailed down (supposedly) by Chief Justice John Marshall in an 1823 case.  He stated that on the plot of land at issue, in Illinois, England/Great Britain had “discovered” and taken precedence over the Natives, whether directly or by treaty(!) from France, and the United States succeeded to British “rights” therein.  Therefore, Native Nations had limited rights to their own lands and resources, Britain/America having ultimate determining legal authority, at least vis a vis other European powers.  The idea included reducing the Europeans’ habit of going to war with each other; Indigenous didn’t matter!  (Though England came preferring to acquire their rights by “treating with them,” i.e., treaties — even if these, too, often became “legal fictions”!)

Here’s Marshall’s language I want to focus on (emphasis added by me):

The states of Holland also made acquisitions in America and sustained their right on the common principle adopted by all Europe. They allege, as we are told by Smith in his History of New York, that Henry Hudson, who sailed, as they say, under the orders of their East India Company, discovered the country from the Delaware to the Hudson, up which he sailed to the 43d degree of north latitude, and this country they claimed under the title acquired by this voyage.

Their first object was commercial, as appears by a grant made to a company of merchants in 1614, but in 1621 the States General made, as we are told by Mr. Smith, a grant of the country to the West India Company by the name of New Netherlands.

The claim of the Dutch was always contested by the English — not because they questioned the title given by discovery, but because they insisted on being themselves the rightful claimants under that title. Their pretensions were finally decided by the sword.

No one of the powers of Europe gave its full assent to this principle more unequivocally than England. The documents upon this subject are ample and complete. So early as the year 1496, her monarch granted a commission to the Cabots to discover countries then unknown to Christian people and to take possession of them in the name of the King of England. Two years afterwards, Cabot proceeded on this voyage and discovered the continent of North America, along which he sailed as far south as Virginia. To this discovery the English trace their title.

In this first effort made by the English government to acquire territory on this continent we perceive a complete recognition of the principle which has been mentioned. The right of discovery given by this commission is confined to countries “then unknown to all Christian people,” and of these countries Cabot was empowered to take possession in the name of the King of England. Thus asserting a right to take possession notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and at the same time admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery.

Here’s the problem: Since around the Millennium, North America* had been “known to the Christian people” of Norway, as mentioned here.  The Norse main settlements were in Greenland.  But knowledge of the lands to Greenland’s west is undeniable from approximately then, which was about the same time those colonists became Christians.  Even if you give no credence whatsoever to my foster-kinsman St. Brendan, Carthaginian Early Christian monks in Connecticut, the alleged succession of Catholic Titular (absentee) Bishops of the village of Gardar, Greenland and Vinland, and as-yet-undiscovered Icelandic Sagas, etc etc etc, living knowledge came down to the first Lutheran bishop of Greenland before he attained to that title by venturing there in 1721 in hopes of rescuing the many-centuries-old and long-isolated colony from Catholicism(!–or Orthodoxy!!) or apostasy … not finding them (as far as he knew!) … and setting out to evangelize the Native Inuit (Eskimos) instead(!).

But Britain did not treat with Norway or Norway’s sometime sovereign Denmark for any of its North American rights (under European law), nor did it acquire them “by the sword.”  Now, it is not currently known that any Norse (or their Mixed-Blood descendants) survived here until 1492 or ’96.  However, the Cabots’ charter did not say, as later English ones, “not actually possessed by any Christian prince,” merely “unknown to all Christian people.”  Christian Norway’s “knowledge” of this northern landmass may have been obscure at that time, but it was knowledge:  Norway “discovered” North America before England did!

So what?  As one commentator to the story at the website of the newspaper Indian Country Today reminds us all,

Just better be careful that you don’t also overturn our sovereignty while overturning Johnson v. M’Intosh. Too many times, an unideal but working scenario gets scrapped when ‘reformers’ come in and start changing things. I present as evidence term limits, ‘independent’ legislative redistricting and other such ‘reform’ scenarios that have contributed mightily to the current state of ideological gridlock that grips both federal and state governing bodies.

I know enough about law and history, and more about courts, judges, lawyers, and politicians, to take this counsel seriously!  Also, although today Norway is a rather politically correct place, who knows about the future?  Is it a case of The Devil You Know over The Devil You Don’t Know?!  Though it might be interesting to see Washington and Ottawa have to re-negotiate their independence with PC Oslo!

One might say that Norway has never pressed its claim, challenging Britain, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, or anybody else.  But with the discovery of the Sagas and their settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, in a possibly-improving climate of International Law and politics, especially Norway being a NATO ally of both the U.S. and Canada (and let’s remember the last bits of New France), Norway itself may have a “Native Claim” needing respect and recompense!  Even the US Supreme Court awarded huge money to the Lakota for the Black Hills!

No one ever said the ‘Piskies don’t know how to make life interesting sometimes!!!  😉

(*–Presuming Marshall is associating Spanish and Portuguese “discoveries” with OFF North America.)

Biggest defeat of U.S. forces ever

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

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

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

Virtual Poll Tax disenfranchises lower-class voters

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

They’re even politicizing Halloween!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberals for States’ Rights!

Yes, it’s true!

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

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

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

“Town Destroyer” equals Genocide

The Iroquois nickname for George Washington, supposedly from his behavior towards non-combatants among Native Nations that sided with the Crown in the Revolutionary War.  War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, all part of Settler America’s (not-so-)revolutionary heritage.

Happy Columbus Day.

America’s real Independence Day

April 9, the day in 1784 that King George III ratified the Treaty of Paris, effectively granting the 13 provinces (colonies) independence.

North America before the makeover

A monetary-reform approach to the crisis

From monetary reformer Stephen Zarlenga, Mrs. Kucinich’s old boss.  [Wow, what a makeover!  I liked her better before….]

(Hey, I just realized something: We have debit cards, and debt cards!!!  Imagine if we called them that: I guess that’s why we don’t!!!)

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.

America’s King’s Birthday

I missed it, but June 4 is the birthday of ‘British America’s’ *  last actually-reigning Sovereign, King George III, as currently recounted on the Gregorian Calendar.  (He was born under the Old Calendar.)  He was ill-advised regarding Ireland, like most of his predecessors and successors, and a little delusional regarding America.  But insofar as America suffered at all – and not just one in five, or fewer, the rebels with vested socioeconomic interests (ie, not in the Common Good) – ISTM it was mostly owing to the immoderation of homeland politicians’ legislation, eg, a tax on every damn piece of paper?!!!

The late Marc Chaitlin commemorated his birthday from a U.S. monarchist and constitutional-legitimist perspective shortly before his own passing (text-search “birthday” – without quotation marks – here).

God be good to both of them … and to the victims of George’s politicians.

(*–That is to say, south of Canada!)

Natives lose on Atkins?

I’m wary of posting anything about certain kinds of extreme diets some experts claim are dangerous, so take this for what it may be worth:

After one year on a low carbohydrate diet, 60 members of the Namgis First Nation community of Alert Bay, [British Columbia,] have begun to reap some very positive health benefits.

Confounding diet experts and Health Canada….  Benefits that include weight losses and even reversals of diabetes.

Weight problems and above average incidents of diabetes are all to[o] common in the aboriginal communities of Canada.

The problems can be directly linked to the fact that traditional diets have in most part been superseded by the modern high fat diets of the industrialized world.

Two Africas

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

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

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

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

Just wondering.

“With Islam there is no coercion in religion”

Not to be unduly provocative, but North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Minor used to be pretty much all Christian.  Where are they all now?  I’m not talking the last couple generations, but basically since the 7th century AD!  The Arabs burst out of Saudi asking them if they were saved?!!!  I don’t think so.  If the Pope of Rome could apologize, why not others?

This isn’t bigotry, just historic facts.

Elitists II

I’ve got news for ya.  America’s been in the hands of “elitists” since they wrested it out of the hands of King George III!  OTOH, is the Queen an elitist?!

“Business” in America’s roots

The Kings of Great Britain should’ve expected trouble when they colonized the Atlantic coast with “proprietors” and “corporations”!  Was this any improvement over feudalism, granting colonies to worthy nobles in fief to help preserve the nature of British society like ‘at home’?  These corporations – like all originally – were a way for the Crown to pool wealth it didn’t have or wish to expend on the project, but still wished the project to go forward.  But as even Tom Jefferson knew, corporations suck-in power like a Black Hole – and so now we have them basically ruling the planet over and above the sovereign powers that created them and theoretically keep them alive by mere sovereign prerogative.

Of course, promoting an economic model for colonization, rather than a more ‘wholistic,’ cultural, multifaceted, inclusive, realistic one – I’m sure other models were possible besides feudalism (even a ‘modernized’ version) if that offends you – meant it was only a matter of time before enough ignoble wealthy perpetrated a “hostile takeover” – read coup d’etat – of the colonies.  Today we’re still “plantations” – Plantation America – if seemingly better taken-care-of than their ones elsewhere in the world – better-deluded, better-bribed, better-pacified, whatever.  Ironically, the late Marc Chaitlin claimed even the branches of the federal government, and the (small-R) republican “states,” were themselves fake “corporations,” especially in his collection of essays, The Constitution Papers – corporations designed to oppress us and exploit the land.

Just like the original ones, only far, far worse, and unchecked.  Talk about “absolutism.”

Channel Island abandoning Feudalism?

That’s what media are saying (this news link will go stale), but I don’t believe they are correct to say so.  The heart of feudalism, or manorialism if you like, is the combination of holding land from and closely regulated by, the feudal lord (in this case, the Seigneur of the Isle of Sark) … and the obligation of service to him or her by those who hold their property from him or her.  The reforms will replace a legislative body made up mostly of the 40 main “tenants” ex officio (out of a current permanent population of 600) with one of 28 totally elected councilmembers.  But land tenure will be unchanged, and apparently the 40 main tenants will still be obligated to keep “muskets” to provide the first line of defense of the Isle, not unlike Switzerland’s requirement (not “right” as claimed in the U.S.) to keep and bear arms [for civilian defense, not revolution!]

One of the lesser-known “services” also required of feudal tenants was Counsel, advice.  So whether that counsel is provided by ex officio landholders or elected representatives of *all* the landholders doesn’t change the feudal system.  (As the sources say, there are two kinds of landholdings on Sark, the 40 main original and largest ones, and a number of smaller, newer ones, with traditionally fewer rights and obligations.)  Actually, electing hereditary representatives is not unprecedented in ‘the British system’: after suborning the Irish (Protestant) Parliament to merge itself into the British Parliament in the 1800s, Irish Protestant noblemen elected “representative peers” to the House of Lords, rather than theoretically admitting all of them to that House; and since Tony Blair’s “reforms” in the 1990s *all* United Kingdom hereditary peers elect 90-some of their number to the House of Lords for the time being (though the “ruling” Labour Party anticipates abolishing a hereditary right to sit in that House before long, though allowing those who also have Life Peerages to sit there, and others to run and vote for the powerful House of Commons like they traditionally could not – because they are not Commoners).

So democracy is no more incompatible with “feudalism” as it remains on Sark, than it is with certain forms of Monarchy itself, as in many First World countries.  In fact, think of Sark as a tiny subordinate monarchy: the Seigneur holds the whole Isle on loan from the Queen, conditioned upon annual rent of something like five dollars U.S. (the rate hasn’t been inflated since Queen Elizabeth I originally made the grant over 400 years ago) and maintenance of a first-line defense arrangement – the guys with the “muskets.”  The only way Sark’s “feudalism” could be abolished under Her Majesty’s Monarchy as currently constituted there would be if the Queen revoked the Seigneur’s tenancy of the Isle, or abolished the Seigneurship as it were.

Although, remember that the Queen is considered to legally own nearly all of the land in her Realms.  *All* “landowners” merely hold their property from her; hence the Sovereign right of Eminent Domain, which of course is asserted by all sovereign States, including the American States, not only Monarchies.*  This is a worldwide remnant of feudalism, although under Rule of Law, the sovereign power should only be used according to previously-publicly-passed and written-down laws or well-known/attested custom, and property’s ostensible “owners” actually own real rights in respect of the land, which the sovereign power is considered required to honor.  So the situation on Sark is not different in genus, only in species, so to speak, from that elsewhere in the UK or even in the US.

Why do I care?  The coverage of the Sark reforms is yet another manifestation of the historical and constitutional ignorance that plagues much of the English-speaking world, within and outside the Commonwealth, imperiling not only the Monarchy there but the legal tradition itself, everywhere.  If law becomes merely what ignorant or partisan judges or politicians say it is, they will ride roughshod right over the rest of us, just like has been happening in the U.S. since 12/12/00 (PDF).  And if WE are ignorant, or successfully fed propaganda by the likes of Rupert Murdoch/Sky News/Fox News, or his Sarkese comrades the Barclay brothers, we will let them.  And the biggest threat to our freedoms will have come not from abroad, but from right here at home – right inside each of our countries.

And now for something completely different … if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve earned it. 😉

(*–In America the “sovereign” is considered to be the people of the State … though as I always say, If everybody’s sovereign, nobody’s sovereign – or the sovereignty is being usurped by one or a few, known or unknown!)

Tsars, Serfs, and the West

One of the worst charges laid at the feet of the Tsars (Emperors) of Russia by Western and Western-influenced critics is considered to be possibly the largest, harshest, and latest-ending system of serfdom the world has ever seen.  What these Westerners don’t tell us is that making Ukraine and vicinity “the breadbasket of Europe” came at a price to most of the Russian people.  As this Wikipedia article points out, Eastern Europe was Western Europe’s first source of cash crops, a practice which of course the West later exported over much of the Earth because it worked so well … for the West!

Serfdom declined in Western Europe because of peasant rebellions, the Plague, Enclosure of the Commons (a great Crime Against Humanity), industrialization, the growth of wage labor even in agriculture (you win some, you lose some!), urbanization, etc.  So they effectively transferred it to Eastern Europe!  They off-shored it!  Eastern landowners, nobles, and monarchs shamefully turned to the profits available in exporting cash crops to the West, and so had to hold on to their own peasantry, in some cases well into the 19th century.

The Banana Republic Phenomenon gives us an idea what they would’ve faced if they’d balked at such abjection.  So do, more recently, it is alleged by many, the current Oil Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  But the West blames the Tsars, Orthodoxy, Eastern “backwardness,” “need / desire for strong leaders,” and all that other claptrap, when it needs to paint the system from which it benefited so much – which probably saved its life, since without food you die – as bad.  This is not different from the Western Powers blaming “Balkanization” on the Balkans, after the West has spent over 200 years trying to dissolve that region into smaller and smaller statelets.  (The newest, Kosovo, is “slightly larger than Delaware,” for crying out loud!)  Or blaming Indian Tribes for behavior akin to Banana Republics after setting them up on the worst land on the continent, eviscerating their cultures, imposing non-traditional (small-R) republican governments on them, then reinvading them for mineral resources when these are discovered, just like the Third World!!!!!

What’s the definition of a legal mind?: the ability to think about something intimately related to something else, without thinking about the thing to which it’s related!  IOW, Compartmental Thinking, that great gift of Western Christianity to the world, which has allowed the West to basically rape the planet and commit the worst crimes, absolve itself of blame, and in fact turn the blame onto its victims!!!!!

Miscegenation

…is an unfortunate word, because it starts with “mis,” which in other vocabulary denotes something negative.  The actual Latin root is miscere, to mix, pronounced “MEE-sheh-reh” (unless it’s a Latin long-E, in which case it’s “mee-SHAY-reh,” I can’t tell for sure).  It’s not “mis”-anything, although it’s been treated that way in U.S. racialism – including some States’ laws (until a 1967 Supreme Court ruling) – for centuries.  The “sc” version of to mix is preserved in the Irish Gaelic word for Metis, meascach.  (Irish and Latin are both Indo-European languages.)

McCain’s Hundred Years’ War

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

Is it too late to bring back Bill Richardson?!

Nader go home

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

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

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

Kosovo independence

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

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

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

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

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

A woman or Black president?

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

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

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

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

Fight back, Drive 55.

Nepal going down American road

The facts contained within this account sound extremely familiar to readers of this blog and critics of U.S. history and the “American Revolution”!  From decompensating government, regions, and society, to the dubious claims of democracy of the politicians and ‘revolutionaries,’ it’s 1776 all over again, tragically.

Is it too late for the Nepalese people to rescue their nation from false ideology, and reach perhaps a better settlement with the otherwise soon-to-be-deposed King?  Hopefully they will not make the mistake of the American Loyalists and wait for His Majesty to make all the moves: King Gyanendra’s hands are tied unless he knows he has the people behind him, even to take action – perhaps “People Power” style? – to save the day. 

There’s an “election” scheduled, supposedly to manage the transition to a Republic – a decision already made ‘for’ the people and nation by the power-hungry elites, some of whom, the “Maoists,” have been waging actual war for years.  But if this “election” only includes “allowed” parties and candidates, how different will it be from the coups d’etat that usurped the Crown and Sovereignty of the American Colonies a couple centuries ago.

Speaking of Jonah

When I linked to the opening of the Book of the Prophet of Jonah in the previous post, I had deja vu about his line, “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; their wickedness has come up before me,” which only goes to show that Quakers should read their Bibles more.

Quaker founder George Fox once felt a divine impulse to go to the English town of Litchfield and cry out repeatedly, “Woe unto the bloody city of Litchfield!”  He even had a vision of the streets flowing with blood.  IIRC (I can’t seem to find the account of it with which I am familiar at this time), he claimed to have learned at a later time that that town claimed a number of “martyrs” – though merely Christian, or Protestant, I don’t remember – hence “bloody.”

Is it too much to think that a man of whom it was said that if the printed Bible had been lost, it could be reconstructed from his preaching, was inspired even by that most comic-book of Scriptures, Jonah?

Time/Putin, ‘the rest of the story’

With apologies to Paul Harvey, this commenter on another blog offers useful counterpoint to the Bu’ushist propaganda we’re getting on Russian President Vladimir Putin from Time Magazine and other sources official and (supposedly) unofficial.  Prior commitments delay any analysis I may contribute here myself on Time’s “Person of the Year” edition.

By way of preview (maybe), I don’t wanna channel Samuel Huntington here, but Russia IS different from the Catholic (Latin) and Protestant West, the Rationalized Capitalist West, the earlier-industrialized – and longer-suffering therefrom – West, the Classical Liberal West, etc. … and many Russians like the difference overall!  You know what Russians have always called contiguous land to their west?: EUROPE!  Now, (Western) geologists consider the ethnic heartland of Russia part of the continent of Europe, but Russians have always been conscious of a difference, Westernizing influences of such Western “heroes” as Peter and Catherine “the Great” – equally “Autocrats” with Ivan the Stern (whom the West never fails to call “Terrible”), Nicholas II, and everyone else in-between – notwithstanding.  But seemingly even “neocons” think a little autocracy, pogrom, persecution, purge, repression, national betrayal, apostasy, anti-democracy, etc., in pursuit of Westernization – or at least pro-Americanism – is AOK – just like in newly-Democratic Iraq, newly-Democratic Palestine, newly-Democratic Afghanistan, Democratic Kenya, “Liberalizing” China, the “Republic” of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, formerly-dictatorial Taiwan and South Korea and the Philippines and South Vietnam and Nicaragua and Panama and Argentina and Chile and Brazil and so on and so on and so on.

If there’s no objectivity involved in such allegedly professional analysis, let’s not pretend, but be up-front about our biases, OK?  But then aren’t you playing into the hands of the “post-modernists” who say there’s no objective truth?!!

One thing Russia does have, as they’re reminding us to their chagrin, is Orthodox Christianity, which isn’t afraid of objective truth, unlike their hardline Catholicism and Protestantism and “militant secularism.”  Their own Orthodox heritage, that of the West, generally ended around 1,000 years ago, just as Russia’s began in earnest.  And many of their ancestors hadn’t been Christian long enough to be Orthodox more than a fraction of the time most Russians have been.

I will say this for now: Orthodoxy’s role in a country is no more to stand up for Westernization / Americanism – what they sometimes call Snickerization (Russ. snickerizatsiya, similar to other cultures’ Disneyfication, etc.) – than for anything else other than The Truth, The Faith, The Common Good as they, limited human beings, see it, experientially guided by the All-Holy Spirit of God, One of the Trinity.  And many Russians have had quite enough of Western innovations – the Filioque, Papal supremacy, Uniatism, philosophizing, high-falutin intelligentsia of the West’s left OR right, Marxism, industrial slavery, Communism (aka “militant atheism”), the constant threat of American nuclear annihilation known as the (First) Cold War, Rationalized Capitalism, “militant secularism,” the current Second Cold War(?), etc etc etc.

Maybe I really am starting to become Orthodox, because I read Putin quotes and know what he’s talking about or hinting at, when it’s clear over their heads!  Maybe they should consult Orthodox when covering or analyzing Orthodox countries, cultures, histories, leaders, persons … and The Church itself of course!!!

Arranged marriages

I’m not endorsing them – not yet anyway! – and neither is this Orthodox Jewish guy in NYC.  Just something to think about, like what we’ve gained vs. lost in transitioning into Modernity / Classical Liberalism / individualism.

Almsgiving IS charity

Though our “puritans” of today probably won’t take it from the Pope of Rome!  Not only is it good for the needy and objectively a good idea, but a good spiritual discipine, encouraging detachment from things, and actual “participation in the Divine Life” (as the Good Book says, I think in an Epistle of St. Peter) – which may be why the Lord said, “It is more blest to give than to receive.”  Which is why Rationalized Capitalism and Trickle-down/Voodoo Economics is the exact opposite of Christianity … not to mention very bad for you, eternally speaking!

Almsgiving is the soul of charity!

“Democracy as a nation-breaker”

This analysis suggests Kenya and many other countries need one or two things ahead of strict two- or six-party “democracy.”  Something to think about.

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!)

“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.)

Israel: a Mideastern country?

Has Israel become a Middle Eastern country?

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

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

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

In the end, very like many other Mideastern countries?

MLK Day

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

Hillary, MLK, LBJ, ETC…

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

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

Judge-Made Law

…has a long tradition in the English/American legal system.  What do you think Common Law is?!!  Montesquieu’s analysis, dividing the British (uncodified) constitution into three branches – legislative, executive, and judicial – seems to have been historically ignorant.  Parliament only became the lawmaking busybodies they are today in the last couple centuries.  Before that, Parliament moved far fewer statutes, the King made law by himself or in his Council, and judges dispensed justice ideally on the basis of actual justness, reason, Divine law, legal tradition, and (Western) Christian morality, “from time immemorial” – the Common Law or case law.  (The much-lampooned Trial by Ordeal had to be relatively rare when you think about it, eh?)

Of course, Parliament didn’t used to be in mostly continuous existence like it is today, giving them plenty of time for politician mischief!  The King only used to convoke MPs when he needed them to allow a tax for his administration and military.  At that time Parliament used to petition him for some changes in the laws (or “redress of grievances“) before granting him his tax.  And then they were gone until he needed them again.  Of course, then there was little Parliamentary “oversight” over his administration … so we’ve traded royal court mischief for politician mischief.  Which is worse?!!

Mostly, Continental European countries have completely codified their legal systems via legislatures and/or written Constitutions.  [Maybe one reason why the proposed EU Constitution was like a New York phone book … and that the EU is infamously bureaucratic!]  They have no more “judge-made law”!  Is that what you want?!  Catholic, Napoleonic, Imperial, French, German, Roman, Louisiana/Quebec law?!!  They seem to have taken Montesquieu very seriously.

In reality, of course, even most U.S. courts feel hamstrung to merely apply existing law, and only State Supreme Courts or the U.S. Supreme Court, each in their own constitutional competence, feel empowered to interpret law – but even they are (supposed to be) bound by U.S. and State written Constitutions, unlike English courts traditionally, U.S. “conservative” (actually Classical Liberal) and antigovernment whining notwithstanding.

So really, most of America’s judge-made law is many centuries old, and not at all recent – much even back to “time immemorial,” even before AD 1066 – “for the common law of England was not introduced by {William} the conqueror.”

Wicked Counsellors

W. surrounded himself with Yes-Men, Vestal Virgins, and even the classical “Wicked Counsellors” (e.g., Rove, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, etc.), just like the worst English kings were traditionally said to have done.  This is part of why Parliament took charge of the King’s/Queen’s counsellors and administrators – so now “parliamentary democracies” are virtually or actually ruled by elective politicians and suckups, instead of royal court politicians and suckups.

Amid the latter, at least, usually you have one person who has some idea what s/he’s doing – the Monarch!

Actually, Parliament started out as “the Great Council of the Realm,” not a legislature per se: The King was expected to take into consideration the input of his bishops and abbots (ie, the educated, lawyers, diplomats, etc.: “Lords Spiritual”), generals (ie, the nobility: “Lords Temporal”), administrators, even elected representatives of the commoners who had some idea what they were about.  The U.S. President has no Council, nobody whose input he’s expected to take into account.  The Personal Rule of ‘George IV’ is in many ways similar to The Personal Rule of Charles I – whose head Parliament cut off.

The Federalist Papers parody the idea of an Executive Council as no more than a way for colonial governors to either be hamstrung, conspire, or hide the blame when they do something wrong or unpopular.  But in their time there was still the King’s own Privy Council, which then generally, practically still had less power over him than colonial Councils over their governors.  Gee, wonder why they left that out?!!!  (As you know, this isn’t the first time I’ve caught the Federalists “spinning” the truth in their favor and against the rest of us.)

A ‘council for the Counsellors’ might sound redundant, but be a way to improve the problem of Prime Ministerial Dictatorship, too.  But can’t it be depoliticized somewhat, maybe via a “blue ribbon panel” approach???  Because one would prefer advisors and administrators who know what they’re talking about.  Obviously there are often honest disagreements among “those who know what they’re talking about” … which is why a head of government really needs to put them together in a room working together to come up with the best idea, rather than going just with the ones of his/her class, party, religion, race, ethnicity, region, or worst of all, Yes-Men, Vestal Virgins, and Wicked Counsellors.  Experts may not be without political agenda also … but usually they can call each other on their sh*t too, which is why you really need a diversity of viewpoints on such a panel.

IOWA Caucuses: another view

One thing I’m not hearing amid calling Iowa for Obama and Huckabee is an old political principal, the (regional) Favorite Son.  Could it just be because they’re both Midwesterners, Obama from Illinois, Huckabee from Arkansas?  Just askin’.

Looking ahead to New Hampshire Tuesday, would it be so meaningful if the governor of neighboring Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, did well there?  Not at all unprecedented, especially given New England’s long absence from the White House (not counting sitting de jure President John Kerry, of course).

Golden Compass, Harry Potter, etc.

How come material that’s been acceptable kiddie (and adult) entertainment for thousands of years in all cultures including “Christian” ones, all of a sudden is objectionable?  Nobody thinks that stuff is real, after all.  And I know a thing or two about real Paganism, and it’s nothing like that!

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….