Investigate Murdoch here too

UPDATE: As Hamlet said, “O my prophetic soul…”: 9/11 implications.

If Rupert Murdoch’s reporters are hacking voicemails in Britain, given that much of his media investment here in the States is of similar, erm, quality, doesn’t it stand to reason that Congress, the FCC, police, etc., should look into it?

Westboro Supreme Court mis-rule

SUMMARY: This isn’t Free Speech, it’s freedom of politico-(pseudo-)religious gang-persecution organized on a national basis against random mourners (as such) uninvolved in the grievances supposedly being protested by Funeral Invasion.


Mob pseudo-religious persecution of mourners’ Free Exercise of Religion — the Baptists’ “speech” is usually not on-point, but irrelevant to the life and death circumstances of the decedent at funerals they INVADE — is just like the mob persecution of Christians in Turkey, long winked at by a supposedly-secularist State.  It violates the civil rights of decedents and their grieving survivors.  Only an unholy alliance between the Court’s fellow-fundamentalists and its (this time) misguided “liberals” would rule that the civil rights of off-topic, political, media-hog, worship-invaders trump Freedom of Religion.

Yes, all defenses of Westboro defend their protests as political, though they are veiled in religion.  If (Westboro) politics now trumps (everybody else’s) religion, maybe the rest of the Religious Right IS right, that religious freedom is being flushed down the toilet with the politicization of everything — IRONICALLY, BY THEM!

Another way of approaching it is that the Religious Right, a vast well-organized group, may now abuse its “rights” to violate the rights of usually-tiny groups of mourners anywhere in the country — not unlike the invasive, disgusting, terroristic tactics of Operation “Rescue” abortion-clinic protesters and their incited gunmen / bombers / racketeers / conspirators.  If the Bill of Rights is about anything, it’s about protecting the rights of the oppressed — not only those oppressed by governments or officials, but by their fellow human beings in this country generally, especially by groups bigger than them.  Look for other hate groups to go back to the Courts now for vindication against explicit civil rights legislation — the Ku Klux Klan, “sovereign citizens,” (neo?)Nazis, self-appointed “militias” and border guards, “Dot Busters,” ‘crosshairs’ assassins, the whole sorry, scary lot of them.  What will the lawless Scalia/Roberts Court say then?  Cross-burnings and lynchings are OK again?  Literacy tests and poll taxes for voting?  Forced segregation of public schools?  ‘The disabled or mentally ill, gay or “different,” should be neither seen nor heard’?  Torching Catholic churches?  Slavery?  Human females as their males’ property?  State-Established religions again?  Swastikas scrawled on synagogues’ outside walls are OK because they don’t violate the “privacy” of the interior of the building??!!  It seems the Court liberals, including two Jewish women and a “wise Latina,” have been tricked into signing on to the rollback of the whole 20th century, if not worse.  (And Clarence Thomas? Nevermind!!!)

Ironically, this unholy alliance represents the difference between Classical Liberalism, in all its forms, and Classical Conservatism, ie, progressive conservatism … the former represented by the whole near-unanimous Court Westboro majority, the latter represented by most Americans’ gut-reaction to Westboro’s atrocities, and this ruling, more bad law, ie, incorrect law, from the Republican Courts and Party.

Learn about the ascendant hate groups and domestic terrorists from the  Southern Poverty Law Center, and support the SPLC.

And how did this case become merely about “privacy and emotional distress“?  The mourners’ lawyers should be disbarred for incompetence!  Were they law students?!  Was this one of those volunteer, workshop, law school projects they do???


Furthermore, does the ruling consider that funeral “privacy” only applies inside a building-of-worship, funeral parlor, chapel, mausoleum, etc.?  What about processions outdoors, burials, cemeteries, motorcades, even the going TO the funeral by the mourners — Some Protestant services even sacralize this with a “Gathering for Worship” recitation or song.  What about Neopagans, adherents of Indigenous religions, or other “outdoorsy” faiths, which might not often even USE a building with a real “indoors” component?  Obviously outdoor portions of a funeral share the vicinity with the neighbors, if any, of the funeral sites, so that’s presumed within Free Exercise.  I’m not sure being attacked, verbally assaulted, or finding yourselves involuntarily amid a political demonstration, controversy, or riot, especially one featuring offensive language, IS presumed within Free Exercise, except during times of Persecution of your freely-chosen (or -retained) religion … something the Court seems to endorse today, even its Fundies!  (Appropriate, I suppose, since their fellow Repugs drove the President out of the church of his choice, then complained he wasn’t Christian enough!  “I played you a tune but you did not dance, I sang you a dirge but you did not wail….”)

I’m willing to consider that baptisms/circumcisions, funerals, and weddings aren’t the same as routine religious services which might be invaded by hecklers urging you to change your religion.  I’m not sure though!  When I was a Quaker in the 1990s I admired George Fox and his Friends’ doing so in 17th-century Anglican and other Protestants’ “meetinghouses.”  Maybe they would’ve really converted  England if they’d just waited till after services, and stumped outside the buildings as the faithful were leaving!  But IIUC these Baptists aren’t recruiting, merely advocating for their ethical or political positions.  And often their protests seem aimed not at anyone present, except the newsmedia.  That’s just rude … Supremely rude.

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Catholic Bishops attack Obama again

Let’s be clear: I deplore Embryonic Stem-Cell research or usage in any way at all except for a good-faith attempt to bring to those embryonic human beings to birth.  This is because, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian who aspires to be a member of Christ, ie, one of His body-parts, I don’t consider endorsing human destruction of unborn humans — even disabled ones (I am Disabled, perhaps from birth or before) — to be in keeping with Christ’s body-parts.*

However, the U.S. Catholic bishops go out of their way to attack the democratically- and Constitutionally-elected Obama Administration in recent news releases on the issue.  They’ve been indignant that we elected him and VP Joe Biden (himself a Catholic), as they made clear at their winter meetings days after the 2008 Elections, televised live on cable.  But as any Civics student could have told them, the Executive Branch of the US Government doesn’t lawfully appropriate money, Congress does.  The Executive Branch does nothing with money that Congress has not authorized.  This is the bishops’ national release; this is from one of their most “conservative” divisions, Pennsylvania.

Their Eminences and Excellencies could be forgiven (if I had the power!) their confusion, after their boy in the White House, George W. Bush, appropriated money without Congressional authorization several times, occasionally with active deceit on the part of the corrupt then-Republican leadership of both Chambers.  (And they wanna come back?!?!?!)  False or cowardly Federal judges or Congressmembers allowed this ACTUAL theft of taxpayers’ money to fly almost completely under the radar.

What do I want?  President Obama and Vice-President Biden are no more nor less a threat to advance abortion or its related horrors than a Congress that hasn’t brought to the floor a Constitutional Amendment to reiterate the protection of unborn Americans in 27 years in the Senate, and EVER in the House, NOT EVEN UNDER REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP!  Instead, Republican alleged “pro-lifers” spend their time and money (and yours) fighting [PDF] real Democratic proposals (and candidates) to eliminate nearly all abortions voluntarily by addressing their causes — showing that they view the lives of Unborn Americans less sacred than their own political power (witness their last-minute, repeated deceptions over [lack of] abortion funding in America’s Healthcare Reform).

What I want is for the bishops and other non-Democratic pro-lifers to understand that specific parties and candidates clearly aren’t how to prevail, but bona fide proposals on the floor of Congress.  Based on that, who’s the REAL pro-life party?  THE DEMOCRATS, AFTER ALL!!!

And what about the bishops’ dioceses’ tax exemptions for targeting Obama/Biden?  After all, a partisan church’s tax exemption is like spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON THEIR FAVORED PARTY OR CANDIDATE.  (There are Orthodox Church clergy who could be called on the carpet equally and worse than these. But Catholic bishops tend to have more resources on which to call, and lawyer friends advising them, so they should know better. Orthodox, not so much yet.)

(*–The only exception I can see is, in shorthand, to save the life of the mother: where the best available medical opinion[s] is that continuing the pregnancy will kill her in and of itself, not via suicide or threats thereat, or financial impoverishment [falling through our coarse Social Safety Net], her own mental illness or disability, etc.  Because I don’t believe we can require mothers by law to actually — not metaphorically — lay down their lives for their babies; that must be voluntary.)

PS: I’m not “an anticatholic;” I’m a convert from Catholicism with extensive graduate work in Catholic and other (Western) Christian theological ethics.  I don’t “hate Catholics;” some of my best relatives and old friends are still Catholic.  Just for the record.

“That’s B.S.!”

Guns are not for self-defense.

They’re for revenge.

Think about it.

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.)

“Freedom of the Press belongs to the man who owns one.”

So said some wag famously.  There’s just one problem with that: “Presses” — as well as radio or TV stations, cable and satellite broadcasting outfits, etc. — in this day and age are usually owned by corporations.  Major ones, anyway.

AND CORPORATIONS HAVE NO RIGHTS, ONLY PRIVILEGES.  ONLY “NATURAL PERSONS” HAVE RIGHTS.  THE LEGAL PUBLISHING CLERK IN THE LATE 1800s WHO DECIDED TO GIVE CORPORATIONS RIGHTS COMMITTED A MONSTROSITY AGAINST THIS NATION AND THIS PLANET … A FRAUD, ARGUABLY EVEN A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.  THE SUPREME COURT NEVER GAVE CORPORATIONS RIGHTS!

…Though it found it convenient, in its corruption, to go along with that lying clerk and his lying employer-corporation.

De-funding ACORN Unconstitutional

…as Rachel Maddow (video) documents.

BTW, re-fund ACORN via their website!

(Type carefully, or like I almost did, you might end up at the shiny new website of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese — force of habit!!)

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.)

Light-skinned Mixed-Blood harassed on IHS clinic staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Metro areas and Countrysides II

…considered in the New York City statehood discussion of 1971Time then concluded on something like my Autonomy idea, or even a semi-federalization ala the Tennessee Valley Authority or the MTA.

More on-point is a Harper’s 1999 piece on discussing — just discussing! — whether the 1787 Constitution is obsolete, inspired by Columbine and the 2nd Amendment rants of recent decades, and its virtual unamendability.  The older Time article concludes,

The new consideration of national cities and city-states is a refreshing move to examine the rationale of the nation’s long-accepted governmental divisions. One of the most important national problems throughout the next 20 years, predicts Bell, will be to decide the most effective social unit to handle each social problem. “What is best left to the neighborhoods?” he asks. “What to townships? What to municipalities? What to metropolitan areas? What to regions and what to the Federal Government?” The questions are simple, the answers elusive—but an imaginative quest for them is essential to the future of the nation.

It’s questionable whether we really looked at those things seriously as a Federation — or whatever — during the predicted ’70s and ’80s.  Maybe now it’s time.

BTW, I know a bit more about the background than the Harper’s writer, and the reality about English village and town “militias” and posses and whether they were “volunteerism” or compulsory.  Also, how even these supposed bulwarks of local freedom could be used to enforce local conformity, oppress next-door neighbors, “different” people, dissenters, gays, immigrants, Catholics, Quakers, church reformers, “liberals” — which would cover both today’s U.S. “liberals” AND “conservatives”! — etc etc etc.  Plus, the main body of our Constitution empowers — Guess who? — CONGRESS!!! — to “regulate” the State’s Militias.  Simply reading the text will sometimes work wonders itself.

On the lighter side, it’s entirely possible that the 2nd Amendment isn’t about guns at all, but heraldry: “Bearing arms” also means, and meant, publicly presenting yourself as validly possessing a coat of arms, i.e., as armigerous.  “Well-regulated militia”?: Heraldry was invented in order to distinguish fighters on and near a field of battle, i.e., to tell them apart.  It’s still used today by modern armed forces in those logos and patches that distinguish military units and countries’ forces … even countries themselves, hence national flags like the Stars and Stripes, the Royal Colours (aka Union Jack), the Tricolour, etc etc etc.  So it’s possible the Framers weren’t thinking about guns OR militias, but shields and crests, ribbons and supporters!  But AFAIK the USA has never granted individual arms of this kind, leaving that to WWW bucketshop frauds seducing you with “mists of antiquity” and “ancient seats” and hints of … royalty and nobility!!!

Maybe some scribe even switched the two words around, and it’s about arming bears … knowing how crazy we’d always be arguing about guns and militias, coats of arms and “crests” and “mists of antiquity,” etc.!  Maybe we’re not even supposed to bear arms at all, just sic armed bears on our enemies!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aboriginal Title: Today’s word is…

USUFRUCT.  (Sorry, I grew up too Catholic to pronounce it that way! 😉  )

This is the Common Law principle on which is based the occasional English and successor Settler States (USA, Canada, Australia, I know for certain, maybe others) practice of deigning, that is to say condescending, to let Aboriginal Peoples in “their” countries retain (I say retain) certain rights with regard to their “former” territories and their tribesmembers.  It’s the theoretical basis of Reservations, remnant fishing / trapping / hunting / subsistence rights, regard for Tribes’ Sovereignty (to attempt to put it into European terms), Native Treaties, Lands Held in Trust (including royalties [at 18th-century rates]…if only Uncle Sam can remember where he put them!), etc.

The alternative might well have had to be full military defeat, actually wiping out all our ancestors … genocide in its simplest, bloodiest sense — I’ll say it — ala Hitler.  And I deduce that conundrum is where the idea came from, IOW, Settler convenience, politics, occasional conscience.  The earliest case I know of — though I’m no professional historian — where English courts upheld native legal status is only The Case of Tanistry in the early 1600s.  Here the Irish lost by winning (300 years before they won by losing!): the court employed traditional Irish Brehon Law to cheat a rightful traditional clan chief of his chiefly lands in favor of English-Law inheritance previously unknown among traditional Irish … four-and-a-half centuries after first invading.  My current point being, the English certainly have become experts at riding roughshod over Irish culture (which is why 1998’s Good Friday Northern Ireland Peace Agreement was such a monumental reversal for them).  I guess they didn’t always enjoy how hard it was, and so decided to take a (slightly) less harsh approach in Quebec and North America beyond (to the frustration of the greedy and anti-Catholic eastern seaboard “Founding Fathers”), and Down Under.  (In New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi is even considered technically part of the national constitution!)

Anyway, as Merriam Webster reminds us, a usufruct is Europeanly-considered technically only temporary — in our case, until the “death” of each Native Nation, envisaged by (unconstitutional) Blood Quantum laws, mandatory dispersion and exogamy, ethnic/racial cleansing, culturecide, divide-and-conquer, even leaving Tribes with the worst-quality land around on which to survive, as well as what I compare to illegal and unjust “constructive eviction” in attempting to claim a Native Community “abandoned” a temporarily-disused right or plot of land.*  Conveniently, the U.S. has never recognized Mixed-Bloods as such, as Canada has in its Métis since just 1982, otherwise Native Nations might never die!

(*–The Settlers of Maryland Colony did this to my Nanticoke people.  Once they interpreted an Abandonment Clause in a colonial treaty to mean temporarily going up the Susquehanna River for their traditional annual hunt relinquished one of their Reservations: But when they arrived to find one elderly man guarding the otherwise-empty village, they burned him alive in his home.)

Cuomo for Supreme Court?

With Justice David Souter retiring, we could use a real “liberal” in his place.  Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo may be one of the greatest unsung legal and moral-philosophical minds alive in America — and God Himself knows we could use more morality on that High Court these days, nevermind law-abiding!

As if somebody knew something was coming, we have this piece on Cuomo’s visit to the Court last month.  I actually didn’t know Clinton almost nominated him in ’93, maybe because I was otherwise occupied.  But it seems Gov. Cuomo still considers a need for him in other fora:

“You have 100 cases a year at the Court, and five or six of them are really significant, maybe.”  When the Clinton offer came, Cuomo says, the deciding factor in saying no was the prospect of “never being able to speak out again” on issues like the death penalty or poverty.  “Even now, nobody is talking about poor people,” Cuomo laments.  After serving as New York governor for three terms, he said that virtual vow of silence seemed impossible.*  He’s been happy doing other things that help people in recent years, Cuomo says.  “One does what one can.”  He counts his mediation in the asbestos case as one of his endeavors that has benefited those who need help.  Through the mediation, a new $500 million fund was created to compensate thousands more victims of asbestos-related disease who could not have received anything from the depleted Johns-Manville fund.

Talking about giving up the Court to help people puts me in mind of the line about the college professor: “He’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people”!!  At 76 though, Cuomo is a few years older than Souter, and we may need rather to pull a Clarence Thomas and nominate a 30-something radical prophet who’ll stand up for law and justice and democracy for the next two generations on the Court.  Damned shame.  If it wasn’t for anti-Italian/anti-Catholic bigotry, he would’ve been President as early as ’88 instead of George I … or certainly ’92, when America could’ve done a whole lot better than William Jefferson Clinton.

I just saw a quote of Mario’s I’d never heard before, but which speaks of my own marveling at how decent, respectable, thoughtful moderate Republican politicians of the ’70s and ’80s have become monsters since:

There are few things more amusing in the world of politics than watching moderate Republicans charging to the right in pursuit of greater glory.

God grant you Many Years, Governor — Ad Multos Annos!

(*–Tell Scalia, Governor!!)

Freedom from debt collectors!

  1. Did you know there’s a Statute of Limitations on many debts?!!  It varies by type of debt and by State, but basically if you avoid payments long enough [hopefully through no fault of your own, but sincere financial difficulty, sez I, but hey, the law is the law!], you’re Free and Clear!!!!!  Not that the predatory bastidges deserve the consideration….
  2. And after you browse this Federal court ruling, you may never give a debt collector the time of day again, may never agree to one of those mostly-bogus partial-as-payment-in-full arrangements, may never even stipulate that you have ever owed anything to anyone again!!!!!  Point being, be extremely careful, and if possible, get legal advice.
  3. Aren’t debt speculators the ones who caused the current Depression?!!!!
  4. From today’s research by me, it’s clear there’s alot of shady, barely-legal, deceptive, manipulative, maybe even illegal stuff going on by debt collectors.  Now THERE’S something (also) worth a probe!

SO HELP YOURSELF TO A “BAILOUT”!!!!!

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).

ROUNDUP: Fitzmas II et cetera

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

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

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

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

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

Bush-Cheney-Powell Treason?

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

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

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

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

And we are all witnesses.

Change Prez election procedures?

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

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

Biggest defeat of U.S. forces ever

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

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

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

Virtual Poll Tax disenfranchises lower-class voters

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

5 GOP dirty tricks to keep Dems from voting

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

Welfare accountability

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

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

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

Native American rights not equality vs. inequality

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

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

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

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

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

NONPARTISAN “ELECTION PROTECTION COALITION” NATIONAL HOTLINE

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

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

Republicans harassing Blacks who vote early

Unbelievable but true in this day and age, the harassers learned nothing from the ’50s and ’60s except that Southern Democrats were done with that sort of thing.  Really desperate.  They show their true colors … and I haven’t heard McSame/Failin’ disavow them.  IIUC this kind of harassment is a crime, a violation of voters’ civil, legal, constitutional, and human rights … and the police do nothing — just like the cops who it seems were complicit in helping suppress turnout in 2000 and ’04 by blocking streets near polling places in Black neighborhoods, etc.

What could be scarier?: The idea that these people seek to enforce their belief that “Sundays are for church, not voting,” on the rest of us — by mob-rule yet!  There is no legally-established religion in the United States, and hasn’t been since before the Civil War.  People are free to make of Sundays or any other day of the week what they will as long as it’s legal.

Speaking of disavowals, I had forgotten that McCain “pals around with” wannabe-terrorist G. Gordon Liddy (text-search his name among the Comments on the linked page).

Yup, Yup,” it’s clear what Repugs mean when they talk about democracy and “traditional values”: Jim Crow, exclusion of people of color, or rather, of anybody who disagrees with them.  Just like the “Founding Fathers” did!  McCain is even willing to lie — or didn’t know, either way, it’s profoundly disturbing in a wannabe-President — about the scheduling of the last innings of the World Series, on which he chooses to attack Obama.  “You betcha, doggone it!”

McCain and Repugs scream theft?

They charge Democrats and our supporters are stealing the election, and sue us?  That’s rich, and a classic case of misdirection, like sleight-of-hand magicians, considering McCain and the Republicans are publicly in the process of trying to prevent millions of us Democrats, poor, people of color, students, Blue-Staters, city residents, etc., from voting — AND privately, most assuredly rigging the e-voting machines or e-counting machines for good measure.  These are all repeats from 2000 and 2004, and possibly ’02 and ’06 too.

Lately we’re hearing that racist voters might lie to pollsters about their willingness, or not, to vote for Obama, excusing a discrepancy between pre-election surveys and the reported results or exit polls.  Is the re-surfacing of talk about this “Bradley Effect” preparing us for another stealth coup d’etat?  Nevermind that there might not have even been a Bradley Effect!  Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, a Black man, ran for Governor of California in 1982, and led going into Election Day, but lost, inspiring this Bradley Effect theory.  But some analysts I’ve read (I can’t locate where now) say that since both his lead and his defeat were within the polls’ margin of error, the Effect may be an illusion.  So beware allegations of an Obama Effect in coming weeks before and after Election Day!  It’ll be like in Ohio in ’04, when we were told that Republican voters intentionally lied to pollsters or refused to respond, producing the “glitch” that seemed to say W. carried that State’s election results, and the whole enchilada.  Was John Kerry Black?!?!?!

(Reminds me of the line in The Commitments about a Dublin, Ireland, soul band: “The Irish are the Blacks of Europe.  Dubliners are the Blacks of Ireland.  Northsiders are the Blacks of Dublin.  So say it loud: I’m Black and I’m proud!“)

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.)

Vote Suppression ’08 UPDATE

Successful national political parties upset balance of power

Think about it: Technically the Democratic and Republican parties aren’t national parties, but State parties.  The U.S. has no nationally-elected officials; even Presidential Electors are elected State-by-State (which is why the national popular vote total doesn’t matter under the current constitution).  However, because all the State Democratic parties act like a national party, as do all the State Republican parties, the President of the Executive Branch becomes their national leader, subordinating his fellow-partisans in Congress and even, as we’ve seen in recent years, in the Federal Courts and “independent” Federal agencies.

Supposedly it wasn’t supposed to be this way.  The Federalist Papers claim to be incapable of envisioning such a nationwide, multi-region, multi-State “cabal” as a national political party (“faction” was another word they called it; “party” only came into use later), because of the presumed clashes of local and regional interests.  But long ago our elections of Presidential Electors were “nationalized,” relegating “sectional” interests to Congress.  This therefore also subordinates the States, which are supposed to be co-sovereign with the Federal government, and a check on Federal overreaching like we’ve seen so much of in the last 7+ years.

It all goes toward making the President of the Executive Branch the virtual dictator he is today … or can be if he’s allowed to be by those who are supposed to stop him.

What’s the solution?  Bar State parties from jointly endorsing candidates?  Even within States with a semblance of a multi-party system — such as New York, with its Democratic, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, and Right-to-Life parties — you often have cross-endorsement, and sometimes it makes the difference in the outcome — typically Republicans courting also the C and RTL ballot lines, and Democrats the L (though Liberal there means Classical Liberal, not liberal like you’re thinking).

What about going back to actually electing Electors, real persons of weight whom we entrust to pick the best person for the job?  Make the Electoral College a real collegium and not just a party-hack rubber-stamp for one or the other major declared and nominated candidate?

Like the U.S. Senate elected not by the voters but by State legislators — and for many of the same reasons — could it be that the “Framers” were sometimes smarter than I thought?!!!

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pentagon Channel

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

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

Biden hints at criminal prosecutions

Echoing an Obama promise from the Spring, Biden says if elected they’ll end the stonewalling against criminal prosecution of Bush administration officials where warranted, so no one is above the law.

(Too bad we had to go to British media to learn about it….)

Troopergate probe going Abramoff?

Did somebody “get to” the Palin aide who was to be a key voluntary witness and who proved Palin lied when she said none of her staff were involved?  Looks suspicious.  Just like how Abramoff fallout was going to bring down dozens of GOP Congresscritters … and what’s happened there?  “Challenging jurisdiction”?  Yeah, that’s real open, real change, real “maverick / reformer”!  If she has nothing to hide, she should go back to the Legislature freely, yes with lawyer if necessary … can’t do anything without lawyers anymore.  (And don’t let me hear them go on their “trial lawyer” tear now too!)  But by gosh, get them under oath, under pain of perjury, no Cheney / Gonzales special deals where they can lie again through their perfect teeth.  Sounds like she had a deal: no subpoena embarrassment.  For someone “not part of the Washington establishment,” she’s learning pretty quick!  “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!!”

Overview of Alaska Native Settlement

Ethical GOP Supremes?

Credit where credit’s due: Roberts and Alito stood down when required by judicial ethics, something their Republican colleagues have sometimes failed to do in celebrated cases when their Party or vested interests really needed them.

Voter Fraud Fraud = Election Fraud

Classic racism, classism, bashing even of legal immigrants, etc etc etc.  How big a problem is this really?  They are totally insincere.  Is it any wonder the illegals keep voting Democratic?!!!  😉

F*CK YOU, SCALIA!

And the horse you rode in on!

He tells 60 Minutes (CNN video package preceded by commercial) America should “Get over it” for him and his four GOP partisan buddies on the Supreme Court illegally giving the 2000 Presidential Election not to Al Gore who won it, but to the real Sore W. Loserman and his cronies/handlers, who have basically flushed the country and the planet down the toilet, just like they planned.

Scalia should be brought up on charges of judicial misconduct for his political and inflammatory comments in and outside the court since joining it in the ’80s; he should even be disbarred.  He treats the highest judicial office in the land and one of the most important in the world like he’s some village traffic court judge, shooting off his mouth, ruling however he wishes with no real regard for the law or the Constitution.  I can even say personally that he is one of the most ingracious, even impolitic, public figures I have ever had the displeasure to encounter – and I’ve known a few doozies!  And he’s the biggest Fascist and Theocrat on the Court, giving Catholic lawyers and judges a bad name.

Finally, now we REALLY have to seat the Florida delegates at the Democratic Convention, and might as well the Michigan ones too for good measure.  Hillary won both, so she’d gain some delegates, but since Obama didn’t run in Michigan, it should either be rerun or else let their non-Hillary delegates vote their consciences – you know 40 pct. Uncommitted was a shadow vote for Barack!

Though why the CNN correspondent says not seating Florida would hurt US in November, when Floridians clearly can expect no justice or consideration from the Repugs that doesn’t go their way, beats the heck out of me.  You know those old Jews ain’t gonna vote for Hitler twice!!!  (How can Al Franken* [from 7 years ago no less] and I be the only people who remember that?!!!)

What this interview does do for me is raise the specter of another high court coup d’etat … if the GOP thieves don’t do their job right at the ballot box, er, computer, of course … and their pollster / Mainstream Media backers forget to fudge the exit polls again.  Scalia hasn’t quite retired yet….

(*–BTW he needs your help!)

Religious Establishment conundra II

What if we funded ALL primary and secondary schools, those of all religions and none?  Then it wouldn’t be “an establishment of religion,” just universal funding of education.  Might not even need a Constitutional Amendment!

I would imagine schools would retain their existing governance structures, just requiring public fiscal accountability, ‘strongly encouraging’ economies-of-scale, and retaining a minimum of educational expectations like now for reading, math, science, etc.

This might result in a reduction in, though not elimination of, the need for non-elitist, nonsectarian schools, ie, the remnants of today’s “public” schools, governed by the same local Boards of Education or whatever.  But then, ALL schools would be public schools, so to speak!

I also don’t envision parsing the money so it doesn’t pay for religion-class-hours, chapels, etc., as sometimes happens now with nonsectarian aid to sectarian schools.  Most of that is driven by the (mistaken) Constitutional issue anyway.  Education is for educators and parents to decide, broadly speaking.

Could we bar aid to White Supremacist schools?  Muslim-Fundamentalist Madrasas?  Schools that teach against “race-mixing”?  “Afri-centric” schools?  Gay-affirming schools?  Atheist schools?  Polytheist schools?  Satanist schools?  Conspiracy-theory schools?  Legal, constitutional ways might be found to approach such questions rationally….

One thing this might do is spread “the most segregated hour of the week” – Sunday morning – to Monday-through-Friday, 8-to-3.  Then again, forming children really is a religious / moral / ethical task, is it not?  ALL education is religious in one way or another, even ostensibly non-religious education.  And national surveys say although Catholic parochial school alumni/ae have attended rather White schools (in this country), at-large they turn out among the most progressive, tolerant adults in America … so that way may lie hope after all!

And just as now, all these “public” schools should certainly be free to raise additional funds on their own voluntarily.

IOTM that all the non-public-school-aid Supreme Court cases I’ve ever heard of involved a single denomination or at most two at a time, namely America’s (despised) Catholics and Jews.  Has any State or school district or city ever proposed to fund ALL primary and secondary ed. in its borders???

All this education is being paid for already.  My proposal would merely spread the burden over the entire society that benefits – the whole country or State – and at the same time solve the old School Choice conundrum, the religion-in-school conundrum, the at-the-same-time-great-and-miniscule-expectations-of-public-schools paradox, maybe even much of the youth-sex-and-violence problem and the Melting Pot ideal (though this last indirectly, as I said above) … with all their unnecessary costs to everyone….

Of course, funded schools would have to be nonpartisan and not involve themselves in campaigns for or against candidates.

A way out of Religious Establishment conundra?

Back in 1989 someone suggested the following:

Nor does the Constitution seek to create a secular public sphere. Religious pluralism and diversity — not secularism — are the animating principles of the First Amendment. [Emphasis Tiernan’s.]

The article provides a piercing analysis of conflicts over the First Amendment’s clause, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  Are we ‘excessively entangled’ in “excessive entanglement” concerns?!  I’m not 100 pct. certain about this approach, but I think it raises necessary questions.

“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!)

McCain, torture, revenge?

Might McCain allow torture as revenge for the torture he suffered in Vietnam?  Something to think about before voting for him for President.