“We the Dollars, in order to form a more perfect Union…”

I’m DISGUSTED with all the money Democratic Party organizations and candidates and progressive groups now have to cravenly beg from me, to have a shot at making a showing in elections in this brave new Scalia/Citizens United world we’re forced to live in!  I guess Repugs like him think it’s a fair clawback for the personal government assistance some of us need … nevermind the Corporate Wealthfare you KNOW they’re now pouring through the floodgates.  That illegal, immoral ruling was “the mother of all Nuclear Options.”  Apparently “limited government” only applies when the GOP is out of power, and “originalism” and “judicial activism” and “legislating from the Bench” only when they’re IN power.

Naturally, we can’t hope to win the money race against our own Corporations, most rich people, and corrupt government officials/politicians, which is exactly how Scalia et al. timed this unprecedented procedural power-grab, a coup d’etat under color of law.

What can we do?

Actually, “conservative” support for Corporations attacks the culture, family,* tradition, family farms, small towns, etc., so they should be with us in trying to oppose this new trend by somehow MAKING CORPS.’ MONEY IRRELEVANT.

(*–As theologian Stanley Hauerwas pointed out a generation ago.)

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Update from Buffalo Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your call.

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

City farming grows

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

Proof: Obama’s right: They’re “bitter”

According to the Wall Street Journal of all sources!  This link will probably break soon unless you give them money (figures…), but they did a feature this weekend in and around the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the runup to the PA Democratic Primary on Tuesday – not exactly small-town, but alot smaller than Philly, Pittsburgh, etc.  Front page headline, above the fold, full-color photo: “Trapped in the Middle: The incomes of most Americans have stalled; Tackling voter angst in Pennsylvania.”  (“Angst” is just philosophical-German for “bitter” worry!)  And this is just the middle-middle-class; as we know, most Americans’ wages haven’t just “stalled,” they’ve been falling in constant dollars for decades!

Sociologists Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout uncovered this (slightly-) indirectly two years ago in their book The Truth about Conservative ChristiansAs it happens, Obama has a rural/farm plan along with his general economic plan.

Feed everyone

The Orthodox Herald in December pointed to recent statements by the Popes of Rome – John Paul and Benedict* – that we have a moral obligation to provide food and water – “nutrition and hydration” the doctors call it – to patients in a “vegetative state.”  (I guess if babies in the womb are no longer babies in the womb, food and water is merely “medical treatment”….)

But IOTM that what we have is a moral obligation to provide food and water to EVERYONE unable to provide it for themselves!  Whether they’re paralyzed, sick, poor, unemployed, frail, Disabled, children, drought-stricken, plague-stricken, unlucky or unskilled in agriculture, fulltime parents, mentally ill, retarded, insufficiently intelligent, underpaid, whatever.  We have so much wealth…!  And as St. Basil the Great said, Whatever of it we don’t need belongs to the needy.

How about a little human solidarity, love, sharing, generosity, philanthropy (yes, even in your voting and lobbying and taxpaying … unless you can come up with a better way), “consubstantiality,” God-like-ness (Think about “the liberality** of God“!), self-discipline, etc.?

(*–The O.H.’s readership includes Eastern Catholics [“Uniates”] in communion with Rome, traditionally possessing Orthodoxy theology, liturgy, spirituality, etc. … just not part of The Orthodox Church.)

(**–That’s liberality, not liberalism!)