What kind of insult is “Aborigine”?

Unless in the minds of Whites like Scott Beason, and Black American politicians, Native Americans are inferior to both, in the USA’s “racial hierarchy.” Or perhaps Australian Aborigines are? But late Native American scholar Jack Forbes (an extremely distant cousin of mine) theorized that most historic USA Blacks have Indian ancestry, and proposed research into the ‘Red Roots’ of much of Black culture. Even before I read him, I’d heard that 40 percent of Black Americans know of Indian ancestors … which suggested to me that a majority at least had them.

It’s also curious to me that Beason seems to allow that people who aren’t identified as “Indians” here can still be “Aborigines.” That’s almost a Canadian (Horrors!) usage of the word: They use “Aboriginal” as an umbrella term for Indians, Inuit (aka Eskimos), and Metis. What a concept!

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!“)

What makes poor Americans overweight?

Speaking as an overweight poor American, I’ve had enough of unknowledgeable right-wing BS on this point.  So let’s look at a few realities, shall we?

(UPDATE 3 October 2008 with another possible reason.)

  • Americans are overweight.  What is it now, two-thirds of all adults?  So all the reasons that apply to the non-poor also apply to us, and some even more to us, such as advertising, cheap and convenient bad food, the corporate-owned USDA “nutrition” guidelines all these years, little else available all these years what with overrefined grains and vegetables, an increasingly-sedentary workstyle and lifestyle, TV-watching, computer-watching like you and I are doing right now, no time for exercise, the automotive lifestyle, etc etc etc.  But more specifically:
  • Many of us poor have health problems that cause weight gain or interfere with weight loss, directly or indirectly; in my case, IBS and “nonspecific ambulatory painful foot syndrome” – an uncompensated work injury.
  • Many of us poor are from cultures / races / ethnicities especially sensitive to the traditional Northern European diet of the U.S.
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores move out of poor neighborhoods; “convenience” stores and liquor stores move in.
  • Sometimes when you’re down on your luck, you just say, “Screw it,” and indulge.
  • Even if you’re not so unlucky, we too have holidays, barbeques, birthdays, graduations, where we don’t wanna eat just broccoli like those Puritans would have us do!
  • We disabled or unemployed get more TV advertising thrown at us at home, including for bad food.
  • For those of us working two or three jobs to stay afloat, Whole Foods and PCC aren’t open 24/7, while 7-11 is.
  • And even if they were, who can afford them?!  Health food is more expensive than the crap.
  • As the Salon article points out, high fructose corn syrup and other bad things are federally subsidized, holding down their cost.  (Talk about gummint programs!)
  • Every time my SSI Disability goes up, my Food Stamps go down, robbing me of some of my “cost of living adjustment.”  The poor get poorer….
  • Some of us can’t stand at a kitchen counter long enough to prepare a “home-cooked meal,” like because of my feet problem, so we have to “outsource” some of that to convenience and microwave foods.
  • For us Indians, cows vs. bison!
  • Government butter and cheese and cow’s milk and peanut butter programs: Are they intentionally fattening us up?!!!  And then complaining about it?!!!
  • Of course they aren’t.  Fats are calorie-dense and thus tax-dollar-efficient; it takes fewer of them to provide basic energy than carbohydrates or proteins.  They also help you feel satisfied sooner when eating them.  Sounds like a hunger panacea, right?  WRONG!
  • This one from my own IBS-Diarrhea perspective: When health foods push “high fiber,” usually it means insoluble fiber, the kind that goes right through you, rather than soluble fiber, the kind that absorbs intestinal fluid and bulks-up, passing more slowly and humanely.  Perhaps when some had a bad experience with the former, they said, “Forget this!”  (NB: Everybody needs both.  The traditional US diet – starches and proteins, aka meat-n-potatoes – hugely lacks both.  The average “healthy diet” here probably contains too much insoluble and not enough soluble fiber.  Some packages are starting to list these separately.  Thank you!)
  • This one may date me, but for many perhaps health foods are associated with different people, such as health-food freaks, Fundamentalists, liberals, suburbanites, the rich, Protestants, the anal-retentive, perfectionists, Californians, the educated, etc.: an image problem.
  • If you’ve got a family, the cost goes even higher than for an individual like me.
  • How many health-clubs get built in poor neighborhoods?  And who can afford them anyway?!  And are they 24/7?!
  • City parks cutbacks.
  • A short-term or temporary mistake or bad luck, you can pay for the rest of your life: diabetes, overdrinking, overeating, blowing-off exercise, depression-eating, etc.  It’s harder to lose it than to put it on.  Maybe you weren’t poor when you started out, became poor, and now can’t get out so easily as someone with more money can.
  • Historically speaking, before the Enclosure of the Commons forced many of the poor to work for wages in the cities’ industries (owned or invested-in by their rural landlords!), they had family farms they worked, with all that physical exertion and relative self-sufficiency to boot.  Here in America we never even had a chance!
  • It’s possible many of us aren’t aware of what would be better for us, or aren’t used to caring about it.  That’s certainly the kind of lower-working-class eating atmosphere I grew up in, and I’m middle-aged.  Not everybody’s as ‘plugged-in’ to food/health media or information as I happen to be right now, disabled with time on my hands, or having worked as a journalist for a while, or spent much of the ’90s as a vegan.

There’s probably lots more I haven’t thought of.

Realism for Democrats, nation

Look, we had to have one White Guy on the ticket, didn’t we?  After all, America isn’t some advanced, enlightened, egalitarian country like these or even these or these….  As if Republicans would’ve voted for an Obama/Hillary ticket…!

Though if you thought they worked hard against minority voters (eg, 2000, 2004), wait till you see how they try to steal it from a minority President!!!

As for Hillary’s die-hardest backers, well, if they want to assure another 12-16 years of GOP dictatorship….  Yeah, that’ll do alot for the place of women in this country.  And ‘Republicans for Hillary’?  Real sincere….  Don’t let them use you, ladies.  We still need you.  In this republic we only get one top office, not like a parliamentary cabinet or whatever.  A Black man this time, a woman next time, OK?  It’s not like Biden will be running for President in 8 years, right?

Then again, time was when Speaker of the House was alot more important in U.S. political perception than today, like Head of the Legislative Branch or so,* and it looks like we’ll keep Nancy Pelosi there for at least another couple years.  Too bad she wouldn’t let us impeach the frauds though.  She could’ve been President!

(*–You could fix this by supporting a Constitutional Amendment restoring election of U.S. Senators to State Legislative chambers!)

Totally Without Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The U.S. Metis dilemma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rethinking II

WHEW!  Just found out Bob Barr’s running for the Libertarians.  Yes, by all means, Libs, nominate him Sunday!  Could be your best year ever!  Racist, persecuted a sexual act between consenting adults, against drugs, pro-war, but nominate him anyway!  He’ll get you ballot access in more than 28 states, to be sure.  The party of principle … smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom” … for those who can afford it, anyway!!!

Surely after the 2000 and ’04 debacles, no real Democrat is voting third party this time, so the Libs will get all those anti-McCain “conservatives” from the Republicans.  Remember the “Christian” Coalition takeover a couple decades ago?  Could the Libertarians be next?