Biblical Judges: Chiefs?

So say some Jewish scholarsOne per “Tribe” of the traditional 12 Tribes of Ancient Israel?  Maybe even a permanent office in each Tribe, versus the occasional charismatic commander we’re told about?  Some of whom were more noteworthy than most?  (How many Presidents, Monarchs, or Prime Ministers of any one country can you name?!)

I know enough Hebrew to know Professor Sarfatti isn’t out on a limb here (no pun intended!).  Conflating shevet and shofet?  Consider that every Sunday School class — or Hebrew School — has been asked, “Why are they called judges?”  We see them as military commanders, prophets, philosophers, power-lifters, lovers….  The answer is, They might not have been called “judges” as the word has been most commonly understood in the centuries since then!

Maybe King James should’ve sent the Old Testament by his translators one more time!  Then again, a Biblical book of “Chiefs” or “Chieftains” around that time, the early 1600s, might’ve made Irish or American Indians look too favorable for His Majesty’s comfort … or rather, that of his wicked counsellors….

It’s a minor semantic point.  The roles and deeds of the particular Israelite Chiefs upheld in Judges are clear enough for Scriptures’ purposes.  But since the English words chief, chieftain, chiefdom, etc., are today so identified with Indigenous Peoples, Scottish Clans, Irish Septs, and other oppressed people, “Speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.”

What do we see, then, in pre-Monarchy Israel?  Twelve or so loosely-affiliated “Tribes,” or rather, Chiefs, each with his “staff” or “scepter,” literally and figuratively — the Tribe.  “Tribal Sovereignty,” even!  With him, various officials, aides, counselors.  And within each Tribe, Clans, Houses, and so forth.  And a God Who opposed a permanent royal federation under an earthly king: The Israelites’ problem in Judges isn’t that they keep getting harried by their neighbors, but that they keep slacking-off in their devotion to Him Who Is, so He lets them have their way, and they get the stuffing beat out of them — rightly, we are to believe, since who knows better than God how to do anything?!  Their problem isn’t geopolitics, it’s Theology.  (Even these gentlemen agree today.)  Doesn’t God say so often throughout Scripture?  Early Israel’s throne was atop the Ark of the Covenant, not in “a cedar palace.”

And so should we who are “Judeo-Christians” today continue to adjudge the ups and downs of our favorite “nations”: My sins, not anybody else’s, not any other nations either.

(I know: “Joshua Chiefs Ruth” doesn’t have the ring of “Joshua Judges Ruth”….)

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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.)

“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.)

A corporation has no opinions or endorsements.

Only the people behind it do, especially the powerful and rich ones.  They have every right as individual “natural,” God-made “persons” that you and I have … even more since they are rich and powerful, if you know what I mean.  I struggle not to begrudge them that, after all, the Lord said, The rich you will always have with you … sort of.  It has ever been so; nothing new under the sun.

So why do they need to increase that influence of theirs exponentially by means of the money their customers entrust to them in good faith while making, in most cases, apolitical “consumer” purchases?  Why indeed?

And why, with extra privileges and “rights” that We The People have supposedly freely and graciously, Sovereignly bestowed upon them?  Why indeed?  What are they up to, and why should we “trust” them?

Why do they always want more, and more, and more?  Fool us once, shame on you.  Fool us twenty times … shame on us.

GOP Big Lies

“The Obama economic fix isn’t working.”

Right.  That’s why we’re not in the freefall the Republicans got us into and left us in / we threw their asses out over, which we were in until this plan kicked in.  Coincidence?  The economy is a somewhat complex machine (like a corporation, it’s not a person).  At the very least, it didn’t make things worse.  It didn’t create jobs?  You want corrupt (Republican) no-show “created jobs,” or somewhat ethical, legal government contracts that are focused, as they usually are, on accomplishing tasks, not creating jobs per se.  They clearly SAVED JOBS.  Did the President overstate or oversimplify?  Yeah, he does that; I wish he wouldn’t.  But same difference.

“Healthcare reform is about a government takeover.”

That’s why all anybody in Washington, Democrat or Repug, is talking about is money, money, money, no takeover.  *I* want a takeover, just like civilized nations have, like the UK and NOT Canada.  But on this I’m to the Left of the centrist Demos who mathematically should be in charge at this time by virtue of (unstolen) election.

How would I do a takeover?  Wellll…  Since corporations are creatures of the State [Hey, “Statist”! Real conservatives would strike out on their own without the legal figleaf of incorporation, like their pioneer ancestors on the Frontier! Oh, that’s right, they stole that too….] created for some Public Good, I assert there’s no such thing really as “corporate property,” they’re just holding it in stewardship for the Chartering Sovereign, ie, the State in most cases in the U.S.  When the Public Good for which they were Chartered has been accomplished, or set on basically autopilot … OR they’ve turned the law on its head for their own enrichment and the project needs to be terminated or taken in hand … the State yanks their Charter, dissolves them or gives them to better stewards, or takes it over itself.  I figure between the bloodsucking, opportunistic, profiteering health insurance companies and HMOs … overcharging providers … mercenary, “ask your doctor” Big Pharma … vicious or spineless politicians … and even under-reimbursed good Medicare/Medicaid providers …  “politically” active / bribing Corporations all (or most) … (Have I forgotten anybody?) … I think I’m on good grounds here, don’t you?  Anyway, it’s cheaper than having to buy back our own Corporations from the people we Chartered only to have them leech from  us “for the Public Good.”  As a greater Mind than I said once, “They already have their reward.”

Otherwise, I can’t find out how the Brits actually engineered it after WW2 — eminent domain, purchase, dissolution?  But what’s wrong with socialized medicine, alongside

  • socialized police and fire protection,
  • socialized water and sewer,
  • socialized trash and garbage collection,
  • socialized primary and secondary education,
  • socialized electricity,
  • socialized roads and highways and bridges,
  • socialized national defense!,
  • socialized money (Oh, actually that’s privatized: See what a great job they’re doing with it?),
  • socialized Corporate Welfare/Wealthfare,
  • socialized farm subsidies,
  • socialized homesteading (Stolen: see above),
  • socialized airports,
  • socialized trade promotion,
  • socialized ports,
  • socialized Corporate industrial waste cleanup,
  • socialized diplomacy (sometimes),
  • socialized union-busting,
  • socialized religion and charity subsidies,
  • socialized technology subsidies (to get us caught-up with Europe and Japan!),
  • socialized tax loophole subsidies (Oh yes, there’s wealth redistribution … upward, not downward!),
  • socialized road signs,
  • substantially-socialized higher education (State universities, ROTC, CIA, etc.),
  • socialized parks and recreation centers,
  • socialized stadiums (and subsidized pro sports teams / Wealthfare),
  • socialized imperialism and war,
  • socialized Protestant evangelism (of American Indians and Alaska Natives, well into the 1900s) and catechesis (of public school children, also well into the 1900s),
  • etc etc etc.

So what’s so offensive about health care?

“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.

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.)