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Papal Bulls- Right By Force (Credit to Peter D’Errico)

Romanua Pontifex Jan 8 1455-(edited) ” We bestow favors and special graces on those Catholic champions to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all pagans, to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to appropriate possessions to Christian use and profit.”

The ‘Requirement’ of 1513 was to be read to the indigenous populations before any hostilities could commence. (edited)

” …Wherefore we require you acknowledge the Church as the ruler of the world. If you do not do this we shall enter your country and make war against you and subject you to the yoke of the Church. We shall take you, your wives, your children and shall make slaves of them, selling and disposing of them as Their Highnesses shall command; we shall take away your goods and do you all the mischief and damage we can and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault!…”.

These Papal Bulls form the underlying fabric of US Law as it relates to Native Americans. Supreme Ct Justice (John) Marshall borrowed from the Papal Bulls the essential legalisms needed for State power over indigenous nations –Johnson vs McIntosh. Native Americans have been denied their rights in Federal Law from 1823 until today–because they were not originally Christian. Since Johnson vs McIntosh has never been overruled, the legal foundations for US Sovereignty over indigenous nations has remained “Christian Discovery”, concealed by the insertion of the word ‘European’ for the word ‘Christian’ in subsequent history and law books. The “age of discovery” became the “age of european expansion”. Even Marshall admitted the doctrine was an “extravagant… pretension” which “may be opposed to natural right” but “These claims have been established and maintained… by the sword.” (Marshall)

Since todays’ Christians rarely speak up to support Indigenous (and Native American rights) around the globe, perhaps we have not progressed so far from these Papal Bulls as some would like to think!

News For Profit/Reading Critically

 

I am constantly reminded of the importance of reading critically and not giving too much importance to headlines. In the context of the discussion of “what we know” to be true, I offer this to support my contention that a sizable amount of the information we base our opinions and beliefs upon these days can easily be called into question.

Take, for example, the recent headline that marijuana can lead to psychosis. While I don’t dispute that use of any medicine may have side effects, we should have become inured to the seemingly endless litany of the potentially harmful use of almost any drug or ingested substance. A critical reading of this article illuminates why it received headlines and who stood to profit from its “scare” value.

First, the propaganda.

“Using marijuana seems to increase the chance of becoming psychotic, researchers report in an analysis of past research that reignites the issue of whether pot is dangerous. The new review suggests that even infrequent use could raise the small but real risk of this serious mental illness by 40 percent.”

Then the caveat.

The researchers said they couldn’t prove that marijuana use itself increases the risk of psychosis. There could be something else about marijuana users, “like their tendency to use other drugs or certain personality traits, that could be causing the psychoses,” Zammit said. “The overall risk remains very low.”

Then, the real truth. (The study isn’t conclusive at all.)

Scientists cannot rule out that pre-existing conditions could have led to both marijuana use and later psychoses”, Dr. Wilson Compton, a senior scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Washington said.

Finally, the most interesting information.

Two of the authors of the study were previously on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Cannabis Review in 2005(and were probably compensated handsomely for their participation).

Several authors reported being paid to attend drug company-sponsored meetings related to marijuana, and one received consulting fees from companies that make antipsychotic medications … (Ahhh, pharmaceutical reps – and we consider these to be unbiased scientists?)

Even the scientist who led the effort to discover the human genetic code has written extensively about the landslide of corruption in the scientific industry, paid by corporate drug pushers to influence public opinion.

I’m not sure that the interests of William Randolph Hearst are not being represented. He was the man responsible for getting marijuana declared a dangerous drug to precipitate its being made illegal to eliminate the rapidly burgeoning commercial hemp industry from effectively capsizing his timber industry profits. To wipe out the vast and cheap multitude of hemp products threatening his empire, he initiated the attack by focusing on the accepted medical use of marijuana at the time and generated the brainwashing of generations to its dangers.

Certainly the pharmaceutical companies consider medical marijuana a threat to their profits, and the misuse of science for commercial gain is increasing exponentially.

As I said at the beginning, I’m not questioning the findings so much as why the study was conducted at all. Who stood to gain financially – that’s always the first question to ask. Perhaps a study is in order to determine whether or not people who hate their jobs are at increased risk of psychosis, or whether people stressed by being unable to meet healthcare bills or day to day economic realities might be more apt to suffer psychosis.

I haven’t seen these studies. Why not? Because it isn’t really about protecting the public – it’s about influencing public opinion for economic gain. Read critically, the fine print often unintentionally reverses the impact of the lead line.

An Open Letter Specific To Lake County (And American Citizens In General)

Much of the pride of Lake County citizens issues from the beauty and purity of our natural resources. This beauty is not guaranteed to us eternally. It can be spent, degraded, and destroyed in only a few generations. The Native memory of Lake County remembers a much different landscape—with different plants, different animals, and an even more pristine environment. At one time, in the not too distant past, Clear Lake was a seasonal source of drinkable water. One of the tests of our maturity as citizens is to popularize our priority to preserve the resources that are the essence of why we raise our children here. Any temptation to allow the degradation or destruction of those resources to promote the financial well-being of a few generations must be resisted.

As the century progresses, the value of the resources of water, arable land, space, and natural beauty will become more and more precious as we see the rest of the world struggle to attain our excessive standard of living. Young Chinese are already parroting the modern view that the sacrifice of nature and resources is necessary to their achieving a position of consumer equal.

The concept of endless growth and mindless development has been the accepted model for economic success for the last century. No one admits that it is the model of our success—yet the issue of how to maintain or improve County standards and economy always begins with a discussion of how growth may be achieved.

Common sense tells us we can put only so many fish in a fish bowl before the balance of water, air, and sustenance becomes taxed and the health and well-being of the fish are threatened. It is time to recognize that our previous models of “progress”, supported by seemingly inexhaustible resources, are obsolete and that sincere programs of resource preservation and a dedication toward achieving environmental purity must be adopted. It is time to change direction. As an alternative to growth for solely profitable reasons, we should make it our priority to see that any growth will enrich and enhance the quality of the lives and environment of the inhabitants of Lake County. We must search for economic models that are not based on eternal growth but move toward developing an internal economy that is self-sustaining and resource generating.

We are at a turning point in the economic and environmental life of our County. Our leaders should dare to be unpopular. We should welcome the ideas of all citizens, not just the commonly recognized pundits, experts, and policy-makers. Our most pressing need is for creativity and innovation in our planning and development concepts. Clean air, clean water, and unspoiled lands are the measure of our true wealth. If you doubt this, travel to places deprived of these and you will find a predictable poverty and despair.

Clear Lake is our most profound resource, yet we treat it like a child treats a taken-for-granted toy. We allow livestock to graze close to its banks. We allow unidentified private septic systems to leech into its reservoir. We don’t fund the necessary comprehensive tests for MTBE, methyl bromide, petroleum products, herbicides and pesticides in plants, water-fowl, animals and sediment. A satirical song by the band Pink Floyd, describes how a future alien anthropologist is forced to conclude that the extinction of the human species occurred because it “amused itself to death.” We are concerned that our toys and playtimes are affected by water-weeds, and we throw tantrums over foul smelling algae, yet we typically ignore potentially serious dangers, particularly when solutions would require difficult, demanding, and unpopular solutions.

The new paradigm could begin with the concept of developing an internal “second support” economy. We begin by asking, “What do we need to sustain ourselves, besides a clean and balanced environment?” To maintain our lifestyles we need to add to our national infrastructure, creating a local second support system of food, fuel, and energy production. Our development must take into consideration the most advanced technologies and community planning to provide efficient public transportation and public service systems. Organics and clean environmental policy should power our tourist economies. We should commit to the most advanced information, media, and communication technologies. Our school system should be overhauled to reflect a commitment to an up-to-date educational model for our children.

The creation of a second level internal economy through business and tax incentives would create a climate for new local businesses to emerge. We should encourage the cultivation of local arable lands to grow organic foods and sustain local livestock for locally based retail grocery, meat processing, and sales. The planting and harvest of local fruits, nuts, and vegetables for locally based community co-op enterprises has proved successful in other areas. Drying, canning, jerking, smoking, and the preservation of foods not only develops an economy prepared to deal with catastrophe but encourages a philosophy of eliminating waste at a most basic level, and recognizes the need for diminishing our dependence on immediately perishable foods. A need for processing, packaging, and transportation of these products could support additional local industries.

A commitment to alternative energy development on a local scale could support specialized agriculture, processing, and fuel supply businesses. The opportunity to build a tourist fishing industry that relies on electric and alternate–energy crafts lies within our grasp. If it was publicized that the County had made a commitment to supporting businesses specializing in these types of new technologies, we might see an influx of new businesses geared to this development. Petroleum power boat fishing contests could still be tolerated, but be limited to special occasion events.

The publicizing of this commitment to a self-sustaining economy and environmental purity could, in itself, represent a tool for drawing new people and industry to the community. It would be better to be able to pick and choose new entities that fit into a pre-engineered plan than be desperate to accept any technologies, industries, or businesses as policy. If we were able to hammer out a consensus that convinced people they would be participating in a novel, innovative, and wholly necessary experiment; the restoration of a truly magnificent resource—Lake County and Clear Lake—by appealing solely to their pride and common sense, we could breathe a sigh of relief on behalf of our descendants.

A County that has made this type of futuristic commitment would prove to be a valuable resource to California. This is not stepping backward, it is the wave of the future in a world of diminishing resources. In only a few generations, we would see the payoff. Water will be at the heart of the crisis of the future. Unspoiled lands and clean air will represent important attributes of community wealth. Those who oppose these ideas, oppose them because they personally stand to gain from disregarding the big picture, or because they are philosophically entrenched in an obsolete and dying perception of what progress means. At the heart of their beliefs, they are unconcerned with the health and well-being of subsequent generations.

Our commercials should cry out—“Come to Lake County! Breathe the freshest air; swim and fish in the cleanest Lake; drink the highest quality water, dairy, and wines; eat the freshest organic meat, vegetables, fruits, and nuts; hike and bike in the most pristine environment; and frolic at the best County parks, casinos, restaurants and resorts in California.” If our lands and waters are spoiled, crowded, burnt-up or over-developed, and if our economy is corporately controlled at the national, not local, level—on what will our future generations depend in a moment of crisis? Who will be provide our net of safety and security if it is not us? What is to keep us from becoming just another suburb of the Bay Area Megalopolis—despoiled and overrun?

The rush to social and economic ruin always takes place upon an easier path—but we can choose to take the road less traveled and leave a satisfying legacy for the children of Lake County. Their future must be considered now.

New Directions

I do a lot of criticizing modern western civilization and its time that I began to write a little bit beyond the doom and gloom. Yes, I believe the civilization is headed for crisis beyond our present comprehension, and yes, I also believe that the suicidal adherents to nationalism will eventually cause the US to either become rabidly facist–resulting in a revolution of some kind– or lose its position as a world power and become a militant threat to global survival as it goes down swinging. But I also take a long view and that is that most of that is relatively unimportant, except as it relates to the quality of life our children and generations ahead will experience.

There are already those who have, and will continue, to challenge the powers that be publicly on national and global issues. I’ve written my fair share on those issues as well. But the power of the people resides most effectively on the local level, and that is where I believe any change must begin, and solutions originate.

It is becoming more apparent every day that the global economy is serving the interests of a minority, while consumerism in the more powerful nations is hell bent on a crusade to export corporate capitalism to the world to satisfy the philosophies of endless growth and technological progress without examination of the consequences or recognition of finite realities.

On a national level, the average citizen has come to expect the central government to rally to every cause, provide every service, and uphold the present standard of middle class life despite the inability of any government, capitalist, communist, or socialist to meet these expectations indefinitely.

As the population becomes more and more diverse and the values and priorities of each political and social splinter group force the gap of common goals and purpose to widen, the central government will be less and less able to provide expected services without passing the cost on to the populace. The present difference between contemporary liberal and conservative economic principles revolves around those expectations, and whether or not it is the responsibility of the central government to meet them, I could go off on a tangent here discussing the relative merits of each philosophy–but I’ll forego that pleasure and make a simple statement.

I believe the monster has gotten too large to serve either ideal. The failure of representative government to provide for the welfare of the people, on the scale we demand of it, is becoming more and more evident. The central government will never be able to meet all the needs of all the people all the time. Neither can faith-based groups, volunteers in the community, and reliance on charity organizations put food in the mouths of the needy, a roof over their heads, or give them access to medical care, not to mention education and opportunity.

Our central government has simply become too bogged down with bureaucratic mismanagement, pork barrel spending, and entrenched political institutions to withstand the influence of amoral corporate power in its decisions and legislation.

It’s time to forge a new alliance. Washington should be downsized to a Ceremonial Center. The United States should become a loose Confederacy of Regions that taxes, or not, their own, fully utilizing any taxes to fulfill the service expectations of their citizenry. Those regions should treat with the central government for the amount of capital necessary to fulfill Washington’s responsibilities to the Confederacy. Those responsibilities should include; the maintenance of a modern capable defensive military, the production and maintenance of a national currency, the keeping of a well-balanced budget, and the appointment of a judicial branch whose sole purpose is: to see that the literal Bill Of Rights is upheld throughout the Nation and that commerce proceeds without one region holding unreasonable control over trade, natural resources, etc., common to all. (thank you, Gore Vidal!)

Local regions would choose to govern themselves democratically utilizing whatever system of economics suited 2/3 of the populace of that Region. The goal of each region would be to accomplish economic self- sufficiency supplemented by domestic and foreign trade.

The period of transition would be hard. People’s ideals of what they deserve from government and what their responsibilities to their neighbors might be would be challenged. The vampire of consumerism would be vanquished. Media would serve local interests again. Local capitalism would reclaim its dignity, its ethics, its morality and its accountability to its citizens. Economics would flourish as previously centralized systems of producing and providing necessities would return to local community control. All the tax monies that presently go to the central government would be retained in the Regions and local communities. Each region would be free to establish its common interests again, and develop local policies.

Does this sound like starting again from scratch? Certainly! Would it be less painful than letting the present system’s disintegration run its course? Certainly! The re-engineering of America must begin soon. The minds and the intellects are there to make it happen. But can the American mind give up its pride, its ego, and its maniacal belief that it, and only it, is the savior, the policeman, and the market mechanic of the world? Can the head of manifest destiny be severed once and for all? Or will the colonial traditions of old Europe continue to drive us to arrogantly believe in our superiority and our system, at all costs?

A Conservative “Hail Mary”

What we are witnessing on the Right in the U.S. today is a desperate “Hail-Mary” to preserve the original morality play their puritanical forefathers envisioned as necessary to their spiritual salvation and worldly wealth.

Pundits are left in confusion as these previously “small government” conservatives now occupy governorships seeking to extend “big government” into the private lives of Americans –their wombs, their bedrooms, their collective bargaining rights, social safety nets, etc. But that confusion is based on a previous belief that the primary thrust of conservatism is, or was, economic—rather than the conservative social engineering Newt Gingritch spoke of in his now infamous interview. This social engineering descends from puritanical, sexually repressed, hard-hearted Christian belief that the poor and downtrodden are that way because they deserve it and God intends it. Their disgust with sexual orientation and gender identification comes directly from biblical interpretations that only allow sex within marriage and even then it is a sin. Their economic coldness comes from the religious monarchies of Europe in which Kings and Queens derived their authority and status directly from God and thus their wealth as well. The huge corporate conglomerates have become the present day monarchies rigorously supported by those they donate to and support within our representative system of government.

Another element of today’s conservatism is a purposeful isolationism that extends beyond an international policy into the private independent lives of its citizens. Instead of looking to encourage cohesiveness, social responsibility and covenants between the government and its citizenry, they prefer to encourage individual isolationism that leaves everyone on their own. Where the country was once on a path of unity—a one for all, all for one mentality—new conservatives prefer to break away from that philosophy and encourage a new austerity that rewards the wealthy and penalizes the poor and disenfranchised. They will accomplish this by utilizing the Supreme Court to allow any wealthy donor to exercise its monetary control of our elective processes through unlimited donations while simultaneously passing stricter voter registration laws to make it more difficult for younger, poorer, student and senior voters from participation. For two generations they watched their moral, religious and racial majority dwindle at a rate that seemed inevitable. In fact, most liberals felt, prematurely it seems, that the battle had been won and that the future was their own. But the right mobilized a small vocal minority to push back against these changes and garnered sufficient elective support to sweep governorships and legislatures, inundating their states with legislation pushing forward old Christian Conservative radical social agendas.

Liberals and Independents must learn their lesson from this– if they are complacent and allow the election of representatives that have different viewpoints to continue they could potentially lose all the hard fought social battles for liberal advancements and advantages won over the last fifty years and find themselves in a dissolving union that stands only for the well-moneyed individuals and corporate giants behind this conservative movement.

Resisting Assimilation

 The question as to why the Original Peoples of this land have resisted assimilation into a supposedly free and successful culture is both complex and interesting. While other immigrants have come to this country, and after a few generations freely assimilated, Native peoples have not. Perhaps it’s because non-Natives came here from significantly less pleasant places or societies than exist here, while most Natives know that their ancestors lives prior to occupation were significantly better than they are now.

To be clear, our Ancestors were told that they were being forced to give up their world for a better future for everyone. This was an ignorant promise by a class of racist, bigoted, two-faced, and vain people convinced of their racial and social superiority. Today’s citizens are not happier, and in many cases, nor are they living in a safer or more secure communities. They worry more about just providing basic necessities for themselves and their families and their future prosperity and stability is less secure. How is that better?

European cultures traded tribal tradition and pursuits for individual ones many centuries ago. Modern European religious, social, economic and cultural tradition emphasizes the individual- above the extended family. This fractionalization of the family increased as old world immigrants migrated here, and then further fractionalized with western expansion and modern transportation methods. The search for individual prosperity and spirituality lessoned the contact between larger family groups. Modern economics reduced the necessity for interdependence between these same family groups. Thus, the embracing and exaltation of family became a choice rather than a necessity for survival.

Original Peoples are still tied to many of their tribal traditions, even if the economics and external social organizations do not require it. Despite intertribal factionalism and normal family discontinuity- Native Americans are still bound to each other by the unseen force of tribal identity.

The value of this type of identity, once thought to be at odds with the American ideal- is now coming back into acceptance. Everywhere you hear the words- family values. But before you can have family values you must have family! This was the drive behind the communal spirit of the hippie days, as well as the gang identity today. Much of the romanticizing of the Indigenous culture came from outsiders experiencing our unity at ceremonial and social gatherings. This power of unity and feeling of belonging is what many naturalized americans are missing in thier lives- particularly the young.

Culture is the next reason why original People’s still hang onto their tribal identities. Native American culture, language, customs and traditions- where they have been successfully preserved- still fill up the lives of People with rich and rewarding experiences.

For most Americans, common culture has been reduced to a search for entertainment and self gratification at the individual level. This is a culture of Big Macs and Super Bowls, Holidays and a once-a-week trip to church or a family gathering. There is little family celebration of history and heroes. Accepted common values have diminished as the family unit has shrunk to the individual level.

Of course there are exceptions to these generalizations- but not enough to give the common youth much feeling of identity or shared values. So many of them are searching- with drugs, gangs, etc. while their aging elders wring their hands for a return to the comfortable agreements about morality, values and religion that existed when they were young.

This opinion does not imply that Native youth are any happier than their counterparts. But often their unhappiness is due to the conditions of life on the Rez or in their communities, much the way black and mixed Hispanic/Nndian youth react to their impoverishment and dependencies.

However, the one thing many Native youth have are their exceptional histories and the feeling that they belong to something larger than themselves. I have seen this make a tremendous difference in their lives as they mature and develop in these difficult times. And where the strongest tribes and families survive– a greater strength and balance is seen in the youth.

The last reason I’m going to write about here is that Original Peoples often still cling to one another rather than assimilate. This is due to both a positive, and a negative, in their lives. The negative is a simple human reaction to a still persistent racism among non-Native system, mostly in areas where there are significant surviving Native communities. The opposite is also true. Many Native Americans harbor deep-seated racial prejudice against those that subjected them to the destruction of their way of life, the taking of their homeland, and continuing efforts to demean, destroy and eliminate them as Nations; along with their languages, culture, spirituality and remaining land base. Unfortunatedly this racism also inhibits them from taking advantage of many opportunities they might have to strengthen the position of their Peoples in regards to National Sovereignty, and also to better their economic conditions both tribally and individually. However, this issue of racial difference will continue, as long as the representative leaders and Supreme Court of the United States continue their incessant attacks on Indin self determination and government, land issues and treaty rights. Having a common enemy always binds people to each other- and the actions of the government and the Supreme Court on Native American issues can only be interpreted as contentious and aggressively intent on our destruction as Nations.

The positive, referred to above, has to do with the fact that Native American Spirituality is a group responsibility. Though individual medicine and power play a part in the whole, they are complimentary to the shared spiritual commitments of the Peoples, rather than being the final focus.

Traditional People see a responsibility to the Earth and her natural life, to each other, and finally- to all mankind. The Ceremony’s performed are done for the blessing of All, not just one. These beliefs are a powerful force in the lives of the People who share them. Their pledges and commitments are foremost in their lives, and youth involved in them receive much that is good and decent. They are encouraged to live exemplary lives, not for their own aggrandizement- but for the continued life and good fortune of their respective People’s and all their relatives on the Earth! As long as this dedication to a shared spiritual commitment exists, and the Sacred Ceremony’s handed down by the Creator are performed- the Original Peoples will not die out, not become assimilated- but will survive and grow!

The byword of social success is Unity. It should always be venerated and pursued as a scoial value. And that means- by everybody, not just Natives!