The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

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Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tell It To the Marines

The latest person repulsed by the Bush Administration's farce of a kangaroo court system in Gitmo.

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"Conventional Wisdom" May Be Wrong!

Shock! Horror! Giuliani the great bald hope of the GOP? Hillary unelectable? Turns out, not so much. Though Giuliani is certainly appearing more and more Bush-like lately, what with his pathological lying and batshit insane foreign-policy brainless trust.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

A Matter of Trust

A rundown on the latest Cobell lawsuit news by my colleague, the Right Honorable Wampum, as the trial finally concludes.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Most. Frightening. Thought. Evar.

Is the US Military taking its' marching orders from the Right Wing Blogosphere? Is there no portion of the Federal government that cannot be corrupted and politicized by the Bush Administration and its thuggery? Apparently not.

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One of These Things is Not Like the Other...

Compare and contrast: New Orleans, 2005 and San Diego, 2007. Obviously, clearly, the incompetence of Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco (besides Brownie's "heckuva job") had a part to play, but still...this is squirm-inducing.

UPDATE: TBogg sees it different and makes a valid point.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today In History...

...Roman Legions loyal to Vespasian defeat the forces of Vitellius at the Second Battle of Bedriacum (69 AD)
...Anton van Leeuwenhoek, inventor of the microscope, born (1632)
...Poland is partitioned between Austria, Prussia and Russia (1795)
...Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel (1901)
...Y. A. Tittle born (1926)
..."Black Thursday" Stock Market Crash (1929)
...The Big Bopper born (1930)
...founding of the United Nations (1945)
...President Eisenhower pledges support to South Vietnam (1954)
...I am born in Big Spring, Texas (1967)


Monday, October 22, 2007

Real Indian Beats Fake Indians

Boston Red Sox defeat the Cleveland Obscene Racist Stereotypes.

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Loose Lips

Just as Saddam Hussein turned out to be a rather wimpy Anti-Christ, Iran is proving a somewhat diffident battleground for World War Three. Typically thoughtful work by Fareed Zakaria.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Most Unintentionally Ironic Photo...

...from the Values Voters Summit.

Thanks to People for the American Way!

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Why Huckabee Is Doomed

I remarked to a GOP friend the other day that if I were a Republican, I would be supporting Mike Huckabee. Of course, since he is neither a Know-Nothing Nativist nor a Plutocrat, he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. Their loss.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

In A Bold Electoral Strategy...

...the Republicans have defeated a proposal that is supported by 80% of the American people (including 70% of REPUBLICAN VOTERS). Take that, you whiny sick kids! Next up, the GOP will ensure their political dominance by introducing a measure to outlaw puppies and kittens.

UPDATE: Oh, and the "Pro Life" people? They're all a bunch of screaming hypocrites who really don't give a rat's ass about children. Try to contain your shock and awe.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jerry Patterson: Putting the "Nut" in "Gun Nut"

I am a hunter. I support the Second Amendment. Hell, I even got a "B" rating from the NRA when I ran for State Representative (it may have been a "C"; the point is, damn near everyone else either got an "A+" or an "F"). So I can definitively say that refusing to sell the Christmas Mountains to the National Park Service because they won't allow hunting, and instead selling the plot to private investors who have already said they won't let the general public in at all, is moronic. If Jerry Patterson wants to continue his crusade for Second Amendment absolutism, he needs to go back to the State Senate. If he is going to be Land Commissioner, he should put the public first. Protecting the environment somewhere in there would be nice, too.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Rest of the Story

From the Great and Powerful Kos, the real reason for the Republican jihad against SCHIP (culminating in their embarrassing attacks against a 12 year old boy and his family): they fear, as with Hillarycare in '93, that success will remind middle-class voters that they have far more in common with the working poor than they do with the economic aristocracy the GOP supports. One of the linchpins of Republican electoral strategy since Reagan has been to make "entitlement" a dirty word and associate any form of government assistance with welfare queens and other undesirables. If even some of the large numbers of uninsured middle class families start seeing things otherwise, then the whole "government is the problem" argument falls apart.

UPDATE: Mitch McConnell beats up children. And he blatantly lied about it. Yes, I know; not much of a surprise, but it tends to fit in well with the above theory.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Revolt of the Generals

An excellent piece from the San Diego Union-Tribune on the unprecedented (at least since the Civil War) number of general officers publicly denouncing a President's foreign policy. While I tend to agree with the critiques, I'm not too sanguine about the underlying motivations of those who suddenly feel compelled to speak out, nor am I sure how I feel about the overall effect. Is this a threat to civillian control (however incompetent) of the military? What would Democrats have thought if 20 retired Generals blasted Bill Clinton? Any of you currently serving in uniform, what do you think?

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

What If Bill Clinton...

...from the Great and Powerful Kos, David Brin (of science fiction fame) gets into the act with some excellent examples.


The Parade of CYA Memoirs Continues...

...first Alan Greenspan (who abandoned his own fiscal principals to endorse Bush's multi-millionaires tax relief package) goes all on Dubya, now Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, one of the chief architects of the Iraq fiasco, blasts Bush as "incompetent." Nice of all these guys to realize what a train-wreck of an Administration they were working for....AFTER it's too late for them to do anything about it. More profiles in courage.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Instanbul Not Constantinople

From the Great and Powerful Kos, a good run-down of the current kerfuffle with Turkey. Unsurprisingly, Dubya is talking out of both sides of his mouth on this, though I do agree on principle that now was probably not the best time to deliberately tweak the Turks with this. As bad as things are currently in Iraq, they will become infinitely worse if Turkey invades Iraqi Kurdistan, which up until now has been a sea of peace and tranquility compared to the rest of the country.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Freddie Thompson: Not Very Smart But Friendly

"Up yours, America!"

At least, friendly to Tricky Dick, that is. Isn't the Bush Administration already sufficiently riddled with amoral Nixon-Era retreads? Do we really need more?

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Grand Theft Continent Day!


Wingnutosphere Seizes Moral High Ground... attacking a 12 year old boy and his family. And, of course, as per usual, they are dead wrong.

UPDATE: Shockingly enough, Rush Limbaugh has joined in on dog-piling this boy who only recently emerged from a coma. It's a real profile in courage moment for the wingers. Plus, Rush managed to work in his slander against soldiers, too. What a guy!

UPDATE 2: First the car wreck, then the coma, now stalked by a rabid Michelle Malkin. Hasn't this kid suffered enough?

UPDATE 3: Apparently not; now they're going after his GRANDFATHER, too!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Column for 7 October, 2007

“The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”
--Genesis 13:14-15

Tomorrow, October 8, is Columbus Day. As you might imagine, it’s not much of a holiday in my family. Kind of hard to get worked up about the life of a Genoese mercenary, slave-trader and pirate who stumbled onto the “New World,” and whose first dispatches to his financial backers consisted of cooing over how the friendly, curious Taino people he encountered would make excellent slaves. Within a decade of Cristobol Colon’s arrival at Ayiti (which he re-named Hispaniola), virtually all the Tainos were wiped out through disease, murder and forced labor. Colon then turned to kidnapped Africans to replenish his supply of slaves. Within 150 years of Colon’s arrival, between 85% and 90% of the entire population of the Western Hemisphere was dead. Put in perspective, Colon is directly, personally responsible for the deaths of one-quarter of all the human beings on the planet Earth as they existed in the fifteenth century. So brutal, incompetent and corrupt was he as governor, that he was relieved of his duties and tossed in prison. Eventually, he was freed by the King of Spain and restored to the wealth he had stolen, so Colon was able to die peacefully in his bed, a rich man, in 1506, still stubbornly convinced against all evidence that the “New World” was really Asia and the Native peoples he had so assiduously exterminated were Chinese or sub-continental Indians. In spite of his dodgy character and questionable skills as a navigator, Colon’s name (in its’ Latinized form) adorns cities, rivers and whole countries. By the Nineteenth Century, he was appropriated as a folk hero for Italian immigrants to America, leading to Columbus Day in 1971. Nowhere has the clash between Christopher Columbus the folk hero and Cristobol Colon the agent of genocide been presented more sharply than in Denver. Colorado in general has a nasty history of relations with Indians, dating at least to the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 wherein Colorado Territorial militiamen ruthlessly slaughtered a friendly band of Cheyenne and Arapaho, primarily elders, women and children, who were camped under an American flag. The Colorado branch of the American Indian Movement (AIM) has been waging a determined campaign for years to end the annual Columbus Day Parade and the holiday itself, pointing out that even South Dakota (a state legendary for its virulent anti-Indian attitude) replaced that holiday with Native American Day. The parade organizers, either woefully ignorant or deliberately provocative, have taken to having historical re-enactors in period US Cavalry uniforms march through downtown. So what’s the big deal, you might ask? It’s just a parade and Colon died five-hundred years ago. In fact, all those massacres and so forth happened a long time ago. Can’t you people just get over it? Okay, consider this; the US Congress stripped tribal courts of the power to try most felony cases with the Major Crimes Act of 1885 (an act, by the way, that is utterly unconstitutional since it purports to strip powers from sovereign nations without their consent). In the case of Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe in 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that Indian courts cannot prosecute non-Indians for crimes committed on Indian land. Recently, a study showed than one in three Indian women will be the victim of sexual assault, a much higher rate than among any other population group. In over 86% of those cases, the perpetrator is a non-Indian. Do you see where this is going? Indian Country is not just huge empty stretches of land in Montana, New Mexico, Arizona and the Dakotas; it’s also large swathes of well-populated Eastern Oklahoma. The US Department of Justice (the ONLY agency that can prosecute non-Indian felony offenders who commit crimes on tribal lands) doesn’t even bother to keep statistics on how many major crimes it prosecutes in Indian Country, but the numbers are anemic to non-existent. So the word has gotten out to sexual predators and pedophiles; come on down to tribal lands and prey on the Indians. Not only will they likely never be prosecuted, in many cases the tribal police are precluded from even arresting them even if they are caught in the act of committing a crime! These tribes have courts, they have judges, they have prosecutors. They have police; in fact, some tribes (those fortunate enough to be blessed with large amounts of casino money) have better equipped and trained police forces than any of the surrounding sheriff’s departments or police departments. Yet, Congress and the US Supreme Court, though acts of callously transparent racism, have transformed large portions of the United States into a lawless Wild West, where criminals can victimize the innocent with impunity. This is happening today, not five-hundred years ago. Today. Regardless of the motivations of the people who organize and defend Columbus Day, the effect is a gigantic slap in the face to those surviving Indians in this country, not unlike the blasphemous effect of carving the graven images of white rulers into the sacred mountains of the Paha Sapa, the Black Hills, which the Lakota still refuse to surrender, in spite of a $757 million judgment against the Federal government for the theft, money one of the poorest tribes in America will not deign to accept. Congress is currently holding hearings on the mass victimization of Indian women. The best solution would be to restore tribal sovereignty, repeal the odious Major Crimes Act and overrule Oliphant, which was based on a painfully contorted fiction of legislative intent in the first place. Restore to the tribes the basic power to protect their own women and children from vicious predators. And, while we’re at it, stop the parades; put the ghosts of Cristobol Colon to rest.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Today In History

Tecumseh, the great Shawnee statesman and military leader, is killed in battle with US Troops near Chatham, Ontario, Canada. The legend that Richard Johnson, later US Senator from Kentucky and Vice President of the United States, fired the killing shot is almost certainly apocryphal (1813).

Tecumseh was not the first to conceive of the idea of a pan-Indian alliance against white invaders; Obwandiyag (Pontiac) had created a coalition of Great Lakes tribes in the 1760's. But Tecumseh's was more wide-spread, reaching from Canada to Florida, and was probably the last such alliance that had a reasonable chance of checking, if not halting, the American invasion of Indian Country. Indeed, one of the great, unappreciated turning points of America history occurred in 1810-1811, when Tecumseh journeyed south to recruit the Muskogee (Creek), Cherokee and other southeastern tribes. In the end, only one faction of the Creeks (the so-called Red Sticks) joined; The Ridge warned Tecumseh that he would personally kill him if he set foot in Cherokee country. Had things gone otherwise, and the Cherokee and the majority of the Creeks thrown their lot in with Tecumseh, and had Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatawa followed instructions, it is very likely the US would have decisively lost the War of 1812. America at the point simply did not have enough troops to fight a British invasion and defend the entirety of the Western Frontier from a general Indian uprising. In such a scenario, Tecumseh might have well achieved his goal of an Indian nation between the Appalachians and the Mississippi, though the long-term viability of such a state is open to question.

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Privatized Army Runs Amok

Senior US Military official backs the Iraqi government's story that Blackwater mercenaries fired first and without provocation into a crowd of unarmed civillians.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jimmy Carter: Ass-Kicking Ex-President

"You don't have the power to stop me!"

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Republicans Get Clue! Nation Gasps!

According to the WSJ (and who would know Republicans better?), six in ten GOPhers think "Free" Trade has been bad for the country and 32% favor tax hikes on the mega-wealthy to reduce the deficit. Apparently, even the Republicans aren't Republicans anymore.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another Wheel Falling Off the Cart?

Hot on the heels of reports that Christian Reconstructionists are considering bolting the GOP comes this Wall Street Journal article that indicates Republicans are losing even the support of the business community. Is the party of Lincoln really getting down to just the tin-foil hat crowd? I'm not convinced that tele-Pharisees would really form a Third Party, but truthfully all they have to do is advise their flocks to stay home, or at least refrain from the kind of fervent electoral evangelization they performed in 2004, to fatally wound any GOP nominee in '08. If business is turning lukewarm on the Republicans, that of course doesn't mean they are embracing Democrats, but again, all they need to do is be a little stingier with their wallets to make a big difference, particularly if the Democratic nominee is seen to be at-least partially "business friendly" (i.e., in favor of "Free" Trade; i.e., Hillary Clinton).

UPDATE: Preening narcissist James Dobson emphasizes again that he is more than willing to drag the GOP down to electoral oblivion.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

"They Were One of Us"

Say what you will about former Principal Chief Joe Byrd, he gives a powerful and moving argument against disenrolling the Freedmen:

"The Freedmen came with us on the Trail of Tears," he recalled. "They delivered babies with us. They died with us. They ate with us. They buried our dead. They were one of us."

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This Just In...

...President still slightly less popular than scrofula, Congress even less popular for not fighting harder against him.

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