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.
- Name: The Local Crank
- 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."
Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
We Still Have A Dream...
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends–so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from every mountainside.
Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring–when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children–black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics–will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
A Rare Victory for Sacred Sites
Monday, August 27, 2007
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Thus passes Alberto Gonzales, quite possibly one of the worst Attorneys General in American history, certainly right down there with Ed Meese and A. Mitchell Palmer. I have encountered other lawyers like him, mouthpieces would say or do anything, legal, semi-legal or otherwise, on behalf of their clients, and who have completely forgotten their loyalty to the law and the justice system. Good riddance.
UPDATE: A classic 2003 Atlantic article on the cynicism and callousness of the Gonzo/Dubya team from it's earliest days back here in Texas.
UPDATE 2: Capitol Annex repeats Austin rumors that Dubya will tap Cornyn to replace Gonzo, presumably to prevent his defeat by Rick Noriega. I respectfully doubt it. Dubya needs someone non-controversial to prevent a bloodbath with Senate Dems. Not sure even Senatorial Courtesy would be enough to shoe-horn the notoriously unlikeable Cornyn through the process.
Conservative Hypocrisy Watch
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Battle Lines Being Drawn
Good article from Real Clear Politics that explains both why the GOP is desperate to change the rules of the game in California and why they face the possibility of a serious whupping in 2008. The article identifies Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia as potential Democratic pick ups at the presidential level. With the Republicans down to their base, and the base shrinking, and with George W. Bush tied around the neck of whoever staggers out of the convention, the potential is there for a historic realignment, assuming as always that the Democrats don't manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Friday, August 24, 2007
From American Indians in Children's Literature (a web-site I cannot recommend highly enough, particularly for educators), this review of a book that desecrates (and there is no other word) a very profound and sacred Cherokee tale of creation, traditionally shared at Selutsunigististi (the Green Corn Ceremony). Just as Indian names and likeneses do not exist just to create "mascots" for sports teams, sacred stories, rituals and sacred items do not exist to provide "quaint" entertainment for non-Indians.
The Deep Fish...
...appear to be lining up for Rick Noriega. This is a good thing; I respectfully submit that Noriega will make a better candidate than Mikal Watts (whose arguments in favor of himself are neatly deconstructed by Vince from Capitol Annex here). For one thing, Noriega's back story is better ("war veteran" as opposed to "trial lawyer"). For another, he seems to grok teh interwebs. And, finally, let's be blunt, he fits the growing demographic trend in this state.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
TXDOT: Shamelessly Shilling for the Pave Texas Corridor...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Another Great Victory for Texas...
My Infamy Spreads
Monday, August 20, 2007
A British Perspective on Indian Country
Rick Noriega MUST Be A Serious Candidate...
Sunday, August 19, 2007
God Help Us
Time for this year's annual Southern Baptist Festival of Embarassment and Shame for my denomination. Idiots.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Column for 19 August, 2007
“Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler!”
And so Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove rides off into the sunset, to spend his days in quiet contemplation, surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. And leaving behind him the smoldering wreckage of the Bush Presidency, the Republic Party, and the entire tone of political discourse in America. He went out in true Rove fashion, defiantly proclaiming to the Wall Street Journal that he would not be ridden out of town by “the mob” (by which I assume he means the 62% of Americans who fail to appreciate his greatest creation, the Franken-President; or perhaps the 70% of Americans who fail to appreciate him); absurdly claiming that his only real regret was his asinine “MC Rove” rap routine at White House Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner; and whining to Rush Limbaugh that his critics were really Bush’s critics and were “elite, effete snobs” who lack the “common sense” of the President (a hilarious accusation coming from an Administration so aristocratic it makes pre-Revolutionary France look like a tractor-pull). While it’s true that Democrats and Liberals often inflated his “boy genius” into something like a combination of Machiavelli and Lex Luthor, some conservatives are close to deifying him in political death. Fred Barnes, in particular, slathers him with so much praise in the Weekly Standard (“Rove is the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation. He not only is a breathtakingly smart strategist but also a clever tactician. He knows history, understands the moods of the public, and is a visionary on matters of public policy”) that one is tempted to shout “Get a room!” It should be noted, though, that not all on the Right were as kind, blaming Rove (because Bush, in their world, is simply above blame, much like the Japanese Emperor before WWII) for the “immigration reform” plan which they despised as insufficiently cruel to brown people. Rove’s ideas were not original. Kevin Phillips came up with the idea of the Southern Strategy for a Permanent Republican Majority some forty years ago, when Rove was still a junior ranger in the Nixon Dirty Tricks Campaign (complete with decoder ring). His bold strategy in 2004 for re-electing an un-elected President was, essentially, “increase voter turnout,” not exactly the Unified Field Theory of political campaign planning. Moreover, it’s probably not very likely that the Rove plan for permanent GOP electoral dominance would ever have worked, even if the Bush Administration had not turned out to be a train wreck managed by incompetents, fanatics and buffoons. Treating a narrow majority as a broad mandate worked as a governing strategy, at least while Bush was popular, but it fell apart as soon as his numbers tanked into the Nixon Memorial Sub-basement. Give the man credit for this, though; no Democrat who lost the popular vote for President (and the electoral vote, but for legal chicanery, political thuggery and rank judicial activism) would have ever had the sheer brass monkeys to push a hard-line agenda through Congress as though he had just been swept in with a Reaganesque tidal wave. President Al Gore would’ve continued trying to negotiate with Congressional Republicans even as they gnawed his ankles off. And, of course, the other effect of this strategy of blowing off bipartisanship and despising moderation is that the American body politic is probably more polarized now than at any time since the ‘sixties; which was, of course, Rove’s plan all along. His mistake was in assuming that liberalism would remain a dirty word. By knocking off and marginalizing moderate Democrats, the Republicans did in fact push the Democratic Party further to the Left. Unfortunately for Rove, the country moved with them, placing the GOP in very real risk of becoming an irrelevant regional party of the Deep South (sort of the like the Democrats were from 1876-1932). This is due in part to a further fading of Rove’s successes; Hispanics who were once attracted to Bush are leaving in droves and even white Evangelical Protestants (basically Bush’s only current support) are cooling to the Republican touch. Ironically, Rove can take some comfort in the fact that he leaves behind many protégés who are adopting his policy of tight campaign controls and a focused message, none more so than Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who appears to be grinding inexorably toward the Democratic nomination. Not sure how much comfort Karl will take in that, though his flawed magic eight ball predicts both her nomination and her defeat. And, of course, let it never be forgotten that he managed to turn a mediocre non-entity whose only claim to fame was his parentage into Governor of Texas and President of the United States. Perhaps based on that, there has been speculation that Rove still has magic left, either for the failing non-campaign of that one-dimensional fraud Fred Thompson, or maybe even Senator John Cornyn, currently only slightly more popular than the Asian Bird Flu. But then again, maybe Rove is telling the truth and his magical math is telling him to retire to his Hill Country estate, spending time with his family, perhaps doing some teaching. And, of course, dodging Congressional subpoenas. So long, Karl. Don’t let the door knob hit you on the way out.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Where is Right-Wing Anti-Government Paranoia When You Really Need It?
Get a Room!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Low Rent Ralph Reed Clone...
...new Chairman of the Texas State Board of Intelligent Design Propaganda (er, I mean--Education).
Freedmen "Still Members" says BIA
Buried in this story about the BIA approving the constitutional amendment ending BIA approval of future amendments are these interesting statements by Assistant Secretary of the Interior Carl Artman:
"The 1866 treaty quite clearly states the Freedmen shall be members of the Cherokee Nation and shall remain so," he said. Should the Cherokees attempt to deny citizenship to the Freedmen, the BIA would take action, Artman said. "We would have to enforce it in court," he said.
"I think it's important for everyone to remember that we have viewed and we still view the Freedmen as members of the Cherokee Nation."
UPDATE: Cong. Diane Watson has scheduled two public meetings in Oklahoma on her bill to strip federal funding from the Tribe if the Freedmen are disenrolled. And crackpot Senator Tom Coburn (previously famous for denigrating the Cherokee as not "real Indians") has apparently taken up the Freedmen's cause. How lucky for them.
Monday, August 13, 2007
The Turdblossom Special Rides Off Into the Sunset...
Labels: Karl Rove
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Selutsunigististi (Green Corn Ceremony)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Conservative Blowholes Want You to Die
An assorted of the leading elements of the Right Wing Media Freak Parade are now openly praying for "another 9/11" in order to "wake America up." These people are beyond disgusting and beneath contempt. But, again, apparently there's no crypto-fascist pronouncement too outrageous or repulsive to be lovingly broadcast by your Liberal Media.
Column for 12 August, 2007
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
The latest uproar over the Bush Administration’s wiretapping policy came and went so fast, most people missed it. Even now, the issue is muted, in part due to the White House’s dedicated spin-doctoring, claiming that the new law would only affect a few foreigners. That is, of course, a bald-faced lie, but George W. Bush and his minions now lie so often, so outrageously and with such regularity, it’s doubtful even they would recognize the truth anymore even if it jumped up and bit them. Here’s what happened: a top-secret court which overseas wiretapping by US intelligence services (the FISA Court) issued a top-secret ruling limiting the White House’s ability to wiretap conversations between people overseas and people in the United States without obtaining a warrant first. How do we know about this top-secret ruling from a top-secret court? Why, because Cong. John Boehner the Republican House Minority Leader blabbed all about it on FOX News, apparently violating Federal law in the process. Now, bear in mind, this debate is not about wire-tapping suspected terrorists. It’s about the ability of the Federal government to wiretap American citizens WITHOUT A WARRANT. There is virtually no disagreement that the President can, and should, use wiretaps against people who are suspected of being terrorists, or of acting to help terrorists. The only question is whether or not the government should have to seek a warrant from the top-secret FISA court before wire-tapping. Actually, the previous law was so accommodating, it even allowed the government to seek a warrant AFTER the wire-tapping in cases of emergency. Immediately after this no-longer-secret ruling, the White House and its trained monkeys in the Right Wing Noise Machine went into high-gear, all but accusing Democrats of being personally liable for any future terrorist attacks if they did not immediately pass a law essentially overturning the FISA judge’s opinion. President Bush said he would keep Congress in session over the August recess if they didn’t pass the bill he wanted. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell cut a deal with Congress to preserve at least some judicial oversight of the program, but Bush shot it down. The bill that did pass, the repulsively misnamed Protect America Act of 2007, goes far beyond a mere technical correction and gives the President powers he didn’t have even before the FISA Court ruling. The government can now eavesdrop on electronic communications of any kind involving anyone “reasonably believed to be outside the United States,” whether they are suspected of having anything to do with terrorism or not. And NONE of this is subject to review by anyone…other than that well-known guardian of the Constitution, Alberto Gonzales. So why is this bad? First, I would argue that anytime the government has the power to do anything without oversight or accountability, that’s a bad thing. In the words of Machiavelli, “It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.” Second, historically, the Federal government has always abused its authority to spy on Americans, including J. Edgar Hoover using his COINTELPRO operation to harass anti-war protestors and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., among many, many others. More recently, the FBI has admitted to violating its own rules on data mining under the Patriot Act over a thousand times. And that’s just what they’ll admit to. And, third, I ask my Republican brethren the question I often asked when they are insisting that the President be invested with some new pharaoh-like power: Would you trust Hillary Clinton with this? If your answer is anything other than an enthusiastic “yes,” then I submit that no President should have this kind of unchecked, unsupervised power.
So what happened to the Democrats on this issue? Why did so many of them (including, to his shame, Cong. Chet Edwards) vote for this abomination on the Bill of Rights, after having been elected, among other reasons, because people were sick of this kind of abuse? Why would they kowtow to a President whose support is currently limited to three guys wearing tin-foil hats somewhere in Utah? There are two theories. One is that the Democrats are absolutely terrified of getting blamed by the Republicans if there’s another terrorist attack on the United States. On that score, they can relax. The GOP is going to blame the Democrats if (God forbid) there’s another terrorist attack in this country no matter what. That’s just how they operate. Bipartisanship is for suckers. This is the same party whose leading guru, Grover Norquist, compared bipartisanship to date rape, after all. In way, it’s kind of touching how naïve some Democrats, even long-established political veterans, are about the Republicans. They insist on believing that their opponents are honorable people who want to do the right thing, instead of the cynical gang of authoritarian opportunistic thugs the modern Republic Party has actually degenerated into. The second theory is that Democrats were rolled on parliamentary procedure and fell for a sucker’s bet that involved a Trojan horse bill that Democrats in iffy districts could safely vote for, knowing it would never pass. In a way, this would be worse if true, since the Democratic leadership in the House is hardly a crew of naïfs just tumbled out of the turnip truck; they have literally decades of experience behind them. If the Republicans in Congress have developed a more refined legislative strategy than simply blocking everything that moves, it’s not a good sign that Democrats got bushwhacked by it.
If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid expect to hold Congress next year, let alone win the White House, they are going to have take off the kid gloves, recognize that the overwhelming majority of the country supports their position on the issues (if not Congress itself) and stop trying to negotiate with a President who thinks he’s King George III and a Republican opposition willing to follow him lemming-like over the cliff of electoral oblivion. And while they’re at it, they might try fighting for the Constitution they swore an oath to support and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Today In History...
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
We Are Not Amused
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Guns Don't Kill People...
Oh, Good God! The Pentagon has lost about 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols, around 30% of the total it supplied to the Iraqi government.
Is there anything we haven't done yet to screw this war up? Anything at all?
Monday, August 06, 2007
Today in History...
Labels: Today in History
Sunday, August 05, 2007
The Caucus Strikes Back, Part 3
Turns out Dan Boren's deal was not so much a "deal" as a "brief respite."
So, what happens if one or both of these bills pass and all or part of the Cherokee Nation's federal funding is cut off? Will Bush veto? Has he given any indication up 'till this point that he gives a load of flaming dingo's kidneys about Indian Country?
Lawless, Part 2
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Sleep Safe Tonight, America!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Tribal Sovereignty Accidentally Upheld by Federal Court
Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri shocked to learn that "Indians" or "Red Men" have actually lived within his state's borders for the last 10,000 years, give or take.
Not to worry, though; we can always count on the US Supreme Court never to miss out on an opportunity to further erode Native Rights.
At It Again
Concerned that rigged voting machines may not do the trick in 2008, Republican operatives are pushing a ballot initiative to apportion California's massive pile of electoral votes because "it would be more fair." Naturally, there is no similar move to apportion the electoral votes of Texas...
Probably worth mentioning at this point that the Electoral College has morphed out of all resemblence to its originally intended function. The Founders meant for the College (comprised of the "better sort" from each state) to separate the wheat from the chaff and select the three best Presidential candidates, who would then be chosen by the House of Representatives (with the Vice President being chosen by the Senate).
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Land of the Free?
Buncombe County (North Carolina) Sheriff's deputies arrest a couple for violating an unconstitutional law against "flag desecration." Then, they kick their door down, chase the man around his house, and threaten him and his wife with a taser. Welcome to America...better watch your ass...
Fortunately, the Sheriff sends his regrets.