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."
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Breach of Trust
In a stunning victory, the federal judge overseeing the Cobell Trust Lawsuit has agreed with the plaintiffs that a historical accounting of the Indian land trust is "impossible," though he cited as the reason Congress' refusal to adequately fund the needed work. Wampum sees Tom DeLay's fingerprints on this, an effort to prevent anyone from finding out that Big Energy, with the connivance of the Federal government, has expropriated billions of dollars worth of Indian Country. As one editorial put it, "In plain writing, the District of Columbia U.S. Court decision criticizes Interior for mismanaging more than $100 billion in oil, gas, timber and other royalties held in trust from Indian lands dating back to 1887." Hopefully, lead plaintiff Eloise Cobell (Blackfeet) is right to, "look forward to Judge Robertson's scheduling of a hearing 'determining an appropriate remedy' in light of their failure to render the court-ordered accounting."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Today In History...
From the Sunshine State
McCain wins (and may get Giuliani's mighty endorsement), but he's pretty much out of money, and the people who have the money don't like him. With Rudy! out, I'm curious to see how McCain does in a head-to-head to the Romney-bot (with Huckabee apparently no longer a factor). If Giuliani hadn't been on the ballot, how much of his 15% would've gone to McCain? The exit polls tend to indicate that McCain still has a significant problem with the GOP base (Scarborough dismissed his platform as "less jobs and more wars"). This would tend to hurt his ability to use the Karl Rove/Nathan Bedford Forrest ("Git thar fustest with the mostest men") strategy in November.
In other news, Dubya was lying during SOTU. Quick, fetch the smelling salts; I feel faint!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Obama and Indian Country
If elected, Obama pledges to appoint a White House Indian Policy advisor and have yearly "summit meetings" with tribal leaders. He also wants to "reform" the trust program (whatever that means), protect sacred sites (I hope that means what it sounds like) and increase funding for education, housing and health care in Indian Country.
UPDATE: A (skeptical) analysis of Obama's proposals from Wampum.
Go Dodd Go!
So far, Senate Republicans have fallen well short of enough votes for cloture to end Senator Chris Dodd's threatened filibuster of the loathsome FISA bill with its retroactive immunity for telecom companies who sold out their customers to the National Security State. Both Senators Clinton and Obama voted against cloture (and thus against the FISA bill), so good on them, too.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
- Back home in Texas, we call this irony;
- Obama's South Carolina victory, perhaps not surprisingly, comes from a dramatically large turnout of younger voters;
- Not sure I agree with all the thoughts in this article about a post-American Hegemony world, but the conclusions are...disturbing at best;
- Romney and McCain battle it out to prove who would prolong Dubya's bloody, fruitless quagmire the longest;
- The Five Stages of Republican Grief;
- Blue Gal shares my annoyance (though I think for slightly different reasons) over Senator Obama's Jiminy Cricket bipartisan naivete. One pictures him calmly discussing the "audacity of hope" as Republicans seek to impeach him for using White House funds to mail his Christmas cards. Also, btw Blue, no one will EVER use the words "bitter," "old" or "hobo" to describe you;
- Drum remains unimpressed. Also possibly grumpy;
- Shorter Dubya: "Constitution, shmonsitution"; and
- Meanwhile, the Huck just keeps on getting dumber every day.
Labels: News Round-Up
Friday, January 25, 2008
Harry Reid Grows Spine!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Kucinich Drops Out!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Republicans STILL Hate Children
I don't understand why Congressional Democrats aren't doing more to publicize the GOP's unconscionable intransigence on the SCHIP bill. If I were Speaker or Senate Majority Leader, I would bring this bill back up for a vote once a week, every week, between now and November.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Now There's a Brain Trust for Ya!
McCain turns to Phil Gramm for economic advice. I don't make jokes here, folks, I just watch the politicians and report the facts.
In other news, Fred Thompson has dropped out of the presidential race (or, rather, mosey), astonishing a nation that had no idea he was ever in it.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Labels: Martin Luther King
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Imperial Presidency Theatre Presents...
The Straight Talk Express?
McCain wins South Carolina (barely, against the dramatically underfunded Huckabee), but again his weakness with actual Republican primary voters (as opposed to crossover Independents) may hurt him in the contests ahead. What's worse (or better, if you are a Democrat) is the fact that the "Maverick" McCain seems to have completely drunk the koolaid on Reaganomics, repeating the old chestnuts that cutting taxes raises revenue, that "out-of-control spending" is the only real economic problem, and besides, there's nothing wrong with the economy anyway (or maybe there is, or maybe not. Anyway, I don't understand all this fancy *open finger quotes* economicals *close finger quotes*). Do Republicans really want another nominee who believes that ignorance is a virtue?
UPDATE: Good overview piece from WaPo on the first real GOP Contest (meaning one in a closed primary), Florida. I would argue, though, that Florida is not a "normal" Southern state, given that it is a bizarre mishmash of Northeastern colonists, good ol' fashioned rednecks, and of course Cubans (whose only real issue is which candidate hates Castro the most). Meanwhile, "Maverick" McCain is showing his true straight-shootin', outsider credentials in the South by canoodling with racists.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Column for 20 January, 2008
“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.”
In talking with my Republican friends about the presidential race, they all seem to have one thing in common: annoyance. They are annoyed with their party, annoyed with their leadership, and annoyed with what they see as paltry choices in the primaries. They are frustrated that the front-runners, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and (unaccountably in my mind) Mike Huckabee and John McCain are unacceptably “liberal” and the more conservative candidates (usually Fred Thompson but I have also heard Duncan Hunter mentioned) don’t seem to be catching fire with the voters. Thompson in particular, by getting in late and campaigning at a leisurely mosey, is reinforcing his image as a shallow, lazy, self-absorbed prima donna laboring under the delusion that his mere announcement would be sufficient to secure the nomination. And, as with most things, the race is defined as much by the biases of the media as by what the voters actually want. In particular, the mainstream media is smitten with McCain and Giuliani to an embarrassing degree, far more than Republican primary voters. McCain, by making himself available to the media almost 24 hours a day, is lionized in coverage with the kind of embarrassing fluffery that would cause even the most slithering press secretary to cringe. The media has been so enamored of Giuliani that he has avoided scrutiny about his dodgy associations with, among others, Bernard Kerik, the crooked former police commissioner who Rudy pushed to be the first Secretary of Homeland Security. This is putting aside the fact that on the issues where Giuliani is not to the left of most Democrats, he is nearly off the map to the Right and advised by some of the squirreliest neo-cons around. I will be interested to see what happens to candidates like Giuliani and McCain who depend on crossover Independent voters for their primary successes when the campaign moves to states with closed primaries. I suspect it will be the worse for both of them. Even more amusing to me and embarrassing to my friends is the spectacle of all the Republican candidates falling over each other to claim the mantle of “agent of change,” when in reality most have endorsed George W. Bush’s position on practically every issue. In fact, in debates they fight over who can out-Bush the rest. Romney wants to “double” the size of Guantanamo Bay; McCain vows to keep troops in Iraq for a hundred years! And speaking of Romney, was there ever a more shameless two-faced fraud to ever shamble onto a ballot? After serving as essentially a very liberal Republican or moderate Democratic governor of Massachusetts, Romney now seeks to convince a skeptical Republican electorate that he’d make a decisive leader despite having changed his mind 180 degrees on every single issue, other than (maybe) his own name. A commentator on the DailyKos blog put it best when he wrote, “[Romney thought he could win as a conservative, so he became one. If he thought he could win as a pirate, he would have become a pirate.” On the other hand, it strikes me as a sad indictment of the current state of the GOP that Romney is pilloried in some quarters solely because of his religion, and ironic given that the Republic Party has no more faithful constituency that the uniformly conservative Mormons. Utah is, in fact, the only state in the union that has consistently supported George W. Bush and would vote for him again in a heartbeat. Religious bigotry is a slap in the face, and a self-destructive one, too.
And speaking of bigotry, on the Democratic side, the front-runners are accusing each other of racism. Well, actually, more like they are accusing each other of accusing each other of racism. Most of it is silly. Even if Bill Clinton really did mean that Barack Obama’s whole campaign is a “fairy tale,” I don’t see how that could be twisted into a racial commentary. And Hillary Clinton was right, if rather inarticulate, when she noted that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would never have passed without Lyndon Johnson essentially ramming it through Congress. On the other hand, someone really needs to tell New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that white guys using terms like “shuck and jive” when discussing black politicians really looks bad. Plus, “shuck and jive”? Who talks like that anymore? Does Andrew Cuomo actually know any black people or is he getting his terminology from old Blaxploitation movies from the 1960’s? My own view of Obama is that, on paper, he and Hillary Clinton are virtually indistinguishable on the issues, so their competition is over style and electability. I frankly don’t see the comparisons between Senator Obama and John F. Kennedy. He actually strikes me more like Jimmy Carter, a fundamentally decent person with an unfortunate streak of naiveté about the real-world of blood sport politics. He talks about “radical bipartisan change,” as if that term were not an oxymoron. “Change” much less “radical change” usually has nothing to do with bipartisanship, but occurs when one set of partisans has enough votes to run roughshod over the other set of partisans. Moreover, Obama’s candidacy has exposed or exacerbated a fault line in the African American community, with older leaders from the Civil Rights Era tending to supporting Clinton and a younger generation supporting Obama. And, like Hillary Clinton, Obama is firmly in the “free” trade, New Democrat wing of the Democratic Party, a position I think will become increasingly hard to defend as the country slides into a recession made worse by the systematic looting of the American economy over the last twenty years. Only John Edwards talks about these issues at all and he seems to be the odd man out, at least so far. With a politically toxic incumbent, no real front-runner in either party, an unpopular war, and a fading economy, this election may not be much fun for the Republicans, but it’s a pundit’s dream come true.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Stupid White Man of the Week: John Gibson
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
- Harold Meyerson on why the coming Recession may be different (i.e., worse) due to the structural instability of the American economy and why classical Keynesian solutions may not work;
- Imagine the news if a former DEMOCRATIC Congressman had been indicted for laundering money for terrorists;
- McCain and Giuliani may be toast as they move into states with closed primaries (i.e., ones where Independents and Democrats cannot vote in a Republican primary);
- The Huck has taken to shameless flim-flam in order to pretty-up his earlier shameless pandering to the Religious Right. A real profile in courage, but he still drives the economic royalists crazy with all his nonsense about Jesus caring for the poor;
- Health insurance companies are heartless scum. Try to contain your astonishment. Thank God we don't have that "socialized medicine" where healthcare is "rationed," huh?
- Mr. Pot? I'd like you to meet Mr. Kettle, you fat, sanctimonious bastard
Labels: News Round-Up
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Mike Huckabee issues charming, self-deprecating, down-home, populist appeal for theocracy. Funny how "God's standard" always just so happens to be the standard of the tele-Pharisees, which is essentially Social Darwinism with a religious fig-leaf. Of course, the economic royalists of the GOP had no problem with the Huck's designs on the Constitution; no, what got their knickers in a twist was his blasphemous intimation that maybe, just maybe, not absolutely everyone is doing completely 100% hunky-dory well in the current economy. In Michigan. Which contains Detroit.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sean Nordwall on the Freedman Debate
Sean Nordwall, a very impressive young man who I met while he was campaigning (ultimately unsuccessfully) for Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, has this editorial in Indian Country Today responding to the Smith Administration's campaign of disinformation and fear-mongering over the Freedman Issue.
Great White Father Knows Best, Part 2
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York and the St. Croix Band of Lake Superior Chippewa from Wisconsin are suing the Bush Administration over its' grotesquely paternalistic land-into-trust (re: anti-casino gaming) policy. Fortunately, word of Interior's ludicrous new attack on tribal sovereignty is starting to get around. Apparently, "local control" and "self-determination" only apply to non-Indians in the Republican Lexicon.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Director of National Intelligence sez...
Saturday, January 12, 2008
“Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples—they roar like the roaring of great waters!”
A long, long time ago, when I was but a lad, I was involved with an organization called the Texas Populist Alliance. This was back in the late eighties-early nineties, when Texas was just making the transition from corrupt, incompetent and vicious Democratic one-party rule to corrupt, incompetent and vicious Republican one-party rule. The idea behind the Alliance, as conceived by then-Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, was to form a bipartisan, grass-roots, working-class coalition that focused on economic issues without getting bogged down in the divisive social issues (abortion, school prayer, gay rights, etc.) that were causing working people to vote for Republicans who only shared their real interests in the same way that coyotes share the interests of sheep. It didn’t work, of course. For one thing, trying to organize progressives, with their genetic antipathy to authority of any kind, is like trying to herd cats with a fire-hose. At our committee meetings, some of the more neo-hippy members even objected to using Robert’s Rules of Order, on the grounds that it was too “coercive,” and wanted to instead make decisions based on consensus, in other words, talk and talk and talk and ultimately do nothing. That’s why I get a big kick out of conservatives who think some shadowy cabal of liberals secretly runs the world; progressives couldn’t organize a sock drawer, much less a conspiracy. The original populist movement began at the tail end of the Nineteenth Century, and their underlying philosophy was outlined after a meeting in Johnson County, Texas, in 1886, in a document known as “the Cleburne Demands.” You’ll note that these were not the “Cleburne Suggestions” or the “Cleburne Polite Requests.” The original populists were farmers and small businessmen who saw their livelihoods threatened as the country was sliding into a severe Depression (or “Panic” as they were charmingly called back then) and an indifferent government utterly dominated by big corporations (any of this sound familiar?). The Cleburne Demands called for regulation of banks, corporations and railroads, protections for laborers, and fair wages. A newspaperman working for the Cleburne Chronicle at around the same, Jim Hogg would later incorporate some of these demands into his platform when he ran for governor. For a few brief years, until just before the First World War, the Populist Party was on its’ way to becoming a political force to be reckoned with, winning elections all across the South and West and threatening to upset the rule of white supremacist Democrats in the South (the Populists were the only really racially integrated party in the country at the time) as well as the Republican economic oligarchs in the North. Ultimately, they failed for a number of reasons: the economy got better, lessening the sense of urgency; the Democrats in the South instituted a brutal wave of repression, instituting poll taxes and literacy tests to keep poor whites and blacks from voting; and Democrats like Jim Hogg and William Jennings Bryan and Republicans like Robert M. La Follette and (to a lesser extent) Theodore Roosevelt co-opted some of their platform, stealing their thunder. The point of this history lesson? To demonstrate that, contrary to the lazy mainstream media’s shorthand, neither Mike Huckabee nor Ron Paul are, in any sense of the word, populists. For one thing, populism means anti-corporatism, which pretty much disqualifies all Republicans. For another, Huckabee is nothing more than an avuncular tele-Pharisee with a fine eye for conspiracy theories (he pushed for the parole of a convicted rapist because his victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, thereby convincing the lunatic fringe he must be innocent. Upon release, this man, Wayne Dumond, raped two more women and killed at least one) and shameless self-aggrandizement (he brazenly invited political donors to buy him gifts off his wedding registry when he and his wife renewed their vows). Essentially James Dobson with a bass guitar, Huckabee is a subscriber to the blasphemous “health and wealth” gospel (epitomized by the insipid “Prayer of Jabez” craze a few years back), which holds that money is just God’s way of showing how much He loves rich people. Ron Paul is, well, frankly, insane. Endorsed by neo-Nazis, with a penchant for anti-Semitic and racist ramblings, not to mention flirtations with bizarre 9-11 conspiracy theories and Confederate apologists, Paul has proclaimed a bold Nineteenth Century economic policy (bring back the gold standard). Only his opposition to the war, and the Republican establishment’s clumsy ham-fisted efforts to muzzle him, have gotten him the attention he has leveraged to raise money from people who either ought to know better or, more alarmingly, agree with him. The only person who even distantly resembles a populist in this race is John Edwards, who, like me, is a disarmingly handsome trial lawyer with great hair and who shares my fear that “free” trade is systematically eviscerating the US economy and turning us into the Belgian Congo. So why does the media insist on tossing out the label “populist” like a party favor? For one reason, most of the media are too intellectually lazy to be bothered with the sort of research (say a couple of minutes with Google) that would be required to reveal that if Huckabee is a populist then I am the long-lost Romanov heir, Alexei. For another reason, political discourse in America has become so debased that “populist” is used to describe any candidate who expresses even the slightest sympathy for the plight of the poor and the working poor, as opposed to the Republican policy of grinding them up into free pâté for the rich. Huckabee brazenly mentioning in his stump speeches that Jesus Christ actually never called for a cut in the capital gains tax has led to the hilarious spectacle of Conservative elites frothing at the mouth and gnashing their teeth at Huckabee’s success in Iowa, as reflected by Rush Limbaugh’s oxycontin-flavored rants and a recent column excreted by Ann Coulter; for the Republican politburo, evangelical social conservatives are supposed to show up to vote but otherwise keep their mouths shut and be rapturously grateful for the lip service paid them by the anointed candidates of the economic royalists who run the GOP. Evangelicals are certainly not supposed to (gasp!) run for President. So, run Huck, run! Keep giving George Will, official spokesnerd of the politburo, the vapors. Help the Republicans learn what the Democrats felt like when Jesse Jackson ran in 1988. Just stop trying to fob yourself off as a populist.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Failing to Learn from History
A recent post at Sadly No! about the National Museum of the American Indian and its' alleged downplaying of genocide reveals more through the accompanying comments than the post itself, as the tired old memes of "that was a long time ago," "the Indians were violent, too!" and "why should we feel guilty?" are trucked out yet again. As I have mentioned before, many whites have such a violent aversion to acknowledging or even mentioning what Indians have suffered because the mere fact of our stubborn, continued existence is an uncomfortable reminder that the Western Hemisphere was "settled" through invasion, genocide, brutality and lawlessness. This is especially true in America, where many perhaps most whites are deeply, personally, emotionally invested in the cherished founding myths of our nation's history.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Apparently, Right Wing Arkansas fundraisers hate not just Bill Clinton but the Huck, too, because they are now financing brutal attack ads in South Carolina hammering him for his role in the release of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond. Any guesses as to which "mainstream" GOP candidate is really behind this?
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
John Edwards is the New Al Gore...
...meaning the MSM punditocracy hate his guts and will do anything to defeat or marginalize him.
And in other news, Dennis Kucinich's running mate Ron Paul turns out to be even more repulsive than previously imagined.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Great White Father Knows Best
Based on this Washington Post article, Obama's "audacious hope" really rings of naivete, and an unrealistic expectation of how things truly get done in Washington. "Sweeping bipartisan change" is an oxymoron; "change," sweeping or otherwise, typically occurs only when one set of partisans has enough votes to ram it through over the objections of the other side. There are exceptions, such as LBJ's civil rights legislation, which could not have passed without Republican votes, but given how polarized the parties are these days, I sincerely doubt it will matter how charming and inspirational a President Obama would be. Republicans have already settled on their game plan, obstructionism, and I don't see that changing, no matter how badly they get whipped in November.
In other news, just in case the historical relevance of the word "populist" hasn't yet been sufficiently desecrated through association with such odious poseurs as Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, now Lou "Crazier'n a shithouse rat" Dobbs is mulling a bid for President to hold the line against the Invading Brown Hordes.
UPDATE: Senator, I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine...
Saturday, January 05, 2008
George Will Gets the Vapors
In his latest pronouncement from in high, the Official Spokesnerd of the Republican Establishment denies that any such "establishment" exists, since, after all, wasn't that filthy barbarian Barry Goldwater nominated? In Will's mind, "establishment" apparently is synonymous with "Rockefeller." Likewise, Will sniffs that John Edwards and Mike Huckabee are (*gasp!*) "populists," which evidently means anyone who expressing anything less than unvarnished contempt for the poor. Why. it's so bad, Will looks favorably upon Obama, who is thereby transformed into a grown-up. And nothing, but nothing, gets the goat of Economic Royalist Republicans more than anything that even remotely smells of "populism."