Friday, January 21, 2011

Go home, Bob Barr. Just go home.

Do you remember Bob Barr? I call him SmirkFace and have never taken him very seriously. He sputters and he's inconsequential.

One of the leaders of the impeachment initiative, Barr led the charge against Bill Clinton. Surely you remember the flames? “[T]he flames of hedonism, the flames of narcissism, the flames of self-centered morality are licking at the very foundation of our society.” Lick, lick, lick go the flames!

You may not have noticed, but SmirkFace was the 2008 Presidential Candidate for the Libertarian Party. No longer Mr. Law-and-Order Former Prosecutor, Barr now just wants to "get the government out of it," weaken centralized federal powers, and prance about the periphery of a free and unconstrained market, mustachioed and coy, toes a-pointed.

His Wikipedia blurb states: "[Barr] is also noted for his austere demeanour."

He is the author of the Defense of Marriage Act and throws down 15 shots of espresso a day, in five-shot installments

I'll tell you a secret.  Fred is obsessed with determining Bob Barr's racial makeup.  It never fails. Whenever SmirkFace makes the news, Fred's eyes narrow, Fred's nares flare, and Fred asks, "What is he?  What is he?" It makes no difference to Fred;  It won't change his opinion about SmirkFace;  Fred just wants to know.  He says that Barr is like the Pat character on SNL -- swapping, of course, race for sex.

So, is "Bob Barr" ringing a bell yet?  Because I want you to have a firm fix on the man before setting you loose to read about his latest freedom-loving exploit. 

Perfect voting rating from the Christian Coalition. 
Fierce defender of the second amendment, he sat on the board of the NRA.
Level-headed libertarian, he did work for the ACLU and recognized waterboarding as torture.
Some have called him a "rational Conservative."

Got him pegged?

Okay, so I was a little surprised to see the racially obscure but fiercely free Bob Barr standing beside... Baby Doc Duvalier.  You know, the blood-thirsty former dictator of Haiti who decided it was time to go home a few days back.

Remember the Tonton Macoutes?  The "crimes against humanity"?  (The father-son team are believed responsible for the extrajudicial deaths of 20-30 thousand Haitians.)  Recall the $300+ million that were embezzled?  (Recall the terrible counterweight of the Haitian people's poverty?)

Please don't think I am being condescending.  I am not.  What I am is upset.  If -- somehow -- you were lucky enough to not be able to plot either Bob Barr or Jean-Claude Duvalier upon your neural memory network, I'd consider you lucky.

Ed Marger -- now that's a name I did not know!  Marger is Barr's longtime law partner.  Marger is devout in his support of the Duvalier dynasty, apparently oblivious or supportive of its despicable history.  "My relationship with Francois Duvalier was one in which I was extremely impressed with his knowledge, ability and the manner in which he managed his country," Marger said.

And so, there stands Bob Barr, barely smirking at all, lending his legal (and freedom-loving) expertise to one of the hemisphere's most notorious Bad Guys, while his partner defends Baby Doc's reputation by saying:

"It depends on what you call a bad guy, I've got a letter that says Barack Obama is worse than Duvalier."

This is why I shouldn't watch the news.

Go home, Bob Barr.  Don't even try to explain yourself.  Just go home.

AP/Ramon Espinosa
Outdoor mass on the anniversary of large quake

JASPER, GA -- On Thursday night, former congressman and presidential candidate Bob Barr along with law partner Ed Marger depart for Haiti.

This is not a mission of help related to earthquake relief but rather a mission to help a former Haitian strongman.

Jean Claude "Baby Doc' Duvalier has returned to the country after 25 years of exile.

The Duvalier family ruled Haiti as their own personal fiefdom for 30 years.

They did so with a secret police force and all the tools the dictatorship could muster against its impoverished citizens

Four days ago "Baby Doc", the son of "Papa Doc", returned to Port Au Prince from exile in France.

He is now facing human rights abuse charges and needs some good representation. Enter Marger and Barr.

The question -- why the heck would you want to represent a man who's infamy precedes him?

"Anything to do with Haiti is interesting, it's a fascinating country," said Barr, who practices law with the Law Offices of Edwin Marger of Jasper.

Fascinating to be sure one year after the earthquake and now with the emergence of "Baby Doc."

"And anything to do with Ed Marger is fascinating because he is a fascinating individual," said the former congressman.

Bob Barr and Ed Marger have known each other for more than three decades.

Marger has been a friend of the Duvalier family since the 1960's

"My relationship with Francois Duvalier was one in which I was extremely impressed with his knowledge, ability and the manor in which he manged his country," Marger said.

Francois would be the notorious "Papa Doc" who ruled with a fist from 1957 to 1971.

"There is no question he was a ruler who did things that didn't make alot of sense certainly to Americans," Marger said.

Now there are claims that 59-year-old "Baby Doc" is broke and a Swiss bank holds $6.5 million.

To get the money, Duvalier must be exonerated of charges in Haiti.

"I've read the same things in the paper," Barr said.

11Alive's Jeff Hullinger posed a question to Marger, "So this is not a bad guy?"

He replied, "It depends on what you call a bad guy, I've got a letter that says Barrack Obama is worse than Duvalier."

All of this illustrates the ambiguity of international politics. Right and wrong can be very abstract. It is in the eye of beholder.

"This is really more of a personal trip helping Duvalier and his family," Barr said.

Both men will be in Haiti until Monday.

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