Archive for category Rocky

The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


Rocky Anderson Seeking Justice Party Nomination for President

So Rocky has announced a run for president. And in predictable fashion, the Salt Lake Tribune has fed the fly fodder to its anti-Rocky fans. Pathetic. Rocky was a widely popular 2 term mayor of Salt Lake City and remains a widely popular former mayor.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rocky addressed the subject of the Occupy movement to reporters.


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Stand and Be Counted on Wednesday 5:30

Salt Lake City citizen Rocky Anderson has organized this Utah greeting for Chimpy The Decider. Hope to see you there!

New Rally Information

Print your own fliers and help spread the word:


Utah Safe Haven for Bush Flunkees; Are the Doormats Wearing Thin?

Alberto Gonzales might not make it to Utah- or out of Washington alive. But the list of Bush administration flunkees running to Utah to look busy is obvious and somewhat frightening. The Bush “Mod Squad” of Gonzales, Education Secretary Spellings and HHS head and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, is due to come here Friday to investigate(?) the Trolley Square shootings. Vice-Doofus Cheney of Fools is here today to fertilize the young, growing minds of BYU’s class of 2007 with his patented right-wing drivel. And first bimbo Laura Bush visits Zion National Park to get back to Nature and dedicate the new historic center there. Utah appears to be the last, safe place administration officials feel they can go and not get bombarded with criticism or negative images of local protestations against Iraq, abortion, stem cell research, the environment, Rocky, you name it. But as the linked articles show, even Utah is getting wise to the dog-and-pony shows the Bush Circus is staging. Polls show that, despite the regime’s enduring popularity here, even Utahns are growing skeptical of their competence. If moral values are the reason they’re popular, then the administration has failed their loyal constituents here. All of the big shots scheduled to visit Utah- Gonzales, Cheney, Spellings, Leavitt- except Laura, are connected to some ongoing corruption investigation. It’s clear Utah is important to the administration but what have they done for Utah in return? What is the benefit of Utah’s loyalty? Gas prices keep going up, federal support of Utah’s vast public lands is disintegrating. The ICE stormtroopers have chosen Utah to execute their illegal immigration crackdown where we already have problems filling jobs. The truth is rising through the cracking crust of Bush propaganda. The good news is they’ve only got a couple of years left. The question is whether Utah will hang on long enough to throw them a farewell parade.


Looking Forward

Tribune headline

When I looked at this article in the Deseret news today and saw that although Rocky’s overall approval rating is pretty darned good, his attempt to convince anybody who would listen to the idea that Bush should be impeached, was being rejected by a majority of people, even in Salt Lake City. My optimism to go out with my “Impeach Bush” sign today was slightly hindered for the time it takes a synapse to bridge the divide between an axon terminal and a neuron.

When you think about it, the fact that I can’t elicit the slightest response from the large majority of people traveling along in their cars, it’s very encouraging that 31% of the them felt STRONGLY that Rocky is on to something here. That means that a lot of people I see probably don’t respond to me simply because they think I clutter up the road or should be producing some commodity for consumption rather then wasting my time.

A man on foot who seemed to agree with my cause even asked me what I hoped to accomplish with my sign. I asked him what HE was doing to that end. He quickly asked his wife if she had pushed the button that would stop the traffic so they could cross the street. As they waited, five cars passed by and gave me an emphatic thumbs up and friendly honk. I said, “people see me out here, and it gives them hope.”

He acquiesced.

In fact, today was another one of the best days I’ve had. It seems the subpoena power given to the Democrats by the last election has already exposed a crack in the armor of the Republican party. Wave after wave of excited supporters gave me the opportunity to shake the belief of the Bush supporters that they are winning. To rattle and annoy, for now, the willfully ignorant.

The Hannitized.


Has the Far Right Overstayed it’s Welcome in Utah?

I can’t help but feel optimistic about all this commotion over Cheney’s impending visit to Provo. There hasn’t been this much turmoil since Sean Hannity was flown in to impose himself on Michael Moore’s “slacker” tour before the 2004 election of John Kerry. It’s hard to find any information on why Hannity was never invited back to host the “Stadium of Fire” events there, but I highly doubt his explanation that the show’s new producers had a “Hollywood connection.” Even Doug Wright seemed a little uncomfortable with Sean while trying to moderate a discussion with Rocky and Sean concerning the details of a debate being scheduled this May.

The Church is defending the decision to have Cheney speak at BYU’s commencement ceremony by stating:

“the invitation is seen by the university’s board of trustees as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure.”

Wow! I don’t even know what to say.

It looks like the American Legion hasn’t scheduled an invitation to have Bush address it’s congregation in Salt Lake for the third year in a row, but don’t expect them to admit Rocky or the “Nutcakes” had anything to do with that decision. It’s still worth mentioning that, by anybody’s standard, more people showed up to protest Bush’s appearance here last August, then to welcome him.


In Your Face Rocky Bashers

Our Rocky made the cover of Nation magazine.

Having spent several months as Rocky’s interim communications guy, I witnessed up close and personal the viceral, organized and popular sport of Rocky bashing. I can tell you it looks no different from the inside than the outside for the simple reason that both of our major daily papers love it and facilitate it. John Hughes (D-News Editor) pushed one young reporter so hard it ruined the kid’s career. Revised: And I watched in horror the local media morph into parapazzi at the slightest opportunity to spark a new sensational furor while refusing to write about many of the important things Rocky was doing.

But we noticed and the world noticed, and this national praise and national presence reminds us once again, Salt Lake City is a world class city with a majority progressive community surrounded in part by a hostile tribe grunting in unison against rational progress and thoughtful discourse for fear of being exposed for what they are not.

Over the past seven years, Anderson has transformed the city. While outsiders who know little of the nuances of Utah politics might assume this nerve center for the Church of Latter Day Saints to be a bastion of conservatism, among those who track urban policy trends the city has become synonymous with some of the most creative urban government thinking in the country.

We can count on a jealous republican state legislature to continue to block Rocky at every turn out of a petty jealously for the fact that one out-spoken liberal has brought more benefits to this state then they ever will.

When Anderson proposed a law stating that the city would favor doing business with companies that paid a living wage to their employees, the conservative state legislature did an end run around this by passing a bill prohibiting municipalities from making contract decisions based on such criteria. He is, according to senior staff, often at loggerheads with councilmen, state legislators and the governor. Some go so far as to say that anything he supports, the legislature will oppose.

And don’t count on a responsible local media to play a role in improving our quality of life.

Case in point. the Desert Morning News did not print Professor Firmage’s letter(print version) recently because they endorse his views and believe the community will benefit from hearing his voice, but rather because it is provocative and generates letters to the editor like this, this, and this.

I assure you if the D-News had received any intelligent critiques they would have published those. That only idiots disagree with Professor Firmage or Rocky is no excuse for legitimizing cave-level community discourse but it is par for the course around here at least for the forseeable future.

We need to get the Tribune back in the hands of Jack Gallivan and The McCarthys, and we must elect current Minority Leader Ralph Becker Mayor of SLC.


Paul Rolly: Deep Thoughts

On-The-Job Training?

The sudden announcement from the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office that spokesman Cliff Lyon was only a temporary volunteer sit-in until the mayor can find a permanent replacement may have a rest-of-the-story tint that needs some explanation.

When Lyon first took over for Deeda Seed, fired for alleged incompetence, there was no mention that he was volunteer or temporary. He says now that he didn’t reveal that because it might make him less effective.

It seems he has done enough on his own to make himself less effective without the burden of a “temporary” label.

During the first days that Lyon was on the job, he told a Salt Lake Tribune reporter that Anderson was going to make a public apology about his perceived treatment of certain employees.

When the reporter put that information on The Tribune’s Web site, Anderson apparently didn’t like the word “apology.” So Lyon told the reporter that she, not he, got it wrong.

  — “She” updated The Trib article later WITH Rocky’s public apology. — Cliff Note.

That was the first glitch in his credibility with the press.

The second was when he did a similar dance with KCPW, telling one reporter with the radio station that Anderson was making a “mea culpa” and later denying that he had said that to another reporter with the same station.

When I wrote about the fact that the City-County Building was not flying its flag at half-staff like other government buildings to honor Katrina victims and the recently deceased Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, I had called Lyon to find out why.

He said he would get back to me with the answer, then never did, although the flag was flown at half-staff the next day.

After I wrote that Lyon never got back to me with the answers to my questions, he told Anderson that he left a message on my answering machine that evening, apparently gambling that I don’t check my messages at night. Unfortunately for him, I do. He did not leave a message on my answering machine.

Lyon says he won’t apply for the permanent job because he is overqualified. If that’s true, I’d hate see the person who is under qualified.

I posted the following response:

Cliff said…

I just googled myself and found much to my dismay, that Paul Rolly began trashing me (Cliff Lyon) long before his most recent factually-challenged column which in sum, reflect not only a Machiavellian standard of journalism, but one horribly compromised by a ritualistic passion for golf.

Should anyone wanting to prove which one of us is lying about leaving him a message about the flag at half-staff thing, you can file a GRAMA request with the city. It would confirm that I called both his office and cell phone around 4:30. The call length would show I spoke long enough to leave a message.

Unfortunately, my answer did not support Paul’s Rocky-bashing thesis and would I suppose, have required Paul to change his story or, God forbid, write about something more important.  In Paul’s defense, I’m sure he counted to thirty-Mississippi back before turning off his cell phone and filing the story on his way out the door. It was after-all, a gorgeous day. I remember that as I watched the flag from my office window, waving in a gentle breeze as it was lower to half-staff.

I suppose Paul Rolly did make a difference that day.

But I am most hurt by Paul’s comment, “Lyon says he won’t apply for the permanent job because he is overqualified.”

Given the unusually vicious nature of the local anti-Rocky media culture, he might be right; a professional wrestler is probably better qualified.

Thankfully, I was a volunteer at the time. I hate to think how tax-payers would react if they knew someone on the city payroll were being paid to chase down accurate answers to trick questions from a gossip columnist.

Cliff Lyon

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Sour Grapes

Pignanelli & Webb’s article last Sunday was a classic exercise in pernicious, pattycake, pomposity.

The article entitled Who is the real Democrat, Matheson or Rocky? Was in traditional P&W fashion, a series of rhetorical questions.

They and the essence of the answers follow adorned with my glib comments in italics.

1. Is Jim Matheson a real Democrat?

Pignelli said yes. But a more scientific analysis by Pig’s (as he is affectionatly called by friends) colleague Bob Berneck would suggest Rocky is right. Bernick backed up his statement, “by national standards, Utah’s 2nd Congressional District representative is not much of a Democrat.” (I’ll take Matheson any day over another Chris Cannon)

According to VoteMatch Jim Matheson is a moderate conservative well to the right of our beloved (by democrats) Governor Jon Huntsman.

So what is Pignelli’s real agenda? Well, I’d say SOUR GRAPES based on the last sentence in Pig’s answer, “The last time I checked, Rocky was not handed the authority to define a ‘Democrat.'” It seems to me pretty much everyones these days seems to have the authority to define a Democrat.
Webb didn’t answer the question but instead spewed a bunch of gibberish about Nancy Pelosi and “a whole raft of ultra-liberal/leftist.”

2. Is Rocky a Democrat?

Webb says yes.

Pignelli says no, and proceeds to cram the words “[dictator, personality cult, abusive practices, hypocritical actions and monumental failures]” into one paragraph without a single supporting statement in a venomous attack that can only be described as SOUR GRAPES.

3. Will Rocky’s endorsement of the Brister impact the election?

Webb says, “Would that it were so,” which I don’t even know what that means, but since I am one of the “Avenues wine-and-cheese crowd [that supports Rocky]”, I would have to say Webb would fit in quite well.

Pignelli says, “Possibly” immediately followed by, “Matheson will win”. “Possibly?” If Pig really believes that, he has the political acumen of that one term idiot George “Macacca” Allen or…SOUR GRAPES.

4. Are Anderson and Matheson conspiring to promote each other’s interests?
(Does Webb get to write any of the questions?)

Pignelli: “Rocky’s attack of Matheson…gives the Mayor an opportunity to strut his stuff on the national stage. Such a Machiavellian strategy…” Either Pig is jealous of Rocky’s recent national media attention or its SOUR GRAPES (or both)

Webb responds gratuitously (to Pig for the stupid question) saying, “I wholeheartedly endorse this rumor and move that we all agree to believe it.”

5. Why is Rocky attacking Matheson and what does he have to gain?

Webb: “Rocky is successfully building a national, even international, reputation as a gadfly willing to go after the establishment on an equal-opportunity basis.” Thank you Webb, now you know why we love Rocky, same reason you love Bush, they “go after the establishment.”

Pignelli: “Regardless, these antics prove the “Mouth of Fourth South” will say or do anything to promote his narcissistic agenda.” …SOUR GRAPES.

It should be noted at this point for those of you who don’t know, and the rest of us who’ve long forgotten, Rocky kicked Pig’s ass in the last mayoral election, and for good reason.

Pignelli took us all for rubes displaying the most obvious kind of political pandering, tight-rope-walking, policy-mushy, weak-kneed, sell-out campaign the city has ever seen. The only reason the guy calls himself a democrat is Catholic guilt, which also explains his virtual absence in democratic political circles.

Sorry for the hack job. Still looking for contributing authors.


Thank You Rocky Anderson!

Please to go and leave your thank you to Rocky for expressing our sentiments about the war and this administration.

If you weren’t there, you MUST listen to the speech. It was his best! And the crowd cheering was heard far beyond Utah.


Full text of speech


Mark Shurtleff Disappointed Me Today

I have always had an in ordinate amount of respect for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Despite being a Republican, Mark has shown tremendous backbone in supporting progressive causes including equality for the GLTB community, youth programs, education, and a “normal” interpretation of law. Mark is the only Republican I have ever voted for, and I will do it again because “I know” his heart is better than it was today.

But I was surprised and disappointed by his comments today in his speech to the small Pro-Bush crowd at Liberty Park.

After confirming Mayor Rocky Anderson’s right to free speech, he very disingenuously suggested that Rocky’s anti-Iraq war/Bush speech was disrespectful and inappropriate in view of the coincidence with the funeral of a Utah Marine. He also used the word “stupid” to describe Rocky’s decision to speak out about the Bush’s lying us into this war and Rocky’s demand for the truth.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff knows better. By calling Rocky’s actions stupid, he is calling me stupid and the THOUSANDS of us who cheered Rocky today for his courage, stupid. Mark knows well that we protest this war BECAUSE we support the troops.
If you disagree with this war, if you disagree with the reasons for which US Marine Adam Galvez died, if you SUPPORT the troops risking their lives in an unjust and illegal war, then Rocky’s speech and words are more appropriate than silence.

We are losing almost TWO soldiers per day in this war. Per Mark Shurtleff’s remarks, we should all just shut up and morn the dead. I personally, can’t think of anything less patriotic.

Mark Shurtleff needs to apologize or Mark Shurtleff needs to announce his support for this war despite the lies. And it is hard not to notice that he did not.

Mark Shurtleff DID NOT announce his support for the war in Iraq because while Mark Shurtleff is a politician, Mark Shurtleff is not stupid.

Mark Shurtleff is between a rock and a hard place…his conscience and Utah.


Address by Mayor Rocky Anderson

Dear Salt Lake City residents:

Below is the speech I gave last Friday announcing I would not seek reelection as your mayor. After I complete my second term as Mayor, I plan to pursue grassroots advocacy work on climate change and human rights. It has been my deepest privilege to serve the citizens of this great city, to work for change, and to help ensure that those who come after us experience the same extraordinary quality of life we have been so fortunate to enjoy. Let us continue to pursue policies that foster sustainability and help all Salt Lake City residents reach their fullest potential as equal, valuable members of our community.

Address by Mayor Rocky Anderson
July 28, 2006 – Salt Lake City Main Library

When I first ran for mayor, I considered myself simply a resident, a citizen, a community-activist, with passionate concerns about what was happening in our city, our state, our nation, and our world. That’s how I still view myself.

I worked in my law practice to help bring about positive changes for people with mental illness, for people whose rights were abused while they were incarcerated, for homeless people, for people who lost their savings in underinsured financial institutions, and for victims of malfeasance by those whose professional standards demanded that they exercise greater care toward those they are supposed to help.

Outside of my law practice, I worked, proudly, as President of the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah for the vindication of constitutional rights and liberties; as a Board member of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah for the provision of better family planning education and services; as a Board member of Common Cause for political reform, including a ban on gifts by lobbyists to legislators; as the founder of Citizens for Penal Reform; and as a 15-year Board member and President of Guadalupe Schools for the provision of greater educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged young people.

During the course of my community service, I witnessed elected and other public officials enriching themselves as they exploited their offices. I saw important public policy decisions being made by elected officials who seemed to have no interest in reading and learning about the matters on which they exercised enormous impact.

On a national, state, and local level, I watched as few, if any, did anything at all to stop horrendous genocides, to stop the poisoning of people by toxins in our air, or to bridge the huge gulf between the haves and have-nots in our world and in our nation.

Locally, I saw a disregard of the rights and freedoms of people who were members of minority political parties, people who were not members of the predominant religion, and people from the ethnic and racial minority community.

I experienced first-hand, as a single father, a lack of enriching, affordable after-school and summer youth programs. I responded with great sadness as our local and state elected officials neglected, year after year, the crucial issues of poor air quality, automobile dependence, political corruption, sprawl development, destruction of open spaces, global warming, and dependence on foreign oil, which has led us to a tragic, unconscionable war and self-destructive foreign policy. I was frustrated by the neglect of opportunities for a safer, healthier, more sustainable local community, nation, and world by those who were more concerned with short-term profits than with people and our planet.

Most fundamentally tragic, I witnessed a dangerous culture of obedience, where change, differences, and dissent are disparaged as being divisive – a culture where hypocrisy so often prevails, as purported religious and family values are recited as if by rote, while in daily lives – in the real world – inhumanity has prevailed, including complacency – and hence complicity and culpability – in connection with the killing of innocents, the degradation of our planet, the stupendous disparity of wealth, the undermining of life-enhancing education, and a mind-numbing condescension toward and discrimination against those who do not share certain religious beliefs, who do not have the correct sexual orientation, and who do not enjoy, through the accident of birth, the perks of status, inheritance, or citizenship.

I wanted to do more – to have a greater impact – so I ran for mayor.

Working with some of the greatest public servants anywhere, including the greatest get-it-done Chief of Staff imaginable, Sam Guevara, we have helped transform this community into a more welcoming place for everyone, a safer, healthier, more sustainable place, which serves as an example for municipalities elsewhere.

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