December 3, 2011 archive

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Rocky, Rocky?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rocky Anderson returns – this time shooting for president

By Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune

Nov 30, 2011 09:56AM

Disgusted with what he calls the corrupting influence of corporate money and militarism in politics, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is launching a new national political party and will likely be its presidential nominee.

“The end game is changing public policy in the interest of the people of this country. It’s changing our government,” Anderson said. “This is about taking on the two corporatist, militarist parties and in the process bringing the people of this country together so they can see that their interests, by and large, are really aligned.”

“This is being done with a long-term view so that we can grow and sustain a movement that will ensure that the public interest, rather than the corporate interests, are promoted by our elected officials,” said Anderson, who acknowledges he wishes he would have started the effort earlier.

Anderson said he is leaning toward calling the new organization The Justice Party or the Public Interest Party. He plans to host the party’s national platform and nominating convention in Salt Lake City during the Presidents Day weekend.

Matt Lyon, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, said he doesn’t consider Anderson’s latest action a repudiation of the Democratic Party – Anderson ran for Congress in 1996 as a Democrat.

“Rocky has always done what Rocky is going to do,” he said. “He hasn’t been involved with the Democrats for a very, very, very long time. … He’s just Rocky.”

“The middle class in this country is being decimated and it’s without regard for political affiliation,” Anderson said in an interview. “All of us are being harmed while a very few are profiting enormously by the corruption, by bad public policy that they essentially purchase. These folks in Congress and the White House act as if they’re on retainer by Goldman Sachs, the insurance industry, with the coal and oil and gas industry, with the defense industry.”

(h/t Taylor Marsh)

With rumors that Buddy Roemer and Jon Huntsman may also mount Independent bids it may be that 2012 will indeed offer a choice, not an echo.

(h/t TheMomCat)

On This Day In History December 3

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 3 is the 337th day of the year (338th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 28 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1947,A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway.

Marlon Brando‘s famous cry of “STELLA!” first booms across a Broadway stage, electrifying the audience at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre during the first-ever performance of Tennessee Williams‘ play A Streetcar Named Desire.

The 23-year-old Brando played the rough, working-class Polish-American Stanley Kowalski, whose violent clash with Blanche DuBois (played on Broadway by Jessica Tandy), a Southern belle with a dark past, is at the center of Williams’ famous drama. Blanche comes to stay with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter), Stanley’s wife, at their home in the French Quarter of New Orleans; she and Stanley immediately despise each other. In the climactic scene, Stanley rapes Blanche, causing her to lose her fragile grip on sanity; the play ends with her being led away in a straitjacket.

Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two iconic characters, Blanche DuBois, a fading relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class.

The play presents Blanche DuBois, a fading but still-attractive Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask alcoholism and delusions of grandeur. Her poise is an illusion she presents to shield others (but most of all, herself) from her reality, and an attempt to make herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives at the apartment of her sister Stella Kowalski in the French Quarter of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to arrive there includes a streetcar route named “Desire.” The steamy, urban ambiance is a shock to Blanche’s nerves. Blanche is welcomed with some trepidation by Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. As Blanche explains that their ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Laurel, Mississippi, has been “lost” due to the “epic fornications” of their ancestors, her veneer of self-possession begins to slip drastically. Here “epic fornications” may be interpreted as the debauchery of her ancestors which in turn caused them financial losses. Blanche tells Stella that her supervisor allowed her to take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset nerves, when in fact, she has been fired for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. This turns out not to be the only seduction she has engaged in-and, along with other problems, has led her to escape Laurel. A brief marriage marred by the discovery that her spouse, Allan Grey, was having a homosexual affair and his subsequent suicide has led Blanche to withdraw into a world in which fantasies and illusions blend seamlessly with reality.

In contrast to both the self-effacing and deferential Stella and the pretentious refinement of Blanche, Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, is a force of nature: primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual. He dominates Stella in every way and is physically and emotionally abusive. Stella tolerates his primal behaviour as this is part of what attracted her in the first place; their love and relationship are heavily based on powerful-even animalistic-sexual chemistry, something that Blanche finds impossible to understand.

The arrival of Blanche upsets her sister and brother-in-law’s system of mutual dependence. Stella’s concern for her sister’s well-being emboldens Blanche to hold court in the Kowalski apartment, infuriating Stanley and leading to conflict in his relationship with his wife. Blanche and Stanley are on a collision course, and Stanley’s friend and Blanche’s would-be suitor Mitch, will get trampled in their path. Stanley discovers Blanche’s past through a co-worker who travels to Laurel frequently, and he confronts her with the things she has been trying to put behind her, partly out of concern that her character flaws may be damaging to the lives of those in her new home, just as they were in Laurel, and partly out of a distaste for pretense in general. However, his attempts to “unmask” her are predictably cruel and violent. In their final confrontation, Stanley rapes Blanche, which results in her nervous breakdown. Stanley has her committed to a mental institution, and in the closing moments, Blanche utters her signature line to the kindly doctor who leads her away: “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”


This week’s episodes originally aired August 14, 2004.

Duck Dodgers, The New Cadet, Episode 8, Season 2

Abridging the Sixth Amendment

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Tonight the US Senate has abridged that amendment with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act that contains a provision that would allow for the indefinite detention of American civilians arrested on American soil suspected of being “enemy combatants” by a vote of 93 -7. It allows for anyone alleged to be an “enemy combatant” anywhere in the world sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was drafted in secret and passed out of committee without a single hearing.

Glen Greenwald at Salon highlights the most alarming aspects of the bill:

   (1) mandates that all accused Terrorists be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian court system; it also unquestionably permits (but does not mandate) that even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil accused of Terrorism be held by the military rather than charged in the civilian court system (Sec. 1032);

   (2) renews the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) with more expansive language: to allow force (and military detention) against not only those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and countries which harbored them, but also anyone who “substantially supports” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” (Sec. 1031); and,

   (3) imposes new restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo (Secs. 1033-35). [..]

The Levin/McCain bill would require that all accused Terrorists be held in military detention and not be charged in a civilian court – including those apprehended on U.S. soil – with two caveats: (1) it exempts U.S. citizens and legal residents from this mandate, for whom military detention would still be optional (i.e., in the discretion of the Executive Branch); and (2) it allows the Executive Branch to issue a waiver if it wants to charge an accused Terrorist in the civilian system.

As per emptywheel, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) proposed an amendment (pdf) that would have removed the language but it was defeated by a vote of 45 – 55.

Some has forgotten to tell the Senate that Osama bun Laden is dead, we have killed virtually all of Al Qaeda’s leadership and the group is “operationally ineffective” in the Afghan-Pakistan and region and that we are near completion of withdrawal from Iraq and beginning to draw down the troops in Afghanistan. But the absurd view from war hawk, conservatives like Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) who believe Al Qaeda is a threat that requires trashing the Constitution, as Graham said:

“The threats we face as a nation are growing. Homegrown terrorism is going to become a greater reality, and we need to have tools,” Graham argued. “Law enforcement is one tool, but in some cases holding people who have decided to help al Qaeda and turn on the rest of us and try to kill us so we can hold them long enough to interrogate them to find out what they’re up to makes sense.”

“When you hold somebody under the criminal justice system you have to read them their rights right off the bat,” Graham added. “Under the law of war you don’t because the purpose is to gather intelligence. We need that tool now as much as any time, including World War II.”

That is most chilling statement regarding to our civil liberties. This is from the same man who supported President Obama’s due-process-free assassination of Anwar Awlaki that totally disregarded Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution which provides that nobody can be punished for treason without heightened due process requirements being met.

It isn’t often that freshman Tea Party Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says something sensible but he wrote in the Washington Times defending the Sixth Amendment that the “war on terror doesn’t justify retreat on rights”:

James Madison, father of the Constitution, warned, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home.” Abraham Lincoln had similar thoughts, saying, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

During war, there has always been a struggle to preserve constitutional liberties. During the Civil War, the right of habeas corpus was suspended. Newspapers were closed. Fortunately, those actions were reversed after the war.

The discussion now to suspend certain rights to due process is especially worrisome, given that we are engaged in a war that appears to have no end. Rights given up now cannot be expected to be returned. So we do well to contemplate the diminishment of due process, knowing that the rights we lose now may never be restored.

Will President Obama veto this bill as has been hinted? Not likely, since as Greenwald point out Obama has maintained that dozens of detainees would continue to be held indefinitely and that he planned“not to close, but simply to re-locate to Illinois, the Guantanamo system of indefinite, military detention.” While the President has expressed his opposition to the bill, his objection is that the matter of denying accused terrorists a civilian trial is not up to Congress but for the President alone to decide. In other words, the White House’s objections are grounded in broad theories of Executive Power.

While Greenwald may be willing to believe the White House is opposed to having the military detain and imprison U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, there are those who think President Obama is more concerned over who should get to decide which accused terrorist suspects are denied due process, not whether they should be.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty. Benjamin Franklin

Chipping away at our liberties. Frightening.

On The Emergence Of China, Or, Zhou Knew This Was Coming

After doing a bit of mountain hiking a few days back, I had a chance to get involved in a great afternoon conversation with the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Mike Wessel, who also serves as a Commissioner with the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; the conversation was about how we’re doing when it comes to our relationship with China.

As it turns out, the two events went well together, because what I’m hearing from these guys is that we have a great big ol’ mountain to climb if we hope to get back to a level playing field in our interactions with this most important country.

There’s news to report across a variety of issues; that’s why today we’ll be talking about trade, human rights, cybersecurity, poverty and development, and the methods by which you can apply “soft power” to achieve hard results.

The entirely unanticipated result: all of this will reveal the naïveté of Ron Paul when it comes to foreign policy; we’ll discuss that at the end.  

Random Japan



A Japanese aid worker who was rescued from the rubble following last month’s earthquake in Turkey said that the glow from her laptop “calmed me down and gave me hope to stay alive.”

The newly installed head of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, claims to spend “a lot of time thinking about North Korea.”

Officials at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries say that no national defense secrets were lost during a recent cyber-attack on its servers, although the company didn’t rule out the possibility that “important data, such as those related to nuclear power, have been leaked.”

An Air SDF pilot whose plane crashed into the East China Sea in July and whose body was never recovered is believed to have suffered from G-LOC, or g force-related loss of consciousness.

A poll conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun and the Xinhua news agency found that 17 percent of Japanese have a positive view of relations with China, while 46 percent of Chinese have a positive view of Japan.

Not Popular Culture 20111202: 90th

Normally on Friday evenings I write about popular culture, but no tonight.  I am very wistful for several reasons, on of which is that if she had lived, my mum would have turned 90 years old today.

Born to a dirt poor couple when her mum was only 18 years old (my grandmum and granddad married when my grandmum was only 16 years old), Geraldine Sandlin entered this vale of tears on 19211202.  It was cold, and in accordance with the custom of the time, she was born at home with relatives taking the place of physicians.

It’s about the kids

I’d like you to meet Jazz Jennings, if you haven’t already.  At 11 years old, she has already made quite a name for herself.  She was the focus of a 20/20 segment in 2007.  And now she is the focus of a documentary on OWN called I Am Jazz:  A family in transition, which was first shown last Sunday.

At seven years old Jazz was very well-spoken.  As she grows up she will discover that not every transperson agrees with the assessment she has of her situation, but that is okay.  We grow and learn.