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Antisocial Gay Guys Are Becoming a Thing

If one analyzed the media’s coverage on gay male society, they would undoubtedly believe we’re social butterflies, flying from here to there, collecting friends (and enemies) with every swoop. We’re at the bars, in the clubs, starting the party wherever we go.

Despite what the media makes us out to be, the truth of the matter is the “world” our culture lives in doesn’t exist in reality, but on our computers.

In the last few years I’ve seen countless of gay guys sinking deeper and deeper into their shell; so much so that they’ve gone undiagnosed as hermits. Nothing wrong with maintaining a quiet life of seclusion in your apartment, of course, but I’m seeing this kind of lifestyle becoming more frequent. Why?

The digital age has created no reason to step outside and smell the flowers, to physically travel out and find love, friends, a purpose. Everyone wants to work at home behind a laptop and become the gay Carrie Bradshaw.

Whatever lifestyle a person wants for his or herself is fine by me. I’m not one to judge. But at the same time, I can honestly say that human beings are made to be social. Loneliness is an epidemic invading our community quicker than we think, and part of that is because we tell ourselves we aren’t worthy enough for better friends, better work, or better experiences.

Our own seclusion is a representation of how we feel inside. I spoke to a guy recently who is a self-proclaimed human hater: “I hate humans,” he said. “They’re vial and mean and think only of themselves.”

Hating the world is never going to solve your problems. You can’t shut everyone off because of bad experiences you’ve had in the past. You don’t have to like everybody, but you do have to get along.

There is a whole world outside my apartment—the sounds of helicopters, party throwers and barking dogs remind me of that. In recent years, my apartment has become a refuge; a place where I can truly let my problems roam. I used to be afraid of the outside, where people are free to judge me. But now I understand that external fear can only be prompted by internal struggle.

The world can be a scary place, and we humans are never going to be perfect. But closing yourself off to new experiences for no real reason other than fear is not good.

Getting out and meeting new people is how we’ve evolved: it’s the history of art, the foundation of discovery, the genesis of self-awareness. Incredible lessons are waiting to be learned if you dare yourself to find them.

Each morning there is something new to be grateful for. Stop enclosing yourself inside a bubble and start creeping back into the real world. Believe me, it isn’t going to be nearly as rewarding to learn about your own life through a computer versus reality. Go out and grab it by the balls!

 

David Artavia, GayGuys.com

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San Francisco Torn as Some See ‘Street Behavior’ Worsen

From her apartment at the foot of the celebrated zigzags of Lombard Street, Judith Calson has twice peered out her window as thieves smashed their way into cars and snatched whatever they could. She has seen foreign tourists cry after cash and passports were stolen. She shudders when she recounts the story of the Thai tourist who was shot because he resisted thieves taking his camera.

And that is her tally from the last year alone.

“I never thought of this area as a high-crime neighborhood,” Ms. Calson, a retired photographer, said of this leafy part of the city, where tourists flock to view the steeply sloped, crooked street adorned with flower beds.

San Francisco, America’s boom town, is flooded with the cash of well-paid technology workers and record numbers of tourists. At the same time, the city has seen a sharp jump in property crime, up more than 60 percent since 2010, though the actual increase may be higher because many of the crimes go unreported.

Recent data from the F.B.I. show that San Francisco has the highest per-capita property crime rate of the nation’s top 50 cities. About half the cases here are thefts from vehicles, smash-and-grabs that scatter glittering broken glass onto the sidewalks.

The city, known for a political tradition of empathy for the downtrodden, is now divided over whether to respond with more muscular law enforcement or stick to its forgiving attitudes.

The Chamber of Commerce and the tourist board are calling for harsher measures to improve what is euphemistically called the “condition of the streets,” a term that encompasses the intractable homeless problem, public intravenous drug use, the large population of mentally ill people on the streets and aggressive panhandling. The chamber recently released the results of an opinion poll that showed that homelessness and “street behavior” were the primary concerns of residents here.

“We are the wealthiest big city in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world, and we have this situation on our streets,” said Joe D’Alessandro, the chief executive of San Francisco Travel, a tourism organization.

“People believe that everyone has the right to be on the streets. However, I think there is a tolerance limit to bad behavior.”

Visitors come to bask in the Mediterranean climate, stroll through the charming streets and marvel at the sweeping views of the bay and the Pacific. But alongside those views are tent encampments on sidewalks and rag-covered homeless people in front of some of the most expensive real estate in America.

The divided opinions on how to handle the problems are evident among members of the Board of Supervisors.

Scott Wiener, a supervisor and an advocate for more aggressive law enforcement, said his constituents were urging him to act. “I can’t tell you the number of times where I have received emails from moms saying, ‘My kids just asked me why that man has a syringe sticking out of his arm,’ ” he said.

“San Francisco at times is a consequence-free zone,” Mr. Wiener said. “I’m not advocating extreme law and order, but there has to be consequences. Sometimes people might need to spend six months in jail to think about what they did.”

In a bitterly contested 6-to-5 vote last year, Mr. Wiener led the passage of a measure adding several hundred officers to the city’s police force, the first increase since the 1980s, when the population was over 10 percent smaller.

On the other side is David Campos, a supervisor who opposes the increase in police officers and describes Mr. Wiener’s views as “a very knee-jerk kind of punitive approach that is ineffective and inconsistent with the values of San Francisco.”

Mr. Campos and many others evoke the charitable spirit of the city’s namesake, St. Francis.

“We are not going to criminalize people for being poor,” he said. “That criminalization is only going to make it harder for them to get out of poverty.”

San Francisco’s liberal ethos, Mr. Campos said, was changing as the city focused more on business and the needs of the tech industry.

“I think there has been a shift in the people who have come to San Francisco,” Mr. Campos said of the city’s new arrivals, a group that is well educated and well heeled. He deplores what he describes as a growing “sink-or-swim” free-market ideology that stands in contrast to the city’s traditions.

“I don’t know which San Francisco will prevail,” he said.

At TLC Glass, a repair shop on the edge of San Francisco’s business district, the more prosaic consequences of the rise in car break-ins are on display. Customers regularly file in to repair car windows that have been smashed by thieves.

“Every day we are full,” the shop’s owner, Louie Chen, said. One customer came in four times in six weeks.

A customer who came to have a broken window fixed, Dan Edmonds-Waters, showed San Franciscan forgiveness. He said he felt sorry for whoever broke a window of his limited-edition BMW twice, stealing his gym bag both times.

“I have a lot of sympathy for folks who are in need in the city,” Mr. Edmonds-Waters said. “This has become an extremely expensive city to live in. The divide between those who have and those who don’t is ridiculously ginormous.”

The people who commit the property crimes come from a variety of backgrounds, said Albie Esparza, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department. “Some are homeless, some are in gangs, some are freelancers up to no good,” he said.

People are rarely caught. “The problem with auto break-ins is that they happen so quickly, just a few seconds,” Mr. Esparza said. “Before anyone can do anything about it, they are long gone.”

Violent crime has increased 18 percent since 2010, but the city has a low murder rate relative to other large American cities.

Police are barred by city ordinance from installing surveillance cameras that are commonly found in other cities, a restriction that even Mr. Wiener said he did not want changed.

Ms. Calson, the retired photographer, said she offered to let the police mount a surveillance camera outside her Lombard Street apartment. The car break-ins happen so quickly that she has not been able photograph the perpetrators.

On Wednesday, another car was broken into below her window. A woman who was dropping off her daughter at a day care center had parked for 10 minutes and returned to find her window smashed and her purse gone.

“It’s just insane,” Ms. Calson said. “On and on and on it goes.”

Thomas Fuller, NYTimes

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Trans teen physically removed from Ted Cruz rally—here is the 16-year-old’s excellent response

James Van Kuilenburg, a trans teenager, attended a Ted Cruz rally with his mother on Thursday. His goal was to hear what Ted Cruz had to say, but also, as The Frederick News-Post reported, ”to show Cruz supporters that rhetoric about gay and transgender rights hurts real people, like him.”

The New Civil Rights Movement reported on James’s story a few hours after the rally.

​James says he and his mother had tickets to the event. He had the transgender flag draped around his shoulders, but was not disruptive or disrespectful. Despite that, Cruz staffers asked them to leave, and did so physically, he says.

James on his Facebook page said that staff members repeatedly “grabbed” him and ultimately “pushed” him “out of the venue.” He says they called him “ma’am,” and told him he was ”trespassing.”

The teen spoke with The Frederick News-Post in the video below to explain what happened. He said,

“When trying to explain what had happened to the Cruz volunteers outside, they laughed at us. The level of disrespect and aggression there was outstanding.”

Leslie Salzillo, Daily Kos

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Bangladesh LGBT editor hacked to death

Police in Bangladesh say two people including a leading gay rights activist and editor at Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine have been hacked to death.

The US ambassador to Bangladesh condemned the killing of Xulhaz Mannan, who also worked at the US embassy.

Another person was also injured when the attackers entered a Dhaka flat.

Since February last year suspected militants have killed several secular or atheist writers and members of religious minority groups.

The two men were murdered two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants.

So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility – but the Bangladeshi government insists there is no IS presence in the country.

Lurching from secularism to sectarian terror?

Who is behind the Bangladesh killings?

“I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi,” said US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat.

“We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the Government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders,” she added.

BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan, which had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.

Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.

A British photographer who knew Mr Mannan and the other victim, known as “Tonoy” and named in Bangladeshi media as Tanay Mojumdar, said they and other friends had set up Roopbaan with the aim of spreading tolerance.

Both men were openly gay and believed that if more gay Bangladeshis came out then the country would have to accept them, the photographer said.

They were also were behind the annual “Rainbow Rally”, held on Bengali New Year, 14 April, since 2014. This year’s rally was banned by police as part of widespread security measures.

Their killings were likely to spread fear among the gay community in a country where homosexuality remains a deeply sensitive issue, the photographer said.

“Until a year ago the only threat to coming out was shame of the family and having to start a new life elsewhere in Bangladesh. Now it’s one of danger,” he said.

Long line of killings

Meanwhile Bangladesh’s best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday.

Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed “very soon”.

Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in Dhaka.

Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with machetes.

The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.

There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

Two foreigners – an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer - have also been killed.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the government has failed to properly address the attacks.

 From BBC News
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An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders

Dear Bernie:

I know you and I have had our differences over the past few months, so perhaps I’m not the person you’re most inclined to listen to about your political future. But please, hear me out.

You’ve had a pretty good run so far. A year ago, you were trailing Hillary Clinton by 50 points in the polls. No one gave you much of a chance of winning a single state, let alone 16 of them. And there certainly wasn’t a person alive who thought you’d out-raise the mighty Clinton campaign-cash harvesting machine. You spent $46 million in April. Are you kidding me?

You’ve not only done well at the polls, but you’ve raised the profile of income inequality, an issue on which you’ve been focused for decades and is today, in part because of your campaign, on top of the nation’s political agenda. People are actually seriously talking about changing the rules for choosing presidential nominees, which are in major need of a shake-up. Beyond that, you’ve inspired a vast number of young people to believe that change is possible within the political system; and that their advocacy and their voices can make a real difference.

These are major accomplishments. They have the potential to be transformative and to re-shape not only the direction of the Democratic Party, but also American politics in general.

But here’s the thing – and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but maybe a little tough love is in order — you’re not going to win the Democratic nomination. This isn’t one of these “yeah, it’s a long shot, but maybe if I get lucky and everything goes my way” things. You’re not going to overcome Hillary Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates and you’re certainly not going to convince super delegates to vote for you over her. I mean, think about it: You’re trying to convince them to vote against the person who is almost certainly going to win in pledged delegates.

And even if you could win that way, would you really want to? In fact, if we’re really being honest here, the way your campaign has gone the past six weeks isn’t the way you want to win — or even the way you want to lose. Remember back in May 2015 when you said you didn’t want this campaign to be about Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders? Remember when you said you weren’t going to engage in character assassination and personal attacks?

Well, that hasn’t worked out so well over the past few weeks. I don’t want to rehash all the things you’ve said about Clinton that you once suggested you wouldn’t, but you are now running a real risk of undercutting the one person who you’ve said would be a better president on her worst day than all the Republicans currently running for the office. Even worse, you’re in real danger of sullying your otherwise inspiring campaign for president.

Look, I get it. You’re a politician; you’re a competitive guy. You want to win. Who wouldn’t? It’s like being a top-notch athlete and not wanting to take home a gold medal. No one aspires for silver, after all. And truth be told, when the odds were looking a bit longer for Hillary Clinton back in 2008, she didn’t exactly cover herself in glory during the last few months of the Democratic primary campaign.

So, mistakes have been made. Tough attacks delivered. Feelings hurt. It happens. But the question now — after the walloping you took in New York and the long odds you face in the upcoming primary states – is this: What’s your plan?

I suppose you could really go scorched earth on Clinton and fight this out to the convention. But why would you want to do that? Isn’t the real target on the Republican side? Hillary Clinton might not be your cup of tea, but surely on 100 out of 100 issues that you care about, she’d be better than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

So here’s my suggestion: Don’t end your campaign, re-frame it. Rather than talking about Hillary Clinton’s speech transcripts like you did yesterday in Pennsylvania, and rather than boasting about how you don’t have a Super PAC and your opponent does, focus on the issues that got you into this race in the first place. Keep talking about inequality, reforming campaign finance, and making the rich pay their fair share, but shift the focus away from Clinton.

Rather than raising money to run more ads that likely aren’t going to move the polling needle, start raising money for liberal Democrats in swing districts, Democrats who, with that little extra boost from your supporters, might be able to win in November. After all, if you want a political revolution, don’t you need to elect a few more like-minded Democrats to Congress? And with Trump as the likely GOP nominee, the chances of a Democratic wave in the House and the Senate are that much greater. Maybe focus on local races in places like Florida or Ohio or North Carolina, where Republican-dominated state legislatures are putting up restrictions on abortion rights, voting rights, and LGBT rights. You have the megaphone and the money to get your supporters involved in the nitty-gritty of local politics that Democrats have ignored for far too long. You want to beat the Democratic establishment? Become the Democratic establishment.

Rather than talking about a revolution that isn’t going to come this year, get your supporters focused on a more achievable set of goals. You’ve accomplished so much in the past year — don’t let your pursuit of the presidency get in the way of the kind of real change that could ensure your campaign is not a footnote but a first step toward a more progressive America.

Sincerely,

Michael

 

Michael A. Cohen, Boston Globe

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Religious man slaps DMV worker with $6.6M suit for forcing him to ‘submit to an insurance god’

An Idaho man filed a bizarre lawsuit citing Mosaic law to force a state employee’s family into servitude as punishment for suspending his driver’s license.

Peter Christian Jensen IV finally filed the lawsuit last week against Edward Pemble, who works for the Idaho Transportation Department, after waging a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to avoid paying $221 in filing fees, reported the Cour D’Alene Press.

The 79-year-old Jensen, of Athol, cited his religious belief in only one god, named Yehovah, who handed down his laws to Moses and the Israelites.

“Believers in Yehovah are commanded to obey only his statutes,” Jensen argued in his filing. “As such, (Jensen) is not subject to the jurisdiction of the codes and statutes of the artificial person of the state of Idaho, nor can he be subject to the codes and statutes of any fiction.”

One of those fictions, in Jensen’s view of the law, is the requirement that drivers carry automobile insurance.

Pemble sent a letter Sept. 3 to Jensen informing him that his driver’s license was suspended until he purchased liability insurance.

Jensen had been cited in June 2014 for failing to register his vehicle or purchase insurance, and he was found guilty during a subsequent trial was was fined $198.50 and jailed five days for contempt of court.

He then began a campaign against Pemble using tactics and language associated with the “sovereign citizens” movement — a loose grouping of adherents who claim immunity from federal, state and local laws, citing God’s law or common law over constitutional authority.

“(Pemble) does not have the authority to govern the actions of a natural person,” Jensen wrote in one notice. “There is no provision under law whereby (Pemble) can subject a natural person to the codes and statutes of a fictitious entity.”

Pemble never responded to those “notice and demand” letters, and Jensen filed a lawsuit seeking $6,689,940 in damages payable in gold or silver — because he considers currency to be debt.

Jensen argued that the transportation employee had violated his religious liberty by forcing him to “submit to an insurance god and pay its premiums for liability protection,” according to the newspaper report.

Those aren’t even the wildest claims in the April 14 lawsuit.

Jensen argued that, if he prevails in the suit, Mosaic law requires Pemble to pay all damages within 30 days or forfeit all of his assets — and the transportation department worker, his family members and their descendants be forced into bond servitude until the nearly $6.7 million in damages are paid in full.

In the meantime, Jensen asked the court to restore his driving privileges.

 

, Raw Story

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U.K. Issues Travel Warning About Antigay U.S. States

Days before President Obama travels to England, the United Kingdom’s foreign office has issued a travel warning to British tourists visiting the American South, specifically referencing North Carolina and Mississippi.

On the U.K.’s Foreign Office website, under the local laws and customs section of the USA travel advice, is the following message:

Local laws and customs

Laws vary from state to state. When you are physically present in a state, even temporarily, you are subject to that state’s laws. You must carry a passport showing that you have leave to enter or remain with you at all times.

The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travellers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before travelling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community. You can find more detail on LGBT issues in the US on the website of the Human Rights Campaign.

Possession or trafficking of a controlled substance in the United States can carry a severe prison sentence and/or fine. Check with each state you are intending to visit to make sure you comply with the personal possession and consumption laws of controlled substances within those states. A list of all types of controlled substances, as listed under the Controlled Substances Act, can be found on the US Department of Justice website.

Details of the assistance offered by the British Embassy and Consulates to British nationals if arrested or detained in the USA is available on GOV.UK.

Director of HRC Global, Ty Cobb, released the following statement:

“It is both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation’s staunchest allies has warned its citizens to of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials. It is now more clear than ever that these terrible measures are not only harming individuals and taking an economic toll on the states, but are also causing serious damage to nation’s reputation, and the perceived safety of LGBT people who travel here.”

From The Advocate, Neal Broverman

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When religious liberty demands cease to be legitimate

I think most Americans, even non-religious Americans, are on board with the idea of religious liberty — in the abstract. But like so many of the things we hold dear, what sounds great in theory becomes deeply complicated when the “rights” we cling to individually begin to conflict.

All of us have been watching news reports of contentious legal claims unfolding almost every day across America. From North Carolina to Mississippi and lots of other places in between, the stories vary in theme from contraception mandates to wedding cakes to who gets to use the bathroom where.

So perhaps religious liberty was on my mind a few weeks ago — in the abstract, of course — when I found myself traveling from Germany to New York. I boarded a huge airliner with hundreds of other people and settled in for an eight-hour trans-Atlantic flight. Exhausted after a long week, before I got on the plane I stood in line at the customer service desk and purchased an upgrade to a special seat in premium economy. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but at least I had a little more room to stretch my legs, and the seat was on the bulkhead!

As I found my seat I began to notice that almost all my fellow passengers were men, all dressed alike, obviously part of a very observant religious group. The man sitting next to me, in fact, was a member of the group. I said hello and began settling in for the flight. But just as I’d begun buckling my seat belt, my seat partner signaled for the flight attendant and explained to him that I would need to be moved to another seat; his religious freedom, he said, was violated by my presence, as his religion does not allow him to sit next to a woman who is not his wife.

I had so many thoughts in that moment.

Over the course of the flight several other issues came up in the cabin, each resulting in loud disagreements about religious freedom; they were issues related to other folks and their seatmates, food that didn’t meet religious standards, and the need to deal with solely male flight attendants. The end result was a noisy, contentious, and anxiety-ridden eight hours. Definitely not worth the upgrade fee, let me tell you.

It was such a strange turnabout, a moment when the abstract suddenly became painfully personal. I could see the leader of the religious group just a few seats over, and I wanted to go talk to him and say something like, “Listen, I get it. I’m a person of faith too, and I understand that it can be really difficult to hold beliefs that are counter to the culture around you. But trying to force everybody around you to conform to your view of the world is just as bad as the rest of the world trying to force you to conform to it.”

Religious freedom is just that: freedom. Note that we don’t call it “religious comfort.” In other words, yes, government should protect my right to practice my religion, but it’s not society’s obligation to make that practice easy or carefree. If your faith prevents you from sitting on an airplane next to a woman who isn’t your wife, then move to another seat. If your faith tells you you can’t go to the same bathroom with some people, then figure out how to order your life so that you use the bathroom in a place that seems appropriate for you. If your faith tells you you can’t sell wedding cakes to certain people, don’t go into the business of selling wedding cakes.

I’m a Baptist; I’m all for religious liberty. Many of my religious forebears have died to defend it, in fact. But the behavior I saw on the plane last week was not a legitimate demand for religious liberty, and neither are laws dictating where people can use the bathroom and whom I can refuse to serve in my business. All of those claims, in fact, make a mockery of the sacrifice of so many by twisting the ideals of religious liberty and using them to discriminate against others.

Faith requires sacrifice. And, frankly, if our faith causes us to feel so much conviction about the issues confronting us, then perhaps we should find a way to manage the inconvenience of making that sacrifice instead of trampling the rights of others.

Seriously.

 

Amy Butler, Baptist News

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Lyric’s Annual Open House is Thursday, April 28

Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (LYRIC) 28th annual open house will be an inspirational night showcasing LYRIC youth creativity! Join in at 127 Collingwood in the Castro for an evening of community, connection, history, and more. Free food and free event ♥

RSVP to the event page https://www.facebook.com/events/1773400006216396/  and invite your friends and community.

Three LYRIC interns were interviewed for this article.  Per Koko “LYRIC offers a safe space with security & a welcoming atmosphere where queer youth can be who they are.”  Stella is looking forward to the community at this year’s open house and says  “LYRIC is an amazing nonprofit where I grew here as a person and into myself.”  Per Alex “LYRIC gave me a space to make new friends without judgment.”

This open house will differ from previous years including live performances with singing, spoken word and poetry, an alter appreciating leaders past and present plus a promo video created by 16 interns.

Help by becoming a LYRIC Champion with a recurring gift of $10/month or more by visiting http://lyric.org/champion You may also donate at http://lyric.org/give/

Founded in 1988, LYRIC http://lyric.org is one of the first and largest LGBTQQ youth centers in the country.  LYRIC’s programming has been recognized as a model for youth development.  One of their collaborations is the Community Partnership for LGBTQQ Youth.  Another is the Dimensions Clinic Collaboration co-founded in 1997as a twice weekly clinic held at a public health center to meet the medical and psycho-social service needs of LGBTQQ youth.

Established in 2011, LYRIC’s School-Based Initiative is a model of bringing expertise with LGBTQQ youth directly into SFUSD school communities. This program educates and builds allies amongst students, school staff, and families.

LYRIC’s Youth Workforce Development Program offers paid opportunities for work placement (youth ages 14-17) as well as one-on-one support to youth job seekers (24 and younger).  This program provides a blend of employment skills, leadership development opportunities and social justice education.

LYRIC’s Youth Advocates help with legal name and gender change documentation, housing applications, job search assistance, budgeting, school enrollment, counseling referrals, connection to HIV/STI testing and treatment, and much more at no charge!

LYRIC’s programs are open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth and allies (24 and younger). If you are a youth and would like to become involved in any of their programs, the first step is to schedule a New Participant Orientation. Call (415.703.6150 x110), or email (lyricinfo@lyric.org)  to schedule an orientation. Orientations are typically held Monday–Friday, 4:00-6:00 PM.

Interview by Paul Margolis – Director of  ourtownsf.org

See more interviews of SF LGBT nonprofits at  http://ourtownsf.org/Videos-Interviews

 

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SYMPATHY: A Friendly Word of Advice to Newly Minted Hillary Haters

So much Hillary hate. So. Much. Hate. She’s evil, corrupt, dishonest, detestable. A monster. Spend five minutes online and you’ll hear a thousand iterations of these unhinged attacks. If only these haters knew that Hillary has mastered the art of turning their negative energy into positive momentum.


There’s something grimly fascinating about a new crop of Hillary haters believing that they’re the first people to discover how terribly, horribly awful she is; the first to stand up to her; the first to throw things at her; the first to rise in vocal opposition to one of the worst humans ever to inhabit our planet.

I kid, of course.

But seriously, one thing missing in 2016 is any sense of history or context among those who are newly convinced that Hillary is evil and who are acting out on that conviction.

So here’s my friendly advice to them:

First, understand that the Hillary-bashing bug is decades old, conceived in the Petri dishes of the far right. Many a Hillary hater has preceded you, fueled by the same self-righteous indignation that feels feverishly intense (even euphoric) at first but gradually becomes a dull aching rage that eats away at your soul, gutting you from the inside.

Second, know that there’s a reason Hillary is winning — and has been winning for decades. She has mastered the rarefied art of turning negative energy into positive. She channels the hate into forward momentum, using it to forge ahead and energize her supporters. And yes, that transmogrification is both baffling and profoundly frustrating to you.

Finally, and most importantly, one day in the not too distant future, you’ll look back and feel a bit embarrassed knowing you let the hate consume you. Yes, it’s difficult to imagine now, when you’re deep in it and many around you are amplifying your feelings, when the sight of Hillary makes your blood pressure rise. But like everything in life, this will fade and pass.

Let go of it. If you think you’re helping to defeat her, you’re not.

You’re doing the opposite.

And you know, she’s actually a good person. But you’re not ready to hear that yet. One day you will be.

Peter Daou, Blue Nation Review

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College student booted from Southwest flight after passenger heard him say ‘God willing’ in Arabic

UC Berkeley student whose family fled Iraq in 2002 after his diplomat father was killed under Saddam Hussein’s regime, was booted from a Southwest Airlines flight and questioned by the FBI after another passenger heard him speaking Arabic, NBC Bay Area reports.

In a story originally reported in the Daily Californian, student Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, 26, states he was flying home from attending a dinner at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon when he stopped to make a call to an uncle.

Makhzoomi explained that conversation was conducted in Arabic and, as he said goodbye, he used the phrase “inshallah,” which translates as “if God is willing.”

The student said that after hung up, he noticed a female passenger looking at him who then got up and left her seat.

“She kept staring at me and I didn’t know what was wrong,” he explained. “Then I realized what was happening and I just was thinking ‘I hope she’s not reporting me.’”

Moments later an airport employee asked Makhzoomi to step off the plane and onto the passenger boarding bridge where he was greeted by three security officers.

Makhzoomi was told the woman thought he said “Shahid,” meaning martyr — a term linked to Islamic terrorists

After pointing out the incident was rooted in Islamophobia, the student was told he would not be allowed to get back on the plane as he heard one of the security officers speaking with the FBI.

“At that moment I couldn’t feel anything,” he said. “I was so afraid. I was so scared.”

Security officers searched his bag again and asked him if he had any other luggage he was keeping secret.  Makhzoomi claimed that one officer publicly felt around his genital area and asked him if he was hiding a knife.

“That is when I couldn’t handle it and my eyes began to water,” he said. “The way they searched me and the dogs, the officers, people were watching me and the humiliation made me so afraid because it brought all of these memories back to me. I escaped Iraq because of the war, because of Saddam and what he did to my father. When I got home, I just slept for a few days.”

Makhzoomi said after the FBI arrived they questioned him about his family, and about his phone call and what he knew about martyrism.

After the interrogation was over, an FBI agent informed Makhzoomi that Southwest would not fly him home. He later booked a flight on another airline, arriving home nine hours later than expected.

According to a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, the student was removed because crew members decided to “investigate potentially threatening comments made onboard our aircraft.”

Mahkzoomi said he now wants an apology.

“All I need is an apology to say, ‘We are sorry we singled you out because [of] one person who felt threatened,’” he said.

, Raw Story

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Republican ‘Abstinence-Only’ Crusader’s 17-Year-Old Daughter Is Pregnant

Despite efforts by some legislators to address this problem, Louisiana is one of the leading abstinence-only promoters in the country. In roughly one-third of all schools in the state , students are taught exclusively abstinence. No safe sex. No birth control. Nothing but “Don’t do it.” And you know how good kids are at listening to adults when they tell them not to do something…

It might explain why Louisiana currently has the 6th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. And while most of the country has been seeing major declines in teen births, Louisiana’s has hardly changed.

Now, it appears Cassidy’s own daughter contributes to those statistics.

Who could have seen this coming? Oh, right, the scientists who study teen sexual behavior:

States that prescribe abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools have significantly higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states with more comprehensive sex education programs, researchers from the University of Georgia have determined.

The researchers looked at teen pregnancy and birth data from 48 U.S. states to evaluate the effectiveness of those states’ approaches to sex education, as prescribed by local laws and policies.

“Our analysis adds to the overwhelming evidence indicating that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy rates,” said Kathrin Stanger-Hall, assistant professor of plant biology and biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. [source]

It’s great that the Cassidy family seems to be rallying behind their daughter, but another, better way to support her and thousands of other girls her age is to get real about the sexual practices of teens. Abstinence doesn’t work. It never has worked. It probably never will. Cassidy may not like the idea of his daughter learning about the birds and the bees, but pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t a solution. It’s sad.

Remarkably, Cassidy’s approach to sex (or lack thereof) coming back to haunt him puts him in good company within the Republican ranks. Sarah Palin, half-term Governor of Alaska and now full-time reality TV show star, dealt with a similar situation when her daughter, Bristol, became pregnant at 17. Later, in an interview about her pregnancy on CNN , Bristol admitted that teaching teens abstinence and avoiding the topic of birth control or safe sex is “not realistic at all.”

It will be interesting to see if Cassidy learns a similar lesson from his daughter’s experience. In the months leading up to finding out his daughter was pregnant, the congressman was a boisterous critic of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate which requires that most (but not Hobby Lobby’s) insurance plans cover birth control for women.

Cassidy is currently fighting for his right to be the Republican challenger to one of Louisiana’s incumbent U.S. senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu. In an ironic twist, it appears that Obamacare (which Landrieu vocally supported) will be the central issue of the race. Cassidy has continued to rail against Obamacare in political ads , even in the days after announcing his daughter’s pregnancy. Whether voters will call him on his ludicrous abstinence-only position now that his daughter is a symbol of its inefficacy has yet to be determined.

 

From Addicting Info

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Bernie Sanders Will Become Democratic Nominee Even If Clinton Leads in Delegates

During my latest appearance on CNN International, I addressed the fact that Clinton’s FBI investigation could lead to indictment. In another appearance on CNN International, I explained that anyone fearing Trump must vote for Bernie Sanders, primarily because he defeats Trump by a wider margin than Clinton. These issues, in addition to Bernie’s popularity among younger voters and seventh straight victory, highlight why superdelegates and Democratic Party bosses will eventually side with Sanders over Clinton.

The same dynamic was witnessed eight years ago. Because Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan (interesting things take place when running against Clinton), Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2008. When superdelegates began siding with Obama that year, The Guardian wrote “Most unnerving for Clinton is the trickle of superdelegates who have defected from her corner to Obama’s.” After leading Obama by a 2 to 1 ratio in superdelgates, the reasoning for these party bosses leaving Clinton was summed up by an Arizona Democratic Party official quoted in The New York Times:

“Senator Barack Obama is strengthening the Democratic Party by bringing in new voters, young and old, into the process,” Ms. Fernandez said in a statement released by the Obama campaign. “ I believe Senator Obama has the best ability to win the White House in November and lead this country forward.”

Ms. Fernandez was Mr. Obama’ s 241st superdelegate endorsement… 

Bernie Sanders is the epitome of this observation. Sanders dominates Clinton with younger voters, first-time voters, Independent voters, and defeats Trump by a wider margin than the former Secretary of State.

As for a general election, it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that Sanders is the best chance to defeat a Republican. First, he’s not linked to an FBI investigation. Second, Bernie Sanders defeats Trump by 16.5 points according to Real Clear Politics; six more points than Clinton.

If the GOP picks Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders demolishes him by an average of 10.1 points.

Clinton beats Trump by an average of 10.5 points. If the GOP picks Ted Cruz, she barely beats him, and the polling average shows Hillary Clinton ahead by only 2.5 points.

These are Clinton’s poll numbers against Republicans before possible FBI and DOJ indictments, and before the media frenzy that takes place even if Clinton escapes legal consequences. Clinton also doesn’t keep polling leads and lost an over 50-point lead to Bernie Sanders, just like she lost her lead to Obama.

When discussing the issue of why Bernie Sanders will still become Democratic nominee, even if Clinton receives more delegates by late June, let’s take things into context. Bernie Sanders was recently invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis to speak, while Hillary Clinton will be interviewed soon by the FBI. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have attended events to hear Bernie Sanders speak (100,000 people had attended by August of 2015), while Hillary Clinton can’t fathom releasing transcripts of paid Wall Street speeches. Bernie supporters recently rallied outside his childhood apartment in Brooklyn and Sanders delivered an electrifying speech at Bronx Community College. Hillary Clinton recently used a static noise machine to prevent the press from listening to her words at a Denver fundraiser, and this was after roping off reporters last year.

One candidate is admired by millions, as illustrated by Sanders being the only leading candidate in 2016 with positive favorability ratings. The other candidate holds negative favorability ratings in every major national poll; in 6 out of 10 major polls, Hillary Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 15 points or more.

Again, in all 10 polls showing negative favorability for Clinton, 6 of these national polls show unfavorable ratings of 15 points or more.

Superdelegates and Democratic Party officials are indeed concerned, especially since even if Clinton escapes FBI indictment, the backlash from no indictment will be fierce, and the media attention alone will hurt general election poll numbers. Ultimately, there will be major consequences from the FBI investigation, and I explain in this YouTube segment what the Clinton campaign thinks of the FBI, and in this YouTube segment why indictments are imminent.

If Clinton survives the FBI and Bernie’s momentum, don’t expect party unity to rally all Democrats if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination. The outdated poll showing33% of Bernie Sanders supporters never voting for Clinton might actually be a greater number. I state the case in this YouTube segment for writing-in Bernie Sanders is Clinton is the nominee.

As for pressing issues like gun control, Clinton’s stance has changed dramatically since 2008, as stated in a New York Times piece titled Clinton Portrays Herself as a Pro-Gun Churchgoer:

“I disagree with Senator Obama’s assertion that people in our country cling to guns…” she said.

She described herself as a pro-gun churchgoer, recalling that her father taught her how to shoot a gun when she was a young girl and said that her faith “is the faith of my parents and my grandparents.”

Is there a reason Hillary Clinton chose guns and faith as two ways to alienate our nation’s first black president?

Furthermore, the problem with another Clinton White House is that Hillary is far more militant than Bill, and also once fabricated a war story according to POLITIFACT:

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

But that’s not what happened, as demonstrated by CBS News video that shows Clinton arriving on the tarmac under no visible duress, and greeting a child who offers her a copy of a poem.

Imagine if Bernie Sanders had made that same statement. This fabrication is magnified by Clinton’s willingness to send American ground troops back to war last November.

For superdelegates and Democratic Party bosses, it’s power that drives their votes, not principle, and Bernie Sanders is quickly becoming the most pragmatic choice in 2016. In an average of national polls, Bernie Sanders is now only about 2 points behind Hillary Clinton. With Sanders defeating Clinton in two national polls and close in every other national poll, my views on polling trajectory last September were more accurate than any other prognostication regarding Bernie Sanders and poll numbers. Bernie Sanders just won his seventh straight contest heading into New York. Aside from H. A. Goodman, nobody predicted the following Guardian headline at this point in the election season: Bernie Sanders just won his seventh straight victory. Is he unstoppable?

Also, if you question my prediction that Sanders would win Southern states, be sure to read the actual article. It foreshadows Bill Clinton’s recent tirade against Black Lives Matter, based upon how the Clintons campaigned against Obama. It also foreshadows the true feelings of Bill Clinton towards the epidemic of mass incarceration. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, explained in The Nation why Hillary Clinton doesn’t deserve the black vote, and part of this explanation correlates to Bill Clinton’s recent diatribe.

Just months after apologizing for mass incarceration, Bill Clinton revealed his true intentions, but only after Hillary had utilized votes in the South to gain an early lead over Bernie Sanders.

“You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter,” said Bill Clintonto Black Lives Matter. Again, if you enjoy saying I was wrong about Sanders defeating Clinton in the South, read the actual article; it foretells Bill’s recent defense of mass incarceration.

Superdelegates won’t switch too soon, for fear of retribution from Clinton, but it’s coming, and Sanders will become Democratic nominee regardless of delegate count. Lee Fang of The Intercept and several other journalists have documented superdelegate ties to Clinton and lobbying, and if Clinton becomes nominee, these ties will be magnified by a disenchanted progressive base. The party bosses are loyal, but they’re not stupid.

An iceberg named Hillary Clinton threatens the system of honest graft that provides political power to so many establishment Democrats. Superdelegates and the DNC know that an irreparable fracture within the Democratic Party awaits, if Bernie Sanders isn’t the nominee. They’ll wait until the last second, especially until after the FBI’s decision, to side with Vermont’s Senator. Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination, not only because of a progressive political revolution, but also because it’s in the political interest of Democratic Party bosses.

 

 

H.A. Goodman from the Huffington Post

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Chemsex: Why is gay sex causing straight panic?

Since last year’s release of Chemsex, described by the Guardian as a “scary but valuable documentary”, the drug-fuelled sexual practices of some gay men have increasingly become a matter of heated debate, both within the gay community and in the national press.

Most recently, papers have picked up on the story of barrister Henry Hendron, whose partner died last year after overdosing on GHB at the couple’s London flat.

But unfortunately neither last year’s documentary nor most news stories since have managed to suspend moral judgement when addressing the topic. “Chemsex” is not receiving the depth of critical analysis it badly needs.

According to most accounts, including the one put forward by the documentary, gay men are driven to long sessions of “chemsex” because they are lonely and suffer from internalised homophobia.

It is for those reasons, the narrative goes, that some of us end up pursuing human contact through “inauthentic” and “dangerous” means: “inauthentic” because intimacy is catalysed by drugs, and “dangerous” because it often involves unprotected sex.

The Chemsex documentary is a textbook exercise in how straight culture is still obsessed with gay sex. It includes all the telling elements of a 1980s sensationalist exposé on gay sex and AIDS. There’s the crass and objectifying voyeurism: gratuitous sexual scenes punctuate confession-style interviews, the lives of those involved reduced to the kind of sex they do.

There are the interviewers, never caught on camera and their questions never heard, so as not to trouble the “truth” granted by a disembodied “birds-eye” view of “reality”. There are the health specialists who voice the “actual truth” of the matter beyond the narratives put forward by participants themselves.

Further evidence of the ideology sustaining the film were the comments made by one of its (straight) directors. During an interview filmed at the 2015 BFI Film Festival, William Fairman unashamedly told the journalist how important it had been for them, the film directors, to “get in there and be the ones to uncover it”.

This is a comment that sounds too much like a straight man “columbusing” – “discovering” something that is not new – a small part of gay culture, one which the gay community was already trying to address before the film’s supposed “reveal”.

As its way of contributing to the conversation, this year’s BFI Flare added a series of shorts to its programme. These were screened together in a session called Chems. Despite being filmed by gay directors, most of the shorts presented don’t do much more than replicating the same moralist tropes already present in Chemsex.

G-o’clock is unable to convey anything about its characters other than their sex and drug habits.

And 56 Dean Street’s David Stuart describes chemsex as “a shameful thing” in the short documentary Let’s Talk about Gay Sex and Drugs. The majority of the films resort to uncritically reproducing familiar moralist platitudes on both gay sex and drug use.

The one notable exception was Marc-Antoine Lemire’s Les Meduses, which uses a fragmented, nonlinear narrative style and rich visual metaphors to highlight the complexity of both “chemsex” and the inner lives of those involved in it.

Why we transgress

Why are we still gormlessly creating such one-sided and reductive narratives about gay sex?

Sexual behaviours and sexualities are inseparable from the wider political landscapes in which they emerge and are enacted. Further, as sociologists, historians and philosophers have argued for a long time, at least since Foucault, power always coexists with resistance, and morality with deviance.

Transgression and risk-taking are “normal” in societies that regulate behaviour through social norms. It is through the transgression of limits that individuals affirm their own individuality and are able to become themselves.

Granted, such limit-experiences do flirt with death, even if to different degrees — from acceptable binge-drinking or bungee-jumping to “scandalous” long sessions of drug-taking and unprotected sex. Still, despite flirting with death, they are also life-affirming practices where individuals are able to reassert and know themselves as such.

Given this, some effort must be made to probe the wider social and political landscapes where chemsex takes place, before morals, before summary judgements, before uncritically reproducing older tropes of moral panic.

Part of those landscapes must include the current state of the mainstream LGBT movement. Over the last few years, radical political and sexual agendas have been “cleaned” out in order to promote the figure of the “righteous gay” as the pathway towards morally-acceptable queer citizenship.

In the past, queer politics used queer sex and sexuality to challenge the whole of society and its institutions. Today, the mainstream LGBT movement seems more concerned with assimilating into existing institutions such as marriage and the military, rather than challenging their existence.

The flip-side of the politics of this assimilation is that they have been pursued at the expense of a wider variety of queer sexualities, desires, pleasures, identities, and ways of being.

It’s in that context that I think – somewhat controversially – that chemsex emerges as a form of resistance. Chemsex is a way of surviving assimilation.

If this “cleaning” of LGBT culture means the destruction of queerness or deviance in one’s identity, then risk-taking can become a way in which this identity can be reaffirmed and new forms of queer belonging rehearsed – even if only temporarily.

João Florêncio, Lecturer in History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, University of Exeter, Published in Pink News

 

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Pope Francis: It’s aggressive narcissism to teach kids about safe sex and protection

Pope Francis has claimed that teaching kids about safe sex “promotes narcissism” – and that transgender teens should be taught to “accept their own body as it was created”.

The Pope last week released a long-awaited report on ‘the family’ which affirms existing church teachings opposing gay equality and same-sex marriage.

Elsewhere in the document, he rallies against sex education focussing on safe sex and teaching about condoms.

He wrote: “Frequently, sex education deals primarily with ‘protection’ through the practice of ‘safe sex’

“Such expressions convey a negative attitude towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an enemy to be protected against.

“This way of thinking promotes narcissism and aggressively in place of acceptance. It is always irresponsible to invite adolescents to toy with their bodies and their desires, as if they possessed the maturity, values, mutual commitment and goals proper to marriage.”

He added that sex education should be focussed on “modesty”. He added that schools must teach “respect and appreciation for differences” – but this doesn’t appear to extend to trans people

He said: “The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created, for thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.

“An appreciation of our body as male or female is also necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.”

He added: “Only by losing the fear of being different, can we be freed of self-centredness and self-absorption.”

“Sex education should help young people to accept their own bodies and to avoid the pretension to cancel out sexual difference because one no longer knows how to deal with it”.

Elsewhere, in the document, the Pope says that gay people should receive “assistance” to bring them back to normality, and affirms there are “absolutely no grounds” for considering recognition of “homosexual unions”.

The Catholic leader wrote: “In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.

Nick Duffy, Pink News

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North Carolina Republican Throws Temper Tantrum Over Bruce Springsteen Cancelling Concert

In retaliation of Bruce Springsteen cancelling a concert over the state’s anti-LGBT law, a North Carolina Republican whined and stated that he might have to become a Justin Bieber fan now.

North Carolina Republicans jammed House Bill 2 into law last month in response to a Charlotte city ordinance that protected LGBT people from discrimination. But the new law overturns the ordinance, barring cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination laws.

In addition, the law also prevents cities and counties from raising the minimum wage, allows employers to fire workers for any reason, and outlaws transgender people from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Basically, the four-page law makes North Carolina a crappier place to live.

As predicted, businesses are not happy about this law and it’s already hurting the state as Paypal has cancelled a project in the state that would have created hundreds of jobs. And most prominently, Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert in Greensboro rather than perform in a state that discriminates against their own citizens.

 “To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress,” the legendary rocker wrote in a statement condemning the law. “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

And in response, North Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Walker, who is also a pastor, threw a tantrum over the cancellation in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter .

Claiming that the law is merely meant to catch “imposters” who would somehow take advantage of laws protecting transgender people, Walker called Springsteen a “bully.”

Ivana M, ProudDemocrat.com

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Woman Sues Restaurant That Ejected Her From Bathroom for Looking ‘Like a Man’

A Detroit woman has filed a lawsuit against restaurant chain Fishbone’s after a frightening incident in which she was mistaken for a man and tossed out of a women’s bathroom, reports TV station WXYZ.

Cortney Bogorad wears her hair cropped short and is cisgender, meaning she is not a trans woman.

She said after dinner, at 11 p.m. on January 23, she enterted the restroom at Fishbone’s Rhythm City Cafe. She heard a voice yelling from outside — apparently from a security guard — that “whatever man is in the restroom needs to come out now.” Bogorad said she ignored him because she did not realize she was the “man” the guard sought.

This is when the situation got scary, said Bogorad.

The guard allegedly entered the bathroom yelling, “This is a woman’s bathroom, if you are a man, come out!” and pulled Bogorad by the arms out of the stall when she opened its door. She said he then pushed her up against the wall, saying “boys aren’t allowed in this restroom,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

“He was much bigger than me, at least three times my size,” Bogorad told WXYZ. In her lawsuit, she explained that she and a friend informed the man repeatedly that she was a woman, and offered to show her legal identification stating that she was female, but the guard refused to see it, instead shouting inches from her face, “Get out of the women’s restroom!”

According to Bogorad, the guard then pushed her out of the bathroom where she saw a person she thought might be a restaurant manager. When Bogorad tried to explain to the man that she was a woman and show him her ID, she said he, too, ignored her efforts to prove her identity.

The guard allegedly then took his security badge, and holding it just inches from Bogorad’s face, yelled that he was a security guard.

When Bogorad pushed the badge away, that’s when she said the guard picked her up “against my will” by the shirt and bra. He then “aggressively” pushed her to the restaurant’s front door, exposing her “upper torso” to other customers, and threw her out of the resturant onto the street outside, causing physical injuries, Bogorad said.

Her lawsuit, filed at Wayne County Circuit Court on June 10, is seeking $25,000 for physical and emotional damages, battery, and gross negligence.

“This could have happened to anybody,” Bogorad told WXYZ. “There’s lots of females out there who look like boys, but at the end of the day we’re not.” She added that she is suing in hopes that the same humiliating experience never happens again to another customer at a Fishbone’s.

Fishbone’s has declined to publicly comment on Bogorad’s allegations.

As Bogorad’s ordeal has become public, several trans advocates have this week pointed out that this year’s spate of anti-trans “bathroom bills” would likely result in many similarly harmful situations for both trans and non-trans gender-nonconforming patrons in several states nationwide. Republican proponents of these bills seek to “deputize” businessowners as the “gender police” of their bathrooms, according to trans journalist Lexi Cannes.

So far, FloridaTexasMinnesotaKentuckyMIssouri, and Nevada politicians have tried to push forward such laws in businesses and schools, but none has passed — and would likely face federal opposition if they did.

 

Mitch Kellaway, The Advocate

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Woman Sues Restaurant That Ejected Her From Bathroom for Looking ‘Like a Man’

A Detroit woman has filed a lawsuit against restaurant chain Fishbone’s after a frightening incident in which she was mistaken for a man and tossed out of a women’s bathroom, reports TV station WXYZ.

Cortney Bogorad wears her hair cropped short and is cisgender, meaning she is not a trans woman.

She said after dinner, at 11 p.m. on January 23, she enterted the restroom at Fishbone’s Rhythm City Cafe. She heard a voice yelling from outside — apparently from a security guard — that “whatever man is in the restroom needs to come out now.” Bogorad said she ignored him because she did not realize she was the “man” the guard sought.

This is when the situation got scary, said Bogorad.

The guard allegedly entered the bathroom yelling, “This is a woman’s bathroom, if you are a man, come out!” and pulled Bogorad by the arms out of the stall when she opened its door. She said he then pushed her up against the wall, saying “boys aren’t allowed in this restroom,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

“He was much bigger than me, at least three times my size,” Bogorad told WXYZ. In her lawsuit, she explained that she and a friend informed the man repeatedly that she was a woman, and offered to show her legal identification stating that she was female, but the guard refused to see it, instead shouting inches from her face, “Get out of the women’s restroom!”

According to Bogorad, the guard then pushed her out of the bathroom where she saw a person she thought might be a restaurant manager. When Bogorad tried to explain to the man that she was a woman and show him her ID, she said he, too, ignored her efforts to prove her identity.

The guard allegedly then took his security badge, and holding it just inches from Bogorad’s face, yelled that he was a security guard.

When Bogorad pushed the badge away, that’s when she said the guard picked her up “against my will” by the shirt and bra. He then “aggressively” pushed her to the restaurant’s front door, exposing her “upper torso” to other customers, and threw her out of the resturant onto the street outside, causing physical injuries, Bogorad said.

Her lawsuit, filed at Wayne County Circuit Court on June 10, is seeking $25,000 for physical and emotional damages, battery, and gross negligence.

“This could have happened to anybody,” Bogorad told WXYZ. “There’s lots of females out there who look like boys, but at the end of the day we’re not.” She added that she is suing in hopes that the same humiliating experience never happens again to another customer at a Fishbone’s.

Fishbone’s has declined to publicly comment on Bogorad’s allegations.

As Bogorad’s ordeal has become public, several trans advocates have this week pointed out that this year’s spate of anti-trans “bathroom bills” would likely result in many similarly harmful situations for both trans and non-trans gender-nonconforming patrons in several states nationwide. Republican proponents of these bills seek to “deputize” businessowners as the “gender police” of their bathrooms, according to trans journalist Lexi Cannes.

So far, FloridaTexasMinnesotaKentuckyMIssouri, and Nevada politicians have tried to push forward such laws in businesses and schools, but none has passed — and would likely face federal opposition if they did.

 

Mitch Kellaway, The Advocate

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Joel McHale Makes Awesome Move In Response To North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law

Joel McHale doesn’t find North Carolina’s archaic new anti-LGBT law the least bit funny.

The comedian, who appeared at the Durham Performing Arts Center in North Carolina on Friday, told the audience that he would donate “every single dime I make tonight” to the city’s LGBTQ Center as a way of offering his support.

“There was a moment where I wasn’t going to come tonight,” McHale told the audience. “What the fuck is wrong with your government? It’s crazy! I know you guys are cool because your city council passed a resolution opposing that stupid fucking bill. … So it was like, ‘Let’s go to that place where they support the destruction of that bill.’”

“I am going to donate every single dime I make tonight to the LGBTQ Center — every single dime,” he continued.

Towleroad notes that the “Community” and “X-Files” star also “made an impromptu LGBTQ t-shirt out of duct tape as a show of support.”

In recent weeks, businesses, celebrities and politicians have lashed out against HB2, which prohibits cities from passing non-discriminations laws to protect queer people and forces transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond with the gender they were assigned at birth, rather than the gender they currently identify with.

PayPal scrapped a planned 400-job expansion in the state and rocker Bruce Springsteen on Friday canceled an upcoming concert in North Carolina. In a statement on his website, the musician wrote in part, “Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.”

Thus far Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who signed the legislation on March 23, has dismissed the backlash to the law as “political correctness gone amuck.

 

Noah Michelson, Huffington Post

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‘You’re an a*shole!’: Florida woman publicly shames Gov. Rick Scott for anti-abortion bill

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was confronted on Tuesday by a local woman who criticized him for his stances on womens’ reproductive health and the Affordable Care Act, WFTS-TV reported.

“You cut Medicaid so I couldn’t get Obamacare,” said the woman, who identified herself as 39-year-old Cara Jennings. “You’re an a*shole. You don’t care about working people. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.”

The face-off, captured on video by a witness, took place after Scott entered a Starbucks in Gainesville. Jennings is seen shushing another woman as she assails Scott, who responds that his administration has created one million jobs.

“A million jobs? Great, who here has a great job?” Jennings asks. “Or is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?”

Jennings later told WFTS she was motivated by Scott’s decision to sign a bill cutting funding toward Planned Parenthood clinics in the state.

“I didn’t think about whether I should do it or not,” she said. “I thought, ‘Here’s my chance to tell the governor how I feel about the horrible bill.”

The footage also shows Scott leaving the coffee shop after telling Jennings to “tell the truth,” without ordering anything. Jennings said that several customers thanked her for her actions.

Arturo Garcia, Raw Story

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How Much Does Bernie Sanders Know About Policy?

There’s little doubting Bernie Sanders’s core political convictions—he’s been saying the same things for decades, with remarkable consistency. But turning convictions into policy is the challenge, and the Vermont senator’s interview with the editorial board of the New York Daily News raises some questions about his policy chops.

Throughout his interview, Sanders seemed taken aback when he was pressed on policy—and not just on the matters that are peripheral to his approach, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or interrogation of detainees, but even on bread-and-butter matters like breaking up the big banks, the Democratic presidential hopeful came across as tentative, unprepared, or unaware.

It’s striking that there hasn’t been more coverage of Sanders’s policy ideas so far during the campaign, even at this late date, with most of the primary season concluded. He’s even acquired a reputation as something of a wonk, the kind of guy who eschews soaring rhetoric for dry nuts and bolts on the stump—and gets people to love him anyway. The gaps uncovered by the Daily News are not just about pragmatism. (There have, of course, been plenty of accusations, not least from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, that Sanders is offering a deeply unrealistic program. He tends to answer that they fail to grasp that he is building a political revolution.) The question here is not how Sanders would enact policies, but what those policies would be. If the Sanders campaign has shied away from deep dives into policy, this interview might be why: The candidate reveals himself as a far defter diagnostician than clinician.

The most glaring example came early in the encounter, during a discussion of the problem of “too big to fail” banks. There is disagreement among economists on the left over how important, if at all, it is to break up large financial institutions. The board granted Sanders’s argument and asked him how he’d do it, producing an excruciating cat-and-mouse game:

Daily News: Okay. Well, let’s assume that you’re correct on that point. How do you go about doing it?

Sanders: How you go about doing it is having legislation passed, or giving the authority to the secretary of treasury to determine, under Dodd-Frank, that these banks are a danger to the economy over the problem of too-big-to-fail.

Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?

Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it. But I think the administration can have it.

Daily News: How? How does a President turn to JPMorgan Chase, or have the Treasury turn to any of those banks and say, “Now you must do X, Y and Z?”

Sanders: Well, you do have authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to do that, make that determination.

Daily News: You do, just by Federal Reserve fiat, you do?

Sanders: Yeah. Well, I believe you do.

The conversation detoured sideways a bit, as the board asked about what would happen to employees and investors in big banks and Sanders said, not unfairly, that it wasn’t his problem. But then it was back to how to break up the banks, and Sanders still couldn’t offer a coherent answer:

Daily News: Well, it does depend on how you do it, I believe. And, I’m a little bit confused because just a few minutes ago you said the U.S. President would have authority to order…

Sanders: No, I did not say we would order. I did not say that we would order. The President is not a dictator.

Daily News: Okay. You would then leave it to JPMorgan Chase or the others to figure out how to break it, themselves up. I’m not quite…

Sanders: You would determine is that, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. And then you have the secretary of treasury and some people who know a lot about this, making that determination. If the determination is that Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan Chase is too big to fail, yes, they will be broken up.

Daily News: Okay. You saw, I guess, what happened with Metropolitan Life. There was an attempt to bring them under the financial regulatory scheme, and the court said no. And what does that presage for your program?

Sanders: It’s something I have not studied, honestly, the legal implications of that.

The interview is full of vague comments like that one. For example, Sanders complains that executives implicated in the financial crisis haven’t been prosecuted. A board member asked him whether there are actually laws that could have nailed them. “I suspect that there are. Yes,” Sanders answered.

Daily News: You believe that? But do you know?

Sanders: I believe that that is the case. Do I have them in front of me, now, legal statutes? No, I don’t. But if I would…yeah, that’s what I believe, yes. When a company pays a $5 billion fine for doing something that’s illegal, yeah, I think we can bring charges against the executives.

Daily News: I’m only pressing because you’ve made it such a central part of your campaign. And I wanted to know what the mechanism would be to accomplish it.
Rather than learning the mechanism, the questioner earned a lecture about how Wall Street is built on fraud, since Sanders is comfortable talking about why he doesn’t approve of Wall Street’s M.O.

Sanders is the candidate of first principles. That’s a phenomenon that’s been on display repeatedly during the Democratic debates, especially on matters of foreign policy. On the one hand, there’s Hillary Clinton, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Middle East, but also backed the war in Iraq, thus botching the most important foreign-policy decision since Vietnam. On the other hand, there’s Sanders, whose answers about the Middle East are often opaque—see his call for a “Muslim army” to defeat ISIS—but whose gut led him to the correct decision on Iraq. Democratic voters may have to choose whether they prefer Clinton’s poor judgment or Sanders’s ignorance.

The latter was on display at the Daily News during an exchange about the peace process. Could he describe the pullback of Israeli settlements in the West Bank he has encouraged? No: “I’m not going to run the Israeli government. I’ve got enough problems trying to be a United States senator or maybe President of the United States.”

A moment later, he was asked why he didn’t support Palestinians using the International Criminal Court to try to prosecute Israeli leaders. “Look, why don’t I support a million things in the world? I’m just telling you that I happen to believe,” the exasperated senator replied.

That’s just the problem, though. It’s important for leaders to know what they believe in, and Sanders has been unusually consistent and forthright about that. But Sanders isn’t running for chief ideologue—he’s running for chief executive, and so it’s also important for him to know what policies he would use to turn those beliefs into practice.

DAVID A. GRAHAM, The Atlantic

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Brewery owner boots sexist customer, unleashes must-read rant about women in the service industry

Black Acre Brewing Company owner Jordan Gleason said he’s had to refuse service to a patron multiple times because of the man’s sexist comments to his Gleason’s employees. Despite a ban from the brewery, the man repeatedly showed up expecting all would be forgiven because “we’re men and they’re females.” But, Gleason said after seeing how women are treated day in and day out, he’d had enough. Not only did he make it abundantly clear to customer that he should never set foot in his brewery again, he took to Facebook to publish a note to men everywhere — it’s time to stand up and quit tolerating the sexist treatment of female service industry employees everywhere. Read his now-viral (17,000+ shares on Facebook and counting) rant:

This is a longer post, so bear with me…

Today I had to explain to a 60 year old man why he was banned from the pub.

In January he made several sexist remarks about the female staff that were working. He told them to their faces that that he liked looking at their tits while they washed dishes, and their asses while they were pouring drinks. He was told to leave and not come back. He came back last month, and was told we wouldn’t serve him. He came back yet again today, and when told he wouldn’t be served demanded to talk to a manger.

I sat with him for a few minutes as he explained that what he said would have been okay 20 years ago, and that it was just some off colour remarks. He told me he had apologized, and that he guessed my servers were too sensitive. He then told me that if what he said was a problem, then I should tell them not to wear low cut shirts, and that I should face the dish washing sink away from customers. But since he apologized, he should be allowed to drink in my establishment because he lives in the neighborhood and will bring in business.

I told him flatly that wasn’t happening, and that what he said to those ladies was incredibly offensive. The simple fact that he couldn’t understand that just because they were were working didn’t mean they deserve his disrespectful language. That these ladies were part of my family, and were human beings that deserved respect. They aren’t objects, and they certainly shouldn’t have to wear different clothes because he can’t be bothered with showing them any decency or respect. “But we’re men and they’re females. Is cleavage just not a thing anymore?”

I told him yeah buddy, it’s not, and I won’t be changing my mind about having him served. He threatened bad publicity, I told him I didn’t care, and he left.

I work in the service industry, and we get the sheer joy and pleasure of meeting and talking to so many great people in our city. I’ve met some of my best friends here behind the bar. I live for it man. Connecting people who haven’t met, making sure people can relax from a shitty day, or celebrate a great one, or just to simply enjoy a few beers with friends. I’ve seen wedding proposals, birthday parties, political discussions, deep philosophical debates, neighborhood organization, the absolute works. The best of humanity coming together and bonding. That’s my JAM. It’s one of the biggest reasons I get out of bed in the morning to come in to work day after day.

As absolutely insanely fun as that is, the dark side of this business is we run into some pretty horrible goblin people. Folks who think that just because we’re serving, we don’t deserve any basic decency or respect. I’ve been snapped at, mocked, threatened, and insulted about not having a real job. Anybody in this line of work gets used to a degree of it and develops a thicker skin. Here’s the thing though, women in this field get infinitely more disgustingly treated. The sheer number of times they get groped, or harassed, or treated like objects would blow your mind. The worst of it is how normal their harassers think their behavior is. Every single lady in here handles it with grace and aplomb, and I applaud them for it. I’ve had their backs as we’ve bounced people out for that trash, but countless times they just deal with it before it even gets to me.

Sometimes the dudes get so worked up that they demand to see a manager, and I get called in to speak with them. Every single fucking time they attempt to appeal to me solely because I’m a man. They try to weasel in with me about how the women are asking for it. That women shouldn’t dress that way if they don’t want to be stared at. They attempt to explain it away as just “dudes being dudes.” It’s expected for men to stare at women’s breasts and make jokes about how much they want to fuck them. Wink Wink. Of course you’ll understand they think, because you also have a dick. What terrifies and enrages me is how every one of them thinks that this is normal behavior, but also that other men will agree with them.

Men, we often don’t see the level of filth that our friends, sisters, and mothers go through every day. We hope to surround ourselves with people who would never treat a woman like that. We live in a safe little bubble. But the reality of this thing? It’s an insidious disease that’s happening every single day, several times a day and it turns my fucking stomach.

So why am I writing this? I want to acknowledge the struggle of every single woman who will read this. You deserve our respect and to be treated with decency. I want to stand up and say, I’m fucking sick of this. To every dude out there, we need to fucking combat this disease like its the god damned plague that it is. If one of your friends says something shitty about a woman, tell him to shut his fucking mouth. Don’t just laugh it off or ignore it. We need to listen when our sisters talk about this, and not just blame it on some bad apples. Not just say “not all dudes do that” or “well no one I know would ever do that.” Nah man. This is an endemic cultural problem. If we want to start taking our status as gentlemen seriously we need to do more than just avoiding being a sexist prick ourselves. We need to open our eyes and fight it everywhere we see it, because the only way this thing gets better is to start calling it out for what it is.

Edit: Sorry for so many edits. I keep finding typos. Writing in anger isn’t so conducive to well typed responses.

Cheers, Jordan! If I’m ever in Indianapolis, you can bet I’m coming into Black Acre Brewery for a pint!

Jen Hayden, Daily Kos

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B’way Composer Stephen Schwartz Bans WICKED, All Other Works From Being Put On In NC Over Anti-LGBT Law

Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz who has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972) and Wicked (2003) is refusing to allow any of his musical productions to be put on in North Carolina because of its recently passed anti-LGBT law HB2 and is asking all other Broadway composers and agencies to do the same.

Via BroadwayWorld.com

“To my fellow theatre writers and producers: As you no doubt know, the state of North Carolina has recently passed a reprehensible and discriminatory law. I feel that it is very important that any state that passes such a law suffer economic and cultural consequences, partly because it is deserved and partly to discourage other states from following suit.

“Therefore, I and my collaborators are acting to deny the right to any theatre or organization based in North Carolina to produce any of our shows. We have informed our licensing organizations and touring producers of this, and I’m happy to say have met with compliance and approval from them.

“In the 1970’s, I, along with many other writers and artists, participated in a similar action against apartheid in South Africa, and as you know, this eventually proved to be very effective.

“If you are in agreement, you may want to join me in refusing to license our properties to, or permit productions of our work by, theaters and organizations in North Carolina until this heinous legislation is repealed.

“Thank you for considering this.”

An important lesson for North Carolina: No one mourns the wicked.

, Back2Stonewall.com

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The Panama Papers: how the world’s rich and famous hide their money offshore

The hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes.

The Guardian, working with global partners, will set out details from the first tranche of what are being called “the Panama Papers”. Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm.

The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with the Guardian and the BBC.

Though there is nothing unlawful about using offshore companies, the files raise fundamental questions about the ethics of such tax havens – and the revelations are likely to provoke urgent calls for reforms of a system that critics say is arcane and open to abuse.

The Panama Papers reveal:

  • Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.
  • A $2bn trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married.
  • Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.
  • Six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and dozens of donors to UK political parties have had offshore assets.
  • The families of at least eight current and former members of China’s supreme ruling body, the politburo, have been found to have hidden wealth offshore.
  • Twenty-three individuals who have had sanctions imposed on them for supporting the regimes in North Korea, Zimbabwe, Russia, Iran and Syria have been clients of Mossack Fonseca. Their companies were harboured by the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands, Panama and other jurisdictions.
  • A key member of Fifa’s powerful ethics committee, which is supposed to be spearheading reform at world football’s scandal-hit governing body, acted as a lawyer for individuals and companies recently charged with bribery and corruption.
  • One leaked memorandum from a partner of Mossack Fonseca said: “Ninety-five per cent of our work coincidentally consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes.”

The company has flatly denied any wrongdoing. It says it has acted beyond reproach for 40 years and that it has had robust due diligence procedures.

The document leak comes from the records of the firm, which was founded in 1977. The information is near live, with the most recent records dating from December 2015.

Three hundred and 70 reporters from 100 media organisations have spent a year analysing and verifying the documents.

David Cameron has promised to “sweep away” tax secrecy – but little has been done. He is planning a summit of world leaders next month, which will focus on the conduct of tax havens.

The prime minister set out his line in 2011 when he said: “We need to shine a spotlight on who owns what and where the money is really flowing.”

The Guardian:  Juliette Garside, Luke Harding, Holly Watt, David Pegg, Helena Bengtsson, Simon Bowers, Owen Gibson and Nick Hopkins

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Barney Frank Is Not Impressed by Bernie Sanders

Barney Frank, the former Massachusetts Congressman who retired from the House of Representatives in 2013, is perhaps best known for a bill that carries his name: the Dodd-Frank Act, which aimed to reform Wall Street after the financial crash. Frank is also known for his acerbic personality and willingness to speak freely.

With the primary season in both parties dominating the news, I called Frank to get his views on both races. We discussed his problems with Jon Stewart, Justice Scalia, Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders supporters, The Big Short, and, of course, Donald Trump. The conversation has been edited and condensed.

Isaac Chotiner: What do you make of Bernie Sanders’ success thus far, even if he is likely to come up short in terms of delegates?

Barney Frank: Remember he’s way behind not just in delegates but in votes.

Yeah I know, but still—

It’s ironic that we complain about voter suppression and shortened voting times and then we have so many caucuses. The caucuses are the least democratic political operation in America. They cater to the people who have a lot of time on their hands, and what’s interesting is Sanders is the nominee of the caucuses and Hillary is the nominee of the primaries.

I am disappointed by the voters who say, “OK I’m just going to show you how angry I am!” And I’m particularly unimpressed with people who sat out the Congressional elections of 2010 and 2014 and then are angry at Democrats because we haven’t been able to produce public policies they like. They contributed to the public policy problems and now they are blaming other people for their own failure to vote, and then it’s like, “Oh look at this terrible system,” but it was their voting behavior that brought it about.

So it seems like you’re saying Bernie’s voters have a slightly unrealistic sense about the political process. And that this is driven—

I didn’t say slightly.

OK.

Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it in terms of his accomplishments and that’s because of the role he stakes out. It is harder to get things done in the American political system than a lot of people realize, and what happens is they blame the people in office for the system. And that’s the same with the Tea Party. It’s “I voted for these Republicans, we have a Republican Congress, we voted for them, they took over Congress, they didn’t accomplish anything.” You gotta win at least two elections in a row.

How do you think Dodd-Frank is working?

Very well. I think Steve Eisman, who is the Steve Carell character in The Big Short, and one of the heroes of this issue, had a very good article a couple weeks ago talking about how well things are working.

We’re not getting the bad loans made, and there’s a substantial increase in capital and stability. And I will say two things: First, people on the left who thought it would have no impact were clearly wrong, and [so were] people on the right who thought it would be a job-killer. It has allowed the financial system to continue to do its job, financing equity, but with much lower level of risk.

What did you make of The Big Short, by the way?

I didn’t see the movie. I read the book. Why?

It’s good.

Well, I know the situation, I read the book. I am told at the end of the movie they say nothing changed, which is nonsense.

The movie does say something like that. The politics of the movie are actually interesting because it’s more cynical than I think people like you are.

Right, so why would I want to see it?

Well, it’s got good acting and things like that.

I’m not a drama critic. Part of the problem is there is a tendency in the media to demonize politics to the extent that it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether with Jon Stewart or House of Cards or The Big Short. It basically tells people, “Everybody stinks, they’re all no good,” and that’s one of the reasons people don’t participate.

I think that part of the argument that people like Sanders would make is that, the financial system is corrupt fundamentally and that we don’t want to merely make it slightly more stable—

Well if that’s the case it’s even dumber than I thought. The financial system is people lending money to other people so they can do things. I do think that he overstates it when he says, “they’re all corrupt.” It’s simply not true. And by the way, when it comes to specifics, the only specific I have heard is Glass-Steagall, which makes very little change in the finance system.

I think he gets a pass from the media. Other than Glass-Steagall, what did he propose in 2009 and 2010 when he was a senator when we were dealing with this? The answer is nothing. Why haven’t you looked at his record?

Well if I ever interview him I’ll ask him that.

The media collectively.

What do you make of Hillary’s campaign?

I think it’s been good on the whole. I think she should have admitted earlier she made a mistake on the emails. I am struck by the fact that with all these emails of hers getting out, there hasn’t been a single really embarrassing one. I’m pleasantly surprised by that.

Do you think she should release her Wall Street speeches?

Yeah, but I don’t think anybody is really against her because she won’t. By the way, I think Sanders has been outrageously McCarthyite on that.

McCarthyite?

Yes, I saw one commercial that said the big companies weren’t punished. Why? Well, maybe it’s because Hillary is getting speaking fees. So the secretary of state should have been indicting people? I mean, yes, McCarthyite in the sense that it’s guilt by association. He complains about what she did with regards to all this money stuff. Where’s the beef of that?

OK—

What Sanders basically says is, “They’re trying to bribe you.” Well what do they get for money? He shows nothing.

There have been a couple of cases of Republican senators trying to weaken the Dodd-Frank Act. Elizabeth Warren has been a much more successful defender of that bill than Sen. Sanders has been.

There was this complaint, “Oh she had contributions from Wall Street.” So did Barack Obama. So does almost every Democrat because you can’t unilaterally disarm.

How do you feel about Obama’s presidency, looking back?

Well I’m on the whole supportive. I will tell you this, I am now ecstatic about his interview with Jeff Goldberg from the Atlantic. That is the most thoughtful presidential statement on a major issue I’ve seen in a very long time.

The one thing that disappoints me is on trade. I think he bought into the orthodoxy that says trade is good for everybody. What he should have said is, “here’s the deal I will support for trade, I want fast track, but only as part of a package which would raise the minimum wage and re-energize unions and restore the legal rights of unions, and do a massive construction program.” That was a fundamental error, and I don’t understand why he didn’t do that, and why he gives Republicans what they want without demanding things. Other than that I think he’s been very good.

Why do you think Trump did so well in your home state of Massachusetts?

Because the Massachusetts Republican Party has moved to the right along with the rest of the Republican Party. The Republican side in Massachusetts is a lot less different from the rest of the country than it used to be.

What have you made of your former governor Mitt Romney’s attempt to insert himself into the process?

It’s too little too late. It goes back as far as Sarah Palin. Having made Sarah Palin the vice presidential nominee, they shouldn’t be surprised when this kind of belligerent, angry, unintelligent, resentment politics comes forward. I think Mitt Romney woke up to the disaster that Trump is for the Republican Party.

Do you know Romney well?

No. He was a pretend governor. Actually, I debated him once when he was running against Kennedy in 1994. He was a pretend governor and immediately began running for president. He had no real interest in the state. He tried to choke off same-sex marriage, so I was pretty much on the other side of him, and he just didn’t want to have anything to do with anybody in the congressional delegation.

You don’t give him much credit for Romneycare, then?

That is true, but he did that along with Sen. Kennedy. I think it was so-so. Remember, at that point, even the Heritage Foundation was pushing for it.

Is there one explanation for Trump’s rise you find particularly convincing?

I guess the question in some ways is why didn’t it happen before, because what you had was a lot of people voting Republican out of anger and unhappiness with the way the world was going and then voting for the authors of most of the unhappiness. I think they were finally awakened to that disparity.

I think it’s relevant that Trump comes from outside the political system. That is, until recently, it was impossible to prosper as a Republican with national ambitions if you broke with the free market, economic conservative, free trade orthodoxy, and Trump has this unusual situation of having a great deal of prominence outside the political system, so he never had to follow that line.

What do you make of these state bills in places like Georgia that seek to limit gay rights?

I was pleasantly surprised: The fact that in Indiana and Georgia they can be vetoed is a very good sign. The other thing is now that Scalia is dead I am confident that the Supreme Court will not allow them.

Did you ever know Scalia at all?

I met him a couple of times.

What did you think of him?

I was troubled that his homophobia never got mentioned when he died. If he had been as comfortably prejudiced against African Americans, or women, or a lot of other groups, he would not have been considered such a wonderful person. He was a bigot. He expressed prejudice in his opinions.

Did you ever notice his bigotry in personal situations?

Oh, I never had enough contact with him to know that. Another thing, by the way: A lot of the Southern racists were notably courteous to people in person.

Isaac Chotiner, Slate.com

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