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Grateful Dead End 50-Year Career with Moving, Magnificent Final Show

...All I know she sang a little while and then flew off...

Via: www.rollingstone.com/music/n...20150706

"I have spent my life/Seeking all that's still unsung/Bent my ear to hear the tune," sang Phil Lesh last night, harmonizing with colleagues new and old, on "Attics of My Life," the final song of a fraught, moving, ultimately magnificent five-night, two-state Fare The Well concert series — billed as the final shows that the surviving members of the Grateful Dead will ever perform together. The final concert was also the run's strongest, showcasing a new band hitting its stride precisely as it was set to retire. The new guys — Phish's Trey Anastasio, RatDog's Jeff Chimenti and returning moonlighter Bruce Hornsby — found equal footing and perfect sync with original band members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart. It was clear from the opener, "China Cat Sunflower" into "I Know You Rider," one of the band's most emblematic and potent pairings. When Anastasio and Hornsby, not Weir or Lesh, traded lead vocals on the former, it felt like a torch was passed. And when the 70,000 fans sang "I know you rider/Gonna miss me when I'm gone" during the latter, it was like they were singing those words to each other.

The Grateful Dead Say Farewell: Fricke's View From the Bowl »

As good as the music was, much of the night's magic was in the connections: meeting fellow fans, finding out where they travelled from, a bit of what their lives are like, how long ago they saw their first Dead show; or showering ushers and security staff with grins, salutations and high-fives, like a bunch of tipsy, T-shirted Jehovah's Witnesses working a neighborhood. I came to this show with a friend who joined me at my first Dead show in 1977, but variously hung and partied with a Santa Monica children's book writer, a Wisconsin college professor, an L.A. vapor-pen manufacturer and an Illinois Spanish teacher. Strangers stopped strangers just to shake their hand, share a joint, dance a jig, hug it out or serenade each other. Friends and lovers sang into each others' mouths and dove into each others' eyes, swimming through flashbacks of who-knows-what.

If there's a lesson in this, it's that music's true value is not so much about the individual players, distinguished and virtuosic as they might be; it's about the beauty, pleasure and love it communicates, and the community it engenders. The relationship Deadheads have with these songs is deeply personal: We've eaten, slept, and breathed this music, bonded and tripped and fucked and fallen in love to it. It seems to carry with it an implicit set of spiritual, ethical and hedonistic values, and it marks the tribe, which extends beyond the Dead's music. Over the course of this weekend's shows, improv-minded acts flooded Chicago. Among them were Jerry Garcia's old confidant and side-project partner David Grisman, who played jazzy bluegrass fusion with his sextet on Sunday afternoon to a reverent mob at the historic Palmer House Hotel ballroom. The town became jam-band ground zero.

Inside the Grateful Dead's Final Ride »

But it was all gravy for the final event. Sunday's set list was scattershot, a mix of songs not yet played during the previous shows with the exception of "Drums"/"Space" and the signature "Truckin,'" whose iconic reprise "What a long, strange trip it's been" never felt so earned. There was a powerful "Estimated Prophet," with a guitar rave-up so intense, Bob Weir missed his vocal cue. A leisurely stroll of a jam came out of "Mountains of the Moon," cast more as a jazzy blues than the space chant of the studio recording, with notes looking around and smelling the flowers. Lesser songs ("Built to Last," "Throwing Stones") featured some of the night's most beautiful playing. It proved a Dead truism that when the group of abstractionists is on point, the specific material isn't always important.

For his part, Anastasio — the show's wild card, as the man who had to fill Jerry Garcia's shoes — came across as a musician transformed. He worked grooves more supple than most anything in the repertoire of Phish, his day job, with remarkable restraint, marked by longer sustains and more soulful phrasing, while his signature antsy-ness help embellish and goose along slower songs. Maybe his finest moments were on a majestically thundering "Terrapin Station," where he spun out lines like baroque morse code. It's hard to imagine that his playing won't emerge significantly changed from this experience.

"Terrapin"'s lyrical crescendo — "but the train's put its brakes on and the whistle is screaming" — would be echoed much later in the night's improvisational "Drums"/"Space," with a howling electronic outburst of train whistle and shrieking brake tones, followed eventually by the angular jazz-funk of "Unbroken Chain." Bob Weir delivered a haunting version "Days Between," a darkly handsome obscurity written by poet-lyricist Robert Hunter and Garcia during the guitarist's plagued final days. It moved like a processional, graced by Anastasio's slow-motion melody lines, earning itself a newly privileged place in the band's songbook.

The show ended with Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" fading out beneath 70,000 fans chanting the title reprise and clapping out the beat even after the band left the stage — yet another family tradition. Phil Lesh, the Dead's default leader since Garcia's death, came back before the encore to pitch the importance of organ donation (he is most likely alive because of a 1998 liver transplant) and to thank fans for listening.

Two more songs, the last accompanied on the projection screens by a brief photographic history, and it was done. The band repeated the bow and group hug sequence, while fans cheered and brushed away tears. Mickey Hart offered some parting words: "The feeling we have here," he said, "remember it, take it home and do some good with it." And then approximately 70,000 Deadheads floated out of Soldier Field and up through Grant Park, presumably with thoughts of doing just that.

Set 1:
"China Cat Sunflower" > "I Know You Rider"
"Estimated Prophet"
"Built to Last"
"Samson and Delilah"
"Mountains of the Moon" > "Throwing Stones"

Set 2:
"Truckin'"
"Cassidy"
"Althea"
"Terripin Station"
"Drums" > "Space"
"Unbroken Chain"
"Days Between"
"Not Fade Away"

Encores:

"Touch of Grey"
"Attics of My Life"
Mon, July 6, 2015 - 4:23 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

While Americans Sleepwalk Through the New Millennium...

US to Pay Salaries of Governor Saakashvili’s Team in Odessa, Ukraine

Via: rt.com/news/271912-uk...kashvili-wages/

Published time: July 06, 2015 14:09
Edited time: July 06, 2015 15:15

The US government will pay the salaries to the staff of Georgia's former President Mikhail Saakashvili, who is now serving as a new governor of Odessa Region, Ukraine, Saakashvili said, adding that California police will also train Odessa’s officers.

“Within the framework of Odessa’s anti-corruption pressure, the US government agreed to provide funds for the salaries of the new team of [Mikhail] Saakashvili,” Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page after the meeting with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador to Ukraine.

He added that American police officers from California “will train new Odessa police.”

READ MORE: US promises Ukraine help to become gas exporter

Pyatt has repeatedly voiced his support for Saakashvili. Earlier in July he said that Washington “fully supports Mikheil Saakashvili and his team, and we will do everything so that they can succeed.”

READ MORE: US military instructors deployed to Ukraine to train local forces

US authorities have recently been sending other instructors to train local forces in Ukraine. In April, paratroopers of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, arrived in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov to provide training for Ukrainian government troops. Pyatt then posted on Twitter several pictures of the US paratroopers marching through the airport in the city.

READ MORE: Ex-Georgian president, wanted at home, becomes governor in Ukraine

Saakashvili became governor of Odessa Region back in May. He was personally appointed by President Petro Poroshenko.

He was also given Ukrainian citizenship under Poroshenko's personal decree, published on his website, as the Ukrainian constitution says that only a citizen can become an official at governor level.

Saakashvili left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired. He has been living abroad ever since.

In spring 2014, Georgia's new ruling coalition accused Saakashvili of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state budget. Georgia's prosecutors have started an investigation into the case. However, Saakashvili denies the charges against him, saying the funds went towards attracting foreign investors to the country.

Apart from embezzlement, Saakashvili has several other cases ongoing against him. He is accused of abuse of power during the crackdown on anti-government protests in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on November 7, 2007. He was also allegedly involved in the attack on the opposition TV station Imedi, which was seized by Georgian special forces on the same day, and the appropriation of the founder's assets.

In February 2015, Tbilisi issued an extradition request for Saakashvili, but Kiev authorities rejected it.
Mon, July 6, 2015 - 8:54 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Greek Voters Reject Troika Bailout Offer in Referendum!

Via: www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33403665

Greek voters have decisively rejected the terms of an international bailout.

The final result in the referendum, published by the interior ministry, was 61.3% "No", against 38.7% who voted "Yes".

Greece's governing Syriza party had campaigned for a "No", saying the bailout terms were humiliating.

Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone, and a summit of eurozone heads of state has now been called for Tuesday.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said late on Sunday that Greeks had voted for a "Europe of solidarity and democracy".


Referendum as it happened

"As of tomorrow, Greece will go back to the negotiating table and our primary priority is to reinstate the financial stability of the country," he said in a televised address.

"This time, the debt will be on the negotiating table," he added, saying that an International Monetary Fund assessment published this week "confirms Greek views that restructuring the debt is necessary".

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But some European officials had said that a "No" would be seen as an outright rejection of talks with creditors.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the eurozone's group of finance ministers, said the referendum result was "very regrettable for the future of Greece".

Germany's Deputy Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said renewed negotiations with Greece were "difficult to imagine".

Mr Tsipras and his government were taking the country down a path of "bitter abandonment and hopelessness", he told the Tagesspiegel daily.

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Analysis: Mark Lowen, BBC News, Athens

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The partying by the "No" camp will go well into the night here and the government will be popping open the ouzo. Alexis Tsipras has called the eurozone's bluff - and it appears to have gone his way.

But the triumphalism won't last. There is still a sizeable chunk of the Greek nation deeply unhappy with what has happened. And the government will have to unite a divided country.

More than that, a deal with the eurozone has to be struck fast.

Greek banks are running critically low and will need another injection of emergency funds from the European Central Bank.

Given the bad blood of the past two weeks - Greece's Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, calling the eurozone's strategy "terrorism" - it will be hard to get back around the negotiating table. And with the banking crisis and tax revenues plummeting amidst the instability, Greece's economy has weakened again, making a deal even harder to reach.

The eurozone's tough rhetoric will continue. But Greece's government will have its answer prepared: we put your demands to a democratic test - and they were rejected.

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Greece had been locked in negotiations with its creditors for months when the Greek government unexpectedly called a referendum on the terms it was being offered.

Banks have been shut and capital controls in place since last Monday, after the European Central Bank declined to give Greece more emergency funding.

Withdrawals at cash machines have been limited to €60 per day. Greece's latest bailout expired on Tuesday and Greece missed a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the IMF.

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Robert Peston, BBC economics editor, Athens

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Greek banks have stayed shut for a week
Greek banks are desperately in need of a lender of last resort to save them, and the Greek economy.

And sad to say no banker or central banker to whom I have spoken believes the European Central Bank (ECB) can fulfil that function - because it is struggling to prove to itself that Greek banks have adequate assets to pledge to it as security for new loans.

There are only two options. The Bank of Greece could make unsecured loans to Greek banks without the ECB's permission - which would provoke a furious reaction from Eurozone leaders and would be seen by most of them as tantamount to leaving the euro.

Or it can explicitly create a new currency, a new drachma, which it could then use to provide vital finance to Greek banks and the Greek economy.

Greece on verge of euro exit

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Greek government officials have insisted that rejecting bailout terms would strengthen their hand, and that they could rapidly strike a deal for fresh funding in resumed negotiations.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said that with a "No" vote, Greek banks would reopen on Tuesday.

He was due to meet senior Greek bankers late on Sunday. State Minister Nikos Pappas, a close ally of Mr Tsipras, said it was "absolutely necessary" to restore liquidity to the banks now the referendum was over.

Summit called

Some European officials sounded conciliatory after the vote.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted: "Now it is right to start trying for an agreement again. But there is no escape from the Greek labyrinth with a Europe that's weak and isn't growing."

Belgium's finance minister said the door remained open to restart talks with Greece "literally, within hours".

Eurozone finance ministers could again discuss measures "that can put the Greek economy back on track and give the Greeks a perspective for the future," he told the VRT network.

Media caption Alexis Tsipras said his priority was to restore the "financial stability of Greece"
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was consulting the leaders of eurozone member states, and would have a conference call with key EU officials and the ECB on Monday morning.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are scheduled to meet in Paris on Monday. A summit of eurozone heads of state has been called for Tuesday.

The European Commission - one of the "troika" of creditors along with the IMF and the ECB - wanted Athens to raise taxes and slash welfare spending to meet its debt obligations.

Greece's Syriza-led government, which was elected in January on an anti-austerity platform, said creditors had presented it with an "ultimatum", using fear to put pressure on Greeks.

The Greek government's opponents and some Greek voters had complained that the question in Sunday's referendum was unclear. EU officials said it applied to the terms of an offer that was no longer on the table.

The turnout in Sunday's referendum was 62.5%.

As the result became clear, former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who had campaigned for a "Yes" vote in the referendum, resigned as leader of the centre-right New Democracy party.
Mon, July 6, 2015 - 8:26 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

The Euro in Flames

Via: www.huffingtonpost.com/mauro-...02.html

GREECE EURO REFERENDUM

Game over. The euro as we know it is coming to an end. It is no longer clear whether we are talking about a proper monetary union or about a system of fixed exchange rates. This situation was to be anticipated. The different member countries no longer trust each other. It is impossible to build a monetary union when there are so many differences of opinion and so much divergence.

We knew already that the design for the euro was institutionally incomplete. The monetary union launched in 1999 lacked a banking, fiscal, and political union to back it up. But at the very least, we were all expecting the management of the euro crisis to be a bit more competent. It is a pity to realize that European politicians and technocrats have misunderstood the nature of the crisis and taken the wrong measures to overcome it. And thus we come to this bizarre situation in which a member country has established capital controls. It is unprecedented and tragic. The Greek fiasco reveals that the monetary union exists only in the imagination of European citizens, politicians and technocrats. Investors have a very different view.

The situation created by the Greek debacle is devastating to the hopes of so many people, especially the unemployed. Greece's population will suffer immensely because it finds itself between a rock and a hard place, namely, the monetary union and the demand for austerity measures. Rich Greeks, to be sure, have already taken their money out of the country, and will probably benefit from the fallout because they will bring into the country fresh money and purchase devalued assets once the fog dissipates.

This crisis is not purely the result of Greece's failure to improve its competitiveness and establish a minimally functional state with the ability to collect taxes. The crisis is also the result of Europe's failure to overcome its disagreements. We already had proof of this problem in the mishandling of the crisis in Ukraine and the pusillanimous attempts to address the human drama of immigration from Africa, which has already claimed so many lives. Europe does not really exist as an entity, only as a collection of mutually suspicious states. If it exists, it does not appear to have the ability to make decisions and tackle problems.

Austerity policies lie at the heart of the problem. Germany's intransigence about balanced budgets is actually counterproductive. In a tightly integrated trade bloc, if every country pursues austerity, there is no slack demand to stimulate growth. Germany and the other surplus economies should serve as the locomotives through public, and especially, private spending.


Europe is at the mercy of forces spinning out of control. The growth of emerging economies, an aging population, right and left extremism, and political corruption are threatening its future. Left-wing populism is right now the most immediate challenge because it has the potential of destroying the European project, as the case of Greece demonstrates. Europeans in other countries should take good notice before casting their vote at the next election.

What will happen next? The unemployed face years of suffering. There will be more European summits, and more commitments that nobody will fulfill. The Greek problem may be fixed in the short run, but at the expense of a long-term solution. The Eurozone needs to be founded a second time, including only the countries that have the institutions and the desire to be part of a true monetary union. The countries that are not committed to investing in the future and regaining their competitiveness would be better off with a currency of their own.

This post originally appeared on HuffPost Spain and was translated into English.

Follow Mauro Guillén on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MauroFGuillen
Mon, June 29, 2015 - 7:39 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Pre-Positions Itself as the Wise Voice of Reason (Ahead of Global Collapse!)

Via: redefininggod.com/2015/06/g...of-reason/

Globalist Agenda Watch 2015: Update 48

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released its 2014/2015 Annual Report today, and it hits the propaganda talking points I’ve been expecting.

It outlines the source of the global financial problem: the national central banks’ “too loose for too long” monetary policies…
2L2L
…(from the BIS website)

And it offers the globalist solution to the problem…

“International policy coordination can occur at various depths. Enlightened self-interest takes international spillovers into account to the extent that they spill back on one’s own economy. However, even if countries did their best individually, this would still fall short of the mark if there were significant international spillovers, as in today’s era of global liquidity. Moving towards a more efficient outcome would require greater cooperation, including ad hoc joint action, and possibly even agreement on rules of the game that constrain domestic policies.”

…(from Section V of the Report)

Putting these passages in clearer terms, “The ‘self-interested’ national central banks have screwed everything up with their conflicting policies and ‘too loose for too long’ interest rate regimes, so we want to transfer more control of currencies and financial systems to wise international bodies like the IMF and BIS.”

Isn’t it interesting that they released this report on the eve of the next financial crisis? The BIS is pre-positioning itself as the voice of sanity in a world of financial chaos.

And guess what else the report says…

“Given where we are, [interest rate] normalisation is bound to be bumpy. Risk-taking in financial markets has gone on for too long. And the illusion that markets will remain liquid under stress has been too pervasive (Chapter II). But the likelihood of turbulence will increase further if current extraordinary conditions are spun out. The more one stretches an elastic band, the more violently it snaps back. Restoring more normal conditions will also be essential for facing the next recession, which will no doubt materialise at some point. Of what use is a gun with no bullets left? Therefore, while having regard for country-specific conditions, monetary policy normalisation should be pursued with a firm and steady hand.” – (from page 22 of the Report / PDF page 26)

Look for the Fed to follow this advice in September. And look also for the “bumpiness” the BIS “wisely” warned about.

For the previous updates in this series, click here.

Much love…
Mon, June 29, 2015 - 9:48 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Greece Won't Pay 1.6Bn Euro IMF Loan Payment on Tuesday!

Via: rt.com/news/269026-gr...nk-debt-crisis/

Debt crisis: Will Greece exit euro?

Published time: June 23, 2015 12:05
Edited time: June 29, 2015 16:27

Greece and its lenders have been gridlocked in talks over its €240-billion debt for about six months. Fears of Greece defaulting are causing a run on the banks, with people withdrawing record amounts of deposits. RT will report on the latest developments.

Monday, June 29

Greece will not repay the 1.6-billion euro loan to the IMF due on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing a source in the Greek government.

A situation similar to the Greek one can’t happen in Spain, the country's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Monday.

Germany remains open to talks with Greece and will do so even after the referendum, said Merkel.

The German parliament will debate the Greece debt crisis on Wednesday, said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The referendum, scheduled for July 5, is a legitimate way for the people of Greece to express their point of view, said President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

Greece made a €50,000 deposit to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) on Monday, according to German business paper Handelsblatt. The EFSF confirmed the receipt of the full payment from Athens on time. The fund could have said Greece was in default if it hadn’t met the deadline.

Though there is a lot of noise concerning the Greek crisis and the Greek economy is likely going to collapse this week, three months from now no one will remember Greece going bankrupt, financial commentator Jim Rogers told RT.

***

See also: Puerto Rico Can’t Pay $72 Billion Debt, Governor Warns
time.com/3939637/puert...andro-padilla/
Mon, June 29, 2015 - 9:34 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Eurozone Rejects Greek Bailout Extension

See also: "This Is A Sad Decision": Europe Responds To The Greek Referendum, Which Has One Massive Problem
www.zerohedge.com/news/2015...ve-problem

***

Via: www.zerohedge.com/news/2015...-extension

First thing this morning, when summarizing the flurry of overnight events, we focused on today's final gambit by Greece:

"... moments ago Varoufakis was quoted as saying he would ask the Eurogroup for a bailout extension of a few weeks to accommodate the referendum.

And the punchline: if the Eurogroup says "Oxi", then the entire Greek gambit, which has been a bet that to Europe the opportunity cost of a Grexit is higher than folding to Greek demands, collapses.

If the Eurogroup declines Varoufakis' request, there simply can not be a referendum, as the "institutions proposal" will no longer be on the table. As such, the only question is whether the ECB will also end the ELA at midnight on June 30, adding insult to injury, and causing the collapse of the Greek banking system days ahead of a referendum whose purpose would now be moot."

And, as expected, with the Eurozone meeting on Greece having just ended after a brief hour of deliberations, AFP reports that the answer, was indeed, no.

And then this:

EUROGROUP PRESS CONFERENCE CALLED OFF IN BRUSSELS
EURO-AREA FIN. MINISTERS TO CONTINUE TALKS WITHOUT GREECE: ANP
EUROGROUP TO RECONVENE AFTER BRIEFING W/O GREECE: EU OFFICIAL

In effect, and very symbolically, Greece is already out of the Eurogroup.

What happens next: Eurogroup makes it official that the Greek proposal ends on June 30 making the referendum moot as the institutions proposal will no longer be on the table, the ECB pulls a "Cyprus" on Greek ELA, and a Greek bank system which is put on indefinite hiatus, leading to a "soft" Greek default if not outright Grexit, paving the way for even more ECB QE.

In the meantime, here is the live feed from the Euro-ex-Greece-Group where now only 18 countries are allowed to opine on the future of the costliest, and most artificial monetary experiment in history.

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Sat, June 27, 2015 - 8:48 AM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

It's Official -- Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton in the Hearts and Minds of Democrats

Via: www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-go...26.html

According to PBS, Bernie Sanders is "gaining against Clinton in early polls." Salon's Bill Curry believes "Hillary Clinton is going lose," primarily because millions of voters longing for a truly progressive candidate will nominate Sanders. POLITICO explained recently that Early-state polls hint at a Bernie Sanders surge, a headline that was unthinkable only several months earlier. Yahoo's Meredith Shiner calls Sanders a "progressive social media star and pragmatic legislator" and states that "Sanders also has a much more substantial legislative history" than any GOP challenger. In Iowa, 1,100 people packed a gym to hear Bernie Sanders speak in May.

In contrast, Team Hillary had an intimate business roundtable discussion with five "ordinary" Iowans. The only problem was that according to The Washington Post, "All five were selected to attend her events." In fact, Clinton's "staged roundtables" were attended by a total of 13 Iowans, picked by either the campaign or the host.

Therefore, a paradigm shift has taken place. Many Iowans drove 50 miles to hear Sanders speak in Des Moines, primarily because Bernie Sanders has surpassed Clinton as the ideal choice for Democratic nominee. Regarding electability, Sanders has also surpassed Clinton as the realistic choice for Democratic nominee in the minds of many voters, because as one Salon piece illustrates, Hillary "just doesn't get it."

When it comes to everything from immigration to climate change and economic issues (most Americans side with Democrats, according to Pew research and other data) some writers believe that Democrats "can nominate a ham sandwich and win the presidency." Although once thought of as an impossibility, a closer look at the electoral map shows why Bernie Sanders could realistically defeat any GOP challenger. If voters around the country still care about middle class economics, the federal budget, trade and other hot button issues in 2016, Sanders has a legitimate chance to win. Also, since Sanders isn't tied to Obama fatigue like Hillary Clinton, it's quite possible the Vermont Senator re-energizes an America that just recently decided the Confederate flag doesn't represent its value system.

According to a POLITICO piece titled The 2016 Results We Can Already Predict, "Assuming the lean, likely, and safe Democratic states remain loyal to the party, the nominee need only win 23 of the 85 toss-up electoral votes." Therefore, there's no need to jettison cherished values for the sake of pragmatism; those days are over. Senator Bernie Sanders, known in Washington and throughout the nation as an advocate for middle class Americans, veterans, the environment, and other cherished causes can win crucial electoral votes just as easily as Hillary Clinton.

Finally, we're all asking a question that we've been too frightened to ask, for fear of seeming unrealistic:"Why Not Bernie?"

Not long ago, many Democrats emphasized realism over progressive values. Sure, Hillary voted for Iraq and has close ties to Wall Street, but she'll raise $2.5 billion, so doesn't this represent our best chance to beat the GOP? This mindset, however, ignored the fact that the Associated Press, Vice News, and others are suing the State Department for access to tens of thousands of Clinton's emails. A Bloomberg piece titled Hillary Clinton Monthly E-Mail Releases Must Begin in June Court Rules highlights the reality of eventual email disclosures:

The U.S. must begin to make public 30,000 e-mails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a monthly basis beginning June 30, a federal judge ruled Wednesday amid competing proposals over their disclosure...

The State Department proposed releasing as many documents as possible at 60-day intervals, ending by Jan. 15. Attorneys for Vice News reporter Jason Leopold, who sued to gain access to the e-mails, proposed releases every two weeks.

Leopold's case is one of several seeking access to all or part of Clinton's State Department e-mail through the federal Freedom of Information Act.

Not long ago, winning meant voting for Hillary, even though someone like Bernie Sanders represented a candidate who spoke to the value system of citizens throughout the country. In reality, though, even billions of dollars in campaign funding won't help if a controversial email is uncovered before Election Day, or debated endlessly like other Clinton scandals.

As for why Bernie Sanders is finally being given the attention he deserves, the Vermont Senator is intimately involved with issues that affect the lives of everyday Americans. While Clinton supporters reference their candidate's experience, many people aren't aware of the various Congressional Committees that Sanders is involved with on a daily basis:
Environment and Public Works
The United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is responsible for dealing with matters related to the environment and infrastructure.

Energy and Natural Resources
The United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over matters related to energy and nuclear waste policy, territorial policy, native Hawaiian matters, and public lands.

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) generally considers matters relating to these issues.

Budget
The United States Senate Committee on Budget... is responsible for drafting Congress's annual budget plan and monitoring action on the budget for the Federal Government. The committee has jurisdiction over the Congressional Budget Office.

Veterans' Affairs
The United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs considers matters relating to the compensation of veterans, life insurance issued on account of service in the Armed Forces, national cemeteries, pensions of all wars, readjustment of servicemen to civil life, and veterans' hospitals and medical care.

Joint Economic Committee
This joint committee of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives focuses on promoting maximum employment, production, and purchasing power.

While Hillary voted for Iraq, Sanders knows how the repercussions of this decision continue to affect veterans and their families. As for jobs, the federal budget, healthcare, energy, and the environment, Sanders has far more experience than Clinton, Bush, or any other candidate in 2016.

Finally, perhaps the biggest reason Sanders is surging is because he's a genuine person with real beliefs, while others become chameleons when votes and public image are at stake. It's important to note that Hillary Clinton just recently "evolved" on gay marriage and in 2004, Clinton's speech (forward to 0:22 on the Slate video or read the transcript of her passionate defense of marriage between only a man and woman) highlighted her views on the "sacred bond" of marriage:

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "I believe marriage is...a sacred bond between a man and a woman....a fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and woman, going back into the midst of history, as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization. And that it's primary principle role during those milennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults."

According to The Atlantic, Clinton's stance remained unchanged for years, and "she also opposed gay marriage as recently as 2013, long after a majority of Americans already held a more gay-friendly position."


In terms of identity, Hillary Clinton might be a liberal according to fivethirtyeight.com, yet their analysis gives her a free pass on war, gay marriage, and other issues liberals had championed before they were popular. Adhering to polls is fine, but the words "poll driven," not "progressive," come to mind for someone with this type of persona. If one's views on war and foreign policy are enough for The New York Times to publish an article titled Are neocons getting ready to ally with Hillary Clinton?, then Bernie Sanders becomes an even better candidate for people opposed to never-ending American counterinsurgency wars. Clinton might say she was duped by faulty intelligence, but Bernie Sanders had enough intelligence and wisdom to vote against the Iraq war back in 2003.

In contrast to Clinton, Sanders has supported the issue of gay marriage since 2000, vehemently opposed the Iraq War, opposes TPP, wants student loan debt reforms, fights for veterans, and isn't afraid to blast "too big to fail" Wall Street firms. As for him being an "avowed Socialist," George Bush's $700 billion bailout of banks was textbook socialism, so Sanders will be able to shrug off the label after one or two televised debates. Bernie Sanders represents a new era in American politics; one where values trump Citizens United cash or cold pragmatism. America needs a human being like Sanders, now more than ever before.

Follow H. A. Goodman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HAGOODMANAUTHOR
Fri, June 26, 2015 - 9:44 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

Marriage Equality Is an Older Idea Than You Think

Dates back to the year I was born...

Via: time.com/3934678/marri...court-history/

by Lily Rothman @lilyrothman 10:18 AM ET

TIME's mentions of same-sex unions go back nearly a half-century

Friday’s news that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that all states must issue licenses for and recognize marriages between same-sex couples comes after years of anticipation among advocates and allies. Plenty of ink has been spilled about the speed with which the idea went from political poison to a seeming inevitability—but the story of marriage equality in the United States is actually much longer than is often acknowledged.

One of the first instances of same-sex marriage being discussed in the pages of TIME was in 1969, as part of a round-table discussion on the question “Are Homosexuals Sick?” in an issue with a cover story on The Homosexual in America. (That’s the cover, at left.) At one point in the conversation, one Rev. Robert Weeks proposed that it wasn’t so easy to say whether homosexuals as a group were “sick” or not:

I just finished counseling a person who was addicted to the men’s room in Grand Central Station. He knows he is going to get busted by the cops; yet he has to go there every day. I think I did succeed in getting him to cease going to the Grand Central men’s room, perhaps in favor of gay bars. This is a tremendous therapeutic gain for this particular man. But he is sick; he does need help. However, I don’t think Dr. Socarides [another participant, a psychoanalyst] is talking about people like another acquaintance of mine, a man who has been “married” to another homosexual for fifteen years. Both of them are very happy and very much in love. They asked me to bless their marriage, and I am going to do it.

Robin Fox, an anthropologist participating in the discussion, concurred: “So far as the two ‘married’ individuals are concerned,” he said, “they are engaged in what to them is a meaningful and satisfying relationship. What I would define as a sick person in sexual terms would be someone who could not go through the full sequence of sexual activity, from seeing and admiring to following, speaking, touching, and genital contact. A rapist, a person who makes obscene telephone calls—these seem to me sick people, and I don’t think it matters a damn whether the other person is of the same sex or not.”

The notion of gay marriage wasn’t just theoretical. Same-sex couples around the country were already starting to push for legal unions.

In October of 1970, a man named James Michael McConnell was fired by the University of Minnesota after applying for a marriage license with his partner. A district court judge ruled that the university couldn’t fire McConnell over it, as “the homosexual is as much entitled to the protection and benefits of the laws as are others.” The following year, McConnell was back in the news with an enterprising solution to his problem: ultimately unable to use marriage to make their relationship legal, he adopted his partner. The ruling that allowed the adoption was, the Gay Activists Alliance told TIME that week, the first of its kind. And it came with benefits: their new household status suddenly opened the door for tax deductions, tuition discounts and inheritance rights. They were living proof that legal acknowledgement of a relationship conferred tangible rights. (As of a May 2015 New York Times profile, they were still together).

By the time the 1972 Democratic National Convention rolled around, the idea of marriage equality—though far from mainstream—was real enough to make it to Miami, where the delegates would meet. As TIME reported, the largely youthful cohort that supported George McGovern included Americans who were ready to push the envelope for change, “demanding platform planks in favor of legalized marijuana, abortions on demand and homosexual marriage.”

Except, of course, McGovern lost the general election to Richard Nixon.

That same year, 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress. Though the ERA, which said that “equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” passed Congress, it failed to be ratified by enough states, even after a multi-year fight. Foes of the measure warned that it could open the country to a future full of unisex bathrooms, military conscription for women and, yes, legalized gay marriage.

TIME called the threat “exaggerated” and noted that even at the 1977 National Women’s Conference, where lesbian rights were on the agenda, many progressive leaders wanted to distance themselves from LGBT issues (not that they were called that at the time) for fear of lending ammunition to ERA foes. In 1981, as the ERA was on its last legs, speakers for the National Organization for Women accused the Stop ERA campaign led by Phyllis Schlafly of spreading word that the ERA would lead to “approval of homosexual marriage or the breakup of the family,” in TIME’s words. But their protestations weren’t enough. In 1982, the clock ran out on the ERA.

HOW GAY LIFE IN AMERICA HAS CHANGED OVER 50 YEARS

June 26, 1964 issue of LIFE magazine. Caption reads: "A San Francisco bar run for and by homosexuals is crowded with patrons who wear leather jackets, make a show of masculinity and scorn effeminate members of their world. Mural shows men in leather."

June 26, 1964 issue of LIFE magazine. Caption for full-page photo reads: "Two fluffy-sweatered young men stroll in New York City, ignoring the stare of a 'straight' couple. Flagrant homosexuals are unabashed by reactions of shock, perplexity, disgust."

June 26, 1964 issue of LIFE magazine. Caption for top left photo reads: "When Hollywood police closed 'gay' haunts near Santa Monica Blvd. bar, Barney Anthony put up a sign warning homosexuals. 'I don't like 'em,' he says. 'There's no excuse. They'll approach any nice-looking guy. Anybody does any recruiting, I say shoot him. Who cares?'"

June 26, 1964 issue of LIFE magazine. Captions read: "A police officer in tight-pants disguise waits on a Hollywood street to be solicited by homosexuals cruising by in cars. Decoy officer and partner lead handcuffed homosexual away in Hollywood. When arrested for soliciting, he burst into tears."

Bill Eppridge—LIFE Magazine

June 26, 1964 issue of LIFE magazine. Caption reads: "A San Francisco bar run for and by homosexuals is crowded with patrons who wear leather jackets, make a show of masculinity and scorn effeminate members of their world. Mural shows men in leather."

Despite the use of same-sex marriage as a scare tactic, momentum for the idea began to build again in the 1980s. Individual municipalities and businesses began to grant benefits to domestic partners, and by the end of the decade there was growing, if still small, support for extending some legal protections typically associated with marriage. In the years since a TIME survey in 1989 showed that more than two-thirds of respondents opposed recognizing the marriage of same-sex couples, public opinion has essentially flipped in favor of the unions.

Perhaps Phyllis Schlafly was right. Given America’s turnabout on gay marriage, it’s distinctly possible that the ERA could have helped marriage equality arrive even faster. Nor was Schlafly the only one who might have guessed correctly. In 1975, TIME interviewed a Columbia Law professor about the possible implications of the amendment. The professor said that women who expressed fear of the ERA were really just afraid of change, but conceded that it was impossible to know what the eventual results would be of such a broadly worded addition to the Constitution. That professor’s name was Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

[Cover Credit: FRED BURRELL - The Oct. 31, 1969, cover of TIME]
Fri, June 26, 2015 - 9:11 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment

It Is Accomplished!

"Know hope."

Via: dish.andrewsullivan.com/2015/0...lished/

As Gandhi never quite said,

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win.

I remember one of the first TV debates I had on the then-strange question of civil marriage for gay couples. It was Crossfire, as I recall, and Gary Bauer’s response to my rather earnest argument after my TNR cover-story on the matter was laughter. “This is the loopiest idea ever to come down the pike,” he joked. “Why are we even discussing it?”

Those were isolating days. A young fellow named Evan Wolfson who had written a dissertation on the subject in 1983 got in touch, and the world immediately felt less lonely. Then a breakthrough in Hawaii, where the state supreme court ruled for marriage equality on gender equality grounds. No gay group had agreed to support the case, which was regarded at best as hopeless and at worst, a recipe for a massive backlash. A local straight attorney from the ACLU, Dan Foley, took it up instead, one of many straight men and women who helped make this happen. And when we won, and got our first fact on the ground, we indeed faced exactly that backlash and all the major gay rights groups refused to spend a dime on protecting the breakthrough … and we lost.

In fact, we lost and lost and lost again. Much of the gay left was deeply suspicious of this conservative-sounding reform; two thirds of the country were opposed; the religious right saw in the issue a unique opportunity for political leverage – and over time, they put state constitutional amendments against marriage equality on the ballot in countless states, and won every time. Our allies deserted us. The Clintons embraced the Defense of Marriage Act, and their Justice Department declared that DOMA was in no way unconstitutional the morning some of us were testifying against it on Capitol Hill. For his part, president George W. Bush subsequently went even further and embraced the Federal Marriage Amendment to permanently ensure second-class citizenship for gay people in America. Those were dark, dark days.

I recall all this now simply to rebut the entire line of being “on the right side of history.” History does not have such straight lines. Movements do not move relentlessly forward; progress comes and, just as swiftly, goes. For many years, it felt like one step forward, two steps back. History is a miasma of contingency, and courage, and conviction, and chance.

But some things you know deep in your heart: that all human beings are made in the image of God; that their loves and lives are equally precious; that the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence has no meaning if it does not include the right to marry the person you love; and has no force if it denies that fundamental human freedom to a portion of its citizens. In the words of Hannah Arendt:

“The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.”

This core truth is what Justice Kennedy affirmed today, for the majority: that gay people are human. I wrote the following in 1996:

Homosexuality, at its core, is about the emotional connection between two adult human beings. And what public institution is more central—more definitive—of that connection than marriage? The denial of marriage to gay people is therefore not a minor issue. It is the entire issue. It is the most profound statement our society can make that homosexual love is simply not as good as heterosexual love; that gay lives and commitments and hopes are simply worth less. It cuts gay people off not merely from civic respect, but from the rituals and history of their own families and friends. It erases them not merely as citizens, but as human beings.

We are not disordered or sick or defective or evil – at least no more than our fellow humans in this vale of tears. We are born into family; we love; we marry; we take care of our children; we die. No civil institution is related to these deep human experiences more than civil marriage and the exclusion of gay people from this institution was a statement of our core inferiority not just as citizens but as human beings. It took courage to embrace this fact the way the Supreme Court did today. In that 1996 essay, I analogized to the slow end to the state bans on inter-racial marriage:

The process of integration—like today’s process of “coming out”—introduced the minority to the majority, and humanized them. Slowly, white people came to look at interracial couples and see love rather than sex, stability rather than breakdown. And black people came to see interracial couples not as a threat to their identity, but as a symbol of their humanity behind the falsifying carapace of race.

It could happen again. But it is not inevitable; and it won’t happen by itself. And, maybe sooner rather than later, the people who insist upon the centrality of gay marriage to every American’s equality will come to seem less marginal, or troublemaking, or “cultural,” or bent on ghettoizing themselves. They will seem merely like people who have been allowed to see the possibility of a larger human dignity and who cannot wait to achieve it.

I think of the gay kids in the future who, when they figure out they are different, will never know the deep psychic wound my generation – and every one before mine – lived through: the pain of knowing they could never be fully part of their own family, never be fully a citizen of their own country. I think, more acutely, of the decades and centuries of human shame and darkness and waste and terror that defined gay people’s lives for so long. And I think of all those who supported this movement who never lived to see this day, who died in the ashes from which this phoenix of a movement emerged. This momentous achievement is their victory too – for marriage, as Kennedy argued, endures past death.

I never believed this would happen in my lifetime when I wrote my first several TNR essays and then my book, Virtually Normal, and then the anthology and the hundreds and hundreds of talks and lectures and talk-shows and call-ins and blog-posts and articles in the 1990s and 2000s. I thought the book, at least, would be something I would have to leave behind me – secure in the knowledge that its arguments were, in fact, logically irrefutable, and would endure past my own death, at least somewhere. I never for a millisecond thought I would live to be married myself. Or that it would be possible for everyone, everyone in America.

But it has come to pass. All of it. In one fell, final swoop.

Know hope.
Fri, June 26, 2015 - 7:16 PM — permalink - 0 comments - add a comment
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