Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ron Paul on the G-20 Summit



The dollar system is coming to an end. The summit was about internationalization of the Central Bank and replacement of the dollar standard. No new system was devised and the dollar is under very serious assault. Meanwhile, the world economy will get much, much worse. Political danger, economic danger, and runaway inflation are just around that signpost up ahead.

The Crisis Has Hardly Begun

CounterPunch | Wow! The entire country is steamed up over the Republicans bailing out a bunch of financial crooks who have paid themselves fortunes in bonuses for destroying America’s pensions. Why do Democrats want to protect Republicans from further ignominy by not giving them the opportunity to vote down a bailout for workers? Quick, someone enroll the Democratic Party in Politics 101.

GM’s divisions in Canada and Germany are asking those governments for help. It will be something if Canada and Germany come through for the American automaker and the American government doesn’t.

Conservative talking heads are saying GM is a “failed business model” unworthy of a $25 billion bailout. These are the same talking heads who favored pouring $700 billion into a failed financial model.

The head of the FDIC is trying to get $25 billion--a measly 3.5 percent of the $700 billion for the banksters--with which to refinance the mortgages of 2 million of the banksters’ victims, and Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury Paulson says no. Why aren’t the Democrats all over this, too?

Apparently, the Democrats still think they are the minority party or else their aim is to supplant the Republicans as the party of the rich.

Any bailout has its downsides. But if America loses its auto industry, it will lose the suppliers as well and will cease to have a manufacturing sector. For years no-think economists have been writing off America’s manufacturing jobs, while deluding themselves and the public with propaganda about a New Economy based on finance.

A country that doesn’t make anything doesn’t need a financial sector as there is nothing to finance.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rebooting Davos Man?

The Economist | The global system “needs a fundamental reboot”. That was the clearest conclusion from the 700 or so Davos Men and Women gathered in Dubai between November 7th and 9th by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to discuss how to lead the world out of its current crisis. This computing analogy immediately inspired a series of pointed jokes: “Before you reboot, make sure the operating system works”; “First, make sure the power is switched on”, and (to the loudest laughter) “Let’s hope we don’t end up with another version of Windows.” Indeed.

Compared with the partying and skiing that accompanies the talking at Davos, this gathering was serious and sober, literally (alcohol not being served, out of respect for the city-state’s Muslim government, which played host to the conference). “I had people patrolling the beach,” on guard against dignitaries sunbathing, “and I couldn’t find anyone,” said the WEF’s founder, Klaus Schwab, probably in jest.

Reuters

Everyone agreed that the global crisis, of which the financial system’s meltdown is currently the public face (though fuel and food are also important parts), is the most severe in at least a generation, and could certainly get much worse before it gets better. A deep recession is regarded as inevitable. “Could finance be a model for other areas in the sense that no one saw the actual crisis coming?” asked one speaker. “How long before the world is hit by a pandemic?” asked another.

Opinions were somewhat divided about who has the authority to solve the crisis. “This is the same elite that caused the problem, not the group to find the solution”, observed one brave speaker. “There is no leader in the world who can pull this together,” said another. A third speaker rallied the majority, however, by asking, “If not us, who?”

Already, a new lexicon is emerging for the rebooting phase. This is a “leadership moment”. Global co-ordinated action is needed. The unthinkable must be thought. Business as usual is no longer an option. What is needed is “restorative innovation.” Solutions should be the result of multi-stakeholder engagement, with everyone having a seat at the table. Risks must be better measured, and better managed. Solutions should be transformational, and sustainable. “Silos” are bad. Thinking holistically, connectedly, outside of our silos, is essential.

Clearing Out Managerial Dead Wood...,

NYTimes | The failure of one or more of Detroit’s Big Three automakers would put a huge initial dent in American manufacturing, but in time foreign car companies would pick up the slack by stepping up production in their plants here, many industry experts and economists say.

Whether Washington should let that play out — risking hundreds of thousands of jobs — is a central question Congress will weigh this week as it hears testimony from Detroit leaders who are pushing for immediate federal intervention, before the next administration takes over in January.

“Barack Obama has made it clear he understands the importance of the industry. The question is, do we get that far?” Ron Gettelfinger, head of the United Auto Workers, said in an interview Friday, raising the prospect of a General Motors bankruptcy. “At this juncture, we are in a crisis that could have a major negative impact on this country.”

But many industry experts say the big foreign makers are established enough to take control of the industry and its vast supplier network more quickly than is widely understood.

“You would have an auto industry in the United States more like that of Mexico and Canada: foreign-owned,” said Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., which describes itself as a nonprofit organization that has “strong relationships with industry, government agencies, universities, research institutes, labor organizations” and other groups with an interest in the auto business.

Obamismo

Newsweek | The use and abuse of Obama as a metaphor for dramatic racial and social change is suddenly so widespread, it may become a verb. Conservative Party Leader David Cameron and Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown have bickered about their ability to Obama the U.K., with Cameron embracing the slogan of change and Brown espousing liberalism. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy openly compares himself—the right-wing son of an aristocratic Hungarian immigrant—to the American son of a Kenyan father.

"God save us from Obamismo, that new religion that has flooded our earthly temples with such exaltation that it threatens to become a cosmic plague," wrote columnist Pilar Rahola in the Barcelona daily La Vanguardia, deriding Obama, ironically, as "a kind of messiah." Israeli columnist Sever Plocker dubbed him "Mr. Universe": the man who is all things to all people, and to whom the whole world is looking for leadership.

Yet amid the euphoria and the excess, it is increasingly clear that Obama is, in fact, the unique product of a unique moment in America's history, a figure almost impossible to replicate or even emulate in any other country. In the United States itself, it took both the worst crisis and perhaps the best-organized campaign in a century to break the color barrier, and generations may pass before American voters choose another black man, or a Latino or Asian or Jew, to be president.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oppositional Culture.....,

NYTimes | The trouble is far more fundamental than that. The G.O.P. ran out of steam and ideas well before George W. Bush took office and Tom DeLay ran amok, and it is now more representative of 20th-century South Africa during apartheid than 21st-century America. The proof is in the vanilla pudding. When David Letterman said that the 10 G.O.P. presidential candidates at an early debate looked like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club,” he was the first to correctly call the election.

On Nov. 4, that’s roughly the sole constituency that remained loyal to the party — minus its wealthiest slice, a previously solid G.O.P. stronghold that turned blue this year (in a whopping swing of 34 percentage points). The Republicans lost every region of the country by double digits except the South, which they won by less than double digits (9 points). They took the South only because McCain, who ran roughly even with Obama among whites in every other region, won Southern whites by 38 percentage points.

Those occasional counties that tilted more Republican in 2008 tended to be not only the least diverse, but also the most rural, least educated and slowest-growing in population. McCain-Palin did score a landslide among white evangelical Christians, though even in that demographic Obama shaved the G.O.P. margin by seven percentage points from 2004.

The Republicans did this to themselves, yet a convenient amnesia can be found in conservatives’ post-Election Day soul searching. There’s endless hand-wringing about Bush and McCain blunders and Abramoff-Stevens corruption, but there’s barely any mention of the nasty cultural brawls that defined the G.O.P. campaign narrative this year as the party clung bitterly once more to its 40-year-old “Southern strategy.”

'Spending . . . Is How We Fill Our Time'

Washington Post | In "Going Broke: Why Americans Can't Hold On to Their Money," psychologist Stuart Vyse analyzes the economic mess we're in, and what it is about our brains' inner workings that puts us there.

-- Monica Hesse

So, how did we get in this housing crisis/perilous tailspin situation? Psychologically speaking?

Basically it comes down to a simple sense of overconfidence about the future, which is inherent in our nature. . . . Especially in the realm of mortgages. You have a big company offering you an enormous amount of money, and they say, "You qualify." There's a psychological process where, if [that happens], you think, well, they must think I'm good for it.

Why don't we Just. Stop. Spending?

Because we live in a country where it's patriotic to spend, where our economy depends on spending. . . . It's a habit, it's what we do for entertainment, it's how we fill our time.

Why is this coming to a head now? Is human nature different than it used to be?

The marketplace has invaded our lives in quite a different way than it did 30 years ago. In that earlier period, when you were home, you were out of the marketplace. Today, I could buy a car without getting out of this chair or off this phone. When a purchase comes to mind, you must struggle with the fact that you could have it right away.

You'd think all that choice would make consumers happy.

In fact, we live in a world where there are too many choices. When the dazzling must-have item appears, be it an iPod or an iPhone, if you have a credit card in your pocket, then you're churning inside with whether or not you should pull out the card and walk out with the item. That creates the stress of, Can I justify this? Will this be okay? Will the future work out if I do this? In many cases, the person who has no credit card, no ability to buy at all, is freer.

Shipping: Holed beneath the waterline

UK Independent | Hold on to your hat: the Baltic Dry Index was down at 826 points yesterday, (actually 841 - this article's a week old - the trend is what matters) a shattering drop from its high of 11,793 in May.

The index, which tracks the price of shipping bulk cargo, might not sound like a reason to choke on your cornflakes. But it is an unparalleled, if subtle, barometer of the global trade in economic building blocks like iron ore, coal and grain – and it is telling a worrying tale.

Put simply, the cost of shipping has dropped through the floor. Sending a tonne of iron ore from Brazil to China in early June would have set you back more than $100 (£62) per tonne, or around $15m per voyage. But freight rates have now dropped to only slightly over $10 per tonne, or just $1.5m for the 70-90 day journey.

As if that wasn't dramatic enough, the drop in daily charter rates is even sharper. At the peak of the market, a 170,000-tonne Capesize bulk carrier was hired out at the eye-watering daily rate of $234,000. At the beginning of this week, it was $5,611 – a fall of nearly 98 per cent.

Peter Kerr-Dineen, chairman of Howe Robinson shipbrokers, said: "The scale of change in rate is utterly staggering – the market has come down from super-boom territory to pretty close to bust, effectively in two months."

Contracting demand for imports inrecession-wary economies across the world is a factor, as are steadily falling commodity prices and the mechanics of supply and demand in the shipping industry itself. But the real trouble is less obvious, largely unprecedented, and potentially devastating.

The wheels of international shipping are greased with "letters of credit"issued to buyers of bulk cargo by their banks. These guarantee the value of the shipment once it is in transit but before it is delivered. The problem is that the credit crunch, with the resulting liquidity problems in the international banking sector, is taking its toll on the availability of these entirelyroutine instruments. "We have the hugely worrying and unprecedented development where there are perfectly creditworthy shippers and receivers unable to open perfectly standardletters of credit," Mr Kerr-Dineen said.

Cargos are sitting on docksidesbecause the finance is not available to ship them, with the gravest implications for the future. "This is a nuclear bomb in the freight market, and in world trade," Mr Kerr-Dineen said. "Liquidity has to return because if there isinsufficient money to provide standard finance, world trade will be sharply cut back and economic growth willimplode."

IMF Agrees to $7.6 Billion Loan to Pakistan

Washington Post | Pakistan reached an agreement in principle with the International Monetary Fund on a $7.6 billion loan package aimed at preventing the nation from defaulting on foreign debt and restoring investor confidence.

The loan "will be used for the balance of payments and to build our foreign reserves," Shaukat Tarin, the de facto finance minister, said Saturday at a televised news conference in Karachi.

Pakistan, a center in the war on terrorism, has been forced to seek IMF assistance after its foreign-exchange reserves shrank 75 percent in the past year, to $3.5 billion last week, the equivalent of one month's imports, and a group of donor nations declined to provide funds. Hungary, Iceland and Ukraine also have negotiated IMF packages in recent weeks as the global economic crisis has radiated beyond the financial sector.

"The IMF didn't give us any conditions different from our economic stabilization program," Tarin said. "The IMF counseled us to increase the key interest rate to curb inflation."

Killing them Softly.....,

Washington Times | A West Virginia man whose son survived the battlefields of Iraq only to die in his sleep at home is crusading to find other military families whose loved ones also have died after taking drugs prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Stan White's son Andrew, who was found dead in bed at the family's Cross Lanes, W.Va., home on Feb. 12, 2007, is one among a cluster of young veterans in the state who have died in their sleep with little explanation. Now Mr. White wants the federal government to monitor the drugs it prescribes to some 375,000 soldiers who have been diagnosed with mental trauma.

Shirley White of Cross Lanes, Andrew's mother, says she and her husband want an investigation into the medications prescribed to their son and other veterans who died.

So far, he has identified nine veterans across the country - including four in West Virginia - who have died in their sleep after taking antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

Mr. White has met with members of Congress and asked for Capitol Hill hearings to investigate the deaths. His research prompted a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) investigation into Andrew's and one other death, which were found to have been caused by "combined drug intoxication." But the investigation could not determine whether the prescribed medications were at fault.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The End of the Experts?

NYTimesSE | The sudden outbreak of peace in Iraq has made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write. I know, you’re thinking I’m going too far. I haven’t always been wrong about everything. I recently made some sense on global warming and what we needed to do about it, for instance.

But to have been so completely and fundamentally wrong about so huge a disaster as what we have done to Iraq — and ourselves — is outrageous enough to prove that people like me have no business posing as wise men, and, more importantly, that The New York Times has no business continuing to provide me with a national platform.

In any case, I have made a decision: as of today, I will no longer write in this or any other newspaper. I will immediately desist from writing any more books about how it’s time for everyone to climb on board the globalization high-speed monorail to the future. I will keep my opinions to myself. (My wife suggested that I try not to even form opinions, but I think she might have another agenda.)

Baffled? I don’t blame you. So I’ll cite some facts to support my decision — a practice, I must admit, I have too seldom followed.

Let’s start with the invasion itself. I was pretty much all for it. Mind you, I was not one of the pundits, reporters, or public figures who said that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States. I knew better — but I said it didn’t matter!

Back in February of 2003, I wrote in this space: “Saddam does not threaten us today. He can be deterred. Taking him out is a war of choice — but it’s a legitimate choice.” In other words, we should invade a sovereign state and replace its government in order to remake the world more to our liking.

Now the simple fact is, an unprovoked attack on a sovereign state is a war crime, even when linked to grand ideas of the future of mankind. In fact, that’s exactly what Hitler did, for exactly the same reasons. The Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal called it the “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

What was I thinking? And more importantly, why didn’t anyone stop me?

The G20 Summit - Global Governance Reform?

A major global crisis, unfortunately, is now upon us. We believe that the G20 summit, which Mr. Bush has now convened, is the right forum for forging a cooperative approach to the crisis and for building a stronger, more inclusive international financial and economic architecture, and beyond to addressing other global challenges such as energy and climate change, security and terrorism, poverty and health. This crisis and the G20 summit on November 15 provide a historic opportunity for the next president of the United States to chart a new course for global cooperation, overcoming the transatlantic and Western biases of recent years, integrating Asia and other emerging economies into the global leadership forum, thereby creating a more effective and legitimate global steering mechanism.

The G20 Summit: Could the Financial Crisis Push Global Governance Reform?

Should the U.S. Let GM Fail?

NYTimes | Momentum is building in Washington for a rescue package for the auto industry to head off a possible bankruptcy filing by General Motors, which is rapidly running low on cash.

But not everyone agrees that a Chapter 11 filing by G.M. would be the disaster that many fear. Some experts note that while bankruptcy would be painful, it may be preferable to a government bailout that may only delay, at considerable cost, the wrenching but necessary steps G.M. needs to take to become a stronger, leaner company. David Brooks says we should let the market process work, let GM file for bankruptcy, and then see what restructured auto company rises from the ashes. GM, Ford, and Chrysler are reaping the rewards of bad management, stupid product decisions, and giving away too much to unions.

Democrats in Congress are pushing for a bailout, but this will simply confirm and support the accusations of Republicans - that the Congressional majority represents a new generation of "tax and spend" liberals - while only deferring the inevitable crash of the Big Three U.S. auto companies, and wasting taxpayers' money.

Would Japan let its auto industries fall into ruin? Would Germany? Only in America do you have partisans arguing that letting this happen is good economic policy. Should a modern nation let its productive economic or industrial base collapse on principle?

World Energy Outlook 2008

This report, and economics more generally, completely lacks the understanding that those numbers are not only quite unproven but irrelevant and useless by themselves, for the important number is not “how many barrels are in the ground” but “how many of those barrels will be gained at a significant energy profit for society.” In effect, the notional figure of 106 mbpd gives the impression that oils net benefit to society will continue and even grow into the future.

Neoclassical economics and economists have reigned supreme despite their dismal track record of late, as evidenced by governments turning to the same economists who got us into the credit crisis situation to get us out. It used to work better: economies expanded simultaneously with an expansion of economic departments and economic theory. It looked like the theories worked, although since more and more oil was being pumped out of the ground perhaps any theory could 'seemingly' work. Capitalism may be a giant Ponzi scheme once fueled by ever more investors and ever more oil at its base, but this has ceased, most likely forever.

The economic theories became ever more analytically elegant as they got further and further from reality. Our most prestigious economics departments not only did not teach very much about oil or grain or other sources of real wealth but increasingly not even about money. Rather their focus was far too often complex econometric models using rather stupid starting assumptions. Acceptance of graduate students was increasingly taken based on their math skills rather than their ability to understand real commodity paths. Wall Street followed the lead of our major economists. As we have seen in other disciplines, such as ecology, there has been massive conflation of mathematical and analytical rigor with scientific rigor.

Full Monty at the Oil Drum.

Friday, November 14, 2008

America will be the First Undeveloped Country

The Political Problem

Many groups are working on the problem of sustainability. I'm an engineer so I look at sustainability as an engineering problem. First, it would NOT look like Brundtland's meaningless, "feel good" definition. Ultimately, sustainability would require limits on human mobility, reproduction, and consumption.

For many years, thousands of members on my email lists have investigated all, or almost all, disciplines and historical examples of sustainability that others have suggested. With a couple of irrelevant exceptions (e.g., a religious sect that died out) not one example of an intentionally-sustainable (engineer's definition) society could be found.

The central problem that planet Earth faces today is NOT a problem of "running out of energy," or "overfishing," or "the wrong kind of farming," or "the depletion of aquifers," or "too much CO2 in the atmosphere," or [fill in the blanks]...

The problem that threatens to exterminate most higher forms of life on Earth — and soon — is the problem of "human behavior." Therefore, if one is searching for "solutions," one must look closely at what one sees in the mirror every morning. That's the central problem on planet Earth. It lives with all of us. WE ARE THE PROBLEM.

The problem of sustainability can be neatly divided into two sub-problems: 1) An engineering problem. 2) A political problem. [1]

The engineering problem

Even though the engineering problem is gigantic, its solution is fairly straightforward. We need so much of this type of food here, this much of that type of vaccine there, water can't be pumped from an aquifer any faster than that, wastes can't be discharged any faster than this, fishing can't exceed… And so on. Moreover, the problem must be approached globally due to the way our ecosystems are interconnected. Although the problem is immense, I think we could do it.

The political problem

A solution to the political problem of sustainability does not presently exist. Moreover, if we can't solve the politics of sustainability, then nothing else matters. That's Liebig's limiter: politics. To emphasize the point: if we can't solve the political problem, then more efficient PV panels, wind turbines, etc., won't help — and may make the die-off even worse.

Politics is where "evolutionary psychology" (EP) comes in. If a solution to the politics of sustainability can be found, it will be found by those who study human behavior via the scientific method. [2]

EP is a true science based on Neo-Darwinism, [3] which is the name of the modern theory of evolution, and it is the only scientific theory which explains how we became human.

EP attempts to explain mental and psychological traits — such as memory, perception or language — as adaptations, that is, as the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection. Adaptationist thinking about physiological mechanisms, such as the heart, lungs, and immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Evolutionary psychology applies the same thinking to psychology. [4]

EP argues that our brains come from the factory with hundreds of built-in programs structured to solve prehistoric environmental problems. Throughout life, especially before age ~ 25, these built-in programs are updated by interaction with a person's environment and respond to stimuli from the environment, or from other parts of the body itself, to produce our behavior. In theory, human behavior can be explained by reflex-like brain algorithms.

EP aims to understand how and why our brains make the decisions that they do. EP is a true science unlike the "politics-in-disguise" disciplines of economics and sociology. [5] Therefore, EP represents the possibility of finding a humane solution for our present crisis while economics and sociology represent dead ends (literally.)

To reiterate: WE ARE THE PROBLEM. More energy, less fishing, less CO2, etc., won't solve the problem. Two methods exist to change human behavior: 1) Force. 2) Persuasion.

I think that finding a humane solution for our present crisis is incredibly important. That's why I have dedicated the last fifteen-or-so years of my life to it. The alternative is horrible. No solution yet, but perhaps tomorrow...

References

[1] Politics: social relations involving authority or power. More at http://www.warsocialism.com/p1.html

[2] http://www.ehbonline.org/

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeoDarwinism

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_psychology

[5] http://www.warsocialism.com/economic.htm

Orlov -- Five Stages of Collapse Updated

Energy Bulletin | In January of 2008, I published an article on "The Five Stages of Collapse," in which I defined the five stages, and then bravely stated that we are in the midst of a financial collapse. And ten months later it doesn't seem that I went too far out on a limb this time. If the US government has to lend banks over 200 billion dollars a day just to keep the whole system from imploding, then the term "crisis" probably doesn't do justice to the situation. To keep this game going, the US government has to be able to sell the debt it is taking on, and what do you think the chances are that the world at large will be snapping up trillions of dollars of new debt, knowing that it is being used to prop up a shrinking economy? And if the debt can't be sold, then it has to be monetized, by printing money. And that will trigger hyperinflation. So, let's not quibble, and let us call what's happening what it looks like: "financial collapse".

So here are the five stages as I defined them almost a year ago. The little check-mark next to "financial collapse" is there to remind us that we are not here to quibble or equivocate, because Stage 1 is pretty far along. Stages 2 and 3 - commercial and political collapse, are driven by financial collapse, and will overlap each other. Right now, it is unclear which one is farther along. On the one hand, there are signs that global shipping is grinding to a halt, and that big box retailers are in for a very bad time, with many stores likely to close following a disastrous Christmas season. On the other hand, states are already experiencing massive budget shortfalls, laying off state workers, cutting back on programs, and are starting to beg the federal government for bail-out money.

Even though the various stages of collapse drive each other in a variety of ways, I think that it makes sense to keep them apart conceptually. This is because their effects on our daily life are quite different. Whatever constructive ways we may find of dodging these effects are also going to be different. Lastly, some stages of collapse seem unavoidable, while others may be avoided if we put up enough of a fight.

Onward Christian Soldiers

Don't miss Preznit Bush's cameo at ~4.5 minute mark. German with subtitles. American Missionaries and Generals in the American Military are working together in order to convert Helpless Muslims in Iraq to Christianity. Many of these Missionaries which are Supported by the Bush Administration are from Evangelical Christian Groups Such as Southern Baptist Convention, World Help and other Evangelical Christian Organizations. They go into Iraq as aid workers in Disguise or as American Private Contractors working in Iraq. Many of these people have been given support and Protection from American Generals in Iraq by providing them Housings in Americans Bases in Iraq to work from. When ever the American Military goes into a Village or a Town in search and destroy Mission these missionaries follow them and hand out Pamphlets promoting Christianity and also Also Anti-islamic material to the helpless Muslims in Iraq. Many of them follow the American Military as well in their rutine Night raids where the American Soldiers Kills or detains Muslim males from the families, Iraq is a traditional Society and most of the Support a family recieves is from the Male, and once there is no Male gaurdian for the Family the family does not have a chance for survival. Many Muslim Women and families are being taken advantagae of by these American christians, since they provide them with food and Shelter or Money in Exchange for the Bible and Christianity

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Inclusion...,

Black Commentator | The present-day contentious debate between black and queer communities, concerning what constitutes a legitimate civil rights issue and which group owns the right to use the term, is both fueled and ignored by systemic efforts by our government that deliberately pit both groups against each other rather than upholding the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that afford each of these marginal groups their inalienable rights.

While it is true that the white LGBTQ community needs to work on its racism, white privilege, and single-issue platform that thwart all efforts for coalition building with both straight and queer communities of color, the African-American community needs to work on its homophobia.

The blame of the passing of Proposition 8 should not be placed on the shoulders of blacks, Latinos or even religion, but rather the blame should rightly be placed on the shoulders of our government. To have framed our civil rights as a ballot question for a popular vote was both wrong-hearted and wrong-headed. If my enslaved ancestors had waited for their slaveholders to free them, predicated on a ballot vote we all wouldn’t be living in the America we know today.

What Is It To You?