Monsanto: Agent Orange to GMOs

June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Buzzword GMOs. I needed to move beyond, “this kind of science is bad”. That’s not enough to get me fully invested, engaged, in the discussion. And everyone harps on Monsanto. Is it factually the big bad wolf? Is this a anti-corporate bandwagon thing? I hate bandwagons. Too much bias to slog through. So I agreed, it’s bad. Moved on.

Today I watched an incredibly informative segment on HBO Vice: Saviour Seeds.

Disclaimer: This is all from my head. My notes after watching. The Saviour Seeds piece filed in huge gaps that engaged me willingly. I had to write. It took me longer to write this than to watch the piece. This is not well written and I likely made small errors that do not change the narrative.

From the company that brought us Agent Orange…

Monsanto is the GMO leader, the biggest global player, and claims the goal of feeding the world in a looming food shortage crisis.

BUT Quantity of food production is not the issue in feeding the world. I’ll get into global food experts and expand in a future post.

1). The prime, and really sole, GMO crops are corn and soy. Which are nutritionally relatively vacant. Corn and soy are highly profitable because they are used heavily for processed foods, cattle feed, and ethanol – fuel.

2). Monsanto is brilliant. They genetically modify seeds to be resistant to THEIR products. The herbicides (world leader Roundup)/ pesticides – for which they reap additional massive profits.

3). All the global seeds are literally from the 1 -3 sources. Local or global, small or commercial farming – genetic variation and diversity are critical to maintaining viable crops.

Remember: variation and diversity are also critical nutrition.

Limiting the source (Monsanto) and type of crops (corn and soy) leaves everything (people and crops) vulnerable to catastrophe. One insect or blight and we have a global meltdown.

4). Paraguay as a model of GMO in action. 98% of Paraguay’s agriculture has gone to Monsanto sourced soy production.

a). The farmers buy the seeds, plant and harvest. But they can’t plant any seeds from their production. They have to sell them – back to Monsanto, and buy more to plant each year.

b). Along with mass quantities of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides.

c). Since this program with Monsanto has begun hunger in Paraguay has doubled.

With production moved to soybeans – that are not for local, but rather commercial, consumption – Paraguay now must import food, fruits and veggies.

I’m not detailing the problem beyond the obvious: less local and subsistence farms, worse local economy, less money, higher prices, less affordable nutritious food. Hunger.

d). Super Weeds and Super Bugs. Resistant ones increase annually.

e). Chemicals effect everything and everyone in the area. Obviously. Especially the small farms that are not part of the program, no GMO crops, that live and farm next to Monsanto fields.

Nigeria’s Bright Future

June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Premature Celebration!  Sometimes we need see a light in this sea of darkness. I will enjoy the moment. And think about the potential move away from the decades of greed and despotism that has plagued post-colonial African countries.

“Sidi, is an assistant lecturer of English language at the Liberal Studies department of the Federal Polytechnic in the north-western town of Kaura Namoda, Zamfara state. He travelled six hours by road to physically witness the inauguration ceremony of Buhari whom he describes as “a man with personal and public integrity” with “a credential that Africa badly needs.” He also compares him (President Buhari) to Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln.”

The newly elected president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, offers hope for true economic reform of Africa’s largest and wealthiest nation. Though it has been promised many times, this time seems genuine, and Nigerians enthusiastically dare to hope. Let’s join them!

“After many years of hoping against hope, Nigerians appear certain that they are in for a new deal with the newly inaugurated administration of Muhammadu Buhari.

The rise in expectation was borne out of the gush of renewed promises last Friday by Buhari during his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

Buhari at the inauguration said: “No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation.”

“It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20billion expended since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation among Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on. Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians,” he said…”…/buhari-era-signposts-light-…/

On Images of the Prophet

January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

In the wake of the massacre that took place in the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, I have been called upon as a scholar specializing in Islamic paintings of the Prophet to explain whether images of Muhammad are banned in Islam.
– Christine Gruber

The author, “Christiane Gruber, is associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Her primary field of research is Islamic book arts, paintings of the Prophet Muhammad, and Islamic ascension texts and images, about which she has written two books and edited a volume of articles. She also pursues research in…

Read more and Gruber’s article “The Koran does not forbid images of the Prophet” in On Images of The Prophet, on my website: FieldGrass

Isaiah’s vision of Jesus riding a donkey and Muhammad riding a camel, al-Biruni, al-Athar al-Baqiyya ‘an al-Qurun al-Khaliyya (Chronology of Ancient Nations), Ottoman lands, ca. 1560. Bibliothèque nationale de France Read more at: | FieldGrass


What about the “other” immigrants?

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Future Uncertain for Asian Americans in the U.S.

Published November 26, 2014 Voice of America

In the debate about immigration in the United States, one group often overlooked is the estimated 1.3 million illegal immigrants from Asia. President Barack Obama’s recent executive order can provide a temporary reprieve from deportation to about 400,000 of these people, but for many more, the future is uncertain. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee reports.

What about the “other” immigrants? was originally published on It Matters

Dead Dogs

December 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am reminded in the wake of recent legal events…

Michael Vick went to prison for killing dogs.

No indictment for the police officer that used a lethal tactic, one that had been officially stopped 20 years ago by the NYPD, which resulted in Eric Garner’s death.  An unauthorized lethal tactic in a non life threatening situation.  One of the numerous marshal arts moves Mr.Garner suffered under during his death.  These were specially trained, non-uniformed, officers.

I mentioned this before and would like to note that Michael Brown tried to take an armed policeman’s gun.  He was not shot for stealing cigars.  Eric Garner’s death was shocking. Unfortunately, Michael Brown’s was not.

The Ohio deaths are in this consideration as well.  I do not know enough details to comment.  I did just see the video about the child with the toy gun in Cleveland.  I am not able to deal with it at the moment.

There is a question raised, what happened to de-escalating a situation?

Dead Dogs was originally published on It Matters

Don’t feed the animals

December 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Outrageous. I am sick. Illegal to feed people. The value and caliber of our society is falling hard and fast.

If there is one thing I will always do, it is to escort a hungry person to an eatery and buy them food. Or reach in my shopping bag and share. Sometimes it only takes a beverage to make a difference.

via PressSync

International Crisis Group

November 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

I read about conflict quite a bit.  The only way to remain sane is to include sources that help to provide solutions, not just reports, blame, and criticism.

The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

The Crisis Group in the field – video

Gathering information and stories from with conflict zones.  And some critical recent topics, and questions.  E.g.”Why are these young men drawn to the jihadi narrative?”

Links  Articles, info and crisis hotspots – by region and country.  In Pursuit of Peace, very interesting blog.  Videos on YouTube

Crisis Group Approach: Three Basic Elements

1. Expert field research and analysis

Crisis Group’s credibility is founded on its field-based research. Our analysts are based in or near many of the world’s trouble spots, where there is concern about the possible outbreak of conflict, its escalation or recurrence. Their main task is to find out what is happening and why. They identify the underlying political, social and economic factors creating the conditions for conflict, as well as the more immediate causes of tension. They find the people who matter and discover what or who influences them. And they consider the actual and potential role for other countries and inter-govern-mental bodies like the United Nations, European Union and African Union.

2. Practical, imaginative policy prescriptions

Crisis Group’s task is not merely to understand conflict but to prevent, contain and resolve it. That means identifying the levers that can be pulled and those who can pull them, whether political, legal, financial or ultimately, military. Some of these prescriptions require action by the national government or local actors; others require the commitment of other governments or international organisations. Some will be within the current marketplace of received ideas; others will be over the horizon but nonetheless the right way forward. These policy prescriptions, along with our field-based research and analysis, are presented in succinct, timely and readable reports.

3. Effective, high-level advocacy

Identifying the problem and the appropriate response is still only part of the story. All too often the missing ingredient is the “political will” to take the necessary action. Crisis Group’s task is not to lament its absence but to work out how to mobilise it. That means persuading policymakers directly or through others who influence them, not least the media. That in turn means having the right arguments: moral, political, legal and financial. And it means having the ability to effectively deploy those arguments, with people of the right credibility and capacity. Crisis Group’s board is instrumental in giving us access at high levels of governments.

About the group – video

The International Crisis Group is today generally regarded as the world’s leading source of information, analysis and policy advice on preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

International Crisis Group was originally published on It Matters


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