Mapping the End of an Era

December 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

rand-mac-mid-east

Mapping the End of an Era was originally published on It Matters

Middle East History Changes 2015

December 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

“The Rand McNally era of the Middle East has ended.”

The Long Road to Hell: America in Iraq
Podcast from GPS, Fareed Zakari on CNN, 43 minutes packed with fact based, primary sourced, thoughtfully analyzed, information.   It is not dry, overly intellectual, or agenda driven.   
http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/8/6652/e/41830931?eid=41830931&refid=asi_fb
Episode Info: President George W. Bush had a dream that Iraq would become a beacon of hope in the Middle East. Now, with the region wracked by chaos, civil war, and violence, some U.S. presidential candidates are pledging to order American “boots on the ground”…
– Fareed Zakari, GPS

GPS is “The Global Public Square”.  A highly informative show he hosts on CNN, Sundays.  Always a worthwhile listen.  

Saudi FM says ‘Assad not part of the solution’ in Syria

December 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

I didn’t realize that this article is 3 months old.  But given that the Syrian Opposition has accepted an invitation to talks by Saudi Arabia it is important to note it.

Russia and Saudi Arabia failed in talks to overcome their differences on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“A key reason behind the emergence of [ISIL] was the actions of Assad who directed his arms at his nation, not Islamic State [of Iraq and the Levant],” Jubeir told a news conference after talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“Assad is part of the problem, not part of the solution to the Syrian crisis. There is no place for Assad in the future of Syria,” he said.

Source: Al Jazeera English

I will add that the Syrian Opposition has now agreed to participate in talks by Saudi Arabia.  In the bigger picture of regional politics, I am still unsure of the dynamics.  It seems a hopeful sign in the the Syrian Opposition is willing to engage at all.  Or a broadening of confict through proxy. 

Exxon was aware of climate change in 1977

October 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Like the tobacco industry Exxon has choreographed deception, traded lives – if not an entire planet – for profit. Exxon has long been aware of the catastrophic consequences of their industry but funded and perpetrated what can be labeled as scientific propaganda to contradict their own research. Unlike tobacco, the scale of the impact reaches far beyond the self-destructive, personal choices, of an individual. We now face the potential global victimization of 100s of millions of innocent people to the ravages of economic and hypernatural disasters.

“Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation from InsideClimate News. This knowledge did not prevent the company (now ExxonMobil and the world’s largest oil and gas company) from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoting climate misinformation—…”

In their eight-month-long investigation, reporters at InsideClimate News interviewed former Exxon employees, scientists and federal officials and analyzed hundreds of pages of internal documents. They found that the company’s knowledge of climate change dates back to July 1977, when its senior scientist James Black delivered a sobering message on the topic. “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” Black told Exxon’s management committee. A year later he warned Exxon that doubling CO2 gases in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by two or three degrees—a number that is consistent with the scientific consensus today. He continued to warn that “present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.” In other words, Exxon needed to act.

 

Read the full article at the source.

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exxon-knew-about-climate-change-almost-40-years-ago/

 

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.”
http://news360.com/article/295342002

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…” http://businessdayonline.com/…/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: http://toni-two.com/blog/on-images-of-the-prophet/ | FieldGrass

 

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