To Barry has written an excellent essay on not just US-México relations, but on the regional issues confronting the US, México AND Canada. It is MUST reading. Here is the link. Please take the time for it and pass it on. Also look at NACLA, the North America Congress on Latin America at https://nacla.org. Our world is depending on informed people.
Below is the main editorial in today's La Jornada. My translation.
The mass murder occurred in the first minutes of yesterdy morning in a movie theater in Colorado where an armed man killed at least 12 people and wounded at least 50. It provoked cries of condemnation and solidarity in both US society and among its politicians including the president, Barack Obama, who declared five days of national mourning as a "symbol of respect for the victims of this act of violence without sense" and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, and reawakened the perennial debate over the necessity of regulating the gun business in the nation.
This massacre is the bloodiest since the events in April 2007 at Virginia Tech when 33 people died as a consequence of two armed attacks by a student. Disgracefully, acts such as those on the university campus and in the movie auditorium are not isolated. Thirteen years after it occurred, the memory of that sadly famous massacre at Columbine High School, also in Colorado, where 15 students were killed, is still fresh.
We also have to remember the violent events at the end of 2007 when a 19-year-old youth armed with an assault weapon, killed eight people in a shopping center in Nebraska, and we have to add the chain of bloody events of 2009: the murder of 11 individuals in a series of shootouts in Alabama; the taking of hostages in an immigration center in Binghampton, NY which culminated in the murder of 14 people in April, and the massive killing perpetrated by the psychologist of Pakistani origin, Nidal Malik Hasan, at Fort Hood in Texas, where 13 died including 12 soldiers and a police officer and 31 were gravely wounded. In January, 2011 a shootout in Tucson, Arizona left six people dead and 13 wounded, among whom was the Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. We can add to the list with a series of lesser shootouts in various cities in the countr to our north, in which generally people were left dead or wounded.
These hair-raising episodes have as an inarguable component, aside from the mentally disordered individuals who brought them to fruition: the excessive proliferation of firearms among the population of the United States, a proliferation which is protected by the Second Amendment of the constitution which grants all citizens the unrestricted right to purchase them. It is estimated that in the United States there exist almost 300 million firearms in the possession of individuals, that is to say, almost one per inhabitant, and that more than eighty persons on average die daily from aggression committed with this type of weapon. The possession, legal or not, of firearms is fed by the determined support of reactionary and chauvinist sectors of this country like the National Rifle Association (NRA), the ultraconservative organization tightly tied to the Republican Party which has dedicated itseñf to block all government efforts to regulate the arms market. What happened in that Colorado movie theatre coincides with the argument going on now in the US over the approval of a treaty among the countries who are members of the United Nations to better regulate the international trade in conventional arms. This discussion has been marked by the NRA as an effort by Obama to limit the Second Amendment.
Events such as yesterday's demonstrate, in conclusion, the devastating effects of the anachronistic [lack of] regulation of arms and the destruction which prevails in the United States and which represents on a national scale the law of the jungle which the governments of Washington have sought to impose on the world. The lack of ability or will on the part of the Obama administration to regulate and contain the sale of arms not only casts a pall periodically over the society of the US, but also affects other nations such as ours. It reminds us of the massive quantity of contraband arms that traveled from the US to Mexico in Operation Fast and Furious: more evidence that the present US government has been defeated by the devastating inertia which prevails in politics, in the economy, and in the culture of this country which claims to be a champion of civilized behavior to the rest of the world, and which finds itself brought to a halt, instead, in a situation of backwardness marked by a systematic propensity to violence and barbarism.
THIS David Brooks has been the U.S. correspondent for Mexico's national and well-read left-wing newspaper, La Jornada, since 1992 as well as a researcher, writer and collaborator in a variety of ventures addressing Mexican-US relations. I like David Brooks's columns addressing US-Mexico issues, because, unlike many writers, he does not try to convince that Mexico is not "so violent" or that Mexico is really more like the US than USAers think, etc. It would be quite wonderful if the NY Times saw fit to print some of THIS David Brooks's columns as a left-wing counterpoint to their own David Brooks's writing.
Below I translate his recent piece "Salvation," from his regular column, American Curios. This column does not directly address US-Mexican relations but rather excoriates US leadership's habit of engendering fear in its people for its own ends. While I hope later to deal with Mexican-American issues, I thinkit is valuable for USAers to understand that others can be very critical of the US -- that it is not always envied and revered.
According to its leadership, the threats against this country [The US] never cease. The European economic crisis, the electrical storms in the east, the fires in the west, drugs, migrants, crimes, and of course "the extremists" throughout the world, but it also appears that the same country which supposedly is defending itself, is also a potential threat.
How to explain that this country with the most people in jail of any country in the world and where the govenrment has systematically eroded civil rights-- to privacy, to free expression, and to peaceful free assembly among others-- under the justification of maintaining the sacred "democratic" order which one finds, they say, under threat of suspicious forces, all in some manner included in an increasingly broad definition of terrorism.
This [reasoning] has been utilized in investigating and attacking Wikileaks and the soldier Bradley Manning among uncountable -- still many not identified-- citizens around the world who were detained in clandestine jails. It has also been used to hold hostage governments not subordinate to Washington, among them Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. But more astonishing is that these strategies have been used increasingly in the United States against citizens: against groups opposed to the wars of George Bush, and now Barack Obama, against journalists who have dared to publish leaks about the management of these wars, about migrants and the Muslim community in this country [and not just in Wikileaks], and most recently against participants in the movement Occupy. Again, all is justified in defense of "democracy" in this country.
One of the best examples of how extreme this internal supervigilance has become has recently been reported by a journalist in Wire: The National Security Agency (NSA) -- the most powerful federal office of expionage-- refuses to inform two powerful federal senators how many citizens' communications it has spied on because, the agency explained in a letter in response to the legislators' request, to provide the senators with the information would violate the privacy of the citizens." That is to say, those in the government who actively ride roughshod over the privacy of citizens by intervening in a secret manner in their communications, can't inform the Congress about these activities, since that would violate their privacy! David Sirota [a progressive US journalist among other things] explains in Truthdig that the senators only sought an approximate numer of people who had had their communications inspected by the agency, not their names, since it has been reported that the NSA has developed a massive program of intervention of the communications of millions of citizens since 2001.
This explanation, that being vigilant of and defending the rights of the United States is violating the same guarantees is, for Sirota, almost more extraodinary than the famous phrase from the Vietnam War when a young journalist, Peter Arnett of the Associated Press, asked a US official about the great possibility of civilian casualties in attacking a Vietnamese village, was told that "it is necessary to destroy the village to save it."
After at least a billion dollars spent and hundreds of thousands dead--including thousands of USAers- in these wars and operations in defense of the US since 9/11 (the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could come to between 3 and 5 billion dollars, according to some calluculations) the notable result is that a USAer runs a risk of 0.0001 percent of being a victim of "terrorism" according to the magazine The Atlantic -- that is to say that of the 13,288 dead because of terrorist attacks in the past year, 17 were US citizens. Of the 978 kidnapped in incidents related to terrorism in the past three years, only three were US citizens. In fact, where it is possible to identify the religious affiliation of those brought down by acts of terrorsim, Muslims suffer betwen 82 and 97 percent of the deaths related to terrorism. All this is according to official data of the US government, Micah Zenko, specialist in these matters, reports in the magazine.
In fact, Zenko and his colleagues, in a report for the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), report that since 9/11 a total of 238 have died in terrorist efforts, that is to say, an average of 2.9 per year. They point out that to put this in context, the average USAer has the same chance of being crushed by his television set or furniture as to die at the hands of a terrorist. They add that since 9/11 in this country almost 150,000 murders and 300,000 suicides have been recorded. In fact, they affirm that this country lives in a world with more security and fewer violent conflicts than at an other time in human history. This, they argue, reveals the "inflation of threat" which prevails in Washington and a "chronic exaggeration of threats to the national security of the United States" in official discourse.
It is nothing new that the heights of political leadership inflate threats to succeed in getting what they want. Noam Chomsky has documented this repeatedly, reminding us that what leadership most fears is citizens and that to promote measures against the popular will they always resort to generating fear. They have used this to justify wars and interventions for decades, first with the use of the "Communist" threat and then in recent years with the threat of "terrorism." In 1947 a senator who presided over the Committee on Foreign Relations advised then-President Harry Truman that to succeed in his wish to finance anticommunist forces in Greece and Turkey he should "Exaggerate the fears of the countries."
Now, it appears, the leadership (as much political as economic) is disposed to employ the same logic proposed by the official in Vietnam, but now applied here: to "save" this country from threats at times it will be necessary to destroy it.
David Brooks has been La Jornada’s U.S. correspondent since 1992. He is the author of several scholarly works, including a book with noted sociologist of Mexico, Jonathan Fox. In 1988, Brooks founded the Mexico-U.S. Diologos Program, which has promoted an ongoing bilateral interchange among national social sectors from both countries on economic integration. He has contributed to various media, academic and NGO journals in both countries, and has worked on various U.S.-Mexico projects as a researcher and consultant. Before his long tenure at La Jornada, Brooks worked at the Instituto de Estudios de Estados Unidos at CIDE, one of Mexico's leading research institutes, and as a senior researcher and founding member of the Centro Latinoamericano de Estudios Estrategicos (CLEE), also in Mexico City.
Below is an article by Mexican financier Jorge Suárez-Vélez, who writes frequently for Letras Libres, Letras Libres, which I’ve mentioned before, is considered one of the best journals addressing cultural matters in Latin America. It not only has articles on literature, art, and so forth, but current and historical events which of course have a significant impact on culture. The director of the journal is Emrique Krause who wrote the wonderful Mexico: A Biography of Power among many other things. His op-ed pieces appear in the New York Times.
There is a Mexican version and a Spanish version of the print magazine. The Mexican one is the parent of the Spanish one. Its birth goes back to 1998 and it was designed to replace a journal directed by Octovio Paz. The online version includes blogs and podcasts.
The article will provide you with one Mexican’s perspective on the war in Afghanistan and may open some eyes. It is my translation.
Drug trafficking and terrorism
The recent execution of Osama Bin Laden obligates us to think about modern strategy for fighting unconventional wars: wars against terrorism and drug trafficking. These wars mean confronting a sophisticated enemy, well-armed, who is not subject to any rules or laws, is essentially immoral, and is capable of blending in with his environment. After ten years of military presence in Afghanistan, thousands of lives sacrificed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, it is time to question whether the original objectives of the invasion were achieved and if the means used were adequate. At the same time, we can ask ourselves if the fight against drug trafficking has been making use of suitable resources for achieving its proposed objectives.
The original incursion into Afghanistan was intended to punish Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, its leader. Every strategy involved retaliation against the regime of the Taliban which had concealed and permitted the presence of the terrorist group in this country, even though the Taliban never tried to do anything hostile to western objectives, and its medieval repression sought exclusively to define the form of daily life of the local population.
Unlike the Iraq of Hussein, a country highly centralized, Afghanistan has always been a country which is a sum of tribes in isolated valleys, with a very poor population which has defended itself against incursions by powerful colonialists from Alexander the Great and the Mongols in antiquity to the English, Soviets, and Americans in recent decades.
It is important to note that one of the main sources of conflict between the local population and the Taliban comes from the Taliban´s efforts to prohibit the planting of poppies, one of the major sources of income for the population. For decades, the principal export of the tiny Afghan economy – which produces a gross national product of barely 1.6 billion dollars or 553 dollars a year per capita…has been poppies, the basis for the production of opium and derivatives like morphine and heroin. The traffic in drugs derived from Afghan production has been controlled principally by the powerful Russian and Eastern European mafias which transport the drugs to markets in Asia and Europe via Russia and Iran.
It is striking to see that the US desire to gain “the hearts and minds” of the population has led the crop of poppies to “blossom” in the zones dominated by US troops. The permissive practice, perhaps reminiscent of the opium wars of 1839 has had the hardly desirable effect of making too accessible heroin for American troops, and many of them have returned home with severe problems of addiction equal to those which Soviet troops suffered in the 1980s.
The US will have little to show as a result of a decade of invasion in Afghanistan. Although the Taliban has been politically marginalized, it is highly likely they will return to power the instant that military intervention ends. There are more and more voices in US diplomacy who have resigned themselves to simply negotiating with the Taliban and to assuming whatever wish they previously expressed to empower women and establish a solid base for education and democracy were only “opium dreams.”
And Al Qaeda? Its militants are in Pakistan. According to its own General Petraeus, the general in charge of US armed forces in Afghanistan and future chief of the CIA there are perhaps 100 combatants of that organization in Afghanistan. As George Will the columnist says (“Times Change”, Pittsburgh Tribune, May 3, 2011) if we assume that there are 140,000 American soldiers there, and that it costs around a million dollars a year to move and maintain just one soldier, the cost of American troops equals one billion five hundred million dollars for each Al Qaeda combatant in Afghanistan (I am sure that for a small fraction of this amount, they would be disposed to put down their arms, shave, put on a suit and even convert to a religion of our choosing.)
And Bin Laden? Bin Laden was just assassinated by elite forces of the US Army which made an incursion into Pakistan territory. Without doubt, it took six years of being the guest of the fragile and questionable guest of that country to reinforce the idea that the most valuable element of modern war is intelligence. The marines which attacked Osama´s hideout came from a unit which has a “few” hundred soldiers based in Dam Neck, Virginia who aare part of DEVGRU (Grupo naval para el desarrollo de enfrentamientos bélicos especiales = Navy group for the development of special war confrontations), a species of fraternity which is the elite of the elite and which calls itself “silent professionals.” Simply put, they executed successfully a mission which was based on four years of what was basically police work and police intelligence. One of the few defenses which is left to those who continue to believe in the necessity of mobilizing large battalions is that obtaining this information requires such a physical presence.
The US will bask for a little while having succeeded in putting a bullet in the head of the nefarious Bin Laden. The mission was a success and President Obama harvested the honey of a victory which was not free of significant risks. However, now comes the necessity of deciding of what to do with the troops in Afghanistan whose withdrawal is already programmed. It is a fact that that country will be left, in the majority of cases, the same as it was before the multi-million dollar invasion which has cost so many lives. The Taliban will surely return and Al Qaeda will continue as it was, since Bin Laden hardly had real logistical importance inside the organization. It is hard to maintain leadership without having some real or virtual presence. His importance was merely symbolic.
The rights of Afghan women will continue to be non-existent (only one in eight women knows how to read), and religious fundamentalism will become entrenched. The traffic in drugs will continue alive and kicking and the wallets of organized crime will continue swelling from the primary material the very poor Afghan farmers provide. And what will have had to happen for a different outcome? A real social bae would have had to have been established where people receive education, where infrastructure is invested in and where a network of social support exists, and there i access to health care and conditions contributing to lives with dignity. In ten years, something could have succeeded. Conservative estimates indicate that the war in Afghanistan has cost more than 400 billion dollars to the US, about twenty five times what that economy produces each year. Perhaps it could have done something very different with those resources, something which would permit the sowing of seeds so that that society would eventually develop and end up with an endogenous form with the extremes which afflict it[sic] . Considering the weight which the military industrial complex has in the US, it is perhaps naïve to even suggest it.
And what does this have to do with drug trafficking in countries like Mexico? Everything. It is even more naïve if I think that one day it will be the army which eradicates drug trafficking. The fight against this cancer begins with education, the development of a state of law, the fight against corruption, the development of infrastructure and conditions which together offer the possibility that young people may have access to worthwhile employment without having to sell their souls to the devil (that is to the narcos). Equally, Mexico has to count on the sophistication of US intelligience in order to deal strategic blows to organized crime, and to do this they have to increase cooperation with that country, launching effective public relations campaigns which make clear that Mexico is not the problem but the victim of US consumption.
The solution to such complex problems can’t be given in a short time, and can hardly be resolved with bullets. Intelligence, in the broadest sense of the word, has to start showing strength.
John Kerry writes an eminently sensible op-ed piece in the NY Times today about Egypt and US relations with her. His advice and analysis bear some direct relevance for US policy in Mexico, too. Kerry says:
"...[t]he United States must accompany our rhetoric with real assistance to the Egyptian people. For too long, financing Egypt’s military has dominated our alliance. The proof was seen over the weekend: tear gas canisters marked “Made in America” fired at protesters, United States-supplied F-16 jet fighters streaking over central Cairo. Congress and the Obama administration need to consider providing civilian assistance that would generate jobs and improve social conditions in Egypt, as well as guarantee that American military assistance is accomplishing its goals — just as we are trying to do with Pakistanthrough a five-year nonmilitary assistance package.
"The awakening across the Arab world must bring new light to Washington, too. Our interests are not served by watching friendly governments collapse under the weight of the anger and frustrations of their own people, nor by transferring power to radical groups that would spread extremism. Instead, the best way for our stable allies to survive is to respond to the genuine political, legal and economic needs of their people. And the Obama administration is already working to address these needs.
"At other historic turning points, we have not always chosen wisely. We built an important alliance with a free Philippines by supporting the people when they showed Ferdinand Marcos the door in 1986. But we continue to pay a horrible price for clinging too long to Iran’s shah. How we behave in this moment of challenge in Cairo is critical. It is vital that we stand with the people who share our values and hopes and who seek the universal goals of freedom, prosperity and peace."
I tried not to rise to the bait proffered so generously by the anti-immigrant nazis in their responses to today's New York Times editorial about the federal judge in Arizona blocking most of the new law's harmful aspects. I managed to resist a useless effort in the comments section which would probably achieve nothing. But having once thought that the anti-immigrant nazis must be a minority in the country, I'm really beginning to wonder. Apparently the Democrats are afraid of addressing immigration in a somewhat reasonable if somewhat harsh-to-immigrants fashion because of the upcoming elections. Just how strong is the anti-immigrant crowd in the US?
For that matter, how powerful are the anti-global warming forces; the idiots who don't understand why taxes are important, at least on the rich; old folks who bask in Medicare but want the government out of healthcare; people who can't think their way through a simple arithmetic problem let alone the economic problems facing the country, etc. etc.? If these forces win in November, truly, what will happen to the country and the world?
Read the NY Times version of what Obama said (among other things) by starting below and then following the link.
THEN read the report of what Obama said and some more information as it appeared in La Jornada via AFP (Agence France Press) and Reuters.
WASHINGTON — President Obama angrily denounced the finger-pointing among the three companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a “ridiculous spectacle,” and vowed on Friday to end what he called the “cozy relationship” between the government and the oil industry that has existed for a decade or more.
And now, the same news as reported in La Jornada via AF¨P and Reuters (my translatation):
Headline: Obama Attacks Oil Companies and Anticipates Strict Control
He blames them for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; will terminate the intimate relationship with oil companies and government agencies.
Washington. The president of the United States, Barack Obama, on Friday attacked the petroleum companies for trying to blame each other for the black sea in the Gulf of Mexico, and swore to put an end to the "intimate" relations between the industry and public regulatory agencies.
In an unusually harsh tone, Obama said that he had ordered reform from "op to bottom" of the federal agencies charged with authorizing drilling in the sea and announced that regulations would be revised to comply with the norms of environmental protection.
The White House said that Obama was "profoundly frustrated" by the fact that petroleum continued gushing in the Gulf of Mexico three weeks after the spectacular explosion of April 20th which two ays later flooded the oil platform Deepwater Horizon.
The President attacked the three petroleum companies involved in the accident who made what he calle "a ridiculous spectacle" by trying to blame each other for the tragedy in front of the Senate Commision.
"I am not going to tolerate more finger pointing or more irresponsibility," said the president at a meeting with his advisors. Visibly angry, Obama said that the federal government had to assume responsibility and he promised stricter control of the petroleum industry.
Experts advised that the leak of crude oil could be ten times more intense than the original estimate of 800 thousand liters daily [a liter is roughly 1.06 quarts].
Scientists who analyze how far and fast particle sof petroleum move in a video distributed by BP declared to the US media that the well actually was discharging around 10 million liters daily, with a margin of error of +/- 20 percent.
The data suggest that this black sea is already the worst environmental disaster in the history of the US, eclipsing that caused by the Exxon Valez. But British Petroleum, BP, questions the data.
The director of operations for BP, Doug Suttles, also impugned the new estimates alleging that they had not use a reliable measure for the leak.
"But what I can say is that we are organizing the largest answer ever organized, which does not depend on whether it is 5 thousand barrels a day or a different quantity," Suttles told CBS News.
BP´s latest effort consisted in an effort to connect a "funnel" at the bottom of the sea over the well to channel the crude into a container ship.
The work began on Thursday, but the process is taking more time than was hoped, BP announced.
"It is truly complicated because of the depth" at which the work is done, which is 1500 meters (roughly 4920 feet), John Crabtree, a BP spokesman, told AFP.
Rebecca Bernhard, another BP representative, confirmed that remotely controlled submarines were working t adjust and place the "funnel"....
The gigantic petroleum company is under increasng pressure to stop the flow of crude which threatens the fragile and ecologically important wetlands of Louisiana.
The Coast Guard Admiral, Thed Allen, whom Obama has charged with supervising, said this Friday that the spill was breaking into smaller and smaller pieces.
"This is good and bad at the same time," he said."As it disperses wiely, it is difficult to manage, but at the same time, it arrives at the coast in small quantities."
BP promised to protect the coast and undertake a complete clean-up, but up until now it hasn't even been able to slow the leak.
Suttles said Friday that new effort to stop the escape of oil would not begin until the end of next week. "The techniques which we are going to use in the next 24 hours, you have to remember, are to reduce the flow, not to stop it."
Meanwhile the US PResident added that legislation will help insure that BP pays the costs of the disaster in the Gulf, not US taxpayers.
He said he shared the anger of the residents of the affected area and demanded that all resources be used to stop the disaster.
"The potential devastation for the Gulf Coast, its economy and its population require that we continue working withot stoppping to stop the disasster and to contain its damages."
Having my strongest family ties in Massachusetts, I felt particularly keenly the Democratic loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat last night. . I myself think that it's possible that at some level it was because Whatsisname was a muscular, strong, friendly-looking Cosmo centerpiece and because Coakley was at best uninspiring in the campaign. One person (Whatsisname) had a bit of charisma, Coakley clearly had none. And ran a lazy campaign, to say the least.
STILL, it bespeaks the ignorance and the unimaginitiveness and the self-centeredness of at least SOME people in the US.
ANYWAY, R. Grabman had some of his witty commentary on the situation on Mex Files, and he put it in a broader, western-hemispheric kind of context (and provided the actual pin-up of the new Senator plus a pin-up of a Bolivian candidate who is considerably more sultry).
The defeat of Coakley, a prestigous lawyer who was unable to measure up as a politician and campaign director, has been interpreeted by th majority of analysts as an open rejection against the political establishment in Washington which has been incapable of responding to the urgent necessities of the citizens in terms of the economy and the labor situation.
But, in addition, the defeat of the Democrats in one of their most important bastions has been seen as a direct consequence of the tense debate over health reform which has disappointed a broad part of the democratic base who believe that President Barack Obama has given into pressure by Republicans and insurance companies to negotiate a deal which has betrayed the most important aspects of its identity, among them, the public option which Ted Kennedy defended during much of his career.
Threat for Obama
The humilliating defeat of Martha Oakley [sic] coinciding with Barack Obama's first year in the White House, has been taken advantage of by the Republican Party to propagate the theses that it is a "referendum" against all the President's policies. This extreme was rejected by analysts and experts who consider that the election in Massachusetts is very far from being a plebiscite for or against Barack Omaba.
Scott Brown, an ex-model in the magazine Cosmopolitan has already promised that he will vote against health care reform.
I would like to add that the people of the State of Massachusetts already have universal health care coverage for themselves and are more satisfied than not with it. So those who voted for Brown were willing to deprive other Americans of the same chance for health insurance they have just to, what, vote with their lizard brains? They have nothing to lose if their new senator votes against healthcare reform. The whole thing pisses me off, though on the other hand I can understand ignorant people's hostility to the establishment. One problem, I think, is that the Democrats have seemed too much like rich Republicans. And another is that some Americans are stuck in cocoons of ignorance.
EXCEPT the Democrats are not helping themselves or the country very much these days.
This is bad news for the developing world and good news for Monsanto. Rajiv Shah, who used to work on agriculture at the Gates Foundation, is going to head up USAID - the U.S. Agency for International Development. That's the part of the government that is currently working on helping the 1 billion hungry people in the world by giving them better agricultural knowledge and technology.
The choice of Shah is a crystal clear sign of the direction the Obama Administration plans to go on fighting hunger. The majority of the world has signed onto a UN/World Bank study (the IAASTD report) calling for agroecological farming methods as the way to solve world hunger. The IAASTD report says that GMOs are not the way forward to help hunger among smallholders in Africa and South Asia and that our free trade agenda actually harms these farmers. The Gates Foundation (and presumably, Shah) takes the opposite view - against the conclusions of the 400 scientists from around the world who worked on the IAASTD report - that GMOs are the way to go. And, obviously, Obama is following Clinton and Bush as a die-hard free-trader.
This is not unexpected, but it's bad news. Bad, bad, bad news.
Just because Obama's smart doesn't mean he knows a lot. Smart people often delude themselves into thinking they can learn everything important about everything really fast, like learning medicine from books only....which reminds me of my dear departed father the very smart cardiologist who thought psychiatry was "baby medicine" so he could do it without more than reading a few books by Freud.
Obama is stuck with his turning the big ship slowly metaphor, perhaps. But sometimes you have to jump ship and row like hell. I sure hope that everyone is wrong about this guy Rajiv Shah.
Everyday Literacies This blog makes me feel like a stranger in a strange land...the writers are completely comfortable moving across the seas of cyberspace as if they were (and, actually, they are) just ordinary parts of our reality. And they move in the world more comfortable to me as well.
Rita's Dog Blog our dog Rita hopes to include not just stories of her life but also pictures of dogs in art, dog art, etc. She loves it when people look at it. This blog is a special privilege for her as she has been so good at accepting the onslaught of three more dogs after a long, calm life as the only dog in the family.