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“The conflict has become like a Middle East version of the Thirty Years’ War in Germany four hundred years ago. Too many players are fighting each other for different reasons for all of them to be satisfied by peace terms and to be willing to lay down their arms at the same time. Some still think they can win and others simply want to avoid a defeat. In Syria, as in Germany between 1618 and 1648, all sides exaggerate their own strength and imagine that temporary success on the battlefield will open the way to total victory. Many Syrians now see the outcome of their civil war resting largely with the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. In this, they are probably right.”
State water bureaucrats are keeping the screws tight on urban water use while a few agro-plutocrats on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley lock in a guaranteed water supply 30-percent larger than the total requirement for Los Angeles and go on planting more almond orchards as the price for the Holy Nut falls. --blj
Valley Public RadioRead More »
Socialists in Iowa?
Iowa, the state that receives the second largest amount of farm subsidies in the nation, $24.9 billion between 1995 and 2012, evidently has a large number of self-identified socialists, pollsters find.
Shocking, particularly when you consider Iowa's foreign policy. T he effect of dumping a great deal of Iowa corn in Mexico via "free trade" sponsored by the North American Free Trade Agreement has been to make Mexico as obese and the Corn Belt. Sharing the fat rather than the burn? Universal brother-and sisterhood washed in sanctified corn syrup? -- bljRead More »
For Immediate Release, April 29, 2015
When we come across first-rate journalism, we are always tempted to post it regardless of its topic because the quality is so rare.
Admittedly, this is a prejudice of people who read larger quantities of journalism than most do.
So, why choose to include an article about Afghanistan based on interviews with "a group of Afghan Pashtuns" written by a Brazilian who lives in Hong Kong? Or an article about Afghanistan written by and Englishman who is a longtime resident of Beirut?Read More »
Robert Fisk: 'We remain blindfolded about Isis' says the man who should know
Brian Keenan was held by Shia Muslims loyal to Hezbollah in LebanonRead More »
From: The rise of the Islamic state: ISIS and the new Sunni revolution, Patrick Cockburn, Verso, 2015, pp. 94-95.
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The Syrian crisis comprises five different conflicts that cross-infect and exacerbate each other. The war commenced with a genuine popular revolt against a brutal and corrupt dictatorship, but it soon became intertwined with the struggle of the Sunni against the Alawites, and that fed into the Shia-Sunni conflict in the region as a whole, with a standoff between the US, Saudi Arabia, and the Sunni states on the one side and Iran, Iraq, and the Lebanese Shia on the other. In addition to this, there is a revived cold war between Moscow and the West, exacerbated by the conflict in Libya and more recently made even worse by the crisis in the Ukraine.
Be careful of whose stocking you consider stuffing this book into. It is recommended only for people with a greater ability to reflect than to be ditto heads because it puts into question every sacred cow that has ever ambled beneath Modesto's famous arch: Water Wealth Contentment Health -- to which there can be only reply: "Not! Not now!Read More »
American Business people -- in agriculture and elsewhere -- tend to blame environmentalists for the economic ills of the nation the way their fathers blamed communists. It doesn't really matter who the enemy du jour is or whether the evil doer has been fingered by the chamber of commerce or the farm bureau. The important thing seems to be to avoid accountability, responsibility or blame for the clearly ruinous economic future before us. An enormous amount of money is spent constantly on public relations and lawyers to villify and sue critics, all for the sake of "proving" that it is "Not Our Fault!" What good do you think an economy that grows wealth for a few and unemployment and poverty for the many? What good is this kind of economy? Who do you think you are to treat your fellow citizens this way? Dr. Roberts again lays down the ABCs of this dismal process so that even an unemployed rocket scientist could understand. -- blj
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