Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

I’ve had the pleasure of reading (actually, listening to) Bay Area author Tamim Ansary’s Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, over the past few days.   It’s just the sort of introductory history that’s needed in the West, whose citizens have been suddenly made aware of  about one-quarter of the world’s population previously ignored, hidden or appearing only in exotic stories and costumes or terrifying videos.

Ansary doesn’t claim to be a historian. In fact, he’s written a novel, a memoir, several  children’s and young adult books, both fiction and non-fiction.  For many years he was a text book editor for High School history texts, where he first noticed the paucity of accounts of the Muslim world.  He is  currently the director of The San Francisco Writer’s Workshop.  What he has done is to read deeply in academic and popular accounts of the story of Islam, from the revelations of the Prophet Mohammed to what he calls “secular modernism” and the rise of a response to that in our decades.  He writes with balance and poise, often telling how an event or a person has come to be regarded differently by different traditions of Islam.  I can’t make out any bias when he tells us why Shia and Sunni look differently at Aisha, the Prophet’s youngest daughter;  we do understand however, why she is important to each.  Ansary, born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1948, has lived in the United States since 1964, and describes himself as a “secular guy.”

Chapter 2 alone, will clear up the confusion most of us have had since the Bush invasion of Iraq, over the Sunni and the Shia, and just who is this Ali, and how is he related to The Prophet.  The City of Basra with which we became reluctantly acquainted in the first weeks of the invasion was the scene of the first great battle between Muslims — which the Koran and the Prophet had forbidden barely 40 years earlier– called by many The Battle of the Camel. The Prophet’s youngest daughter, the fiery Aisha [Ayesha], rode into battle and directed her troops from the back of a camel against Ali, the Prophet’s paternal cousin, and quasi adoptive brother.  The years of the “Rightly Guided Caliphs,” the first four successors to Mohammed,  the struggle to maintain the Ummah (the community of the faithful) and the split off of the Umayyad Caliphate become intelligible, if not as familiar to us as to Muslim school children.

We read of Mohammed’s orphaned childhood and therefore his life-long concern for widows and orphans, built into his sense of the Ummah, and spoken of in the Koran.  We read how Jews in the region spoke Arabic and, as great fighting tribes, were sometime allies of Mohammed or one of his successors.  We read how Umar, somewhat like Saul, was converted in a blinding flash from ferocious opposition to ferocious support — and went on to become one of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs.  All these are as well known to Muslims as Gospel parables and old Testament stories are to Christians.

As importantly, Ansary makes the case that these are not just individual apples to be picked up and carefully added to a Western narrative of apples but they are part of an entirely different understanding, one which if seen honestly by its new readers will allow and encourage true inter-cultural understanding.  The Muslim world has been saturated by Western history, values and morays, while to the West, Islam has been in the periphery.  The time has come, it seems, to sprinkle a little of  its history back upon ourselves.    Ansary  says in his introduction:

The two civilizations have narratives with different trajectories   In the ideal future of  Post Industrial Democratic  Societies  the shape of narrative leading to here and now would look something like this:

  1. Birth of Civilization – Mesopotamia and Egypt
  2. Classical age – Greece and Rome
  3. Dark Ages – Rise of Christianity
  4. Rebirth - Renaissance and Reformation
  5. Enlightenment- Science and Exploration
  6. Revolutions – Democratic, Industrial, Technological
  7. Rise of Nation States – Struggle for Empire
  8. WW I and II
  9. The Cold War
  10. The Triumph of democratic capitalism

The Narrative from Islamic eyes, on the other hand, would look something like this, in which the year 0 is not the birth of Mohammed, but the Hijra, the year Mohammed and a few followers moved from Mecca to what would become Median — the beginning of the Ummah, the community.

Through Islamic eyes: Year 0  is year of migration of Mohammed to Medina.

  1. Ancient Times – Mesopatamia and Persia
  2. Birth of Islam
  3. Caliphate  – Quest of Univeral Unity
  4. Fragmentation – Age of the Sultans
  5. Catastrophe – Crusaders and Mongols
  6. Rebirth — The three empires
  7. Permeation of East by West
  8. Reform movements
  9. Triumph of secular modernists
  10. Islamist reaction

It is an interesting and mind-stretching story, one which many of us should be anxious to begin to understand.  I’m far from being a scholar of this and won’t vouch for the authenticity of Ansary’s details, though  any I have looked further into, from other narrators, confirm closely to his telling.  As he says, by the time of the Hijra, 621 CE (Year 0 for the Muslims) the Middle world — as he calls the great land mass between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, tied together by the major and minor trade routes– was highly literate.  Many contemporaneous sources attest to events and personalities.  Though it sometimes shows Ansary’s background in writing for young readers it is certainly a good beginning for all of us, being young as it were, in the face of this knowledge.  Those who find it compelling enough can begin intellectual journey to fuller knowledge by comparing new scholarship to old, and adding in representations of how Muslim values are represented in fiction and film.

Ansary, has plenty of material on the Internet, as background and incentive to get to know him better, here, here and here.  He is particularly attached to the country of his ancestors, Afghanistan.  His website is a good place to check in on, for his thoughts and late breaking news of his homeland. I can think of no better way to begin, however, than to dive into Destiny Disrupted. It’s like hearing the life story of a neighbor you meet one day after a generation of being separated by the walls built by our grandparents.  And in fact, I can particularly recommend the audio version of the book, narrated by Ansary himself, one the best readers of the several dozen audio books I have listened to in the last year.  I do miss of course, the nice collection of maps he includes in the book itself.

 

[cross posted at RuthGroup.org]


Methane –> Ethylene –> Plastic –> Oil??

As you will recall from recent reading, methane (CH4) is an enormously potent greenhouse gas, 21 times, by weight, more powerful than CO2.  We hear more about CO2 because it stays in the atmosphere doing it’s reflected-heat blocking for years more than methane does.  You will also know, as a matter of 21st century citizenship, that plastics — all around us– are a by-product of oil, the same oil spreading over the Gulf, and to which we are in thrall to.

It turns out that the plastics come from a long chain of “cracking,” chemically altering the basic crude oil into many products — among them, ethylene, which is used in the manufacture of plastic packing, anti-freeze, tires, footwear — thousands of classes of products!  So, if a way were found to make ethylene from methane two nice results would follow: methane would be used and in the process become not-methane and, less oil would be needed to produce the the same items, decreasing (we hope) one segment of our oil dependency.

This article doesn’t go into that “two-fer,” but does talk about the potentially important effects of their research — which, by the way, involved genetic engineering.

SAN FRANCISCO — A team of molecular biologists and materials scientists said Monday they had genetically engineered a virus to convert methane to ethylene more efficiently and at a significantly lower temperature than previously possible.

If they are successful in commercializing the new material, it will herald the arrival of a set of new technologies that represents a synthesis of molecular biology and industrial chemistry.

Ethylene, a gas with a characteristic sweet smell that may have once given insights to the Oracle of Delphi, is widely used in the manufacturing of plastics, solvents and fibers, and is essential for an array of consumer and industrial products. But it is still produced by steam cracking, a high-temperature, energy-intensive and expensive industrial process first developed in the 19th century. In this process, hydrocarbons found in crude oil are broken down into a range of simpler chemical compounds.

NY Times: Methane to Ethylene


Focus Fails and Is Recovered

There are days when the ciliary muscle fails me; the eye cannot follow-focus.

Suicide Bomber at Parliament Kills 8 Iraqis

Among the dead were at least two lawmakers, both from Sunni Arab parties. Of the 23 people wounded, 11 were parliamentarians, the United States military reported.


Millions More Missing White House Emails

To be clear: these are emails controlled by the White House — not emails on RNC servers, like those other lost emails.

Oceans Vomiting Green Slime

Runoff from modern life is feeding an explosion of primitive organisms. This ‘rise of slime,’ as one scientist calls it, is killing larger species and sickening people.

And this only begins it. There’s Imus and the larger moonscape of mass media enabled radio war on non combatants. There’s the girlfriend promotion stunt by Paul “We’ll be Greeted as Liberators” Wolfowitz. There’s the big gorilla CO2 and it’s attendant phalanx of rising oceans, withering drought, deluge, depopulation and resource wars.
*

Vertigo sets in. I lift my eyes and find a tree-top. Perhaps that singing finch will come into view. Distracted into steadiness I recall a fine remembrance of Kurt Vonnegut, re-read it and know anew that even those in despair contribute much, and often. Then I listen to Yo Yo Ma’s Butterfly’s Day Out [click on "Play as playlist"] to lighten my gloom, and decide for the e-mail news from the capital for my daily focus.

There’s a triple play going on here:

1) White House staffers were instructed to use non-White House e-mail for certain messages. The WH says this was for campaign work since it is illegal to use government accounts (equipment/time?) for political campaigns. Others claim the accounts were used for any off-the-record communications, such as directives to get rid of certain US Attorneys. Karl Rove had at least 4 separate accounts. The Republican National Committee hosted the accounts in most cases.

2) These off-the-record communications were not revealed to the Senate Judiciary committee when it made a request for all records pertaining to the hiring and firing of the US Attorneys. Now that they have been revealed, many are claimed to be unavailable: deleted, lost, whatever.

3) A separate claim has been made by CREW that, besides the off-the-record missing e-mail, there are millions of legal, on-the-record White House e-mail that are missing.

Tied to the US Attorney scandal slowly heating, these e-mail loses — and potential recovery — could be the ball bearings which send the Administration Hummer off the road, the equivalent of the Nixon burglary — the little, stupid thing that brings the big, arrogant thing down. This is bad-news wrapped around good, methinks, not bad on bad on bad like Iraq and Oceans…

Meanwhile, the missing mail is setting up a mighty clash over Executive Privilege between the Congress and the White House. Long overdue, as the Executive Branch has used the argument of never-ending war to usurp prerogatives and hide its actions in ways Richard Nixon could only dream of, the Senate looks as if it’s ready to rumble. Mild mannered Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont seems lately to have found his inner bulldog.

Go after this Dems. Of all the places to attack, this may by the soft under-belly. Go hard, get a good grip, and don’t let go.

The best place to follow the e-mail / USAttorney typhoon is at talkingpointsmemo.com and its sister site TPMmuckraker.com


Lies and Damned Lies

The three stories coming out of D.C. today are:

  • The guilty verdict of Scooter Libby, senior adviser to President Bush, and the implications of lies and crimes around and above him;
  • The unprecedented firings of 8 US Attorney and the hearings in both the Senate and the House strongly suggesting improper political interference and firings resulting from that;
  • The Walter Reed Army Hospital hearings on years of mis-treatment of wounded veterans.

All three are 3.2 political quakes. Any one of them could be a precursor to a full scale, White House collapsing, 8.2 quake.


The firings of the US Attorneys
seems most likely to me to be on a significant fault line, and most likely to pop with as yet unseen revelations, cascading document dumps and investigatory land slides. Yet it is relatively buried in the news today.

Six fired U.S. attorneys testified on Capitol Hill yesterday that they had separately been the target of complaints, improper telephone calls and thinly veiled threats from a high-ranking Justice Department official or members of Congress, both before and after they were abruptly removed from their jobs.

This Washington Post article says page A01, but it’s way back in the Times and on page 3 of the Chronicle. A second day of hearings is going on today. Whether it has the power I think it might will depend on follow up, more exposure and likely, the interest of some or all of the fired Attorneys to pursue a remedy. The Democrats need to keep up the pressure but if it was a purge, as it looks, some new, aggrieved faces, like Attorneys Carol Lam and David Yglesias should be up on the posters, not the usual mug shots from Congress.

The Hospital hearings seem less an earthquake of explosive power than one to produce slow and massive flows of belief away from any and all claims by the administration. The people affected by the sub-standard care, the crowding, the mold, the interminable waits and paperwork, are the ordinary folks, non-Beltway people, whose stories are not filled with high-price lawyers, daily news conferences and inscrutable claims but grief, pain and suffering. If these stories are told, and absorbed by enough people, neighbors and friends of the wounded, support for Bush and his follies will disappear even in the last bastions of belief.

You can always count on someone though, a Republican for example, to claim it’s just more politics!

As to the Libby verdict, I don’t know what to think. In a way, after a loud yelp of relief that the jury followed the facts and not the assertions, it feels a bit anti-climactic. Those of us who have followed the news are full up with the personalities, the contending narratives, the multiple facts. When the verdict comes down and it’s as though the last page of the detective novel reveals everything we already know, we are inclined to wonder, were we had? How was this a mystery?

On the other hand many folks don’t follow this kind of story very closely at all: no sex, no screen celebrity, no murder — no fun. So the cable news reporting and this morning’s headlines may be actual news to them. Who’s this guy Scooter Libby, and what did he do?

Here’s where the take-away matters. If the snapshot people get is that an aide to the Vice President lied, it may be disappear with yesterday’s meal; not to be recalled forever. If, on the other hand, the image is a nice 8 x 10 glossy … that a senior adviser to the President was convicted of four felonies, that he lied repeatedly — to the FBI, and to the Grand Jury — with the knowledge of the president and vice-president, maybe it will be stuck up on memory’s wall, and the foundations of faith begin to slip.

If it’s true that In Public’s Mind, White House is Guilty, as Marc Sandalow writes for the SF Chronicle, then the verdict will have detonated.

A good summary by Glen Greenwald at Salon may help sharpen your line standing talking points, helping to make it all too clear.

Today’s event sends a potent and unmistakable message, one that is absolutely reverberating in the West Wing: If Libby can be convicted of multiple felonies, then any Bush official who has committed crimes can be as well. Not only are Bush officials subject to the rule of law (their radical theories of executive power to the contrary notwithstanding), they are also vulnerable to legal consequences (the defeatist beliefs of some Bush critics notwithstanding). Having the nation watch this powerful Bush official be declared a criminal — despite having been defended by the best legal team money can buy — resoundingly reaffirms the principle that our highest political officials can and must be held accountable when they break the law.

Greenwald on Felon Libby

The right wing is busy spinning it as much ado about nothing of course, starting with an editorial in the Washington Post by Fred Hiatt — a pointless scandal.

There is other news, of course, and I don’t blame you if you want to stretch your neck a bit and look around. FireDogLake has some familiar themes to orient you.


Boxer & Pelosi Greening D.C.

Yes!

“The Speaker sent a letter Friday to the House chief administrative officer, directing him to report back to her by April 30 on how a “Green the Capitol” initiative could be implemented. She said she wants the House, which has about 10,000 employees scattered across several million square feet of office space, to institute “the most up-to-date industry and government standards for green building and green operating procedures.”

On the Senate side of the Capitol, Democrat Boxer has used her role as the new chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee to initiate a pilot program to get senators to adopt more energy-efficient lighting in their offices.

…for example….

– Coat windows on the outside with ultraviolet-reducing film to reduce heat entering buildings and keep out harmful UV rays.

– Plant more trees nearby to shade the buildings and lower the inside temperature during the capital’s hot, humid summer.

– Place solar panels on the roofs.”

Small, but good.

In other news I heard today of a Japanese fitness center that had hooked up all it’s machines to a big building connected battery, enough to run the TVs, some of the lights and other electrical. If this were done in the Senate exercise room and every Senator given a quota…


State Secret: The Invisible Cloak

In all juvenile fiction the dream of the hero is to get hold of a cloak of invisibility — something that will prevent the bad guys from seeing their nemesis arriving. Of course the bad guys have their invisible cloaks too. Money is the traditional means to make invisible the malfeasance — a bribe here, a buy-out there. Calls to loyalty work, too; black-listing, death threats. When all that fails there is now the super impenetrable, can’t be broken, ripped or torn cloak of invisibility — no matter how horrific the crime: State Secrets! The Bushes are not the first to wear it but they are the first to make it their everyday casual wear.

Here is a man abducted and tortured, very likely by agents of the United States of America, beacon of freedom and justice around the world until just a few years back, and he can’t hold anyone accountable: State Secrets!

Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of Suit


US Still Pouring on the Heat

If this weren’t so damn scary it would be a cartoon movie: daddy in the car speeding toward the cliff, kids in the back seat screaming, daddy saying, “Don’t worry kids, I’m going one mile per hour slower than I was yesterday.”

According to the new report, the administration’s climate policy will result in emissions growing 11 percent in 2012 from 2002. In the previous decade, emissions grew at a rate of 11.6 percent…


U.S. Predicting Steady Increase for Emissions

But in good news the EPA announced that diesel emissions would be drastically curtailed over the next quarter century, reducing Nitrous Oxide (smog former) by 80% and particulate matter by 90%.

Good!

[Though it's not clear whether rules have been issued ( WaPo) or merely proposed (SF Chronicle)]


Walter Reed Subpoenas

The short story is that outpatient treatment of wounded vets at Walter Reed Army Medical Center has been shameful. Dana Priest of the Washington Post did a thorough, front page expose of what had been going on. (Here, here, here, and here. here.) It hit the big time and the Secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey (a civilian appointed by President Bush three years ago) had General George Weightman, man in charge at Walter Reed, step down and replaced him with his predecessor, General Kevin Kiley. Trouble was that conditions were reported to have been even worse at Walter Reed during Kiley’s tenure.

Act II: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates fired Secretary of the Army Harvey and replaced him with under Secretary Pete Geren. General Eric Schoomaker ( younger brother of Army chief of staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker) has replaced General Kiley at Walter Reed.

This is all good.
In four years of war no one of comprable rank has been held accountable for rank dereliction of duty. But wait! There’s more!

Act III: Late today Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued a subpoena to General Weightman. The Pentagon resisted, and lost. Weightman will appear Monday or soon thereafter it appears.

Congressman Waxman is particularly interested in a “contract to manage the medical center awarded to a company that had documented troubles fulfilling a government contract to deliver ice to victims of Hurricane Katrina.”

According to a letter from Waxman to Weightman posted today on the committee’s Web site, the chairman believes the Walter Reed contract may have pushed dozens of health care workers to leave jobs at the troubled medical center, which he says in turn threatened the quality of care for hundreds of military personnel receiving treatment there….

In the letter, Waxman charged that the Army used an unusual process to award a five-year, $120 million contract to manage the center to a company owned by a former executive of Halliburton, the scandal-prone government contractor once operated by Vice President Dick Cheney.

In 2004, the Army determined that Walter Reed’s federal employees could operate the medical center more efficiently than IAP Worldwide Services, which is operated by the former Halliburton executive, Al Neffgen, Waxman wrote. After IAP protested, the Army “unilaterally” increased the employees’ estimated costs by $7 million, making IAP appear cheaper, Waxman said. Rules barred Walter Reed employees from appealing the decision, Waxman wrote, and in January 2006 the Army gave the contract to IAP.

According to an internal memo written by a senior Walter Reed administrator and obtained by Waxman, the decision to outsource to IAP led the center’s skilled personnel to leave Walter Reed “in droves,” fearing they would be laid off when the contractor took over. In the last year, Waxman found, over 250 of 300 government employees left the center. The lack of staffing put patient care “at risk of mission failure,” warned an internal Army memo obtained by the congressman.

He is generally interested in the push to privatize federal services. Outsourcing, in other words. Perhaps the question of outsourcing of the war itself will come up, or at a later hearing. 140,000 military and 100,000 contractors in Iraq ought to be worth a question or two.

Waxman to Question Weightman

I just want to remind all of you who worked and paid and prayed for Democratic victory in the November elections how proud you should be. I gave more money and wrote more letters and attended more meetings than I ever had. Every new hearing, every new subpoena, every piece of legislation passed by the House or Senate makes me a very happy man. Of course there is much more to be done. The damned war is not stopped and the bodies are spilling into the mold infested hallways but what is happening is worth some loud bell ringing and midnight whooping! Just go read the letter Waxman sent Weightman and feel proud. Heck, print it and post it on your wall with a little label: I helped do this!

Update: Dana Priest, the Washington Post reporter who, along with Ann Hull, broke the current story was interviewed by Judy Woodruff on PBS last night. At the end of the interview she hits on one point that needs to be hit again and again:

Well, you know, the root of so much that we cover is money. And the question is, why isn’t this funded to the extent that it needs to be funded?

The Veterans Administration hospitals, for instance, are always put in the supplemental budget. They’re never part of the main budget, same with some of the issues that were affecting Walter Reed.

So what are they trying to do with that money shell game, in a way? They’re trying not to own up to the fact that this is a costly thing to do right. And if we want to do that, you need to put it in the budget in a respectful way, in which people can look at it, and truth squad it, and decide whether that’s right or not, and that it will stay there long enough, not just be a year-by-year appropriation.

This administration, as well as many before it, wants to keep the war off the books as much as possible. Budgetary shell games are the only game in town, and especially for this ugly little cake walk in Iraq.

Woodruff also interviews Mark Benjamin of Salon.com who has covered this issue since 2003, to a lot of yawns everywhere, except for the Code Pink crew which has vigiled outside of the hospital for quite some time.


Chaos Coming

Rami Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian with US citizenship. A writer and scholar he appears in the Nation, American Progress and other media and is syndicated by Agence Global along with Mark Hertsgaard, Juan Cole and others.

His take on what is happening in the Middle East is not as blind to the behavior and responsibility of Arab actors as are we whose sight is often overwhelmed by the giant here at home.

The Middle East has suffered so much homegrown internal tyranny and sustained external assaults that it has become a dangerous pressure cooker, given that the majority of citizens live with enormous and still growing dissatisfactions in their economic, social, ethnic, religious or national lives. If the pressure is not relieved by allowing the region and its states to define themselves and their governance values, the whole pot will explode. I suspect we are witnessing both things happening together these days.

On the one hand, Islamist, ethnic, sectarian and tribal movements grow and flourish all over the Middle East — and are aided by Iran — in a dramatic example of collective self-assertion. On the other hand, massive external pressure, led by the United States, some Europeans, Israel, and some Arab governments, fights back, hoping to keep the lid on a region trying to define itself and liberate itself from the modern legacy of Anglo-American-Israeli armies.

The Great Arab Unravelling


Coal Power Plants Whomped

$45 billion take-over deals are not the usual beat on this site. However, the buy-out offer for TXU, an enormous Texas power utility, by a consortium of private investors is more than just another story of billionaires being billionaires. There is actually some good news to report.

Some time ago TXU announced plans for 11 new coal-fired power plants in Texas. They were going to be new, but new in steel and concrete only. The technology was going to be old, which is to say, cheaper — since free market economies are not much interested in true costs. The CO2 released to the atmosphere by these plants would double TXU’s already high contribution, but heck, this cost is not on TXU’s balance sheet so release away.

Environmental Defense, a 500,000 member environmental advocacy organization, along with many others including mayors and other officials of Texas cities mounted a vociferous campaign to stop the plans. The stock price of TXU dropped over 20% because of the controversy.

The big surprise then, accompanying the proposed sale, is that the potential investors wanted to end this PR war and called up ED to say they were willing to cut back on the power plants. After weeks of negotiations a deal was struck: not 11 new plants, but only three. That is, if adhered to, a major victory. Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense has this to say:

As part of the sale agreement, Environmental Defense helped negotiate an aggressive environmental platform that will, among other things:

* Terminate plans for the construction of 8 of 11 coal-fired power plants TXU had hoped to build;
* Stop TXU’s plans to expand coal operations in other states;
* Endorse the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) platform, including the call for a mandatory federal cap on carbon emissions; and
* Reduce the company’s carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Besides the victories enumerated above we can take heart that ED and others are now considered players in the biggest arenas — where the truly momentous decisions must be made in the next decade. They are players because they assembled serious teams, got serious money and volunteers and raised the issues in ways that could not be ignored. Then they fielded negotiators able to compete with sharks of high finance.

It helped that the chief buy-out advisors to the group was Goldman Sachs, the enormous Investment Banking firm, which has had a strong position on reducing carbon emissions. Andrew Sorkin at the NY Times has a pretty thorough run-down on the unusual events.

Besides Environmental Defense, the National Resources Defense Council was in on the negotiations. They’re pretty happy, as well.

Is this the end of the story? Not by a long shot. You’ll see at the end of Sorkin’s article that some of city and municipal officials in on the fight may in fact continue to contest the three plants left on the board.

There are all sorts of other issues at work here, too. We can be sure that the new owners — if the deal goes through — got a great deal of what they wanted, much of which many readers here will want to scream about. It may well happen that hidden clauses pop up in the years ahead to make the good guys bang their heads on the wall. But for all that, let’s call it a victory, a leg to stand on, a flag to wave in the battles ahead — not the least of which is to get a core group of rich bastards to understand it’s about investing in the real world, not the fantasy one they’ve been living in since the beginning of the industrial age. It’s about their children and grandchildren too, and the world they will have, which won’t be much of one if reduced to gated communities, with over extended resource supply lines, defended by armies of mercenaries.

Congratulations, and keep the sentries alert.