Volatility

August 29, 2014

Total Failure: The Fraudulent Promises of the Two Types of GMOs

>

Farmers originally embraced the Roundup Ready system, not because they expected it to directly increase crop yields or reduce costs (it doesn’t and never did), but because by greatly simplifying weed management through the one-time application of one herbicide, it freed up time and conceptual space so the farmer could farm more acres.
 
Under conditions of commodity agriculture, farmers are under constant pressure to maximize their acreage and in this way their production. So while herbicide tolerant GMOs never increased yield acre-for-acre, and often have decreased it, they enable the farmer to cover more acres and in this way “make it up on volume”. It’s a version of Taylorism, a speed-up device, and also saves labor costs. Monsanto and the USDA touted these virtues for the farmer, and to this day still claim that the product benefits farmers in this way.
 
All this describes the attraction of the Roundup Ready system for farmers, during the few years that it worked as advertised. But with the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, all these benefits have been lost. All the touted simplicity has been replaced by a regression to an even more costly complexity than farmers faced prior to the advent of herbicide tolerant GMOs.
 
Farmers were promised by Monsanto and the US government that they could schedule their plantings without having to coordinate them with herbicide applications. They could later apply glyphosate whenever they wanted, needing just one application (or in the case of cotton two). But with the evolution-predicted rise of glyphosate-resistant weeds, farmers now find themselves having to revert to the old complex choreography. Increasingly, they need a non-glyphosate pre-emergence application, followed by a post-emergence glyphosate application at exactly the right time to catch Palmer amaranth when it’s small enough to be affected. That’s assuming the P. amaranth isn’t a Roundup Ready superweed, as they increasingly are. If it’s resistant to the herbicide, then it has to be hand-weeding or the hoe, when the weeds are still small enough. Then more applications of glyphosate and other herbicides.
 
Farmers were similarly promised they could forever plant corn-on-corn or corn-on-soy (again, something implicitly demanded by the economics of commodity monocropping), since the Roundup Ready system would make weed management such a snap that you could forever plant Roundup Ready-on-Roundup Ready and never have a problem. In spite of the previous history of weeds developing resistance to triazine and ALS-inhibitor herbicides, as a matter of evolutionary clockwork, Monsanto explicitly promised that glyphosate-resistant weeds would not develop no matter how massively and long they were doused with Roundup. Their technical hacks published “studies” to that effect.
 
Today such rotations accomplish nothing against the superweeds, and weed scientists can only recommend rotations which include wheat or lesser crops like oats and barley. Some recommend that farmers ration their use of glyphosate. This of course is tantamount to rejecting the Roundup Ready GMO system as such, since the only thing which could possibly in theory justify the massively higher cost of RR seeds is the efficacy and simplicity of idiot-proof drenching with Roundup.
 
Meanwhile, not only have GMO farmer/contractors made their own weed management increasingly complex and economically unviable, but they’re inflicting worse weed infestations on their non-GM conventional neighbors.
 
To sum up, the corporate system promised farmers and the public that the Roundup Ready system would simplify weed management and render it less toxic, as glyphosate was allegedly less toxic to human and environmental health than older herbicides. Today “The Party’s Over” as weed scientist Aaron Hager says, and “the ‘simplicity’ of glyphosate as a stand-alone weed management tool will be relegated to the annals of history”. Or as former Dupont cadre Alberto Bianchi puts it, “today we have to fight pests worse than 15 or 20 years ago, but with fewer weapons than we had before”. Desperate weed consultants advise better crop rotations, using greater amounts of more different kinds of herbicides more often, and returning to the antiquated practice of deep tillage. Capping this reactionary program is the ultimate dark age regression, the deployment of GMOs engineered to be resistant to the exact same, far more toxic retrograde herbicides which the corporations and government originally promised us would be rendered permanently obsolete.
 
This proves the malign intent of corporations and governments, that they’re actually trying to repeat this same “mistake”, albeit at a vastly more destructive level. The failure of 2,4-D and dicamba resistant systems is already a proven fact. History proves it. No one who supports it can escape criminal culpability, and must and shall be held criminally responsible for every harm that follows.
 
Farmers have went through the same history with GMO corn engineered to resist rootworm (CRW) predation. Monsanto introduced CRW-resistant corn in 2003 with promises that it would forever relegate soil insecticides, previously the main pesticide used vs. CRW, to the scrap heap. Here the target pest counterattacked more quickly than even the weeds did. The Bt toxin itself was weak vs. rootworms from the start, serving to accelerate the development of resistance. Farmers saw very little insecticide dividend, and had to go back to soil insecticide application so quickly that by 2008 the University of Illinois felt the need to assure farmers that supplementing anti-CRW GMOs with soil insecticide doesn’t “always make sense”. That’s how ubiquitous the field reports of Bt-resistant rootworms already were.
 
Lab confirmation quickly followed. Using specimens collected from ravaged Iowa fields in 2009, a team at Iowa State documented resistance in a 2011 study. Subsequent studies in 2013 and 2014 reinforced the documentation. This latest study, published in the National Academy of Sciences, documented that rootworms which developed resistance to Monsanto’s original Cry3Bb1 trait were also cross-resistant to Syngenta’s Cry3A set of anti-rootworm traits.
 
According to this study, Dow’s Cry34/35Ab1 toxin still worked well vs. rootworms. But that was only for the moment. In 2014 Iowa farmers have reported rootworm damage in fields planted to Bt varieties containing the Cry34/35Ab1 trait. So what was the last trait standing is now staggering.
 
Thus farmers have had to go back to the bad old days of applying soil insecticides, and it’s commonplace among system entomologists to recommend this as part of the remedy farmers need to deploy as the Bt GMO system increasingly fails to live up to its promises.
 
Here too a return to crop rotation is a common recommendation. But if the idea is the pseudo-rotation of corn-on-soy, previously effective vs. rootworm, it’s becoming too late for this as well. As early as 1999 rootworms were discovered which could lay their eggs amid a corn-planting and then endure through a soybean season, awaiting the next corn planting. These “rotation-resistant” rootworms have since then been documented in Illinois and Iowa. They’re a product of the industrial corn/soy monoculture; corn-on-soy is really is no kind of legitimate rotation at all. And there’s many possible ways in which their rotation resistance may have been fostered by elements of the Roundup Ready GMO system itself.
 
Here again, GMO contract growers are not only destroying their own ability to exist, but are making production more difficult for non-GM farmers who must contend with more common and virulent rootworm infestations than occurred prior to Roundup Ready’s corn-on-corn campaign and the advent of the anti-rootworm Bt campaign.
 
The inexorable march of the superweeds and the rising insurrection of the rootworms exemplify the proven complete failure of the two basic genres of GMOs, herbicide tolerance and insecticide expression. Farmers increasingly wish to get off the GMO treadmill and resume conventional agriculture, or even to switch to direct retail and/or organic agriculture. This is definitely the rational choice, as confirmed by every portent.
 
But if farmers want to get off the treadmill, they may find many obstacles. The superiority of non-GM conventional production is well documented. With every new year of greater seed costs, poison costs, and ever expanding and intensifying superweed and superbug development, more and more industrial farmers are interested in getting off the GMO treadmill and resuming conventional production. But for corn and soy, non-GM varieties are often difficult to find. Thanks to the dereliction of the public breeding sector and the widespread enclosure of new varieties which are released to the public only in GMO (i.e. Roundup Ready and/or Bt expressing) form, the varieties which are available are often of lower quality. (This also reveals the fraud involved in cartel studies which allege higher yields for some Bt varieties over conventional. These “studies” never compare a GMO variety with its isogenic non-GM equivalent, but rather what’s likely to be a superior conventionally-bred variety which was then subjected to Bt transgene insertion and made publicly available only in this GMO form, vs. an inferior conventional variety.)
 
The cartel and the US government are responding to the proven complete failure of the very concepts of herbicide tolerant and insecticide-expressing GMOs by striving to double down on them and render vastly worse the failure and the collateral health, environmental, and economic destruction which shall go along with them. This is smoking gun proof that all the blathering in favor of GMOs is nothing but lies, and that for GMO proponents, the consciously, intentionally held one and only goal is to maximize corporate profit and power.

>

August 21, 2014

GMOs, Always A Backward Technology, Get More Regressive All the Time

>

For all practical purposes, there’s just two kinds of GMOs. There’s those which are resistant to one or more herbicides, and there’s those which produce one or more of their own endemic Bt insecticides. Increasingly, GMO varieties do both of these, for multiple poisons in each case.
 
Weed resistance to herbicides and insect resistance to insecticides went back decades prior to the deployment of GMOs. It was widely predicted by everyone but corporate and government flacks that the incestuous focus on one herbicide, glyphosate, and a handful of Bt toxins, to the overthrow of any rational crop rotation and weed/pest management strategy, would quickly lead to weed and pest resistance which would render GMOs impotent. Within a few years of GMO commercialization these predictions started coming true. By ten years in, weed and pest resistance were accelerating toward disaster. Today the Roundup Ready regime is in ruins, and over much of the world most of the original Bt varieties are worthless against pests. For anyone who’s not an evolution denier, the failure of these two product genres is proven and complete.
 
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready product line, engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, has been the foundation of the GMO regime. US acreage planted to RR varieties in 2011 comprised 94% of soybeans, 72% of maize, and 96% of cotton (Benbrook 2012 p.2). Glyphosate use surged from 15 million pounds of active ingredient in 1996 to 159 million in 2009 (FWW 2013 p.2). According to Charles Benbrook’s 2012 analysis, RR crops caused overall herbicide use to increase over what would have been sprayed on exclusively non-GM conventional crops by a total of 527 million pounds from 1996 to 2011, the great bulk of this being extra glyphosate, with RR soybeans accounting for 70% of the total increase.
 
Glyphosate-based herbicide first went on sale in 1976, but because it wasn’t heavily used there weren’t reports of weeds resistant to it until the latter 90s, as the Roundup Ready system started becoming widely deployed. The first confirmed glyphosate-resistant superweed in the US was rigid ryegrass in California in 1998. Resistant horseweed, destined to become the most common Roundup Ready superweed, was first confirmed in Delaware in 2000. It quickly began a triumphal march across the southern US, while several other glyphosate-resistant weeds emerged, most notably Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. By 2012 Roundup-resistant horseweed was confirmed in 21 states, Palmer amaranth in 17, and waterhemp in 12 (FWW p.3). Today these superweeds are embarked upon a veritable march of conquest, while Roundup Ready crops are being driven back in what’s turning into a total rout. The Stratus Glyphosate Tracking Survey has documented the accelerating phenomenon. In 2013 over 70 million US acres were reported to be afflicted with glyphosate resistant weeds, up from 61.2 million in 2012, 40.7 in 2011, 32.6 in 2010. In 2012 50% of corn, soy, and cotton farmers reported such superweeds in their fields, up from 34% in 2011. 27% reported multiple superweed species, up from 15% in 2011. The numbers have been much higher in the worst-hit states of the South and Midwest.
 
All this has driven the great surge in glyphosate use and increases in the use of other herbicides including 2,4-D (up 3.9 million pounds per year from 2000 to 2009, a 90% increase) to supplement the faltering Roundup (FWW p.7). In 1996 RR cotton growers applied glyphosate an average of once a year at a rate of .63 pounds per acre (Benbrook 2009 p.30). By 2007 they were up to 2.4 applications for an average 1.89 pounds/acre, so the amount applied each time is also increasing. For RR soybean growers the 1996 numbers were 1.1 applications totaling .69 pounds per acre, while by 2006 the were up to 1.7 applications for a total of 1.36 pounds/acre.
 
As I’ll detail in a subsequent post, the failure of herbicide tolerance technology is already costing farmers severely.
 
There’s no longer a debate among honest, rational people. We have complete consensus that herbicide tolerance is a failed product genre which must be discontinued immediately and replaced by integrated weed management programs including rational crop rotation and cover cropping. (That’s still within the framework of industrial agriculture, which has one last chance to give itself some extra time. Of course the real agroecological solution goes far beyond this.)
 
But the corporatist system has no honesty or rationality to work with. The system’s only answer to the collapse of Roundup is the reactionary, luddite answer: To double down on proven failure by regressing to GMOs tolerant of older, even more destructive herbicides. This is the context in which the evolution-denialist system is promulgating the backward, luddite “solution” of corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the retrograde herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two primary components of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This is one of the dark age poisons which Monsanto and the US government originally promised would be permanently relegated to the scrap heap by the Roundup Ready system. Dicamba is another such regressive chemical being poised by Monsanto for a comeback.
 
The evolution-denier character of this policy is revealed by the fact that there are already many weeds documented to be resistant to 2,4-D, including the waterhemp which is among the big three rampaging with impunity across the Roundup Ready fields.
 
Agent Orange corn and soy will therefore be greeted by 2,4-D resistant weeds already prepared for them, and as the slathering of 2,4-D escalates, resistance to it will accelerate and spread. It’ll happen like clockwork, because it’s the standard mechanism of evolution, understood by everyone but the corporate liars and scientistic evolution deniers.
 
2,4-D and dicamba-tolerant GMOs, and any other herbicide tolerant GMO product such as Bayer’s isoxaflutole-tolerant soybean approved by the USDA in 2013, will also speed the development of weeds which possess metabolism-based general resistance across many or all herbicide classes.
 
Along the way, the promiscuous deployment of these hitherto restricted-use growth regulator herbicides will vastly escalate the damage they cause to other crops like tomatoes and grapes when they drift. 2,4-D is already notorious for this, causing by far the greatest number of agricultural collateral damage incidents even given its limited use hitherto. That’s why the Save Our Crops Coalition, which for a time lobbied the USDA to refuse approval of Agent Orange GMOs, included several major processors and canners. In 2012 Steve Smith, Agriculture Director of Red Gold, testified before Congress that “the widespread use of dicamba possesses the single most serious threat to the future of the specialty crop industry in the Midwest.”
 
This group dropped its opposition in 2012, claiming to have been reassured by Dow that its “Enlist” 2,4-D formulation won’t be drift-prone. I don’t know if they were really stupid enough to believe this or if they were bought off or intimidated, but regardless it’s an extremely foolish thing to believe. Even if by some miracle Dow were now capping its fifty year history of lies about 2,4-D and related poisons with a true statement for once, that wouldn’t affect the many other 2,4-D formulations on the market. The commercialization of Agent Orange crops will cause as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D application (Benbrook 2012 p.5). According to one study, 2,4-D and dicamba are respectively 400 times and 70 times as likely as glyphosate to drift and damage or destroy other crops. We see again how only the most diehard, hunker-in-the-bunker luddite would want to respond to the proven failure of Roundup Ready, and therefore of herbicide tolerance as such, by doubling down with such a destructive escalation of the failure.
 
Then there’s the public health consequences of such a massive increase of this extreme poison. 2,4-D is an endocrine disruptor and causes birth defects and cancer. It’s been linked to Parkinson’s disease. The manufacture of 2,4-D chronically produces dioxins as a byproduct. How much dioxin produced is a function of the production process. Dow of course claims its own process is clean, but the historical record gives good reason to doubt this. Ad hoc measurements of dioxins in 2,4-D have found levels below WHO and FAO maximums. This begs the question of how valid those maximums are; as a rule regulator allowable maximums have zero to do with science or public health, but are mechanically raised to whatever level the poison companies require. At any rate testing has been sporadic and rare. We really have no idea how much dioxin laces the 2,4-D being used in agriculture, and so we have no idea to what extent GMO agriculture is permanently toxifying the soil with deadly dioxin.
 
Environmentally, the EPA deems 2,4-D “very highly toxic to slightly toxic to freshwater and marine invertebrates”, while the National Marine Fisheries Service considers it a dire threat to endangered and threatened salmon species (FWW p.11).
 
And all this is for the sake of no practical or rational goal, nothing which could ever benefit human beings even the slightest bit, but merely to escalate the poison sector’s campaign of planned obsolescence and disaster capitalism. All for the sake of nothing but corporate profit and power.
 
This is indisputable, since the collapse of glyphosate renders it indisputable that herbicide tolerant GMOs comprise a failed technology. Today it’s impossible to support this technology “by mistake”. It’s only possible to be consciously, willfully, criminally committed to forcing humanity to remain on this ever-accelerating poison treadmill, with ever-increasing agricultural, economic, environmental, and health detriments, all for the sake of nothing but corporate domination. Humanity must fight this regressive luddite campaign which seeks to drag us back to the agricultural dark ages. We must overthrow the corporations which seeks to prevent by force our emergence into the light of the most vanguard agroecological technologies and science.

>

July 19, 2014

The Abdication of Science: The Example of GMO Feeding Trials

>

The double standard among “science” studies becomes more insane all the time. Food and Chemical Toxicology, the same journal which unsuccessfully tried to censor and suppress the 2012 Seralini study, has dropped even the slightest pretense to being “scientific” as it continues to publish the most patently bogus corporate “studies”. The latest is a Dupont trial of GM canola which compares it to a “commercial diet”. This is a typical scam of corporate feeding trials. The only valid scientific procedure is to compare a GM variety with the original conventional variety into which the transgene was inserted, only without the transgene. This is called the near-isogenic variety. But corporate trials almost invariably compare the GMO to an undifferentiated “commerical diet” composed of GMOs and feed which had been sprayed with various poisons. The goal is to prevent the trial from detecting any danger from the studied GMO by rendering the “control” diet as toxically similar to it as possible. This trial also engaged in the standard frauds: It was the typical 90 days in length (two years is the scientific standard, an absolute requirement for a real safety study) and compared the study group to irrelevant “historical control groups” which wouldn’t be part of any scientifically designed study. To top it off the authors, employees of Dupont, brazenly lie in declaring they have no conflict of interest.
 
Also tediously familiar, the trial used the same Sprague-Dawley breed of rats which the Seralini study did, and a comparable number of rats. The two main canned lies against the Seralini study are that this type and sample size were somehow illegitimate. But as per proper scientific procedure Seralini merely replicated the way every corporate trial uses this same type and number of rats. He merely extended his study’s length from the intentionally fraudulent 90 days to the scientifically valid 2 years, and measured legitimate health parameters. These measures are generally omitted or suppressed by the corporate trials, which measure only for industry parameters like quickly reaching slaughter weight.
 
It’s also characteristic of such studies that false negatives are a much greater risk than false positives. The fabricated media furore which slandered the Seralini study was in effect accusing it of attaining a false positive. But the number of rats used in ALL the studies which have ever been done, including every corporate trial without exception, is far more likely to generate false negatives. That’s why Seralini’s result was far more significant than those of the trials which allegedly found different results.
 
That’s also why the sample size of 10-12 rats was set as the industry standard, because it was more likely to generate false negatives than a larger sample size. If we could repeat the Seralini/Monsanto study design (as it ought to be called, as Seralini merely improved upon M’s own design) with larger sample sizes, we’d get a reinforcement and expansion of Seralini’s results. All the bogus procedures of 90 day study lengths, feeding the alleged “control” group a “commercial diet”, the gratuitous introduction of “historical control” and “reference” groups, are all meant to obfuscate the result and ensure this false negative. And yet in spite of all that, Monsanto’s own trials often found evidence of organ toxicity.
 
You’ll often see pro-GMO liars citing one or more compendiums of studies which allegedly give GMOs a clean bill of health. But in truth these are nothing but lists of such fraudulent corporate trials, all of which include most or all of the shoddy and fraudulent procedures I just listed. Ironically, in spite of all the attempts to suppress adverse data, many of these trials nevertheless found evidence that GMOs are toxic to human and animal health. The 2012 Seralini study was nothing but a time-extended replication of what was originally a Monsanto feeding trial, with the bogus corporate procedures fixed. The scientific imperative, including the need to serve the public well-being, caused Seralini to conceive and conduct his study. He’s a rare example of a true scientist, the extreme opposite of the mercenary hacks who work for the corporations and the hacks who carry the corporate water as propagandists.  
 
We can see that there’s no longer any such thing as establishment science. On the contrary what’s called “science” today is just a bazaar of ever more brazen lies told by ever more shameless frauds and charlatans. Those who to this day join in the slandering of the Seralini study are anti-science obscurantists, the most vicious enemies science has ever known. Since they attack science in the context of helping totalitarian and homicidal corporations poison our food, water, and soil while seeking total domination through domination of the entire food chain, these scienticians aren’t just frauds and charlatans, but criminal propagandists according to Nuremburg standards.

>

July 18, 2014

GMO News Summary July 18th 2014

>

*A new analysis of 343 studies comparing crops grown organically to crops grown conventionally finds that the organic foods are greatly superior nutritionally. In particular they have much higher levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
 
This great difference in nutritional profile is probably on account of the differing ways the crops are grown. Crops grown with massive applications of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides are in effect coddled and have to do little work for themselves. So they put their energy into producing higher levels of sugars and starches. Their way of life makes them fat and bloated, and therefore they’re greatly inferior as food.
 
Organic crops, by contrast, have to make an honest living. They have to work to extract real nutrition from real soil and to defend themselves against pests and disease. Of course the knowledge and skills of organic farmers helps them. The result is that organically grown plants produce higher levels of phenols and polyphenols, including the antioxidants so important for preventing heart disease, stroke, and cancer in humans.
 
Of course these organic crops are also not laden with agricultural poisons the way conventional crops are. Organic crops are only 1/4 as likely as conventional to have any pesticide residues at all, and these residue levels are on the average 10-100 times lower. Presumably these very low residues are the result of the general contamination of the environment, for example from the pesticide drift which the USDA wants to make a vastly worse problem.
 
Conventional crops also contained twice the levels of the toxic heavy metal cadmium. 
 
This study, carried out by a team from Newcastle University, analyzed many more studies using many more parameters than that of the tendentious 2012 Stanford paper which whitewashed the poison problem and claimed that the nutritional superiority of organic crops had little meaning for health. This bogus study was the signal for a slew of high-profile corporate media pieces, in Time, the NYT, and elsewhere smearing the idea of organic food. We’ll see what the response is to this new, vastly superior study.
 
*New science establishes how neonicotinoid insecticides, already heavily implicated in the decimation of honeybee populations and other environmental and soil destruction, are decimating birds as well.
 
Industrial seeds, generally GMOs designed to generate crops suffused with insecticidal and herbicidal poisons, are also coated with many other poisons including neonics, which are increasingly necessary to make up for the failure of endemic Bt insecticide. Neonics also suffuse every cell of the crop. The ways this harms human and animal health are unknown and have never been tested.
 
Neonics, like all the rest of these poisons, are necessary elements of poison-based industrial agriculture, which is based upon agronomically unsound and destructive corn-on-corn and other deranged monoculture planting schedules. This is necessary to prop up agriculture as a commodity sector.
 
Meanwhile an agricultural system based on producing food through rational crop rotation and decentralized agroecology practices would be far more productive and healthy and require none of these destructive and expensive poisons and other extraneous inputs.
 
*Another example of the accelerating failure of GMOs in the field, this one from Brazil where resistant caterpillars are badly damaging Bt corn. The piece includes the usual admonition about how non-GM refuges within Bt plantings are supposed to work. But the fact is that even if such refuge policy were enforced (in Brazil it’s not even mandatory, just recommended; in the US it’s officially mandatory but indifferently enforced and widely flouted), the 5-10% refuge generally suggested is far too small to have any effect even in principle. Refuges would need to be 50% or more to conceivably work for long.
 
But the fact is that refuge policy was never intended to work, and was never anything but propaganda meant to reassure skeptical farmers and citizens that regulators had a rational plan. In fact the only rational plan which has ever existed was how to systematically lie on behalf of this worthless, anti-innovative, luddite product, GMOs. The Bt refuge scam is just one example, but look to literally anything else ever said on behalf of GMOs and you’ll see a similar scam. For example my concluding item.
 
*A similar example from Pakistan, where Bt cotton, including Monsanto’s brand-name Bollgard II and Roundup Ready Flex stacked varieties, is increasingly useless against resistant bollworms. Farmers are having to spray expensive pesticides in addition to paying for the expensive seed. This is the kind of financial destruction of small cotton farmers which has produced a massive suicide wave in India.
 
Bt levels are always chaotic and unpredictable even in the highest quality GM seed. (There’s one measure of what a low-quality product GMOs really are.) But the seed distributed in countries like Pakistan seems especially low quality, often producing little or no Bt toxin at all. This apparently includes not just various knockoffs but the Monsanto name brand.
 
We must always keep in mind that just as in other corporate sectors, with seeds as well the big corporations which control them seldom did any actual innovation or production work, but contract out all the work. The corporation only provides the brand name, does the lobbying, controls the patents, reaps all the profit, and exercises control of the entire process. The one thing it doesn’t do is any actual constructive work. So when we ponder GM seeds, especially in the global South, we should always keep in mind that these are often of much lower quality than even the crappy ones sold in the US. This is just one of the many ways GMOs are a scam and a hoax. Also relevant especially to places like India and Pakistan is how any GMO depends upon large-scale artificial irrigation (in itself a huge conveyance of corporate welfare for the Big Ag corporations) to have any chance of performing the way the advertising brochure claims. But most small farmers in these countries lack access to such irrigation. That too affects, for example, Bt cotton’s actual expression of the pesticide.

>

July 16, 2014

GMO Labeling, Propaganda and Action

Filed under: Globalization, GMO Hoaxes, Mainstream Media — Tags: — Russ @ 5:37 am

>

To put it in terms of the “spheres” media analysis, GMO labeling has become part of the “legitimate controversy”. That’s because the people forced it there, and because elites regard it as manageable. Monsanto would prefer that it remain within the “sphere of deviance”, opinions and advocacy which aren’t even allowed to be discussed or mentioned at all except in the most dismissive, derogatory terms. But the likes of Walmart, Coca-Cola, and other retailers and manufacturers decided back in 2013 to try to manage labeling rather than keep fighting a scorched earth campaign.
 
Thus the labeling idea is a feature of the corporate media, as a legitimately controversial issue. It’s generally depicted in a condescending way as unscientific and as bad policy. The criticism is always implicitly elitist, often explicitly so in saying that the American people are too stupid to understand product labels. These are the same media who generally flatter these same American people as electoral voters and as savvy consumers. How is it that someone who’s qualified to elect a president or to decide that poison-laced industrial food is safe to purchase is somehow not qualified to assess a simple label? It would be one of the mysteries of neoliberalism if we didn’t know the answer, that the system pretends to be democratic in direct proportion to how profitable it expects this semblance of democracy to be, and to how much the people force it to do so. The system generally fears that GMO labeling will harm a critical commodification gambit. (Which is all GMOs really are. As a practical matter they’re nothing but crappy products which perform far worse than all competitors. For media purposes they’re supposed to exist only in hoax form. For consumerist purposes they’re supposed to be invisible; thus the resistance to simple labels.) But it also thinks the idea of labeling, and some sort of sham policy which would try to maintain the idea while forcibly suppressing the substance, can be managed propagandistically. They hope to use a sham, preemptive “voluntary” FDA policy in order to hijack the concept, repair the FDA’s shattered credibility, and forestall more assertive ideas and actions. Thus the goal, from the system’s point of view, is to use the labeling controversy to neutralize GMO activism, and perhaps to help normalize GMOs themselves.
 
Thus the labeling idea is discussed but subtly denigrated in the media. Only the unwashed rubes want it, but what can you do with such a horde? You shouldn’t want it, but perhaps if it’s properly administered by the FDA it can be an acceptable compromise between the wisdom of our betters and the childishness of democracy. In that case you should definitely be satisfied, and only an incorrigible malcontent or someone with the dreaded “agenda” would continue to criticize GMOs.
 
That’s the way the corporate media, many of the system NGOs, the food manufacturing and retail sectors, want to “manufacture consent” as Chomsky would put it. So the goal is to kettle political thought and activism within the concept of preemptive FDA-administered GMO labeling as the only legitimate regulation and advocacy of it as the only legitimate kind of advocacy.
 
Meanwhile even this sham policy would eventually be banned under globalization regimes like the impending TTIP. One of the GMO cartel’s avowed goals for this is to eradicate Europe’s labeling policies. They’ll want to do the same for even the most threadbare FDA policy in the US. So we already know that even if the GMA bill or one of the similar sham bills were passed as a temporary propaganda retrenchment, the cartel will never stop fighting until no labels exist at all. It’s bad faith for anyone to pretend otherwise.
 
GMO labeling is a good step but not sufficient. It’s good only as a step toward the necessary abolition goal. In addition to all the inherent reasons humanity must abolish GMOs, there’s also the fact that the GMO regime is totalitarian and will never be willing to “coexist” with any restraint upon its dominion whatsoever. So it’s also a matter of them or us. I propose that we get rid of them.

>

July 15, 2014

Monsanto’s Labeling Preemption Bill is Touted in Congress

>

Monsanto’s propaganda show in Congress continues, as a House committee held a farcical hearing where “experts” who are actually paid cadres of the GMO cartel regurgitated the same bald-faced lies as always. (As is typical of GMO hacks, these alleged experts aren’t even credentialed in the subjects they’re pontificating about.)
 
The same old lies include the notion of corporate rule being needed to “feed the world” (it’s a proven fact that corporate agriculture cannot “feed the world” and does not want to), the nutritional content of GMOs (even Monsanto admits GMOs will always be nutritionally inferior), and the escalated pesticide use they require. (It’s been proven everywhere on earth where GMOs have been deployed that they increase pesticide use, which stands to reason since the companies which sell these seeds also sell the poisons that go along with them. How stupid would someone have to be to have any question about whether  under the GMO regime pesticide use is intended to go up or down?). The hacks also regurgitated direct lies about GMOs having been safety tested in the EU and elsewhere. The fact, as everyone involved knows, is that no government ever required and no corporation ever performed a single legitimate safety study upon ANY GMO.
 
The hearing was merely an echo chamber where Monsanto-bought politicians brought in “expert” hacks to regurgitate the same old lies which the politicians could then rebound back at them and into the press.
 
The hearing was about the FDA preemption bill written by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (for all practical purposes a Monsanto adjunct) which would ban state-level GMO labeling and establish a bogus “voluntary” labeling system as the law of the land. For good measure this bill would allow GMOs to be labeled “100% natural”. This is in response to labeling initiatives which would ban such consumer fraud.
 
We see how the Congress is filled with criminal elements. This gangsterism, as can be seen from the sponsors of this farce, is bipartisan.
 
The occasion also provides an example of how official lies propagate through the mainstream media. I’ve written previously on how Monsanto-fabricated and canned lies moved from industry groups to front groups to the “liberal” media to the front page of the NYT. This notorious NYT hack piece, which seeks to regurgitate every Monsanto lie, suppress all the evidence, and slander every critic, has since been taken up by the mainstream media in general as the “official” corporate media statement on GMOs. As we can see with the Huffington Post piece linked above, the NYT propaganda is now assumed by the rest of the MSM to be normative.
 
In fact, the HuffPo’s dogmatic reference merely reveals the writer to be a cog in the hack machine himself, in spite of his otherwise pseudo-rebellious tone. To accept the NYT as normative is to be part of the same propaganda complex which would label GMOs “100% natural” and, eventually, let them be incorporated into the organic certification. The goal here is to firmly set labeling as the limit of acceptable proposals and slander any further reformist or abolitionist ideas. It’s to be considered acceptable to say “right to know”, but not to say “GMOs are unsafe”. Once this standard is set, then the right to know can also be discarded.
 
The NYT propaganda conveyance and many similar scribblings are examples of corporate media Streicherism. According to the standards of the Nuremburg tribunal, to tell “journalistic” lies in furtherance of crimes against humanity is criminally culpable. 
 
The GMO labeling movement must view stopping this preemption bill and stomping to pieces the “idea” that underlies it as a main priority.

>

July 14, 2014

Toward A Broad-Based Fight for Human Well-Being

Filed under: American Revolution — Russ @ 1:41 am

>

You want a reform movement? There’s only one possible solution – a broad-based human well-being movement. This means that no matter what your focus, you sign on to support the full roster of policies which would help all groups. Single payer, a guaranteed basic income or at least a greatly raised minimum wage, the rebuilding of public-oriented agricultural investment and support, debt relief, and similar broad-based initiatives.
 
These are all easily attainable except for purely political obstruction. They would all help the general economic, political, and physical well-being. Anyone who cares about people would join and fight for such a campaign, no ifs, ands, or buts.
 
This can of course be complementary with whatever your own focus is, and whatever change you’d want beyond this.
 
But anyone who focuses on some parochial demand, to the exclusion of fighting for the general well-being, is being counterproductive at best. Public writers and politicians who advocate in such a way are criminally trying to sow discord and zero-sum thinking, toward the corporate goal of divide-and-conquer.
 
Ask of anyone offering any idea: Is this idea for the broad human well-being or does it go along with such a broad struggle? Or is it intended to narrow and constrain the aspirations, the demands, and therefore the possibilities, for humanity.
 
Happy Bastille Day!

>

July 13, 2014

Agricultural Globalization, El Salvador Example

>

Classical public agricultural programs have been doing in El Salvador what they’ve always done everywhere they’ve been deployed – improve the economic stability of small farmers and enhance their ability to produce plentiful, healthy food.
 
That’s why corporate agriculture and globalization have always targeted these since the onset of the neoliberal campaign. This was the first thing in Kissinger’s mind when he said “control the food and you control the people”, or what Earl Butz was thinking of when he coined the phrase “food weapon”. Behaviorally, the main goal of IMF-driven debt indenture has been to force the “structural adjustment” of these agricultural programs across the global South, i.e. to eradicate them.
 
They say the reason the Soviet experiment went awry in Russia was because it was a premature attempt to impose modern socialism upon an economy still basically feudal. Whether that’s true or not, what’s far more anti-historical and worse from any practical view is neoliberalism’s “post-modern” imposition of what’s basically a restoration of feudalism, whether it be upon a modern agricultural economy like that of Europe (the TTIP/TAFTA looks to be perhaps corporatism’s last big chance to do that) or upon a southern country like El Salvador just now attempting to build an agricultural economy through the successful use of public interest programs.
 
That’s the context for the US government’s blackmail over a proposed “foreign aid” package. The vehicle for this alleged aid is to be a thing called the Millennium Development Corporation. Instituted by the Bush administration and cherished by Obama, this entity is as ugly as its name. Along with USAID, such government-constituted pseudo-NGOs are merely another kind of laundered corporate welfare and propaganda conveyance. (The nominally “private” counterparts of these are the corporatist foundations. Where it comes to agriculture, Bill Gates’ AGRA is the most aggressive.)
 
The money is promised to bring the whole gamut of “development” and “jobs”. We already know that neoliberalism does nothing but destroy jobs, and is indeed nothing but an accelerated job destruction program along a propaganda campaign to justify this to the people and keep them politically quiescent. Phony promises that staying the course will somehow, by some veritable magic, bring back the good old days of jobs that support a middle class lifestyle, are the core of this propaganda.
 
The architects of globalization peddle a version of this same propaganda to the aspiring bourgeoisie of the global South (and to Western liberals who, they hope, can be duped with the term “foreign aid” into politically supporting the western corporate welfare and corporate domination involved).
 
Leaving aside the question of whether the 1950s Levittown lifestyle really is the best way of life humanity can possibly achieve (there seems to be a consensus among Western ideologies – liberal, conservative, libertarian, as well as most “radicals” – that it is), it’s a proven fact that none of this can work.
 
Even if one is serious about wanting to continue with the employment model but to “reform” it, it’s clear that the heyday of “job creation”, an artifact of the days of cheap oil, is over and done with. If you want to reform, your only real option is to rejigger the system so that each jobholder receives a living wage for working fewer hours. This could easily be done. Even at this point in civilization’s energy cycle there’s still far more than enough wealth for it. Society and the economy would be far healthier and more productive if we all worked fewer hours with a much higher minimum wage. As with single payer health insurance in the US, it could easily be done and would be a vastly more rational, constructive policy. As with single payer, the one and only thing preventing it is that the two political parties and their respective liberal and conservative constituencies don’t want to do it. In the US the constituency among the people for corporate fascism is roughly synonymous with the persistent, reactionary voters for either corporatist party.
 
Getting back to El Salvador, the goal of neoliberal propaganda here is to drum up such a constituency in a southern country. But here it’s especially shoddy message, since there will clearly never be a period of such mass middle class development. It was cheap oil that afforded the extrusion of a Western mass middle class in the mid 20th century. Corporatization also wasn’t as fully rationalized. Today we have a globally constricting resource pie even as corporatism has become fully totalitarian. We can call this fully developed neoliberal corporatism “postmodern” in the sense that it’s intended to be the vehicle for the restoration of a fully corporate-feudal system for the post-oil age. I’ve written before about how capitalism never fully supplanted feudalism, but rather developed a capitalist/feudal hybrid, with the corporation as its most typical form and weapon of power. Now corporatism seeks to totally constrain all economic and political forces in order to maintain the power of today’s elites and the system which empowers them, in whatever form the post-oil energies afford.
 
Therefore the South will never go through its own stage of mass middle class development. Its resource base and labor will have to be ever more rationally and viciously exploited by transnational corporations and the most powerful Western governments (the BRIC governments are also trying to set up such an exploitation system, and like with the West’s “New Alliance” campaign, also have an eye on Africa) in order to maintain their own power and fraudulent “growth” propaganda for domestic consumption. But the southern-oriented propaganda is meant to foster delusions of such development in the South, and in that way engender widespread collaboration and even wider quiescence. As always, the main goal isn’t so much to gain active support, but just the absence of active resistance.
 
So far this hasn’t been working in El Salvador, as a coalition of farmers and NGOs has launched its own publicity campaign highlighting the great successes of the country’s current system of government supported non-GM seed production and distribution and the flourishing agriculture which has resulted. We can add to this the great potential of agroecology to build truly sustainable, healthy, prosperous agricultural economies and communities across the global South, and across the world.
 
In the meantime the success of El Salvador’s non-corporate policy is an example of a universal truth of agricultural economy, that all advances and innovations have always come from farmers themselves or from farmers supported by farmer-oriented public programs. Meanwhile the “private sector” has never developed or innovated anything or indeed performed any constructive role whatsoever. Historically, the corporate sector has merely waited for publicly developed technology, science, and infrastructure to sufficiently accumulate, and then used political means to expropriate what farmers and the public built. A gambit like the funneling of “aid” money through a corporate front organization like USAID or the Millennium Development Corporation, with every kind of privatization string attached, is an example of the way this kind of expropriation proceeds under globalization.

>

July 12, 2014

Hobby Lobby and the Corporate Liberals

Filed under: Corporatism, Health Racket Bailout, Sovereignty and Constitution — Tags: — Russ @ 8:44 am

>

Hobby Lobby, Wheaton shariah, Eden Farms
 
I deplore it, but I’m not getting worked up about it. This all follows logically from corporatism, and is further proof that nothing short of the complete abolition of corporations will suffice if what you want is human freedom and well-being.
 
Meanwhile I’ll leave it to those who claim to want human institutions, but who in practice support corporatism, to whine about these developments. This is the way they wanted it to go. In 2009/2010 the liberals had the power to institute Medicare For All at will, and the one and only reason they didn’t do so is because they didn’t want to. They wanted to do their “reform” this way, rendering the system far more complex, irrational, dysfunctional, expensive, and greatly increasing corporate power.
 
The liberals wanted to do it this way because liberals are, first and foremost, corporatists. They therefore don’t want human well-being, but corporate domination. Let anyone deny this, and we need only ask in reply why they did what they did with health care, or with Wall Street, or with agriculture and food, or with everything else they did when they had the power to do whatever they wanted.
 
It’s liberals who want health care to be at the mercy of employment and, implicitly, under the control of employers. It’s also they who, however much some of them may sometimes whine about it, want to maximize corporate “rights” and corporate power. So I really can’t imagine why they’d be surprised or upset by this development, theocracy-via-corporatism. It follows logically from the corporatist premise. The corporate form is designed to maximize the power and control and unaccountability of those who run these organizations, and to let them commit crimes with impunity.
 
This is no “abuse” on the part of the SCOTUS*, but a perfectly logical, mainstream extension of corporatist doctrine. This is an inherently totalitarian doctrine, and there’s no logical limit to it.
 
There are two possible coherent positions: Coordinated corporatism, or abolitionism.
 
(Conservatives are just as foolish, but in different ways. In this case it’s liberals who are suddenly appalled at the same dynamic they normally applaud.)
 
*They also acknowledge the alleged legitimacy and authority of this absurd institution, nine mediocre priests of the “law” cult whose word is to have autocratic power. Nor is there any humanist dissent among these nine. As usual, these are unanimous decisions exalting corporate “rights”, which no one rejects or even questions. The alleged split is merely over the technical forms of law, which can’t withstand the corporate inertia and aren’t designed to. So again, what are the liberals whining about?

>

July 11, 2014

GMO News Summary, July 11th 2014

>

*Agronomist and expert on agricultural poisons Charles Benbrook offers a new commentary on the threats to agriculture and health posed by the EPA’s looming approval of new 2,4-D and dicamba poison formulations, as part of the so-called “second generation” of already-failing herbicides. As a growing consensus among weed scientists is saying, a massive escalation in the use of these herbicides will accomplish nothing but to accelerate the development of general resistance among weeds to all herbicides, and the subsequent complete incapacity of poison-based industrial ag to deal with weed management. Once again we see that corporate agriculture offers no future for humanity, and that decentralized agroecology is the only possible solution.
 
While taking this in itself humanity could treat it with Schadenfreude and say “good riddance” to industrial ag and its poisons, we’ll unfortunately have to live in the meantime with the massive escalation of the poisoning of our soil, air, water, crops, and bodies. That’s why it’s still necessary for us to fight to abolish these poisons with all possible speed.
 
*On June 18th the British parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology held a hearing on the health dangers of Roundup and its main (but not only) active ingredient glyphosate. Links to the four presentations by scientific experts on glyphosate who question and refute its safety can be found at the link.
 
*In an incident reminiscent of the Showa Denko disaster where contamination as a result of genetic engineering killed hundreds and crippled thousands, three infants in Britain have died and at least 19 are gravely ill as a result of septicemia from contaminated IV fluids manufactured in a corporate factory.
 
In stark contrast with its terror-mongering every time there’s any hint, real or fabricated, of any food or chemical borne illness involving alternative systems, the government rushed to call this an “isolated incident”, although it was forced to admit the poisoning was the result of shoddy procedures in the factory.
 
Such “shoddiness” is, of course, the norm allowed and encouraged by government, wherever it comes to corporate-controlled systems.
 
*One of the most direct and macabre examples of GMO corporate welfare are government contracts for the British company Oxitec to release GMO mosquitoes and other kinds of GM insects for dubious experimental and commercial purposes. While Oxitec’s proposed olive fly experiments, which if they function as intended will cause harvested olives to be literally filled with GMO maggot corpses, have been postponed, their mosquito experiments have gone ahead in Brazil, the Caymans, Panama and elsewhere.
 
Now, in spite of mixed and befogged reports including some which claim that dengue fever has increased in areas which were subject to these de jure experiments on an unconsenting public, Brazil’s biotech regulator CTNBio (which itself logs many GMO patents) is approving the GM mosquitos for commercial release. In this context, “commercial” means nothing but fat government contracts.
 
The entire GMO regime is dependent on corporate welfare, from predominantly public-funded research and development, to IP legislation and enforcement, to the agriculture, commerce, and state departments acting as de facto marketing and extortion arms, to US imperial force seeking to force open “markets” around the world. This kind of GMO which is 100% dependent on the government as sole customer is the most purely direct example of how GMOs and poison-based agriculture comprise a planned economy which is overwhelmingly dependent on corporate welfare. The product is really another example of a marketing theme meant to bolster investor confidence in “GMOs” as such. Commentators have often been frank about how various Oxitec approvals are sought in order to prop up stock prices. The products themselves aren’t intended to actually work (it would be a mere accident if they did), and are far more likely to cause the kinds of harms theorized here.
 
*This piece on the US government’s program to destroy El Salvador’s pro-farmer public agricultural programs, including non-corporatized seed distribution, gives a good summary of the financial aggression of USAID and a cabal of international organizations in their attempts to force corporate globalization Gleichschaltung upon the global South. The piece mentions the “New Alliance” assault upon Africa, the offensive to recolonize the continent spearheaded by Monsanto and the US government.

>

Older Posts »

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 250 other followers