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April 20, 2014

Corporate Fundamentalism – The Syngenta/China Example

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The verbiage of this corporate media piece provides some good examples of corporatist ideology. As always, the entire thrust is aggressive overproduction and then coercing a market for this overproduction.
 
One corollary of this is that if a prospective buyer hasn’t yet approved import of a dubious product, this is a “ban”. It’s the same thing as if a salesman were to shout in a reluctant customer’s face, “Why are you BANNING us!!”
 
This is part of why the GMO cartel and its propagandists are such aggressive flat-earthers about even allowing any kind of scientific questioning of the health and other aspects of GMOs and their companion poisons. The GMO project is so critical for the future of all of corporatism, and its drive to force “markets” into existence all around the globe so imperative, that the ideological soldiers of this assault must deny any other perspective any right to exist at all, wherever consideration of such perspectives on the part of peoples or governments would slow down the assault. That’s why actual science has to be crushed while its name is hijacked by the propaganda machine. To actually perform the necessary safety tests on GMOs and other agricultural poisons would not only probably produce very bad results from the point of view of Monsanto and the US government, but it would from their point of view badly slow down the pace of the globalization planned economy juggernaut.
 
As we’re seeing with the proposed TTIP and TPP, the overwhelming impetus of all US and corporate policy is to speed up the tempo of this planned economy at all costs (to humanity).
 
Another corollary, which is the central point of the piece, is that such an insufficiently coerced market equals a “loss” for the profit-seeker. Again we see the fundamentalist mentality that a corporation has a right to any profit it can conceive, and that anything which stands in the way of the full realization of this speculated profit is causing an abhorrent “loss” it has no right to cause. In other words, again no other value or perspective has any right to exist whatsoever. This is one of the things I mean when I call corporations and their ideology totalitarian. What other word would you apply to someone who thinks that if the targeted “buyer” refuses to buy, it’s the prospective buyer who’s the aggressor and the prospective seller who’s the victim? Anyone who thinks about this for a minute will realize it’s impossible for human beings to coexist with such extremist fanatics.
 
The whole basis of the corporatist planned economy is supply-based, commodity-based, and export-based. It seeks nothing but corporate profit, corporatist power, corporatist control, corporatist domination.
 
Humanity must abolish this top-down command economy and replace it with real economies which are demand-based and use-based, where the point of economic activity is human prosperity, human health, human betterment, human happiness. This is part of our great need to abolish corporations as such.
 
As for the specifics of MIR162/China problem, I wrote about it here. The funniest part is that US contractors are so worried about Duracade, which is already a pre-failed product, but evidently they’re buying and planting it anyway. Good luck with that. The rootworms say Hi.

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February 24, 2014

Corporatism and Globalization: The Context of the TTIP and TPP

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Perhaps the best way to prove the tyrannical intentions of the globalizers is to start with their own words. If we look at the manifestoes and comments issued by the various business consortiums, industry groups, and individual corporations, we find the unvarying demand that all government action be subordinated to the corporate profit prerogative, and that no other value be allowed to interfere with this.
 
This is why I call corporations and their intent totalitarian. My definition of this term: A powerful person or entity is relentless in pursuit of an imperative, at every moment wants to enforce the domination of that imperative to the fullest extent possible, and refuses to recognize the right of any other value to exist at all. A totalitarian may or may not be willing to “tolerate” the existence of something purely extraneous. But where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
 
One of the reasons I became a GMO abolitionist is that this fact of the impossibility of coexistence is most clearly demonstrated in the case of agricultural poisons, where the unrelenting, uncompromising assault contaminates not just every economic and political aspect it touches, but goes the farthest in extending its indelible physical corruption to every physical medium – the soil, the water, the air, the wild plants and animals, the cultivated crops and livestock, our own bodies.
 
But the same phenomenon is general across all corporate sectors, which is why every kind of thinker, writer, and activist, however much one may want to resist this choice, will in the end have to choose between humanity, and therefore corporate abolition, or a total corporate domination which will destroy whatever it is one values. Many, certainly most established NGO types, seem already to be making their choices, though in a sense it’s an early day as yet. We must not succumb to one of the standard pathologies of progressives, that of demanding instant gratification.
 
In particular, there’s the pathology that any idea which can’t be boiled down to running candidates in the next election (and not just monkey-wrenching, gridlocking anti-corporate candidates, but affirmatively “good”, policy-intending ones, no less) is bad, “impractical”, objectionable, offensive, certainly to be rejected. We need to be aware that we’re in this for what from the point of view of a human life is the long haul. We’re not likely to see the abolition of corporations, perhaps not even of GMOs, in our lifetimes. (Well, at over 40 I’m not likely. Perhaps someone half my age may live to see it.) I’m clear that I was put here to be a writer, to express these ideas as well as I can, to broadcast them as far as I can, and leave it to people to use these expressions (not the ideas themselves, which can only coincide or not with the drive of the people; no one can ever convince anyone of anything they don’t already feel) in whatever way people find good.
 
And so back to the analysis of globalization as an economic and anti-political offensive being carried out by corporatism toward the goal of total domination. By economic and anti-political I mean that the goal is total domination through total economic domination, while all real manifestations of politics are to be suppressed completely. (The neoliberal phony semblance of “politics” – sham elections, nominal constitutional rights and so on – may continue for some time.) Power will be exercised at the command of corporate oligopoly sectors, by executive government bureaucracies and extranational globalization tribunals, and increasingly, directly by the corporations themselves.
 
The policies business wants encoded in the TTIP and TPP and enforced by governments and World Bank tribunals provide a clear picture of what these persons are. They’re nominally “businessmen” seeking “profit”. They’re really political and economic totalitarians seeking total power and control. They seek this under the rubric of business ideology, and using the corporation as their basic mode of organization. But any large corporation is not really trying  to provide a good/service and make a profit, but is rather a power-seeking organization using its particular economic sector as its base of operations. It seeks to attain total power within that sector and use that economic base to assert political domination as extensively as possible.
 
I was about to say, “just because it’s not overtly political, the way a de jure political party or political pressure group is, doesn’t make it any less the same kind of organization.” But in fact anyone who pays attention to corporate actions knows they’re every bit as openly political as any non-profit, de jure political group. Corporations and their trade groups describe and disseminate political principles, devise political strategies and carry them out, lobby nominal politicians and regulators. There’s really no such thing as a lobbyist-politician dichotomy, but only two political activists talking to one another. In every way corporations are organizations which seek political power. The only difference is that under representative democracy a de jure “party” is the kind of organization which runs someone called a “candidate” for a particular type of political office, while corporations are bureaucracies, identical in a de facto way to nominal government bureaucracies like the USDA or FDA.
 
Under the conditions of complex globalized economies real power naturally tends to accumulate with the bureaucracies, and whether these are nominally “public”, like the USDA, or nominally “private”, like Monsanto, makes no difference. Even an executive office-holder like a US president, let alone a legislator, would need to powerfully exert himself to alter this bureaucracy’s inertia in any significant way. Indeed, only revolutionary regimes have been able to do so. But then that could be a definition of a revolutionary government under modern conditions: A government whose leaders want to alter significantly the inertial trajectory of the bureaucracy. This is hard to do for a nominal government bureaucracy. For a private one like a corporation, it may be impossible unless the corporation wants to alter itself. Since under no circumstances would a corporation want to do this at the behest of a bottom-up people’s movement, it follows that while a people’s movement in theory may think of seizing the reins of government and altering the trajectory of government bureaucracy, such a movement can logically think only of abolishing corporations.
 
Still, if one wants to continue with complex commodification and globalization, one must accept the domination of bureaucracy in one form or another. The whole question becomes simpler if we understand that commodification and globalization as such are unnecessary for prosperity and undesirable from any human point of view. If we then seek not just to abolish corporations but to abolish all supply-based planned economy and restore purely demand-based economies, we can think of dispensing completely with bureaucratic rule. We can even think of having a choice among various forms of direct or assembly-based democracy.
 
Those are questions for another time. Under today’s conditions centralized representative government is not and cannot be anything but a sham. Neoliberalism has been, among other things, the art of perfecting the aesthetics, emotional manipulation, and intellectual astroturfing potential of this sham. It hasn’t just enlisted the mass media, the entertainment industry, the arts, the law, academia, the scientism ideology and scientific establishment, and the twin bourgeois ideologies of conservatism and liberalism, all of which would have happened anyway. It has convinced these adherents and practitioners to accept corporate rule as veritably a law of nature, something never to be questioned or even noticed, even in thought, and brought all these realms to the most potent level of marketing appeal to the atomized mass. All this is just the facade of power and culture.
 
Real power is inertially in the hands of the bureaucracies, “public” and “private”. But of course bureaucracies don’t just passively receive and use the power which economic structures deliver to them. On the contrary, globalization is a planned economy. It’s been planned by those same bureaucrats toward the goal of permanently increasing and expanding their power. Going back to the rise of imperialist ideology and corporate lobbying in the 19th century, corporatism has relentlessly and with ever greater self-consciousness and intentional focus sought to build this command economy. (I won’t here get into the history of where corporatism came from in the first place, but I wrote extensively about it here and here.)
 
This reached a new level of aggressiveness in the post-war time, and especially since the end of the Cold War. NAFTA and the “trade” pacts based upon it have comprised the state of the art in post-Cold War globalization offensives. Today the TTIP and the TPP propose to expand the NAFTA model from North America across both oceans to encompass Europe and the Pacific Rim under a single corporate umbrella, turn the Atlantic and Pacific into ponds upon one big corporate park, use this power position to overawe Latin America and ruthlessly subjugate Africa, and to crush what’s left of the substance of democracy and economic self-determination in every country encompassed, including America and the EU.
 
The twin bureaucratic structures, corporate and regulatory, understand this mission well. They see total power within their grasp. Today they’re gearing up to reach for it. The coupled mechanisms of the globalization compacts through which they intend to attain the totalitarian goal are “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) and “regulatory coherence”. The former is a direct assault on democracy, civil society, and politics as such, as well as being a massive corporate welfare conveyor. The latter is a formula for total bureaucratic Gleichschaltung (coordination). More specifically, it’s a plan to fully and formally institutionalize the subservience of government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy, and to fully rationalize the processes of this subservience.
 
In subsequent posts on this I’ll relate the corporate plan for regulatory coherence in the corporations’ own words, relate the echo as it has come back from the governments and regulators, and do the same for ISDS. That’ll bring us to the EC’s upcoming, much-hyped “consultation” on ISDS with the people of Europe. Throughout, my examples will focus on GMOs and the GMO cartel. But this sector is not only extremely aggressive, but in principle is typical of them all. So the same description and the same kind of examples will apply in all other powerful sectors. Because the GMO cartel’s obsession with kicking down Europe’s door is at the core of the US government’s goals for the TTIP/TAFTA, I’ll naturally be focusing on the Atlantic side. But the TPP has the same provisions and the same goals.
 
Next up – the “regulatory coherence” wish lists and strategic plans of the US Chamber of Commerce, BusinessEurope, and the GMO cartel.

 
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February 21, 2014

GMO News Summary 2/21/14

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*In Russia the proposed bill to tighten GMO labeling standards on imported products and ban GMO cultivation within the country (there’s currently a bureaucratic moratorium) continues to wend its way through the legislative process while a new poll found that 80% of Russians distrust GMOs. The media is also touting organic exports as a potential Russian trade advantage which ought to be exploited. This reinforces part of the impression I have, that unlike the EU, Russia views this as a competitive issue rather than one of self-sacrifice to corporate domination.
 
I’ve been thinking the same thing about European agriculture in general. It looks to me like the proposed TTIP/TAFTA is an old-fashioned power move by the US government against European power, at the behest of the truly international corporate system (e.g., of the GMO cartel’s Big Five, three are nominally from the US, two from Europe, and their combined interest transcends both). Corporatism is veritably an attempt at One World Government, in the only form such a thing can exist, a totalitarian supply-based command economy. This is why corporatism’s lackey, wants to shift power from national governments: (1) as much as possible directly to the corporations, (2) where another layer of “government” is deemed necessary, to supranational globalization cadres like the IMF, WTO, and the corporate tribunals the TTIP and TPP would establish. The European Commission, itself a supranational bureaucracy, identifies with this global corporate system rather than with the countries, let alone the people, of Europe.
 
*A new study further confirms the link between glyphosate and celiac disease and gluten intolerance, two of the many digestive system-related diseases whose incidence has surged in correlation with the rise of GMOs and their concomitant agricultural poisons, like glyphosate, in our diets.
 
*I’ve previously written about the Sarpo Mira corporate welfare GM potato. Now there’s more information coming out about this government product. As we suspected, it’s a typical hoax which, even if it performs as claimed, is inferior to the conventional breeds which were pirated to produce it. Yet 3 million British pounds and counting in taxpayer funds have been thrown down this hole, while the real potato breeders are starved of research funds.
 
(The publicly-funded research institute, the John Innes Center, is the same I’ve previously mentioned for performing brassica research on behalf of Monsanto and running a completely pointless GM wheat field trial at its Rothamsted plot. We can see how the JIC is nothing but a taxpayer-funded corporate welfare conveyor and propaganda disseminator. These trials, where they aren’t conceived as actual profitable research on behalf of the cartel, are mostly examples of propaganda by action, as I described in my post on British field trials.) 
 
This is one example, small in itself but typical, of how the GMO research agenda is coordinated by governments to attain the related goals of conveying corporate welfare to the GM cartel, and smothering agroecological and sustainability research through denying it funding.
 
The corporate media runs a similar program, loudly touting even the most absurd claims on behalf of GMOs while imposing a blackout on the real progress made by conventional breeding and agroecology. Two classic examples are those of “drought-resistant GM maize” and the “cancer-fighting GM purple tomato”. In both cases the product is a fraud, while information about the conventionally bred varieties which really do the great things claimed is systematically suppressed. 
 
*Transcripts from the Steve Marsh lawsuit against trespassing and vandalism will be published online. The defendant, GM canola contractor Michael Baxter, claims his plantings met regulatory standards. If true, this is simply more proof that regulations are drawn up to meet whatever specifications the cartel demands, and not to achieve any actual public interest requirement. The alleged “public interest” character of regulatory bureaucracies is a propaganda sham, while their actions always obey corporate demands. And if Baxter’s plantings were fully legal, that’s further proof that coexistence with GMOs is impossible, and that humanity must abolish them completely.
 
*Speaking of “coexistence”, the USDA is extending till March 4 the comment period on its fraudulent and ideological coexistence policy. “Coexistence” is physically and politically impossible, as GMOs and the corporations which purvey them are totalitarian in both ways. The USDA wants to promulgate this policy as a propaganda offensive, and as a way to extend to agriculture the general trend of stripping the people of such rights as the right to go to court as a group, and instead to substitute coerced corporate “arbitration” in place of the judicial branch. This is a typical part of the general plan to shift all power from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. To put it in terms of US constitutionalism, corporatism involves the wholesale shift of power and control from the first three constitutional branches of “government” to the extraconstitutional Fourth Branch called “corporations”.
 
In reality, where it comes to power there is no government/corporation dichotomy, and no public/private dichotomy. There is only concentrated power, which is inherently tyrannical and inefficient from any reality-based point of view. Nominal governments and corporations together comprise the corporate state. Globalization compacts like the TTIP and TPP and cadres like the WTO are attempts to further consolidate this corporate state monolith, coordinate its actions, and intensify its power and control.
 
The GMO regime is a core part of the whole project. So that’s another reminder of how GMOs are economically and politically totalitarian, and how humanity cannot coexist with them but must abolish them completely. Here’s three reminders on how coexistence is physically impossible.
 

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February 15, 2014

Monsanto Admits: 1. We Don’t Need Genetic Engineering, 2. We Don’t Need Monsanto

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Recently Wired magazine ran a Monsanto infomercial touting its alleged change of strategic course on vegetables. Monsanto, through its subsidiaries Seminis and others, is selling a line of high-end conventional vegetables dolled up as some kind of high-tech breakthrough. Contrary to the tone of the piece, these products, and the thinking behind them, aren’t new. The vegetables have been on sale for years. The only thing new is the expanded media blitz in Wired and other corporate media outlets.
 
The most interesting thing about this marketing campaign is the way it admits that genetic engineering doesn’t work and conventional breeding does.
 

Furthermore, genetically modifying consumer crops proved to be inefficient and expensive. Stark estimates that adding a new gene takes roughly 10 years and $100 million to go from a product concept to regulatory approval. And inserting genes one at a time doesn’t necessarily produce the kinds of traits that rely on the inter­actions of several genes. Well before their veggie business went kaput, Monsanto knew it couldn’t just genetically modify its way to better produce; it had to breed great vegetables to begin with. As Stark phrases a company mantra: “The best gene in the world doesn’t fix dogshit germplasm.”

 
That’s Monsanto itself speaking through its media mouthpiece. This is key, an admission of what GM critics have been saying for many years: It doesn’t work to try to engineer complex factors like nutritional content, perishability, drought resistance, salt tolerance, nitrogen efficiency, and the many other traits which have so long been touted in the media, in the form of hoaxes like “Golden Rice”. Such traits can be developed only through conventional breeding, as Monsanto now admits. The only things that ever worked in genetic engineering were simple, stupid, and brutal – plants that produce their own poison, and plants resistant to being sprayed with poison.
 
The reason for hoaxes like Golden Rice and frivolous misdirection like these boutique vegetables is to rehabilitate the Monsanto brand name and whitewash the GMO brand in general.
 
Monsanto and the corporate media are now reduced to a more narrow lie, that Monsanto can do conventional breeding better than others. This is based on fraudulent touting marker-assisted selection (MAS), which was developed over many decades by publicly funded research, as “the new Monsanto way” (as Wired’s lie would have it). MAS can be a useful supplement to conventional breeding, but is only as good as the uses to which it’s put. In recent years it’s been subjected to the same process as other aspects of agricultural breeding – public funding and university research are hijacked on behalf of the goals of the GMO cartel. Huge amounts of funding which could have gone to public interest MAS, or to the much less expensive but sophisticated techniques of conventional breeding, instead go to narrowly conceived corporate goals.
 
Thus, while MAS is a more intelligent and precise technology than genetic engineering, Monsanto puts it to a stupid and clumsy use, in the process sucking up critical research resources, impoverishing the range of germplasm which is researched at all, and trying to enclose this range. So Monsanto’s conventional breeding, in the same way as its genetic engineering, is neither innovative nor beneficial. 
 
But let’s go through the main examples and ask whether we need these products, do they work, are they safe, and whether or not we need Monsanto for anything.
 
*Biofortified broccoli. Dubbed the “Beneforte” broccoli, the main attraction is that it’s bred to be rich in glucoraphanin, metabolic precursor to the antioxidant sulforaphane. (Ironically, the #1 GMO hoax, Golden Rice, could be a potent retinoic acid over-stimulator, which may cause cancer. It’s also ironic that a glucoraphanin-rich vegetable has such an affinity with the same over-the-counter supplements the FDA has often scapegoated, including for a lethal disaster caused by genetic engineering, and which “professional skeptic” scammers like to beat up on even as they genuflect before GMO junk science.)
 
Glucoraphanin is denatured by cooking, and may require digestive support from a healthy microbiome (gut bacteria), which glyphosate and GMOs help destroy. So the touted high-glucoraphanin broccoli may be similar to the Golden Rice hoax also in that its nutritional enrichment may not be effective within the cuisine it’ll likely be part of. Want any special benefit from this broccoli? Get ready to eat a lot of it raw.
 
Excessive doses of glucoraphanin may also be harmful to the thyroid, cause goiter, and may actually boost free radicals instead of detoxifying them. Its touted anti-cancer properties may also damage healthy cells.
 
As always, there’s no substitute for eating a healthy diet mostly of unprocessed, unpoisoned, and as much as possible locally produced food. Only in that context could we get any supplementary benefit from this broccoli. But in that context we wouldn’t need it. Less expensive regular broccoli is at least as good and perhaps better since it doesn’t have any potential health downsides.
 
That Monsanto makes such a big deal out of how this variety is a cross between “commercial broccoli” (which kind is evidently a trade secret; they don’t want you to see how they pirated a public domain variety) and a wild relative from Italy is an acknowledgement of the importance of maintaining the natural germplasm biodiversity. While the “Beneforte” variety is not important to humanity, others which may be bred from this wild germplasm may be important. But wild brassicas, under threat from contamination by GM canola (cf. pp. 28-29), are just one of the many genetically beleaguered wellsprings of critical biodiversity.
 
The corporate publicity page touts how it was researchers from the publicly-funded John Innes Center who found and analyzed this wild brassica. So who created the Beneforte broccoli? In descending order of importance, each standing atop the foundation of the previous levels:
 
1. Nature.
 
2. Farmers working on broccoli breeding for thousands of years.
 
3. Public sector broccoli breeders in the 20th century.
 
4. Publicly-funded research in marker-assisted breeding.
 
5. Publicly-funded researchers at outfits like the John Innes Center.
 
6. Breeders at seed companies like Seminis, which the pesticide company Monsanto simply bought.
 
7. I can’t quite figure out which part Monsanto contributes at the end, in spite of the hyper-ventilating of Wired.
 
There’s even less to say for the “innovation” involved in the two other featured products.
 
*”Frescada” lettuce. It purports to be biofortified as well, so it’s a glorified vitamin supplement. But its real alleged feature is that under globalization conditions (mechanized poison-based growing, warehousing, transport, supermarket and big box retailing) it’ll maintain its texture and taste better than other industrial varieties.
 
The lettuce is sold “cored, trimmed, and ready to use”. Therefore much of its price premium is really for standard post-harvest value-adding, “convenience”.
 
So this is really a glorifed convenience product which will allegedly taste better and maintain its texture and nutrition better than other industrial lettuces under globalization conditions.
 
Again, it’s no substitute, either in taste or nutrition, for lettuce grown and distributed in a sustainable way. But it is far more expensive.
 
*”BellaFina” peppers. This is just silly. These have no feature other than smallness. My seed catalogs include several such varieties, such as Cupid in Johnny’s, and Shishito in High Mowing. There’s nothing new here but the branding hype.
 
For both of these varieties as well, Seminis did nothing but use the existing heritage of bred germplasm and technology in a corporate-directed way, to produce a pointless industrial product, and Monsanto does nothing but orchestrate the propaganda and collect the profits.
 
Meanwhile Monsanto isn’t guaranteeing that these products actually do any of the things claimed for them. On the contrary, in what’s standard procedure for Monsanto, all the risk and liability is shifted to the contract farmers. According to the piece: “Harvests [must] meet the standards of firmness, sweetness, or scent.” In other words there’s no reason to believe any of this even consistently works in reality the way they claim it does in the lab and in their test marketing. If anything goes wrong, the farmers will get the blame, as they have in the case of the epidemic of superweeds Monsanto generated with its Roundup regime. 
 
So that’s what’s up with Monsanto’s “going organic in the quest for a perfect veggie”, as Wired fatuously blathers? It’s an admission that genetic engineering doesn’t work and isn’t necessary, dressed up in the best virtue-of-necessity PR finery.
 
That doesn’t mean we should believe that Monsanto has given up on its prior avowed goal of enclosing all vegetables within the GMO enclosure. The fact that GM vegetables don’t work doesn’t differentiate them from herbicide-tolerant and insecticide-producing crops, which also don’t work. The fact that these are failed technologies hasn’t slowed down Monsanto and its government lackeys.
 
Even if for the sake of argument we were to believe Monsanto has given up on GE vegetables, the master plan remains the same: Pirate the germplasm, get Certificates of Protection (COPs), use market muscle to drive the non-Seminis etc. varieties out of the commercial trade, force growers to become indentured contractors. As usual the expensive new products are unnecessary at best, and likely to be hoaxes (e.g. glucoraphanin-rich broccoli). They’re boutique products with a fraudulent “hi-tech” aura meant to appeal to the Whole Foods contingent. (“Enhanced premium veggies for an elite buyer.”) Therefore they’re part of the propaganda of the industrial organic sector, which is meant to normalize GMOs (even though these aren’t GMOs).
 
Therefore, this “news” changes nothing from the point of view of abolitionism. It’s confirmation that genetic engineering is a shoddy, hyper-expensive technology which doesn’t work and was never necessary anyway. It’s confirmation of everything critics have always said, that conventional breeding is sufficient and superior to GE. Most of all it’s confirmation that corporations like Monsanto, with all the evils they perpetrate, are unnecessary, that they do nothing but steal (in this case, the public domain germplasm), enclose (the goal is to drive non-”protected” varieties out of the market), and destroy (the agricultural and wild germplasm; and as always everything which is destroyed by poison-based agriculture – the soil, the air, the water, forests, the environment, human and livestock health), toward their own power goals.
 
But the purpose of propaganda like this media campaign is to try to make failure look like success, theft look like innovation, and the prison walls of our agricultural economy look reasonable and normal.

 
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February 10, 2014

The TTIP, Corporatism, and GMOs

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Negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, aka TAFTA) has been slowed over the EU’s felt need to take time for a “consultation” with the people of Europe over its “investor rights” provisions. That means it needs more time for propaganda. Meanwhile any cosmetic revisions of this draconian provision won’t affect the harshness of the proposed compact’s other provisions.
 
As with previous compacts, the corporate drivers of this plan hope to enshrine a race to the bottom, where all regulation and public interest policy, as well as all aggressive corporatist policy, has to be “equalized” at the most pro-corporate, anti-human level among the adherents to the pact. For example, since GMO labeling is required in Europe but not in the US, Europe would be expected to relinquish its labeling policies, which would equalize regulation between the entities where it came to this issue. The same will be true of European agricultural and food safety policies in general. Similarly, US law and constitutional jurisprudence would have to conform to Europe’s less strict regulation of the finance sector, and perhaps to its more strict regulation of seeds.
 
In general, US regulation is more lawless and corporate-aggrandizing than that of the EU. As its proximate goal, the proposed compact is intended primarily to dismantle European protections and open up Europe to an escalated US corporate assault.
 
Given how one-sided the compact will be, how generally pro-US (including in the term “US”, US-based corporations, which are best seen as extensions of the US government and of US power), the eagerness of European Commission (EC) bureaucrats to conclude this deal looks like economic malpractice and treason to the European people. Where it comes to real economic fundamentals Europe is doing very well. In particular, Europe’s agricultural sector outperforms that of the US in every qualitative way and in all the meaningful quantitative ways. Looking toward the post-fossil fuel future, Europe, while far from having a truly resilient agriculture and food system, is in a far better position to transform these systems to post-oil needs.
 
Destroying Europe’s agricultural advantages and opening up Europe to the full onslaught of US agricultural products and systems is the main goal of the US in pushing for this compact in the first place.
 
Why does the EC want to do this? What does this say about the nature of the EU bureaucracy? And why would European governments want to go along with this? The answers must go to the core of why Europeans feel they need this economic union, even as they still feel extreme ambivalence about the political coordination it implies, and which the EC is trying to enforce.
 
All the types of regulation and public interest policy the TTIP would gut are among the irritating political residue which corporatism seeks to abolish.
 
1. Corporatism is the process by which the 1% seeks to shift decision-making power and control from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. In US constitutional parlance, the system is transferring this power asset from the three branches of government enshrined in the written constitution to the extra-constitutional Fourth Branch, the corporations. In this way, power and control are shifted from nominally accountable “representative democracy” to power structures which are totally unaccountable even in principle. The nominal government remains as corporate welfare bagman and police thug, and to maintain the fraudulent facade of elections and whatnot. This process is also called neoliberalism, since it seeks to maintain the semblance of classical liberalism and pseudo-democracy even as it institutes most of the substance of fascism.
 
2. The EC, like any bureaucracy, despises democracy and accountability, and politics as such, and seeks to maximize its own power as such without any necessary reference to what its nominal job is supposed to be.
 
3. To its ongoing frustration, the EC hasn’t been able to persuade Europeans to relinquish political power, nor has economic Gleichschaltung (coordination) gone as far as they want (which is always the maximum conceivable).
 
GMOs are an excellent case study: Politically and culturally they’re rejected by Europe. From any rational point of view they’re clearly against the European economic interest. Yet the EC wants to force Europe to subject itself to the full GMO takeover of commodity agriculture, as has been happening in the US. This is the most clear-cut example of how globalization and corporatism have nothing to do with trade or economic rationalism, and everything to do with power.
 
4. The TTIP is meant to override European democracy and European politics in general. I’ve previously written about how globalization is inherently anti-political. Corporatism sees politics as such to be an atavism. Globalization is meant to impose bureaucratic, anti-political solution to this atavism.
 
(I still consider the NYT piece I wrote about here to be a classic of corporate media “journalism”. Every sentence embodies the assumption that the corporate project must go forward. The inconvenient fact that the people of Europe don’t want the GMO element of this project to go forward is depicted as a technical hurdle to be overcome. From the point of view of corporatism and technocracy, human needs and wants are indeed nothing but technical problems to be “solved”.)
 
The name “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, although meant as an anodyne euphemism to replace the politically inflammatory “TAFTA”, expresses what the globalization process sees as the only real sovereign group and political constituency – corporate “investors”. Meanwhile the term “trade” is purely Orwellian, since globalization is not about legitimate demand-based trade, but the extreme opposite: Forcing supply upon markets which don’t demand it at all, or don’t demand it in the form corporatism wants to supply it. Whether one looks at GMOs as a discrete genre of product, or as a form of agricultural production, either way there’s zero demand for them. All “demand” is forced into being by planned economy measures. Pro-GMO TTIP policy is an escalation of this command economy.
 
(This is yet another reason to eschew the propaganda term “free trade”. We should never let this term pass unnoticed in our thoughts and words. Globalization has nothing to do with legitimate trade. It is all about maximizing the imperatives and prerogatives of supply-driven corporate “markets”, toward the corporate concentration of all economic and political power.)
 
This leads us to the specific case of GMOs and their structural importance. Obviously the US government and the GMO cartel see Europe as a massive, relatively untapped market. But beyond this, they have a structural imperative to force all economies to come under GMO domination. They also loathe the current state of European agriculture as a real world alternative which has proven superior in every way to GMO domination. Europe proves every day that even given the parameters of industrial agriculture, GMOs are unnecessary and inferior. Europe proves every day that conventional agriculture performs better and less expensively without them. This is an ongoing embarrassment and affront to US corporatism. The US corporate system tries to deny this in the same way that during the Cold War the US and USSR would deny the very existence of ways in which they were outperformed by the other.
 
They would have destroyed these embarrassing facts if they could. Today the US government is trying to use the TTIP to wipe out the embarrassing fact of Europe’s superior agriculture and its far healthier food system. The EC bureaucracy is coordinated with this goal, since by its nature it sees things in terms of corporate one-world government rather than as a power struggle with the US-corporatist bloc.
 
The people of Europe have a more clear view of the real nature of the power struggle, although they too have been indoctrinated into the commodification/”growth” ideology to the point that they accept most of its premises even as they demonstrate great ambivalence in practice. This ideological indoctrination is why they tolerate the “European Union” in the first place. European national governments are ambivalent, feeling caught in the middle. Then there’s the EU’s position of institutionalized ambivalence, the European Council. This is the level of the system where governments function though bureaucratic fiat, but can still feel political pressure from the people. Meanwhile the European Parliament is the EU version of a “representative” assembly, primarily a powerless facade.
 
We have a good current case study with the application for cultivation of DuPont’s 1507 stacked maize variety. The people of Europe overwhelmingly reject it. The European Parliament voted it down. The Council just voted it down, albeit with many abstentions by both pro-GM and ostensibly anti-GM governments. These abstentions at the level of representatives of national governments, meant to shield those governments from political backlash while helping to give the EC bureaucracy cover if it unilaterally decides to approve the application, exemplify the ambivalence over the whole EC economic coordination project.
 
No one outside the bureaucrats and the corporations really likes the EU concept, and proposed compacts like the TTIP drive this ambivalence to extremes. That’s why the EC feels the need to take time out to “consult” the people on the “investor rights” provision, and why the compact is slated to include a “regulatory coherence” provision meant to postpone the most inflammatory detailed policy-making till after the “agreement” is concluded. I’ll be writing more about these shortly.
 
So there’s some notes on what’s going on with TTIP/TAFTA, globalization, and the GMO regime.

 
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February 7, 2014

GMO News Summary February 7/2014

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I’m intending to do a weekly news summary. Here’s the first installment.
 
*If the monarch butterfly goes extinct, as it looks poised to do within our lifetimes, the main cause will be herbicide-based agriculture. GMO abolition can still prevent this outcome.
 
*Scotts’ GM Kentucky bluegrass is looking to be the first commercialized GMO to enter a non-regulatory black hole the USDA has created. GMO regulation in the US is already a joke, in principle and practice. But for newer varieties, as far as the USDA is concerned there’s to be no regulation at all.
 
(Another good example of how under Democrat power the GMO assault has been escalated and accelerated. In practice there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans, and GMO policy is one of the best examples of this. It’s impossible for anyone who cares about GMOs to think there’s anything to choose here. Obama’s been the most aggressively pro-Monsanto president yet in every way, and clearly considers this a core element of his presidency.)
 
*It’s a race to the bottom, and indeed probably illegal, to find experimental subjects for the alleged “cancer-fighting GM purple tomato”. The thing is probably not even meant to be commercialized. It’s more potentially useful as hype than as another failed GM product like the Kenyan GM sweet potato or any glyphosate-tolerant variety. It’s worthless and unnecessary. Meanwhile, as always in these cases, there exists a higher-quality, non-hazardous, less expensive non-GM variety. High-anthocyanin purple tomatoes have been conventionally bred in Brazil.
 
*The editor of Food and Chemical Toxicology refuses to retract a recently published bogus study, although in every way it’s inferior to Seralini study, including in being far less “conclusive”. Hayes gave as his reason for the retraction that the Seralini was “inconclusive”. This is not only a lie – the Seralini study is above average among scientific studies in general in the strength of its conclusions – but violates Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) guidelines, which allow for retraction only in the case of fraud, misconduct, or gross incompetence. Hayes cleared Seralini of any such problems. (Given his general willingness to lie, we have to figure the reason Hayes didn’t accuse Seralini of fraud while he was at it is that he’s a coward. Seralini has a history of successfully suing hacks for libeling him, so Hayes was probably too cowardly to cross a certain line in his lies.)
 
*New website dedicated to the rising protest of scientists against the suppression of the Seralini study and the corporate hijacking of science it exemplifies.
 
*Speaking of Seralini, he’s part of a team out with a new study comparing nine commercial poison formulations (three herbicides, three insecticides, three fungicides) with their official “active ingredients” in isolation. The study compares the toxicity of these poisons to human cells in vitro. The results: in 8 of 9 cases, the commercial formulation is more toxic, in most cases far more so, than the “active ingredient”.
 
This is further support for what citizens, scientists, public health workers, environmentalists, and many others have long been documenting, that regulation which focuses on a single arbitrary “active” ingredient rather than the true toxic brew which will be deployed in reality is a sham. The commercial formulations are far more toxic.
 
*Germany (the EU’s “rapporteur state” on glyphosate) recommends the EU recertify glyphosate and allow an increased level in food. As always, these recommendations of regulators that allowed levels of poisons be increased has zero to do with scientific evidence of safety (and usually directly contradicts the evidence), but simply authorizes whatever level the corporations want to deploy. This is regulator triangulation at its most stark and malevolent.
 
*Russian legislators are pushing a bill to ban all GM cultivation and restrict imports. Currently no cultivation has been approved, but several varieties are authorized for import in food and feed. The only restriction on these is that food containing them must be labeled. Meanwhile a new state registry for GMOs and products containing them is supposed to go into effect in June 2014. I’ve read conflicting reports on whether this is a good thing or not. Some campaigners oppose it claiming it will give the prime minister dictatorial discretion to allow GMO cultivation and expanded importation. The current PM, Medvedev, hasn’t sounded very pro-GMO, and in September ordered government agencies to study the prospect of a ban. Certainly a legal ban is much better instead of or on top of any government registry.
 
Although I haven’t had a chance to study Russia’s GMO situation yet, my default is to assume that their situation is similar to that of China. The elites don’t oppose GMOs out of the kindness of their hearts. If they have a go-slow or even oppositionist position, it’s because they view the Monsanto/US GMO cartel in the same way they’ve always viewed aggressive, domination-seeking US power. In that case they’re probably thinking in terms of building their own rival cartel.
 
*The latest experimental release of Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes will be in Panama this month. These frankenbugs allegedly are meant to help cut down on the population of mosquitoes which transmit dengue fever. Previous releases in the Cayman Islands and Malaysia, and an ongoing experiment in Brazil, have produced no evidence that this method works. The most likely result is that if it does work to reduce the target species, another species which also transmits dengue fever will expand to occupy the ecological niche. Such secondary pests are a regular result of GMO gambits, such as mirid bugs in China ravaging any Bt cotton which does temporarily work to suppress the target weevil.
 
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Let me know if there’s any other news. I didn’t get a chance yet to read about Bangladesh’s impending commercialization of BT brinjal (eggplant), an awful development. There’s zero reason for this product, and Southeast Asia is the world’s germplasm heritage center for eggplant. There are thousands of well-adapted varieties, including for insect resistance. No one on earth except for a handful of corporate gangsters needs or wants GM eggplant, and it would be a disaster for everyone except for these criminals.
 
This naturally effective biodiversity is exactly what GMO-based monoculture seeks to eradicate. That’s why Monsanto wants to eradicate the world’s resilient, public domain eggplant germplasm heritage and replace it with a hyper-vulnerable, genetically crippled and sterile, sure-to-fail proprietary enclosure.
 
So far Monsanto’s offensive has stalled out in India and the Philippines, but they’ve been hoping to break through in Bangladesh. The goal will then be to illegally infiltrate the rest of Southeast Asia, achieve a genetic coup, and present governments with an accomplished fact.
 
If this attack succeeds, the result could be the middle-run total enclosure of a radically diminished eggplant germplasm, and the long-run complete failure of the crop, with subsequent famine. This is what humanity is up against with all GMOs. This is why “coexistence” with GMOs is impossible, and why their total abolition is necessary.

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February 2, 2014

The Seralini Suppression, Science, EU Regulation, and the TTIP

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This piece from GMOSeralini.org puts the recent suppression by Food and Chemical Toxicology of the 2012 Seralini study in a broader political context.
 
To recap the facts: In September 2012 FCT published the study by a team led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, analyzing the toxicology of the Monsanto Roundup Ready maize variety NK603. The study followed several years of advocacy on the part of Seralini and other scientists, calling for such a study after Monsanto’s own industry-geared feeding trial had found evidence of toxicity. The study contained three kinds of experimental groups: Groups fed NK603 which had been sprayed with Roundup, groups which were fed NK603 without Roundup, and groups fed the non-GM isogenic equivalent of NK603, with Roundup added to their drinking water. Thus the study was unique in isolating the GMO and herbicide effects, as well as testing their combined effect.
 
The study was unique in being a full-length two year study, which comprises the full life cycle of the rat. Industry tests use an intentionally short period, usually 90 days, in order to prevent chronic effects from manifesting. Nevertheless evidence of toxicity had emerged in Monsanto’s own tests. The purpose of the Seralini study was to find out how far these toxic effects would go if played out through the entire life cycle of the animal. As per standard scientific procedure, the study used the same kind of rat Monsanto used, similar sample sizes, and was otherwise similar to the studies it was replicating. The only things it changed were extending the fraudulent 90-day study length to the valid two year length, and that it focused on health parameters, unlike the usual parameters in industry tests, like quick weight gain and feed conversion, which are irrelevant to safety studies.
 
The study found strong evidence of organ toxicity for all three groups, especially liver and kidney toxicity. It also found evidence that GMOs and Roundup cause cancer. But since it was designed as a toxicity study and not as a carcinogenicity study, Seralini and his team never claimed to have proven carcinogenicity. They noted this finding and called for cancer studies to be designed and performed. The study also found increased mortality among the experimental subjects, another finding calling for more study.
 
The GMO cartel and its media flacks never contemplated these results for a second. Before the study even appeared the cartel launched a media campaign to slander it. This campaign was never anything but a pack of flimsy, easily shot down lies. But in Britain it was sufficient to get the corporate media to purge the study from its pages. The attempt at preemptive suppression didn’t work in Europe, where controversy raged. (Meanwhile no such effort was needed in the US, where the corporate media largely suppressed the study of its own accord.) Governments and regulators joined the smear campaign, which as usual in these cases extended to personal attacks and threats against Seralini and his colleagues.
 
FCT came under heavy pressure from cartel flacks to retract the study. At first it refused. The cartel then switched to a more subtle, longer-term pressure campaign. This led to FCT creating in spring 2013 a new editorial position, especially created for a Monsanto cadre. Soon a secret review procedure, under cartel control, was convoked within FCT. In November FCT announced the retraction of the study. As is typical of GMO hacks, the reasons given by the journal’s editor-in-chief were absurd, self-contradictory, and violated Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines for retraction.
 
Meanwhile the original Monsanto studies, also published in FCT, which would also have to be retracted according to the same rationale (since they’re all inferior to the Seralini study by the editor’s own standards), remain on the books in good standing. What’s more, since the retraction FCT has published another bogus 90-day study with highly sloppy methodology which seems have been done as a rush job to “answer” Seralini. When the editor-in-chief was called upon to retract this study as well, he refused, thus openly proclaiming the prostitution of Food and Chemical Toxicology and its parent media company Elsevier (which has a long history of publication fraud and other offenses against science).  
 
We can group the goals of the suppression into defensive and offensive aspects.
 
1. Defensively, the retraction is meant to “disappear” the only long-term safety study which has yet been done upon a GMO (or upon Roundup). This means it’s the only fully legitimate safety study which has ever been done. The goal is to slander this particular study and give the corporate media a pretext to do so as well (which it has seized with glee). The goal is also to put a chill into researchers and potential funders for such studies, to put them on notice that the “scientific” establishment will not tolerate actual scientific studies on GMOs, only rigged ones.
 
We now have proof, an implicit concession from the cartel and from regulators, that if more studies like that of the Seralini team were performed, GMOs would be proven beyond any doubt to be toxic and carcinogenic. They’d no longer be politically tenable.
 
In the piece EU Parliament member and former French environmental minister Corinne Lepage stresses how the repression is meant to “close the door” on the scientific future. Seralini is cited giving his opinion that GMOs would not be financially viable if corporations had to submit their products to scientifically legitimate testing.
 
The piece adds a legalistic reason for disappearing the study. With the study retracted, it “can no longer be taken as a reference for risk assessment when considering applications for authorization of GMOs for food and especially for cultivation in the EU.”
 
I’m not sure how relevant this specific study would have been anyway. Standard regulatory dogma, first proposed by the (private) Monsanto front group the International Life Sciences Institute but taken up and parroted by the WHO and UN FAO as their recommendation to government regulators, is that each GMO application should be taken hermetically in itself. Regulators should never conceive classes, infer patterns, make deductions. (So much for science.) So EU regulators would’ve felt fine dismissing the Seralini study as at most applying to NK603 only.
 
(Of course, this refusal to deduce goes only one way. By contrast, once the individual “events” which comprise a stacked GMO have been approved, the regulator is supposed to feel free to approve the stacked product without further ado, since its individual components have been cleared. This too is anti-scientific. In addition to the original approvals being little more than rubber stamps with no evidence, this see-no-bad procedure ignores the known scientific fact that compound drugs or chemicals often have interactive, compounded, intensified, and otherwise synergistic effects. A stacked GMO also stacks the danger.)
 
Here too the main effect is meant to be the prior restraint of further scientific study, preventing it from ever happening in the first place through intimidation. The message to scientists is that their work, if they’re able to conduct it at all will be under unprecedented assault. The message to journals is that they’ll be put in the vise like FCT was. The message to funders is that it’s not worth getting involved.
 
“Seralini’s study is a pioneering experiment and needs to be confirmed”, said Paul Deheuvals of the Academy of Sciences. Monsanto agrees, which is why the study must not be confirmed. As I said, we can take the retraction which Monsanto forced as its own kind of confirmation. If Monsanto thought the Seralini study could legitimately be discredited through the normal scientific process of replicating it, they would’ve done so. The same goes for the 1999 Pusztai study and many others. The fact that the cartel and its hacks attack the science so viciously in the political realm but systematically demur from repeating these allegedly flawed studies is the biggest dog that didn’t bark in scientific history. It’s a complete concession on Monsanto’s part that all these studies are valid and give true results. It’s proof in itself.
 
Meanwhile, the reason why the EFSA was so fast and flippant in its initial dismissal of the Seralini study is that the study exposed it before the world for its corruption, sycophancy before the cartel, and the stupid, unscientific character of its review and approval procedures. It had no choice but to dig itself in deeper, in self-defense.
 
But the EFSA’s own defense only highlighted its corruption and how most of its leading personnel go back and forth through the revolving door with the cartel. Exposed before the world, the EFSA came under such intense pressure that it was forced to concede that the study was well-done and announce that it would commission a two-year safety study of its own. The French government announced that it would commission such a study of its own. If these studies are actually performed according to scientific standards, they will be the first real safety studies EVER commissioned by government regulators.
 
Therefore, one major effect of the Seralini study was that it put regulators in such a political position that they felt forced to make this concession, which is common sense from humanity’s point of view, extreme from theirs. Now that the study has been retracted, we’ll see if the regulators use this as a pretext to backpedal from their concessions to its methodology, or even to weasel out of conducting the promised studies at all.
 
2. Offensively, we can put the controversy over the study and its suppression in the context of the negotiations between US and EU elites over the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, AKA TAFTA. Amid the welter of proposals to escalate corporate tyranny via anti-democratic, anti-constitutional globalization cadres, the main goal of the US is destroy EU regulation of GMO cultivation, which is relatively strong, and its far weaker regulation on imports of GMOs in food and feed, which is still far stronger than the US would like. The EU’s GMO labeling policies are also targeted by the US.
 
The GMO cartel and US government especially feel this need as the politico-regulatory scene has not recently been friendly. The European Parliament recently voted to reject EU cultivation of Pioneer’s 1507 maize variety. This followed upon the European Court of Justice’s invalidation of the EFSA’s approval of BASF’s Amflora potato. While Amflora was already defunct (and BASF’s GMO division already quitting Europe for the warmer climate of North Carolina), the court’s criticism of EFSA’s procedures could apply to many of its other approvals.
 
This is also the climate in which, to much fanfare, Monsanto last summer announced it was “withdrawing from Europe”. While this “withdrawal” was never quite what it was cracked up to be (for example it involved only new applications for the time being, not the dozens of outstanding ones), it highlights how frustrated the cartel has become with Europe. TAFTA is now Monsanto’s great hope to break through in a way it has not hitherto been able. Since it’s made only modest progress against the regular pseudo-democracy of the EC, the cartel hopes to do better through direct globalization autocracy.
 
I don’t know if there’s a legalistic way in which, the study’s having been retracted, it cannot formally be introduced as evidence in the negotiations (assuming anyone would want to do so in the first place). At any rate the political pretext the retraction gives is important to EU elites who want to sell out the people of Europe. They’ve already come under such democratic pressure that they’ve had to slow down the negotiations. GMO regulation is a major rallying point for the people just as it is for the US government. EU elites probably hoped that the so-called “discrediting” of the Seralini study will help alleviate some of the bottom-up political pressure.
 
If this was their hope it seems to have backfired. The redoubled controversy over the censorship of science is driving more and more naturally reformist types to openly admit that science is being held hostage, and that the “scientific” and regulatory establishments can no longer be considered to have any credibility.
 
 
Lepage concluded her press conference with a set of four demands, highlighting many of the problems discussed in this post.
 
First, I call to action all scientists worthy of the name, just as professor [Paul] Deheuvels did earlier. He simply wants the progress of knowledge. [Scientists should] mobilise against the current consolidation in scientific publishing and for an end to the control exercised by the lobbies – and Mr [Richard E.] Goodman is an excellent example – on what can or cannot be published. Global knowledge and the advancement of science are at stake.
 
Meanwhile we must be prepared to go further and recognize that the existing “scientific” establishment, including the institution of “peer review”, has been largely corporatized and no longer has any scientific or political legitimacy.
 
But then, we should have learned by now that one of humanity’s tragic mistakes has been to put “science” on such a political pedestal in the first place. Scientists and technicians always should have been viewed as rather dubious hired help, and never seen as policy gurus. Even such a bourgeois stalwart as Winston Churchill put it, “science should be on tap, not on top.” Or to paraphrase the famous saying, science is too important to be left to the scientists.
 
Second, I appeal to all consumer organizations and European citizens to mobilize to show their opposition to the takeover of their health and diet by lobbies.[Third] I call for an end to what in reality are no longer merely conflicts of interest – but are the occupation of posts of responsibility by persons from lobbies in defence of their interests… And I am thinking first and in particular of Ms. [EU chief "scientist" Anne] Glover and a number of people at EFSA.

 
Exactly. The term “conflict of interest” is usually fanciful. This hack cadre is typical in being 100% focused on the corporate interest, and she knows no conflict whatsoever.
 
Finally, I appeal to the Council to finally reach a position on the vote of the first reading, which was adopted by the European Parliament in 2011 and which would at least allow European states to not legally cultivate GMOs on their territory if they so wish, and to require comprehensive studies to be carried out. It is vital that this text appears before the free trade agreements are concluded (not that I want them to be). Thank you.
 
Yes. But if the “agreement” goes through and does not protect this right, then what will you be willing to do? 
 
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January 26, 2014

Some Notes on Sources and Argumentation

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(More of these to come.) I often say that we need to be personal exemplars and ambassadors on behalf of freedom, democracy, and physically sound agriculture and food systems. Therefore those of us who choose to do so must also testify against corporate agriculture and food systems, and in particular against GMOs. A friend asked me which sources are good to cite and refer people to. My blogroll now lists the best sources I’m aware of, and I look forward to adding more as I learn of them. 
 
 
Just keep in mind that most people who ask for sources don’t really want them, but are just hoping to catch you without a clear answer. You can usually tell by their demeanor. In a case like that I say, “I doubt you really want sources, but for anyone who does, here it is…”
 
(I also stipulate ahead of time such principles as that seed patenting is illegitimate. Thus I anticipate such nonsense as “so you think all the courts are corrupt?” This was in response to my citation the CFS report on Monsanto’s domination of the seed sector and legal persecution of farmers. I replied, “Of course they are, if they can enshrine seed patenting in the first place.” It’s good to stay ahead of the liars and trolls and never look like you’re the one trying to answer THEM. It should always be, “As I already said…..so your canned lies have long since been thoroughly disproven.” Of course, if one doesn’t start out placing opposition to GMOs within a comprehensive anti-corporate context, one loses much of the rationale for one’s opposition, reducing it to squabbling over the health effects of this additive but not that additive.)
 
Then we need to demand what their “sources” are and be ready to laugh and shoot it down when they give anything from the corporate media, front group NGOs, etc.
 
Outfits like the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, and the Environmental Working Group are irreproachable as sources, since no honest person could ever claim these are “extremists” or “scary radicals”. On the contrary, their recommendations are as sedately bourgeois-reformist as they come. Indeed, EWG is partnered with Just Label It. So anyone who would reject those as trustworthy reporters on a subject like this is indicating simply that he would never accept discouraging words about GMOs or other poisons from anyone, and that his demand for “sources” is fraudulent.
 
Meanwhile, GMWatch, Earth Open Source, ENSSER, and the others I have on my blogroll are excellent, scientific, journalistic sources. Anyone who’s going to scoff at these as “activist” is probably going to scoff at anything. Indeed, saying that someone like Gilles-Eric Seralini is “an activist, not a scientist” is one of the standard canned lies.
 
The fact is that Seralini is typical of the GM critics among scientists in that he started out being basically pro-GMO, but had increasing doubts as he became more familiar with the evidence of toxicity the industry’s own tests were compiling and how the regulatory process simply waved it off. He and his colleagues repeatedly called for the EFSA to require real safety testing, and after this was ignored for years he sought to carry out a real study himself. This was the study published in 2012. Like with others, to the extent he’s become a strong critic of the GM establishment, it was in response to how it demonized him and other real scientists who were simply doing their jobs.
 
That’s for the canned lie that someone like Seralini is an “activist”. Meanwhile, I’d demand to know how those who would regurgitate this lie can figure that a Monsanto spokesman, Monsanto-funded technician, or NYT writer, are not “activists”. Not that there’s any equivalence there. Unlike them, Seralini has never gone around saying what he was paid to say, unless it was earlier in his career when he still believed in this stuff.
 
In truth, the activist-not-scientist label fits the pro-GM technicians and flacks to a tee. They’re the ones who regard the Monsanto imperative as religious truth; who seem to feel a sense of mission about the technology as such with zero regard for whether it actually works, what harms it does, and whether it does anyone any good or not; who are willing to tell any lie necessary and recklessly disregard truth wherever necessary (thus the full canned attack on the Seralini study was being launched even before it was published; self-evidently, the attack came from those who couldn’t have even read the study and didn’t really care what it said, what evidence it could offer, but were only going to attack and lie no matter what; and this has since gone for almost all detractors, who have never gone beyond the original canned lies) ; and who automatically, knee-jerk fashion, shout down anyone who even questions the Monsanto imperative, let alone produces evidence against it.
 
In the same way that the hacks are desperate to claim fraudulently the imprimatur of “science”, they’re also desperate to deny that all this is in the service of Monsanto (or in another form of the lie, that Monsanto is any kind of big deal in itself). So if anyone ever tries to pull this trick, make sure to nail it to them: Monsanto’s whole history of pure destructiveness and tyrannical aggression, even getting a court in Mississippi to rule that its behavior “outrages the conscience” (a technical legal finding which, as you might imagine, courts don’t find against corporations every day); its proclaimed intent to achieve (with its fellow cartel members) oligopoly control of the seed sector; its aggressive behavior toward this goal and in using this power; the fact of its increasing control over academic research and media propaganda.
 
Putting all that together, it becomes self-evident that:
 
1. Support for GMOs = support for Monsanto.
 
2. Monsanto is a highly aggressive corporation which has consistently proven that it has a sociopathic attitude toward poisoning workers, communities, and the environment, and that it regards monopoly position as both a goal to be aggressively sought and power to be aggressively used, all for zero purpose than its own profit and power. In other words, it is veritably a totalitarian organization. It can be regarded only with horror and loathing by anyone who cares about freedom, democracy, science, or simple human decency.
 
(If anyone were to say that this description isn’t unique to Monsanto, but applies to plenty of other corporations, this doesn’t diminish the power of the analysis, but merely proves further that corporations in general are psychopaths which need to be abolished.)

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January 23, 2014

Smash the Pro-GMO Elitists

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From Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism, Chapter 7 “Race and Bureaucracy”, part iii “The Imperialist Character”:
 
Every growth of democracy or even the simple functioning of existing democratic institutions can only be a danger, for it is impossible to govern “a people by a people – the people of India by the people of England.” Bureaucracy is always a government of experts, of an “experienced minority” which has to resist as well as it knows how the constant pressure from “the inexperienced majority.” Each people is fundamentally an inexperienced majority and can therefore not be trusted with such a highly specialized matter as politics and public affairs. Bureaucrats, moreover, are not supposed to have general ideas about political matters at all; their patriotism should never lead them so far astray that they believe in the inherent goodness of the political principles in their own country…
 
Reading this nowadays, I think first of how most of today’s technical cadres are committed ideologues of corporatism and scientism, and how most are dedicated elitists who will side with corporatism and against any kind of outside-the-system dissent on anti-democracy principle.
 
I’ll add to the above that today’s corporate bureaucrats and technicians are utterly ignorant where it comes even to “specialized matters”, let alone its practical application. Where it comes to GMOs we have a near-perfect void of arrogant ignorance, where plant technicians presume to speak on human toxicology, molecular biologists on agriculture, and of course PR flacks on every branch of science. Nowhere will you find a credentialed cadre speaking knowledgeably about his own specialization.
 
(This is standard across all sectors by now, of course. No one knows less about the human economy than credentialed economists and Wall Street bureaucrats, no one less about health care than insurance bureaucrats, no one less about war than generals and War Department bureaucrats, etc.)
 
Thus we have the standard type: The credentialed technical cadre who knows nothing about agriculture or GMOs but who on principle supports Monsanto because the technocrats have to stick up for one another against the people, who they all see as the enemy. (This is even as they all live as pure leeches off our work and taxes.) Their contempt for democracy and the people comes out most clearly in their sneering dismissal of GMO labeling, which they openly oppose on the grounds that the people are too stupid to understand it.
 
Perhaps the most notorious example so far is last year’s anti-labeling editorial in “Scientific American”, once supposedly a legitimate scientific publication, but today a fully corporatized propaganda conveyor belt. The piece is remarkable in being straight, unmodified stenography of Monsanto’s own propaganda lies, no matter how tendentious, fanciful, or directly brazen these are. 
 
The whole piece reeks of contempt for the people and democracy, for how stupid and childish we are because we demand our rights and because we’re suspicious of the same propaganda campaign which said tobacco, asbestos, DDT, PCBs, thalidomide, and other technological wonders were safe.
 
Always remember that the arc of the GMO publicity fight is following with exactitude that of the fight against Big Tobacco. The only difference is that the stakes for humanity are much higher today in its struggle against the global campaign to toxify the entirety of our soil, water, and food.
 
Here’s just a few of the canned propaganda lies the piece plagiarizes:
 
*”We have been tinkering with our food’s DNA since the dawn of agriculture.”
 
Genetic engineering has nothing in common with conventional breeding, as anyone who knows anything about agronomy is aware.
 
*”Compared with conventional breeding techniques—which swap giant chunks of DNA between one plant and another—genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, is less likely to produce an unexpected result.”
 
On the contrary, sexual reproduction is well-ordered, holistic result of billions of years of evolution, which occurs within the same species, or sometimes closely related species. Genetic engineering is a random, clumsy, violent, disorderly shotgun mechanism, invading a genome with utterly alien genetic material. The results of genetic engineering are largely inscrutable even to the engineers, except insofar as they can select trial plants which demonstrate the gross phenotype sought – herbicide tolerance or Bt poison expression. For the rest, it’s a pure blindfolded crapshoot.
 
*”Many people argue for GMO labels in the name of increased consumer choice. On the contrary, such labels have limited people’s options…Today it is virtually impossible to find GMOs in European supermarkets.” 
 
Yes. The marketplace spoke. The people had full choice and they chose. In the US, on the contrary, GMOs had to be covertly infiltrated into our food. Monsanto has openly said the goal was to dominate the marketplace by stealth, and then present consumers with an accomplished fact. In the well-known words of a cartel flack: “The hope of the industry is that over time the market’s so flooded that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.”
 
Thus we have Monsanto openly admitting that the goal was to destroy the marketplace and rob consumers of all choice. Sure enough, it’s extremely difficult to choose non-GM food in US stores.
 
As we see, “Scientific American” and its fellow hacks are on board with this conspiracy against marketplace choice.
 
*”The measure would also have required farmers, manufacturers and retailers to keep a whole new set of detailed records and to prepare for lawsuits challenging the “naturalness” of their products.”
 
This is a canned lie lifted from the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s anti-labeling campaigns. It’s a direct lie – the labeling bills and initiatives which have been proposed do not allow for lawsuits against anyone.
 
*”Private research firm Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants estimated that Prop 37 would have raised an average California family’s yearly food bill by as much as $400.”
 
The GMA hired these flacks to package the lies it wanted to tell. But it’s clear that adding one line on the existing label wouldn’t increase anyone’s food bill one cent. Companies constantly change labels far more radically than that without having to raise the price.
 
*”Antagonism toward GMO foods also strengthens the stigma against a technology that has delivered enormous benefits to people in developing countries and promises far more.” 
 
Nowhere have GMOs done anything but increase and accelerate the immiseration of farmers and their being driven off their land and into shantytowns. Again, this is part of the intended goal of this escalation of corporate enclosure and control. The editors of “Scientific American” are complicit in this crime against humanity and must answer for it.
 
They invent, but fail to link to, a “study” claiming Indian farmers have benefited from Bt cotton. The factual record of debt slavery and mass suicide, adding up to veritable genocide, tells the true story.
 
*They regurgitate the standard lies about “golden rice”, which is nothing but a media hoax. The real story is that it doesn’t work, which is the only reason it hasn’t been commercialized after all these years of development and so much public research money stolen. The fact is that the cartel doesn’t actually want to bring golden rice to the market anyway, even if this were technically possible. (All the delays are 100% because of technical breeding problems, 0% because those nasty environmentalists are obstructing it.) 
 
*”Because conventional crops often require more water and pesticides than GMOs do, the former are usually more expensive.”
 
On the contrary, conventional and organic crops require less water and far less pesticides than do GMOs. Indeed, part of the purpose of GMOs is to force ever increasing use of agricultural poisons. The record is clear and unanimous over nearly twenty years of GMO commercialization. By now these hacks are reduced to telling straight lies, hoping to gull the ignorant.
 
*”The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tested all the GMOs on the market to determine whether they are toxic or allergenic.”
 
This is a straight, unvarnished lie. The FDA has never tested a single GMO, ever. Not one. The authors of the piece know this, and went ahead with this lie. That right there strips “Scientific American” of all credibility for the duration of its miserable existence, which we can hope will be short. It’ll also be a smoking gun piece of evidence at any tribunal trying these crimes against humanity. They may try to weasel their way out on propaganda like “it’s just like conventional breeding”, but no lawyer could ever rescue them from full conscious culpability for saying the FDA ever tested a GMO.
 
*The piece closes by broaching some more hoaxes – allegedly “improved” cassava and maize. But the factual record is unanimous. There has never been a commercial GMO which did anything but deliver poison, and all hype about other types has never been anything but that – hype.
 
Meanwhile the record of conventional breeding and agroecological practice is similarly unanimous on the positive side. For any crop you can name, true breeding has developed and is continuing to develop superb new varieties which meet every human agricultural need. This is even though public interest breeding must persevere under conditions of severely constrained funding, since today the bulk of it goes down the corporate GMO rathole.
 
Just a sampling of these great, true crops are listed here and here.
 
Just to retort to their specific lie with examples of the true cassava future: Conventional breeding has been providing African farmers with high-yield, pest-resistant, disease-resistant, beta-carotene enriched cassava. (You hear that, hacks? Unlike your “golden rice” hoax, this non-GM cassava really does provide beta carotene, and in a nutritional form people can eat.)
 
That’s just one example of what the conventional breeding of true crops can accomplish. The same kind of example can be provided for any other crop. No one on earth except a handful of corporate gangsters needs GMO false crops. 
 
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This criminal piece was clearly either written directly by cartel propagandists, or was done under their supervision. Either way we know that “Scientific American” has been bought and paid for, and is now nothing but a Monsanto propaganda outlet. It should be shunned, boycotted, reviled, and smashed out of existence.
 
It’s funny how incompetent the hacks have become. It would’ve been easy for the SciAm editors to write this in their own words, saying basically the same thing instead of regurgitating verbatim every canned lie from the professional troll playbook. But these hacks seem so stupid that they were incapable even of that. Or maybe it’s arrogance, part of the propaganda line, “there is no alternative, give up all hope, surrender.” Maybe they’re so confident in their vicious, bullying aggression that they’re proud of being so uncreative and brazen about their lies.
 
Whatever the cause, it’s up to we the people to prove that these criminals have made a very bad mistake.
 
It’s obvious why these criminals live in terror of transparency, and why they so shrilly and desperately try to shout down all dissent and smother all true debate. It’s because they have literally zero facts or evidence on their side, and the overwhelming factual evidence record against them. They have nothing but secrecy, lies, and brute force. GMO labeling is just one of the many truth-bearing threats to their vile existence.

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January 11, 2014

Syngenta, DuPont, Monsanto Agree: GM Isn’t Needed and Doesn’t Work For Drought Resistance

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Mainstream Media — Tags: , — Russ @ 3:08 am

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The notion of “drought-resistant GMOs” is one of the most prevalent PR scams found in pro-GMO propaganda. Along with similar hoaxes like golden rice and the GM Kenyan sweet potato, the purpose of the drought-resistant GMO trope is to misdirect attention from the fact that GMOs were created for no reason other than to sell poison. The two kinds of GMOs which actually exist on a practical level are those tolerant of herbicides, and those which generate their own Bt insecticidal poison in every plant cell.
 
Drought-resistance, on the other hand, along with traits like pest and disease resistance, salt tolerance, improved nutrition, and improved nitrogen uptake, is solely the province of non-GM conventional breeding. This breeding, like any other, builds upon the accumulated work of thousands of years of farmer breeding, a collective human heritage. This paradigm was reinforced in the 20th century, as all significant modern crop breeding was done using public money. So anything today’s corporations do with this heritage is at best a miniscule contribution to a monumental and ongoing collective human project. That’s part of the reason it’s morally and rationally impossible for seed patents to have any legitimacy. At best modern breeding is a man standing on the shoulder of a giant. (Isaac Newton wasn’t known for his humility, yet even he freely conceded this fact.) This “at best” is 100% within the realm of non-GM conventional breeding. A “drought-resistant” GMO, on the other hand, is nothing but a drought-resistant conventional variety which has one or more of the poison-enabling transgenes inserted. Thus we have the conventionally drought-resistant variety with an added Roundup Ready and/or Bt trait extraneously added. This is then fraudulently called a “drought-resistant GMO.” 
 
The GMO cartel itself acknowledges this, and specifically that drought-resistant maize is a non-GM achievement. Thus Syngenta’s Agrisure Artesian drought-resistant maize was developed using conventional breeding, including marker-assisted selection which uses the most modern technology to more easily identify genetic traits, but has nothing to do with genetic modification. Pioneer and Monsanto’s varieties are similarly 100% conventional.
 
Yet Syngenta freely admitted that the only reason it worked on the pre-existing drought resistance public heritage was to add poison-producing and poison-tolerance transgenes to the final patented product.
 
Once again we see an example of how humanity could accomplish any necessary agricultural task, such as breeding better drought-resistant varieties, far less expensively and without letting ourselves be hijacked by the poison purveyors, without continuing to have our soil, water, and bodies poisoned by this criminal system, if we’d merely retake control of our seed commons and do the work ourselves.
 
This message is being reinforced today, as African breeders are releasing ten conventionally bred drought-resistant maize varieties. These too have nothing to do with genetic engineering, but are slated to be engineered with poison transgenes to turn them into patented products. But their conventional existence is proof that Monsanto/US government front groups like the AATF (African Agricultural Technology Foundation), Bill Gates’s AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) and WEMA (Water Efficient Maize for Africa) all lie when they claim GMOs are necessary to provide African farmers with drought-resistant maize. GMFreeze has several more links to information on non-GM drought resistance.
 
A corporate cadre is quoted in the Syngenta piece saying these poisons are necessary. This is a lie. Until the early 90s maize was grown using vastly less agricultural poisons, a practice which was changed from above when the US government committed itself to serving as Monsanto’s corporate welfare bagman, publicist, and thug, all toward the goal of tremendously increasing the production and use of agricultural poisons, all toward the goal of escalating corporate profits and control.
 
Meanwhile agroecology is unsurpassed in its ability to grow crops without the use of poison, through a combination of conventional breeding and naturally harmonized pest and disease management practices. Its capacity is unlimited. Industrial ag, on the other hand, is unsustainable in every way, including its myopic, toxic, designed-to-fail pest and weed suppression-oriented GMOs. The pests and weeds are already winning, and will inevitably win completely.
 
Therefore, if we need drought resistance in our crops, we won’t find it through GMOs, but only through conventional breeding. And if the goal is for these crops to be sustainably grown, we’ll never attain that through poison-oriented false crops, but only through the true crops of agroecological breeding and pest management.
 
Thus we see how, from every point of view, GMOs are at best a worthless and counterproductive money pit, while agroecology is the vastly better, vastly less expensive solution. That’s in addition to its infinite superiority over GMOs where it comes to human and environmental health, genetic contamination, and socioeconomic effects. 
 

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