Volatility

July 31, 2015

Case Study in the Corporate “Science” Paradigm

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Here’s a textbook case, punctuated with a small victory.
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1. Under the corporate science paradigm, standard practice for regulators is to consider only secret corporate “studies” in their assessments, and to do nothing but rubber-stamp these. Independent science is rejected out of hand. In 2009 the European Parliament passed a law requiring the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA, a typical pro-corporate regulator) to consider in its pesticide assessments not only non-scientific, fraudulent and secret corporate “science” the way regulators prefer, but that it must consider independent science as well.
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2. EFSA dodged this by issuing a guidance in 2011 applying a special corporate standard as the single yes-or-no standard for admitting a study to the assessment. This is the “Klimisch criterion”, named after the head of a gang of BASF operatives who promulgated it in 1997. In 2012 the European Commission’s Science and Health Committee concurred. Perversely, the Klimisch standard is a pure example of the tendentious corporate “science” whose unchallenged reign the Parliament wanted to end. The single standard for assessment it asserts is called, Orwell-fashion, “Good Laboratory Practice” (GLP).
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GLP is a classic example of a pedantic regulation which has nothing to do with quality control, but which is fraudulently put forward by the corporation and the regulator as being a rigorous control. Rather, it is meant to set up procedural hurdles which wealthy corporations can easily overcome, but which would be too onerous for many independent studies. In theory GLP was supposed to apply only to corporate studies, not independent science, which instead is supposed to be held accountable by the peer review system. Therefore independent studies are not designed to conform to GLP, nor are they supposed to in principle.
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There we see another nefarious purpose of GLP. It’s supposed to justify “secret science”, as comprising an alleged alternative to publicity and peer review.
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So the EFSA and EC turned the Parliament’s intent completely inside out, parrying the attempt to force regulators to take science into account by imposing a corporate standard which dictates which “science” is allowed to be assessed. It’s standard corporate regulatory whack-a-mole.
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3. A scientist consultant to the EFSA, Geoff Frampton, recommended against adoption of GLP but had his submission censored and his recommendation changed by secret EFSA bureaucrats. When the public interest groups Client Earth and Pesticide Action Network Europe asked EFSA for the names of these bureaucrats, the EFSA refused to tell.
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The two groups sued, and the European Court of Justice (Second Chamber) has ordered EFSA to divulge the names. If EFSA complies, we’ll certainly find that they are or have been corporate employees, operatives of the exact same corporations whose products are being “regulated”.
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We’ll see if the EFSA obeys this judgement, or else what kind of trick or outright defiance it’ll try next. The only thing certain is that they’ll never give up and never change until GMOs and the Poisoner regime are abolished.
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For now science continues to face a harsh struggle to get its findings acknowledged and considered, indeed it faces a harsh struggle to exist at all, as the overwhelming preponderance of wealth, power, and cadre commitment is dedicated to the corporate “science” paradigm and to corporate power as such.

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July 30, 2015

The Spirit of Science

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Across the board, in general and at every point of detail, science affirms and supports agroecology and Food Sovereignty and condemns the failures, poison, and destruction wrought by corporate agriculture.
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Rationally speaking, science is a tool whose goal is the practical well-being of humanity. It should work to improve our health, increase our prosperity, and enhance our freedom of action. For some science is also a passion. The spirit of science is the mindset, out of passion or practicality or both, which seeks to use this tool this way, or which admires and respects science where it serves humanity and only where it serves humanity.
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True science is the province of the active people, especially where we engage in our own democratic work, toward our individual and community weal, unalienated by any anti-human artificial system. The most important science was preceded by the empirical work of the active labor field, usually by regular people without any formal, specifically scientific training. Isaac Newton, not known for his humility, affirmed that scientists merely “stand on the shoulders of giants”. The best example of this is the ten thousand years of practical agronomic development by regular farmers, as part of their day-to-day work. In modern times this massive empirical foundation has been supplemented with theoretical scientific work. The result is that the science of agroecology and organic farming now stands as the most fully researched and developed, demonstrated, and ready-for-deployment science of all. Organic agriculture stands ready as science at the pinnacle of potential human benefit. It was built primarily by the people, it’s the province of the people, and it shall be deployed by the people, from the bottom up, in accord with the need and will of the people.
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This can stand as the ultimate example, which sets the pace for all other human endeavor. We were, for thousands of years, successful empiricists, and barring artificial, self-inflicted woes, we can continue to be for the rest of humanity’s tenure. Make no mistake – science is a luxury. As a passion it’s merely the province of a small intellectual elite, similar to the small elite group who can find psychological succor from secular philosophy instead of spirituality/religion. And of course in practice both scientism and philosophy usually contain a high admixture of mysticism.
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Therefore we confirm that science has built upon its prerequisite foundation, and this gives us the general principle for how to use science in the most humanly constructive, beneficial, and just way, and the way most productive of knowledge. The key, as I described in my Food Sovereignty pamphlet, is to apply science to regionally developed and adapted empirical knowledge. No one who lacks this foundation knowledge can be an authority in any practical context. Anyone who lacks a foundation but tries to assert authority is an intellectual drifter at best, more likely a corporate propagandist and thug. The scientist who wishes to contribute to the human condition either provides general propositions which he sets free in the world to be regionally adapted, or she becomes such an adaptive worker herself.
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But the corporate/government system says science only trickles down from formally accredited cadres. Only such credential-holders can participate in scientific analysis, from which all political policy must then flow in the form of technocracy. Anyone outside this bureaucratic process who disagrees with this and rejects it is attacked as being “anti-science”. That’s almost always the only thing the brain-dead “anti-science” epithet means today: Rejecting this manifestation of authoritarianism and might-makes-right.
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The truth is the opposite. True science, practical science, starts with experimentation which leads to empirical success. Thus for ten thousand years farmers have proven themselves by far the most successful proto-scientists of the human project. Meta-knowledge of empirically established truth can then follow. For science the preliminary induction leads the way, with science as a version of deduction then later building upon that. Ironically, the only place where the mythical “scientific method” really applies is to the empirical prehistory of science. Those who deny this, like the “pure” (i.e. pro-corporate) scienticians of today, are merely engaging in a version of being born on third base and claiming they hit a triple.
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I said that true science is the most productive of knowledge. By contrast, corporate “science” is destructive of knowledge and of the very processes of thinking.
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1. Its monoculturism, in ideology and practice, seeks to constrain severely the range of agronomic knowledge in the first place, limiting it to mechanical poison-based algorithms. (I’ll add in passing that it also seeks to restrict severely the genetic range of agriculture. Monsanto’s original cluelessness about germplasm wasn’t just flat-earth arrogance. The attitude was hard-wired into the corporate agricultural ideology, and remains so. I’ll be returning to this subject.)
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2. It actively suppresses much of the knowledge that does exist. It systematically withholds from the public and from science most of the data it gathers. It releases only what it chooses to release, and only in tendentious propaganda forms.
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3. Wherever challenged it resorts, not to open, rational debate, but to a massive money-amplified lie machine.
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From these we can see how corporate “science” is the radical enemy of science and knowledge.
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So science starts with and builds upon what works. At every point it follows the empirical evidence. By contrast, today’s corporate scientism (including the vast majority of credentialed technicians) starts by deducing from corporate ideology and the profit imperative, preemptively asserts dogmatic “conclusions” like “GMOs are equivalent to regular crops and are therefore safe”, and then denies the contrary empirical evidence that follows, however massive its accumulation. Publicity of the evidence is left to non-credentialed citizens and to the few real scientists who are still practicing. From the official point of view, we are disenfranchised and relegated to the official unscience and anti-science category.
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This remains true no matter how much the evidence and therefore science itself reject lies like “GMOs increase yield” or “GMOs reduce pesticide and herbicide use” or best of all “GMOs are needed to feed the world”. As always we must stress the overwhelming implicit proof provided by the corporations and regulators themselves.
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1. Government and corporations systematically refuse to perform legitimate scientific studies of GMOs or any other agricultural poison.
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2. The corporation will always lie, so any test it does perform will be rigged in several ways. There are no exceptions to this. Government regulators knowingly base their own assessments on nothing but this worthless junk science while rejecting any real scientific evidence generated by independent studies.
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3. They suppress, cover up, keep secret the large amounts of adverse evidence even their own rigged tests generate. “Secret science” is a contradiction in terms. By definition science has to be public. Anything kept secret, under whatever fraudulent pretext (“trade secret” is their favorite), is by definition not part of science, and can have no place in scientific discussion other than as implicit proof that the evidence is against whichever party wants to keep it secret.
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Together these three facts prove that corporate “science” is nothing but a top-heavy tower of lies. It proves that governments and corporations themselves live in absolute terror of what would become of them and their poisons if true science were to prevail.
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Thus we have a final conflict between true, human science, and prostituted corporate anti-science. Most of the professionals are on the side opposed to humanity and the earth.
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This struggle between science and corporate anti-science is in turn one of the array of battlefields comprising the final war between humanity and corporate domination. In the next of these orientation pieces I’ll discuss the abdication of establishment science, its complete surrender to corporate domination and its complete embrace of the corporate “science” paradigm.

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July 29, 2015

Food Sovereignty

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I paraphrase the Seven Principles of Food Sovereignty as formulated by the global farmer movement Via Campesina:

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1. Food Sovereignty affirms healthy food as a basic human right. This means we have a pre-political right to work the soil and enjoy the food we produce from it. This is because our creative and productive work is an essential part of our humanity, and any attempt to sunder us from control over our work is an elemental crime. Access to our work and ability to do our work is the essence of freedom. This right to food can also be encoded as a formal constitutional right, wherever the people choose to do so.
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2. Food Sovereignty affirms our human right to productively work the land, which means control of the land by those who productively steward it. Access to our work and ability to do our work is the essence of freedom.
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3. Food Sovereignty recognizes the need for productive stewardship of all natural resources. This include the need, responsibility, and obligation to use our natural resources as sustainably and renewably as possible, in harmony with the nature which provides their foundation.
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4. Food Sovereignty affirms that human economies are naturally demand-based, never supply-based. It rejects all top-down command economy measures. It therefore rejects globalization, commodification, corporate welfare, and corporatism as such. Trade must be of food only, never agricultural commodities.
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5. Within the current globalization of food, Food Sovereignty especially rejects the financialization and commodification of food and other natural resources.
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6. Food Sovereignty seeks modes of production and distribution based on natural human cooperation instead of artificial elite-imposed competition and mutual destruction. Food production and distribution, where done democratically and according to the natural rhythms of the economy, can be forces for freedom, happiness, well-being, and social peace instead of sublimated civil war. Food and agricultural policy must never be a “food weapon”, must never be part of economic warfare or civil war. There must be no use of food as politics by other means, war by other means.
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7. Food Sovereignty affirms that political and economic organization must be democratic. Food producers and consumers must take the lead and exercise full control of everything we create and consume. That means everything which exists within the bounds of polity and economy.
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Food Sovereignty is the political complement to agroecology, the great body of true agronomic science, knowledge, technology, and practice. Agroecology is about growing food in harmony with nature, in a way which provides the most wholesome food with the highest amount of calories and nutritional value, builds the soil, uses less water, cleanses the water and air, breeds the best crops, grows the physically strongest crops, improves the genetic robustness of our crops, most effectively discourages weeds and pests, attracts beneficial insects and companion plants, provides wildlife habitat, enhances ecosystems in general, and provides a spiritually fulfilling human environment.
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The essence of Food Sovereignty is the proposition that agroecology and political and economic freedom are mutually reinforcing.
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Positive democracy dispenses with all forms of coercive hierarchy in favor of the cooperative economies and societies which are natural to human beings. This is the culture which would end all tyranny and minimize violence. It’s the most favorable environment for all forms of autonomous and cooperative production, including the agroecology which already is the most productive of all forms of agriculture, and whose productivity advantage shall increase exponentially post-fossil fuels. Conversely, conditions of artificial scarcity and unemployment arise out of and are conducive to anti-democratic ideas and forms. Corporate Rule = Artificial Scarcity. Food Sovereignty/Agroecology/Community Food = Natural and Economic Abundance.
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The Big Lie that industrial agriculture outproduces organic is based on simple accounting fraud. Corporate propagandists isolate one crop, for example corn, and then compare industrial vs. organic monocultures of that crop. But monoculture is antithetical to the organic framework. On the contrary, the right comparison is between the industrial monoculture and the integrated, diversified polycultural farm. When this correct account is tallied, we find that organic outproduces industrial in terms of calories and macronutrients, and vastly outproduces it in terms of vitamins and minerals.
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But this mode of agroecological production – diversified, geared to local conditions, intensively using skilled labor, producing abundance, providing fulfilling work for all – cannot be concentrated into an assembly line. So it’s naturally resistant to hierarchy. It naturally resists power and wealth concentration.
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Therefore agroecology is in the spirit of the original principle of the American Revolution, that concentrated power naturally assaults liberty, and that the responsibility of a citizen is to be vigilant toward power, or better yet not allow it to concentrate in the first place. Organic food production, by its very nature, presents a great hurdle to concentration, and therefore lessens the burden of vigilance. It also does this by providing local/regional food security. By training for self-reliance, it also affirmatively trains us to be the active citizens we need to be.
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What is needful? If you believe industrial agriculture as such is sustainable, then all you need to do is stay the course with the predominantly non-GM conventional industrial system which produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, far more than will ever exist even by the most prodigious population projections. Even in that scenario GMOs are unnecessary and pointless.
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But the fact is that industrial agriculture is not sustainable and, if left to continue on its current trajectory, shall inevitably fail and collapse, bringing unfathomable famine and disease with its failure. Again, since GMOs do nothing but double down on every trend and pathology of industrial agriculture, they can play no role in any constructive transformation. Their one and only purpose is to impose authoritarian regimentation on agriculture and food.
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The agroecological transformation which is already underway is the only possible way forward for humanity’s future need and abundance. Small polyculture farms have always been far more productive than industrial plantations. Organic practices are already demonstrated to be enable humanity to produce food and fertility sufficient to sustain and exceed the world’s need. When industrial practice is no longer able to function as it runs out of the massive infusions of cheap fuel, aquifer water, and mined phosphorus it daily requires, the productivity margin shall become infinite. We know this is true, the science and history prove it. Across the board real science and rationality support the accomplishments and potential of agroecology and Food Sovereignty and condemn corporate agriculture’s failures, toxicity, and destructiveness.
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Agroecology is the only agronomic way forward. Together with Food Sovereignty we find the great way forward for freedom, democracy, and human prosperity. The basis of a healthy economy, polity, and society is the ability of the productive class to procure everything it needs for a decent life. So given any social premise, including even the premises of modern civilization and the middle-class aspiration, agroecology is the most fruitful and healthful basis of agriculture. As always, where it comes to food issues the answer to any problem is along the same vector regardless of whether one’s a reformist or a revolutionary. Either way one must be an anti-corporatist.
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The history of this movement has provided the right model for all social organization. Agroecological knowledge, the greatest achievement of the modern era and the achievement with by far the greatest potential for the future, was built from a combination of science and regionally adapted practical knowledge. Food production and distribution, more than any other endeavor, emphasize the importance of adaptive knowledge and require the mutual support of scientific theory and locally adapted application. Nowhere is this more true than with agriculture, and if we expand from science theory to philosophy in general, here agriculture also provides a template for all human endeavor. We already know it’s true in politics and political economy. Monoculture is death in general.
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The key: agroecological science plus regionally adapted empirical knowledge and practice, toward food production primarily for the region. This can be applied right now, especially across the global South. It requires primarily the political will to reject Western globalization and its depredations. The Via Campesina principles of Food Sovereignty articulate best what’s necessary. This applies also to our critically endangered agricultural genetics, where our salvation lies in participatory plant breeding for regionally adapted agroecology. Centralized seed vaults like Svalbard represent in principle a crackpot “solution” of decadence, even leaving aside any likely corruption.
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Participatory breeders can receive important assistance from formally trained scientific breeders if these latter commit to agroecology and Food Sovereignty. If they fail to do this (they’ve been increasingly corporatized since the 1980s), we can teach ourselves all that’s necessary. Farmers have already empirically selected and bred for thousands of years.
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We’re already doing all of this. Organizations like Campesino a Campesino and the Asian Farmer Field Schools already exist to propagate the most cutting edge agroecological knowledge and techniques to smallholder farmers. This modern knowledge is really a refinement of and supplement to the age old techniques. But unlike fraudulent technologies like GMOs, these conceptual refinements and enhancements which require little in the way of expensive inputs and really do produce great gains in yield and nutritional quality.
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Helped by this knowledge, which Southern farmers can largely propagate among themselves with perhaps some help from the organic movement in the West (and this help being only in the form of non-proprietary knowledge; and of course we in the West have at least as much to learn from the innovators of the South), Southern farmers can provide for themselves and their communities. Southern communities shall attain prosperity and security through their own resources efforts, if the assaults of the corporate West are stopped.
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So the road to a human future is clear enough. Support and join the efforts of Southern farmer unions like these, and the efforts of the hundreds of farmer and citizen groups who have combined to form the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, and the efforts of the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil and elsewhere across Latin America, and the efforts of La Via Campesina, the Peasant Way, and the efforts of those of us in the West who are trying to build such movements here.
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If humanity is to have a future, this great movement must succeed. We must defend ourselves as farmers and citizens, we must preserve our ability to democratically produce and distribute the true crops and real food, and we must build this effort as a movement to ensure the future of humanity.
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In all these ways, therefore, agroecology helps foster and strengthen democracy, just as democracy provides the most constructive environment for agroecology. Food Sovereignty is an essentially democratic philosophy and practice. It’s the most purely human philosophy, and it’s the practice most tending toward our human fulfillment.

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July 28, 2015

Module: Glyphosate Causes Cancer

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Recently the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) put the system’s official seal on what we’ve long known: Glyphosate causes cancer. This module will assemble the evidence proving this. Glyphosate’s two main cancer causing mechanisms are: It is an endocrine disruptor, and it causes gene and cell damage. Each of these causations will be the subject of its own module.
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*The IARC cites a series of epidemiological studies of farmers. The studies found a strong pattern of evidence that glyphosate causes NHL. These were a 2001 Canadian study, Swedish studies from 2002, this study also strongly linking glyphosate to hairy cell leukemia in addition to NHL, and 2008 (also a prior study from 1999 found the NHL link), and a 2003 US study. The authors of this study wrote, “Current medical research suggests that while farmers are generally healthier than the general U.S. population, they may have higher rates of some cancers, including leukemia, myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cancers of the lip, stomach, skin, brain, and prostate.” Another 2005 US study found a strong link between glyphosate and multiple myeloma, along with links to melanoma, colon, rectum, kidney, and bladder cancers.
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The IARC considered only evidence from 2001 onward. But the evidence goes back decades prior to that.
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A rat feeding study which ran from 1979-1981 found a significant link to testicular cancer. This finding was disparaged by the EPA when a subsequent 1988-1990 test using higher doses did not find this cancerous effect. But this was based on the junk science of “dose-response”, which dogmatizes that any toxic effect must become more pronounced in linear proportion as the dosage rises. This ignores the fact that endocrine disruptors are often most toxic at lower doses. So the second rat test does nothing to override the first. (This second test did find evidence linking glyphosate to cancers of the pancreas and liver in males, the thyroid in females.) The EPA initially classified glyphosate as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 1985 based on a 1983 study of mice which linked glyphosate to kidney tumors in males and thyroid tumors in females. But using a similar bogus “re-evaluation”, the EPA reclassified glyphosate in 1991 as non-carcinogenic. This was done for no reason other than to clear the regulatory and propaganda path for the upcoming Roundup Ready GMOs. It had zero scientific basis, but was a pure ideological move.
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More recently the evidence has been building, accusing glyphosate of causing other cancers.
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*The 2012 Seralini study, republished in 2014, was for many reasons targeted for slander and suppression even before it was published, one of them being its reinforcement of the evidence that Roundup causes cancer. The study linked Roundup, fed both with and without Roundup Ready maize, to female breast, ovarian, and skin tumors, and to male kidney and skin tumors. For both males and females, the experimental groups demonstrated a higher incidence and faster onset of non-regressive palpable tumors. The earliest tumors were at 4 and 7 months for males and females respectively, with most manifesting after 18 months. This is one of the most decisive refutations of the legitimacy of the industry’s preferred 90 day or shorter tests. This too-short duration is one of the main elements of science fraud perpetrated by almost all corporate and governmental “studies”.
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*A 2009 epidemiological survey linked the application of herbicides (and other pesticides), among which glyphosate is probably the most common one used by the respondents, to childhood brain cancer. But the study doesn’t actually specify which kind of herbicide(s). Primarily Roundup or not, the findings comprise a severe condemnation of pesticides in general.
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Epidemiological studies from the world’s Roundup ground zero, the “Soy Republic” of Argentina, provide copious data on the effects of this poison on exposed residents, cancer and many other horrific effects which I’ll discuss in subsequent modules. We’re nowhere near done with glyphosate, unfortunately.
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*The 2010 Cordoba Conference of the Physicians of Fumigated Towns reported on the many health horrors the doctors documented from the Roundup zone, including very high cancer rates among children, young adults, and older adults.
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*Also in 2010 a government-commissioned report on the health of the glyphosate-saturated Chaco province found, among other epidemics, that childhood cancer rates had tripled in the ten years of Roundup Ready soy cultivation.
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*The Cordoba Health Ministry’s “Report on Cancer in Cordoba 2004-2009″ found cancer rates in the Roundup zone to be as much as double the provincial average.
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*A 2010 study from Santa Fe found cancer rates 2-4X the national average. This included cancers of the breast, prostate, and lungs.
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*A multi-year study comparing Chaco villages within the Roundup zone to villages outside found much higher cancer rates in the Roundup-saturated area.
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*Most recently, a University of Cordoba study in the town of Monte Maiz, located near the Roundup fields and also used for grain storage, found massive glyphosate residues in the soil and air and documented a cancer rate five times the national average along with a long list of other severe health effects.
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As always where dealing with the corporate science paradigm and its corrupt system, we must keep in mind that much of the most damning evidence is being kept secret by Monsanto and the US and German governments. These continue to stonewall and refuse to render public much of the information they have, under the rubric of protecting “trade secrets”. But where it comes to science no secret has any right to exist, and to assert or find such a right is prima facie proof of one’s bad faith and malign intent.
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By definition there can be no such thing as “secret science”. You can have science, whose results are part of the public record, or you can have secrecy. In that case reason and common sense must assume that the evidence is devastating to the secret-keeper. This, along with the absolute, systematic refusal of the government and corporations to perform legitimate safety testing on any GMO or pesticide, comprises negative proof that the corporations know or fear the worst. They live in terror of what would become of them and their criminal products if the truth came to light.
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We can regard this as definitively proven and go on from there.
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For further reading:
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July 27, 2015

Climate Change Requires Change of Consciousness

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The specter of climate change hovers over all considerations. Industrial civilization has been founded upon the near-instantaneous release into the atmosphere of billions of years worth of compressed organic and solar energy. For comparison, ponder the difference between a billion years worth of rainfall upon a plain, versus this billion years of rain accumulating behind an unfathomable dam which then breaches and releases the entire flood in a moment. This depicts the radical global action of industrial capitalism upon humanity, the environment, and agriculture. Climate change is one of the most radical, if relatively gradual (from the human point of view; it’ll take centuries to draw its full conclusions, as opposed to the decades agricultural poisons are requiring), of these industrial effects. It’s inextricably bound up with industrial capitalism as such. This means it can never be “fixed” through the same industrial capitalist methods which are driving it.
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That’s part of why it’s so hard to find anyone who really cares about climate change. A litmus test for who seeks the real solution to climate change, as well as the real solution for the other crises plaguing humanity, comprises the following.
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1. The recognition that the crisis is endemic to industrial capitalism and will continue and intensify for as long as industrial capitalism is the economic and political mode of society.
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2. The will to fight the trend of the crisis by hindering industrial capitalism, hastening its downfall, overthrowing it.
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3. The strategic and tactical realization that industrial capitalism has committed itself completely to the corporation as its basic organizational form. This includes the corporate organizers of today’s political, religious*, scientific, academic, and journalistic paradigms.
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[*Today’s corporate religion – “Progress”, scientism, technocracy, globalization, belief in the reality of money, “wealth creation”, “jobs”, “growth”, “trade”, the moralization of debt, “contracts”, corporate personhood, intellectual property, austerity and its “there is no alternative”, and other pure fictions and malign distortions which corporate system indoctrination seeks to instill as verities.]
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4. Therefore, the strategic and tactical commitment to abolish corporations, as the great human necessity and mission of our time.
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In the case of climate change we can emphasize immediately that the main driver is corporate industrial agriculture, as by far the number one emitter of greenhouse gases and destroyer of carbon sinks. Therefore an overriding operational goal which can be accomplished prior to the complete abolition of corporations as such is the abolition of corporate agriculture, in particular the abolition of a particular technology to which corporate agriculture and capitalism as such has committed itself, GMOs.
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(There are many other reasons it’s imperative for humanity to abolish GMOs and transform our food production to agroecology on a Food Sovereignty basis. These include the escalating poisoning of our environment, soil, water, air, crops, food, and bodies; the fact that industrial agriculture must soon collapse and fail, dependent as it is upon fossil fuels, non-renewable fossil aquifer water, and industrial phosphorus, vulnerable as it is to soil collapse, the critical narrowing of its genetic basis and subsequent ever-heightened vulnerability to pests and disease and endemic crop weakness; the socioeconomic evils; and how industrial agriculture promises to bring the worst evils of famine and disease. GMOs do nothing but intensify and escalate all these pathologies, since they do nothing but intensify and escalate corporate industrial agriculture as such.)
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Therefore climate change cannot meaningfully be confronted other than through a total commitment against industrial capitalism and corporations across all economic sectors. This is why we need an anti-corporate abolition movement across the board. This is the firm demarcation line identifying the movement which will have a clear vision, a clear rationale, a clear philosophy, a clear operational goal, a clear target. Here’s where we can define ourselves and from there encompass all other factors which motivate people, because there are literally zero problems which aren’t either completely caused, or greatly aggravated, by corporate rule, and there are no “solutions” within corporatism which aren’t one form or another of collaboration and treason – selling out, ladder-pulling, or simply direct continuation of the status quo behind some technological or rhetorical facade. This has most recently and spectacularly been demonstrated by the neoliberal corporate con-men of Syriza.
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While researching my piece on climate change deniers I checked out what the classical “right wing” deniers, the likes of ALEC, the CEI, the Heartland Institute, the UK’s Scientific Alliance were saying. These days they tend to avoid direct denial, but instead focus on obfuscation and advocacy of counterproductive techno-pseudo-solutions like GMOs, fracking, “clean coal”, biofuels, and geoengineering. These are all standard elements of disaster capitalism, criminals using the crisis they themselves are causing in order to push even more destructive, yet profitable, gambits, fraudulently depicting them as “solutions”. Joe Romm has long called them climate policy “delayers”, because their goal is to indefinitely forestall real consciousness and real action through every kind of misdirection. Romm focused mostly on such corporate astroturfs as the pseudo-environmental Breakthrough Institute, whose real purpose is to shill for such destructive technologies as nukes, agrofuels, fracking, and GMOs. The likes of Discover Magazine fall into the same category.
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These all have in common that nowadays they usually dodge the question of whether climate change, anthropogenic or not, exists at all, in favor of touting scams for how, whatever the environmental problems are, we need more corporate domination, more capitalist technology, more corporate welfare, just stay the course, always nothing but more of the same. We find a basic affinity between these and the corporate “environmentalist” outfits as the Nature Conservancy, EDF, and NRDC, in both rhetoric and “solutions”. We see how corporate environmentalism provides the ideological bridge between ExxonMobil and the broad but shallow liberal consciousness of climate change which helps satisfy so many people that cap-and-trade and clean coal are systemic solutions, that CAFOs can be part of a constructive and ecologically sound society, along with individualist mannerisms like buying a fracking car or even changing one’s light bulbs. The end result? Shell moves on to ravaging the Arctic, now backed by a full liberal/conservative near-consensus.
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A malign ideological gambit currently being touted in the corporate media and among pseudo-radicals as well is the notion that humanity has entered a new “Anthropocene era”. Whether propagated under that term or some other, this is the Big Lie that humanity “naturally” seeks to transform the Earth to the fullest, most radical extent possible, as some sort of genetic imperative. It would follow that the ravages of fossil fuel-driven capitalism are not to blame for the great environmental and socioeconomic crises of our time, but rather are caused by a neo-Malthusian inner imperative or depravity. The point is also to rescue Malthusian notions from dystopic contexts and repackage them as neutral or even exalt them. This is also intended to bolster the prior lie that there’s no meaningful distinction between human action which is in harmony with the rest of nature, and human action which is destructive of nature and therefore of our own basis. We are inescapably part of nature and can never lift ourselves out of it by our hair, but the “anthropocene” lie is designed to validate the modern mindset of man being at war with nature, recasting this as itself just as “natural” as anything else. Pure destruction, homicide, and suicide are supposed to be seen as the same type of action as actions of love, healing, building, renewal. Here, as in so many other ways, we see the religious character of modern economic and scientistic ideology.
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The fact is that the totalitarian mindset is endemic only to modern industrial capitalism, and if it has any natural basis at all this is not in our normal nature but in our addiction to fossil fuels and the world-historical rush they gave us. Crises like climate change and the wholesale poisoning of humanity and the Earth are not “natural” ramifications of the human condition the way the anthropocene ideology would have it, but have a specific cause: fossil fueled industrial capitalism. Therefore they have a specific solution: Humanity must break corporate power.
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But in the hands of direct and indirect corporate flacks the “Anthropocene” notion will be used in a malign way. It’ll be used to say, “Capitalism isn’t worse or more destructive than any other form of civilization as such, assuming you find any of this bad at all. So there’s no need or call to fight capitalism. We’d have to want to devolve civilization as such. Since we’re not going to do that, we might as well do nothing and stay the course.” We can trace this basic mindset across the spectrum of advocacy groups and themes I briefly surveyed above. In truth humanity does not have to devolve anything or settle for less in the way of prosperity, comfort, health, and happiness. On the contrary, it’s the ever tightening death grip of the corporations which is strangling all of these and is clearly forcing us all toward the most desolate poverty, misery, sickness, starvation, and death.
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Indeed, the direct flacks and techno-fundamentalists now revel in humanity’s destructive and self-destructive power like Hitler watching spellbound as his planes bombed Warsaw. For them the Anthropocene and climate change are to be idols of religious worship. That’s why they’ve contracted their cult of GMOs and agricultural poisons – they revel in their power as Poisoners.
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So we have the de jure deniers and “Anthropocene” scammers who openly call for escalated destruction as the answer to destruction – “clean coal”, fracking, nukes, agrofuels, GMOs, geoengineering, and finally the elites leaving the planet completely once it’s no longer capable of sustaining life. We have the system environmentalists and corporate liberals whose ideology is basically the same, and even much of the rhetoric, with just a few minor variations. Thus for example cap-and-trade was always a de jure scam (fraudulent “offsets” as well as “safety valves” or “offramps”), as well as a stalking horse for further corporate welfare bonanzas for Wall Street, coal, nukes, and Big Ag via agrofuels and even GMOs. (Monsanto lobbied for its Roundup Ready system to qualify for Clean Development Mechanism credits.)
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We have a small group of writers and activists who correctly identify capitalism as such as the great driver of climate change. Now we must go one better – it’s corporations which are the actual form of globalized capitalism, so to fight and overthrow the latter we must tailor organization, strategy, and goals to destroy the former.
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I must keep on repeating my call for those who would not be slaves, those who desire freedom, prosperity, happiness, and human dignity, to develop the full movement consciousness and organize our lives according to it. As with GMO abolition, so with climate change we must recognize the inadequacy of the consumerist, individualist consciousness and the advocacy it inevitably extrudes. This is especially critical wherever this individualism sees itself as sufficient. An absolute minimum requirement for a sane, practical view of these struggles is the recognition that the corporations are totalitarian and will NEVER settle for one jot less than 100%. Therefore our one and only option is to reduce them to 0%. Given our current circumstance of mass stagnation and corruption, consumerist movements may sometimes be necessary starting points toward the real abolition struggles. But abolitionists can find such starting points only where these movements are on the vector toward the necessary anti-corporate goal. They must be seeking to delay, hinder, obstruct corporate power. But where we see alleged advocates of freedom, democracy, equality, social justice, human well-being, claiming that these ends can be served by enhancing corporate power, we can be sure that these are liars who in truth advocate nothing but corporate power.
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As in so many other contexts (regulators, system NGOs, academia, professionals, to name a few) the corporate “reformer” template applies:
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1. The corporate prerogative is normative. Under no circumstance must it ever be significantly circumscribed, let alone abolished.
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2. Given (1), a cadre may try to ameliorate the worst corporate “abuses”, or nab a few “bad apples”, or else may just pretend to be trying to do this. But under no circumstances shall they violate (1).
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3. The regulator, liberal NGO, etc. then puts its imprimatur on the “regulated” system, assures the people that things are under control, that the people can tend to their private individualist lives and leave public affairs to “authority”, to “the professionals”.
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Where it comes to almost all of the existing ways of talking, thinking, and allegedly doing about climate change, we have lame ameliorationists at best. But most of them are scammers.
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As for the pro-GMO activists and their supporters, they’re all climate change deniers, since they call for nothing but the radical escalation of what’s already the number one climate change driver, industrial agriculture. Whether they’re willful liars, cult fanatics, or just ignorant and stupid, makes no moral difference. Willful ignorance is as culpable as deliberate lies. They’re all climate criminals, in addition to their many other crimes against humanity and the Earth.
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The first great task toward a human renaissance must be to overcome the great lies which, along with brute force, are all the corporate system has. The pioneers of the new consciousness must devote ourselves to spreading the new idea, the new vision, enlisting all who we can for the duration of the stagnation time, undertaking whatever obstruction and wedge actions are possible during this time, the whole panorama of grassroots action Naomi Klein calls “Blockadia”, and building the new within the old. We must force into the public consciousness the alternative available for it to embrace at will, the knowledge of the truth that there is a much better road to all we want and need in order to make Earth a good place to live. This way is the only way, since this Earth is home, the only home we’ll ever have, whether we cherish it or let our house be burnt down, our fields salted, our wells poisoned.
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It’s true that there is no alternative, but in a sense directly antithetical to the lies of corporatism and austerity. We can take back and redeem our civilization and our world, we can successfully tackle all the problems we face, we can have all we need and all we want. But for any of this there can be no co-existence with the monsters which, by their innermost predetermined character, must destroy all. Humanity cannot coexist with the totalitarian corporations. No matter which problem you look at, environmental ones like climate change most of all, there can be no compromise with entities dedicated to complete destruction. Salvation can come only from the complete destruction of these complete destroyers.
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For humanity to have a future, consciousness of this great truth is a precondition. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, everything is not only possible but assured.

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Steal $100, You’re A Thief; Steal $100 Million, You’re a Hero

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Prosecutors say they want a long prison sentence, what would effectively be a life term, for the CEO of Peanut Corporation. This person was convicted of knowingly and willfully poisoning the food supply, causing the deaths of nine people and sickening over 700 more. We see how specially selected Bernie Madoff types can be made examples of with great fanfare. Of course the example has to be easily represented as a “bad apple”, and his comeuppance demonstrated as evidence that “the system works”.
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Meanwhile the corporate executives, salesmen, contractors, and food processors and retailers responsible for producing and selling food systematically suffused with cancer- and birth defect-causing glyphosate are impervious to “the law”. Once again we see how killing one person makes you a murderer, while killing millions makes you a pillar of society.
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July 25, 2015

If the DARK Act Passes, What Then?

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See here and here for more on what the DARK Act is about; it seeks to enshrine the “voluntary” labeling sham, along with ferocious pre-emption as I described here.
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1. What would the preemption of labeling mean in itself? Labeling is certainly not sufficient, and is conceptually flawed if envisioned as a worthwhile goal in itself. It implies the continuation of industrial agriculture and food commodification, and globalization as such. It merely seeks Better Consumerism within that framework.
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If people saw labeling as a temporary measure within the framework of an ongoing movement to abolish industrial agriculture and build Food Sovereignty, that could be good. If people saw the campaign for labeling as primarily a movement-building action, an occasion for public education, for democratic participation in a grassroots action, and to help build a permanent grassroots organization, that would be good. POE as I call it – Participation, Education, Organization.
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But many of the advocates seem to see it as a panacea. They at least claim to expect miracles from it: Labeling = the end of Monsanto. This is highly doubtful. Just because a labeling initiative or law is passed doesn’t mean it will be enforced with any alacrity. It’s still the same old pro-Monsanto government which would be in charge of enforcement. That’s why getting an initiative or law passed would be just the first and easiest step. Then the real work of vigilance, forcing the enforcers to follow through, would begin. That, too, was a reason why the campaign needs to be, even more than just an intrinsic campaign, the building ground of a permanent grassroots organization.
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Then there’s the fact that most if not all of these initiatives and laws are riddled with loopholes, categories of food which don’t need to be labeled. That almost always includes GMO-fed meat and dairy. Actually, labeling would apply mostly to the same corporate-manufactured processed foods we ought to be getting out of our diets and economies regardless.
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When we combine the picayune content of these labeling proposals with the fact that their advocates do often call them a self-sufficient panacea, and with the fact that the efforts have often been designed like one-off electoral campaigns rather than as processes of building permanent grassroots organizations, we can see the some of the inherent political limits of labeling campaigns.
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2. The people consistently indicate that they don’t really want labeling. That is, they don’t want it as a stand-alone consumerist feature, sundered from the context of a complete affirmative (Food Sovereignty) and negative (abolitionist) movement.
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It’s clear that although the people overwhelmingly support the idea of GMO labeling in theory, their commitment to it is skin deep. As soon as the money starts flying and the propaganda noise starts booming, people are easily thrown off balance. They focus pre-existing feelings of dread on the controversy and recoil from such a picayune thing as labeling, which seems to offer only a greater sense of helplessness.
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A survey done in California in September 2012 prior to the vote found that even the mention of an increase in food prices would “slightly diminish support”. This was prior to the big propaganda surge which hammered away with this lie. This musters every kind of inchoate fear. Since these days people are fearful and conservative, they shy from stimulation and don’t want anything to change. They’re easily convinced that any change will only make things worse. At any rate, they’re disinclined to undertake any change themselves. It’s clear that to undertake a one-off political campaign, which is prone to muster such elemental anxieties – about poison in our food and the food we’re feeding to our children, about our ever more beleaguered personal financial position, about corporate power over us – and which becomes the scene of a media firestorm, where people are asked, as consumers, to do nothing but vote a certain way and then implicitly to lapse back into their usual passivity, with the only payoff for having had all these fears aroused is to gain even greater knowledge of what there is to fear, but with no greater sense of what to do about any of it – is it any wonder that so many people choose to believe the lies and vote No?
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People don’t really believe the propaganda, but are numbed into passivity by the volume and omnipresence of it. This is part of the job of the corporate media, to instill a sense of hopelessness in the individual, and a false sense that she’s all alone with whatever objections she has, alone with whatever dissent and activism for change she’d like to undertake. The labeling campaign also instills fear about the safety of the food, but doesn’t offer a productive context and course of action for this fear, but implicitly wants to leave you alone with your Yes vote and your new information.
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This is why many consumers don’t want to exercise their right to know. They’re settled in certain habits, have so many other stresses, they already know their food is poisoned and try to exist in a precarious psychological complacency about that. So they’d rather not hear about GMOs on top of everything. This supposition fits the data, that as the No propaganda surges and the noise level of the whole fight escalates, the weakly committed Yeses and the Undecided move toward No. If you’re going to stay within the bounds of passive consumerism, then does a GMO label really give you much of a new choice? Especially if you suspect, in most cases correctly, that the only result will be to discover that all your available choices have GMO labels, so that you really didn’t get more choice anyway, merely more stress.
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Labeling advocates point out that there is an individual, consumerist course of action available – change your eating habits, shun GMO products, petition manufacturers to purge them, retailers not to carry them. (Here we’re talking about doing these in an individual consumer context, not as part of a movement context.)
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But is this the likely result? What about the opposite possibility – that if labeling is enacted, people will just shrug and not change their buying and eating habits? Indeed, it might even help normalize GMOs.
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Since consumerism is inherently passive and not active, since “choice” is a pseudo-ideal that few people really want (their political and economic actions prove it), and since fear-itself induces conservatism in the choices people make, the campaign to label GMOs is bound to be at a disadvantage as soon as it becomes embroiled in a struggle. People naturally support the idea, but not enough so that they don’t abandon it as a kind of “rocking the boat” the moment they’re given a reason to fix their fears upon it.
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In itself labeling is a meager, insufficient measure. Most importantly, it’s conceptually wrong, as it frames this critical political, socioeconomic, environmental, agronomic, and scientific issue as a matter of consumerist choice. Finally, the labeling idea is ripe to be hijacked by corporate interests or preempted by the central government, as we’re now seeing with this latest attempt in Congress.
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We can’t expect people to rouse themselves and go against the grain of their mass consciousness in any kind of ad hoc way, let alone in a way which they’ll have strong psychological reasons to resist. In order to get organic change, we first need to build an organic movement. We need to take the time and put in the work to build a movement culture where individuals find themselves as citizens, community members, members of a movement. We need to build a movement where people develop the individual self-respect to know that their action which seeks change will bring them a better world, and where they develop the political self-confidence to know that their collective action will work to bring about this bountiful change.
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We need to build a true grassroots movement, this movement has to be affirmative, and it has to seek the stark goal of total abolition. If we can offer people the opportunity to fight to abolish GMOs, or to support this abolition movement with money, a vote, etc., and to do so toward affirmative goals like food freedom, food sovereignty, this offers vastly more on a psychological level than labeling by itself, which is more like yet another annoying consumer “choice”.
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3. Consumerist labeling is really part of the “co-existence” notion. A core part of campaign rhetoric lauds “choice”, thereby echoing a standard pro-GM lie and implying that GMO agriculture can co-exist with any other kind of agricultural practice. But co-existence is impossible, politically as well as physically. Corporate agriculture envisions its own total domination of agriculture and food, and all its actions are dedicated to this goal. GMOs were developed as a classical public-private partnership and are aggressively supported by governments because they’re designed to attain the twin goals of physical (genetic) and economic (commodification and patents) domination. Therefore the only possible outcomes for humanity are complete abolition of GMOs or complete surrender to them. Given this circumstance, the constructive place of a labeling campaign or policy, or just the idea of labeling as such, is as a tactical element of the abolition movement. Anything outside of this movement context is at best a misdirection and waste of effort and time we don’t have to spare.
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4. We know the history of corporate lobbying for an FDA preemption policy, the central government’s complete support for GMO domination, its disdain for and hostility toward any meaningful labeling, the Monsanto Protection Act, and now the yearlong attempt to pass the DARK Act. We have clear proof that the central government will not allow political life and democracy to prevail on this, including at the state level, let alone the regional. Even if the DARK Act is forestalled in the Senate, the US government won’t give up. In the end, the only thing which will work will be defiance of the central government power, by whatever means, at lower government levels and especially through political action of the people from the ground up. This includes organized renunciation and replacement of the corporate industrial food system.
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If this is right, then our time requires a far more comprehensive goal.
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5. Abolitionists must use this crisis to reinforce the Community Food movement and goal. Just “buying organic” won’t suffice. Anyway much of organic is the industrial organic sector which is part of the overall corporate problem, and which has previously indicated its own desire to bring “organic” under Monsanto’s domination. We do have the Right to Know, but we’ll know little and have little until we rebuild the Community Food sector and protect it, toward the great affirmative goal of Food Sovereignty.
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We must lift our vision and expand our goal. We need the will to renew political life from the ground up, where necessary in defiance of the central government and corporate rule. We must use the government’s assaults as a political/moral lever to change the political consciousness from an individual consumerist consciousness (uncontexted labeling) to the abolitionist movement commitment, and the broader consciousness aspiring to freedom and demolishing the corporate-imposed bottlenecks against our prosperity.
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The corporate state’s goal is all-encompassing of the political and economic realms, from globalized corporate rule to strangling the rising Community Food movement in its youth. We can see how the DARK Act is not only anti-labeling but, with measures like preemption of local and state pro-democracy, anti-corporate laws, it’s also designed to provide more government power against the Community Food sector and movement as such. It will seek to do this in tandem with the Orwellianly named “Food Safety Modernization Act”, really a pro-big ag Food Control Act. But with the right kind of education campaign about how the government is trying to make it impossible for the people to know how toxic the industrial food supply is, we might be able to turn these assaults to our advantage. Certainly the one and only way to really KNOW what’s in our food and be citizens of agriculture and food production is to support local/regional retail agriculture, visit and know our farmers and processors, build up that sector. The central government and corporations are doing all they can to prove this.
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6. In the past I’ve sometimes been fatalistic about what the system “will do”, and how possible it is for political action to stop it. I’ve said things like, “the system will extract all the economically viable fossil fuels”, acknowledging various impersonal natural/physical/economic constraints on extraction while discounting political action as potentially such a natural force.
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Where it comes to fossil fuel extraction this is no doubt true for the low-hanging fruit, the reserves easiest and least expensive to extract. But as extraction proceeds along the line of deteriorating cost effectiveness, increasing complexity costs, and mounting physical difficulties, political action against it becomes more potent in proportion to the increasing overextension of its opponent. This can happen in the same way that various technical alternatives to fossil fuels become economically viable as oil prices rise.
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So it follows that as corporate agriculture finds its own position ever more costly and physically difficult to maintain, as costs increase, as natural (pest and weed) resistance mounts, as each new set of GMOs is more dubious, its economic rationale less coherent, its lies less viable, the legitimacy of establishment “science” and mainstream media more eroded, while public fear, skepticism, and opposition continues to rise, our action shall become more effective, and our ability to propagate all-encompassing ideas and desires more potent. There will be an ever greater will on the part of the people to organize against this enemy and to realize our affirmatives.
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In making these criticisms, I’m not disputing the basic truths of the pro-labeling argument. On the contrary, I avow these myself. I’m pointing out why, where labeling is presented as a typical ad hoc consumerist electoral campaign, rather than from within a movement context, the labeling campaigns are ineffective politics.
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At the moment the labeling campaigns comprise the main anti-GMO vehicle, and they can serve as good occasions for participation, organization, education – POE. In principle and in action abolitionists should support and join the campaigns. But we insist that labeling is insufficient, is no panacea, and that the fight for labeling is just one step toward building the consciousness toward building what’s great and necessary, a true abolition movement.
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For the moment, what’s a good proximate strategy?
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1. It’s important to defeat the DARK Act through whatever conventional within-the-system means, if possible. This is the system’s attempt to kneecap our movement through legalistic preemption. If this fails, they’ll try again, or else try for a more subtle “mandatory” scam. Anti-GMO people must reject any subsequent “softer” FDA scam. The same for the TTIP, though here it looks like our only chance is for European Parliament and/or member countries to reject it.
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If the DARK Act is passed, our campaigns must pressure the states and localities to go ahead anyway on democratic moral-political and constitutional grounds, including legal challenges (though we shouldn’t hold our breath in expectation of the court route succeeding). The central government’s ability to enforce its tyrannical policy will be a direct measure of the people’s willingness to crumble and obey, or our determination to stand tall and fight.
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2. Nevertheless, labeling in itself could never suffice. What we must have, what is necessary, is to drive out GMOs completely. Indeed, the worst aspect of the DARK Act is the legal assault it would make on county-level GMO bans.
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3. So in addition to POE, the main purpose of labeling campaigns is to provide an occasion to pressure manufacturers and retailers, and to supplement campaigns directly pressuring them.
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4. In this connection, a primary publicity component is to continue hammering away, not just at Monsanto, and not at the GMA, as for example who is providing the funding for the lawsuit against Vermont. Rather, it is Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, General Mills, General Foods, who are most responsible for inflicting these physical and political assaults upon us. The campaigns have often done a good job of this and should escalate. Combine this brand-condemning publicity campaigning and boycott organizing against these manufacturers with targeted pressure on retailers. These kinds of actions have the best track record, among reform campaigns.
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5. As I described in the strategy posts I linked here, both direct pressure and labeling advocacy must be enfolded within a comprehensive abolition movement and serve the abolition goal. Once we have a movement whose members and sympathizers see the world with the eyes of active citizens of a community, rather than with the eyes of atomized passive consumers among an unfathomable mass, then we’ll have the social foundation from which to launch any kind of political campaign. The campaigns will be organic, they’ll be part of an ongoing social and political context, and they’ll be waged and supported by citizens speaking to potential citizens who can see the living reality of the movement before them, rather than just a seemingly disposable campaign and stand-alone ad hoc policy proposal with no context for systemic change or human hope.
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If we want to do what’s necessary and do it right, in the process inspiring people to join a movement or support it (and this is what’s needed, rather than any quick fix electoral solution), we need to build a true movement toward a goal that’s necessary and great. The great goals available to us are the complete abolition of GMOs and breaking the power of corporations over our agriculture and food, in the process putting an end to their onslaught poisoning our food, water, soil, and air. The companion goal is to rebuild our community food economies on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty, thus combining the best of freedom, health, democracy, and science. There’s no substitute for the patience and hard work required to build this new anti-corporate movement from outside the system. Along the way this movement can absorb whatever existing forces are available, so long as they’re compatible with the stark and non-negotiable goal of the abolition of corporations. But its inception and the main thrust of its action must always be toward building a new human world.
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If the DARK Act passes and the TTIP/TPP globalization compacts are forced upon us, raising our sights and escalating our demands upon fate is one of our options. Giving up is another. But it seems that the status quo will no longer be an option.

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Module: Glyphosate Residues in Our Bodies and Food

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This is the first of a series of modules, each being a short assembly of the evidence to date. I’ll add to each as new evidence rolls in, which it will continue to do. The modules will then be easily linkable for subsequent analytical pieces.
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This module will assemble the findings on glyphosate residues which independent research, in spite of its starvation ration of financial resources, has detected in our bodies, food, and crops. If anyone’s aware of evidence I don’t have here, please add it in comments. A subsequent module will assemble the experimental evidence which found harmful health effects of glyphosate and Roundup exposure, comparing the exposure levels in those studies to the residue levels documented here in our food and bodies. Another piece will compare the levels proven harmful to the levels allowed by regulators in our food and water.
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Many of the levels detected are high even compared to the invariably industry-friendly regulatory levels. But even low residue levels are significant and dangerous, since glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. This means it can cause cancer and birth defects even at very low doses.
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*In 2013 Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse jointly gathered ten breast milk samples, as well as 35 urine samples and 21 drinking water samples, and had these sent for testing. The lab tests found “high” levels of glyphosate residue, ranging from 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l, in 3 of the milk samples. These levels “are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides.” Of the 35 urine samples collected from across the US, 13 were “above the minimum detectable level”, as much as 10 times the level found in a 2013 European survey (see below). 13 of the 21 samples of drinking water “contained glyphosate levels of between 0.085 ug/l and 0.33 ug/l. This is below the levels found in both urine and breast milk but is still cause for concern, as the European (EU) maximum allowed level for glyphosate in drinking water is 0.1 ug/l.”
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Corporate science asserts without evidence that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate. This is why no regulator anywhere in the world has set a regulatory limit for the amount of glyphosate in breast milk. It’s a classical tactic: by refusing to acknowledge the phenomenon in theory or in policy, a bureaucratic system tries to disappear it from reality.
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The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. They are however less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative.

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These findings are especially damaging to Monsanto and the EPA because they falsify the corporate-science dogma that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate. We now know it does. This is the main fact which Monsanto is now desperate to obfuscate, as I describe below.
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*In Germany the Green Party had its own similar 2015 test done using 16 breast milk samples. The testing found residues between 0.210 and 0.432 ug/l. This is over 2-4X the EU’s allowed level in drinking water, and provides further proof of bioaccumulation.
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*In 2013 Friends of The Earth Europe commissioned a survey of people in 18 European countries, testing urine samples for glyphosate residues. “The maximum levels of glyphosate found in the tests ranged from 0.16 ug/l in Switzerland to 1.82 ug/l in Latvia.”
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*In 2013 Testbiotech found high levels of glyphosate residue in Argentine soybeans. 7 of 11 samples had levels higher than the allowed level of 20 mg/kg for EU importation. The levels were as high as almost 100 mg/kg.
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*In 2014 independent scientists performed a compositional study of an array of soybean varieties grown under commercial conditions in Iowa. The study found that soybeans engineered to be Roundup Ready and subsequently sprayed during the growing season contain extremely high levels of glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA, an average of 9.0 mg/kg. This is a level much higher than the 5.6 mg/kg which Monsanto itself called “extreme” in a 1999 publication.
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The poison and its breakdown residues are incorporated into the tissues of the crop, which is engineered merely to assimilate them, sustaining significant weaknesses and nutritional deficiencies along the way but not dying. The poison is then an intrinsic part of the food people and livestock eat. It can’t be washed off, any more than endemic Bt insecticidal poisons, or the many other agricultural poisons which are designed to be suffused through all the tissues of the crop. When we eat any of these false crops, we are eating what are literally poison plants.
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Charles Benbrook, author of magisterial surveys of how GMOs have driven increased pesticide use, has stated that “Most genetically engineered soybeans now moving through trade channels worldwide contain 2 ppm to over 10 ppm of glyphosate plus its major metabolite, AMPA.”.
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*The US Geological Survey published a study which found that 75% of air and rain samples collected in Mississippi in 2007 contained glyphosate residue. The study compared 2007 levels in the air and water of various agricultural poisons with levels from 1995. In 2007 glyphosate, the main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was by far the most common poison. This is entirely on account of the explosive surge in its use since the commercialization of GMOs. In pre-GMO 1995 its usage was so low it wasn’t even measured. For comparison, atrazine, metolachlor, and propanil were detected in 50% or more of the samples in both 2007 and 1995. This is a good demonstration of how the claim made for Roundup Ready GMOs, that they would lower overall poison use, was a lie. Instead, glyphosate use has skyrocketed while the use of other herbicides has remained steady.
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*GMO Free USA, as part of its ongoing investigation of poison levels in popular foods including those marketed to children, has commissioned tests which found glyphosate residues (as well as identifiably GM DNA fragments) in Kellogg’s Froot Loops and Frito-Lay Sunchips.
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*Government testing for glyphosate residues in food is sporadic in Europe and nonexistent in the US. Nevertheless spotty testing in European countries has consistently found glyphosate residues in UK bread and wheat bran and German barley.
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This evidence is damaging enough to Monsanto that it has taken the step of commissioning its own fraudulent counter-study at Washington State University. The Monsanto project is directed and spoken for by a Michelle McGuire, a typical corporate-science cadre who has spent her career as a Monsanto propagandist. Propagandists like these authors (one of them is named “Lackey”, I kid you not) don’t even pretend to be real scientists anymore. Every Monsanto “study” already has two elements which automatically exclude it from the realm of science: The use of secret data and/or methods (by definition scientific information has to be fully public), and that it’s performed by or at the commission of the corporation itself. Both reason itself and the historical evidence record absolutely rule out accepting the corporation’s own “evidence” as having any validity whatsoever. We know the corporation does nothing but lie, and we know the fox cannot guard the henhouse.
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Another element we see here as well as with other pro-GMO “studies” like the recent sweet potato/HGT paper, is blatantly political and
anti-scientific editorializing by the “researchers” and their signal boosters. Based on the existing evidence, no legitimate scientist would say anything like “glyphosate does not bioaccumulate and is not present in human milk” or that “the Moms Across America study flat out got it wrong”. The evidence calls for vastly more modest statements than these, if one is a scientist. Will Ferguson, the corporate publicist who wrote the press release, tells various direct lies, such as that Covance Labs, the “independent verifier” of the original study’s analysis which was conducted by Monsanto itself (!), has no relationship with Monsanto. In fact Covance has a longstanding close professional relationship with Monsanto. Ferguson also claims to be one of those idiots who wouldn’t be able to find the US on a map, since according to his headline he thinks two small Northwest cities comprise “the US”. The Orwellian character of these studies and their publicity methods proves that they’re not scientific nor meant to be, but are meant to be propaganda blasts dressed up in pseudo-science garb.
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McGuire is not a scientist but a fraud and a criminal liar. I propose that fighters for Food Sovereignty become more relentless and assertive in publicizing this fact, in every such case of Science Fraud. This example is also the first of a series.
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April 28, 2015

Anti-Politics and Anti-Science Go Hand in Hand

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“The recommendation was made just hours after the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, William Brownfield, defended the use of glyphosate and gave assurances in an interview with the local radio station Caracol Radio that the herbicide does not cause cancer as indicated by the WHO.”
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I remember well the Bush years, and the earnest lamentations of liberal/Democrat types deploring the callousness of administration hacks who cared nothing for human and environmental health or for science.
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Funny how completely dead that line has gone since Obama came in.
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Of course we see examples like this every day, everywhere we look, since the corporate state is the corporate state, no matter which of the two tribes comprising the Corporate One-Party is nominally in power.
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We must always keep in mind this intersection of the twin nihilisms, “scientific” and “political”, among those who support corporate rule. In both cases we have an abdication (of any kind of science community; of participatory citizenship) and an aggressive propaganda and coercion campaign, against science, and against political participation, and on behalf of corporatized “science” and “representative” politics.
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Therefore the necessary minimums for a human freedom and vitality movement are, negatively, the abolition of corporate power, and affirmatively, the redemption of science and politics, restoring these to the people who can be their only true and legitimate grounding.

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April 24, 2015

GMO News Report April 24th, 2015

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*A new initiative is offering lab-certified glyphosate tests to the public. (Previous testing with the ELISA method was ignored by the EPA on a trumped up pretext, but the organizers want to pin the feds to the wall with the validated LS/MS/MS test.) We already know this poison which causes cancer, birth defects, liver and kidney disease, neurological disease, and many other maladies is rampant in our food, water, air, and soil, and we already know humanity must ban it. This testing program will allow anyone who wishes to further document the suffusion of this poison throughout our world. The tests will be available for drinking water, urine, and soon for breast milk. Check out their excellent information resource on the human health ravages of glyphosate.
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*Monsanto is being sued in Los Angeles County for false advertising of its Roundup herbicide. The suit focuses on one of the standard lies about glyphosate, that because it “only” targets the EPSPS enzyme pathway, which is found only in plants and not mammals, therefore glyphosate can’t be harmful to people, pets, or livestock.
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The suit focuses on the fact that EPSPS is found in the beneficial bacteria of our microbiome. These bacteria are critical for healthy digestive and other body systems. By disrupting these, glyphosate does affect mammalian health.
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We can add that glyphosate does adversely affect at least two mammalian pathways, the retinoic acid pathway and the CYP pathway. Glyphosate’s harmful action causes retinoic acid oversignaling which disrupts gene expression, leading to birth defects and cancer. Glyphosate also disrupts the CYP enzymes which are important for detoxifying foodborne and other environmental toxins. Therefore it suppresses our detoxification mechanism as well as the help we get from gut bacterial detoxification action, since these bacteria have the CYP pathway as well. This can lead to directly toxic effects, can trigger autoimmune disease and a wide range of conditions. “Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease”, in the words of scientist Stephanie Seneff. Finally, glyphosate’s chelation effect also concentrates hard metals in food, water, and our bodies, which causes kidney toxicity as documented in studies, and which scientists think is the cause of the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu).
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*Environmental groups are condemning the new draft rules the European Commission has issued for the importation of GMO products for use in food and feed. (This is a separate rule from the previously disputed one on GM cultivation within the EU.) The draft directly breaks the prior promise of Commissioner Juncker to make the GM importation process more democratic. On the contrary, the new rule does not improve upon the ability of the European Council to block import approval by a majority vote (as things are now, it needs a supermajority; failing this, the decision passes to the undemocratic EC). Instead, the new rule will further limit the EU-approved grounds on which member countries can ban cultivation or import of GMOs. All this will be accompanied by an accelerated EFSA approval treadmill. The EC and the US government expect that once the flow of imports becomes a flood, it’ll be impossible for any part of Europe to resist or even monitor the Europe-wide spread of GM-based products. As things are, meat and dairy from animals fed on GM feed don’t have to be labeled, though many brands and retailers have committed to using non-GM feed. The new rules are meant to overwhelm all feed chains.
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*The Vermont attorney general’s office is drawing up rules for the state’s GMO labeling law, the first effective policy in the US, which will go into effect July 2016.
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*Neil Young is releasing an album this June including songs against Monsanto. Recently Young has been praising Vermont for its labeling law, condemning the Grocery Manufacturers Association (with such members as Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Kelloggs) for its SLAPP suit against Vermont’s democracy, and calling for a boycott of GMA member Starbucks.

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