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May 1, 2016

Remembering the American Revolution

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In honor of May Day I’d like to salute the original American Revolution. This was the first stage which was so quickly put on ice, but which we now have high hopes to resume, in the true spirit of this great democratic revolution.
 
In school we’re taught that the Articles of Confederation were a hopelessly parochial and unworkable mishmash, and that the 1788 Constitution was a triumph of reason, wisdom, practicality, and morality. The truth is that the Articles were indeed flawed and inefficient, but not in the way the system schools teach. They’re flawed in a very particular way. Namely, they weren’t well suited for the kleptocratic imperial designs of Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris, Edmund Randolph, James Wilson, John Adams, and others. 
 
The Revolutionary War was won, not by generals like George Washington, let alone by banksters like Robert Morris or the already corrupt Congress. It was won by the common soldier. These, the type of citizens represented by the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution* (to the extent this kind of written Constitution can truly represent), fought not just for the merchant revolution the way the Sons of Liberty did in Boston, but for a more democratic and egalitarian economic order.
 
[*This Constitution still excluded women and implicitly recognized slavery, and still recognized land and resource “property”. But by opening with a Bill of Rights (a despised afterthought in 1788) superior to the 1788 version in several key ways, enshrining universal male suffrage, rejecting central pre-emption, explicitly declaring the people’s sovereignty, explicitly declaring the people’s right to abolish any rogue government, outlawing debtors’ prisons, imposing sunshine requirements for legislation, and in many other ways, it represents a significant step toward full representative democracy, which in turn could be a step toward true positive democracy. Its framers, and the grassroots movement they represented, wanted government to act as a restraint on finance tyranny and merchant greed (the Pennsylvania assembly, in one of the few clear-cut victories the people ever scored against the banksters, revoked the charter of Robert Morris’ bank), they wanted a rational, constructive money supply, they wanted debt relief, and in general they wanted a political system which enfranchised and benefited those who work and which based the economy on productive work and the polity on a democracy of productive citizens. While we may debate whether “government” as the 18th century saw it was ever necessary (it certainly no longer is), there’s no dispute over the fact that if such a government had to exist at all, then the 1776ers were doing their best to make it as representative as it could be.
 
The 1776 Constitution was on a vector. By contrast, the 1788 Constitution was designed to foreclose any further democratic movement. On the contrary, its main vector was to concentrate power and wealth up the hierarchy, and to help build an empire for this new ruling class.]
 
The main action of Congress during the war was to issue scrip to pay the soldiers and IOUs to the citizens from whom supplies were often “requisitioned”. These pieces of paper were intended to devalue to near-worthlessness. Then, once speculators had gobbled up much of this paper at often less than ten cents on the dollar, the Congress voted to pay it off at face value. The very citizen-soldiers who had actually fought and won the war and then been defrauded of their wages, and the very workers and farmers who had had their goods taken from them and then been defrauded of payment, were now saddled as taxpayers with a public odious debt to the very con-men who had defrauded them.
 
Soldiers had been forced under economic coercion to sell all they’d earned at pennies on the dollar, and were often plunged by their war service into personal debt to the very merchants now speculating on their scrip. Congress now turned around and doubly empowered these criminals, as public creditors who could demand that government tax the people (“open the purses of the people”, in Morris’ descriptive phrase) to make good on their speculative bets against the people, and as personal creditors who could demand that government enforce their demand to now be paid in government-issued, specie-based cash, whereas previously debts could usually be paid in real goods. This double assault threatened to dispossess and indenture the very people who had fought and won the war, and on whose behalf the war had been fought in the first place, according to the Declaration of Independence.
 
The basic plan of Hamilton and Morris: A strong central government would identify its interests with the creditor class and turn the private accounts of these speculators into the public’s debt, turning itself into the thug arm of this finance scam. (Like I said above, many citizens would thus be doubly on the hook.) This would reassure Old World finance, enabling the new US government to borrow overseas. The US system could use this free-flowing credit to build up its own military, police, and bureaucratic power and to use these aggressively, to imperially expand across the continent and to enforce its prerogatives (i.e., the prerogatives of the ruling class) against the citizenry at home. The American public would have to pay off the debt incurred to pay for this monstrous parasite upon it. Taxation power would be necessary to carry out this function, and would in turn serve as a pretext to further concentrate government power. This hierarchical concentration of centralized government power, along with the double assault of taxation and indenture, would help break the democratic movement. This elite hijacking of a quasi-democratic revolution was a typical imperialist crime. From the point of view of the people, it was another enclosure onslaught, and a war of total destruction vs. local economies and democracies. So the new system began with a massive crime against the people, and against war veterans in particular.   
 
This was nothing new to the true citizens of the colonies. They already had long experience of such oppression. Prior to the war the people had long engaged in direct action against the oppression both of the British (for example the Sons of Neptune in Boston, after whom the Sons of Liberty were named in part) and of home-grown corruption and tyranny, most famously the Regulator movement in North Carolina and elsewhere.
 
Now the people of Massachusetts took up the Regulator mantle. In 1786 a spontaneous movement of veterans and workers rose up to forcibly resist debt tyranny and thuggery. This was Shay’s Rebellion. In spite of tremendous good will and courage, this attempt to carry on the principles of the American Revolution fizzled out (as spontaneous peasant revolts usually do) and was followed by the usual repression. It was in this context that the alleged democrat Samuel Adams issued this cry of freedom: “The man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.” No neoliberal corporatist of today could sum it up better. 
 
By 1787 sufficient evidence had piled up that the Articles of Confederation lacked “sufficient checks against the democracy”, as Randolph put it at the Convention. From the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution to the revocation of Morris’ bank charter, from the general difficulties Hamilton was having putting through his centralized finance plan to Shay’s Rebellion and the bad memories of the Regulators it stirred up, the elites knew they needed to radically revamp the government blueprint. They needed a constitution which would centralize government, strongly concentrate it, turn it into a versatile and brutal weapon on behalf of finance assaults, military aggression, and police repression.
 
From any other point of view, the Articles were fine. That’s why the 1787 convention was undertaken with ulterior motives from its inception. It was sold to the people as just a tweaking of the existing system, not a radical transformation. Only once the Convention was seated did it then set to work devising a fully centralized, hierarchical, top-down, finance-based big government.
 
Why the 1788 Constitution? Not the vague words of the civics textbooks about the inadequacy of the Articles. No – finance elites and propertied aristocrats were in a panic over how close to success Shay’s Rebellion had come, and over the many other ways in which the democratic movement was striving to continue the American Revolution, to bring its proclaimed principles into practice. With horror they discovered that the existing government wasn’t strong enough. By that I don’t mean strong enough for regular law and order and to organize rational, equitable trade; it was certainly sufficient for those. It wasn’t strong enough to enforce economic tyranny. That’s why they wrote and imposed a new “constitution”. The new order – Hamilton’s kleptocratic plan, and the thug arm to carry it out – was put to the test with the excise tax on whiskey and the subsequent “whiskey rebellion”. While the new central government was still too weak to enforce this tax throughout most of the back country, it was strong enough to do so in one critical territory, western Pennsylvania. That was enough of a show of force to intimidate much of the populace. The central government’s “authority” was now established.
 
What does it all mean today? We must continue the neglected, derelict revolution. The real fighters for freedom were the foot soldiers of the Revolutionary War, who fought in the spirit and for the ideal of the grassroots democratic activists, from the Regulators to the 1776 Pennsylvania constitutionalists to the Massachusetts rebels for democracy to the backcountry fighters against Hamilton’s taxation onslaught. These, and all true democracy activists since, on up to the Occupy movement of today, and on the grand scale the global Food Sovereignty movement, have been the real heroes of the revolution.
 
It’s the Spirit of ’76 against the anti-spirit of 1788. Which year rings more true to us today, as we see the full development of the economic and political centralization process enshrined in 1788? There’s only one path forward: We must resume the American Revolution.
 
 

April 29, 2016

GMO/Poisoner News Summary April 29th, 2016

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*Whistleblower Ray Seidler, formerly of the EPA, condemns the EU’s imminent approval for import in food and feed of two types of soybeans engineered to be tolerant of glyphosate plus, respectively, dicamba and isoxaflutole. These pesticides are at least as toxic as glyphosate and inflict the same severe health detriments on humans, animals, and the ecology. Both are genotoxic and are endocrine disruptors at low doses. Both are organically toxic and cause birth defects, neurodisease, and cancer
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These “second generation” GMOs (exactly the same in every way as the old GMOs) are destined primarily for European CAFOs. Much of what drives the pesticide and GMO machine, in terms of “demand”, is the factory farm system which in turn is sustained by the demand among consumers for cheap meat. The vegans are right that this consumer demand is not a law of consumer nature, but has been instilled by propaganda and indoctrination. It follows logically that there’s the possibility of a strong alliance between poison abolitionists and vegans who want to abolish CAFOs. Factory farms themselves are major poison sources and destroyers of public health (via their systematic creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the rampant water and air pollution they generate), while any knowledgeable vegan would know that CAFOs exist in large part to serve as a consumption maw for the productionism of poisons and monoculture grain, and therefore one can’t target just one link in the chain of industrial agriculture, but must target the whole evil structure for abolition.
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CAFOism is the best direct refutation of the “Feed the World” Big Lie, with its strange notion that the way to produce food for people is to take 10 calories of grain and turn it into one calorie of meat. This seems to be a convoluted way of destroying food instead of feeding people. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to engineer the crops to spontaneously combust in the field prior to harvest? It also provides a window on the alleged intellectual prowess of our scientists and engineers. With that grasp of arithmetic, how did they ever get out of kindergarten, let alone attain doctorates? I must question the integrity of our the entire educational system.
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*The UK government has approved the field trial of GM camelina engineered to produce extra Omega-3 fatty acids. Ravaged butterflies demonstrate how toxic this false crop is. As with every other GMO, it’s a false pretense for a false purpose. It’s meant to be fed to factory farmed fish. These diseased fish (also soon to be genetically engineered, if the FDA and AquaBounty get their way) consistently escape from their pens and contaminate the wild populations the fish CAFOs are supposed to be sparing. Massive, concentrated waste from factory fish farming also pollutes the water and aquatic ecosystems. It all goes round and round. It’s clear that industrial fishing as such is unsustainable and anti-ecological.
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As per the law of “product quality” GMOs, there’s no need for this product even if it did work and wasn’t toxic. As with golden rice and other such worthless products, the main purpose of fish-oil GMOs is a propaganda purpose, to tout the idea of GMOs which are something other than poison plants and which would do something other than maximize the use of agricultural poisons. Of course in practice any of these GMOs, if they were ever commercialized, would come only in Bt and/or herbicide tolerant forms. They would have the exact same socioeconomic and ideological goals as bad old Roundup Ready corn and soybeans.
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Each high-profile field trial, no matter how pointless in itself, is a propaganda exercise. It’s meant to continue to normalize the GMO ideology as such, and is also meant to continue to impress upon the people the sense of the alleged inevitability of GMO domination.
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*I’ve long argued that from a business point of view Oxitec looks more like a stock pump-and-dump scam than anything else. Analysts and investors are now drawing the same conclusion.
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*I’m hearing the sirens already: The DARK Act will be up again in July or sooner. Aren’t people getting sick of this? Meanwhile with each iteration of the alleged crisis I become less convinced of the substance of the labeling idea as such and more convinced that for too many people the very idea of “labeling” is becoming a fetish which doesn’t need to have any substance, much like the idea of GMOs is for the techno-cultists. How else does one explain the disregard most people have for the actual content of any prospective labeling policy, how little they care about the inherent weaknesses and likely frauds in the way any labeling policy would ever be enforced, or the continued desire on the part of many for the aggressively pro-GMO FDA of all things to be in charge of labeling? To say the least, there’s an extreme dissonance between claiming to be against pesticides and GMOs but for increasing the power of the FDA which is pro-pesticide and pro-GMO to its core. (In a similar outbreak, all the “food safety” NGOs supported Big Ag’s “Food Safety Modernization Act”, which does indeed seek further to entrench and empower modern corporate notions of “food safety”.)
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The only way to explain it is to theorize that many people think there’s two different FDAs and can conceive one or the other as the situation calls for. But in reality there’s only one FDA and it’s pro-GMO. There must be a manifestation of state-worship at work here. Two opposite FDAs at once: The irrationality of this indicates it’s a religious phenomenon. But the government and its corporations hardly comprise a proper object of worship, if worship is what one feels the need to do.
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April 27, 2016

The Whole False Notion: “Precision”, Genetic Engineering, and GMOs

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Here’s all anyone needs to know about CRISPR etc., the whole false notion of a “second generation” of GMOs based on “gene editing”, RNA interference, and similar tricks: These are the same failed technology, the same failed GMOs, the same failed mode, the same failed agricultural paradigm based on poison, guaranteed to have the same result as all prior pesticides and GMOs. Pests will quickly overcome it, it will function only on the same ever-accelerating pesticide treadmill which already spins endlessly, it will poison people, animals, and the environment, and it will contaminate non-GM crops and wild plants. It’s not possible to be mistaken about any of this. Indeed, these are proven to be intentional primary effects of every technology deployed as part of poison-based agriculture. As its name says, this is the project of maximizing the production and use of poisons in order to maximize the poisoning of people and the Earth. All of this is being done for its own sake, as well as for the sake of profit and power. All of it is disguised with the lie that any of it has anything to do with producing food.
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By now all we have are conscious, willful liars on the one hand, vast amounts of gratuitous, self-willed ignorance on the other, with a few scattered truth-tellers who recognize the clear facts.
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The health dangers of the “new” GMOs are the same as for the old GMOs. Scrambled genomes, insertional and tissue culture mutations, and the effects of these: A gene producing too much or too little of a protein with toxic or other ill effects, producing the wrong protein with toxic effect, producing a misfolded protein with toxic effect (Mad Cow disease is caused by a misfolded protein), toxically excessive or foreign metabolites, gene or cell damage leading to cancer or any number of other health destructions, “silencing” the genes of humans who come into contact (topical, inhaled, ingested) with the RNAi pesticide, and any number of other predictably unpredictable chaotic effects. The new GMOs are the same as the old GMOs.
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In the same way the health dangers are the same as for any other pesticide. The engineers and propagandists have no more idea how genotoxic, hormone disrupting, neurotoxic, organically toxic, and carcinogenic the RNAi pesticides will be than they originally had for the other classes of pesticides, all of which proved to be lethal to humans in all these ways. To put that another way, they know perfectly well that the RNAi pesticides will almost certainly have the same effects that all other pesticides have. The new pesticides are the same as the old pesticides, and will fail against pests and poison people in the same way the old ones always do.
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It’s not possible to be mistaken about any of this. These are all known facts.
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Of course the “new” GMOs are designed to aggravate the socioeconomic and political evils of corporate agriculture and commodity-based production the same way all previous GMOs were designed. Just like all prior GMOs, the goal of the new GMOs is to starve the world in order to feed a handful of gluttons.
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All the hype surrounding the new GMOs is based on the junk science of genetic determinism, same as for the old GMOs. In both cases the facts are:
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1. On the most basic factual level, the engineers and their supporters know vastly less than they claim to know. Jonathan Latham writes,
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[The industry and media’s] exposition is belied by the evidence. If CRISPR were already precise, accurate and specific there would, for example, be no publications in prominent scientific journals titled “Improving CRISPR-Cas nuclease specificity using truncated guide RNAs“. And these would not begin by describing how ordinary CRISPR “can induce mutations at sites that differ by as many as five nucleotides from the intended target”, i.e. CRISPR may act at unknown sites in the genome where it is not wanted (Fu et al., 2014).

Thus CRISPR itself will need tweaking before it can be useful for safe commercial products, and that is the first error of the tweaking argument. So far, it is technically not possible to make a single (and only a single) genetic change to a genome using CRISPR and be sure one has done so (Fichtner et al., 2014). As Fichtner noted “in mammalian systems Cas9 causes a high degree of off-target effects”. And at least until modified versions come into use, this will limit the safety, and hopefully limit the application, of CRISPR and related biotechnologies. There is, furthermore, no guarantee that more precise versions of CRISPR are even biologically possible. Technically therefore, precision is a myth: no form of genome editing can do what is currently being claimed.

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2. They know nothing about the science of genetics or biology. (Not to mention ecology and agronomy.) To believe in genetic determinism requires ignorance of even the most basic elements of the state of the science. Here’s Latham again.
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[A] defined, discrete or simple pathway from gene to trait probably never exists. Most gene function is mediated murkily through highly complex biochemical and other networks that depend on many conditional factors, such as the presence of other genes and their variants, on the environment, on the age of the organism, on chance, and so forth. Geneticists and molecular biologists, however, since the time of Gregor Mendel, have striven to find or create artificial experimental systems in which environmental or any other sources of variation are minimised so as not to distract from the more “important” business of genetic discovery.

But by discarding organisms or traits that do not follow their expectations, geneticists and molecular biologists have built themselves a circular argument in favour of a naive deterministic account of gene function. Their paradigm habitually downplays the enormous complexities by which information passes (in both directions) between organisms and their genomes. It has created an immense and mostly unexamined bias in the default public understanding of genes and DNA.

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Where this isn’t willful lying, it’s the common mode of being seduced by a crackpot version of “scientific method”. They reify these ivory tower experimental conditions of limited usefulness into real conditions which give real knowledge.
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The primary lie making up the marketing campaign for the “new” GMOs is that they’ve been made with extra-special “precision”. The propaganda theme that the new GMOs have been engineered with precision is the exact same lie as the theme that the old GMOs were the result of precision engineering. In reality all genetic engineering is an extremely sloppy, wasteful, scattershot empirical process relying on brute force and massive reiteration to produce an adequate result once in awhile. Genetic engineering and its results is best represented by the proverbial stopped clock which is correct twice a day. So it’s been for all GMOs to date, and so it is for the “new” GMOs.
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In itself, precision is only as intelligent or moronic as allowed by the extent of one’s knowledge. Latham gives a good analogy: “Suppose, as a non-Chinese speaker, I were to precisely remove from a Chinese text one character, one line, or one page. I would have one hundred percent precision, but zero control over the change in meaning. Precision, therefore, is only as useful as the understanding that underlies it.” In reality, even legitimate science knows little about the details of genomes and next to nothing about the chaotic genome effects of genetic engineering. When we add to this ignorance of the details and repercussions the engineers’ junk science of biological determinism and their complete ignorance of the state of genetic and biological science, we see how even if they did have a precision technique they’d still have absolutely no idea what they were doing. They’d be firing with good marksmanship into a soundless, pitch black void. But to say again, they have no precision technique either. They’re really hurling handfuls of gravel into that void.
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The “precision” lie is a core article of the religious faith of scientism, going back centuries to the de jure Christian roots of the engineering ideology. Although engineers and scientists have never had such precision control of anything, they’ve always prayed to themselves and lied to the world that they did possess such precision knowledge and control. Here again, the hype about CRISPR is just the latest incarnation of the most hackneyed lies. Here too it’s not possible to be mistaken. Anyone familiar with the history of science and engineering, especially the history of pesticides and GMOs, knows the lie by heart.
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Technologies based on the reductive, poisonist junk science like genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, synthetic “life”, robotics, nanotech, geoengineering and others share the fantasy of the engineer exercising total control through the precision use of control technologies and engineering techniques. Science has seldom been more than a servant of this cult religion of control. More often than not the process by which these technologies are developed has little to no “precision” involved, but is a very messy process based on profligate, wasteful deployment of brute force empiricism toward whatever approximate result is “close enough” in practice as long as it can be transformed through the fantasy into an idea of precision. In the same way, as a rule these technologies don’t work in the real world. The real world performance of GMOs ranges from temporarily adequate as long as supported by the most lavish, expensive panoply of inputs – bank credit, machinery, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides – to a complete disaster from the start. Nowhere on Earth have GMOs ever consistently performed as well as the much healthier, much less expensive true crops. But as long as cheap oil, industrial inputs, and corporate welfare can provide enough brute force to keep GMOs in the field at all, this is enough for the scientism cultists and their fanboys to fetishize GMOs into a transcendent religious ideal.
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When we consider the origin and circumstances of the STEM cadre this cultism isn’t surprising. STEM disciplines attract the most hierarchically-oriented, authoritarian, reductive, order-obsessed types who are also the most alienated from physical (ecological) reality and at the same time possessed of the most intense religiosity. In the modern era scientism and “Progress” have presented themselves as secular civil religions, but this pseudo-secularity is just a temporary variation on the Christian millennarian roots of technology worship and science ideology. For over 900 years inventors and practitioners of engineering and science explicitly saw themselves as imitating Adam in the Garden of Eden, creating in the image of the Creator, becoming co-Creators with God, and as preparing the human condition for the Second Coming. To this day these apocalyptic religious themes remain explicit and normative among aerospace and weapons engineers. It’s also standard rhetoric among AI cultists and “transhumanists”.
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The explicit Christian rhetoric is also common among genetic engineers and GMO cultists, and the transcendent tone, evangelical attitude, and warnings/hopes of the imminent apocalypse are exactly the same. It’s the same millennarian Christian religiosity, even where temporarily submerged by civil religious ideology.
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Given this extremist interior, the fact that the engineers usually must function as lower-level cogs in the corporate machine, obeying the dictates of executives and marketers, the whole endeavor just a subdivision of the much more comprehensive Mammon religion, must bother them. To give just one example, Lords of the Harvest describes the initial cultural conflict at Monsanto between the high-flown fantasies and pretensions of the genetic engineering division and the agrochemical division, which the genetic engineers at first disdained as a gang of backward luddites. It was only after the GE division put up a perfect record of failure over years of very expensive confusion that they finally lowered their sights and began working on poison plants. (They failed at this too; one day soon I’ll write a piece documenting Monsanto’s near-perfect record of failure and theft.)
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When we put all this together, it’s no wonder the techno-cultists exalt the fantasy of precision and control and keep telling themselves and the world lies about it. And although they continue to tell these lies about the GMOs which have been deployed so far, at the same time they implicitly admit they were always lying about these when they hype the alleged “new” kinds of GMOs, even going so far as to deny these GMOs are GMOs, which also disparages the existing types. They’re trying first to convince themselves that this time the “precision” really is precise, the “control” real control.
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Most profoundly, we see in these phenomena some of the sources of the indelible culture of the lie among technocrats and scientism cultists. Humanity should have demanded of the very first scientist, “What is Truth?” The idealization of some notion of Truth, which is touted as the ultimate justification of science, originated in Christian theology and to this day remains a religious justification. Scientific “Truth” is therefore Truth as revealed by religious transcendence. As the engineers and scientists constantly say, with their technology they seek to transcend reality – the environment, biology, mortality, the irrationality and emotionality of human beings, the physical Earth. Their will to truth means the will to another world, an otherworld, an afterworld. Their will to truth must go hand in hand with the cult of technology. This means their “Truth” has always been purely instrumental. So from both directions – Truth as a theological article, and Truth as whatever idea of control technology is able to effect, right down to boosting profit margins – the culture of the lie is inherent in the technological version of Truth. As with all fundamentalist cults, the scientism cult recognizes only its transcendent ideal and its day to day empirical work, but displays absolute faithlessness toward any and all day to day measures of fact or truth. As for science itself, for the STEM cult this is nothing but an appendage of instrumental engineering. At best it can sometimes serve as a methodological guide, but is most commonly a propaganda facade. Just as the pseudo-democratic, pseudo-political ideology which has supplanted classical liberalism is called “neoliberalism”, so bona fide science has become a fraudulent “neoscience” completely engulfed within the corporate science paradigm of today’s STEM establishment. Between this mercenary hijacking and the religious basis of science as such, there’s little left of the exalted, alleged rationalistic Enlightenment mythology. It’s the practicing engineers and scientists themselves who present the most extreme manifestation of human irrationalism and human emotionalism, as well as malignity, faithlessness, and absolute practical nihilism. But in their minds they dwell in a cloud city presided over by their own god. They see their task as to wipe out the ecological reality of the real Earth and humanity and replace it with a technology-dominated co-Creation between themselves and this god. If humanity is to survive, we must put a stop to them.
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April 25, 2016

The USDA Abdicates Even Sham Regulation: Problem and Opportunity

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The USDA gambit of refusing to regulate so-called “second generation” GMOs has several purposes and goals.
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Most directly, it’s meant to obliterate regulation of GMOs as such, as an increasing proportion of future product launches are of these newer types. (We can observe that it’s a Democrat administration initiating this major acceleration of anti-regulation, even though according to flat-earth tribal lore such policy tends to be associated more with Republicans. But by now anyone with eyes to see and a brain to think has long recognized that this is a one party system, the system of the Corporate One-Party whose two flavors are there only as a misdirection ploy. In our case, anyone who thinks the intensive poisoning of our food and water is a crisis and Nuremburg level crime must recognize that we have no options within the corporate system, as both parties are aggressive Poisoner Parties.)
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It’s also supposed to reinforce the Big Lie generally propagated in the corporate media including the so-called “science” media that GMOs were ever meaningfully regulated in the first place. The lie that the FDA ever regulated GMO safety is a mainstay among every outlet from the New York Times to Scientific American. There’s also an implication that USDA regulation ever had anything to do with safety, but the USDA’s procedure intentionally avoided all meaningful assessment by fixating on the bizarre criterion of whether any element of the transgenic insertion came from a potential “plant pest”. Whether or not the finished GMO product itself could become any such pest, for example through transgenic contamination, was a matter the USDA stubbornly refused to consider. Note that this is a direct contradiction of the usual propaganda theme of pro-GMO activists, that regulation if it’s to exist at all should focus only on the product and not the “process”.
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This lie parallels the companion lie that GMOs have somehow been established to be safe by their widespread presence in the diet for many years without large numbers of people immediately dropping dead from them. The “Trillion Meal” lie essentially concedes that this has been a vast, uncontrolled feeding experiment on unconsenting human beings, but claims that the result has been to find GMOs safe. This could be argued only from the anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, anti-medical point of view that that the one and only measure of safety is whether or not something causes acute toxicity. This is indeed regulatory dogma, while regulators studiously refuse to assess long-term effects of any level of exposure. (In fact, GMOs and products of genetic engineering have periodically caused acute outbreaks, including the lethal Showa Denko epidemic and the potentially lethal outbreak of allergic reactions when StarLink maize, which even the EPA considered too dangerous to be allowed in human food but did allow in crops to be used only as livestock feed, inevitably infiltrated the human food supply.)
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In fact within the last twenty years there’s been a surge of many kinds of chronic and gradually-developing diseases which is correlated with the period of the GMO influx into the diet. These range from cancer to birth defects and reproductive problems to many kinds of gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases. Strictly speaking, we may not yet have enough data to disentangle the health effects of GMOs from the health effects of their necessary companion pesticides*, but we know that the combined poison product is wreaking havoc with human health and is already perpetrating mass murder, albeit in a way more “gradual” than a death camp. The fact that the US government and agrochemical corporations have always refused to perform real safety tests on GMOs or pesticides proves that the US government and agrochemical companies know or believe that these products are murderous. If they did not believe this, they would have been willing to perform the tests, and if whatever tests they did perform generated data which tended to support the contention that the product is safe, they would publicize this data (as the very practice of science requires) instead of keeping it secret. This secrecy proves that whatever data they do have indicates the product is unsafe.
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The USDA is fully aware of how toxic to human health** these agricultural poisons are. The fact that the agency is now escalating its dereliction and redoubling its lies, now following the FDA’s longstanding practice of engaging in a sham exchange of letters with a corporate developer as the extent of its “regulatory process”, is proof that the USDA is consciously, willfully committing crimes against humanity.
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[*All GMOs are literal poison plants, whether this be because the genetic engineering itself generates an insecticide or prepares the crop to be drenched in herbicide (these two types encompass virtually all commercialized GMOs), or because as part of the poison-based agricultural system the crop is subject to intense bombardment of poisons not directly related to the genetic engineering. Together these add up to 100%: A primary purpose of corporate industrial agriculture is to maximize poison manufacture, use, and presence in human food, and the purpose of GMOs is to escalate poison-based industrial agriculture. There are literally zero examples of genetic engineering projects contemplating the integration of GMOs with agroecology. This is structurally impossible, since genetic engineering and the GMO class of products are inextricably part of and dependent upon radically authoritarian capitalist government and corporate structures for their development and distribution, and can be applied only within a radical framework seeking hierarchical control of commodity production amid a monocultural environment, political and physical, while agroecology exists only to maximize the opposite tendencies of biodiversity, polyculture, and political and economic decentralization, all toward food production for human beings amid an ecological way of life. In a world based on humanism, ecological practice, and science, there would be zero place for pesticides or GMOs.]
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[**I’ve noticed for awhile that the language makes it hard to give a direct, forcible expression for how these poisons (or anything else) harm people. What should we say – “health dangers” or “health hazards”? More speculative than we need to be by now. “Health harms”? Factually right, but sounds to me kind of weak relative to the magnitude of the destruction. How about “health destruction”? Sounds strange, though if people started using it this could sound normal soon enough. Then there’s terms like “toxicity”, “poisonousness”, “destructivity”, which don’t quite roll off the tongue. Is there a term or expression I’m missing which clearly, simply, strongly drives the meaning that these things are badly damaging our health and often killing us? It’s as if the language intentionally avoids offering such an expression.]
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By means of this common scam of regulators and the mainstream media, the fact that there was never meaningful regulation in the first place is supposed to be transformed into proof that no further regulation is needed. The fact that no evidence of GMO safety was ever produced is supposed to be transformed into proof that no evidence needs to be provided. The Streichers of the mainstream media use these lies to continue and escalate their systematic suppression of the overwhelming evidence of the health destruction caused by agricultural poisons, and their cover-up of the strict proof of these dangers and harms provided by the refusal of governments and corporations to perform the necessary tests.
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What to do now? We already know that GMOs are harmful in themselves and exist only to maximize pesticide use, and we already know the pesticides are lethal. So we don’t need or want more testing or regulation in the sense of needing more evidence. The rote calls for “more and better testing” are just procrastination. However, meaningless as USDA regulation is from the point of view of health and safety, it still imposes some financial and time costs on the corporations, and is therefore better to have than not to have. So it’s worth trying to pressure the USDA to backpedal on this dereliction campaign.
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But our main thrust should be a much better organized, focused, and relentless campaign propagating the facts: Pesticides don’t work, pesticides all cause cancer and a host of other harms, GMOs were never tested by the system, regulators and media lie about this, regulators and media are in fact lackeys of the corporations and enemies of the people, the very fact of this dereliction proves that the US government and the corporations know or believe GMOs are harmful to health, “secret science” is a contradiction in terms, the dereliction and secrecy proves the pro-GMO activists have zero science on their side and are themselves anti-science, all the independent science which has been done gives evidence of this health destruction, and every other fact and lie which combine to convict the Poisoner system, its activists, and its media propagandists, convict them beyond any reasonable doubt of willful, systematic crimes against humanity and the Earth.
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This newest lesson in what regulatory agencies are should also finally cure those labelists still laboring under the delusion that the FDA could ever preside over a meaningful labeling policy. This was always a stupid, ignorant position to hold, and by now it’s simply impossible still to hold this position in good faith. We know what these regulators are, fully activist participants in the Poisoner campaign. By now the measure of support among labelists for FDA labeling is simply a measure of the bad faith of labelism as such.
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To the extent there still exist labeling advocates who have integrity and therefore still want the state-level campaign, they need to make sure that any labeling proposal includes all the “second generation” techniques and products. Obviously even if by some accident Congress voted to make the FDA institute so-called “mandatory” labeling, the FDA would exclude all such techniques and products. There again we see what an obviously wrong and malign idea FDA labeling is.
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Shakespeare has King Henry V proclaiming before the Battle of Agincourt, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” It seems that the minds of the people aren’t quite ready, given the widespread lingering belief (even among critics of pesticides and GMOs) in the legitimacy of establishment science, government regulators, and mainstream media. So it follows that a primary goal in the war of ideas is to suffuse the public consciousness with the ideas and facts subverting the legitimacy and authority of these bodies and their propaganda themes.
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But when the enemy is entrenched and embodies the status quo it’s never enough to disprove his lies. The criticism and subversion must be accompanied by a new idea, and just as importantly the perception that the new idea is doable, requiring only the will to do it, that all things are indeed ready once our minds are so. And things are ready: Agroecology stands ready as a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment. We know this will provide the highest quantity and quality of food and health. We know its companion social philosophy of Food Sovereignty will build the highest level of human freedom, equality, and happiness. We know these elements of agricultural and food philosophy find their counterparts in every other sector of economic and political life. All things are ready, and await only the political and spiritual commitment. We must saturate the public consciousness with the subversive ideas and the new ideas, as the first necessary step toward evolving this commitment.
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The crimes of the regulatory agencies and the scientific establishment, vile as these are and demoralizing as they may at first seem, also offer an opportunity if campaigners can develop the strongest and most direct forms of describing and explaining these crimes to the people, toward the goal of convincing them that no way forward is possible in the same world with this criminal establishment, but that much better and much more practical alternatives are available and ready to go, as soon as we’re ready to go.
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April 22, 2016

Earth Day: Poisoner News Summary April 22nd, 2016

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*Earth Day. If a god created this world, this ecology, the beauty of it all, the intricacy and logic of it all, it’s inconceivable this god would have wanted humans to trash it, to defile it, to desecrate it. This, I believe, is the incontrovertible a priori for any meaningful theology or philosophy, whatever one’s personal state of faith. The much abused translation “dominion” in Genesis can mean only stewardship, if it has any meaning at all.
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This perception is reinforced by the fail-safe mechanism God created, the way nature imposes a correction wherever, on account of whatever temporary environmental circumstance, a species runs out of control. From any point of view including that of secular biology, Homo sapiens is certainly out of control. The circumstance enabling this has been the temporary availability of cheaply extractable fossil fuels. When we factor in humanity’s moral character, we must also recognize the rogues of the species, those who seek to poison us all, as evil.
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The stewardship model has been proven unanimously, on every level from the religious to the most nuts-and-bolts secular, to create the best life and greatest happiness for all even as it preserves and enhances the ecology at every level from the local to the global.
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This is the only true religion, the only true philosophy, the only true science. This is the one and only Truth. Do we still dream of the Garden of Eden? But this Earth is the one and only Garden of Eden, because it is humanity’s one and only home. Time’s up, and we must choose.
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*Climate scientists admit they’re “censoring their own research”, because the evidence indicates a current status and prognosis far worse than what they’ve generally been willing to report. Even as it is, what’s already been publicized proves that none of the popular “reforms” can have any effect and simply comprise a form of denialism, the form of putting off real action. If scientists told the truth about how bad things really are, even those willing to pay lip service to caring about the climate crisis would tune out the science completely and become de jure deniers.
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This is because even among those who wring their hands over climate change there’s a near-complete unwillingness to face up to the fact that there is one way and only one way to do anything about this crisis: Emit far less GHGs, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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That makes the hand-wringers and crocodile-criers climate deniers as well.
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*The Chinese government is about to launch the campaign we’ve been predicting for years, its attempt to propagate its own GMO cartel to compete with that of the West. This will complement its longstanding campaign of land-grabbing in Africa and elsewhere. The goals are to ensure China’s own CAFO feed chain and to open a new front in its challenge to US power. ChemChina’s deal with Syngenta intends to co-opt some top-of-the-line Western technical expertise and start splitting the EU’s interest in this intensifying geopolitical struggle.
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China would be better off bolstering its own agricultural resiliency and that of the allies it’s trying to cultivate by fully deploying agroecology for food production. This would make for far greater food security in times of climate chaos, ecological collapse, and geopolitical conflict. Europe still has the chance to do this if it chooses, but EU elites are dead set on collective suicide, judging by their ardent embrace of the TTIP and CETA and their increasingly aggressive attempts to force GMOs on Europe. Similarly, China’s elites are basically the same as Western elites. They too are incapable of thinking in terms other than globalization and commodity agriculture. Deng Xiaoping said, “Black cat, white cat, as long as it catches mice it’s a good cat.” But any cat operating in the oil-dependent industrial monoculture commodity fields won’t be catching mice much longer, as his nine lives are just about used up. Indeed, even by the conventional economic outlook China looks to be trying to get into the GMO market at its peak, as the product has reached market saturation and stalled out around the world. The Western agrochemical/GMO sector is cannibalizing itself, which is what drove Syngenta into the Chinese orbit in the first place, after the Swiss company at first hoped it could maintain a “neutral” independence. It’s not clear what incentives the Chinese will offer the farmers of the world, and what new lies they’ll tell, in order to continue with the GMO paradigm but get the world to switch from the West to the Orient. One thing we can be sure of, the Chinese product won’t work any better than the Western, nor will it force the use of any less poison.
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*One critical battlefront where Monsanto, and the GMO ideal itself, is facing rejection is among Africans who are rejecting Bt cotton. Africans have seen the havoc wrought in India as well as closer to home in South Africa. They know the product is disastrous for farmers. Burkina Faso’s attempt to flout this fact led quickly to one of the typical outcomes: Even when the GM cotton crop isn’t decimated by pests and yields well on paper, the lint is of subpar length and therefore makes for an inferior product which can be sold only at inferior prices. All this is after paying a premium price for the seed. Therefore the government is now planning to phase out the fraudulent GM seeds and replace them completely with non-GM conventional seeds by 2018. This parallels and goes beyond India’s so far more modest program to encourage the use of native, non-GM cotton seeds.
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*Pakistan has had nothing but travails of its own with Bt cotton, and now must cope with the corrupt politics of GM maize. Here too there’s a scandal driven by the climate change minister’s surreptitious and illegal approval of commercial release of Monsanto’s GM maize without prior field trials. This violates the national biosafety law. Under pressure from farmers and scientists the government is halting the sale of the seeds. Leaving aside its usual, long-debunked lies about GMOs being good for farmers, Monsanto openly says the purpose of GMO commercialization is for commodity globalization, and even more for the propaganda of the commodification idea: “Monsanto official Aamir Mirza said…that the promotion of biotechnology will…send strong signals that the country is welcoming investments in research into cutting-edge technologies. ‘This will improve the agriculture sector’s international competitiveness over the long term,’ he remarked.”
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ALL problems of hunger and malnutrition among the poor have been known at least since the 1970s to be directly caused or greatly aggravated by agricultural commodification. Monsanto and its flunkeys like to tell lies about “feeding the world”, but their conscious, intentional goal and action sums up to GMOs Starve the World
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*Monsanto faces mounting problems collecting its tax in Latin America. Brazil and Argentina don’t have the same draconian intellectual property laws as those of the US. Therefore Monsanto has to rely on the farmer’s contractual agreement to pay the Monsanto Tax. This is readily enough collected at the point of sale when farmers formally purchase Roundup Ready or Intacta soybean seed. But how to force farmers who save and replant GM seed (or are just accused of doing so) to pay the tax, in a place where you can’t so easily sue them? Monsanto’s idea has been to make each farmer produce his tax document when he brings in his soybean harvest to the trader. If the farmer can’t produce proof he paid the tax, Monsanto demands that the trader to collect the tax on Monsanto’s behalf, or else refuse to accept the shipment if the farmer refuses to pay. The shipment is assumed to be GM unless the farmer can prove he used only non-GM seeds, but Monsanto sets the bar for this proof so high as to be near impossible to meet. The tax is then remitted to Monsanto. The trader gets nothing for acting as Monsanto’s collection agency.
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It’s not surprising that most traders have objected to this arrangement (that’s our Monsanto, making friends everywhere it goes), and now the Argentine government, which has already disappointed Monsanto many times in failing to meet the company’s demand to tighten seed patent law, is intervening. The government says it will exercise oversight and must approve of any arrangement where Monsanto or its dragooned agents demand a tax from farmers.
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This unfavorable environment for Monsanto’s patent privilege is a major motivation for the company to commercialize the Terminator gene as quickly as is politically possible.
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*Case study in the corporate science paradigm. Where scientists aren’t sufficiently self-policing, authoritarian regimes will deploy varying levels of coercion to enforce the party line in “science”. We see it with US regulators like the USDA and EPA, and we see it now even more aggressively official with the British government.
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These are all manifestations of the total assault on democracy by the corporations, which are totalitarian organizations recognizing zero right for any value to exist other than their own profit prerogatives. In the case of science, part of the whole mythology as elaborated by Karl Popper is that science is an integral part of the “open society”. This means that science, in order to be socially constructive and true to itself, can be undertaken only under conditions of complete transparency and intellectual freedom. Thus true science and democracy go hand in hand, while any kind of secrecy or censorship of science is automatically an assault on democracy as well. (That’s part of mythology because establishment science has never in fact functioned that way, nor have most of its practitioners ever agreed with democratic values.)
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*Lawsuits are part of a general delaying action. Since as a rule those who file lawsuits would be unwilling to engage in more radical forms of action, it’s good that they at least do this. Lawsuits have the primary effect of delaying the Poisoner progress, as the USDA recently complained about the EPA. They can also be excellent occasions for public education and agitation by abolitionists, and we must use these opportunities far more effectively. But like any other reform action condoned by the establishment, they’re insufficient and are no substitute for the necessary work of building and enacting the abolition movement and the food sovereignty way of life.
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*Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the whole Poisoner campaign is how right out in plain sight governments and corporations are intentionally, systematically destroying antibiotics as an effective medical treatment, and no one cares.
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*Tom Philpott softens under the Bill Nye treatment. No surprise there.
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Monsanto’s record is absolutely perfect throughout its history: It sells as much poison as it can and tells every lie imaginable about it. Philpott knows this perfectly well and yet pretends to find these lies believable. He goes so far as to imply that Monsanto can be an honest broker. Once again the rule is proven, that every system propagandist, including the “reformer” types, has his price for becoming a de jure liar. In the case of Nye, Philpott, and the labeling “leaders” who were willing to endorse the secret Vilsack/GMA conclave, the price may be rhetorical, the “quality” of the lie. But make no mistake, all such persons are, in the final analysis, on the Monsanto side.
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*A new study has found that quinone outside inhibitors, a class of fungicide whose use on vegetables and grains in the US has surged exponentially in recent years, affect mouse neural cells in vitro in ways similar to the neural cell effects found in humans suffering from autism, advanced age, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Now, it’s important to note, Zylka told me in an interview, that in vitro research like the kind his team conducted for this study is only the first step in determining whether a chemical poses risk to people. The project identified chemicals that can cause harm to brain cells in a lab setting, but it did not establish that they harm human brains as they’re currently used. Nailing that down will involve careful epidemiological studies, Zylka said: Scientists will have to track populations that have been exposed to the chemicals—say, farm workers—to see if they show a heightened propensity for brain disorders, and they’ll have to test people who eat foods with residues of suspect chemicals to see if those chemicals show up in their bodies at significant levels.

That work remains to be done, Zylka said. “What’s most disturbing to me is that we’ve allowed these chemicals to be widely used, widely found on food and in the environment, without knowing more about their potential effects,” he said.

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Contrary to this nonsense, we know for a fact that all agricultural poisons are severely harmful to humans and other animals. In the hundred year history of poison-based agriculture there has never been an exception among the poisons for which evidence has been compiled at all. So by now, for any rational person, the first step is to regard the case as closed and to abolish all agricultural poisons forthwith. The endless whack-a-mole of testing which is mechanically called for by every lukewarm critic of these poisons is nothing but procrastination, at best. That is, where it’s not a willful delaying tactic.
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Our supposition that the call for “more testing” is a scam is reinforced when we consider the fact, known perfectly well by Philpott and Zylka, that the kind of epidemiological studies they call for here are seldom sought or funded, and when they are carried out their results are dismissed out of hand by regulators like the EPA, FDA, and the German BfR and EU’s EFSA as we saw most recently in the case of their whitewash of glyphosate’s proven carcinogenicity. So epidemiological study is, for official regulatory purposes, unscience. Meanwhile testing people who have ingested residues is never done, and the many preliminary studies which would have to be performed, in order to ascertain the presence of pesticide residues in the food supply in the first place, are also evaded by regulators and can be carried out by independent researchers only in the most sporadic, ad hoc way. (Meanwhile the FDA illegally refuses to regulate pesticides as the food additives they self-evidently are.) So this prescription for “more and better testing” describes a scenario which no one within the establishment will ever enact, and no one outside the establishment would ever have the resources to enact.
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Nor should dissidents want to use our scarce resources this way, since as I said we already know that all these poisons cause cancer, birth defects, and neurodisease, along with a host of other harms. We have vastly more than enough evidence already, compiled over the course of a century. We need better use of the sufficient evidence we have, not the insufficient course of procrastination, filling the wasted time with vain calls for “more and better testing”.
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The political dance between “reformers” and the poison manufacturers is made complete with the corporate retort.
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In an emailed statement, a BASF spokeswoman wrote that cell tissue studies like Zylka’s “have not demonstrated relevance compared with results from studies conducted on [live] animals.” She added, “While the study adds to the debate of some scientific questions, it provides no evidence that the chemicals contribute to the development of some diseases of the central nervous system. This publication has no impact on the established safety of pyraclostrobin when used according to label instructions in agricultural settings.” A Bayer spokesman told me that the company’s scientists are looking into the Zylka study and “don’t have any initial feedback to offer right now.” He added that “our products are rigorously tested and their safety and efficacy is our focus.”

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In fact all establishment scientists and commentators on science flip-flop constantly on whether entire classes of research are valid or not. Thus when BASF contemplates this case, they suddenly discover that in vitro research as such is invalid. Yet like the Stalinists who officially rejected quantum mechanics even as they applied it for the Soviet nuclear program, so BASF constantly uses in vitro research itself, especially in the genetic engineering process. Similarly, in vivo lab studies are generally considered the gold standard in science (a notion which has problems of its own, which I’ll leave aside for now), except where these must suddenly be thrown out because they don’t adequately reflect real world conditions or allegedly have faulty methodology even though the methodology is the same as that of prior studies the corporation itself carried out. This suddenly becomes the corporate position when in vivo studies provide evidence adverse to corporate interests. The most infamous example is the scientific establishment’s defamation of the 2012 Seralini study, which was a perfect example of the classic falsificationist scientific method in action. To this day pro-GMO activists will say with a straight face that the Seralini study, nearly identical to prior Monsanto studies in every way except in its longer duration and the parameters it measured, was a bad study while the near-identical Monsanto studies were good.
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Finally, epidemiological studies which actually do measure things under real world conditions are rejected as a class on the opposite grounds, that they’re not well enough controlled, the moment they provide evidence adverse to a corporate campaign. Like we said, this is invariably the case where it comes to agricultural poisons. This is why regulators, on principle, refuse to recognize the existence of epidemiological science.
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As we can see, contrary to its lies about itself “science” has no stable canons of practice or evidence, but is the same game of doing whatever you have to do to get the “evidence” you want and suppress the evidence which is against you as is standard in every other branch of politics. To continue playing the corporate science game is to condemn oneself to a literally endless round of whack-a-mole. The actual science is unequivocal and overwhelming, and confirms what reason and common sense always knew: Poison is poisonous to us, and the campaign of putting it on our food is insane and evil and must be put to an end with all due speed. But as we also see, the lukewarm have a different agenda which is more in line with that of the corporations. Whether it’s that they lack confidence in reason and real science, or whether they actively support corporate capitalism and are willing to tolerate a certain level of intentionally caused cancer (thus the regulatory concept of “tolerances”), or most likely a combination of this cowardice and this evil, they end up in agreement with the corporate poisoners that no level of evidence will ever be enough to convict poisons of being poisons.
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Self-evidently, this is not the way forward.
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April 15, 2016

GMO News Summary April 15th 2016: Glyphosate Special

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1. Because of its extreme toxicity and the magnitude of its use, glyphosate is the worst and most important poison in the world. Namely, it’s the most important sacrament of the cult of Poisonism. Therefore when the people rise to fight this poison, we have war. Poisonism has always been war – the war of humanity against nature, and of human against human. This latter has until recently been only one-way aggression. Only now are the people rising to fight back.
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So far the struggle is proceeding almost exclusively within the confines of consumerism and representative democracy. Given these limitations, the European Parliament has taken a significant step in the counterattack against glyphosate.
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It’s been a year since the WHO gave the most respected establishment validation of what ecological and humanist campaigners have been stressing for many years, that glyphosate causes cancer. Since then the attempts of the German government and the European Commission’s EFSA to whitewash glyphosate have been unavailing politically. Today the Commission faces a tough, glyphosate-resistant weed-infested row to hoe. In March the Commission had to step back from its boorish attempt to get glyphosate re-licensed for 15 years under regulations loosened even further from the extremely loose status quo. When several member states indicated they’d vote against such a scheme, the Commission postponed the vote to the next meeting in May.
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Now the Parliament has voted for what, depending on one’s point of view, is the outline of a compromise renewal of glyphosate, or the placing of a cordon around it with the goal eventually of tightening the cordon to squeeze the political life out of the poison. It’s far from being a ban (though it would place several important partial bans such as on municipal use in parks and playgrounds, consumer use in gardens and yards, and especially on the scourge of burndown use on crops about to be harvested), but would be better than the Commission’s original attempted decree.
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The Parliament’s vote is non-binding, but is meant to put pressure on the binding vote of the member state ministers which will take place in May. As one Green parliamentary member put it, “This is a shot across the bow of the Commission.”
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2. At the same time, European governments are banning glyphosate formulations containing the adjuvant POEA. Governments and corporations have always known that many of the ancillary ingredients which are there to enhance the effect of the primary poison are themselves as toxic or more toxic than the primary. And of course the point of combining them is to make the entire formulation more poisonous. That’s why they first invented the Orwellian scam of calling things the “active” ingredient and the “inert” ingredients. It was supposed to make people assume that only one of the ingredients was a poison.
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In the case of Roundup and other glyphosate formulations, studies have found POEA itself, and formulations containing it, to be even more toxic than glyphosate itself. Anti-poison campaigners have long emphasized that the universal regulatory practice of assessing only the ivory tower “active ingredient” by itself, in the pure form which is never used in real life, is one of the major forms of regulatory fraud. If there were ever going to be a legitimate assessment, it had to assess each poison in itself as well as their combined formulation. Of course that never happened, and we’re long past the point where it would make sense to “go back” to that desire even if such a thing were politically possible.
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While I’m glad the POEA bans are spreading in Europe, I wonder if the sacrifice of particular adjuvants might become a delaying tactic in order to prolong the political viability of glyphosate itself. The BfR and EFSA have already been willing to concede that some formulations might be carcinogenic even as they gave glyphosate itself a clean bill of health. This can dovetail well with how our side has so long been emphasizing the greater relevance of the formulations as opposed to ivory tower glyphosate.
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Are we now going to play whack-a-mole with the ancillary poisons? Let’s get back to the main fact: Glyphosate in itself is cancer juice, and banning one adjuvant after another isn’t going to change this main fact. Today’s POEA bans are a system ploy, being undertaken under duress but a ploy nonetheless. The Germans and the EFSA were already willing to give ground on the adjuvants. Monsanto itself says banning POEA will have “minimal” effect on its Roundup business.
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As long as the basic fact remains unchanged, as long as glyphosate remains in play as the world’s number one agricultural poison and props up the GMO regime, Monsanto will be fine and the cancer will continue.
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While the formulations may be even worse, glyphosate by itself causes cancer as well as birth defects and a vast host of health and environmental assaults. The formulations are worse – but if this fact itself becomes a delaying tactic, then it’s best to reduce the principles of the counterattack to the clear, unequivocal, unornamented.
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Therefore I think the emphasis on formulations may be outliving its usefulness, if the enemy is now willing to go along with it in order to exonerate the core poison. Monsanto itself now shrugs and says the loss of POEA is no problem, as long as glyphosate itself remains on the market. I think by now it’s better to drop the formulation point in most contexts and stick with “Glyphosate causes cancer and has to be banned completely.”
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3. The resolution voted by the Parliament may be combined with a more general POEA ban to constitute the basis of a compromise Commission proposal which will become acceptable to the member states at the binding May vote on glyphosate’s renewal. Result: Glyphosate gets a new lease on life in Europe, albeit under moderate restrictions.
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Is this on the vector toward a complete ban? As long as the poison is basically available to farmers and they still want to buy it, this is still just nibbling at the fringe of the ongoing glyphosate cataclysm. As long as Monsanto can conserve the core of the product, glyphosate will continue to afflict us. The measure of ultimate progress is to restrict and ban agricultural use.
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But we can also recall that the original abolition movement also sought and attained such a cordon, politically and geographically hemming in slavery, as the first big step toward total abolition. Of course the cordon was never sufficient in itself. But it set the stage for the subsequent, more severe and necessary steps.
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If today’s anti-poison campaigners and their supporters are resolved, determined, and relentless about imposing such a cordon as the first big step toward today’s abolition imperative, it may be that history shall unfold the same way. For sure, today’s great crisis calls for the greatness of vision and action sufficient to the challenge. Whatever we do, we must do with total commitment, and it must be toward the sole necessary goal of the abolition of Poisonism.
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March 18, 2016

GMO News Summary March 18th, 2016

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*Imagine if every American who claimed to believe in property rights, and who claimed to believe that trespassers, vandals, and assailants should be punished, would be serious and actually apply that to real cases like poison drift. Imagine if America really believed in this kind of property right and really thought there was no right to trespass and destroy. Just one of many reasons pesticides could never have gotten started in the first place if this was a rational, moral society.
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*Demand for non-GM conventional maize, soy, and other crops has been growing in recent years. Farmers who can deliver non-contaminated shipments are offered premiums by an increasing number of processors and manufacturers. This demand has been driven almost completely by grassroots political and consumer demand as embodied in the labeling movement and the rising abolition movement. Meanwhile farmers are also being driven away from GMOs by the overall poor and deteriorating performance of increasingly expensive GM crops. The political and consumer trend has been bolstered recently by low commodity prices, which are giving farmers an added incentive to make the switch from GM to non-GM cultivation. They look to the non-GM premium to make up for lost revenues. As a result in 2015 GM plantings in the US were stagnant for soybeans and declined for maize. But figures for both have been above 90% for years, and it’s likely that GMO cultivation has reached market saturation in the US as it has almost everywhere else on Earth. The cultural, scientific, and political movement to abolish GMOs therefore can contemplate the prospect that our main action can be to start driving back the monster, if natural and economic structural limits are already imposing a cordon on the GMO advance.
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*The Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) is dedicated to industrialized commodity cotton production. By no stretch of the imagination is it anti-GMO. Nevertheless it seems free of the religious cultism which is standard among Western regulators and researchers. It looks soberly at GMO technology, assessing it from a “rational” capitalist point of view. (That is, as rational as one can be within the insane framework of commodity agriculture.) Today the CICR is of the opinion that India will lose nothing and be better off if Monsanto were to become the first ever Galtian crybaby to actually follow through on its threat to quit and go home. In this case the tantrum and threat are because the Indian government has once again cut the tax it will allow Monsanto to exact on its seed sales. It’s quite true that India will lose nothing and be better off. But Monsanto probably won’t do us the favor of following through on its hissyfit.
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*A new industry report confirms what Charles Benbrook has been reporting for years, what Brazil’s National Cancer Institute said a year ago, and what we all know is the case, that GMOs greatly increase pesticide use. The report focuses on how GMOs have driven the great leap in glyphosate use in recent decades. The report is unrealistically optimistic about the future prospects for GMOs and glyphosate, however.
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*Thanks to pressure from labeling advocates, the Senate voted very narrowly to reject cloture on the DARK Act. It’ll be back immediately, indeed this was a procedural vote rather than a “final” vote until a new bill comes along. While I agree that the DARK Act must be opposed, this is obviously not sufficient. I note the changed concepts of what’s the basic trend and what’s a positive development: A few years ago the trend was the gradual but progressive growth of the state level labeling movement, and what was good was any progress on this front. Today the trend is an ever more obsessive focus on the pro-Monsanto central government, and what’s good is endlessly fighting off iterations of the hard version of the DARK Act while increasingly swooning over soft-DARK proposals. Axiom: Any version of FDA preemption is philosophically abhorrent and fraudulent as a practical matter, if the goal is really supposed to be a strong labeling policy as a step toward abolition. But where it comes to many labeling advocates, I increasingly doubt either of those is a real goal. Is this war of attrition, this rut, really now the measure of progress? Am I the only one who’s already extremely sick of it?
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March 16, 2016

Continuing A Perfect Pattern: Pro-GMO Activists Are Climate Change Deniers

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Next time you run into a pro-GMO activist, just tell him that you were glad to see Ted Cruz is on the same page with the pro-GM version of “science”.
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While you’re at it, also throw in all the avowed climate change deniers led by Marc Montagu and Ingo Potrykus who publicly and ardently endorsed Patrick Moore explicitly on grounds of his climate change denial.
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On an institutional level, Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organization (CSIRO), which spends lavishly to research GMOs for eventual privatization and to propagandize for GMOs as such, is gutting its climate change research program.
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These are just a few data points which exemplify the unanimous trend: Pro-GMO activists are climate change deniers. These two forms of anti-science naturally go together because both are in the service of techno-cultism and corporate profiteering.
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The fact that mainstream media outlets often equate criticism of genetic engineering with climate change denial, or give space to those who do, is de jure proof that the media tells conscious, willful lies about this subject. All media outlets know for a fact that in reality pro-GMO activism and climate change denial go together, since it only takes five minutes of Internet searching to learn this.
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March 11, 2016

GMO News Summary March 11th, 2016

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*The movement to abolish glyphosate once and for all is developing. Over the past week the portents have been especially strong from Europe.
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The magnitude of the crisis becomes ever more apparent as the latest study of glyphosate exposure found that well over 99% of Germans have glyphosate residue in their urine. “The report analysed glyphosate residue in urine and it concluded that 75% of the target group displayed levels that were five times higher than the legal limit of drinking water. A third of the population even showed levels that were between ten and 42 times higher than what is normally permissible.” Children, who are most vulnerable to glyphosate’s genotoxic and endocrine disruption effects, had the highest levels. When we consider that Germany has no cultivation of Roundup Ready crops and therefore significantly less indigenous use of glyphosate than countries like the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, or Australia, we can see how the aggressiveness with which this extreme poison is invading our food, water, and bodies has reached an intolerable level. No political prescription which wants to take the extremely circuitous route to an eventual glyphosate ban is sufficient to the crisis. The monarch butterfly won’t wait either.
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This news added force to a rising momentum against at least the most rote re-approval of glyphosate, which the EU government had expected to see the member states wave through earlier this week. The Commission has proposed that the cancerous poison not only be fully re-approved through 2031 but that its use even be expanded. Meanwhile the EFSA is already in the process of almost doubling the allowed “tolerance” level for human ingestion. This is in spite of the fact that the EU has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer and birth defects, a decades-long cover-up finally and definitively unmasked by the WHO’s Cancer Agency in 2015. There’s no longer the slightest doubt, factually, morally, or legally (in Nuremburg terms) : Those propagating glyphosate, from the manufacturers and technicians to the regulators to the marketers to the users, are willfully causing cancer on a mass scale.
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This realization and culpability isn’t enough to drive most governments to ban glyphosate, and in most cases they concur with the European Commission that glyphosate and cancer need to be maximized. But under rising pressure from the people, several European state governments are at least balking at the most rote fast-track procedure. The environmental ministers of France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden stated that they would vote No if the re-approval is to be based only on the EFSA’s fraudulent assessment, which was nothing but a regulator rubber stamp on the industry’s own propaganda package, issued by Monsanto’s Glyphosate Task Force. The French environment minster stated that her agency concurs with the WHO’s assessment and rejects that of the EFSA. Even the Netherlands agriculture minister said that they need more information: “If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal.” Sustainable Pulse reported that Bulgaria, Denmark, Austria, and Belgium were also planning to vote No. Germany was said to be planning to abstain.
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Facing this looming revolt, the EU postponed the vote rather than face possible defeat. Reports are that the vote is rescheduled for the next member state meeting in six weeks. They still need a decision before the end of June, at which time glyphosate’s license expires. Officials and the media are saying expiration would lead to a “legal limbo”, which I think means governments would have to scramble to concoct ad hoc “legalizations” which would in fact be illegal by EU law, in order to allow the poison to continue to be sold and used in defiance of the law. The policeman is there to preserve disorder, and no entity is more lawless than today’s governments and legal systems. Still, if they can’t coerce the vote I’d expect them to just put off the expiration date again. The June date is already an illegitimate extension by the EFSA from the original expiration in December 2015. The Commission is now discussing concessions it could make in order to get the vote it needs, such as proposing a shorter re-approval period than 15 years, or banning formulations containing POEA (as Germany has already done). But as the WHO’s IARC recently reiterated, the evidence is that pure glyphosate itself causes cancer, and not just commercial formulations. PAN Europe greeted the news that the EU had postponed the re-approval vote by calling for a ban not only on the POEA co-formulant but on glyphosate itself.
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The increasingly hostile political climate I recently described continues to build and to force at least cosmetic concessions from the regulators. “Public pressure against glyphosate in countries across Europe has been intense, with nearly 1.5 million people petitioning Andriukaitis for a ban on the substance.” Now EU health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis is saying his agency DG Sante will start to think about someday requiring scientific evidence for its assessments and rejecting the non-science, secret, ghost studies which make up the bedrock of all regulator assessments today.
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Potentially as momentous, the European Chemicals Agency will reassess the human health effects of glyphosate in light of the WHO’s finding. If the ECHA finds that glyphosate is carcinogenic, harmful to the reproductive system, or an endocrine disruptor, according to EU law the chemical will have to be banned. But this assessment isn’t expected to be completed until late in 2017. Greenpeace calls for any reauthorization of glyphosate to be postponed until after this report is released. Whether or not this becomes a true legal and most of all political deadline for glyphosate or whether it’s another EFSA-style whitewash will depend on the grassroots will of the people. The more the motivated people force the facts into the public consciousness and pressure retailers to stop selling glyphosate, food retailers to stop selling food poisoned by it, and towns to stop buying it, the less tenable it will become for regulators to continue telling lies which will only further discredit themselves and destroy their own legitimacy.
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Here’s a tally of some of the campaign accomplishments in Europe so far. Several retailers have pledged to stop selling glyphosate-based products. These include do-it-yourself shops in Germany (Bauhaus, Baumarkt, Hornbach, Obi and Toom), Switzerland (Coop, Migros), Austria (Bauhaus, Bellaflora) and Luxembourg (Cactus, Profi Zentrum). In the Netherlands, major garden centres and DIY shops have stopped selling glyphosate, including Intratuin, Praxis, Groenrijk, Ranzijn and Hornbach. Several cities including Edinburgh (Scotland), Barcelona (Spain), Hamburg (Germany), Rennes (France), Rovereto and Livorno (Italy) have promised to ban or otherwise end the use of glyphosate in public spaces.
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In Europe there’s enough grassroots and public pressure to drive member governments to sometimes take pro-human positions. We see how glyphosate’s progress is tangibly being hindered, and how it will eventually be banned completely. The exact same thing can be done in America.
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*If GM maize cultivation is legalized in Mexico, this will trigger a radical escalation of the already dire contamination of the world’s center of genetic diversity for this critical crop. Farmers, scientists, and civil society groups are fighting in court the government’s plan to legalize this cultivation. With one exception the court rulings have been in accord with the law and against the government, but in 2015 a corrupt judge removed the injunction against the GM plantings. The people appealed and have just won a restoration of the injunction. The legal struggle will continue toward a final trial, but for now the ban remains in place and no GM maize has legally been planted.
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*Here’s the revolving door at its most frenetically swirling and a strong challenge to anyone who still wants to claim that a regulatory agency like the USDA has some kind of adversarial role vis its affiliated corporations, or indeed that there’s any real organizational demarcation between them at all. The evident fact is that there is no difference between corporations and regulatory agencies – no difference in ideology, no difference in a fundamentally sociopathic view of people and the environment, no difference in careerist commitment, no difference in the literal personnel. Regulators and what they themselves call their clients, the industry sectors, comprise one indivisible whole, the corporate state.
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*It seems that after years of being a US poodle the Indian government may be following the lead of its fellow BRICS and looking to shake free of US/Monsanto agricultural domination. The central government is already threatening to reduce the tax it will allow Monsanto to collect on Bollgard II cotton seed, and now it’s making noises about revoking Monsanto’s patents altogether on the grounds that the technology doesn’t work. Of course regulators don’t usually care about that kind of thing, and the Modi government remains pro-GMO (though there’s factions within the coalition which oppose GMO expansion), so the answer may be that the government thinks India’s ready to start building its own GM crop system the way China’s seeking to do. Monsanto-Mahyco cotton has been a bust, and globalization has done nothing but harm to India’s cotton industry in general. So it would seem that a nationalist government would find it easy to cut Monsanto out, as long as it had the pretext to do so within the WTO system, since it doesn’t want to quit that system completely.
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*Sell! “Weakness in ag markets, which are currently over-supplied, is likely to persist for the foreseeable future.” These markets have always been over-supplied. That’s what productionism and commodification, including the crackpot “yield” statistic, are all about. But the end is in sight. The agrochemical cartel’s last big hope is that a mass Asian middle class will rise and adopt Western-style CAFO consumption patterns in order to provide a use for all that grain overproduction. But that’s not going to happen. The glut, the price depression, and the need to dump like crazy will only get more dire. For any thinking flack or troll, this must generate lots of cognitive dissonance, what with their need to continue touting the “Feed the World” lie and to blow up another tech stock bubble around things like “hi-tech agriculture”. Ironically, those putting Monsanto in the Buy category may be right for the short run, if this bubble gets blowing.
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But as this whole state of things demonstrates, the GMO and poison cartel have nothing left but force, lies and hot air. These won’t be enough to stem the reprisal of reality, they won’t be enough to keep down the people, and they won’t be enough to keep down the Earth. In the end a patent certificate and a spray bottle of Roundup will avail them little against the hurricane.

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March 6, 2016

Prospects and Stagnation

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Regarding opposition to poison-based agriculture a friend asked, “Where’s the outrage?” The elemental outrage which historically has driven the great movements? No, there’s very little of that so far in the US. As far as Roundup and GMOs, lots of people are basically in a consumerist snit, but that’s all. I understand how it seemed to make sense to take up the labeling idea at first, back in the 1990s (along with some other ideas which seemed plausible back then, like “better testing” or the precautionary principle), but shouldn’t we have matured way beyond that by now?
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But not only are people terminally mired in the co-existence, consumerist ideology, but they’re digging in on refusal to even listen to alternative ideas. Thus the GMO Free USA Facebook group has started censoring my posts (i.e., simply refusing to post them; they’ve lately set up a filtering system, evidently to suppress “undesirable” ideas) starting with this piece, which my friend praised for what she saw as its optimism. I myself thought the piece was quite modest and was simply asking whether people intend to keep fighting a war of attrition against the DARK Act forever and ever, and whether they ever intend to move on to a more assertive position. But clearly the labeling idea* is becoming a political monoculture which needs its own version of Roundup against its own version of weeds.
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Well, they want their endless DARK Act two-to-tango, and they’ll have it until the thing finally passes. At that point, according to their own testimony, most of them will pack it in and go home. When I say something like, “If the DARK Act and the TPP are forced upon us, that’s when the REAL fight has to start”, they clearly have zero idea what I’m even talking about.
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So there seems to be precious little of the spirit that got Christianity and Islam going, got the American and French Revolutions going, got capitalism and communism going, got the original abolition movement going, got suffragism and Prohibition and unionism and civil rights going, that got the American Populist movement going. So for someone like me who thinks that kind of movement commitment is what’s needed against this worst onslaught in history, in the US it’s still stagnation times for now. As I posted in January, I think the American Populist movement provides the kind of template we need. But no template can work without the Populist type of moral commitment.
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*I stress that most people want only the “idea” of labeling and couldn’t care less about the real thing. I was surprised to see how joyously most people embraced the Campbell’s ad campaign, which to me was clearly a stale old scam. Obviously I overestimated people’s knowledge of the GMA’s history as well as how sincere they were about effectively strong labeling or about a “right to know” (obviously a democratic and therefore anti-technocratic idea). It turned out that all most “labeling” people want is something they can call “mandatory labeling”, regardless of how weak, fraudulent, and preemptive it is. Just as they have a co-existence/consumerist mentality and not a political one, so they have a technocratic mentality and not a democratic one. The most bizarre, cult-like part is how they clearly believe there’s two different FDAs, the “bad” FDA of substantial equivalence and GMOs-are-GRAS, and the “good” FDA which they want to put preemptively in charge of labeling. But in the reality-based universe there’s only one FDA, and it’s 100% pro-GMO. So self-evidently any labeling it ever presided over would be done in the most Monsanto-friendly way possible. Yet even groups I used to think were firmly against preemption are all wobbling, while the rest sell out as fast as they can. It’s clear what a disastrously wrong turn the whole commitment to labeling as “the” idea has become. But a lot of people are just as committed to this idea as pro-GMO types are to the idea of pesticide-based agriculture, and there’s simply no arguing with such types.
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One of the “anti-GMO” groups someone recently touted to me said explicitly in its group description, “we don’t want members arguing with one another”. Now there’s the spirit that gets real movements going. Historically, real movements haven’t started with ferocious disputation to thrash out the necessary ideas, oh no. The funny part is how Lynas, Campbell’s, the Cornell propaganda bureau and others have explicitly said that they fear controversy and “polarization” most of all. So it’s telling how, both among themselves and in their dealings with the GMA contingent, the labelists are so firm in wanting the same defusing, depolarization, “consensus”, everything designed to put the whole movement on ice. This is actually quite a testament to the raw material among the people: Even with the overwhelming temporal power of the pesticide and GMO cartels and the bona fide religious fanaticism of the scientism/techno-cult, the strong discipline and focus of both of these factions, contrasted with the inept and lukewarm, and often treacherous, “leadership” of the anti-GMO movement in the US (things are often better around the world), even given this seemingly lopsided situation it’s still such a constant uphill and very expensive struggle, financially and politically, for the cartel and the cult. I say this is a great testament to the powerful inertia of the people against the Poisoners. Imagine what a real abolition movement could accomplish. (I suppose those committed to labeling would want to claim credit for hindering the poison cartel’s progress, but the fact is that the progress continues nevertheless in spite of the will of the people, and the people have also voted against labeling each chance they’ve had to vote for it, while county-level bans have had much better success. The evidence is that the poison cartel is mostly resisted inertially on account of its self-evident evil, but as far as taking action people respond to more aggressive, ecological ideas, and not to lukewarm, reductionist, consumerist ideas which really seem to be part of the same system which has gone so badly wrong in the first place. Deep down everyone knows co-existence is impossible.)
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Oh well, all this means it’s time to step back and focus on my book. The necessary abolitionist mindset can only develop organically or else never develop at all. For the moment it’s a slow development, though history proves one can never know when there will suddenly be a sea change. At any rate, I’ll just keep writing and see what happens. And I’ll still say we ought to launch a targeted campaign to ban glyphosate. But I’m a little sick of reminding labelists that their idea doesn’t even lay a finger (with a label or otherwise) on pesticides, a vastly worse evil even than GMOs in themselves.
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