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January 26, 2014

Some Notes on Sources and Argumentation

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

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2 Comments

  1. Monsanto shareholders meeting – interesting petition – 2 days left to sign
    http://harringtoninvestments.com/shareholder-advocacy/monsanto-resolution/
    http://action.sumofus.org/a/monsanto-shareholder-resolution/?sub=partners
    What do readers think of the resolution wording and list of shareholders?

    Top Institutional Holders

    Holder Shares Value*
    Vanguard Group, Inc. (The) $29,668,071 $3,096,456,570
    FMR, LLC $28,165,686 $2,939,652,647
    State Street Corporation $23,835,440 $2,487,704,872
    Jennison Associates LLC $14,574,374 $1,521,127,414
    BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. $14,186,716 $1,480,667,548
    Primecap Management Company $12,164,967 $1,269,657,605
    Sands Capital Management, Inc. $10,200,468 $1,064,622,845
    Northern Trust Corporation $9,791,189 $1,021,906,395
    Lone Pine Capital, LLC $9,354,853 $976,366,007
    Winslow Capital Management $9,078,119 $947,483,280

    Top Mutual Fund Holders

    Holder Shares Value*
    Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund $7,758,224 $809,725,838
    Vanguard/Primecap Fund $6,140,460 $640,879,810
    Mainstay Large Cap Growth Fund $5,426,500 $569,131,320
    SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust $5,371,232 $608,721,722
    Vanguard Institutional Index Fund-Institutional Index
    Fund $5,215,652 $544,357,599
    Vanguard 500 Index Fund $5,103,021 $532,602,301
    Fidelity Growth Company Fund $5,018,878 $568,789,443
    Harbor Capital Appreciation Fund $4,645,846 $484,886,947
    Vanguard Specialized-Dividend Appreciation Index Fund $3,949,729 $414,247,577
    Select Sector SPDR Fund-Materials $3,806,812 $431,426,003

    Comment by Theresa — January 26, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    • Consumers are leery, and labeling might yet break through and have a real effect. More and more farmers are switching to direct retail, organic, or back to non-GM conventional, and many more who are caught on the GMO treadmill dream of breaking free. There’s increasing legal difficulties in major markets like Brazil, India, and Mexico. Monsanto has just (sort of) given up on the EU. (Pending the outcome of the TTIP dealing.) Science threatens to prove chronic health effects, while a much bigger Showa Denko could break out at any time. Monsanto’s entire position depends upon secrecy, lies, corporate welfare, and brute force.

      As strong as the GMO regime looks, it’s really a top-heavy Tower of Babel. The regime could go down as fast as it went up.

      Yes, I’d say that shareholders have reason to be concerned. But since secrecy is one of the pillars of the regime, I’d bet the investors will stay the course set by management. In what other way could Monsanto ever be profitable, or exist at all? All it does is sell useless, lethal poison.

      The list of shareholders is interesting to have, thanks. Just goes to show how the middle class, through its various portfolios, is given a piddling stake (in a stock bubble, no less) in return for its conformity and complicity.

      Comment by Russ — January 26, 2014 @ 2:59 pm


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