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November 29, 2014

Pro-GMO Activists Are Also Climate Change Deniers

Filed under: Climate Crisis, GMO Hoaxes, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 2:06 am

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Patrick Moore has generally been considered a bottom-feeding lowlife even among his fellow hacks and paid liars. For example, his 2013 attempt to get a pro-Monsanto demonstration going outside Greenpeace’s Toronto headquarters was a pathetic flop, without even a paid claque showing up.
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But at least some of his criminal colleagues may be warming to him, as they circulate an online petition to get him appointed as an “ambassador” to the EU’s Expo 2015. The list is headed up by two big names: Marc von Montagu, co-winner of the 2013 Monsanto Prize (AKA “World Food Prize”), and leading “golden rice” hack Ingo Potrykus.
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Potrykus may be an incompetent rice breeder, but he knows what he likes in climate change denial, Moore’s specialty: “Over the past 15 years, Mr. Moore has been involved in activities related to climate change and food shortage in general adopting an original, but not isolated, approach in the environmental movement: the systematic control of the scientifically proved data.” Montagu and the rest of the signees are equally clear in their endorsement of Moore’s “scientific” rejection of the climate change evidence and science. We’ve seen how the pro-GMO activists bring this same attitude toward science to their views of genetics, biology, ecology, and agriculture.
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Be sure to check out the extended list of climate change deniers, all or almost all STEM-credentialed. True, many of them seem unable to tell the difference between their first and last names, but the list is still a stark testimony to the character of today’s establishment scientism.
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I’m tempted to say that this petition is an excellent idea. What could be better than the pro-GMO activist movement proclaiming its formal endorsement of climate change denial before the world? It would certainly be more refreshing and clarifying than Monsanto’s concern-trolling with its “no-till” scam.
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(This post isn’t about climate change skepticism as such, which is a separate phenomenon. It’s about denial among scienticians. These are religious cultists who fraudulently claim the mantle of “science”, and most of whom have formal “credentials”, but whose ideology is really dictated by corporate executives. As we see here, these pseudo-scientific charlatans happily embrace climate change denial when that’s the marching orders they receive from their Big Ag masters. They really have no ideas, no principles, no knowledge, no method, no values, no human existence at all. They’re the lowest, most loathesome form of lying mercenary hack.)

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November 28, 2014

GMO News Summary November 28, 2014

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*Archer Daniels Midland is the latest plaintiff to sue on account of the ongoing export debacle Syngenta has caused with its MIR162 maize product. ADM joins Cargill, other corporations, several farmer class actions, and individual farmers suing Syngenta, alleging it lied about imminent Chinese approval of its product. In fact China never approved MIR162 for importation and started rejecting US maize exports in late 2013. The rejections continued into 2014, and as a result US farmers and exporters have lost $ billions according to the National Grain and Feed Association. According to the suits Syngenta not only lied about Chinese approval but abdicated its “stewardship” responsibilities for keeping its product separate from the regular commodity stream. As I’ve written, this highlights not just Syngenta’s specific sleaziness, but the structural impossibility of “co-existence” among GMOs or between GM and non-GM agriculture. “Stewardship” in this context is another bogus term and concept; in truth such stewardship is not only impossible but antithetical to the whole commodification structure.
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*A new study surveyed US government data on a wide range of diseases over the last 25-40 years. The data shows sharp increases in the incidence of many kinds of disease, including cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune diseases, organ disease, and others. The researchers then compared this data with the levels of Roundup/glyphosate use over the same period, and with the growing of GM crops over the same period. It was already obvious that the surge of sickening came roughly in tandem with the advent of GMOs, their escalating presence in today’s usual diets, and the huge surge of glyphosate use which accompanied the commercialization of Roundup Ready crops. Now this study has statistically matched the trends and found very strong scientific correlations between poison-based agriculture, poison-laden food, and severe disease.
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*It’s been proven that Roundup/glyphosate disrupts honeybee behavior and is likely at least a contributing factor to the collapse of honeybee populations. A new study adds to the evidence that glyphosate also harms the reproduction of earthworms, which are just as important for growing food as bees. This is part of Roundup’s general destruction of the soil microbiology and ecosystem. Perhaps nothing so perfectly exemplifies the insanity of the NPK ideology of industrial agriculture, the way it sees the soil not as the living basis of plant growth in the same way the plankton broth of the ocean is the basis of the entire oceanic food chain but as a purely inert, lifeless “medium”, than the way it has completely committed itself to slathering poisons like Roundup which help denude and destroy the soil.
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*It’s a Vietnam War reprise. Although the US military isn’t yet coming back, the spirit of the criminal South Vietnam regime lives. In spite of the overwhelming evidence record from everywhere else in Asia, Vietnam’s government is gung ho to bring the full-scale GMO regime to its fields and food. In an action both substantial and symbolic, the government has welcomed Agent Orange manufacturer Monsanto back into the country. For Monsanto it must be like old times.
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*Representatives from the scientific and civil society groups which called upon the European Commissioner to scrap the bogus position of “Chief Science Adviser” (cf. last week’s news summary) have issued a statement, “Principles of Good Scientific Advice”, which they hope will guide the new EU setup. These include public participation, no direct politicking by advisers, transparency, independence from lobbying, and some suggestions for enacting these. While these are fine in theory, there’s no reason to think system governments, dedicated as they are to corporate “science”, will enact them. The best use of such reform statements is to publicize them, explain why they’re right, and then use them as yardsticks to criticize the con job being run by today’s scientific establishment – in government, in corporate PR material, in academia, in the corporate media, among carnival barkers like Neil DeGrasse Tyson – and degrade public confidence in all these liars.
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November 21, 2014

GMO News Summary, November 21, 2014

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*It’s now too close to call for Oregon’s Measure 92, which would enact GMO labeling in the state. At first it seemed to have failed by a slim margin, but as some 13000 disputed votes were revoted (some snafu over ballot signatures), the margin has closed to within 4000 votes, and it’s looking like there might have to be a full recount.
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*In 1999 McDonald’s helped drive Monsanto’s New Leaf GM potato out of the marketplace by refusing to buy it. Will it do the same today for the new Simplot potato? McDonald’s says its policy is unchanged, and it will not use Frankenpotatoes in its restaurants. This is wise, as there’s zero benefit to McD’s from doing so, only commercial and legal risks. As always, GMOs benefit no one but the cartel, while all the risks and harms are sloughed off on others.
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The potato itself is for a typically worthless purpose – to be non-browning when sliced – and the plants have already demonstrated themselves to be especially disease-prone. That’s likely a collateral result of the genetic engineering.
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*In the latest dispatch from the superbug/superweed battlefront, a new study documents a new Bt-resistant superbug. Fall armyworms are increasingly resistant to Cry1F, a poison commonly engineered into Dow and DuPont GMOs. Cry1F has been failing for a few years now in Brazil, and resistance is now documented in Florida and North Carolina. The researchers from the USDA and several universities say they don’t know how widespread the affliction is. In typical Keystone Kops fashion, they recommend better use of the already-failed “refuge” scam, and more pesticides. It’s funny how the system’s own frequent calls for greater pesticide use, and frequent reportage of same, can coexist so easily in the corporate media with constant regurgitation of the lie that GMOs reduce pesticide use. I’d nominate that juxtaposition for Best Corporate Media Doublethink.
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*John Howard, the same sleazy con artist who brought us the Prodigene contamination disaster with pharmaceutical maize in 2006, resulting in an ostensible USDA ban on his future participation in GMO field trials, is back and openly flouting the ban with a new biopharming trial in California.
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*The European Commission has a post called “Chief Science Advisor” (CSA). It was set up to place a corporate operative at the highest level of government, where this official would advocate the worst corporate assaults on health and the environment. The CSA also advocates policy that doesn’t even superficially have anything to do with science, like for example the TTIP “trade” compact. In her capacity as CSA Anne Glover has pushed for GMOs and fracking and helped obstruct the enactment of an EU law requiring the banning of endocrine disrupting poisons. Black Swan author Nassim Taleb, who recently was lead author of a paper highlighting the massive systemic risks of GMOs, recently called her a “dangerous imbecile” for her derogation of the Precautionary Principle.
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This purely political and anti-scientific pattern of Glover’s activities prompted a coalition of environmental and civil society groups to send a letter to the new Commissioner calling upon him to abolish the position, which is inherently corrupt. It’s absurd to think one person can advise on all of science, and the CSA was obviously set up to be a corporate propaganda position. From day one Glover demonstrated how high-handed, unaccountable, secretive, and fraudulent the official holding this position is supposed to be. Glover herself said she must be “not transparent” about her actions, even as she reveled in her public prominence, on one occasion comparing herself to a superhero “swooping over Brussels”.
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Industry groups and the corporate media rushed to defend Glover and the CSA position, but she recently announced that, in a bureaucratic shuffle, the position will be abolished early next year, in favor of a new set of committees. We don’t know how much effect the public controversy had on this decision. Meanwhile the new “scientific” committee will probably continue with the same pro-corporate, anti-science activism, but will try to do so with a lower profile.
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*The lawsuits are piling up against Syngenta, more than fifty now. They’re from companies like Cargill, farmer class actions, and individual farmers, all suing for damage to their export revenues. Syngenta promised farmers and commodifiers that its Viptera GM maize would be approved in time for import to China, but this never happened. Since November 2013 China’s been rejecting US maize contaminated with the illegal variety, and exports to China have been depressed since then. According to the National Grain and Feed Association, US exporters lost over $1 billion in the nine months through August 2014. Of course abolitionists reject the notion that anyone has a “right” to sell anything to any particular customer if that customer doesn’t want to buy, but by the system’s ideology sellers’ license is paramount, and therefore Syngenta is guilty of massive consumer fraud, costing these farmers and exporters a bundle.
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*Meanwhile the people are up against a welter of SLAPP suits, everywhere we’ve voted to impose bans or restrictions on the activism of the poison peddlers. In Maui, where the people of the county voted a moratorium on GMO cultivation, Monsanto and Dow are suing in federal court, asking for an injunction and that the law be overturned. This suit is before the same judge who previously declared Kauai’s voter-imposed limits on spraying pesticides (very modest limits, requiring only notification and modest buffers) to be superseded by state law and therefore invalid. In Vermont, the Grocery Manufacturers Association is leading a cabal of industry groups suing to prevent the state’s labeling law from going into effect in 2016 as scheduled. And in Jackson County, Oregon, two of Monsanto’s contract “farmers” are suing the county over its GMO cultivation ban, voted by the people in May 2014. These two growers of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa are trying to stick up the people, demanding a $4.2 million payout or else that the law be thrown out. Meanwhile in Europe Syngenta and Bayer are suing the EU over its partial neonic ban.
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If enacted, the TTIP and TPP will place such SLAPP suits on a systematic, institutionalized basis.
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*Speaking of globalization, the US and Indian central governments concluded an economic agreement which temporarily postpones full resolution of the terms of the agricultural war. The US position is always as clear as it is hypocritical: The US should have 100% license to massively subsidize its own agriculture and dump its commodities everywhere around the globe, while no one else has any right to protect themselves in any way. Only such latter measures are to be called “protectionist”. (Isn’t it bizarre how where it comes to so-called “trade”, a term which is practically synonymous with self-defense is considered a bad word?) In this case it’s India’s own agricultural subsidies and grain storage program which the US wants dismantled. Note that India’s own subsidies are to a large extent for the benefit of US corporations like Monsanto, since India’s central and state governments have often had to bail out the cotton farmers consistently ruined by the poor performance of Monsanto’s shoddy Bt cotton products.
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Since the two governments have been unable to agree on a final resolution of this conflict, they instead agreed on a temporary “peace clause”. This means final resolution, which the US intends will be on its own terms, will be postponed while the agreement goes ahead on other corporate welfare measures. In particular, India is agreeing to build new import facilities at Indian taxpayer expense for the benefit of US exporters.
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*In the most bizarre piece of news, Dow apparently has agreed to limit its sales of Agent Orange soybeans and maize for 2015. This is ostensibly because of the Syngenta/China flap; the Agent Orange GMOs also haven’t been approved for import in China. It may also be in acknowledgement of fears about the volatility and drift of 2,4-D. The seeds will be available only in certain places and for certain uses: The maize will be sold only for use as on-site livestock feed, and the soybeans only for a kind of pilot “non-commercial program”. In other words, these GMOs, produced at such expense for commodification purposes only, will be sold only for non-commodified uses.
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It’s amazing that after struggling for so long and finally rolling out these products two years behind schedule, Dow would suddenly agree to greatly limit their distribution. Apparently the USDA, in spite of its fully “deregulating” the product and giving it the seal of approval, remains in terror of what’s really going to happen with this new set of GMOs. (That’s why it flinched in 2013 and announced it would undertake a full Environmental Impact Assessment instead of going ahead with approval as Dow expected. The EIA of course turned out to be a sham.) A huge escalation in the spraying of drift-prone 2,4-D (the USDA projects a two- to sevenfold increase; independent assessments go as high as fiftyfold) is guaranteed to cause massive damage to other crops. It’s the kind of thing which might finally trigger the long-overdue farmer rebellion against GMOs.
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The EPA has already been stepping gingerly, approving Dow’s companion product, the glyphosate/2,4-D blend Enlist Duo, for only six states at the outset. But EPA has indicated this is only the first step toward full approval across all states. EPA also stipulated that farmers planting Enlist seeds would have to use Enlist Duo and no other 2,4-D formulation. That’s more like it – a legally mandated monopoly Dow can love.
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Yet Dow must also be feeling some trepidation, if it’s now taking the extraordinary step of limiting its seed sales. It’s a horrific crime against humanity and the earth which Dow and the US government are concocting here with Agent Orange GMOs. In addition to the havoc GMOs already wreak, this rollout is going to cause incalculable collateral damage to other farmers, gardeners, and to anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the viciously toxic plumes of this poison which will soon be riding the winds all over America, wherever soy or maize are grown. It’s laughable to think these extreme restrictions are going to be in place for long, or enforced for that matter, if they’re ever enacted in the first place.
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But maybe this will finally be the wake-up call America needs. Maybe the enemies of humanity and the earth are going too far with this one.The task of abolitionists and of all critics of GMOs and corporate agriculture is to help make it be so.
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November 18, 2014

GMOs = More Ebola and the Faster Spread of Ebola

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1. For centuries medical science has known that conditions of overcrowding combined with lack of good sanitation incubate epidemics. Densely crowded slums are often the source or proliferation point for epidemics of cholera, typhus, dengue, typhoid, Chagas disease, plague, yellow fever, influenza, and many others. This artificial socioeconomic circumstance provides the right terrain for potentially pathogenic germs to go kinetic. Today this is true of ebola, which is spreading most aggressively in the shantytowns of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.
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2. The main goal and effect of the “Green Revolution” has been to dispossess huge numbers of indigenous tribes as well as small farmers and their families and drive them into vast slums ramifying from the fringes of the cities. These are the infamous shantytowns, corporate neoliberalism’s terminal waste dumps for the ever-growing legions of economically superfluous people. Over the last fifty years the green revolution and the “structural adjustment” assaults of the IMF caused the explosive growth of these immiseration camps.
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The IMF usury campaigns which have indentured whole countries (while those countries’ political leadership uses the money for urban luxuries for the homegrown 1%, or just directly embezzles it and puts it back in Western banks), and the onslaught of globalized commodity agriculture which indentures and destroys millions of farmers and tribesmen, have gone hand in hand. The globalization compacts of the former have always extorted ever greater license for the latter, as New Deal-style public agricultural investment programs have always been among the IMF’s primary targets. The IMF’s hostile takeover of Ukraine is a current example, while the G8’s “New Alliance” plan for Africa intends to expose Africa and its millions of farmers to the full fury of Western banks, agribusiness, and commodity dumping. Such onslaughts across Asia and Africa have been accompanied by the accelerating plague of land-grabbing. One of the conditions of IMF and New Alliance money is always that recipient governments privatize tribal and communal land, driving off the moral owners and replacing them with rich and corporate owners of duly legal “property”. This kind of robbery goes back at least as far as the Big Lie of how the natives allegedly “sold” Manhattan for a handful of beads (my Economics 101 textbook in college was still repeating this, good old Samuelson and Nordhaus), and today Rajiv Shad of USAID openly says it’s a primary goal of the New Alliance.
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The effect of all these crimes – land-grabbing, debt indenture of farmers, the violent transformation of agriculture from thousands of small farmers producing food mostly for their own communities to a handful of gargantuan monoculture plantations producing only export commodities and employing a relative handful of ex-farmers as laborers, the dumping of the West’s heavily subsidized agricultural commodities on the agriculture and food sectors of these same countries – has been to force millions of people off their land and into globalization’s sprawling concentration camps, shantytowns. All shantytowns are created by the enclosure of arable land. This is an intended goal of all such policy. The people are to be driven off their land and, as in the past, turned into low-wage urban workers, or as today, permanently incarcerated in economic misery and political helplessness. That’s what the US government and global corporate agriculture have planned for Africa.
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The main difference between Stalinist collectivization and the neoliberal “green revolution” is that the latter, fully mechanized and dependent upon the input, processing, and transportation infrastructure temporarily afforded by cheap oil, has been able to dispense with the people. Instead of forcing the ex-farmers and tribesmen into slavery, it just drives them off as terminally homeless vagrants. The green revolution and its subsequent land-grabbing epidemic comprise the extension of the enclosure onslaught of earlier centuries.
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3. These shantytowns are the incubators of hunger, misery, and despair. As has been empirically proven since the 1970s, corporate agriculture does not “feed the world”, but on the contrary generates mass hunger and malnutrition. The GMO onslaught shall only aggravate hunger, as it aggravates every other pathology of corporate industrial agriculture – medical, environmental, genetic, economic, political.
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As I wrote above, in addition to the socioeconomic and cultural misery they enforce, shantytowns are the incubators of disease. Today ebola is festering in these ghettos which are intentional byproducts of industrial agriculture. Ebola is festering, spreading, striving to mutate so that it can spread more readily. It’s doing this amid the most favorable terrain for its success. If Big Ag had set out intentionally to generate a lethal pandemic, it could hardly have designed a better scenario than the one it’s imposing today.
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(Since shantytowns are implicitly waste dumps for people who are, from the point of view of the corporate austerity system, surplus, worthless, and potentially dangerous, pandemics among them may indeed be the intended effect, just as corporate-enforced mass hunger certainly is intentional. As I’ve written before, shantytowns make no sense from any point of view – moral, rational, practical. The only way to make sense of them is to theorize that Western governments and corporations view them as putative death camps.)
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The calculus is crystal clear. Shantytowns = the greatly increased probability of lethal pandemics.
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Corporate agriculture and its GMO deployment = the accelerating sprawl of shantytowns and surge in the number of inmates.
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Therefore, advocacy of GMOs and poison-based agriculture = wanting to increase the probability and incidence of lethal pandemics. It’s willful mass murder and intent to commit further mass murder.
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4. The way corporate ag sets up terrain favorable for lethal pandemics is similar to how it strives to make itself vulnerable to terrorism. As Bush’s Agriculture Secretary Tommy Thompson said, “For the life of me, I can’t understand why terrorists haven’t attacked our food supply.” Indeed, terrorism is a major threat to centralized industrial agriculture, while it could only ever be a minor, local threat to decentralized polyculture agroecology. The same goes for pest threats, disease, floods or drought, temperature extremes, anything which can affect crops or food. (Of course in spite of Thompson’s bout of truth-telling, the Bush administration, continued acting to increase the vulnerability of our crops and food, like every other administration before or since.)
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5. The insane abuse of antibiotics in factory farms and with GMO antibiotic resistance markers continues to escalate. This is nothing less than a campaign to destroy the medical miracle of antibiotics once and for all. In a textbook equal and opposite reaction, this calls down upon humanity the corresponding antibiotic-resistant disease-causing germs. This too will bring lethal pandemics.
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6. We must always keep in mind how industrial ag causes society’s total dependence upon an ever more fragile, top-heavy Tower of Babel. Industrial agriculture is unsustainable and sooner or later will collapse from any of a number of possible death blows: The end of cheap fossil fuels, the failure of fossil water (effectively non-renewable aquifers) or industrially mined phosphorus, the collapse of the wrecked and poisoned soil, the failure of the crops which are physiologically weakened by genetic engineering, their endless bombardment by enervating herbicides (genetically engineered herbicide tolerance doesn’t let the crop get off unscathed, but merely enables it to survive in a weakened state and produce a nutritionally denuded harvest), and/or out of their extreme vulnerability to pests and disease on account of their insanely narrowed genetic base.
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The extreme narrowing of agricultural germplasm has been an intentional and necessary aspect of monoculture agriculture. The same is true of crop epidemics like the 1970 Southern corn leaf blight which decimated the US crop and was widely forecast among agronomists right before it happened (cf. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed, 2nd edition p. 122). This was on account of the parlous state of US corn genetics, specifically how the cytoplasmic male sterility gene (to save the labor costs of detasseling during hybrid seed production), deployed in all US hybrid varieties at that time, also rendered the crop more vulnerable to that exact disease.
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This campaign of agricultural biodiversity destruction constitutes the destruction of the genetic basis for all future agriculture. If Big Ag intentionally set out to set up humanity for mass famine from systemic crop failure, it could hardly have done better than it has in setting up the system based on poisons, monoculture, hybridization, and GMOs.
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Speaking generally, globalization renders us all ever more vulnerable to an ever greater array of diseases and disasters.
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7. Then there’s the proven health and environmental devastation of such agricultural poisons as commercial glyphosate, DDT, 2,4-D, atrazine, neonicotinoids, chlorpyrifos, industrialized Bt (in GMO form), and many others. These are known to cause reproductive damage, sterility, miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects, developmental difficulties, DNA damage, neurological disease, organ toxicity, and cancer. We must keep in mind how Mad Cow Disease, horrific as it was, was a relatively minor example of the diseases which CAFO diets can spread through our meat and dairy. Then there’s how the Showa Denko and X-SCID incidents prove that any genetically engineered product has the potential to cause a lethal outbreak. Meanwhile the exponential surge of chronic diseases such as cancer, gastrointestinal tract diseases, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s disease, and autism has gone in tandem with the radical escalation of pesticides and GMOs in our food.
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8. These are examples of what Black Swan author Nassim Taleb recently wrote about in his paper, “The Precautionary Principle: Fragility and Black Swans from Policy Actions”. Taleb and his co-authors concluded that globalized monocultural GMO deployment comprises a systemic risk of massive destruction, through health, environmental and/or agricultural destruction, and for that reason must be subject to the Precautionary Principle. I’ll add that GMOs comprise two shoddy, badly designed, badly performing, failed product lines (herbicide resistance and insecticide expression; i.e. two kinds of poison plants) and serve no purpose at all according to the Need Principle (do we need it). GMOs have zero benefits for farmers or eaters. Therefore, given the proven harms and the even greater risks, GMOs should never have been deployed and now must be abolished.
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9. GMOs and corporate industrial agriculture also fail the Alternatives Principle – is there a better alternative? The alternative to high-risk, doomed-to-fail, astronomically expensive, horrifically destructive industrial monoculture poison-based agriculture set up to produce export commodities is robust, resilient, inexpensive, healthy, environmentally and socially productive decentralized polyculture agroecological practice, set up to produce food for human communities. Scores of studies and trials have proven that acre for acre agroecology produces more calories and nutrition than industrial ag. This is true right now while we’re still in the time of cheap fossil fuels. Once cheap oil is a thing of the past, as it shall soon become, this difference will become infinite, as industrial ag will become physically impossible. Therefore decentralized polyculture agroecology is the most productive form of agriculture in an absolute sense, and it shall inevitably be the most productive in the future, as it shall be the only form possible.
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10. All such prospects are contingent on humanity making it that far. But the pro-GMO activists are doing their best to wipe out any possible future for humanity, as they’re implicitly working hard to generate the lethal pandemic that’ll wipe us out. If they can’t do it with ebola, they’ll try with something else, whether they can incubate it in the shantytown or in the CAFO. And if the pandemics fail there’s always the mass famines they implicitly have planned.
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Whatever comes, humanity must become conscious of this stark fact. The activists of corporate agriculture and food, and the political and economic elites who give them their marching orders are, out of conscious malice or willful disregard for human life, preparing mass murder. When these pandemics come, or any of the other likely disasters I’ve surveyed here, humanity must treat these as the world-historical crimes they are and deal with these malefactors according to the dictates of justice.
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Or better yet, let’s reattain sanity in time. We can take preemptive self-defense action before it’s too late. We can forestall the worst by abolishing GMOs, ending the reign of corporate agriculture, dissolving globalization. We can restore human economies based on producing goods, and above all food, for human beings. This is the only way forward, the only solution to our crises and problems, the only way we can regain freedom and prosperity, the only way we can save and redeem ourselves.
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November 14, 2014

GMO News Report, November 14, 2014

Filed under: GMO Contamination, GMO Health Hazards — Russ @ 8:45 am

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*Monsanto has announced a $2.4 million settlement with Oregon wheat farmers who suffered economic damage from the export disruptions caused by the 2013 discovery of feral Roundup Ready wheat in Oregon, according to media reports. $2.1 million (minus whatever the lawyers take) will be divided among the farmers, with the rest going to growers’ associations. It’s a paltry sum to redress a major crime.
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The USDA recently closed its investigation of the incident with little comment. It did confirm that the wheat was a Monsanto Roundup Ready variety field tested some ten years ago, but threw up its hands in resignation over its inability to figure out how the rogue wheat came to be growing in the open. (No GM wheat has been commercialized. A Monsanto attempt to do so ten years ago was defeated by massive farmer opposition. In trying to calm fears over this genetically modified superweed,he USDA criminally repeated the lie that the FDA has tested GMOs and found them safe. In reality the FDA never tested a single GMO, but instead ideologically declared them safe over the objections of rank and file FDA scientists.
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This incident, where a non-approved GMO slipped the bonds of the allegedly rigorous containment protocols of the field trial system, is further proof that GMO contamination is impossible to contain and that “co-existence” is impossible so long as GMOs exist at all. This is true at every point along the “regulatory” process, from field trials as in this case to unsegregatable commercial pipelines, as in the case of Syngenta’s illicit maize which keeps turning up in shipments to China and causing those shipments to be rejected. Highlighting this, even as the USDA was wrapping up its investigation of the Oregon outbreak, a new outbreak of feral GM wheat was discovered on the campus of Montana State University, where field trials were conducted from 2000-2003.
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(In this connection, here’s the latest report on GMO contamination, based on the GMO Contamination Register maintained by Greenpeace and GeneWatch.)
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These are the latest proofs that USDA policy would be utterly incompetent to prevent outbreaks of contamination even if it cared about doing so, and that the USDA’s proposed “co-existence” policy is nothing but a scam. It could hardly be otherwise, since “co-existence” is physically and politically impossible. The ever-escalating rate of inadvertent as well as intentional GMO pollution is proof of this. These incidents, and the paltry recourse available in the legal system, where any recourse is available at all, are part of the proof that humanity must abolish GMOs if we are to redeem the integrity and sustainability of our health, environment, and agriculture.
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*An NGO coalition from Russia, Europe, and the US, led by Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety, has announced that starting in 2015 it will conduct a two-to-three year GMO/pesticide feeding study entitled “GMO Factor”. The group says it will conduct long-term study on five generations of rats, gauging the health effects of RR maize by itself, feed laced with glyphosate, feed laced with Roundup, and the combinations of these factors. It’s especially important that a study compare the results of feeding with pure glyphosate, which is an ivory tower product never used in real life, but which is the only thing tested in government and corporate feeding trials, with feeding Roundup, the most common real world formulation, which many scientists and public health experts think is far more toxic than glyphosate by itself on account of the toxic surfactants and adjuvants mixed into the formulation, which is never safety-tested. The study organizers say their funding (which has not yet been disclosed, but they claim they’ll make it fully transparent once the study begins in 2015) comes only from “neutral” sources, and that they themselves are neutral.
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If this does turn out to be a study with legitimate methodology measuring legitimate health parameters over the full two-year life cycle of the animals, it’ll be a worthy contribution. I’ll stress here, however, that we don’t need more studies, as the existing health, environmental, agricultural, socioeconomic, and political record is clear and dispositive. There’s already a definitive scientific and democratic consensus against GMOs. All legitimate scientists and freedom-loving people reject them. It’s simply impossible to be informed about this subject and still support GMOs and their related poisons from any point of view other than corporate profiteering and domination.
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I wanted to stress this since there’s also a few suspicious details about this project, especially the way the promoters keep repeating how they’re “objective neutrals” between the alleged extremes of “the anti-GMO movement and the biotech industry”. This kind of false equivalence (which presumably consigns previous longtime GMO supporters Arpaud Pusztai and Gilles-Eric Seralini to the “anti-GMO” category and slanders their work and all the excellent independent work which has been done to date) generally emanates from triangulators who pose as public advocates but are really planning their own corporate propaganda campaign.
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Therefore the right position on this is to reserve judgement until we learn more about the methodology and see how the study and its publicity play out over time. Greenpeace and some others seem to be taking this wait-and-see position, though some other GMO critics are letting themselves be carried away by naive optimism. (But then we should always keep in mind that some of the critics really want to be talked out of their criticism, and will listen to a more subtle lie even if they couldn’t bring themselves to believe the more brazen ones.)
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November 12, 2014

Basic Points on GMO Health Implications

Filed under: GMO Health Hazards, GMO-Based Poison Infliction — Russ @ 10:37 am

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This is toward a standard argument vs. the liars as well as the lukewarm critics who are ignorant of the science and/or out of timidity want to steer clear of this critical battlefront.
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1. No government or corporation has ever performed a legitimate, full-length toxicity, epidemiology, or cancer study upon any GMO. They’ve done only short-term (“subchronic”) trials which measure only industrial parameters like fast weight gain. (According to pro-GMO activist logic, smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer because the cancer rate among 14-year old smokers is negligible.) These industry trials generally include fraudulent methodology like the use of “historical control groups” to drown out any toxicity or cancer data which does manifest.
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Note that every compendium of so-called “studies” sponsored by the pro-GMO activists – the Snell report, the EU SAFOTEST report, the Nicolia survey, the “Trillion Meal Study”, GENERA, the “GMO Pundit” list, etc. ad nauseum – is nothing but another list of these same bogus industry trials.
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So the positive scientific evidence for the safety of GMOs is ZERO.
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Meanwhile we have the very strong negative evidence of the self-evident fact that the only reason governments and corporations refuse to perform real full-length safety studies is that they’re terrified of what the results will be. This is proof that Monsanto and the US government believe genetic engineering products are dangerous to health.
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2. In spite of the scientifically invalid duration, parameters, and methodology of industry feeding trials, these have nevertheless consistently found evidence of allergenicity, toxicity, and cancer. Let’s recall that the boogeyman of the pro-GM hacks, Gilles-Eric Seralini, started out as a biotech supporter but wanted a full-duration safety study performed on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready maize on account of toxicity evidence discovered by Monsanto’s own feeding trials.
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And then the handful of independent, full-length, legitimate studies which have been done have found strong evidence of allergenicity, toxicity, and cancer.
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3. The Showa Denko and X-SCID incidents provide proof of principle that genetic engineering can cause lethal outbreaks unpredictably at any time. Also, the mechanism which caused the lethal Mad Cow Disease epidemic, the malformation of proteins in the brain, is a theoretically predictable chaotic effect of genetic engineering. No one knows if, when, and where such effects will manifest, or how severely.
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4. 1-3 refer to genetic engineering as such. Then there’s the proven facts of Bt allergenicity and toxicity and that glyphosate causes reproductive damage, miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects, neurological damage, organ damage, and cancer. And that’s for one of the less toxic pesticides. 2,4-D, slated for a massive upsurge of use starting in 2015 with the advent of the new Agent Orange GMOs, is even worse. Pesticides in general are known to be highly poisonous to humans, livestock, and ecosystems. GMOs are nothing more or less than poison plants. There are effectively only two kinds: Those engineered to produce their own endemic poison in every cell, and those engineered to be tolerant of massive amounts of herbicide sprayed upon them and endemically incorporated into their tissues. So GMOs have no purpose and no goal but to double down on poison-based agriculture and cause a massive increase in the use of agricultural poisons, which shall then increasingly poison humanity and the earth.
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November 10, 2014

European Parliament Has Its Chance to Redeem European GMO Regulation

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[Update 11/12: The Parliament voted to reinstate environmental rationales for national bans and removed the absurd requirement that countries supplicate before the GMO-peddling corporations before instituting bans. It also mandated anti-contamination measures. The EP version of the law must now be negotiated with the Council’s pro-cartel version voted in June. The EP’s  law doesn’t affect the pro-GMO regulatory “streamlining” momentum at the EFSA. This is merely a defensive action.]

In June the European Council (an executive committee of national ministers) fulfilled the wishes of the GMO cartel and the US government by voting for a new “subsidiarity” policy to replace the EU’s existing approval process for the cultivation of GMOs in Europe. As things are the European Commission’s EFSA (an unaccountable supranational bureaucracy) approves applications on a Europe-wide basis, but individual national governments are free to enact their own bans. Right now MON810 Bt maize is the only GMO approved for cultivation, but Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, and Poland have banned it. Only in Spain is it grown on any significant acreage. (In 2014 DuPont/Dow’s 1507 stacked maize is becoming the second cultivation-approved GMO.)

This kind of federalism, really an upside-down federalism since it “allows” delegation of power from the top down, has only been grudgingly tolerated by the Commission. It has long been a target for the US government and the cartel, which want to gut Europe’s superior non-GMO agriculture and flood Europe with proprietary GMO seeds. This is a good example of how EU federalism, like any other such concept and practice, has no stable existence but is only agreed to by the corporations or assaulted by them depending upon whatever serves corporate power at the moment. Thus, as I’ve been pointing out for years, European GMO “subsidiarity” was originally talked up by the system as a safeguard: “Any national government is free to ban any GMO it chooses. Therefore there’s no reason for the EFSA’s approval procedure to be so strict, and it should be liberalized.” This argument was being made in favor of the approval of 1507 as recently as a year ago. Then there’s the obscene spectacle of the US promoting its subsidy-based planned economy Big Ag sector under the banner of “free trade” and railing against Europe’s alleged “trade barriers”. Again, no one actually believes in “free trade” or “protectionism” as values. Either of these are merely slogans and weapons to be used according to the power tactics of the moment. I call such examples might-makes-right mutabilities.

In spite of the “federalism” rhetoric, the Biotechnology Industry Association has long lobbied for Europe to change to its own Orwellian version of federalism, AKA “subsidiarity”. The US government has taken up the fight. The Commission has been ardent, and the bureaucratic campaign came together in 2014, leading up to the Council vote in June.

According to the proposal, countries will no longer be free to enact national bans when they choose and how they choose. Instead, each country would have to take action early in the bureaucratic approval process. A national government would have to request that the corporation exclude that country’s territory from its application. Only if the corporation refuses would the country then be allowed to enact its own ban. The technical criteria for a ban to be legally valid in the EU’s bureaucratic courts would also be tightened. It’s meant to set up a legalistic Catch-22. The member states would surrender their right to institute bans based on health or environmental rationales. These rationales would be surrendered completely to the EFSA’s discretion. Yet these are the only rationales which in theory are allowed under the WTO regime.

Meanwhile the member states would retain a right, under this policy, to enact bans based on socioeconomic, cultural, or planning grounds. But these are precisely the kind of policy rationales banned under WTO rules. Therefore the policy proposal is meant to take a roundabout route to gut the Precautionary Principle and national regulatory power over GMOs, and exalt the preemptive power of EFSA assessments. The revolving door EFSA is little more than a Monsanto division.

In addition to its structural aims, the policy is meant to be cumbersome to the point of impossibility. Instead of taking cultivation approvals on a case-by-case basis, a national government is supposed to track down every pending application, assess it  in a hypothetical way, make a future-oriented decision, and formulate a request. And just who is supposed to do this: A bureaucracy which is naturally more likely to support the corporate project than a legislature which may be more responsive to the public good. And then there’s the fact that the government of a day is supposed to be able to tie the hands of its successors in perpetuity, if it fails to make the right “requests” and enact its bans within a narrow window of opportunity. (Needless to say this only works one way; any ban can always be rescinded by a later government.) Once again we see the fundamental hostility of the EC (and the US government) to democracy and to politics as such.

The policy is being bruited in terms familiar from big business rhetoric – this will “break the logjam”, will “streamline” regulation. Of course in reality the only logjam on economic innovation and productivity is that imposed by corporate oligopoly, most of all corporate agriculture’s attempt to enclose and calcify the agriculture and food sectors once and for all. The GMO onslaught is the culmination and final war to attain this enclosure and domination. The “subsidiarity” policy is intended to do exactly what I’ve been predicting about EU federalism since 2010: First open the floodgates to general EU cultivation approvals, then gut the state-level bans piecemeal.

(Meanwhile the TTIP if enacted is intended to make a clean sweep of all of this, replacing the whole WTO rigmarole with the leaner meaner NAFTA model of direct corporate legal weapons (in the form of ISDS) and systematic, permanent “regulatory coordination” across all government bureaucracies, forcing all of these to conform to standards set by corporate bureaucracy and to obey corporate directives. I won’t recap the TTIP here, but here’s my posts on it from earlier in 2014.

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-ttip-corporatism-and-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/corporatism-and-globalization-the-context-of-the-ttip-and-tpp/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-ttip-and-globalizations-corporate-coordination-master-plan-1-of-3/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/the-ttip-and-the-corporate-coordination-master-plan-2-of-3-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-ttip-and-the-corporatist-coordination-plan-part-three/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-ttip-and-the-right-to-profit-investor-to-state-dispute-settlement/  )

This week the European Parliament is scheduled to vote on subsidiarity. If it votes No it can gut the policy, or it can vote for a reformed version which could ameliorate the worst parts. Greenpeace issued a list of minimal reform demands, including:

*Restore the ability of member countries to enact bans on environmental grounds. [Greenpeace doesn’t mention public health/food safety grounds, although these too are critical.]

*Change the legal basis for the policy from the “internal market” section of the EU code to the environmental section.

*Confirm the right of countries to ban GMOs as such or groups of GMOs by crop or trait.

*Scuttle the formal position of corporations in the approval and banning process.

It seems to me it would be better to just scuttle the whole thing, but anything which delays the juggernaut is helpful, since time is running out for the cartel, just as it’s running out for humanity.

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November 8, 2014

To Paraphrase Gandhi

Filed under: Scientism/Technocracy — Russ @ 4:53 am

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I like science. I don’t like your “scientists”.
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(Posting’s been slow lately on account of some other pressing matters.
But I’ll soon be back on track.)