Volatility

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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2 Comments

  1. I pity the families who live in areas where this poison is to be used. I’ve always yearned to live in a rural place, but now I think twice when contemplating the real danger my kids and I would face from these ignorant people.

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 21, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

    • I know what you mean. But then there’s no good place to get away from it. Even in Germany, where far less glyphosate is used, a study consistently found it in urban water supplies and the urine of urbanites. And then last years Moms Across America study found high residues in the breast milk of women who said they tried to avoid pesticides, eat organic, etc.

      So the fact is that there’s no place to hide from a totalitarian onslaught. We must all stand and fight together to destroy it once and for all.

      Comment by Russ — November 22, 2014 @ 3:27 am


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