Volatility

January 29, 2016

GMO News Summary, January 29th, 2016

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*The court decision refusing the EPA’s request that it temporarily rescind Enlist Duo’s registration is going to get its own post. For the moment I’ll point out that even if you don’t think the courts are corrupted beyond redemption, here we have proof that the law itself certainly is. If it’s true that the law is so calcified and maladaptive that it can’t react when a toxicity situation arises which is so dire that even the EPA wants to slow down and take another look, then that’s proof of a terminally busted system of law. We have to get it straight, in addition to all its de jure evils, this system does not work.
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*The fighters of Argentina continue to stand tall blocking Monsanto’s poison factory.
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*Here’s more on the attempt to partially repeal Oregon’s preemption law which was passed to crush the groundswell of county-level democracy action. One good paragraph concisely describes why it’s impossible for the state government of Oregon to make assertive agricultural policy which would be just, rational, or practical.
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So currently, although there are seven distinct geographical agricultural sectors in Oregon, each with different agricultural emphases, (for example, apples in Hood River, alfalfa in the Klamath Basin, brassica seed in the Willamette Valley), none of these sectors now have the right, either democratically or through a court of law, to address their own particular agricultural concerns, even regarding weed seeds. Can you see which way the wind is blowing?

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Imagine how much less possible it is for the federal government to be legitimate or rational in asserting itself over hundreds of distinct foodsheds and watersheds? When we ponder those who claim to care about food and agriculture but who still believe in federal power over these, only “better”, it sure looks like their level of knowledge and policy position is similar to Monsanto’s, only from a superficially different angle. What does this mean where it comes to NGOs and GM labeling advocates who want things like a preemptive FDA labeling standard or the “Food Safety Modernization Act”? (How’s that for an Orwellian name?) They’re just as ignorant as Monsanto and often as arrogant, only from a superficially different point of view. That’s one reason I don’t trust them to ever really draw a line in the sand and say “no further.” (For example the party line seems to be, “support preemption only if the FDA policy is at least as strong as Vermont’s”. I don’t believe they’ll hold to that, and since such an FDA policy is impossible anyway, because that’s not what the FDA does or wants to do, what’s the point of saying such a thing, other than to buy time for further triangulation?) Their underlying logic is basically the same as that of the corporations. Also in the clear fact that democracy in itself is no principle for them and has no value to them at all.
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A federal labeling law is the worst possible “solution”, since it’s guaranteed to be a preemptive sham, meant to lead in the wrong direction and waste time and resources we don’t have to waste. As the history proves, preemption never works the way so many people seem to want to hope and believe. The only point of it is to force the lowest standards. Otherwise why would any “stakeholder” want it? Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
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*Dueling Monsanto lawsuits, one as plaintiff, two new ones (two more of many) as defendant. Monsanto is suing California trying to prevent the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) from listing glyphosate on the list of carcinogens. This would impose some labeling requirements and restrictions on its use. Monsanto’s complaint is just a bunch of whining with no substance whatsoever. I’ll be writing more about this lawsuit separately.
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Meanwhile the city of Seattle has filed the latest lawsuit trying to force Monsanto to pay for a cleanup of the PCBs still ubiquitous in sediments of the city’s drainage system and the Duwamish River. Monsanto lied for decades about PCBs although it knew of their toxicity at least since 1937. A major reason for the corporate reshuffling Monsanto undertook in order to dump its industrial chemical division Solutia in 2002 was to try to unload its PCB liability. This hasn’t worked so far, though the penalties aren’t even in the same galaxy with what the company, its executives, its technicians and its salesmen deserve. And the Nuremburg-actionable lies continue still to this day. Just as the CEO of Solutia continued to lie for years, so Monsanto lies today:
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“PCBs sold at the time were a lawful and useful product that was then incorporated by third parties into other useful products. If improper disposal or other improper uses allowed for necessary clean up costs, then these other third parties would bear responsibility for these costs.”

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This is a direct Nuremburg lie. Monsanto has known since the 1930s that PCBs as such are extremely toxic. They cause cancer, birth defects, and horrible skin and organ symptoms. Over the 1950s-60s Monsanto accumulated very detailed knowledge and sought systematically to cover it up. See Marie-Monique Robin’s The World According to Monsanto for a detailed history of this and many of Monsanto’s other crimes against humanity. Monsanto adhered to this stonewalling strategy for decades. So it was Monsanto which lied to its customers and encouraged these third parties to incorporate the PCB product without warning them of what it knew about the danger.
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Finally, in California Brenda and James Huerta are suing Monsanto for giving them cancer through chronic long-term exposures to Roundup spraying while they lived on a commercial sod farm in the state’s Riverside County. Here the law is geared to protect the seller and the sprayer. Even if the US and California state governments recognized glyphosate as carcinogenic (as we just mentioned Monsanto is currently suing to prevent the state from recognizing it as such, while the US EPA denies it), it would generally be considered impossible to ascribe a particular case of cancer to the product. And if all else failed, Monsanto would try to claim the sprayer didn’t adhere to the label requirements for application. Farmer scapegoating is standard wherever straight lies and denial don’t work.
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These are reasons why the abolitionist position must be to impose strict liability on all manufacturers, sellers, and users of a poisonous product for all harms which come from it. In a legal sense they’re all part of one big conspiracy to promote cancer, and since it is usually not feasible to identify the “particular” culprit in a given case, all must be held equally responsible. I propose the same standard for pesticide drift effects, for any campaign against 2,4-D and dicamba GMOs. Strict liability first as a philosophical and polemical plank, wherever possible as a demand for legal reform, and always as the Nuremburg standard which must be imposed once we the people take back the power.
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So we have dueling lawsuits. Monsanto sues California for saying glyphosate causes cancer, citizens are suing Monsanto for giving them cancer, Seattle files the latest of many lawsuits because Monsanto systematically sickened and murdered people with PCBs and to this day systematically lies about it. The EPA, FDA, and USDA say Monsanto is a good, honest citizen. Who do you trust about Roundup?
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*More data on glyphosate residues in urine, as monitored over 15 years by Germany’s federal environmental agency. The levels are lower than EFSA “tolerance” limits, which means little. Regulators mechanically raise these legal levels in accord with how much poison the manufacturer expects to sell. In itself this is a strong indicator of the regulators’ poison-maximizing ideology. The procedure has zero scientific content and exists at all only as a political farce, to make it look like the regulator is “protecting” us. Scientifically, like all pesticides glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor which means it causes cancer and birth defects at ultra-low doses, and there is no safe level. The German agency also warned that formulations are far more toxic than glyphosate by itself. In other words, bad as this is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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*Here’s one thing that won’t wait for labeling to be gotten right over however many years that would take. If we don’t want to see the monarch butterfly go extinct within our lifetimes, we have to abolish glyphosate NOW. Anything else is just empty talk.
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There’s a new petition to the world’s most pro-Monsanto, pro-Roundup government, calling for better action for the monarch. Seems far-fetched, but it’s possible if there were enough of a groundswell on everything from monarchs to cancer, the system might be forced to sacrifice Roundup as long as it thought it could preserve the rest of the poison regime. But this will require a full-scale social movement toward this goal. (The goal of abolishing glyphosate must be part of the broader goal of abolishing poison-based agriculture, but we can also choose particular campaigns for special focus.) Things like petitions not rooted in a movement grounding will be blown off like the air they are. The prognosis is clear. Unless glyphosate is completely banned, it’ll be the end of the monarch. Americans are going to have to choose once and for all. What’ll it be, the monarch or Monsanto? You can’t have both.
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*Gilles-Eric Seralini has performed another of his thorough and damning analyses of GMO trial data. This time he analyzed the trial data and the subsequent veterinary records from the 1997-2002 dairy cow feeding trial in Germany with silage from Syngenta’s Bt176 maize. This was one of the ominous incidents in GMO history. The animals became badly ill, many died, the records were analyzed by Syngenta and the German government, and farmer Gottfried Glöckner sued the company. Although Syngenta has always denied the GMO had anything to do with the epidemic, it paid off Glöckner and pulled Bt176 from the market. Now Seralini, assisted by Glöckner, has analyzed all the records and concluded that Bt176 “provoked long-term toxic effects on mammals”. There are many anecdotal reports of similar epidemics stemming from diets with a heavy Bt crop proportion, among farm workers in South Africa and livestock in India.
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The action needed is not, however, “more testing” as Seralini calls for. He’s a scientist so of course that’s his first thought. But in fact this new evidence adds to what’s already conclusive proof – Bt-expressing GMOs don’t work and are dangerous to human, animal, and environmental health. They must be abolished, not tested over and over again forever. Every time I see the “more testing” call I wonder how much evidence would finally satisfy people. There’s far more than enough to satisfy anyone without a strong investment in the poison system itself, if that evidence is propagated competently and relentlessly and in the context of the affirmative Food Sovereignty idea. On the other hand, without this work even a hundred times as much evidence would be of little use.
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*Meanwhile the state government of Idaho is acknowledging a pesticide crisis. Here they let potato farmers apply methyl bromide, which of course suffused the soil. The poison then became part of the tissue of a subsequent alfalfa crop whose poisoned hay caused “deformities and sickness” in cattle which fed upon it. “Additionally, test samples of wheat, barley, potatoes, alfalfa, tomato, corn and straw grown on other treated fields also showed some level of bromide.” The state agriculture department told the legislature that the soil needs an emergency cleanup, of course asking for taxpayer money to be provided for the necessary research and work. To the great injury of the poisoning of our food and soil they now add the insult of expecting the people, not the criminals, to pay to clean it up.
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If GMOs tolerant of 2,4-D and dicamba are deployed on a large scale, the result will be this same quarantine of the soil and destruction of vast swaths of crops from the toxic drift. The whole thing, everywhere, sums to one vast moral insult. This insult shall never be made whole until we the people apply all moral force necessary to abolish these poisons.
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.*The Indian state of Karnataka is yet again having to prepare a farmer bailout after yet another Bt cotton disaster. This time the target pest, the pink bollowrm, simply feasted as if the two Bt toxins and neonics weren’t even there. Karnataka will yet again have to decide whether and how to demand the seed companies pay farmer compensation. Karnataka is one of the states most severely devastated by the suicide epidemic among Indian small cotton farmers. The state really ought to launch a transformation program away from commodity production and toward organic production, as fellow state Sikkim is proving can be done on a large scale.
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Another Bt cotton blunder may soon be history, as Burkina Faso’s farmers and seed dealers are abandoning the product. The country’s experience with Bt cotton has paralleled that of other countries, including the crop’s poor performance under anything but optimal conditions. Burkina Faso also experienced low-quality lint production even when the overall boll yield was good. This problem, which has also been seen in India, seems to be related to pleiotropic effects from Monsanto’s breeding its Bt cultivar into the pirated regional Burknabe variety. Here’s the latest proof of how imprecise and unpredictable genetic engineering is. It’s always a crapshoot. Monsanto is implicitly admitting this as it’s now frantically “backcrossing its Bt varieties into a new local cultivar.” But farmers seem to be fed up with the whole Bt cotton concept, as have been all non-rich farmers who ever tried to work with it. It’s a shoddy product, in addition to its health dangers.
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Food sovereignty and civil society campaigners are confident that Burkina Faso’s rejection of Bt cotton will help steel African resolve to resist this and other GMOs. The struggle continues in Kenya as farmer and civil society groups oppose proposals to lift the government’s moratorium on cultivation and importation of GMO products. In recent weeks the government has indicated it will soon approve cultivation of Bt maize, but missed a scheduled press conference. For more on the truth of the corporate-driven food insecurity in Africa which GMOs promise to make much worse, see here.
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*Canadian environmental groups Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society are suing the government to overturn a 2013 ruling which threatens to allow the grow-out of GM salmon under conditions exceeding those allowed by Canadian environmental law.
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*Much ado about the temporary retraction of a paper by Italian researchers documenting transgenic DNA fragments persisting in the tissues of animals fed GM feed. The retraction is on grounds of what the retracting journal calls an “honest error” involving the reuse of some images which had appeared in an earlier paper by the same researchers. The study’s basic findings remain intact. In a sign of how desperate the pro-GMO activists are, they whooped it up as if this technicality constituted some kind of evidence in their favor. The GMWatch piece does a good job detailing the hypocrisy and double standards of the GMO lobby and corporate media. In fact even if this particular study’s substantive finding were in doubt, it would be just be one drop retracted from a lake of evidence. GMWatch adds:
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Several years ago we at GMWatch were reprimanded by a government scientist (who was emphatically not anti-GMO) for our naive belief that we still had to ‘prove’ that GM DNA was detectable in the tissues of animals that ate GM feed. This fact, the scientist pointed out, was “not controversial and we have known it for a long time”. The only controversial aspect was whether such GM DNA had any biological effect on animals that was different from the effects of non-GM DNA.

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I think it’s time for the whole movement to be more confident about what’s been proven beyond any doubt and go from there, rather than imply we’re willing to keep running in place forever needing “more study”, as if we ourselves weren’t 100% confident in the existing evidence. Endless calls for “more data” are a classic sign of the Peter Principle in action.

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January 28, 2016

The Fox and the Framework (Rejecting the Corporate Science Paradigm)

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Under the corporate science paradigm there’s no such thing as a conflict of interest. Colloquially, we often say journalists or scientists or government officials have a “conflict of interest”, though usually it’s difficult to detect any conflict whatsoever; they’re clearly 100% for the corporate imperative. This is often in part because of mundane corruption. But there’s a deeper reason for this lack of a conflict. The fact is that usually there is no conflict except on the most superficial propaganda level (i.e. the person lies about being something he’s not and doesn’t see himself as). But structurally the very notion of a conflict of interest is a misunderstanding and a myth.
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By definition a corporation can have no conflict of interest. Corporations are sociopathic in principle and always in the practice that derives from this principle. In principle the only corporate value is maximizing power as measured by profit. Scientific truth and public health do not exist as values for the corporation.
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Therefore in principle the corporate version of science is supposed to produce, not an objectively truthful result, but the result which is most useful propagandistically for the corporation. This is no abuse of science. Rather, it’s quite simply what normal science is in any context dominated by corporations. This science paradigm, where “science” means whatever the corporate marketing department says it means, I have dubbed the corporate science paradigm.
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This is the first, principled, structural reason why anyone who does value public health, environmental health, and scientific truth must reject out of hand all testimony from corporations and their factotums, including testimony from the corporate regulators and corporate scientific establishment which operate under the corporate science paradigm.
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The second reason is that no sane, rational person would ever trust the fox to guard the hen-house. This would be true even if we didn’t know a particular fox. This was always straight rationality and common sense. By now we also have the entire historical evidence record proving that the corporation will always lie whenever its profit is at stake. We can call this the Fox Rule. This, as we discussed above, is what a corporation is supposed to do, in principle. If we don’t want to live with organizations which are designed with this mission, if we recognize that it’s impossible for humanity to coexist with formally psychopathic organizations, then we must abolish the corporate form.
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The Fox Rule is always true of every big corporation. Monsanto and Dow are especially egregious examples. Their records of falsehood are perfect. Therefore no rational person or agency would place any value other than zero on the testimony of Monsanto and Dow or any chemical corporation where it comes to the safety and scientificality of their products and research. We must reject out of hand all corporate testimony attesting to itself.*
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Yet under the corporate science regime, regulators always accept the corporation’s own testimony about its profitable products as the state of science. This is because corporate regulators exist to serve the corporate “client”, as the regulators call them, so it follows that from the point of view of a regulator like the EPA or FDA or USDA science is nothing more than whatever the corporation says it is. So the regulator accepts the corporate version of science on ideological principle. The regulator not only accepts the corporation’s self-testimony but accepts only this testimony while defining independent science and epidemiological science in general out of existence. Therefore we must reject out of hand all pro-corporate regulatory declarations. These are regurgitated directly from the corporate decree and convey nothing but the original corporate lies.
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A third reason to reject all testimony and findings of corporations and their regulatory counterparts is that corporate science is also overwhelmingly secret science. But “secret science” is a contradiction in terms according to the Popperian idea of the scientific method. On the contrary, by definition the only data which could count as part of the scientific record is public data, and the only scientific conclusions are those derived from public data. Therefore by definition anything secret or derived from secrecy cannot be part of science, but is merely anti-scientific innuendo and rumor puffed up into propaganda. We must reject out of hand all “secret science”, on principle.*
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The proximate reason for all the secrecy is of course that these corporate products don’t work and are extremely poisonous to humans, animals, and ecosystems. Therefore the corporation requires extreme secrecy in order to cover up the gross evidence even its own fraudulently designed research uncovers.
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But a bias in favor of secrecy is also inherent to the corporate science paradigm. This is because corporations are bureaucracies, and bureaucracies are inherently autocratic and secretive. It’s also because corporate capitalism is based heavily on pseudo-“competition” and intellectual property. These phenomena require each corporation to maintain a high level of secrecy about all its actions including its scientific affairs. Therefore it follows that the corporate science paradigm allows and privileges secret science. This proves that corporate science is the radical antithesis of Popperian ideas of science, enshrined in the conventional notions of the scientific method, falsification, and science as a constructive contributor to an open society. To whatever extent practicing scientists and the citizens of a democracy claim to embrace these ideas of science, they must recognize that the corporate science paradigm embodies the exact opposite, the most extreme rejection of these ideas, and they must in turn reject corporate science as a whole, completely, as nothing but a pure mass of lies.
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Corporate science is exactly upside down. It is exactly, perfectly wrong. We can state as axioms: Corporate science is a lie; Regulator-vouched science is a lie; Secret science is a lie.
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*The only exception is where the corporate practitioners themselves are unable to cover up adverse results. It’s highly significant how, in spite of the most strenuous efforts on the part of the foxes to deploy false study frameworks, bogus methodology, fraudulent interpretations, and suppression of data, to strip the hen-house bare, nevertheless so many corporate studies still were unable to cover up completely and provided significant evidence of the harmfulness of pesticides and GMOs.
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In such cases we can use this adverse data, assuming all the while that the truth must be far worse. In these cases the truth is so bad that even these masters of obfuscation couldn’t cover up completely.

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January 27, 2016

Zika, Part of the Corporate Normal

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The media’s found itself another scare story to splay all over the front pages. They’ll do this when they can misdirect attention, analysis, and blame.
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The Zika virus outbreak and the daunting prospect for the disease’s future, like with most others in recent years, is caused by corporate globalization. These diseases are rooted out of the wilderness in the first place by deforestation and the spread of industrial ranching and plantations. Then they’re incubated and given all the opportunity they need to mutate in the shantytowns and/or factory farms which are intentional creations of globalization. Therefore the function of these facilities as disease incubators is also a known and intended result of the corporate onslaught. The nutritional denuding of food and its toxification with agricultural poisons weakens people. Then there’s the growing epidemic of corporate-driven hunger. We can add how globalization sends cargo and people casually jet-setting all over the world, so any pathogen almost instantaneously spreads as far as it easily can (much like the way commercial GMOs are immediately propagated as globally widely as possible, the most extreme of the many ways genetic engineering denies evolution and seeks to leap over its safeguards), and will be given every opportunity to spread gradually even to the places where it has trouble adapting. Climate change, destruction of biodiversity, monoculture in everything from agriculture to suburbia, and the wholesale poisoning of ecosystems by industrial chemicals combine to create the perfect weather and habitat for potential pathogens.
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We can see how the corporate system does all it can to generate epidemics, since it does all it can to provide and intensify the three components generally necessary for an epidemic: The potential pathogen, the favorable terrain, and the weakened target.
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The rising incidence of epidemics in recent decades parallels the rise of chronic disease among Westerners and the rise of crop disease and pest infestation. These are all caused by the same malign combination of climate change, artificial poisons in the environment, habitat and biodiversity destruction, and the ferocious, insane corporate drive to escalate and accelerate all of these as much and fast as possible. (Another analogy from genetic engineering is the way the transgenic promoter is tuned to switch the transgene on at maximum power, 24/7, in direct contrast with the way genes within natural genomes are turned on and off at varying levels of intensity as the physiological or environmental circumstance warrants).
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As is standard for the disaster capitalism which seeks to exploit any problem or crisis generated by the corporations themselves, this outbreak is being used as an occasion for Malthusian racist talk (racism is always seeking “respectable” opportunities to express itself), to shill for the GM mosquito technology which is already a failure, and to call for greater poison use against mosquitoes, including the frequent attempts to rehabilitate DDT and slander Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. But one of the reasons DDT was banned was because it no longer worked against mosquitoes. These had become resistant, as the pests always become resistant to every poison. This too is intentional, the planned obsolescence of the pesticide treadmill. One of the reasons GMOs have been such an attractive product for the agrochemical corporations is because they’re such perfect escalating poison delivery vectors. As the weeds and insects become resistant to poisons like clockwork, genetic engineering lets the corporations stack more and more poisons and poison tolerances into the product, so it will produce and receive more and more poisons. DDT, in addition to causing human cancer and birth defects and its horrific environmental effects, was a shoddy product which had ceased to work. That part especially the Poisoners don’t want us to know when they try to rehabilitate this cancer-causing, bird-killing, worthless poison.
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Meanwhile the 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to researchers working on the potential of artemisia as herbal malaria medicine. As always, the real way to deal with disease is a combination of social-ecological rationality, good sanitation, a society based on healthy food, water, and lifestyles, and where necessary the appropriate treatment. Poison is never part of any constructive solution.
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It’s ironic that the Zika virus is feared so much because of its ability to cause birth defects, while the same governments and media suppress information about the vastly greater epidemic of birth defects and other reproductive harms being caused by glyphosate, 2,4-D, malathion, and other agricultural poisons.
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When we ponder a political system which systematically lies about the birth defects caused by pesticides while scare-mongering about the much lower number of birth defects caused by a virus in order to propagandize for using more of the teratogenic pesticides and against all real solutions, we know we’re dealing with a systematically criminal system. That’s the Poisoner ideology and campaign in action.
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I wrote about this and related matters at greater length here.

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January 26, 2016

The USDA/Monsanto Deliberate Campaign to Contaminate All Alfalfa

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If successful, this campaign would lead to a Monsanto monopoly on alfalfa seed and render organic meat and dairy impossible under the current USDA standards. The USDA has always wanted GMOs to qualify under the organic standard, and has long seen GM alfalfa as a mode of attack to bring on this result.
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Persistence Proves Intent. If the US government and Monsanto see that this surging contamination is an inevitable direct effect of their action in deploying GM alfalfa and they continue with the deployment, that proves that this contamination is part of the intended effect. The major effects of a large-scale action are always an organic whole. It’s never true that a necessary government policy has ambivalent results. On the contrary, the major effects are always the desired effects, because if the government desired different effects, there’s always an alternative which could preserve the “good” effects without the allegedly “bad”. There’s really no such thing as “collateral damage”. That’s just a propaganda distinction to help with the lie that some effects weren’t sought by the policy-maker and are deplored by it. But if there really were major effects which the government did not anticipate and found bad, it would change the policy so as no longer to produce those effects in a major way. Persistence proves either that the effect, if truly unanticipated, is nevertheless welcome, or else that it was anticipated and consciously intended all along. Morally and practically it makes no difference. The major effects of an action comprise an organic whole, so anyone who wants one characteristic effect of an action will anticipate and want its other effects and will welcome any major effect he didn’t anticipate.
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In the case of GM alfalfa there’s no question that USDA and Monsanto had full prior knowledge of its extremely high rate of contamination. It’s a perennial pollinated by wide-ranging bees. So as soon as GM alfalfa is planted it’s off on an imperialistic campaign for the next 4-8 years. Indeed, the USDA was aware of contamination of alfalfa seed stocks just from GM field trials at least as early as 2005. There’s zero doubt that the rapid contamination was consciously anticipated.
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As for the contamination effect being desired, if the US government didn’t want to contaminate the entire alfalfa crop it would not have allowed and encouraged Monsanto to deploy the product. Some alternatives within the capitalist framework include the ante-biotech status quo, encouraging integrated weed management, government subsidies for hand-weeding labor instead of herbicide, encouraging greater organic production. Of course there’s a vastly better alternative to globalized corporate agriculture as such, but here I’m just sticking with options available to the USDA given its capitalist premises. The fact is that the government would not have set up the system the way it has in such a way as to maximize contamination, if it did not want to maximize this contamination.
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Monsanto’s own interest in total contamination is of course obvious and I assume uncontroversial. If Monsanto’s Roundup Ready gene can contaminate the rest of the alfalfa crop such as to render unattainable any of the benefits organic or non-GM conventional growers hope to gain – an organic premium, overseas markets for non-GM hay – then the company could expect farmers to take on the “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” mindset and just adopt the Roundup Ready system. There’s already ample precedent for this surrenderist attitude among farmers and academics. Monsanto often has explicitly stated its totalitarian goals.
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What about the USDA? In general, a corporate regulator is designed to second the goals and actions of the most powerful corporations. Monsanto, stupid and clumsy as it’s been in many other ways (public relations, farmer relations, attitude toward agronomy), has been particularly adept and aggressive at imposing its will on government and making regulators want to serve it. (This makes it particularly bizarre and counterproductive when people still look to regulatory agencies to put limits on corporate action and uphold any value other than corporate power. A coherent, disciplined, aggressive, ecological populist movement can sometimes pressure government agencies from outside, against their will, to do what it wants. But this is only because as a coherent cultural and political movement it possesses power, never because the regulator wants to do it or inherently feels like it should do it. On the other hand a mass of consumerist atoms, no matter how many of them come together for a superficial comment period or petition or gripefest, or for a one-off superficial political campaign, can never exert such pressure because they don’t constitute coherent, directed power. That’s part of why there’s zero chance of an FDA GMO labeling policy being anything other than a preemptive sham, and why it’s madness or treason for those who claim to oppose GMOs and pesticides to want such a thing.)
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More fundamentally for our kind of example, the ideology of regulators of agricultural poisons is based on the Poison Principle. This means that no matter what the problem, the only conceivable solution is poison, more poison is always better than less, poison doesn’t just solve problems but is actively good, all comparative study is to compare only poison with poison and never poison with an alternative to poison, and that the regulator’s job at all times is to maximize poison production, sales, and application. In Poison Spring E. Vallianatos describes working in the “Benefits and Use” division at the EPA, where these terms were religiously understood to mean “benefit” for the corporations and the biggest industrial farmers, and “use” of poisons (starting from production and marketing) always to be allowed, encouraged, and maximized. Vallianatos’s whole book is devoted to detailing the strategic and tactical execution of this ideology on the part of the EPA and the horrific real world results. He remarks that at its founding the EPA was staffed largely by former USDA cadres who imported the USDA’s poisoner ideology. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed is one of several excellent books describing the USDA’s extreme culture of poison-based and crackpot high-technology “solutions”.
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But for the supply-based corporate capitalism which is the fundamental paradigm of the globalization system, and therefore for the regulators, the problem is never anything more or less than the maximized production of the corporate product, and the solution is “finding” a market for this supply-driven production, through some combination of propaganda, incentives, public subsidies, threats, extortion, legal coercion, and violence. For example, the USDA offers special financial incentives to alfalfa growers who maximize their Roundup use, provides them with legal cover for transgenic trespass while stripping the victims of all legal protection, and threatens non-compliant alfalfa growers with GM contamination and economic extinction. This is because the USDA is suffused with the poisoner mindset and poisoner ideology. The USDA wants to maximize poison deployment. Therefore to the average USDA cadre, alfalfa with maximal roundup is better than with less or none. This is ideological and is prior to any mundane “corruption”, though there’s lots of this as well.
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For a more specific case, the USDA has always wanted GMOs to be part of the official organic certification. The agency included GMOs within its original proposed standards in the 1990s, and only a massive outcry from the farmers and consumers who were forcing the agency to adopt an organic standard in the first place forced it to back down on “GMO organic”. But to this day the USDA has never relinquished this wish. When it tries to define “new” kinds of GMOs such as those which have been “gene edited” as not being GMOs at all, this is primarily to excuse them from all regulatory oversight. (In itself this is a strong manifestation of the poisoner ideology. It’s rare to see a bureaucracy seeking so ardently to lessen its own power.) But it’s also toward the hope that CRISPR and other such GMOs will become certifiable as organic. (And also of exempting them from being subject to labeling if this ever were preemptively centralized under FDA control.)
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In the specific case of alfalfa, organic meat and dairy farmers are dependent upon a reliable supply of non-GM alfalfa for hay. If this supply became too unreliable or were completely eradicated, organic meat and dairy farming as we have it might become impossible. We already know that the USDA would like to force GMOs into the organic certification, and we already know that the USDA is aggressively pushing alfalfa GM contamination policy. It follows that a primary goal of the USDA, in addition to maximizing glyphosate use on alfalfa as such, is to disrupt permanently the supply of non-GM alfalfa in order to render the existing structure of organic meat and dairy impossible. At that point either consumers will have to submit to weakening the standards to allow GM feed for organic meat and dairy, or else we’ll have to give up organic meat and dairy completely. Since the “organic” brand is so important to so many, and since consumers have a history of pliability on such things, the most likely outcome is the submission and adaptation. Let’s recall how industrial agriculture flacks and government supporters used the occasion of the Steve Marsh lawsuit in Australia to argue for the weakening of Australian organic standards to allow more GM DNA presence. In a similar context, the general attitude toward the Syngenta/China flap wasn’t to criticize Syngenta’s lies or the commodity stream’s inefficiency and inflexibility, but rather to condemn the buyer for his preferences and call upon him to abandon those preferences. This is always the attitude of corporate fundamentalism. I haven’t yet seen such specific calls in the US as a result of the alfalfa contamination scandal, but if this call is not being made yet it soon will be.
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This outcome would further three primary components of USDA ideology, to serve the big corporation, to render agriculture more “hi-tech”, and to maximize poison deployment.
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Another basic measure of USDA ideology, intention, and desired goal is its fraudulent “coexistence” policy. The agency knows coexistence is impossible and is consciously lying. Its own Environmental Impact Statement on GM alfalfa (which the agency never wanted to perform in the first place but was forced upon it by a lawsuit) concedes the inevitability of full contamination and therefore the impossibility of coexistence. All the evidence before and since has confirmed the prognostication of the EIS. Also and to say again, the agency recommends that the law place the full legal and financial burden on the victim of transgenic trespass and vandalism. This is contrary to all common sense notions of law and is contrary even to most law as it still exists in the US. It’s a radical doctrine which clearly seeks to encourage and maximize the trespass and contamination and evinces a fundamental contempt for the target. It’s crystal clear that the USDA thinks non-GM alfalfa has no right to exist at all and that it should not exist. No one who didn’t think that way would ever have concocted such a policy, allowing the deployment of GM alfalfa, in the first place. In reality “coexistence” means incremental surrender of all non-GM agriculture to the total domination of GMOs, with the pace of erosion and surrender to be as fast as possible.
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Here again we see that the agency wants only to serve the big corporation, to render agriculture more fraudulently “hi-tech”, and to maximize poison deployment.
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As for Monsanto’s own attitude toward organic agriculture and food, it would probably like to see it cease to exist. But a gradual erosion of standards and expectations with an ever higher regulatory allowance for contamination and eventually formally allowing GMOs under the standard would also be a good outcome. But the existing organic system is odious to all agrochemical companies.

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January 25, 2016

Chipotle

Filed under: Food and Farms, Mainstream Media, Relocalization — Tags: , — Russ @ 10:41 am

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As Chipotle was blamed for E. coli outbreaks, the corporate media piled on, blaming the chain’s local produce sourcing. The Schadenfreude was palpable, against both the chain and its customers. Chipotle itself was spooked into a partial disavowal of its own proclaimed philosophy even though the evidence never supported the allegation that local sourcing had anything to do with the outbreak. It seems like Chipotle panicked and rushed to appease the mob.
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Some analysts agreed:
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Ultimately, though, Chipotle will need to step back from its ‘food with integrity’ corporate ethos and become a more traditional fast/casual chain. Foods, including all produce (not just tomatoes), spices, and meats, will need to be centrally sourced and prepared to realize the economies of scale that are necessary to profitably integrate costly periodic food testing…

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There was little room for facts or thought amid the media firestorm. While there is at least a correlation between Chipotle and the E. coli outbreaks, by all accounts it was simply a lie to blame the local sourcing model.
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In December the Centers for Disease Control stated, “The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak.” This would rule out the locally sourced produce the corporate media gleefully rushed to finger as the culprit. This witch hunt atmosphere provided the background for the New York Times’s recent slander of farmers’ markets. There’s clearly no end to the junk reasoning and innuendo the pro-poison media will propagate as their cancer-causing system comes under increasing scrutiny. And, I feel safe assuming, no retractions from media or “experts”.
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Therefore the CDC itself vouches for the fact that the source had to be part of the chain’s centralized distribution, unless it was a bioterrorist attack using similar pathogens at several locations at once. (I haven’t heard of any special evidence for this latter thesis, though the record of the pro-GM activists is vile enough that we know they’re capable of it. Given their outpourings of hatred for Chipotle since it announced it was going partially non-GMO, the possibility can’t be rejected out of hand. The only thing we know for sure is that locally sourced ingredients weren’t to blame.)
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If Chipotle has been the source of these outbreaks, the vector was central sourcing, the same centralizing scourge of the whole corporate industrial food system. Therefore, far from these events being a reason for Chipotle to retreat from its identity, this is the time for it to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment. Many commentators and analysts agree.
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Fast food is a toxic and unsustainable model across the board, and no one should romanticize Chipotle. Nevertheless, given our dawning situation where in so many ways so many growers, suppliers, processors, and consumers are trying to find their way toward less poisoned, better quality, more relocalized food, Chipotle’s partial efforts on local sourcing and purging some GMO ingredients are steps in the right direction. It’s best to purge fast food and industrial food completely, and once we do this we can wash our hands completely of these kinds of squabbles among the system. In the meantime it’s best to be aware of the lies and give moral support to those who are on the vector.
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While Chipotle may be suffering from weaknesses inherent to the very model of centralization the analyst quoted above touts, we need to stick up for local food and encourage local sourcing on the part of bigger operations. Like I detailed above, the same media lie we see here also strikes much deeper at our farmers’ markets and our generally growing direct retail community food sector. So I’m writing this post not for Chipotle’s sake, but for the sake of the local sourcing model, which the corporate media rightly sees as an enemy of the centralized poison-based agriculture and food system it worships.

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The Most Astonishing Event in Human History

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Is the way modern civilization convinced itself that poison isn’t poisonous.
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Now we’re reaping the fruits, and the results will be vastly more lethal even than climate change.

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January 24, 2016

Three Good Actions and No Evil Actions

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A basic watchword for director Howard Hawks was that “A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes.” It strikes me that this is a reasonable expectation for those who claim to want what’s good for people and the environment. How about we phrase it, Three good actions and no evil actions.
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This is a supplement to my earlier post about what’s necessary and what’s insufficient. Unfortunately there will be the need for many reprises. To repeat the basic fact:
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There is one way and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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There is no argument which can be made against this fact, and anyone who tries to say it’s wrong or ‘complicated or that there’s some kind of workaround or shortcut or magic bullet is a fool or a liar.
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To call for the insufficient is always pointless and stupid and abets evil. Usually it’s actively evil, since it’s usually in order to shout down the call for what is necessary, as is the case with the pro-nuke liars and shills among false “climate change activists”, including former standout climate change activist James Hansen. As much as I appreciate Hansen’s years of work publicizing the climate change evidence and his civil disobedience against Keystone and elsewhere, this cannot justify an overtly evil action like shilling for nukes, any more than the alleged environmentalist history of Patrick Moore or Mark Lynas, if this history in fact existed, would justify or mitigate their current crimes.
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It’s clear that this is no passing lapse on Hansen’s part. He’s not someone who mentioned nukes in passing a few times as possibly part of the mix, though that too would be discreditable. No, he’s a systematic, aggressive, belligerent propagandist for the nuclear cartel, and therefore among the second type of climate change deniers, those who claim to care about climate change but really use it to shill for some kind of corporate welfare scam. Hansen was furious about the COP21 outcome, denouncing it as “a fraud” and “bullshit”. But contrary to what one might think, his anger wasn’t because the agreement was a complete fraud. No, he objected only because it included no “incentives” (i.e. new government subsidies) for nuclear reactors. I stress new subsidies since nuclear power, just like industrial agriculture, has always been 100% dependent upon corporate welfare, without which it would cease to function immediately.
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See the COP21 press release of the four “climate scientists” turned science deniers where it comes to the facts about the nuclear industry. This communication is quite peculiar in that it reads as a pro-nuke manifesto which mentions climate mitigation as an alleged fringe benefit, rather than a climate action manifesto which mentions nukes as an alleged potential part of mitigation. The emphasis is telling. (Of course, any Western establishment figure jaunting off to a secretive globalization cabal meeting like the COP21 to participate as an insider “stakeholder” or “expert” should be regarded with the highest suspicion. No chance of their kind standing outside with the real people who are forcibly excluded, like Southern indigenous and civil society representatives. For a true conference of the true people, see here.)
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Indeed, we see from nuke apologists like these the same types of vileness as from other corporate hacks. In this case we have lies about nuclear energy displacing fossil fueled generation, the fraudulent framing of options as being between fossil fuels or nuclear (where it comes to agriculture and food the false comparison is always industrial with industrial, monoculture with monoculture, poison with poison, never industrial vs agroecological, never poison vs. healthy), the standard fantasies about thorium reactors, and many others. We’ve all heard this form of corporate sloganeering before: “Safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power”. Just like for “clean coal”, fracking, “climate-smart agriculture”, and the similar slogans propagated by similar climate denialists. How about this from Hansen-Streicher on the absolutely intractable crisis of nuclear reactor toxic waste: “Nuclear waste: it is not waste, it is fuel for 4th generation reactors!” The ExxonMobil and Monsanto flacks are jealous of that one. Most despicably of all, Hansen spits on the dead of Chernobyl and those already dead or who will die from Fukushima.
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The industries that commit mass murder are the same who ravage the Earth including driving the global climate to insanity. The deniers and liars for the murders are the deniers and liars for the ecological ravage, no matter what front they put up. Anyone who doesn’t get by now that these are all peas in a pod and that the one and only climate solution is to greatly cut emissions, stop destroying sinks, rebuild sinks, those and nothing but those, is beyond help.
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Indeed, some of these shills seem to be fundamentally ignorant about even the basics of today’s nuclear deployment and the physical possibilities for its continuation and expansion. Needless to say, only an idiot thinks expanded nuclear energy could replace fossil fueled electricity generation instead of just adding to the consumption maw. That’s like believing corporations could ever want to “feed the world” even if it were economically possible for them to do so, which it’s not. The kind of person who wants to build more nuclear reactors is never the kind of person who actually wants to reduce GHG emissions and therefore energy consumption. It’s always the kind of person who wants for everything cancerously to “grow” forever. (“Growth” as the Western ideology envisions it is directly analogous to cancer in every way, from the brainless proliferation to the inevitable death.) It’s the kind of person who is cancer incarnate. I don’t know if Hansen is actually such a person – he didn’t previously seem to be so – or whether in his old age, worn down by all the struggles, he’s weakened and let himself be co-opted by the cancer people. Either way he now speaks for evil every time he says a word about nukes.
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Why do they feel the need to be nuke shills, even though this contradicts everything else they say about human health, GHGs, and environmental destruction? There’s always corruption. I don’t know if these “climate scientists” are getting nuke money the same way other scientists get money from Big Oil or Big Coal or the fracking industry, but the result is the same. Then perhaps there’s the crackpot notion which I often see phrased as “you can’t oppose everything”. I guess the idea’s supposed to be that you can oppose the US government’s wars in Iraq and Libya but not in Afghanistan, or something like that. It makes no sense to me, but that’s the logic. The moment one embraces this lie, or joins with it deliberately, one abdicates the entire cause and betrays it in principle.
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I’d say what has to be opposed is what needs to be opposed, whatever its extent. But in fact where it comes to climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (these are one whole and cannot be separated – whatever poisons also causes climate change, and whatever causes climate change also poisons) it’s not necessary to oppose “everything”, as there are superb alternatives available, starting with agroecology and decentralized renewable energy. When privileged system cadres and those who are still part of the shrinking Western middle class say they can’t oppose everything, they mean that they accept the Big Lie that their own extremely high-footprint lifestyles are sustainable in a way compatible with averting the worst of climate change and the rest of ecological destruction. In other words, in the end they join hands with the most unreconstructed Republican-type de jure deniers in believing the extremely destructive, privileged, expensive yet extremely cheap and shoddy Western “way of life is non-negotiable”, indeed is morally defensible, and propagate their lies accordingly. Ergo Hansen’s Patrick Moore-like lies and smears attacking environmental groups. Cowardly bullying shills are the same no matter which climate crime they’re shilling for.
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In the end we have the same old phony difference like the one between conservatives and liberals. Both commit and support the same crimes, but the latter are more likely to cry crocodile tears over it. Thus our liberal deniers will pretend to care about climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (once more, these are one whole and cannot be separated*) and even reject some sources of it, especially coal. (But many will temporize even there – “clean coal” and similar scams.) But they’ll then flip completely and support other vectors of destruction, such as nukes or corporate agriculture, where the latter are bolstered by the appropriate lies told to the ignorant.
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[*Nor can socioeconomic justice be separated from environmental redemption. All social injustice goes with ecological destruction, and all ecological destruction is accompanied by socioeconomic crimes. Environmental domination always goes with social domination, and often the former has the latter as one of its main purposes. The attitude of “man against nature” always goes hand in hand with man against man.]
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The same goes for traitor organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy which support corporate crimes and ecological devastation around the world. They do this not because they sincerely believe this is the best environmental outcome which can be attained. They do it because at best they want some environmental amelioration but only within the framework of continued corporate domination, which they assume also ensures their own luxurious circumstances. I say “at best”, though no doubt many of them are nothing but mercenary frauds who care zero about the Earth.
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All of these kinds of shills are part of what I’ve often described in these pages (most recently here), the template of “regulation” within the framework of corporate rule. Its steps:
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1. Corporate rule and the projects of corporations are normative and must go forward under all circumstances.
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2. A regulator, NGO, etc. may choose to try to ameliorate the worst “abuses”, or may just pretend to do so, or may actively assist the corporation’s worst crimes. Whatever it does, under no circumstances may it ever significantly hinder the corporate imperative.
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3. The regulator/NGO/celebrity type then goes forth, puts its seal of approval on the fraudulently “regulation”, “agreement” or whatever, laundering the fraud and the crime, and tells the people to stand down and go to sleep. It tells the people they can sleep easy knowing the “professionals” are in charge. Where necessary it snarls at them to STFU and stop questioning their betters.
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Do we the people really want to avert the worst of climate change and the rest of environmental destruction? Then we need a radically different template, one whose first principle is the opposite of the corporate template and whose second follows from it.
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1. Ending environmental destruction and building an ecological mindset and society is necessary and normative and must go forward no matter what.
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2. Given this framework, where it’s necessary we may take small steps, but each step must be along the vector toward the ecological and/or abolition goals. Under no circumstances can a retrograde step, a step which hinders progress along this vector, be practical or acceptable. So the one and only measure of the expedience of an action is whether or not it’s along the right vector.
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As a movement rises committed to this ecological principle and this strategic and tactical principle, its actions will speak for themselves and will need no fraudulent seals of approval.
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I’m sick of the seemingly omnipresent and infinite corruption of this Sodom and Gomorrah. In this City of Destruction all we see are the destroyers and the willingly self-destroyed. I’m not looking for the perfect in anyone, just a few good actions and no evil actions. So far that seems like too much to ask, and it’s definitely far too much to ask of anyone who’s part of the corporate system.
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Therefore the new ecological movement through which humanity and the Earth must come together to germinate and push up toward the sun must come from completely outside this system – outside its institutions and most of all outside its ideas. The system’s institutions and ideas are all modes and vectors of cancer, and it’s no accident that figurative cancer also kicks us in the gut most literally with a growing epidemic of physical cancer, the vast majority of it caused by agricultural and industrial poisons. There can be no safety there and no recourse. “Pick your poison” in the most literal sense, where that’s the best the likes of James Hansen and the WWF can come up with, is at best a confession of complete bankruptcy, exhaustion, and surrender. This is no direction to keep heading.
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There’s one way and only one way to honestly and constructively face up to climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks. This is congruent with abolishing all anti-ecological poisons, the only way to face up to all forms of ecological destruction and the only way for humanity to feed itself going forward. These are the only possible goals, since all other paths lead to the same death. The only possible goals then dictate the only possible actions.
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We have everything we need for the affirmative work. The ideas are fully developed, the science is fully proven, the practices are fully demonstrated and ready for global deployment. The new movement needs no special technology or nonrenewable resources or concentrated wealth or power to fully flourish and let humanity lead itself to health, vigor, prosperity, and fulfillment. It needs nothing but for the cancerous institutions, ideology, and practices to be abolished. These must in the end perish anyway, and Earth will heal itself and continue. The only question is whether humanity will assert itself in time with the necessary transformative actions. I know we can, and I write in the expectation that we will.
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January 23, 2016

Monsanto Seed Report

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Here’s a Monsanto seed mini-report. I looked at five Monsanto companies: Lewis Hybrids, Kruger Seeds, Specialty Hybrids, Stewart Seeds, Stone Seed. The websites are now completely standardized.
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The results were pretty much the same for all five, and similar to 2014 and 2015. Each has an information page about Roundup Ready Xtend soybeans (glyphosate and dicamba-tolerant) but says those aren’t yet available pending further regulatory approval. But they’re expected to become available for 2016. For maize, SmartStax (eight transgenes, six expressing eight Bt poisons plus Roundup Ready and the pat glufosinate-tolerance trait – that’s ten GMO-affiliated poisons total loading up your corn, plus neonics, atrazine, fungicides, sprayed insecticides, god knows what else) has the most varieties followed by DoublePro (Roundup Ready plus two anti-borer Bt toxins), with four of the five sellers having considerably fewer TriplePro (same as DoublePro plus an anti-rootworm toxin). Makes sense. If you’re going to take on rootworm “insurance”, as farmers often convince themselves to see it, might as well go for SmartStax which has Dow’s Cry34/35AB1, the only rootworm toxin which was still working semi-reliably last I heard. All DroughtGard varieties are DoublePro. The number available ranged from one to five. Each had a handful of Roundup Ready 2 (RR2) corn varieties. Available non-GM conventional ranged from zero to three varieties. All soybeans are Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y) except for two sellers who carried one conventional variety each.
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January 22, 2016

GMO News Summary, January 22nd, 2016

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*Now here’s fighters, resolute in Argentina against massive strength and great pressure. They’re not only brave, but patient. They’re in it for the long haul. We need to find that spirit in the West.
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These are regular citizens driven to direct action by the poison assault upon themselves and their children and the complicity of “the authorities”. They accept what’s necessary, and then they take whatever action they can to try to accomplish it. And look what’s possible once regular people decide to do that – they’ve held up Monsanto’s poison factory for over two years now.
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The people of the Argentine soy poison zone also have the support of networks of public health-oriented doctors and scientists.
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*Yet another good piece on the “new” kinds of GMOs which emphasizes how, if industry and pro-GM regulators like the EFSA, USDA, and FDA have their way, these GMOs won’t be considered GMOs at all for regulatory purposes. That will include their being exempted from labeling requirements, “mandatory” or otherwise. This is one of several main points ignored by the short-sighted celebrations of the Campbell’s announcement. A big part of the reason Mark Lynas and Campbell’s feel the time is right for a “mandatory” labeling policy is that GMOs are a moving target which, they hope, will already have moved beyond all labeling purview by the time such a policy was enacted. That’s a basic part of the scam being prepared for DARK Act Plan B.
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Here’s another piece making the same point.
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*Great to see some people still care about the state-level movement and want to improve it. Namely, real labeling advocates in Maine want to get rid of the “trigger” provision which renders the laws of Maine and Connecticut to be just for show. As they exist, these labeling laws won’t go into effect until several other states enact similar laws. In Maine’s case, the law specifically requires that New Hampshire also pass such a law. But a few years ago the “live free” types decided they’d rather die.
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But there’s resistance, including from impostors within the movement: “Still others on both sides have said the state should wait to see what federal lawmakers do with the issue, since industry-supported legislation that is pending U.S. Senate approval would pre-empt any state labeling requirements.”
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So-called “both sides”. How could one meaningfully be for labeling but counsel delay until federal preemption supervenes? No, that’s a liar who’s against real labeling. Just like the two kinds of climate change deniers, those who directly deny and those who pay lip service but who at every point are against meaningful action.
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*Yet another study finds that glyphosate causes prenatal brain damage. This is the latest evidence adding to what’s already proven beyond any reasonable doubt, that glyphosate causes birth defects.
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We have vastly more than enough evidence. By now continuing to call for “more testing” is nothing but procrastination and broadcasts a lack of self-confidence. Glyphosate must be banned completely. It must be abolished once and for all. Abolitionists must use the overwhelming evidence more effectively and aggressively. I recommend focusing on cancer and birth defects as the general message, reserving the many other kinds of glyphosate-inflicted violence to health for particular contexts.
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*Just when it looked like Kenya was cracking, the National Biosafety Authority abruptly called off its press conference where it was expected to announce its approval for the Bt maize product MON810. This is an already failed product which would only aggravate Kenya’s food insecurity while opening the door to corporate control of Kenyan agriculture on a commodity export basis. Every step of the way for the global South, GMOs = colonization. The cancellation came amid rumors of internal government disputes.
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*Syngenta continues to obstruct and delay in the big wave of lawsuits over losses to US corn growers and traders when China rejected several corn shipments because they were contaminated with the unapproved GM variety Viptera, aka MIR162. Now it’s challenging the selection of “bellwether” suits for inaugural litigation.
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In a statement about the lawsuits Syngenta claims it “obtained import approval from major corn importing companies” prior to marketing Viptera, which is self-evidently a lie. China is a major corn importer, and the company didn’t procure Viptera approval there until December 2014. (Not 2013 like the piece says.)
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The piece feels the need to throw in a standard lie that Bt toxins are “harmless to humans.” How do these lawyers know that? What evidence convinced them of it? The fact is that, like every other interest group, they know literally zero about the health effects and are simply brain-dead authoritarians regurgitating what government and industry-paid publicists told them. That’s what this society has come to.
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*The EU health commissioner admits in a letter to Testbiotech and UK GeneWatch that by law the EFSA is required to assess the combined effects of multiple pesticides used on agricultural products and has been breaking the law in not doing so. This guy specializes in lame excuses. In this case, “yes, EFSA is required by law to do this, but they don’t know how!” Of course anyone could write down an experimental design in five minutes. Cost should not be an object since the corporate applicant(s) should pay for testing but have no control over it. The corporate state just doesn’t want to do it, which is strict proof in itself that they know the results would be bad for their product. In this case, the products involved are soybeans engineered to be tolerant of glyphosate plus dicamba (Monsanto) or isoxaflutole (Bayer).
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Not that I’m calling for this testing. We already know each herbicide in itself causes cancer, birth defects, and many other health harms, which is more than enough to ban it. The combined effects could only be worse. We have all the evidence we need and more, now it’s time to use it effectively in a disciplined, relentless way in order to propagate the abolition idea and build momentum toward the abolition reality.
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*Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of Bihar state in India objected to attempts by Delhi University to illegally propagate Bt mustard seed within the state. The university has used public money to develop and field test this product on behalf of the industry. Now, even though the GM product has not been approved and its application is under challenge (and even its continued funding is in question), the university is trying to go ahead with the project of increasing the seeds. As Kumar points out, “It appears that when the interested parties have failed to win the confidence of the farmers of the country, they are pushing the technology through public institutions.” As always, GMOs are 100% dependent on government subsidies and monopoly muscle. Bihar is one of the states which have refused to allow field trials, citing the likelihood of bad ecological, economic, and human health effects.
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This is not the kind of mustard seed which, starting out “less than all the seeds that be in the earth”, grows up and becomes great. On the contrary, starting with infinite hubris and arrogance matched only by ignorance, it shall fail to fruit but instead wither and die.
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*Peculiar piece of news from Europe. Monsanto has withdrawn all its EU import registrations containing its “event” MON863. This is the original anti-rootworm type producing the Bt toxin Cry3Bb1, to which rootworms started becoming resistant years ago. (To this day Monsanto still offers only the failing Cry3Bb1 from its own roster, and relies on Dow’s Cry34/35AB1, also facing increasing resistance, for whatever effect SmartStax still has on rootworms. This is probably part of why the TriplePro product, which offers only Cry3Bb1 vs. rootworm, isn’t very popular judging by the relatively meager offerings in the seed catalogs.) MON863 was part of four GMOs which were authorized for import in food and feed. Monsanto says the MON863 seed has not been produced or sold since 2011. But it still turns up contaminating seed and feed, as recently as 2014 and 2015. Most likely this is because of transgenic contamination, though it could be that some unused seed is still floating around. It’s unlikely that anyone’s illicitly saving and replanting it since all such varieties are hybrids unreliable for seed saving.
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It’s unclear why they’re given up on the MON863 “event” as being obsolete. They may not want to bother with any further registration fees and paperwork maintenance. MON863 may soon be up for becoming an “orphan” GMO no one cares to maintain legally any longer, at least not under the current regulatory framework. The first such case was the original Roundup Ready soybeans.
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*Under pressure from No Patents on Seeds and Navdanya, the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked a patent it awarded Monsanto for a virus-resistant melon which the company did not in fact breed, but simply stole from India. Throughout its GMO and seed-selling history Monsanto has done almost no work and made no discoveries, but simply stole or bought everything it has. I’ll soon dedicate a post to this history.
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*A new study further documents the already rampant spread of feral Roundup Ready canola. The Australian study tries to downplay the significance of the trend by claiming that the contamination, while common, doesn’t become severe. Indeed, the record so far seems to be that it easily becomes a tenacious nuisance but doesn’t proliferate explosively. But as usual, they have zero idea what that’ll mean over the long run, and GM canola is the GMO already proven to have contaminated wild relatives in the US, Canada, and elsewhere. This contamination of other canola and wild relatives may bring along whatever mutations are contained in the Roundup Ready genomes. As always the point is they have absolutely no idea what the effects may be. And even if feral GM canola turns out to be a relatively lesser problem (not saying much, given the magnitude of all these poison-driven crises), that means nothing for what effect other kinds of contamination may have. But a piece like this is meant to allay concerns about contamination as such, not just about canola.
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Feral GM canola is most directly a threat to organic canola, which has been rendered largely impossible in Canada. The article on the Australian study omits this matter by design. The there’s the likelihood of contamination of other brassica crops. GM contamination has jumped from Brassica napus (canola) to wild B. rapa, which is the same species as turnips, bok choy, other Asian greens. That means it could contaminate those as well, and probably other brassica species.
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*The GMOs of Iran. Piece from July says rice is grown commercially for direct food, and that the agricultural ministry approves imports of GM maize, soybeans, and canola, in spite of having no clear authority to do so. The report says the government is divided on the subject while the public is largely unaware.
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*Hype about using genetic engineering techniques to help conserve endangered species is typical greenwashing. It’s of the same junk science genre as the fraudulent ideological application of “island biogeography” where it can’t legitimately be applied. That’s a favorite scam of corporate “environmental” front groups like the WWF and TNC. The trouble with the concept is that an island is an island, but a piece of rainforest surrounded by soybean plantations where the rest of the forest used to be is not an island, but a mangled fragment. A chopped off hand does not then act like a starfish. Once again we see reductive, mechanistic junk science in action. The only real environmentalism and conservation is to abolish the entire war-on-nature mentality and practice and replace it with ecological civilization.
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This is also a scam in that they have no intention of really saving endangered species this way. They’re just floating the idea of it, for propaganda and to reap some funding. Longer-term, this is practice for eventual commercial use. It’s toward animal eugenics for the factory farm system and for designer pets for the rich. Just like human genetic experimentation is toward “designer babies” and eventually a more comprehensive eugenics program. More on this to come.
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*Mercola exposes typical corruption. WebMD is doing the infomercial-which-looks-like-article thing. Of course these days corporate media leaders like the New York Times and Washington Post often don’t even bother with that subterfuge, but present the infomercial as a de jure article or news broadcast.
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There’s a legislative move in Oregon to repeal parts of the corporate-dictated “Bill 863” which was passed in 2013 in an anti-democratic “emergency session”, similar to the “fast-track” Obama’s demanding for the TPP and TTIP globalization pacts. Such tyrannical stampedes are necessary for the kinds of legislative proposals which could never survive if subject to democracy’s review. That’s why the enemies of the people tried to use chicanery to pass the DARK Act late in 2015. We can expect something similar for subsequent attempts.
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Bill 863 was pushed by a panicked corporate-controlled state legislature in response to the wave of county-level initiatives banning GMOs and/or some pesticide uses and promoting regional food sovereignty. The bill seeks to crush the democratic anti-poison movement in Oregon through preemption, one of the most vile kinds of anti-democracy legislative procedures. We can expect to see more such vileness as the push for FDA preemption of the true labeling democracy movement gathers support. The new proposal would restore democracy and rationally located food and agriculture policy.
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Preemption is always Monsanto’s game.
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January 21, 2016

The Role of the Gates Foundation

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A new report, Gated Development from Global Justice Now, describes the role of the Gates Foundation as providing fraudulent “philanthropic” propaganda cover for what’s really nothing but brutal corporate colonialism. I’ll add that this colonialism is also a testing ground for other totalitarian assaults. This piece is just an introduction.
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In spite of its “humanitarian” lies (which are always embellished with Randroid spin that all good things can come only from total corporate control), the Gates Foundation really stands for three extremely anti-human things:
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1. Total corporate control of agriculture and food on a monoculture commodity export basis. For decades this has been proven to do nothing but increase hunger, famine, and disease. The Gates Foundation is an extreme activist on behalf of globalization export agriculture and seeks systematically to eradicate African food production, and therefore to maximize food insecurity, hunger, and famine. According to official globalization propaganda the country that eradicates food production in favor of commodity export is supposed to import food. (From where, once everyone’s all in on Roundup Ready soybeans and Bt corn and cotton, as the logic of the system demands? From Mars, I guess.) But this was proven not to work decades ago, and therefore has been a conscious, criminal lie for decades. Bill Gates is a Nuremburg-level criminal liar. As are all propagators of the “Feed the World” Big Lie.
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2. The childish infatuation with the idea of alleged “hi-tech” for its own sake. I stress, it’s just the idea of GMOs that the techno-cultists worship. The fact that in reality GMOs are wrongly conceived, incompetently designed, shoddy, failure-prone, and 100% dependent on corporate welfare and brute force to keep them in the field doesn’t matter to the cultists. Nor that so-called “hi tech” GMOs are just supplementary products to help force the purchase and slathering of the retrograde, luddite technology of pesticides, and that in fact the entire GMO complex is a backward, luddite technological system. Reality doesn’t matter to cult fundamentalists, only their cult articles of faith.
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3. The long run goal of totalitarian technocratic control, supported by a mass eugenics program based on genetic engineering and the mass coerced genetic and hormonal control programs forced by application of environmental poisons. This is where the corporate and cultist agendas fully mesh. For the corporations, the eugenics program is intended to increase their power. For the cultists, the purpose of corporate rule is to aggrandize the eugenics program for its own sake, as well as increasing the power of engineers.
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The current uncontrolled onslaught of agricultural poisons and agricultural genetic engineering is driven not just by profiteering and the social and political control it generates for the corporate state. It’s also a stalking horse for animal and human eugenics, and a so far uncontrolled experiment in the effects of a massive application of environmental poisons upon human genetics, hormones, neurobiology, and general health. Especially cancer, since establishment science and the corporate state view cancer as a very promising phenomenon which they want to learn how to control. That’s why they’re intentionally, systematically inflicting massive doses of known cancer-causing poisons upon the people. It’s literally a massive, albeit uncontrolled, cancer experiment. This is not rhetoric, but the only conclusion which rationally can follow from the evidence. What other conclusion is possible? No sane, humanly decent person could be in any doubt about the physical savagery of industrial poisons, or have any thought other than to abolish them and production systems based upon them (which are always less efficient and less productive than ecological systems). So when we contemplate those who want to continue with poison-based agriculture and other poison onslaughts, the Poisoners, we can have recourse only to explanations which involve insanity and extremes of evil such as history has seldom equaled and never exceeded.
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Today the Gates Foundation is the primary propaganda coordinator on behalf of these three ideological and anti-political assaults. It’s the main coordinator among the various branches of the corporate state – the US and UK governments, the Big Ag corporations, the G8, the universities, the corporate media, and various system NGOs. The new report describes many of these coordination activities, and how they all add up to a comprehensive front of lies and policy aggression. I’ll be writing more on this.
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