Volatility

January 15, 2016

GMO News Summary January 15th, 2016

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*Soon, maybe next week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will hold his secret conference of “stakeholders” to hammer out a plan to prevent Vermont’s GMO labeling law from going into effect in July and destroy the labeling democracy movement (the state-level movement) once and for all. Campbell’s timed its public call for FDA “mandatory” labeling in order to coincide with the Vilsack conference and push this proposal as a major subject at the conference. It’s peculiar how many people purport to stick up for Vermont at the same time they’re saying “Go Campbell’s!”
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Meanwhile Mark Lynas says the Campbell’s plan is a great thing. NOW we know it’s anti-GMO!

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Lynas’ position on labeling has been clear for a long time. He thinks Dark Act Plan A won’t work and is bad politics, but that a weak and fraudulent, but “mandatory”, FDA policy which preempts real labeling at the state level (DARK Act Plan B) would not only destroy the labeling movement but destroy the rising trend of advocacy beyond labeling toward outright bans. He thinks this will help normalize and maximize GMOs in our food. Campbell’s is the first big industry “stakeholder” to agree completely with this position in public. There is a perfect consensus among establishment types – politicians, industry, insider NGOs. Wherever else they may sometimes disagree, they’re all firm that the #1 purpose of any federal standard is to preempt the labeling democracy movement and forestall the abolition movement.
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*Word is there’s worry within the EFSA about how they’re squandering what little credibility they have left faster than a Roundup Ready pigweed grows. Meanwhile EC’s health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis replied to 96 scientists who sent him an Open Letter demolishing the lies of the BfR and EFSA and calling upon him to support the IARC and uphold the science. Andriukaitis begged off in a shame-faced way, claiming he has no legal authority to reject the EFSA dictate. Meanwhile EFSA chief Bernhard Url continues with his exercises in public buffoonery. He keeps admitting that the IARC assessed glyphosate formulations which are actually used in the real world while the EFSA assessed only fantasyland pure glyphosate which is never used. Yet he’s so stupid he continues to think this is a good point for his EFSA, rather than absolutely shattering for its credibility.
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*At a workshop held at the University of Agricultural Sciences at Raichur in India’s Karnataka state, government and university officials joined farmer representatives in condemning the “Green Revolution” and its technology focus for economically ruining vast numbers of farmers and rendering farming the extremely precarious profession it has become in India. Well over 300,000 farmer suicides can attest to that. Destroying farmers and driving millions off the land was always one of the core goals of the Green Revolution and remains so today.
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*The record of Bt cotton remains perfect. Except where bolstered with massively subsidized inputs (and even then often just for a little while), the crop never performs well and quickly fails. Today Pakistan is hitting rock bottom as the world’s fourth largest cotton producer is suffering a 22% yield collapse and having to resort to importation for basic cotton needs. According to the USDA 95% of Pakistan’s cotton crop is GM. The industry’s own International Cotton Advisory Committee tells the story: “…adverse weather [i.e. climate chaos inducing drought], increased pest pressure from whitefly and pink bollworm [both secondary and target pests enjoying the feast], and the high cost of inputs discouraging farmers from better crop management.”
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Yes, with GM cotton especially the costs of inputs are indeed extremely high. But that’s a peculiar variation on farmer scapegoating – high input cost is what’s causing their “poor management”? But if your technology is too expensive for those to whom you make such a hard-sell marketing pitch, isn’t that the fault of yourselves and your technology, not the buyer who’s financially unable to use it? Indeed I’d call that consumer fraud myself. A massive, Nuremburg-level case of it.
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*Armed with an eviction order procured from a corporate-friendly judge, Monsanto is trying to drive off the Malvinas community camp blockading the company’s attempt to build a chemical seed factory. If built this factory would spew vast clouds of toxic fumes and leave regular spills of the neonics, fungicides, and the many other poisons it would be applying as seed coatings. This would add to the already devastating poison burden the people of the soy zone must endure every day. Citizen groups are rallying to the support of the people of Malvinas.
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As the people of Argentina continue their growing fight to take back their country from the tyranny of agribusiness, the poison industry has a friend in the new president: “President Mauricio Macri has also shown his support for big agribusiness in his first month in office. In a move he promoted as a boost to agricultural production, Macri scrapped export taxes on big agricultural corporations producing corn, wheat, and beef, and lowered taxes on soybeans.”
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This contradicts what has always been the number one argument offered in favor of the Argentine “soy republic” and other branches of agribiz, that these commodity export taxes are the basis of Argentina’s allegedly vibrant economy, playing the same role as oil does for Saudi Arabia. I.e., Argentina is the equivalent of a petro-state. Indeed, since industrial agriculture is 100% dependent on cheap fossil fuels, we can call Argentina a meta-petro-state, essentially reselling oil in a rudimentary value-added form. Now they’re admitting that the alleged economic need for all this was always a lie.
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*Here’s a state of the union for Bt toxins, and things are looking quite nullific. In Brazil Cry1AB (MON810) and Cry1F (1507) are both failing against the target armyworm. A new study is unable to conclude whether the longstanding trend of resistance to Cry1F is now becoming cross-resistance to Cry1AB, or whether the resistance to Cry1AB is evolving on its own. Whatever, the researchers who just proved failure recommend more failure: The poisons should simply be stacked ever higher. The cool-sounding term for this is the “pyramid” strategy. They don’t tell you that the pyramid is constructed upside-down, and is just as structurally stable as you’d expect. Doug Gurian-Sherman explains why stacks are already failing and why cross-resistance is likely to become more prevalent. He also explains why RNAi insecticidal GMOs are likely to fail for the same reasons. Just like herbicide tolerant GMOs, insecticidal GMOs are a failed product genre. Reality has completely refuted them. Only cartel monopoly and government power keep them in existence at all.
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*As if Bt cotton doesn’t have enough problems with its inherent shoddiness and great vulnerability to anything less than maximum irrigation (Australian cotton has been a victim of climate chaos drought in recent years), in Australia it’s also being destroyed by 2,4-D drift. 2,4-D and dicamba are among the most highly volatile and drift-prone herbicides, causing massive damage to wild plants and other crops every year. If Dow and Monsanto are able to go through with their plan to commercialize on a mass scale GMOs tolerant of 2,4-D (Dow) and dicamba (Monsanto), the collateral destruction will surge exponentially. This is one of several reasons we must find a way to stop this deployment before it really gets rolling. Of course the EPA and USDA ardently back this great escalation of the Poison War.
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In the piece linked, note the notion “incorrect spraying”. This is false – 2,4-D drifts unpredictably, often for great distances, even when the user adheres to the label directions with the utmost vigilance. That’s part of why drift and superweeds/bugs are allowed to be acknowledged in the mainstream media. The farmer’s alleged “incorrect use” or “overuse” is always scapegoated. (I also noted above the Pakistan industry group’s absurd attempt to blame the farmers.) The other reason is that the proposed answer is always escalated poison technology. Drift is the problem? Dow’s patented formula is non-drift. Roundup Ready superweeds? The answer is Agent Orange crops. Superbugs? As the researchers I mentioned above recommended, stack more Bt toxins, and then it’ll be gene silencing to the rescue.
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*A judge issued a $53.5 million judgement against GM tree company ArborGen and its corporate parents International Paper, MeadWestvaco (now WestRock) and New Zealand-based Rubicon for defrauding ten “employees”. The plaintiffs, judged to have been defrauded out of their equity position, are evidently the genetic engineers themselves:
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While working for ArborGen, Plaintiffs were productive. It is undisputed that, as one
former ArborGen officer testified at trial, Plaintiffs were “good employees” when they worked for
ArborGen. TT 224:1-7 (Mann). ArborGen’s Chief Technology Officer Maud Hinchee testified by
way of her deposition that the secunded employees, particularly the senior scientists including
Plaintiff Shujun Chang, were instrumental in making ArborGen successful by generating
intellectual property and technology when ArborGen was starting out. SeePX 530 (Hinchee Depo.
25:2-11). Indeed, several Plaintiffs made key contributions to the intellectual property of
ArborGen that helped ArborGen’s value grow over time. See, e.g., PX 487 & 489 (relating to
somatic embryogenesis patents generated for ArborGen by Plaintiffs Nehra, Clark and Stout). Dr.
Nehra testified that the number of patents held by ArborGen that had been originated by its
scientists probably numbered in the hundreds. 1-1 471:17-22 (Nehra). Mr. Clark testified he alone
has 10 patent applications from his tenure at ArborGen. TT 1226:14-18 (Clark).

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I’m not sure who I would’ve preferred to see lose the case. That the corporation defrauded the engineers is certainly poetic justice and an occasion for schadenfreude. In researching my TTIP posts I noted that, according to the BIO’s submitted comments, they’re hoping the TTIP will increase “labor mobility”, i.e. drive down engineer salaries. Couldn’t happen to nicer guys.
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*A USDA study confirms the agency’s own original forecast that GM alfalfa would promiscuously the contaminate non-GM crop. This follows upon years of contamination incidents and China’s rejection of many hay shipments from the US. It contradicts the USDA’s own lies about “co-existence” and confirms that one of the goals of Roundup Ready alfalfa is to render organic meat and dairy production, which is heavily dependent upon non-GM hay, impossible.
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*The USDA continues to refuse to monitor glyphosate residues in food. Therefore, as per rational method where dealing with any such cover-up on the part of a derelict regulator, we must assume: 1. The USDA believes many common foods contain very high levels of glyphosate residue. 2. The USDA believes this causes cancer and many other health detriments. 3. That’s why they don’t want to know. “Plausible deniability.” If they were honest and self-confident, they would test. The same is true at every point of the entire system.
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Instead, they play their usual games of regulatory whack-a-mole (“the EPA says it’s safe, and anyway is currently conducting its own reassessment, so let’s wait for that”) and pleading that testing would be too expensive. Well, of course Monsanto, which should have to pay for the testing but NOT conduct it, would say it’s expensive. But why would a regulator allegedly concerned with the “public interest” be parroting Monsanto’s position? Why indeed.
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*When Monsanto hires a PR firm is that tax-deductible? And is that income tax-exempt for the firm? I’d think not. But when the company launders the same operation through a university, it’s tax-exempt and probably tax-deductible. Yet the money was handed over to Kevin Folta to use at his own discretion as a publicist, dirty trickster, and whatever else he felt like doing. This sure looks like what the IRS would call tax fraud if any small fish got caught doing it.
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*A new study in Nature traces the climate change denial propaganda network. It’s organized in the same way as the pro-GMO propaganda machine and overlaps to a large extent. The same professional liars often hired for both purposes, and in general there’s a very strong correlation of climate change deniers with pro-GMO activists and a strong anti-correlation of climate deniers and GMO critics. The new report (behind a paywall, so I couldn’t see the whole thing yet) undoubtedly traces many denier figures who are also GMO propagandists, and zero who are critics.
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Anthropogenic climate change represents a global threat to human well-being and ecosystem functioning. Yet despite its importance for science and policy, our understanding of the causes of widespread uncertainty and doubt found among the general public remains limited.

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I can help them with that. The general public sees lots of politicians and insider NGO types issuing the most dire warnings about climate change, yet without exception these persons continue to advocate economic Business As Usual, as we just saw in Paris. The vast majority of them also live the most gluttonous personal lifestyles and have huge personal carbon footprints. So it makes perfect sense that members of the public would take an attitude, if not denying the actual physical science, still denying the political contention that this is really a crisis. After all, the actions of the likes of Obama, his negotiators at Paris, the Big Green environmental groups, all directly contradict their rhetoric. Clearly they’re liars when they claim to believe climate change is a growing crisis that must be faced honestly, rationally, morally, and without sham.
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Those who do recognize the full magnitude and peril of the crisis know there’s only one path: Greatly reduce GHG emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks. All else is vanity and sham.
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BTW, bona fide climate change deniers are proportionally more common among the more highly formally educated, and especially among STEM types, than among the general public. (Just as Christian fundamentalists and evolution deniers are more common among engineers than among the public.) I just wanted to point that out, apropos of the implied elitism of the abstract quoted above.
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*Public health author Pam Killeen eulogizes Joe Cummins: “He didn’t keep his mouth shut, and that made him the renegade scientist, the renegade professor.” Very high praise in the time of the dominion of corporate science. He died of the cancer he spent his life fighting, in forms from PCBs to GMOs.
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*Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski is threatening to block FDA nominee Robert Califf until he pledges that FDA will require that GM salmon be labeled. The Alaska delegation cares so much about this particular GMO only because they want to protect Alaska’s wild salmon industry, and indeed they should be concerned. But just as we suspected, Murkowski is quick to stipulate that she doesn’t want labeling for any other GMOs, offering a completely unscientific and irrational distinction between genetically engineered crops and a genetically engineered animal. Is there any such distinction? No one knows, and there’s zero reason to think that anything unsafe about GM salmon wouldn’t also be unsafe about GM plants.
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*One thing Campbell’s confirms once and for all, though common sense always knew it and studies proved it – GMO labeling will have zero effect on food prices. The piece is better than many. While “thanking” Campbell’s it makes clear that the company is saying these things only under duress from consumer pressure, the state-level movement, and Vermont. That’s the same state-level movement so many “labeling advocates” have suddenly shown such eagerness to throw overboard, the moment a so-called “mandatory” FDA policy is on the table.
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4 Comments

  1. Hey Russ,I normally don’t get to read all your writing since it’s usually rather long and there just aren’t enough minutes in the day for me. What I have been able to read has been good.Though I do take a little issue with your claim that GMO Free USA said, “Go Campbell’s!” – Nowhere in any of our writings have we uttered those words. We’re actually the only formal nonprofit in the food movement that has not said, “thank you,” which we don’t think Campbell’s deserves. We’ve only used Campbell’s announcement and press release to attempt to publicly pit them against the GMA, though we know Campbell’s is still a staunch pro-GMO corporation who is just working both sides. Anyway, I find it a little odd that you read us as cheerleading for Campbell’s in our writing.Keep up the writing.Luan Van LeDevelopment & Communications DirectorPhone: 817.894.2654817.894.2654Email: luanvanle@gmofreeusa.orgWebsite: http://www.gmofreeusa.orgGMO Free USA FB

    Comment by luanvanle@gmofreeusa.org — January 15, 2016 @ 11:27 am

    • Thanks for the clarification, Luan. Yes, I didn’t mean to imply that GMO Free USA was officially endorsing the Campbell’s proposal. I saw that meme shared lots of places where some people were celebrating and thanking, and I thought that made for an interesting juxtaposition. But I see what you mean and removed the link so no one gets the wrong idea.

      Thanks for the good words, and hope you find more time for the longer stuff!

      Comment by Russ — January 15, 2016 @ 11:46 am

  2. Reblogged this on Ban GMOs Now Blog.

    Comment by Jeff Kirkpatrick — January 15, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

  3. […] Attempter […]

    Pingback by USDA Study Confirms GM Contamination Between GM and Non-GM Crops | Natural Society — January 24, 2016 @ 5:05 pm


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