Volatility

February 26, 2016

GMO News Summary February 26th, 2016

>

*As they try again to pass a version of the DARK Act (Plan A version), let’s look ahead to a possible world where it’s been passed.
.
I recommend, and will always myself use, a form of ju jitsu. If the DARK Act passes, let’s try to turn the tables on them by telling everyone far and wide that this proves all industrial food is GMO unless otherwise labeled, but that the alleged need for such a law proves that the manufacturers are desperate to hide this fact. After all, Pompeo’s own flunkeys said so: “Consumers can choose to presume that all foods have GMO contents unless they are labeled or otherwise presented as non-GMO. Meaning that it is knowable and it is known by the public which products have GMO and which don’t.” Exactly right. Monsanto forecast that putting a label on things would be like a skull and crossbones? Let’s turn this into a reverse skull and crossbones. Let’s loudly catcall every manufacturer, in every forum where consumers who might care will see it: Campbell’s is willing to label and confirms that it won’t cost anything extra. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? Let’s stick that DARK version of the skull and crossbones on everything.
.
According to the draft this version of the DARK Act will give the agriculture secretary a formal pro-GMO propaganda mandate. Of course this would just formalize the status quo, and highlights how purely political the government’s version of “science” is. Anyone who knows the slightest bit about science knows it’s a contradiction in terms to order that someone simultaneously be “science-based” and be automatically “for” anything. You can have one or the other, not both. Just as you can have secrecy or science, never both. There we have just two examples of how radically anti-science the pro-GMO activists are. Of course by now the very term “science-based”, in the mouth of anyone from the establishment, is an Orwellism just like the Big Tobacco lobbying term “sound science”. Wherever you see either term you can be assured it means the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to sound like. Wherever anyone from government, corporations, or their media says “science”, it automatically means corporate “science”.
.
Ah well, the ag secretary already has the power to shill and does so. To my way of thinking, a law giving him a formal mandate to do so ought to further discredit the government in the eyes of anyone who’s still in any doubt about how committed the government is to corporate imperatives.
.
With the endless iterations of the DARK Act we have a war of attrition which, in the end, the corporations are bound to win, if anti-poison types keep fighting primarily on these grounds. Which brings up another point, which is that this mode keeps the anti-GMO movement firmly on the defensive, really just fighting the DARK Act over and over. As for Non-GMO labels or any other kind of labeling, let’s always keep in mind that the corporate plan, no matter what kind of labeling were ever to exist, is that the allowed level of “adventitious presence” below which something could still be called “non-GM” (or not have to be labeled as GM) will keep mechanically being raised as GM contamination proceeds. The corporations expect this to happen in the exact same way regulators mechanically keep raising the allowed pesticide “tolerances”. There’s no doubt about it, any kind of labeling strategy is doomed to fail completely in the end, because co-existence is impossible, physically and politically.
.
*For example, transgenic contamination has been afflicting maize in its Mexican center of origin and biodiversity ever since NAFTA was instituted in the 1990s. This is in spite of the fact that GM maize has never legally been cultivated in Mexico. Transgenic pollen also contaminates the wild progenitor of maize, teosinte. Thus this contamination compromises not only the existing genetic diversity of maize, narrow as that has become under corporate monoculture farming; it’s also compromising the genetic wellspring necessary for the future of the crop.
.
Today the public is learning something the Spanish government and Monsanto have known at least since 2009, that teosinte has established itself as an “invasive” in Spain. (For some reason they don’t call maize itself an invasive, though; but both reached Spain in much the same deliberate way.) This brings the danger that MON810, the only GM crop grown legally in Europe and widely grown only in Spain, may contaminate this teosinte stock in the same way the contamination has spread to teosinte in Mexico.
.
By law GM crops can be authorized for cultivation in Europe only if they pose no cross-contamination threat. Governments and corporations, in this case Monsanto, have an obligation to monitor this potentiality. In practice this kind of requirement is invariably flouted, and there’s never any penalty for flouting it. In fact, this systematic condoning of systematic flouting proves that the law itself is really a propaganda sham which was never intended to be enforced, much like Bt refuges. In this case both Monsanto and the Spanish government have failed for many years to report the presence of teosinte to the EU government, and in 2014 Spanish officials lied about it in response to questions from the European Parliament. See below for more on the EU’s own refusal to meet its legally mandated reporting standards.
.
*Among the basic scams of regulators is to pretend there’s no such thing as synergy effects when multiple poisons afflict an organism, or indeed that there’s more than one poison at all. Instead they pretend that whichever chemical is the topic of the moment is the one and only chemical in existence, and they undertake their bogus “assessment” and set the “tolerance” based on this lie. Thus there’s no such thing as a maximum cumulative tolerance, e.g. for all pesticides combined, nor is there any assessment of the combined effect of multiple pesticides even though there’s conclusive evidence that this combined effect is often severe. Indeed, the EPA’s recent temporary revocation of the registration for Dow’s Enlist herbicide was triggered by EPA’s embarrassment during a lawsuit. In the course of telling EPA there was no synergy effect while telling the patent office there is one (this self-contradiction in itself is standard procedure and is no problem for the EPA or for the FDA’s “substantial equivalence” lie), Dow was so assertive in its synergy rhetoric that in the context of the public interest lawsuit this embarrassed the regulator. So there’s Dow itself claiming glyphosate and 2,4-D together have a greatly more severe effect than just adding together the effects of each by itself. (And to repeat, the EPA never even does this basic adding, let alone takes synergy into account.)
.
There’s now a new report assembling the evidence for combined effects, as well as the cumulative effects of exposure over time, which is another thing regulators never test. According to their junk science paradigm, the one and only thing to test is short-term acute exposure, and even this is done in bogus ways. Regulators will continue to do all they can to stall, obfuscate and deny, throwing up a fog of obscurantism and lies to go along with the literal poison fogs they help inflict upon us all.
.
*”The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa Agribusiness Association opposed the liability bills (House Bill 289 and Senate Bill 1190), testifying that commercial applicators wouldn’t be able to qualify for or afford these levels of insurance.” That’s as clear as testimony gets that an industrial activity is unviable according to the mythology of capitalism, which claims that a worthwhile good or service can always pay its own way. But here’s the state of Iowa and its poison-marketing trade group openly admitting it’s not possible for those who profit from the action to pay for its costs, and that those costs have to be borne by others. Of course the damage to other crops caused by pesticide drift is just one part of the destruction wrought by poison manufacturers and users. As we see in this case, if we intend to do anything about this we’re going to need to be rather more severe in return than just advocating laws about regulating and monitoring pesticide drift. For starters, we can resolve to abolish 2,4-D and dicamba completely and focus completely on this and only this goal. As we see in Iowa, the enemy is so totalitarian that it will not tolerate even the most modest restraints, and is willing openly to say that third parties should have to pay for poison harms, not the sellers or users. Is it possible to be more clear about what a zero-sum game this is?
.
*CAFOs are among the most hideously filthy places on Earth. The animals are permanently sick and require massive doses of antibiotics, not just to put on weight but to remain alive at all. They are veritable bioweapons labs, incubators of every kind of pathogen, the most perfectly crafted habitat for bacteria-borne disease. Dust from these CAFOs and their manure lagoons then spreads the potential for infection as far as the wind carries the infected particles. According to a new study CAFO drift has greater potential than previously documented to contaminate produce with potentially pathogenic bacteria. This joins with pesticide drift and transgenic contamination via pollen drift to prove that coexistence is impossible. This puts in reality-based perspective the lies about how “precise” and “controlled” industrial agriculture is, and how much of a lie the ideology of scientific control is in the first place. It also demonstrates how all the pretensions of control so pompously touted by engineers, corporate bureaucrats, and their political and media flunkeys are really lies, and how they premeditate the systematic spread of disease and poisoning. They know all this and they persist.

.
Persistence Proves Intent.
.
.*The EU’s ombudsman finds that the EU systematically abuses its institution of “confirmatory data procedure” for special regulation of poisons where the original submissions are proven to be so fraudulent that even the regulator can’t just cover up. Just like with the EPA’s “conditional registration”, when there’s incontrovertible evidence of a severe problem the EU allows poison sellers to say “the data’s in the mail” while they keep selling. In her ruling on a suit filed by the Pesticide Action Network of Europe the ombudsman also criticized EU regulators for lack of environmental protection assessments, lack of required follow-up monitoring (as I described above in the case of Spain’s teosinte, this scofflawing is so standard that we can call it a systematic lie among all regulators), and the health agency’s blithe approval of poisons which even the EFSA says give “critical areas of concern”. The ruling has no enforcement power and hands down no penalty, it merely demands that the EU submit a report within the next two years. In this report the liars are supposed to tell how the lies they used to tell are no longer being told. Because we know how credible such a report will be.
.
Therefore it’s no surprise that the European Commission is responding to the WHO’s finding that glyphosate causes cancer by proposing to extend glyphosate’s official endorsement for the next 15 years and expand the allowed range of uses. The “European Council” of various national ministers is slated to meet in March to vote on the proposal.
.
The WHO has summed up the decades of evidence, and the EU responds that it wants to give all Europeans cancer. It would be difficult for a government to more openly, starkly express its conscious, willful, homicidal intent. Certainly no ombudsman’s ruling, however harsh, will ever be sufficient for meeting this crisis.
.
*Here’s the FDA temporarily backing down on its planned assault on raw milk cheesemakers. By its own testimony it’s backing off, for the moment, because of strong opposition from the Community Food sector, the producers and customers. But as the communication says, the agency still plans to use the power it was given by the “Food Safety Modernization Act” to carry out the intention of that act: To attack small farms, the cottage food industry, and any other rising rival to the poison-based Big Ag and Big Food system.
.
Like the USDA and EPA, the FDA is dedicated to maximizing corporate control of agriculture and food, in particular maximizing the production and use of poison and the presence of this poison in our food. The FDA is also the lead federal organization seeking to strangle the rising Community Food sector which is working to restore rational and healthful agricultural and food economies based naturally on foodsheds and watersheds. This is a civil war, so far being waged mostly through chemical warfare which seeks to destroy our ecosystems, soils, and bodies. The FDA’s assault on community food continues, on behalf of the poison-based agriculture and food sectors. They plan to greatly escalate the assault under the “Food Safety Modernization Act”, a name Orwell would’ve had trouble bettering.
.
*Among the lesser known of Israel’s crimes against humanity is its systematic chemical warfare against Palestinian agriculture, conducted under the rubric of a nebulous, ever-changing “security” policy. This is really a typical control measure, arbitrarily deployed and expanded at the will of the military. With only minor modification we can describe poison-based agriculture in general, including its increasing poison drift, in the same terms. Pesticide technology and the poisoner mindset historically have migrated to civilian use from prior military use, and there’s never been any clear dividing line between civilian agricultural use of these poisons, their military and police use vs. crops in Vietnam, Colombia, Palestine, and elsewhere, and their fully weaponized use against human beings in combat and the Nazi death camps. Most formally, the exact same scientific researchers, engineers, and government personnel, and the exact same corporations selling the exact same chemicals, span this entire spectrum.

<

Advertisements

February 24, 2016

What if They Pass the DARK Act?

>

1. What would the preemption of labeling mean in itself? Labeling is not sufficient, and is conceptually flawed if envisioned as a worthwhile goal in itself. It implies the continuation of industrial agriculture and food commodification, and globalization as such. It merely seeks Better Consumerism within that framework.
.
If people saw labeling as a temporary measure within the framework of an ongoing movement to abolish industrial agriculture and build Food Sovereignty, that would be good. If people saw the campaign for labeling as primarily a movement-building action, an occasion for public education, for democratic participation in a grassroots action, and to help build a permanent grassroots organization, that would be good. POE as I call it – Participation, Education, Organization.
.
But labeling never could be a panacea. Especially the claim that we can expect miracles from it: Labeling = the end of Monsanto. This is highly doubtful. GMO labeling only indirectly tells us some things about the pesticide content, which is a far worse crisis. I think the most meaningful labeling campaign would have to fight for pesticide residues to be labeled/listed among the ingredients, since by any objective measure they’re intentionally inserted food additives.
.
Also, just because a labeling initiative or law is passed doesn’t mean it will be enforced with any alacrity. It’s still the same old pro-Monsanto government which would be in charge of enforcement. That’s why getting an initiative or law passed would be just the first and easiest step. Then the real work of vigilance, forcing the enforcers to follow through, would begin. That, too, was a reason why the campaign needs to be, even more than just an intrinsic campaign, the building ground of a permanent grassroots organization.
.
Then there’s the fact that most if not all of these initiatives and laws are riddled with loopholes, categories of food which don’t need to be labeled. That almost always includes GMO-fed meat and dairy. Actually, labeling would apply mostly to the same corporate-manufactured processed foods we ought to be getting out of our diets and economies regardless.
.
When we combine the insufficient content of these labeling proposals with the fact that they are often called a self-sufficient panacea, and with the fact that the efforts have often been designed like one-off electoral campaigns rather than as processes of building permanent grassroots organizations, we can see the some of the inherent political limits of labeling campaigns.
.
[See here and here for more on what the DARK Act is about; it seeks to enshrine the “voluntary” labeling sham, along with ferocious pre-emption as I described here.]
.
2. The people consistently indicate that they don’t really want labeling. That is, they don’t want it as a stand-alone consumerist feature, sundered from the context of a complete affirmative (Food Sovereignty) and negative (abolitionist) movement.
.
It’s clear that although the people overwhelmingly support the idea of GMO labeling in theory, their commitment to it is skin deep. As soon as the money starts flying and the propaganda noise starts booming, people are easily thrown off balance. They focus pre-existing feelings of dread on the controversy and recoil from such a meager thing as labeling, which seems to offer only a greater sense of helplessness.
.
A survey done in California in September 2012 prior to the vote found that even the mention of an increase in food prices would “slightly diminish support”. This was prior to the big propaganda surge which hammered away with this lie. This musters every kind of inchoate fear. Since these days people are fearful and conservative, they shy from stimulation and don’t want anything to change. They’re easily convinced that any change will only make things worse. At any rate, they’re disinclined to undertake any change themselves. Here we have a one-off political campaign which is prone to muster elemental anxieties about poison in our food and the food we’re feeding to our children, about our ever more beleaguered personal financial position, about corporate power over us. This campaign becomes the scene of a media firestorm where people are asked, as consumers, to do nothing but vote a certain way and then implicitly to lapse back into their usual passivity. Their only payoff for having had all these fears aroused is that they gain even greater knowledge of what there is to fear, but get no new sense of what to do about any of it. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that so many people choose to believe the lies and vote No?
.
People don’t really believe the propaganda but are numbed into passivity by the volume and omnipresence of it. This is part of the job of the corporate media, to instill a sense of hopelessness in the individual, a false sense that she’s all alone with whatever objections she has, alone with whatever dissent and activism for change she’d like to undertake. The labeling campaign also instills fear about the safety of the food but doesn’t offer a productive context and course of action for this fear. It implicitly wants to leave you alone with your Yes vote and your new information.
.
This is why many consumers don’t want to exercise their right to know. They’re settled in certain habits, have so many other stresses, they already know their food is poisoned and try to exist in a precarious psychological complacency about that. So they’d rather not hear about GMOs on top of everything. This supposition fits the data, that as the No propaganda surges and the noise level of the whole fight escalates, the weakly committed Yeses and the Undecided move toward No. If you’re going to stay within the bounds of passive consumerism, then does a GMO label really give you much of a new choice? Especially if you suspect, in most cases correctly, that the only result will be to discover that all your available choices have GMO labels, so that you really didn’t get more choice anyway, merely more stress.
.
Labeling advocates point out that there is an individual, consumerist course of action available – change your eating habits, shun GMO products, petition manufacturers to purge them, retailers not to carry them. (Here we’re talking about doing these in an individual consumer context, not as part of a movement context.)
.
But is this the likely result? What about the opposite possibility – that if labeling is enacted, people will just shrug and not change their buying and eating habits? Indeed, it might even help normalize GMOs.
.
Since consumerism is inherently passive and not active, since “choice” is a pseudo-ideal that few people really want (their political and economic actions prove it), and since fear-itself induces conservatism in the choices people make, the campaign to label GMOs is bound to be at a disadvantage as soon as it becomes embroiled in a struggle. People naturally support the idea, but not enough so that they don’t abandon it as a kind of “rocking the boat” the moment they’re given a reason to fix their fears upon it.
.
In itself labeling is a meager, insufficient measure. Most importantly, it’s conceptually insufficient, as it frames this critical political, socioeconomic, environmental, agronomic, and scientific issue as a matter of consumerist choice. Finally, the labeling idea is ripe to be hijacked by corporate interests or preempted by the central government, as we’re now seeing with this latest attempt in Congress.
.
We can’t expect people to rouse themselves and go against the grain of their mass consciousness in any kind of ad hoc way, let alone in a way which they’ll have strong psychological reasons to resist. In order to get organic change, we first need to build an organic movement. We need to take the time and put in the work to build a movement culture where individuals find themselves as citizens, community members, members of a movement. We need to build a movement where people develop the individual self-respect to know that their action which seeks change will bring them a better world, and where they develop the political self-confidence to know that their collective action will work to bring about this bountiful change.
.
We need to build a true grassroots movement, this movement has to be affirmative, and it has to seek the stark goal of total abolition of pesticides and GMOs. If we can offer people the opportunity to fight to abolish pesticides and GMOs, or to support this abolition movement with money, a vote, etc., and to do so toward affirmative goals like food freedom, food sovereignty, this offers vastly more on a psychological level than labeling by itself, which is more like yet another annoying consumer “choice”.
.
(If anyone’s doubting the implicit criticism here of consumerism as such, keep in mind that poisoned food as a paradigm product class could never have arisen in the first place other than within a context of corporate/state-driven consumerism.)
.
3. Consumerist labeling is really part of the “co-existence” notion. A core part of campaign rhetoric lauds “choice”, thereby echoing a standard pro-GM lie and implying that GMO agriculture can co-exist with any other kind of agricultural practice. But co-existence is impossible, politically as well as physically. Corporate agriculture envisions its own total domination of agriculture and food, and all its actions are dedicated to this goal. GMOs were developed as a classical public-private partnership and are aggressively supported by governments because they’re designed to attain the twin goals of physical (genetic) and economic (commodification and patents) domination. Therefore the only possible outcomes for humanity are complete abolition of GMOs or complete surrender to them. Given this circumstance, the constructive place of a labeling campaign or policy, or just the idea of labeling as such, is as a tactical element of the abolition movement. Anything outside of this movement context is at best a misdirection and waste of effort and time we don’t have to spare.
.
4. We know the history of corporate lobbying for an FDA preemption policy, the central government’s complete support for GMO domination, its disdain for and hostility toward any meaningful labeling, the Monsanto Protection Act, and now the yearlong attempt to pass the DARK Act. We have clear proof that the central government will not allow political life and democracy to prevail on this, including at the state level, let alone the regional. Even if the DARK Act is forestalled in the Senate, the US government won’t give up. In the end, the only thing which will work will be defiance of the central government power, by whatever means, at lower government levels and especially through political action of the people from the ground up. This includes organized renunciation and replacement of the corporate industrial food system.
.
If this is right, then our time requires a far more comprehensive goal.
.
5. Abolitionists must use this crisis to reinforce the Community Food movement and goal. Just “buying organic” won’t suffice. Anyway much of organic is the industrial organic sector which is part of the overall corporate problem, and which has previously indicated its own desire to bring “organic” under Monsanto’s domination. We do have the Right to Know, but we’ll know little and have little until we rebuild the Community Food sector and protect it, toward the great affirmative goal of Food Sovereignty.
.
We must lift our vision and expand our goal. We need the will to renew political life from the ground up, where necessary in defiance of the central government and corporate rule. We must use the government’s assaults as a political/moral lever to change the political consciousness from an individual consumerist consciousness (uncontexted labeling) to the abolitionist movement commitment, and the broader consciousness aspiring to freedom and demolishing the corporate-imposed bottlenecks against our prosperity.
.
The corporate state’s goal is all-encompassing of the political and economic realms, from globalized corporate rule to strangling the rising Community Food movement in its youth. We can see how the DARK Act is not only anti-labeling but, with measures like preemption of local and state pro-democracy, anti-corporate laws, it’s also designed to provide more government power against the Community Food sector and movement as such. It will seek to do this in tandem with the Orwellianly named “Food Safety Modernization Act”, really a pro-big ag Food Control Act. But with the right kind of education campaign about how the government is trying to make it impossible for the people to know how toxic the industrial food supply is, we might be able to turn these assaults to our advantage. Certainly the one and only way to really KNOW what’s in our food and be citizens of agriculture and food production is to support local/regional retail agriculture, visit and know our farmers and processors, build up that sector. The central government and corporations are doing all they can to prove this.
.
6. In the past I’ve sometimes been fatalistic about what the system “will do”, and how possible it is for political action to stop it. I’ve said things like, “the system will extract all the economically viable fossil fuels”, acknowledging various impersonal natural/physical/economic constraints on extraction while discounting political action as potentially such a natural force.
.
Where it comes to fossil fuel extraction this is no doubt true for the low-hanging fruit, the reserves easiest and least expensive to extract. But as extraction proceeds along the line of deteriorating cost effectiveness, increasing complexity costs, and mounting physical difficulties, political action against it becomes more potent in proportion to the increasing overextension of its opponent. This can happen in the same way that various technical alternatives to fossil fuels become economically viable as oil prices rise.
.
So it follows that corporate agriculture is finding its own position ever more costly and physically difficult to maintain, as costs increase, as natural (pest and weed) resistance mounts, as each new set of GMOs is more dubious, its economic rationale less coherent, its lies less viable, the legitimacy of establishment “science” and mainstream media more eroded, while public fear, skepticism, and opposition continue to rise. As this process evolves our action shall become more effective, and our ability to propagate all-encompassing ideas and desires more potent. There will be an ever greater will on the part of the people to organize against this enemy and to realize our affirmatives.
.
***
.
In making these criticisms, I’m not disputing the basic truths of the pro-labeling argument. On the contrary, I avow these myself. I’m pointing out why, where labeling is presented as a typical ad hoc consumerist electoral campaign, rather than from within a movement context, the labeling campaigns are ineffective politics.
.
At the moment the labeling campaigns comprise the main anti-GMO vehicle, and they can serve as good occasions for participation, organization, education – POE. In principle and in action abolitionists should support and join the campaigns. But we insist that labeling is insufficient, is no panacea, and that the fight for labeling is just one step toward building the consciousness toward building what’s great and necessary, a true abolition movement.
.
For the moment, what’s a good proximate strategy?
.
1. It’s important to defeat the DARK Act through whatever conventional within-the-system means, if possible. This is the system’s attempt to kneecap our movement through legalistic preemption. If this fails, they’ll try again, or else try for a more subtle “mandatory” scam. Anti-GMO people must reject any subsequent “softer” FDA scam, any form of DARK Act Plan B. The same goes for the TPP and TTIP, which are intended to do things like outlaw any labeling whatsoever, right down to the warnings on cigarette packages.
.
If the DARK Act is passed, our campaigns must pressure the states and localities to go ahead anyway on democratic moral-political and constitutional grounds, including legal challenges (though we shouldn’t hold our breath in expectation of the court route succeeding). The central government’s ability to enforce its tyrannical policy will be a direct measure of the people’s willingness to crumble and obey, or our determination to stand tall and fight. Again, this applies most of all to globalization assaults like NAFTA, the TPP and the TTIP.
.
2. Nevertheless, labeling in itself could never suffice. What we must have, what is necessary, is to drive out pesticides and GMOs completely. Indeed, the worst aspect of the DARK Act is the legal assault it would make on county-level pesticide and GMO bans.
.
3. So in addition to POE, the main purpose of labeling campaigns is to provide an occasion to pressure manufacturers and retailers, and to supplement campaigns directly pressuring them.
.
4. In this connection, a primary publicity component is to continue hammering away, not just at Monsanto, and not at the GMA, as for example who is providing the funding for the lawsuit against Vermont. Rather, it is Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, General Mills, General Foods, who are most responsible for inflicting these physical and political assaults upon us. The campaigns have often done a good job of this and should escalate. Combine this brand-condemning publicity campaigning and boycott organizing against these manufacturers with targeted pressure on retailers. These kinds of actions have the best track record, among reform campaigns.
.
5. As I described in the strategy posts I linked here, both direct pressure and labeling advocacy must be enfolded within a comprehensive abolition movement and serve the abolition goal. Once we have a movement whose members and sympathizers see the world with the eyes of active citizens of a community, rather than with the eyes of atomized passive consumers among an unfathomable mass, then we’ll have the social foundation from which to launch any kind of political campaign. The campaigns will be organic, they’ll be part of an ongoing social and political context, and they’ll be waged and supported by citizens speaking to potential citizens who can see the living reality of the movement before them, rather than just a seemingly disposable campaign and stand-alone ad hoc policy proposal with no context for systemic change or human hope.
.
If we want to do what’s necessary and do it right, in the process inspiring people to join a movement or support it (and this is what’s needed, rather than any quick fix electoral solution), we need to build a true movement toward a goal that’s necessary and great. The great goals available to us are the complete abolition of GMOs and breaking the power of corporations over our agriculture and food, in the process putting an end to their onslaught poisoning our food, water, soil, and air. The companion goal is to rebuild our community food economies on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty, thus combining the best of freedom, health, democracy, and science. There’s no substitute for the patience and hard work required to build this new, affirmatively ecological and democratic, anti-corporate movement from outside the system. Along the way this movement can absorb whatever existing forces are available, so long as they’re compatible with the stark and non-negotiable goal of the abolition of poison-based agriculture. But its inception and the main thrust of its action must always be toward building a new human world.
.
If the DARK Act is passed and the TTIP/TPP globalization compacts are forced upon us, raising our sights and escalating our demands upon fate is one of our options. Giving up is another. But it seems that the status quo will no longer be an option.

<

February 22, 2016

Indian Agriculture, Crises and Solutions

<

India’s Bt cotton debacle continues, as Punjab and Haryana states struggle to find solutions for the disasters afflicting the cotton crop, most recently epidemics of whitefly depredation and leaf curl disease. Whitefly is a so-called “secondary pest” which is not affected by the poisons endemically produced by Bt cotton. How do farmers struggle to deal with whitefly and other secondary pests? Spray, spray, spray everything. In other words, they must do exactly what pro-GMO lies claim is no longer necessary. But then GMOs are designed to increase pesticide use. Only a moron could ever have believed that a pesticide corporation would want to sell a product (GM seed) which renders his primary product (pesticide) obsolete. On the contrary, it was always obvious that the newer product was also meant to increase sales of the older one.
.
The two state governments have formed a joint committee to come up with a plan. It sounds like they get the point: “We expect to replace 15-20 per cent of the area under Bt cotton seed with the traditional one this year and in the next few years to take it to 50 per cent. Co-existence of Bt and non-Bt crop would curtail the chance of spread of epidemics like white fly, as the two crops are resistant to different kinds of diseases. Monoculture in agriculture is the cause of widespread diseases in plants. [My emphasis – Russ.] Presently, 95 per cent of the cotton grown in Punjab and Haryana is the Bt variety and this triggered the quick spread of disease.” They’re wrong about co-existence over the long run, but this would be a great step in the right direction. The main hurdle to overcome is availability of high-quality open-pollinated cotton seed. As we’ve seen most recently with sugar beets in America, one goal of corporate agriculture, especially the GM-based paradigm, is to monopolize seed production and drive all other seeds out of the effective marketplace, in part by economically preventing any further work on them and planting of them. Under such a regime of negligence a seed variety may quickly disappear completely.
.
But wherever governments are willing to undertake such a paradigm shift in the kind of seed economy they support (don’t hold your breath in the US), they can give a big boost to the traditional seed and its agroecological improvement. Especially where agroecological work on seed is done via participatory plant breeding, this embodies the essence of agroecological food sovereignty practice, the application of science to regional conditions and needs. This is the gold standard for seed, the kind all legitimate farmers dream of. If Haryana and Punjab can boost desi (open-pollinated) seed production to support 50% of the cotton acreage, that’ll be enough for a tipping point which will quickly drive the worthless and expensive Bt seed completely out of the market. We could turn the calculus, “co-existence is impossible”, right side up and make it work for us rather than against us, as it has worked hitherto.

<

February 21, 2016

Under Pressure the FDA Says It Will Test for Glyphosate Residues In Food

Filed under: Dance of Death, GMO Health Hazards, GMO-Based Poison Infliction — Tags: , , , , , — Russ @ 4:59 am

<

The FDA is required by law to test and regulate food additives. As part of the product design and intended use of herbicide tolerant GMOs such as the Roundup Ready system, pesticide residues such as those of glyphosate suffuse the cells of the crops including any eventual food products. These are food additives according to any reasonable definition. The same is true of the insecticidal endotoxins in Bt crops. The FDA has directly flouted the law in refusing to regulate these highly toxic additives or even to require their listing among the ingredients of food. One reason why the FDA has refused to test glyphosate residues is to help give it the pretext of ignorance. A surprisingly common excuse among regulators is to say in effect, “We can’t do anything, because we don’t have any information, because we refuse to test for that information (and reject it when others test for it and offer it to us).” Listen to what the likes of the FDA and EPA say and you’ll come across it frequently. So it is with glyphosate levels in food.
.
But as the political pressure mounts against regulator dereliction and collaboration where it comes to pesticides, glyphosate especially, we see regulators scrambling to make weak or sham concessions. Wherever direct defiance is looking politically ineffective, the goal becomes delay at all costs. So it is with the FDA’s announcement that it will start testing glyphosate levels in food, forced in part by strong criticism from GAO auditors. The FDA’s lack of willingness is clear, given how it calls the matter “sensitive” and only now admits that such testing won’t break the bank. (Regulators claim glyphosate testing is too expensive, which is obviously a lie. They sure have lots of money available for subsidies and pro-industry advertising. But in any sane system which cared about science and public health the manufacturer would pay for but not control the testing.) Although in theory the FDA and USDA split the duty of testing for pesticide residues in food, with USDA testing meat and dairy, FDA fruits and vegetables, in practice neither tests for glyphosate precisely because it’s likely the most prevalent poison in the food, and is certainly the most commonly used in agriculture.
.
Note the role of the EPA’s imprimatur in Monsanto’s PR statement (found at the bottom of the link) : Residue levels found so far have been below EPA tolerances. But EPA “tolerance” levels are set with zero regard for science or public health, but only at the behest of the corporations. EPA and other regulators mechanically raise the allowed levels to keep ahead of the residue levels the corporation expects based on how much of the poison it sells. Here we see part three of the regulator template – the nominally “public” regulator puts its imprimatur on what are essentially directives it received from the corporation. The corporation’s lies are laundered this way by the regulator, and the corporation then regurgitates its own lies but now represents them as coming from “the EPA”. (The very concept of setting “tolerances” in order to “manage” the levels of known carcinogens like glyphosate instead of banning them is also a core element of regulator propaganda.)
.
To expose this ongoing propaganda scam and anti-scientific fraud is one of the motivations of the fourteen scientists who have published a report deploring the current pseudo-scientific state of regulatory assessment and calling upon regulators to act in accord with science and public health. The scientists condemn the false paradigm of regulatory assessment (rejection of epidemiological evidence, reliance on corporate laboratory experiments performed according to fraudulent methodologies, the long-debunked “dose-response” ideology, the “active ingredient” scam I discussed above, and other bogosities) and offer many suggestions for an improved testing regime. We abolitionists do not echo the rote call for “more testing” since we know there’s already far more than enough evidence to ban these poisons. But reports like this one are handy to demolish the fraudulent claims of the regulatory agencies that their assessment procedures are anything more or less than cover-ups and whitewashes.
.

February 19, 2016

GMO News Summary February 19th, 2016

>

*As was clear from the start, the number one pressing goal of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Campbell’s, Mark Lynas, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, and the rest of the pro-Monsanto, anti-labeling brigade has been to prevent the Vermont labeling law from going into effect.
.
Today we’re hearing from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) of a new attempt at “compromise”, i.e. exactly the kind of scam I predicted all along. This is a version of what I call DARK Act Plan B. The idea is that since the original DARK Act which would directly preempt Vermont looks unable to pass in the Senate, the anti-Vermont forces with propaganda help from Gary Hirshberg (and probably the rest of industrial organic) will push for a two year Congress-imposed “delay” to prevent Vermont’s law from going into effect. This two years would then be used to get a more permanent preemption policy enacted, or for new lawsuits to be filed by the GMA, or to cause Vermont to wither and die in some other way. The OCA is right to be upset, although they too have been willing to waffle away from what used to be an uncompromising anti-preemption, pro-democracy position (i.e. for the state-level movement, against FDA preemption). Now we see where such waffling gets one.
.
It’s always been clear that preemption is the absolute litmus test. To be uncompromisingly, unequivocally against preemption is a prerequisite for strong labeling, the right to know, and democracy. To be for preemption is to be against all these things, in principle and in practice.
.
The history of preemption proves this, in the same way that the FDA’s history (especially where it comes to GMOs) proves its inability and unwillingness to enact or carry out a real labeling policy. These are examples of why pro-corporates hate history so much and do all they can to encourage people’s general anti-historical bent. Because movements which can’t be bothered to know their history set themselves up for assured failure.
.
*A scientific panel of the French environmental ministry ANSES endorses the WHO’s finding that glyphosate is cancerous to humans. The environmental minister Segolene Royal publicly supports the panel and says she wants the agency to withdraw approval for glyphosate formulations, especially those containing the surfactant POEA. (There’s no rational or scientific difference between the so-called “active ingredient” in a pesticide or any other chemical product or drug, as opposed to the “inert ingredients”, which contrary to the English definition are often extremely toxic. Those two terms are purely ideological jargon meant to make the product seem less toxic than it is. In reality, commercial formulations are usually far more toxic than the nominally primary ingredient by itself. This is because the additional chemicals are there to render the primary ingredient more potent, and because these additional ingredients are often so poisonous in themselves. Plus any escalated synergy effect among these combined toxins. This is why corporations and regulators insist that only the so-called “active ingredient”, never the real-world formulation, be subject to whatever bogus testing they perform. It’s a scientific fraud and a public health crime. That’s how the BfR and EFSA were able to claim that the IARC was wrong about cancer, even as they admitted the evidence is there. They admitted that perhaps the commercial formulations may be carcinogenic. In other words they admitted that in real life glyphosate causes cancer. Royal and the ANSES panel are now taking what the EFSA said at face value and proceeding accordingly.) In 2015 Royal touted how proactive France allegedly is being, on the occasion of new legal restrictions on the sale of glyphosate at garden centers: “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides…I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.” France also has bans or restrictions on aerial spraying of pesticides and spraying in parks.
.
As I said in last week’s summary, the impetus is spreading gradually. Let’s get the glyphosate abolition campaign going and really intensify and accelerate the natural political momentum already gathering toward this necessary and inevitable goal.
.
*More of the same proven-to-fail scams from corporate “environmentalist” front groups like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which issued this fluff piece. “Habitat exchange”, that’s their new term for the same old scam? Meanwhile the real goal is always the same for the likes of the EDF, to misdirect focus away from the need to ban glyphosate, period. Because that’s what groups like the EDF are there for, to make sure the corporate project always continues unhindered. Therefore the corporate environmental prescription is always of the same basic form: Allow the corporation to continue destroying, often in what the flacks themselves call a “sacrifice zone”. But make a deal to somehow “make up for” the destruction through something like a “carbon offset” or a “mitigation” where another piece of land is allegedly not destroyed, or is restored, or is “improved”. The scam is often bolstered with a phony application of the “island biogeography” concept, even though even in principle the fragment “conserved” in some mangled state doesn’t even remotely resemble a bona fide natural island habitat. Meanwhile the conservation is always a straight-up scam. Almost all projects endorsed under “offset”-type scams were going to be built anyway, and almost all which are mothballed were going to be mothballed anyway. The conserved fragment often ends up destroyed anyway and is always severely damaged. The greenhouse gas emissions, chemical poisoning, carbon sink destruction and biodiversity destruction continue unabated. The corporate “environmental” front groups give PR cover to it all. “Habitat exchange” joins this Orwellian parade of happy lies.
.
The evidence has been piling up which associates the monarch decline more and more strongly with glyphosate, especially as farm subsidies increasingly encourage cultivation of “marginal” land. Studies have assembled this evidence. Of course a corporate group like the EDF is congenitally capable of thinking only in terms of, at best, rejiggering the subsidy system (as this piece advocates). But that’s already proven to be a failure in general, and more often a fraud. (Now if we could all get together to campaign to abolish industrial farm subsidies completely, that would really be something worthwhile) At any rate it’s intentional misdirection in order to diffuse focus and waste time. I bet Monsanto’s hoping the monarch will go extinct ASAP so they can stop having to hear about it and everyone else will forget about it. We can take it to the bank that if we do anything but the opposite of what the likes of the EDF propose, we’ll lose the monarch in no time.
.
*The whistleblower controversy at the USDA is blossoming into a bona fide scandal requiring even the attention of the department’s inspector general. Now the inquiry is expanding to take in animal abuse at USDA labs. Gratuitous neglect and abuse of animal subjects will automatically follow when the sociopathic commitment of a system reaches a certain point (today’s corporate regulators are way past that point), just as the scientists empowered by the Nazis to experiment upon human subjects in the concentration camps quickly went beyond the nominal scientific purposes of the research and started gratuitously inflicting pain and death, just for the hell of it, as a form of “pure science”. I think this fact is key for understanding everything that’s happening today, and where the vector is headed.
.
*In recent years the agrochemical industry has wearily confessed that it has no ideas for new herbicide “modes of action” to combat the increasingly triumphant superweeds which GMOs are producing. “Growers think there will be something over the horizon that will bail them out, says Larry Steckel, weed management scientist at the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. But there isn’t.” But there’s new research contradicting this and playing to the fantasies of those alleged growers. The piece is published at the propaganda front group called the “American Association for the Advancement of Science”, by which they mean corporate “science”.
.
According to publicly-funded profit-oriented researchers at Britain’s John Innes Center, they’ve discovered a specimen of Arabadopsis thaliana (a mustard often used in botanical research, the plant equivalent of the fruit flies regularly used in genetic research) which is resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. This poison kills bacteria and plants by interfering with an enzyme necessary for photosynthesis. The researchers doused 400,000 mutated tissue-cultured specimens to find one which showed resistance to the antibiotic. (The rest were thrown out, typical of the extreme wastefulness and sociopathic attitude toward life inherent in all genetic engineering.) Next they’ll try to figure out how to turn the tolerance mutation into a transgene while they also work on an herbicide based on the antibiotic or a similar compound. The researchers disavow any intention of directly using the antibiotic as an herbicide, but of course this is a lie. We already see their paradigm’s standard attitude toward antibiotics in their attitude toward subtherapeutic antibiotic use in CAFOs and in genetic engineering itself including this experiment. Certainly no one among them would object to an antibiotic-based herbicide. Glyphosate is an antibiotic and was patented as such in the 1960s. Nor do these scientists, engineers, regulators, and corporate cadres care about the fact that existing commercial herbicides help trigger antibiotic resistance among potentially pathogenic bacteria, or that glyphosate selects for pathogenic bacteria in the mammalian digestive tract. No, I think we can rest assured that if the corporations demand such an herbicide and it can be made to work, these researchers will happily deliver it, and the AAAS will be right there cheering them on as it cheers on all these crimes against humanity and the Earth.
.
The AAAS is also regurgitating the straight bald-faced Monsanto lie, most commonly told about glyphosate, that if a poison affects only plants and bacteria then it won’t affect humans: “This research also highlights another important benefit for using DNA gyrase as a target for the development of new herbicides. DNA gyrase is only present in plants and bacteria, and does not exist in animals. Therefore any new herbicides that target this DNA gyrase in plants are very unlikely to be any danger to humans.”
.
Even if this were true as far as it goes (it’s a lie for glyphosate, which affects the mammalian cytochrome P450 and retinoic acid pathways as well as adversely affecting mineral chelation), it’s a complete lie because science knows humans and other mammals are symbiotic with our bacterial microbiome. What harms our gut bacteria, harms us. The AAAS knows this, they lie about it, they are criminally culpable for any harm which follows from it.
.
The piece once again reminds us how by now the pro-GMO activists are perfectly at home simultaneously telling two mutually exclusive and directly contradictory lies, that “GMOs reduce pesticide use” while we also need “Eureka! New pesticides!” It’s also another example of how they’ve had to drop the whole line of bull that “we’re for hi-tech GMOs, not for luddite chemical pesticides” and especially “GMOs don’t equal Monsanto, and we ARE NOT Monsanto shills.” But then the WHO pretty much forced everyone’s hand on that one. Since then Monsanto’s needed all hands on deck to stick up for Roundup, no matter how much of a stupid, luddite, dinosaur technology it is. But then all of GMO agriculture is really only pseudo-advanced. It’s really all retrograde, backward, reactionary. It’s a jalopy on blocks, but with a flashy new paint-job, and those who fall for the hype are the kind of morons who would fall for any scam like that.
.
*Looks like another dotcom bubble in the making. This provides some insight into the fundamentally fictive, socially engineered character of agribusiness. It plunges ahead not just in the regular bubble manner [i.e. unrelated to the real, productive economy, like the recent dotcom, tech, and housing bubbles, or today’s fracking bubble and general stock bubble] but in direct defiance of the real fundamentals of the sector. We see the basic lack of connection with reality which has always been evident with agricultural GMOs and genetic engineering in general. When an ideology has such direct contempt for science and reality, although corporate profiteering via government subsidies can prop it up and keep it going for awhile, it’s also bound to collapse quickly like any other bubble. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the erosion of the fundamentals for the agrochemical sector don’t go hand in hand with a bubble centered on the idea of “hi-tech agriculture”. Along with everything else that’s stupid, shoddy, and harmful about GMOs, I’ve always seen them as an aspiring tech bubble. Maybe someone who had a few extra bucks lying around who was thinking of dabbling in stocks might consider Monsanto along with some of these start-ups. These stocks have been disparaged for awhile now, but they might be ready to temporarily surge. The current mainstream excitement over mergers and further oligopoly consolidation, which ought to tell us how creatively bankrupt and decadent the sector is, can readily be transformed into the typical bubble irrationality. Just don’t be one of the idiots who buys high right before the bubble bursts. And for the divestment movement, if these stocks do start rising, make sure to tell the pension funds that it’s a bubble, hype over an idea which has no basis in reality and no staying power.
.

February 13, 2016

Symbol of Poisonism: Pull the Plug On Bt Brinjal

<

In spite of uniformly poor performance through two years of Bt brinjal (eggplant), the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) is pushing ahead with a third year of the pilot project. The first two years saw stunted crops unusually susceptible to disease and which produced poor harvests, while the insecticidal plants had highly mixed results against the target fruit-and-shoot borer. This means that the product has chaotic agronomic effects which the engineers were utterly incapable of predicting, and that it’s unreliable in how well it expresses the Bt toxin. This in turn will only accelerate the evolution of resistant insects, at which point the product won’t work at all. Meanwhile as usual with Bt crops, secondary pests remain unaffected. Between these and the often unharmed target insect, the pilot program has deployed extreme variety and amounts of sprayed poisons.
.
The performance has been so poor and at such a financial loss that most of the farmers who participated before were not interested in trying again, so new farmers have to be recruited. Several previous participants have reported that they switched back to locally adapted varieties and have gotten much better results. Cornell’s pro-GMO propaganda bureau, officially one of the overseers of the project, seems to have clammed up about the actual performance although general lies continue in the media. Crop failure, poor quality fruits, pest attacks, the defection and complaints of almost all the previous farmer participants, all point to an already failed product being kept in existence only by US and Bangladesh taxpayer money, via Cornell, USAID, and the Gates Foundation. As the research group UBINIG commented, the project is “on life support”, in the ICU and completely dependent on the subsidies it’s hooked up to.
.
This project has zero purpose, no redeeming qualities. The ostensible purpose, control of the fruit-and-shoot borer, was unnecessary as there are many brinjal varieties which are strong against this pest, while agroecological science proves that agroecological methods are vastly superior for pest control. But the fact is that poison-based agriculture has never really wanted to control pests, only to manage them in such a way that pest afflictions gradually become more severe. (This “management” ideology has a direct parallel in the regulator ideology of “managing” poisons in the environment in part by gauging alleged human and ecological “tolerances” for these poisons.) These versions of this false ideology are deployed because the program of poison-based agriculture is to maximize poison production and use as such, toward the goal of increasing system power and control. This is why industrial agriculture seeks the destruction of agricultural and ecological biodiversity as such, because diversity is harder to control. This is why it seeks to maximize monoculture at every level from the most literally physical to the political and cultural, because monoculture is easier to control. This is why it is literally waging chemical warfare around the world at the most extreme levels possible, because it wants to physically eradicate biodiversity as well as eradicating all political and socioeconomic diversity through total corporate control of political and economic activity.
.
We see the role of GMOs in all this, their reality and the idea of them. All GMOs are of course designed to maximize the production and use of pesticides. In the specific case of Bt brinjal, an especially worthless product in theory and which has been unusual failure in practice even by the low standards of GMOs, the proximate purpose is as an exercise in GMO propaganda as such.
.
Over the longer run the goal is to wipe out the vast diversity of brinjal, to replace thousands of locally adapted, public domain varieties with a strictly controlled mono-genetic proprietary product. The goal is control. Why else would anyone want to introduce a GM variety within a crop’s geographic center of biodiversity? We all know that such biodiversity centers are the genetic wellsprings of all future agriculture. Anyone who cared about the future would want to take great care to preserve these irreplaceable genetic resources. Therefore anyone who wants to do the opposite, to compromise this genetic diversity with aggressive genetic monoculture, is seeking nothing less than to eradicate the resource itself. Let’s recall that Monsanto and its corporate colleagues originally thought they’d replace all existing crop diversity with their transgenes inserted into one or two all-purpose uni-varieties. This wasn’t because of ignorance of agriculture, though they had plenty of that. It was because ideologically and for the sake of power and control imperatives they desire to render all of agriculture, and nature itself, as monocultural as possible. This is part of the general centralizing and Gleichschaltung imperative of all political and economic concentration. Authoritarianism loathes diversity and must eradicate it. Monocultural agriculture, from the genes to the field practices to the commodity stream, comprises authoritarianism physically embodied within agricultural practice. From there agribusiness seeks to control ever-broader swaths of ecosystems and nature, rendering it more simple and easily controlled by subduing or killing large parts of it with poison. Just as the Nazis sought greater control by reducing human diversity by killing people and suppressing cultural expression, so poison-based agriculture seeks the exact same totalitarian goal through the exact same program of killing and suppression, though poisons and genetic eradication (via contamination and by narrowing the gene pool economically via seed sector concentration). And from there agribusiness seeks to control the food supply, economically and logistically, and where necessary through physical rationing, withholding, and causing crop failures.
.
Of course where money is enshrined as a necessary political/religious ritual one must perform in order to receive food, to refuse access to food based on lack of money is exactly the same as to directly physically withhold or destroy the food as such. It’s necessary to fully comprehend that corporate agriculture, in direct contradiction to the “Feed the World” Big Lie, actively seeks to destroy food far more than to provide it. It does this in every way from the direct physical poisoning of crops and ecosystems to intentionally wasting as many calories as possible through the CAFO system to systematically destroying human access to food by subjugating food distribution to capitalism and money as such, which simply comprise a religion/ideology of control. Corporate agriculture does not want to feed the world, but to place it on starvation rations the better to subjugate and control it. No one can honestly look at the evidence record, the results the corporate system consistently brings, and dispute this.
.
A photograph in the piece shows how the GM brinjal plants need bamboo supports, a practice historically not needed. The plants must be very weak. Those artificial supports are a fine symbol. They’re symbolic of the worthlessness of the technology. They’re symbolic of how the ecological product the technology seeks to eradicate is vastly better in every way – healthier, stronger, more efficient, lower maintenance, less expensive. Most of all they’re perfectly symbolic of how the one and only thing which causes them to exist at all is central planning. And why would centralized power plan and seek to impose Bt brinjal? The answer is the same as for the massively larger centrally planned social engineering project of GMOs and poison-based agriculture itself. Obviously no one would ever do such things for any practical, rational, or moral purpose.
.
On the contrary, the self-evident impracticality, irrationality, anti-scientificality, immorality, and simple insanity of the entire poisoner endeavor prove that the purpose and goal can also manifest only at this same level of evil and insanity.

<

February 12, 2016

GMO News Summary February 12th, 2016

<

*José Manuel Silva, president of the Portuguese Medical Association, has called for a global ban on glyphosate: “For glyphosate the conclusion is clear: this herbicide should be banned worldwide.” This is the beginning of what will at first be a trickle of those who will first enter through the breach the WHO opened up and then go beyond to call for this ban. The job of the glyphosate abolition movement is to hammer away and widen this breach, drive the coming sea change in public knowledge and opinion, and bring the trickle to a flood.
.
*The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is now talking tough to the EFSA about the agency’s slanders of the IARC’s work. Director Chris Wild is demanding that the EFSA retract the lies it has posted about the IARC’s study and correct several distortions before the cancer research agency will go through with a scheduled meeting with the pro-poison regulator. The lies center on the IARC’s determination to stick with the whole science and nothing but the science in their assessment of the glyphosate cancer evidence. The EFSA and German Bureau of Risk Assessment (BfR), by contrast, refuse to recognize the scientific record (for example, their anti-scientific dogma rejects epidemiological research even though this is the most complete scientific evidence possible), but instead recognize only “secret science”, which by definition is not science at all. The BfR and EFSA consulted only this mythical pseudo-science and, to add insult, berated the IARC for not having consulted the same even though: 1. Secret science doesn’t count as evidence at all; and 2. It’s secret, so the IARC panel wouldn’t have been allowed to see it even if they had wanted to. The EFSA has also told technical lies about the IARC’s methods. EFSA director Bernhard Url continues his months-long pattern of squirming and lying as he tries to do the minimum possible to induce the IARC to go through with the meeting.
.
*Monsanto is settling with the SEC for $80 million to cover for a vastly greater amount of accounting fraud regarding the way it logged its Roundup revenues without subtracting the cost of rebates. From 2009-11 Monsanto paid rebates to farmers so they could purchase the additional pesticides they needed to spray when Monsanto’s GM crops failed to work as advertised. The SEC found that Monsanto was failing to log the full cost of these rebates in order to inflate its revenue figures. Monsanto admits no wrongdoing but is paying this small fine, and its CEO will regurgitate some of his bonuses. All this won’t help the company’s reputation on Wall Street, which is already looking askance at them.
.
All this is just the mildest slap on the wrist. As I said two weeks ago about the court judgements against Monsanto for its crimes involving PCBs, the penalties aren’t even in the same galaxy with what the company, its executives, its technicians and its salesmen deserve.
.
*Is the globalization-assisted Zika virus causing an epidemic of microcephaly? Are the GM mosquitoes themselves causing it? Or is it actually yet another epidemic being caused by a pesticide. The Argentine public health doctors’ group Physicians of the Crop-Sprayed Towns and their Brazilian counterpart Abrasco are reporting that they have evidence linking the epidemic to pyriproxyfen, a poison sprayed to kill mosquito larvae. If true, this means the specter of allegedly mosquito-borne disease, including birth defects, is being used as the pretext to sell and spray a poison which is actually causing the worst epidemic of birth defects. This kind of psychopathy is par for the course for disaster capitalism, and especially for the corporate poison sector.
.
*According to records publicly posted by the EPA, the USDA along with state agriculture departments is openly exasperated with the EPA. As the USDA sees it, although the two agencies share a mandate to maximize the production and use of agricultural poisons the EPA has sometimes been slack. The result has been that “EPA added an additional and unnecessary burden to farmers by publishing a portion of an incomplete risk assessment”, which is regulator code for “an additional and unnecessary burden to the corporations.” By all accounts the EPA is just as ardent a poison booster as the USDA, but has sometimes had to delay approvals because of adverse legal decisions. Evidently the USDA believes EPA has been too willing to obey court orders and hasn’t been creative or defiant enough in disobeying them. This gives us an insight into the USDA’s attitude toward the law and society. Indeed in 2010 the USDA allowed planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets in direct defiance of a court order forbidding this.
.
Meanwhile the EPA just got hit with another lawsuit. The Center for Biological Diversity will try again to force the EPA to obey the Endangered Species Act, this time with regard to its assessment of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide. By now EPA’s attitude toward the ESA is clear: Ignore and evade it as much as possible. If a lawsuit forces them to face up to it, make the narrowest deal possible while continuing to evade and ignore at every other point. Force groups like the CBD to keep filing lawsuit after lawsuit over specific acts of flouting, and avoid any general accounting.
.
Yet even this systematic lawlessness is still far too law-abiding for the USDA’s taste.
.
*Over fifty farmer unions comprising a spectrum from small organic farmers groups to large commodity unions, including many members of the Modi government coalition, are opposing the rumored imminence of the government’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) cultivation approval for GM mustard. The unions object to the secrecy of the process and the fact that there’s no need for the product. They point out how Bt cotton has aggravated the economic crisis and suicide epidemic among small cotton farmers and how it has increased pesticide use. They accuse the government of pushing the project for no reason other than “collusion with the seed and chemical industry”.
.
We can expect the same government and corporate propaganda campaign as was undertaken with Bt cotton. Advertising, seed dealers, and secretly paid local farming leaders will tout the product. The goal is to hook farmers on the pesticide and debt treadmill, accelerating the liquidation of small farmers and the consequent concentration of farmland. Perhaps with such better informed and organized farmer opposition this time around, there will be a more effective alternative source of information for farmers than the corporate status quo.
.
*Researchers in Burkina Faso are attributing this latest in the long line of Bt cotton blunders to a typical pleiotropic effect, which in the case of the pirated Bollgard II Burkinabe varieties causes the bolls to produce lint whose threads are too short, even when the bolls themselves yield superficially well. This is poor quality cotton which can’t be sold at market price. As always, genetic engineering is sloppy, imprecise, opaque to the engineers who have only the haziest notion of what they’re doing, and the only thing predictable about it is that it will produce chaotically unpredictable effects. As always, any alleged pesticide reduction, even if true for the spraying, is fraudulent accounting since it omits the increasing number of neonic and other seed coatings as well as the Bt toxin itself. Meanwhile spraying reductions are always temporary.
.
(This is also a good study in what a meaningless crackpot measure “yield” is in itself. What’s the substantive meaning when one says, “Even though cotton yields are up, the amount machines are able to extract from the picked cotton has diminished. In other words, Bt cotton produces both less cotton lint, and lint of an inferior quality”? That sure sounds to me like Bt cotton yields more poorly by any meaningful measure. And again, even by their measure any increase in gross bolls is dependent on optimal conditions and is purely temporary pending the inevitable debouching of secondary pests and evolution of resistance among the target insect.)
.
*Government “intelligence” types including James Clapper are suddenly catching on to what we’ve always known, that genetic engineering is inherently a bioweapons program, in the same way that in its pesticide plant manifestation (pretty much all of it so far) it’s also a chemical warfare program.
.
Of course system bureaucrats and flacks are concerned only with how “enemies” and “non-state actors” might obtain and use these weapons, not about the infinitely greater bio- and chemical warfare being waged right now by governments and corporations all around the world. Most of this is under the guise of industrial agriculture, but objectively speaking it’s literal war against all the ecosystems of the Earth and against almost all the people.
.
*More on the Oregon state legislative proposal seeking partial reversal of the preemption law enacted in 2013 (on a fast-track “emergency” basis, no less) with the goal of crushing Oregon’s rising food sovereignty, anti-corporate, community rights movement. The bill’s sponsor insists he wants to retain preemption in general but just get rid of one provision, the regulation of seeds, which he thinks is over-broad. Opponents say the sky is falling and that this would “gut” the whole law. The truth sounds like the proposal is pretty meager. If everyone remains so in favor of preemption that those who are really opposed would have to operate by stealth, then how could they get a meaningful law passed anyway? One thing you can always be sure of is that anyone using the canned propaganda term “patchwork” is talking in bad faith.
.

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, told the committee the law was written so broadly that it prohibits any local regulation of plants, including city ordinances regulating overgrown yards, city tree policies, and lawmakers’ own desire to let counties regulate marijuana.

Several area farmers testified about the difficulties a “patchwork of local regulations” would present to those who farm in multiple counties.

Ivan Maluski, policy director for Friends of Family Farmers, countered that there’s been no action on a statewide solution to the conflict between GMO and non-GMO farmers, something that then Gov. Kitzhaber committed to in writing to win legislative support for the legislation in 2013.

.
Surprise surprise, while yelling “Stampede!” Kitzhaber promised solutions to problems afterward, but turns out to have been lying about that.
.
*Hawaii developments continue: The SHAKA movement is proceeding with its appeal of the federal court ruling slapping down Maui’s democratically voted moratorium on GMO cultivation. The court ruled that this ballot initiative was preempted by state law. The appeals court rejected the corporations’ motion to reject the appeal.
.
In response to a similar preemption ruling from the same pro-corporate court striking down Kauai’s 2013 law imposing modest notification requirements for pesticide spraying near schools, hospitals, old age homes and similar places, state legislators have introduced legislation to impose similar notification requirements statewide.
.
Hawaii is subject to one of the most concentrated poison attacks on earth. Modest as they are, these legislative attempts are the beginning of the necessary abolition of all poison-based agriculture in Hawaii.

<

February 8, 2016

The Goal of the Scientism Cultists

<

“But it’s too soon to say whether feminized fish are indicative of health effects for humans too.” No, it’s not. The corporations and government have known for decades that ALL of these chemicals are extremely toxic to ALL kinds of animals including humans. That includes endocrine disruption effects at low doses. So the EPA has known since the 1970s that there is no safe level of environmental presence. Their continued policy since then of setting “tolerance” levels for these poisons and claiming the chemicals are safe up to those levels, instead of banning them, is nothing but a Nuremburg-level criminal conspiracy, using that word exactly as it was defined at Nuremburg.
.
What could be the goals that justify such monstrousness? Today’s corporate and engineering elites want to use genetic engineering, gene therapy, and hormone therapy to deliberately re-sculpt all life according to their own specifications. This is because they have an elemental hatred for evolution and nature and because they believe this power to control and manipulate will literally turn them into gods. They have a long record of rhetoric openly proclaiming this goal. It also reflects how the scientism/engineering cult arose from fanatical religious roots in the first place (specifically, millennarian Christianity) and never transcended those religious roots in the modern era, but simply recast them in “secular” terms. David Noble’s Religion of Technology is an excellent survey of this history.
.
So right now we have corporate sectors being allowed to poison humans and the environment on a massive level. From the corporate point of view this is for power and profit. From the point of view of the cultist true-believers, they’re supporting corporate poison products for careerist reasons and reasons of general authoritarian ideology (STEM types are inherently prone to be anti-democratic and authoritarian), but they also have a special project for it. The eugenic control project is at the stage of conducting a massive uncontrolled experiment in genetic engineering (via transgenic contamination and in general the wholesale domination of wise stretches of habitat by agricultural GMOs), “gene therapy” (the genetic damage caused by pesticides and other industrial chemicals), and “hormone therapy” (the endocrine disruption and reproductive system damage and birth defects caused by these chemicals).
.
The reason STEM types support all this is because they hope to use the data generated here toward designing and carrying out future controlled experiments along these lines, eventually toward a full-scale eugenic policy deployment to eugenically sculpt all of society and nature. Of course along the way they’ll also use the data to develop lucrative luxury products, providing human modification services to the gullible rich and so on.
.
I’m not saying that right at this moment there’s some master cabal somewhere which is consciously planning all this, though as I said they often informally talk about it quite openly. I’m saying their entire pattern of action is trending toward this goal, and the entire history of their type (the history of eugenics specifically, and the control ideology among engineers in general) proves that at some point they will consciously organize to attain this goal.
.
So I think that’s where we are along this historical vector: Agricultural GMOs, the rising phenomenon of GE animals, and the wholesale toxification of the Earth including the genetic damage and endocrine disruption being systematically, if in an uncontrolled way, inflicted upon humans and all other kinds of animals, are all being done for their own proximate power/profit purposes, but are also a stalking horse for future eugenics and are being used to gather data toward future controlled experiments. (If I’m right about this, it would follow that the corporations, governments, universities probably are gathering real data on the effects of these poisons, though of course doing their best to keep this data secret. There’s one of the core reasons for the secrecy campaign of corporate “science”.)

<

February 6, 2016

GMOs Increase Pesticide Use and Have Made Cancer-Causing Glyphosate the World’s #1 Pesticide

<

*Charles Benbrook has published a new study quantifying the skyrocketing use of glyphosate since the introduction of GM crops engineered to resist it. Use skyrockets because of the spread of Roundup Ready GMOs and the equally prodigious spread of Roundup Resistant weeds, requiring more frequent and heavier applications of glyphosate to have any effect at all. This of course only accelerates the development of resistance. From the Abstract: “Globally, glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since so-called “Roundup Ready,” genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced in 1996.” The report finds that GMOs account for 56% of global glyphosate use.
.
This was the result fully intended by Monsanto and the US government. A weed control regime based on Roundup was supposed to eradicate crop rotation, cover cropping and other elements of a sane, agronomically sound weed control system, and instead commit the entire system to ever-increasing, ever more brainless and stupid slathering of poison. This is because corporations and corporate governments have a pro-poison ideological bias and impose upon themselves a policy mandate to maximize the production and use of poison. They do this because they see it as increasing their control and power, including in the form of profit. GMOs were designed to greatly increase pesticide use. It was always self-evidently absurd from any point of view to believe the Big Lie that GMOs were ever designed to reduce this, or that they could do so even if anyone had ever wanted them to. It was never possible to be in doubt that weeds and pests would consistently develop resistance, and at an accelerating rate, since the phenomenon of the pesticide treadmill goes back many decades prior to the advent of GMOs. In the same way, all sane people know that the exact same result will overtake GMOs based on 2,4-D, dicamba, or any other herbicide, and the same for all Bt and RNAi insecticidal GMOs. There’s zero doubt about any of this. This was built into the plan from the start as standard planned obsolescence, both for conventional profiteering reasons and to continually aggrandize the poison-driven corporate system thereby increasing its agronomic control, and from there its control over the economy and politics in general. Again, it was always self-evident that corporations which sell poison would develop only products which would help them sell more poison. How hard is this? This may be the best of the many examples of how fundamentally stupid pro-GMO activists and sympathizers are.
.
“Glyphosate will likely remain the most widely applied pesticide worldwide for years to come, and interest will grow in quantifying ecological and human health impacts.” These impacts are already known to be devastating. As Monsanto and the EPA have known since the late 1970s and the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed in 2015, glyphosate causes cancer. It also causes severe birth defects and reproductive problems. This is in addition to its many other health assaults and its destructive effect on bees, soil, and the environment in general. If it’s not banned soon it will cause the extinction of the monarch butterfly.
.

<
.
.
.
.
.

February 5, 2016

GMO News Summary, February 5th 2016

<

*The ChemChina/Syngenta deal is near complete. “ChemChina, as the closely-held company is known, offered $465 a share in cash, according to a statement on Wednesday. The offer, endorsed by Syngenta’s board, is about 20 percent higher than the stock’s last close.” China has long been planning to build its own GMO/pesticide conglomerate and assert itself globally in competition with the US-based cartel. Syngenta’s chairman has suggested that he thinks Syngenta could become China’s primary supplier of GM technology and primary Western partner for China’s project. Bloomberg complacently comments on how China and Syngenta will nevertheless submit to US review and veto power over the deal, because “even though Syngenta isn’t based in the U.S, it does have North American operations that generated $3.6 billion in sales last year” which the US could threaten to hinder and harm in some way if the company doesn’t stay in line. Although Syngenta is more diversified across the pesticide line (which is economically prior to and more important than GM seeds) than Monsanto and therefore relatively better positioned (but over the long run the fundamentals are bad for all of industrial agriculture), Syngenta evidently is being subject to stick-ups by both China and the US.
.
This is part of the intensifying Great Game for total control of agriculture and food. The agrochemical conglomerates are at the peak of their power, but their position has never been more precarious. Having been aced out of a Syngenta deal, if Monsanto doesn’t make a deal with BASF or something similar they might be in deep trouble.
.
*One of my four featured yahoos who impersonate scientists is still at it. More detail on Bruce Chassy’s ongoing career as a mercenary fraud. In spite of his claims about his scientific credentials, he actually has zero credentials in agriculture, food science, medicine, biology, or genetics. Yet the FDA and the University of Illinois, and of course the media, have joined in perpetrating the fraud that he does have some kind of expertise in these areas.
.
*Here’s another example of the pro-GMO activists’ standard attitude toward truth and morality. Critics of poison agriculture are accusing the Genetic Illiteracy Project of publishing personal information and changing headlines and text when reposting their pieces. More amusingly, those complaining of tampering with headlines and text include such pro-GMO activists as Keith Kloor, Anastasia Bodnar of Biofalsified, Helena Bottemiller, and Julie Kelly. Now they’re all whining about “unethical practices”, which is quite rich coming from the likes of Kloor and company. Of course the GIP’s systematic lying on behalf of cancer-causing poisons and corporate domination of agriculture and food doesn’t bother them one bit, since such Nuremburg lies are their trade as well.
.
*The Indian central government is admitting in court what farmers and critics have known for over ten years, that Bt cotton is an extremely failure prone product. The admission comes in a court proceeding where the government is defending its imposition of price controls on the shoddy seeds against a challenge from Mahyco-Monsanto. The corporations especially object to the government’s placement of limits on the tax Monsanto collects on cotton seed sales. The government admits that it allowed Monsanto to attain a near-monopoly on cotton seed. (It also actively encouraged this monopoly.) But between the tax and the generally very poor performance of the crop farmers can no longer afford to plant it. This is driving the suicide epidemic among small cotton farmers in India. This price control policy, along with the latest of the many Karnataka bailouts, is just the latest in the long line of central and state government bailouts, price controls, and bans on shoddy seeds.
.
*The political struggle continues over that same Indian central government’s imminent approval of Bt mustard for commercial release. The opposition to this and to GM crops in general has included several elements of the Modi government’s coalition such as farmer unions and “nationalist” types. In defiance of prior court decisions and transparency law the government is keeping secret the biosafety dossier from the field trials and any lab testing which has been done, which is proof that the evidence is very bad regarding the GM product’s agronomic behavior and health and safety implications. As far as GM contamination we don’t really need the secret data, as the crop’s lead developer Deepak Pental has freely admitted that “the crossing of the transgenic gene to other non-GM mustard varieties is expected.” It certainly is expected to happen especially broadly and rapidly with brassicas. Indeed contamination is so universally documented and economic policy is so relentless in seeking to normalize ever increasing levels of “adventitious presence”* that we have to call it a primary purpose of the GMO project. Meanwhile public health campaigner Aruna Rodrigues filed a petition with the supreme court for an injunction against the government’s plans to approve herbicide tolerant mustard, cotton, and corn. In 2013 the court-appointed Technical Expert Committee, in addition to advising strong precautions and transparency where it comes to GMOs in general, found that herbicide tolerant GMOs as such would be economically inappropriate for India.
.
(It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of GM mustard is being talked about in various contexts, in particular which is the one supposedly about to be approved for commercial release. Most pieces I’ve seen called it Bt mustard, but the last few days they’ve been talking about a product which would be herbicide tolerant as well.)
.
[*According to EuropaBio lobbying, TTIP negotiations, and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association’s proposed GMO labeling standards, where it comes to GM contamination of the general agriculture, commodity stream, and food supply the regulatory threshold for “non-GMO” is supposed to increase mechanically as the contamination becomes more prevalent, in the exact same way that regulators mechanically increase the “tolerance” levels for pesticide residues in food. This is one of several reasons why it’s utopian to think the FDA could ever apply a strong GMO labeling policy: The FDA would mechanically raise the legally allowed level of contamination which would be called “adventitious” as the chronic contamination increased. Therefore the level of GM material in a product which would require it to be labeled “contains genetically engineered ingredients”, and beneath which it would not have to carry a label, would continually, automatically increase. The FDA would also preempt any state law or voluntary body like the Non-GMO Project from imposing a more rigorous standard.]
.
*GMO contamination is a systematic policy goal. The USDA and Monsanto will never stop until they are stopped once and for all. Here we have documentary proof that the most far-ranging and aggressive contamination is a core part of the intended goal.
.
*This interview with Marc Edwards, a scientist who helped expose the poisoning of the Flint water supply, is a case study in how normal science really works under corporate rule. He speaks to how rare it is for the scientific method, falsification and all, to actually be applied, and what happens when a scientist actually does work that way. Here’s a quote from the piece:
.

Q. I keep coming back to these university researchers in Flint who said: “The state has 50 epidemiologists. They say that the water’s safe. So I’m going to focus my energy on something that’s less settled.” How do you decide when the state should be challenged?

A. That’s a great question. We are not skeptical enough about each other’s results. What’s the upside in that? You’re going to make enemies. People might start questioning your results. And that’s going to start slowing down our publication assembly line. Everyone’s invested in just cranking out more crap papers.

So when you start asking questions about people, and you approach them as a scientist, if you feel like you’re talking to an adult and they give you a rational response and are willing to share data and discuss an issue rationally, I’m out of there. I go home.

But when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA [open-records requests], y’know. … In each case I just started asking questions and turning over rocks, and I resolved to myself, The second something slimy doesn’t come out, I’m gonna go home. But every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out.

.
Unfortunately Edwards isn’t yet the kind of public health campaigner we the people need since he still thinks and talks in terms of restoring trust in the system even though he just testified to how the system is depraved beyond redemption. That’s not the first time I’ve seen the same notion coming from a partially dissident scientist, that “restoring trust in the system” as such is somehow supposed to be one of the goals. A true dissident, which by now also means anyone who has scientific integrity, must work to demolish the credibility, legitimacy, and authority of an establishment “science” system which has become completely anti-scientific under corporate directives and in furtherance of corporate rule.
.
*Corporate Europe Observatory has released a new report on the corporate attempt in Europe to have the newer kinds of GMOs arbitrarily declared outside the bounds of regulation. This parallels the USDA’s campaign to exempt more and more GMOs from its own purview.
.
This would include exemption from labeling requirements for all so-called “second generation” GMOs developed via gene editing and so-called “cisgenesis”* The report specifically highlights how GM apples and potatoes are supposed to be exempted from regulation including labeling. Here’s another reason why it’s impossible to get real labeling from the FDA. The agency whose primary religious dogma is that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to true crops and which abdicated nearly all regulatory oversight will certainly follow the USDA’s lead in declaring the second generation GMOs not to be GMOs at all for purposes of labeling.
.
[*A de jure and de facto fraud. Even where the main transgene is from the same species, the cisgenesis gene cassette includes several elements from other species, such as a viral promoter. And the violent, mutation-inducing insertion and tissue culture procedures are the same as for any other GMO. So nothing’s different. “Cisgenesis” is a scientifically meaningless term, a pure propaganda/marketing hoax.]
.
Although we must fight these lawless attempts, we the people should fully reciprocate the mindset that GMOs and their activists are outlaws in the full medieval sense of the term, exactly as they say they want to be.
.
This and the earlier point about contamination highlight not only the impossibility of any real FDA labeling, but how the idea of labeling is misguided in principle. Here we have two examples of how a very slow, clumsy, often static labeling policy would try to keep track of a fast-moving, crafty GMO target, and would try to do this within the “co-existence” framework which everyone knows is impossible. Labeling sounded good and maybe even sufficient when the idea was first broached all those years ago. By now we’ve learned enough to know that it’s insufficient and not worth being any kind of significant goal. It’s time to move beyond the concept of labeling as anything more than an organizational tool, and to full abolition as the necessary, fully conscious goal, and adapt all organizational principle, strategy, and tactics to that.
.
*The people of California’s Sonoma County are working for a county-level ban on GMO cultivation. They look to join the growing list of counties in California, Oregon, and Hawaii which have passed such bans. These county-level bans have had mixed fortunes in the courts, but in the long run the courts can never be the source of the people’s health and freedom. Only our political will can do that, and if we find this will the “law” will follow.

<

Older Posts »