Volatility

December 26, 2017

Genesis and Anti-Genesis

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The dominant religions of today have their version of the book of life and the lake of fire. They give themselves the false moniker “life sciences”, though theirs is more verily a necrology. We know that the corporate power system and the scientism cult seek to wipe out all natural and humanly crafted ecology and replace these with their centrally engineered technological pseudo-ecology. They do this for profit reasons, reasons of power and control, and out of religious zealotry.
 
Let’s look to their own mythology and self-image. Star Trek II and its sequel featured a technology called the Genesis Device. According to government propaganda it was to be used to seed barren planets and moons with proliferant life. But what if instead of deploying it on a barren planet they fired it into a planet which already had indigenous life? It would be a weapon of planetary genocide and ecocide. Power could have no other plan for it. Even if we grant the mythical “good intentions” at the outset, once all the so-called empty space is filled, action demands that the already-occupied space be re-occupied. This is the fundamental logic of power. History proves that once power is concentrated it can never stop concentrating. Power becomes and remains inherently aggressive the moment it’s allowed to begin the concentration process.
 
This is true at the secular level of the corporate technocracy and at the religious level of Mammon and scientism. Whether conceived religiously or at a more mundane level, the corporation represents the ultimate form of this totalitarian process. It elegantly concentrates all the energies of greed, aggression, powerlust, egotism, sadism, hatred, and places them all at the service of profiteering and power-seeking. In turn, the profit motive is the most purely concentrated sociopathic assault on every value, institution, and physical creature, except insofar as any of these can serve the ends of profit. Profit is the one and only end, money relations the one and only relation. All means, and literally all of existence, are to be judged instrumentally, relative to this end. Corporations, purely sociopathic in principle, obligated in principle to the profit motive and nothing but the profit motive, are the organizational form of this totalizing process. This is the essence of Mammon, and the essence of technocracy.
 
Corporate technocracy has no choice but to completely encompass the globe. By its very nature it can tolerate no limit upon its expansion. Up against any limit whatsoever, profiteering immediately stagnates and soon collapses. It must fully reach the extreme limits of the earth itself, and then dream of going beyond. As Cecil Rhodes put it, “I would annex the stars if I could.” Thus he found the words to express the cancer of the mind which drives all cadres of these cults. Anyone who fantasizes about “getting off the rock” is an enemy of humanity and the Earth.
 
The religious fantasies of interstellar colonization and asteroid mining are pipe dreams. If there were ever enough fossil fuels to seed such a project which would send the likes of Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump to the stars (anyone who’s not an idiot knows such colonization would be only for the 1% and its flunkeys while humanity dies on its destroyed rock), the system long since has squandered them on more terrestrial luxuries. Alas, these fanatics are stuck with the planet we have, and they must kill and violently die upon it. Expansion, colonization, financialization, the corporate welfare state, these are all attempts at meta-profiteering, the capture of all society and economy within the fictive bonds of Mammon’s tokens, the corporate mark, the hypnosis of propaganda.
 
Mammon is trying to use its globalized economy of phony cash and debt to gather all real assets and resources in its hands. But this too has a strict limit. In the end the earth is finite, and its most important resources, those of food and water, are renewable. These are the essence of the globe’s indigenous cycle of life. Humanity is anchored in this cycle, and when the vicious parasite finally is purged, humanity amid nature shall remain intact.
 
But what if Mammon and technocracy could find a way to destroy indigenous nature and replace it with a proprietary, enclosed pseudo-nature sufficient to sustain some version of hominid life? This would, at one stroke, wipe the slate clean and replace a full planet with an empty one, ready to be recolonized and re-enclosed. At the same time it would prevent the redemption of the Earth and wipe out the final land base for any form of independent human existence. Once we’re forced into dependence upon the corporate Satan for our literal food – first politically, through tyrannical police enforcement of patent prerogatives, and eventually physically, as the seeds will be engineered to render their replanting physically impossible – it will be the end of any human hope whatsoever.
 
That’s the goal of GMO imperialism: To drive out nature itself and replace it with the corporate-marked pseudo-flora and fauna. They intend this to be the death blow to the resistance of humanity and Earth and plan to open up a literal new world for Mammon’s accumulation and domination. In principle this process will be infinitely repeatable, as each genetically engineered “order” is superseded by a new one, much like how Louis XIV would sell titles of nobility, then declare them void and resell them. Repeat as necessary. Each time the globe shall be wiped clean to present Mammon and Science with a blank slate. This will be the final, fullest development of disaster capitalism, which by now is synonymous with capitalism itself. This will be the ultimate harmony of total destructive chaos and total order. This harmonized contradiction is the holy grail of totalitarianism. It is the anti-religion vs. all religion, the anti-science vs. all science, the anti-reason vs. all reason. It will use its pesticides to exterminate all seed of the Garden of Eden once and for all and prevent by force the descent of the New City. It will prevent forever the building of civilization. This is the nightmare and the goal
 
They shall fail and this evil shall be destroyed. Gaia shall destroy them, humanity shall help. The fraudulent anti-miracles of corporate technology such as the pesticide/GMO complex cannot in fact sustain life. They’ve done nothing but fail in every way while subverting all physical health and fertility. This system can lead to nothing but total biological collapse. It would be a race to see what happens first – a catastrophic crop failure and subsequent famine pandemic, or a non-linear health cataclysm suddenly crippling people after years of ingesting these poisons.
 
But this is irrelevant to Mammon and irrelevant to the corporate imperative, which cares about nothing but carrying out its power mission for as long as the corporate-technocratic system exists. Think of the Terminator and its single-minded murderous focus. That’s the character of totalitarian psychopathy in individuals, groups, and organizational forms. Indeed, this appetite for collapse is a feature, not a bug. The system considers the hyper-vulnerability of monoculture in general and GMO monoculture in particular to be desirable. That’s why the system is unconcerned with the strength of Bt- and herbicide-resistant superbugs and superweeds. This always was a desired outcome, since it now escalates biological warfare, requiring the purchase of ever greater amounts and varieties of herbicide and ever more expensive proprietary seeds. Each new GMO generation is more expensive than the failed one it must replace. GMOs were the epitome of disaster capitalism from their inception. We’ve long known that corporate agriculture, via the Big Lie of the “green revolution”, seeks scarcity and disaster, not plenty. Only continuous disaster makes capitalism and corporate domination possible at all. Thus we have the preparation of the GMO Genesis Device, whose goal is to wipe out a flourishing living planet and fill the artificial dead zone with its synthesized “life” whose one and only goal will be to continue the hideous death march of profit.
 
Earth shall destroy them, and humanity shall help. This abuse of ecology and humanity contains its own destruction as it triggers the counteractions of revolution. Politically and ecologically it is unsustainable.
 
The situation is untenable and intolerable. We must, with all organized speed, decentralize, relocalize, and democratize food production and distribution on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas. Destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs every chance you get.
 
 
 

December 24, 2017

The Forest of Eden

Filed under: Dance of Death — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 8:24 pm

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According to one version of the story of Eden, God forbade Adam and Eve to taste of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If they tasted of knowledge, God promised them, “you shall surely die”. In this version the serpent entered Eden and enticed Eve and Adam to taste of knowledge. To punish them for this disobedience God cast Adam and Eve from the forage of the Garden, dooming them to toil for their food and shelter, dooming them to mortality.
 
There’s another version of this story. According to this story God never forbade the taste of knowledge, on the contrary he encouraged it, but warned against letting knowledge usurp life to the corruption and death of both. The serpent entered Eden and enticed Adam and Eve, not to eat of the tree but to cut it down. Eve said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of every tree of the garden, but God has said we must not touch any tree to hurt it, lest we die.
 
And the serpent said, you shall not die, for God knows that in the day you kill his trees and poison his garden you shall drive him out and become as gods, dictating good and evil. Your murder gains life for your own godhood.
 
Adam and Eve were seduced. The serpent fired their lust for power, and they cut down the tree believing this would liberate them. But they found only their fear and alienation, God no longer was to be found, the garden withered, themselves doomed to worthless toil and mortality.
 
 
Another story is told of a Jewish spiritual reformer who was crucified by the Romans and then rose again, because he was really the human incarnation of God. Followers, onlookers, even his persecutors looked on in awe as God cried out from the cross and gave up the ghost. According to another version of this story, Jesus dodged the nails leaving a sign while the cross went up alone, and all who looked on felt the magnitude of the wood of the cross itself, the sacrifice of the trees which were felled to crucify God.
 
 
All the trees are coming back. All the trees murdered for commodity and spite will rise again. All the trees come back, millions everywhere, the forests sprout from the lawns, break from every street and parking lot, burst through the houses, level the strip malls, rip open the McMansions, purge the industrial plantations.
 
All versions of the story agree that when the reformer was tempted by the devil, offering the same promise of becoming a god himself, to dictate good and evil, to receive the submission of millions, to murder for his own godhood, Jesus rejected the devil and rejected the temptation.
 
 
At Christmas the people think again of the primal trees but drive themselves to reprise the sacrifice. To symbolize the original sacrifice they kill another for the ceremony, or kill the very idea of the tree in favor of an artificial simulation. Idolatry of the anti-tree is most symbolic of the modern idol-worship, the worship of every technology and every idea of technocracy in proportion to how much it promises to murder nature, to murder reality.
 
 
In this West at its final climax it’s murder for commodity, murder for monoculture, murder from spite most spiritually deadly of all. The suburbs spawn psychopaths, powerless atoms who can play at voting for evil but truly can exercise their love of death only in murdering the most ancient, most beautiful, most sentient beings. Where each middle class suburbanite, including the most impeccably liberal or radical, gleefully murders trees or blandly looks on amid such massacre, we can expect nothing but the same banality toward climate change and ecological destruction in general. And that’s exactly what we have. Politics is Dead. Tree-murder is a cause and a symptom.
 
Nature’s laws are a wall, however much they temporarily may seem like mist. God sees the truth but waits, and Gaia’s correction proceeds according to its own timetable but arrives completely in the end. An organism cannot rebel against the foundation of its life other than as a mode of suicide. The extreme energy civilization and all who exalt it are committing suicide. Humanity’s great mission is to redeem itself and not commit suicide as a species. Ecologically, suicide is directly proportional to one’s action of homicide. We must stop murdering or else die ourselves. Whatever humanity chooses, Gaia’s kinesis is imminent.
 
 
All the trees are coming back. The tree of knowledge of good and evil stands everywhere, this is every tree. The tree of life stands everywhere, this is every tree. The tree of beauty, the tree of love, the tree of peace, the tree of happiness, the tree of wisdom, the tree of childhood, the tree of health, the tree of vigor, the tree of strength, all stand everywhere. All who once stood are coming back. The tree of Earth still stands everywhere, and everywhere is coming back. If it ever were felled, humanity surely would die, but the true life would continue.
 
This is the true Christmas tree, if there still were such an idea in the mind of humanity. This will decide whether we can reclaim ourselves.
 
All the trees are coming back. This is the true reclamation.
 
 
 
 

December 21, 2017

The Dicamba Crisis Part 2: GMO/Pesticides Vs. Evolution

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The final step would be no plants and therefore no humans.

 
 
Part one, describing the crisis.
 
 
Contrary to modernist religion evolution does not “progress”, but barring extreme events it tends in a linear way toward greater diversity. It doesn’t make great leaps outside of its own limits and laws. This is why scientifically sound agriculture is based on soil-building, biodiversity, attracting beneficial insects and other organisms, and putting natural stress on pests. These are the basis of agroecology.
 
Poison-based agriculture comprises, in theory and practice, the radical repudiation of science and wisdom. Rejecting biodiversity in every way and exalting monculture, it is anti-evolutionary and counter-evolutionary. It seeks to break out of evolution and nature completely and replace these with a technological desert. We see this most clearly with the GMO campaign.
 
One of the core cult faiths of genetic engineering cultism is that the engineers can lift themselves and their product out of the framework of natural evolution, leap over all its processes and safeguards, and superimpose their own anti-evolved, non-contexted product over the entire globe in minimal time. The GMO ideology is based on a technological leaping-out of natural evolution, in the same way technocracy as an order of social engineering wants to leap out of human politics, indeed out of human nature as such. As we see with the unfolding dicamba crisis, the results are likely to be disastrous.
 
 
The networked organisms of the ecological system are always reacting to changes in their environment. Their organic reactions generally sum up to relative stability over evolutionary time, and this is part of the process of evolution. Where a change radically leaps over the dampening effect of evolutionary time including its many safeguards and diminishing feedback loops, especially where this radical change is combined with many other drivers of chaos and destruction, the network becomes overstressed as many component organisms find it difficult or impossible to adapt.
 
Naturally evolving organisms and the conventional crop breeding which necessarily is done within the framework of evolution must encounter the naturally evolved safeguards against mutation and ecological disruption. Changes need time and effort to run a gamut of naturally imposed challenges, or the challenges of breeder selection, to become established. Genetic engineering, on the contrary, aggressively seeks to override these safeguards and leap over these challenges. It seeks to deploy the infected genome in the environment over vast regions as fast as it can. This is such a difference of magnitude, speed, and geographical reach as to comprise a qualitative difference. It seeks to maximize mutations and chaotic effects in the environment, along with the great disruptions the impresarios deliberately premeditate.
 
Black Swan author Nassim Taleb co-authored a paper on the systemic risk of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering has zero in common with conventional breeding, physically or ecologically. The lies and denials of pro-GMO activists with regard to this fact demonstrate their general ignorance of evolution and flippant disregard for its implications. The most extreme manifestation of pro-GM evolution denial is this incapacity or refusal to recognize the great difference between adaptation to a wide range of natural environmental hurdles encountered over evolutionary time, as opposed to seeking to leap over all the hurdles in an instant, with the entire process from genetic extraction to insertion to breeding to distribution taking place in a totally artificial, hermetic, alien, non-contextual bubble, and from there to deploy a biological technology developed in this anti-environmental way all at once on a global basis in the real world. Under such circumstances a rational person would expect nothing but disaster.
 
No one even slightly familiar with ecology, biology, genetics, agronomy, or history could take this seriously for a moment. Any natural allele, mutation, horizontal genetic transfer, must run a long gauntlet of safeguards developed by evolution including the genome’s own repair mechanism, then the greater hurdles of the local environment, and must adapt and spread over millions of years. Farmer selection and conventional breeding have followed such a pattern for 10,000 years.
 
But the genetic engineering technique which has existed for just a few years now claims to supersede these thousands and millions of years. It claims to be able to leap over the evolutionary genetic hurdles using technology. This is impossible. Therefore the genetic engineering project implicitly seeks to maximize the harmful mutations, latent weaknesses, unfit traits, and hazards.
 
Similarly, genetic engineering and the political-economic GMO deployment system claim to be able to leap over the evolutionary environmental hurdles, as well as the geographic hurdles, using economic brute force. This means it wants to spread the infected, harmful genetic and biological material, and the agronomic and ecological destruction which follows from it, as globally as possible as fast as possible.
 
Genetic engineering ideology wants to leap over the entire evolutionary time and action during which all matters of fitness, quality, and toxicity are worked out by nature, or by human thought and labor in conjunction with nature. The hubris and contempt for science on display with these persons is staggering. Genetic engineering has nothing in common with conventional breeding. GMOs can be only a debilitating parasite free riding on conventional breeding and destroying its work.
 
Therefore with GMOs we have a phenomenon where politics and economics meld inextricably with ecology. Ecologists, and those whose science is sculpted by an ecological mindset, are the only scientists qualified to speak about GMOs. Beyond that this technology is fundamentally a political and economic phenomenon. GMOs as deployed in the real world, rather than in the depraved minds of their idolators, have very little to do with science. This renders it all the more ironic when the pro-GM activists go hysterically braying about how even the most modest questions or criticisms are “anti-science! anti-science!” We see the evolution denialism of the pro-GMO activists.
 
 
The pesticide model of agriculture is conjoined with the GMO ideology of technologically leaping out of natural evolution. Pesticides are dedicated to the scorched earth monoculture model of agriculture and the ideology which regards the natural world as something to be wiped out. Poisonism is a radical rejection of biodiversity in principle and practice and comprises the will to wipe out all life except that specially selected to be part of the technocratic socio-ecological engineering.
 
The primary privileged organisms in this anti-evolutionary order are the bacterium A. tumefaciens (used as the main insertion vector in genetic engineering, thus using the engineers for its own purposes) and the proprietary GM crops themselves, along with the corporate persons (dogmatically declared to be “real” life forms) and the few humans who are monetarily wealthy. Ironically, the other main group of life forms privileged under this system are the pests, weeds, and diseases whose eradication is the alleged reason for deploying pesticides in the first place.
 
Corporate industrial agriculture denies weed and pest resistance in principle, even as its monoculture provides the best terrain for these organisms to prosper. (It does the same for rats, now the subject of a pro-CRISPR propaganda campaign against “invasives”; more on how the corporate system deliberately privileges rats for its own purposes in an upcoming piece.) Where forced by reality to discuss resistance, the corporations and media blame farmers for sloppy pesticide application and thus pretend that proper application can forestall the development of resistance. But everyone knows the pesticide treadmill, the endless arms race between the escalation of poisons and the resistance the targets inevitably develop against these poisons, is an intrinsic element of the system. In fact this is deliberate planned obsolescence. Everyone knows that no poison works longer than a few years and then must be supplemented by additional, more destructive poisons. The entire model of agrochemicals and GMOs is based on this malevolent dynamic. Therefore weed and pest resistance is the phenomenon upon which they are completely dependent for their continued profit and power. By contrast, if farmers switched to agroecology and dealt with pests and weeds by balancing them out within the framework of evolution rather than a scorched earth arms race running directly counter to it, agriculture would be far more productive, constructive, efficient, and profitable for the actual growers, and it would be the end of the power of agribusiness.
 
We see the horror this prospect strikes in the minds not only of the corporate operatives and scientism cultists themselves, but of the entire governmental, scientific, academic, and media system. That’s why, in spite of some lip service here and there about mixed systems like integrated pest management (IPM), the only truly allowable response to the patent failure of each pesticide and pesticide/GMO system is to deploy even more and worse poisons. The deployment of the Xtend/dicamba system is in response to the collapse of the Roundup Ready system as glyphosate-resistant weeds make a mockery of even the most copious slatherings of the poison. Dicamba and 2,4-D (upon which Dow’s Enlist system is built) both, Monsanto and the USDA promised in the 1990s, would be rendered obsolete by the Roundup Ready system based on the allegedly less harmful glyphosate. All the weed scientists researching and publicizing the dicamba disaster nevertheless agree that the dicamba deployment is the necessary response to Roundup’s collapse, even as they acknowledge that dicamba inevitably will fail and, implicitly, that the herbicide-tolerance GMO model itself is a complete failure. Dicamba’s revival is just the latest proof. For the corporate-technocratic system the only allowed response to failure is to escalate on proven failure. Poison-based agriculture is the most clear and extreme example.
 
Sure enough, weed scientists already are touting the upcoming corporate poison escalations.
 

Scott talked about the HT3 soybean from Monsanto, a “triple stack” soybean that will tolerate three herbicide chemistries: glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba. Glyphosate is known commercially as Roundup. Glufosinate is known as Liberty. Scott said these beans may be available as early as 2019, but likely in limited amounts.

“We observed very good pigweed control with these technologies”, he said.

Also on the horizon, possibly as early as 2018, are the Enlist soybeans. Scott said these beans are “only awaiting Chinese approval for their being legal to use in the U.S.”

Syngenta and Bayer are working on HPPD-tolerant soybeans, “which are further down the line.” The timeline for availability may be 2020 to 2023, Scott said, and the beans are likely to be stacked with other traits.

Still, the message was hopeful at a time when current weed management methods are dividing the farm community.

“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve heard the chemical companies say they’ve got some new tools in the pipeline,” he said.

 
And if these are commercialized, just as surely as glyphosate and dicamba before them these too inevitably will fail, causing even more extreme damage along the way. And so they ratchet from poison to poison, each allegedly representing the end of all other poisons.
 
This proves that the system’s mode of action systematically selects for weed resistance (just as the Bt refuge scam and the entire insecticide model select for insect resistance). This is the one and only point of contact between the poison system and evolution. The system denies evolution in principle and claims some magic combination of poisons will overcome it, even as in practice the system intentionally drives the evolution of resistance in order to sustain and increase its own political and economic power.
 
Therefore, just as monocultural cropping provides the optimal terrain for pests and weeds, the pesticide treadmill fosters their accelerated evolutionary resistance to poisons. In the same way dicamba, like all herbicides and like the entire industrial system based on CAFOs and the antibiotic resistance markers used in genetic engineering, drives the evolution of antibiotic resistant microbes. This too must be seen as an intended goal of the system, a way it manipulates evolution even while denying it. This affects most of all those people directly in contact with the herbicides – farmers, applicators, and in the case of dicamba’s atmospheric loading, all people who live in the dicamba zone. Herbicides decimate our microbiome, selectively sparing pathogens and boosting their resistance to antibiotics. The greater the drift effect, the greater the antibiotic resistance effect. Therefore the dicamba deployment, and the entire glyphosate/2,4-D/dicamba campaign, must be placed in the context of the systematic campaign of governments and corporations to wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. No one who understands and respects evolution could be in any doubt about this goal.
 
 
We understand the insanity of the dicamba GMO crisis. It builds on the failure of Roundup and of the pesticide model as such. It simultaneously denies evolution and drives a specially destructive mode of evolution. Herbicide tolerant GMOs systematically select for weed resistance. Sure enough, dicamba-resistant weeds already are on the rise. The greater the atmospheric loading of volatile dicamba vapor, the faster it’ll drive weed resistance along with every other ecological and health harm.
 
Dicamba’s inherent volatility renders it impossible to control even assuming the greatest care in spraying. Contrary to Monsanto’s lies, all dicamba is volatile including the name brand formulations of Monsanto and BASF. Indeed there’s evidence that dicamba’s volatility is essential to it having any proximate herbicidal effect on weeds in the first place. The more dicamba is sprayed under the warm, humid conditions which cause it to become volatile (i.e., the way it’s intended to be used with the Xtend system), the more the atmosphere in the dicamba zone will become suffused with dicamba vapor and the more completely it will settle over the entire countryside. Under those conditions it will become impossible for any other soybean variety, GM or non-GM, to exist. Farmers will be forced to purchase the few soybean varieties engineered with the Xtend trait. This is Monsanto’s deliberate campaign of biological extortion. (“Xtortion”, as many soybean farmers are calling it.)
 
Therefore Monsanto’s goal is to wipe out all non-Xtend soybeans and attain a monopoly. But that’s just the beginning. We also see the system’s implicit will to destroy vast swaths of vegetables, ornamentals, and trees. However senseless this might seem from the point of view of any textbook profit motive, it’s an expression of the fanatical monoculture mentality which wants to wipe out all natural plant growth and reduce all cultivation to corporate-controlled industrial monoculture.
 
What alternative intent can we infer from the system’s will to escalate the deployment in 2018 after 2017 already proved it so indiscriminately destructive? All USDA and Monsanto projections and proclamations continue to prove that their strict goal is to maximize dicamba’s use and destructiveness. If all goes according to corporate plan, by fall 2018’s seed increase 80% of the commercial soybean seed and 90% of the cotton will be engineered to maximize spraying of dicamba or 2,4-D. Monsanto’s rebate plan for 2018 is further proof that the goal is to attain a complete monopoly over soybean seed, and dicamba’s complete geographical and biological domination, as quickly as possible in order to forestall all social resistance and agronomic alternatives. Any advcacy of full speed ahead with business as usual proves the will to drive out all non-Xtend soybeans and from there all other broad-leaf plants, period. (Meanwhile 2,4-D threatens/promises to do the same for grasses.)
 
We see what an extreme renunciation of evolution’s process and diversity this campaign is. The ultimate monoculture goal is nothing less than to wipe out all biodiversity except for the pests themselves and replace it with a technocratic blank slate. The cultists and operatives first deny evolution in principle, then seek to wipe it out in practice. The goal is to use violence (technological and where necessary conventional) to force their nightmare vision of technocratic “progress” onto natural succession.
 
They cannot succeed because their program seeks to defy evolution. In spite of their pretensions to, as one of their leaders in the Bush administration said, “create our own reality”, they cannot do so. However grim things look right now, their anti-nature, anti-evolution program dooms them to destruction.
 
 
We mammals must wait it out, taking every opportunity to destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 

December 20, 2017

Confusion and Irony: Corporate “Politics” Makes Stupid

Filed under: Climate Crisis, Internet Democracy, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 6:14 am

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There’s much ado on the internet about the Trump administration banning the CDC from using several terms and phrases. The list is peculiar, and perhaps gives evidence of the unusual stupidity of Trump’s people, in that it includes well-established corporate propaganda terms which Trump evidently misunderstands.
 
In particular, “science-based”, coming from any elite/mainstream source, is a dog whistle to every technocracy supporter, scientism cultist, and the pseudo-educated in general to close ranks in support of whatever corporate propaganda point or project is the subject of a controversy. When an outfit like the CDC says “science-based” this means science according to the corporate science paradigm. In other words it seeks the same goals Trump seeks.
 
It makes sense for the liberals suffering from Trump Derangement to deplore this misguided censorship, since they support the corporate line and want corporate rule every bit as much as Trump does. They’re just more flexible about it and recognize that sham virtue signaling about climate change is at least as helpful to the corporate imperative as Trump-style de jure denial.
 
On the other hand, the Dembots have been engaging in their own misguided paroxysm. Out of hatred for all things Republican they’ve been deploring the destruction of net neutrality. This is ironic because these are the same aspiring censors who for a year now have been denouncing everything not officially sanctioned by the mainstream media and big corporations as “fake news”. They also exalt corporate rule in general. They applauded Google’s censorship of leftist and progressive websites and Facebook’s promise to impose its own censorship campaign. Therefore in principle they ought to despise net neutrality and applaud its destruction.
 
Once again we see how liberal Democrats have zero principle and zero brains. Their thought structure literally is nothing more than, “Republicans = Bad”. Just as for the dumber Republicans it’s nothing but “Liberals = Bad”, even though in substance they and the liberals agree on everything.
 
 
 
 

December 19, 2017

The Dicamba Crisis (Part 1)

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Decades of experience prove the model of agriculture based on pesticides doesn’t work and is unsustainable. A rational, honest person would long ago have rejected poison-based agriculture in favor of agroecology. They would have had a “Show Me” attitude toward Missouri-based Monsanto’s proposition that the GMO version of this poison model would be any different, and they quickly would have realized it’s the same failure.
 
That’s how we know support for GMOs, and continued support for pesticides, has zero to do with reason and science. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of the resurrection of such herbicides as 2,4-D and dicamba which the GMO paradigm previously declared obsolete. Nowhere is the big lie more obvious than in the case of how dicamba’s new GMO-based escalation immediately precipitated the most acute American agricultural crisis since the Southern corn leaf blight epidemic of 1970.
 
In the 1990s Monsanto rolled out its glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready product line of GM crops. One of the big selling points was that glyphosate allegedly was less harmful to human health, the environment, and other crops than dicamba and 2,4-D. Monsanto and the USDA promised Roundup Ready would permanently supersede these bad old poisons. Monsanto and the USDA also promised weeds never would become resistant to glyphosate.
 
As anyone could have predicted and many did, these were both lies. Within a few years Roundup-resistant weeds began to proliferate. Soon the same old arms race was on between ever more commonplace and resistant weeds and escalating glyphosate applications. A few more years and Roundup Ready was in ruins, glyphosate near worthless, glyphosate-resistant weeds on a triumphal march across America’s farmland.
 
Monsanto was lying when it claimed Roundup Ready was the final word on weed control. On the contrary, as per the standard corporate program of planned obsolescence the company developed a new type of herbicide tolerant GMO in anticipation of the obsolescence of Roundup Ready. Monsanto’s new flagship product, designed to rescue the company from its Roundup dependency and lift it to new heights of dominion and profitability, is the Xtend system of dicamba herbicide and dicamba-tolerant GM cotton and soybeans. In 2015 Monsanto put Xtend cotton seed on the market, in 2016 Xtend soybeans. The EPA was uncharacteristically slow and didn’t approve the new Monsanto and BASF dicamba formulations until autumn of 2016. In 2017, in tandem with the new and allegedly improved brand-name dicamba, Monsanto was able significantly to escalate the acreage of Xtend soybean sales.
 
Knowledgeable commentators long forsaw problems. Pesticide drift has always been a problem, and this problem is especially acute with dicamba. Prior to the advent of the Xtend system dicamba was used only early in the season before crops had sprouted and under weather conditions which didn’t maximize its drift potential. As early as 2011 farmers, scientists, and industry figures warned that any large-scale spraying of dicamba under the warm, humid conditions of late spring onward was likely to maximize drift and the damage to other crops and plants this drift would cause. Dicamba kills all broad-leaf plants. Soybeans are especially sensitive to it, but it easily damages and kills most crops, ornamentals, and trees.
 
Right on schedule, as dicamba began to be sprayed during the growing season the drift damage to innocent bystander crops began to be reported. There was significant damage in 2015 and far more in 2016 as the acreage sprayed greatly increased. But this was only the prelude to the full blown disaster of 2017. By May a flood of damage reports was coursing in to the agricultural departments and university extensions of the major soy producing states, especially Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee. Soybeans everywhere not engineered to be tolerant of dicamba were sustaining often lethal damage, along with peanuts and vegetable crops such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and leafy greens. Arkansas’ largest peach orchard was decimated for the second straight year. Symbolically, the University of Arkansas test plot where researchers were studying the drift potential of name-brand dicamba succumbed to drift and was wiped out.
 
By July Arkansas and Missouri issued emergency bans on further spraying of dicamba, but Missouri quickly backpedaled under Monsanto pressure. The damage reports continued to pile up across more than twenty states. By season’s end weed scientist Kevin Bradley of the University of Missouri tallied 3.6 million acres of non-Xtend soybeans damaged or killed by drifting dicamba.
 
Throughout the destructive year Monsanto ran its standard campaign of denial, lies, and scapegoating. Forced to take some kind of action the EPA announced a voluntary agreement with Monsanto and BASF to impose new certification requirements for dicamba applicators. More substantially, the Arkansas Plant Board unanimously recommended that its existing emergency ban be made policy for 2018, banning dicamba use from April 16th through October 31st. (This proposal is currently in limbo as Monsanto-subservient state legislators are trying to gut the ban. Monsanto also has sued to prevent its enforcement.)
 
 
Dicamba can move off site in several ways. One typical way for pesticides to drift is when applicators are careless about spraying under windy conditions and the poison immediately is wafted away on the wind. This is what is properly called “drift”. But dicamba has a far more insidious and destructive mode of drifting. Under common conditions of warmth and humidity liquid dicamba resting on plants and soil is prone to volatilize, turn into a gas, lift off the surfaces, and float on the air often many miles from the site of spraying before weather conditions change and cause it to resettle on whatever plants are in the vicinity. The more dicamba is sprayed in a region, the more all-pervasive the suffusion becomes. This is called atmospheric loading.
 
Dicamba’s volatility effect is well known. Monsanto and BASF promised that their new dicamba formulations, XtendiMax and Engenia, had solved the problem and would not be volatile. But Monsanto immediately signaled it was lying when it forbade university researchers pre-market access to XtendiMax in order to test it for volatility. They were allowed to test only its herbicidal capability.
 
Sure enough, in 2017 when researchers were able to purchase XtendiMax and Engenia at the store and test it themselves they found that these brand name formulations are nearly as volatile as the earlier cheap formulas. The fact is that all dicamba is volatile. It’s impossible to use it under warm humid conditions, i.e. the way it’s intended to be used under the Xtend system, and not have it promiscuously volatilize, move off site, and kill any broad leaf crops and plants it resettles upon.
 
Many farmers already have filed suit against Monsanto and BASF, as individuals and in class actions, seeking to hold these poison-peddlers accountable and make them pay for the damage they willfully have caused.
 
 
The Xtend/dicamba GMO series is the most extreme manifestation yet of what is typical of all commercial GMOs. They’re pesticide plants designed to escalate poison use and escalate the futile arms race between pesticides and the resistant pests and weeds. This absurd and destructive treadmill clearly is, in itself, the purpose of poison-based agriculture and especially its GMO-based incarnation. The pesticide treadmill ensures incessant product obsolescence, constant escalation of the potency and amount and cost of the pesticides which must be deployed, maximal dependency of farmers on the most artificial, vulnerable mode of agriculture which requires the maximum of the costly inputs supplied by agribusiness.
 
In this way agribusiness consolidates maximum control over farming and the food supply and launches a general assault on the ecology, all toward the goal of maximizing human and ecological monoculture. This is the scorched-earth terrain which provides the best habitat for pest, weed, and disease infestation, and therefore the maximum ideological and political habitat for the power claims of agribusiness, the scientism cult, and all who hate humanity and nature and who seek total domination. Poisonism therefore generates the maximal habitat for the propaganda campaign of lies, fear-mongering, and fraudulent promises that the solution is right around the corner if farmers and society only stay the poison course. This is proven every day in a hundred new articles and press statements from corporations, governments, Wall Street, academia, and the mainstream media, all speaking as one proclaiming that the only solution to the escalating crisis is to escalate the poison.
 
 
This doesn’t cause those of the true faith to falter, because beyond mundane profiteering poisonism is an ideological cult. Monsanto of course has responded with a campaign of lies. They openly deny that brand name dicambas are volatile and instead blame farmers for improper application which leads to regular wind drift, and for using older dicamba blends which are volatile.
 
The response of pro-dicamba activists across the board has been to promulgate new certification requirements and restrictions on how and when dicamba can be sprayed, in accord with the right wind conditions, temperature, time of day, and the right equipment. The EPA’s voluntary agreement with Monsanto and BASF enshrines these kinds of restrictions which allegedly will solve the problem.
 
But the whole notion of new regulations is based on the false premise that volatility isn’t the main cause of the off-target damage. This already has been proven false. The 2017 research demonstrated that no amount of care in the application can prevent dicamba from volatilizing and moving off site. Therefore the entire campaign for new restrictions is conjoined with Monsanto’s primary lie. In other words the entire campaign is bogus, nothing but a sham. As usual, EPA is the lead government propagandist backing up the corporate lies.
 
The most direct proof that these restrictions don’t work comes from Missouri. I mentioned earlier how in July Missouri instituted a temporary spraying ban but quickly lifted it. At the same time it rescinded the dicamba ban Missouri imposed the now standard set of new restrictions on its use. But this accomplished nothing: Within weeks the damage reports surged anew. This is the most proximate proof that the extra regulations don’t work.
 
But then we didn’t need that extra proof. Contrary to Monsanto’s lies, most farmers who spray dicamba do their conscientious best to spray so that it doesn’t spread beyond their farms and damage their neighbors. (Besides, if you’re going to pay to spray a pesticide, of course you’re going to do your best to keep the maximum amount on your site in order to get the full extent of what you think is the benefit.) In spite of this dicamba has drifted promiscuously, in many cases miles away from where it was sprayed. This is in spite of every care taken, and it certainly will continue in spite of any added care short of a ban on spraying past mid-April.
 
This proves that all dicamba is highly volatile and nothing can prevent it from moving off site and killing other crops and plants. Co-existence with the Xtend system is impossible. If dicamba continues to be deployed the way it was in 2017 (and Monsanto is projecting a doubling of the Xtend soybean acreage in 2018, from 20 million acres to 40 million), all soy farmers will have no choice but to buy Xtend GM seeds, while much vegetable farming and gardening as well as the existence of many other plants and trees will become impossible in the soybean zones. This proves that Monsanto’s goal remains the same as it’s always been, the goal it enshrined in what it calls its “Expanded Trait Penetration” program. Monsanto’s goal always is to force farmers to buy as many stacked GM traits as possible. Xtend is the most extreme version yet of this program. Monsanto’s goal is to extort all soybean farmers, under threat of the drift destruction of their crop, into buying the Xtend seeds and the XtendiMax herbicide (along with Roundup; Xtend is tolerant of both dicamba and glyphosate).
 
 
We see their wickedness. The dicamba crisis is the epitome of all that’s bad about GMOs as such and herbicide tolerant GMOs in particular. Agronomically this system shackles farmers to a destroyed soil and weak, denuded crops which constantly must be goosed with fertilizer, irrigated water, and an ever greater slathering of pesticides. It drives the monoculture of crop varieties as Monsanto seeks its goal of forcing seed growers to increase and farmers to buy only the few varieties into which the Xtend trait has been crossed, as only these will be viable in an atmospheric zone suffused with dicamba vapors. Weeds are guaranteed to evolve to resist dicamba, indeed already are doing so. This will require an even more complex, expensive, toxic brew to be deployed. Sure enough, in 2017 the corporations already were touting the poison plants slated to replace Xtend in a few years.
 
Socioeconomically the herbicide tolerance GMO model is designed to destroy hand-weeding jobs and force farm consolidation by driving out smaller farmers and rendering giant plantations more easy to manage. In this way agribusiness works to attain domination over farming. The fewer and bigger the farms, the easier they are to control.
 
Ecologically this poison-based monoculture wipes out habitat for monarch butterflies and many other animals and plants, kills honeybees, and directly poisons the soil, water, and air, causing havoc among these ecosystems. During spraying season humans and animals continually breathe the atmospheric load of vaporized dicamba. This aggravates dicamba’s known irritant effects on the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Dicamba causes cancer and birth defects. We can expect to see a spike in birth defects in the dicamba zone in 2018. Along with glyphosate and 2,4-D dicamba, as a grossly abused antibiotic, drives antibiotic resistance among many strains of harmful bacteria, thus contributing to the general campaign of corporate industrial agriculture to wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective treatment.
 
These crises are endemic to massive herbicide use in general. Dicamba, by spreading beyond where it’s sprayed to a far greater extent than other herbicides, represents a great escalation of all the crises of agronomy, farm economy, ecology, and public health.
 
 
The system offers no solution, whether it be to the acute dicamba crisis or the general chronic crisis of corporate industrial agriculture. Even the weed scientists who have been doing the volatility research, tallying the destruction, and sounding the alarm offer nothing but the meek suggestion that poison use, while “necessary”, should be reformed and limited. In a mass manifestation of Stockholm syndrome damaged farmers still say the same. But the scientists’ own research demonstrates that the standard reforms can accomplish nothing, while the corporations will never accept such limits. Even as Monsanto pretended to endorse the EPA-brokered voluntary agreement it continued defiantly to assert there should be no restrictions beyond its own label.
 
Nothing within the system can meet the challenge of a crisis inherent to the core premises of the system itself. Poisonism has no future. The only way forward for weed and pest control is soil-building combined with organic pest management. The health of the soil, so ravaged by industrial agricultural practice, is the foundation of all sustainable agriculture and agriculture’s entire future. Everything else is a footnote.
 
Only a new movement built completely from outside the corporate agriculture system can meet the challenge of the day. This movement must be based on the rising ecological, agronomic, cultural, spiritual paradigm centered on the necessary transformation to agroecology and food sovereignty and the necessary abolition of poison-based agriculture.
 
 
We started by pointing out that anyone motivated by reason and the scientific mindset would long ago have concluded that poison-based agriculture doesn’t work, does far more harm than good, and should be rejected in favor of agroecology. They would have been skeptical of GMOs based on escalating this already disproven agricultural model. They would’ve found quickly that the GMO version of this model is no different and simply intensifies the same failure while rendering it even more destructive.
 
The continued denial and defense of the dicamba outbreak on the part of the pro-poison activists proves that for today’s cultists reason is the last thing any of them care about, and actual scientific evidence a close second to last. It proves that support for GMOs has zero to do with reason and science and everything to do with religious/ideological wingnuttery, where it’s not just a gutter profiteering motive. They have proven this true with every step of the genetic engineering deployment. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than the way they’ve seized upon the collapse of Roundup Ready, by any rational measure a catastrophic discrediting of the entire GMO and pesticide paradigm, as an opportunity to exalt an even more destructive poison product, one which they themselves started out promising Roundup Ready would render obsolete, and whose doom at the stems and vines of the same resistance-evolving weeds is already on the horizon.
 
The already disastrous advent of the dicamba GMOs, and the fanatic will of the GMO cultists to push forward such an insane, disproven, short-sighted, destructive project, is the best proof that the scientism/technocracy cult, just as much as the poison corporations, is the enemy of humanity and the Earth. Humanity must organize against this cult as surely as against the corporations themselves, as a key part of the corporate totalitarian cabal against humanity and the Earth. The ecocidal and genocidal monoculture aspiration of this cabal is self-evident, as is clear from the dicamba onslaught.
 
 
 
 

December 18, 2017

The Main Problem is Fake People

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There’s two kinds of fake people: The corporate persons, which are a kind of demon which has been summoned for worship and for attempts at control; and those flesh-and-blood people who nevetheless have renounced all human responsibility in order to worship these demons.
 
Corporations are fictions rendered real only by the lies and violence of the state and the inertia of the people. They are created by government and are extensions of government, an extra-constitutional fourth branch of government. The proximate purpose of corporations is to shield criminals from the legal and political consequences of their crimes, and to shield gamblers from financial risk. More broadly, neoliberalism is based on transferring all real power from the nominal “public” government (the three constitutional branches) to the “private” corporate branch of government. The public government is maintained only as thug, tax collector, subsidy-conveyor, and the sham facade of fake democracy, including running sham elections.
 
Economically, politically, ecologically, the corporate-technocratic state works to impose maximum monopoly monoculture control with minimum real-world apparatus or indeed contact with physical reality at all.
 
For example, the sector comprising corporate agriculture and food, along with its lead enablers from the state like USAID and the USDA, all coordinated by the quasi-governmental Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, thinks exclusively in terms of Mammon’s fictive numbers. The measure of agriculture is never food for human beings but sanctified fake numbers like GDP, trade balances, sovereign debt, commodity and stock prices, corporate profits, money as such. These pure fictions are rendered real only by the corporate state’s violence and the tolerance of the people. Thus the corporate/government/NGO structure is able globally to impose and enforce the agricultural model which conforms to these measures and eradicates, as much as possible, all actual food production for human beings. This physical control and destruction without responsibility is the grail of all corporations.
 
In these ways the goal is to render it as literally true as possible that food is produced by money, that food comes from the supermarket.
 
The entire corporate system is dedicated to enforcing the religion of Mammon to its ultimate extreme, where the only relationships which shall exist shall be between sterile objects, preferably legal fictions like corporations, patents, titles and money, while all ecological relationships, all relationships between human and human, human and Earth, shall be eradicated. These relationships are to cease to have any right to exist, and then cease to exist in the most literal sense. This is the logical end of all theory and practice of the profit-seeking corporation. As we see every day, the corporations at all times are working aggressively toward this end.
 
 
Forget “fake news”. Our main problem is fake people.
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 17, 2017

Corporate Technocratic Ideology: Science and Journalism

Filed under: GMO Corporate State, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Russell Bangs @ 7:50 am

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(This is building on an old draft and refers to an old article, but the lesson it teaches remain pressing.) In 2015 Nature surveyed the so-called “science” positions of British political parties. Nature seems so inured to scientism ideology and the false notion that where it comes to public policy such matters as GMOs and nuclear energy are primarily “science” issues, that the publication didn’t even notice that in this case it’s surveying the positions of: Political parties! By definition the positions of political parties are political and nothing but political. The piece opens up with the question, “How would your party ensure that UK science maintains its current position in the world?” Is there a more telling way one could proclaim one’s corporate-oriented, Social Darwinist competition-fetishizing concept of science? This is a good example of how Nature has nothing to do with Popperian falsificationist science but on the contrary adheres to corporate-dictated imperatives and the ideology and propaganda of scientism.
 
This is part of technocratic ideology, the belief that formally credentialed experts should make all decisions for society while democracy and politics as such should cease to exist. The conjoined goals are to encompass all debate within realm of “science” and technical wonkery, where democracy is to be forbidden to tread; and to define the scope of possible policy action as purely technical, never ecological and socioeconomic, never political. The goal is to constrict even further the already narrowed realm of public political participation. The goal of this line of propaganda, along with many other lines of propaganda and policy, is to eradicate democracy and politics as such in any meaningful form. As this survey demonstrates, in England there’s already little political choice. The situation is even worse in America. In the Extreme Energy Civilization, Politics is Dead.
 
As I’ve written many times, in the context of socioeconomic deployment GMOs and climate change are not science issues but political and economic issues, at best informed by science. But here science has no special prior rights as against politics, economics, morality, philosophy, religion.
 
Meanwhile immigration and work visas comprise a science issue as well, according to Nature. That’s a good example of the propaganda creep I was describing. Did you hear that the capital gains tax is a science issue as well? Yes, and the mainstream media assures us that the science says there should be no capital gains tax, so what more can you say about that, you mere layman?
 
The fact is GMOs are no more of a science issue than immigration, the capital gains tax, or Russia Derangement Syndrome. “But the science says the Russkies are very bad!”
 
 
In a rational society where the scientific establishment viewed itself reasonably and society placed science and technological development in a rational political and economic perspective, there would be nothing untoward about this intermingling of politics and science. But currently we have the opposite of a rational, reasonable society. On the contrary we have a Mammon theocracy where corporations exercise rule and are working relentlessly toward full corporate totalitarianism. The STEM establishment is fully committed to this corporate-technocratic onslaught and sees itself as the practical and religious core of the incipient new order. The “singularity” is just a metaphor for belief in this technocratic utopia where corporate power will exercise total domination. The only point in question is whether STEM will remain the flunkey of corporate imperatives, or whether the scientism tail will wag the corporate dog. The cultists believe that eventually they’ll use corporate resources and power for their own theocratic goals, though so far the profit motive has consistently subjugated the religious motive to its own ends. (For a good example, see Lords of the Harvest for the history of genetic engineering at Monsanto, how the GE division went from arrogant disdain for the agrochemical division to abject submission to the pesticide plant project, on account of the need to produce a profitable product. Ironically, the pesticide focus goes more to the heart of the religious project than the high-falutin notions of “product quality” GMOs, and the uncouth pesticide peddlers were more synched in to the needs of technocracy than the original genetic engineering idealists. I’ll be developing that idea in future pieces.)
 
 
All this is part of the currently dominant corporate science paradigm which largely dictates the way organized science is ideologically conceived, selected, funded, performed, and publicized. The paradigm is summed up by the formula, “Science is whatever the corporate marketing bureaus say it is.” I and others have exhaustively documented this in the case of the technologies and alleged “science” deployed by corporate agriculture. The same framework is easily identifiable in every other corporate economic sector.
 
In the same way, today’s mainstream media (and often “alternatives” as well) is dominated by the corporate journalism paradigm. More people are aware of this than of the dominance of corporate science. We see this with the widespread use of the term “corporate media”. The corporate journalism paradigm sums to: “Truth is whatever the big corporations say it is.” Or more prosaically, the job of journalists is to serve as stenographers for power, not to assess the truth value of what governments and corporations say. This is an extreme abdication of any democratic concept of the press. Even journalists who are not directly paid by industry, or who don’t depend on the personal favoritism of elites to gain “access”, tend to believe that whatever government (“our” government or its allies, of course; adversarial governments of course are nothing but liars) and the corporate sectors say is, by definition, the measure of journalistic truth. This is institutionalized by the New York Times standard, where the reporter is supposed to regurgitate any claim by a government or corporate publicist as a journalistic fact, usually without so much as a quote followed by “a spokesman said.”
 
That’s the ideology of corporate journalism. And then we have de jure corruption, ostensible journalists who double as paid corporate operatives. Here’s just one example of this growing cancer, the by now standard practice of “reporters” who cover corporate agriculture who are paid propagandists of agribusiness.
 
Which brings us back to the journalism of Nature and the corporate science paradigm. We see how system media is nothing more or less than an extension of the de jure corporate publicity departments. Together the entire complex comprises a de facto Goebbels ministry on behalf of corporate technocracy. It has zero fidelity to truth, scientific or journalistic. On the contrary, its culture of the lie is dictated by practical requirements (if they told the truth, it would be the end of their power) and by technocracy’s totalitarian aspiration to use force to realize all its lies in some millennial future. That’s the key to the psychology of ideological liars: They believe that in the future force will accomplish all, and in their minds the future already exists. Therefore where it comes to their cult of corporate power and total biological eugenics there’s no such thing as a lie, only a latent truth.
 
There’s the core of the mindset of the corporate science paradigm and the corporate journalism paradigm. That’s what humanity and the Earth are up against, a totalitarian cult. We must organize accordingly.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 

December 16, 2017

Community Food Movement: Maine’s Food Sovereignty Act

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“Certified organic” increasingly becomes a farce as it comes to equal industrial “organic”. The latest degradation: Hydroponics now can be certified “organic”. On its face that’s absurd and Orwellian. What could possibly be called organic about growing vegetables in fortified water? You might as well allow synthetic fertilizer of every sort. The industrial organic sector is industrial first, organic second.
 
The organic certification was never more than a second-best stopgap. The only real solution is the Community Food movement, the relocalization of food production and distribution. As much as possible, buy local from farmers you know. But just buying local as a consumer isn’t enough. Community food is a rising alternative economic sector. We need to continue building and defending this rising economic and agronomic movement.
 
Toward this goal, campaigners in Maine worked for years and finally attained a legislative victory as the state passed its Food Sovereignty Act in 2017. This Act makes Maine the first state in the country to have such an ordinance. The Act frees municipalities to regulate their own local food systems if they choose to pass an ordinance taking on such responsibility. The Act applies only to food produced and sold directly to consumers within the town. Anything produced for wholesale or retail distribution remains subject to state regulation (so Big Ag can’t use this as a loophole to find a corrupt town and set up shop there).
 
Since production and sale must take place within the town, the geographical scope is more narrow than the average farmers’ market. (Although many Maine towns are quite large geographically.) Nevertheless this is an example of the kind of act the Community Food movement must fight to enact in every state, as a way to boost local food production, processing, and distribution.
 
No surprise, the thugs at the USDA insisted that if the state relinquishes authority over meat and poultry to towns, that only means the feds will have direct authority over it. This forced Maine to enact an emergency amendment to the Act stipulating that meat and poultry remain under state regulatory authority. This power play gives a perfect example of what we’re up against.
 
 
It also demonstrates the limits of legislative action.* Campaigning for food sovereignty laws, just like campaigning for GMO labeling and/or GMO/pesticide bans, is at best a supplement to the work of building the affirmative movement. In the case of community food, this includes building the economic and physical infrastructure of relocalized food production and distribution.
 
There’s lots of people already doing good work toward that eventual goal. We need to scale that up, in tandem with escalating the campaign of ideas. As for our personal lives, the Earth’s call to anyone is to commit your life to the cause. That’s a very hard sell in this Mammon theocracy where even among the people who superficially have the right ideas and good intent, most still objectively adhere to Mammon in the way they view the world. Even fellow travelers of the necessary ideas fundamentally don’t understand the concept of subordinating one’s “private” existence and existing fundamentally as a political animal, a public citizen. All we can do for starters is to systematically propagate ideas which are fundamentally against the whole grain of this theocracy and try to find fellow atheists versus the superstitions of Mammon, technocracy, scientism, productionism, who want to work on that propagation project. This is one of the basic building blocks necessary to build a true cultural, spiritual, existential movement dedicated affirmatively to the necessary agroecology/food sovereignty transformation, negatively to the total abolition of poison-based agriculture. This campaign of ideas is the necessary counterpart to the intertwined actions of building agroecological science and food sovereignty practice.
 
That’s the ultimate need. What individuals and small groups can do right now:
 
1. Take on as much of the propagation work as you can.
 
2. Become active building up the community food sector as much as you can. Growing some of your own food in a garden is a good first step, and the actions quickly scale up from there. In my case, in addition to my intermittent market gardening I’ve worked at a farmers’ market, herbal medicine garden, and am director of two community gardens.
 
3. In your personal lifestyle get as independent of the system, as “off-grid” (using that term both literally and metaphorically) as possible.
 
4. To the extent you have to remain enmeshed in the system for the time being, at least be clear in thought and word that this is under duress. I still have to drive a car, but I never think or say anything other than that the car as such has to go. This is contrary to the climate crocodiles who wring their hands and then tout hybrids and electric cars (i.e. fracking cars, nuke cars, coal cars) as some kind of answer. No, that’s just a more pernicious form of climate denialism.
 
5. In general: Do the most good you can and never do evil. I have never once heard of an example of an evil action that was necessary in any way. That’s always a lie.
 
Much of this focuses on ideas and propagating ideas. I’m forced to be a writer since for now I lack any greater scope for action. In Eric Hoffer’s terminology, I’m an activist by nature who’s been forced into the role of the “man of words”. For now there really is no greater scope for action in America, since the necessary movement doesn’t yet exist in any tangible, coherent form. Or, any rudiments which may be cohering are not yet visible to the general culture of dissent.
 
So it follows that the first, prerequisite step toward building this movement is to propagate the necessary ideas for this movement. Not even at first to convince people, but to force the existence of truly alternative and practicable ideas into the public consciousness so that, when the cultural tipping point suddenly comes (history demonstrates that we have no idea when it will come or what proximate cause will trigger it) and lots of people are suddenly looking for a new idea, this set of ideas will be one of the sets laying around ready to be taken up.
 
Toward that great goal, the second necessary preliminary step is to form the skeleton of a future mass movement in the form of coherent organizations, of whatever size attainable, which will undertake whatever wedge actions are possible for the time being but whose primary action will be to propagate the ideas as far and wide as possible.
 
All this must take place in tandem with building up the community food sector. We especially need more local retail producers, and processing infrastructure, and political organization against the state’s repressive campaigns. The community food movement already exists as a vibrant movement with great scope for all the action one could desire. We need for the whole thing, from organic horticulture to market gardening to abolition of pesticides/GMOs to a global agroecology transformation, to evolve into one coherent cultural force.
 
 
Propagate the new and necessary ideas.
 
 
*As a general rule within-the-system action is worthless, especially at the higher levels of government and especially where people seek positive policy, as opposed to resisting bad policy. But there are some wedge issues which cut across the system’s calcified political lines, where especially at lower levels of government dedicated pressure groups can get action. I argue that food is one of these potential wedges, and that organizations dedicated to the right kind and mode of food action can get good results, both directly and in terms of driving a broader cultural wedge. That’s the wager I make with my writing.
 
 
 
 
 

December 15, 2017

Fool’s Gold

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Golden rice is only about one kind of gold

 
 
No form of “golden rice” has ever gotten past the test stage. The pro-GMO activists lie when they tout this hoax product. All lies: That the product exists, that it’s ready to go, that it’s only being held up by the likes of Greenpeace. The truth is that golden rice has never worked in reality and has never been anything but a media hoax. The lies are part of the hoax.
 
In its test form the original “golden rice 1” contained only a meager amount of vitamin A. To use it as a vitamin supplement would’ve required eating unthinkable amounts of it every day.
 
These days they’re working on “golden rice 2” which allegedly produces greater amounts of vitamin A so that people could eat it without turning into a big grain of yellow rice. But they’re having all sorts of technical problems back-crossing it from the japonica variety they first engineered to any kind of indica variety which is readily commercial. It’s not only a media hoax but a very expensive technical boondoggle.
 
And let’s say this hypothetical product ever did become ready for release.
 
1. By design it would be the first direct-to-eat Frankenfood which is meant to be consumed on a mass basis. Compare it to other direct-food GMOs: Virus resistant zucchini or papaya, Bt sweet corn, GM salmon, the “non-browning” apple, GM potatoes. As dangerous as these may be, none of them is designed to be a daily dietary staple. But the designers of golden rice want for the first time for a direct-food GMO to be a daily staple.
 
There’s only one place where significant numbers of people have eaten GMOs directly on a large scale, and that’s among the farm workers and rural population of South Africa who eat large amounts of the Bt corn from the farms where they labor. No funding being available, the effects haven’t yet been subjected to a scientific study, but many severe neurological and organ damage effects have been documented on an anecdotal basis.
 
Michael Hansen of Consumers Union has theorized that there could be a severe problem with retinoic acid oversignaling if a product like golden rice were to be eaten in large amounts, which is how the engineers intend for it to be eaten. This would be a pathway to cancer and birth defects. This is just one of the potential dangers of making a GMO the very basis of one’s diet.
 
2. Any deployed golden rice would also be engineered to be herbicide tolerant and/or to express Bt toxins. So this direct food will also be laden with endotoxins and herbicide residue. Not only is the idea of golden rice meant to distract from the fact that the only real-world GMOs are pesticide plants; any real world version of golden rice would itself be such a poison plant.
 
3. Syngenta’s promise to donate its patented golden rice transgene applies only to pilot “humanitarian” programs. It would not apply to any general commercial deployment. That’s why the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the organization in charge of actual development, has reserved the right to take out patents of its own. Beyond that, Syngenta wouldn’t give away the herbicide tolerance and Bt traits free of charge. So the alleged “humanitarian donation” aspect of the thing is also a scam. (We also don’t know how ChemChina’s imminent purchase of Syngenta will affect the disposition of the patent.)
 
 
The idea of golden rice is part of monoculture ideology. Vitamin A deficiency disease is the deliberate result of how corporate industrial agriculture has driven millions off their land and stripped them of their ability to grow nutritious food for themselves. Therefore both in principle and in practice the deployment of golden rice or any other “biofortified” GMO would be the disaster capitalist treatment of a symptom caused by the same system which deploys the “cure”.
 
This puts in perspective the 2013 direct action of Philippine farmers against the IRRI’s golden rice field trials. The people took action in self-defense against the corporate program to economically liquidate them, drive them off their land, and doom them to the same misery and illness which the “golden rice” slogan mocks with its fake solicitude.
 
So, ultimately, must we the people, everywhere on Earth, take all necessary action to abolish corporate agriculture and undertake the necessary transformation and renaissance of agroecology and food sovereignty. This and only this will solve vitamin A deficiency, and every other problem and crisis afflicting us.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 

December 14, 2017

Cancer Notes

Filed under: Dance of Death, GMO Corporate State, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 6:56 am

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The US cancer-industrial complex has the same ideology as that of government regulators: It’s a combination of direct corporate corruption and the ideology of “managing” a certain level of cancer “risk” and “tolerance”. This adds up to a complete focus on detection and treatment, the latter having to be done on a corporate profiteering basis. (This latter emphasis is also a combination of corruption and ideology.) Studying the environmental causes of cancer and working for prevention (as the World Health Organization’s IARC does*) is ruled out as unscience and unpolicy. This is the cancer branch of the corporate science paradigm. Only alleged genetic causality can be researched, and only gene therapy would constitute acceptable prevention policy. The only place where there’s any controversy within the system is over some aspects of detection, for example mammograms.
 
The few exceptions to this, such as with cigarettes and lung cancer, were forced upon the system by grassroots movements. Acknowledging what the system long knew, that smoking causes cancer in the smoker, didn’t threaten the paradigm as much because it’s easy to place all the blame on the smoker for his own cancer. By contrast, second-hand smoke has been more fraught (and Big Tobacco deniers like Henry Miller are still active to this day) because that’s an environmental cause.
 
This war has a strange religious element. Corporate cancer researchers have explicitly named “bad luck” as a significant cause of cancer. This isn’t a scientific concept but a pathetic attempt to fill the void which even the gross embellishment of the evidence for some genetic causality hasn’t been able to fill. The anti-scientific and pro-cancer goal is to deny the environmental causality at all costs. (The “bad luck” thesis was quickly debunked by a study done according to the classical falsificationist scientific method.)
 
It’s religiously weird, though, in that religious preachers usually want to give people explanations for pressing things which they can’t explain on their own. Today’s corporate scientism tries to do this with the ideology of biological determinism. It’s junk science, but for those willing to believe the lies it could possibly fulfill that religious need. Genetic deterministic theories of cancer would fit in here.
 
So it’s significant that, as committed as corporate science is to finding genetic causes for almost all cancer, it nevertheless has failed so badly even on its own terms that it’s had to resort to such a transparent admission of bankruptcy as enshrining “bad luck” as the state of its science. Of course bad luck doesn’t explain anything to anyone, so it’s not only laughably bad science, but bad religion as well.
 
I’m a real anti-cancer researcher and I get paid nothing. There’s lots of fake cancer researchers who get paid millions.
 
 
*Although the WHO as a whole has been consistently pro-poison, the IARC is out of step with the dominant corporate/reductionist ideological framework, instead emphasizing environmental factors in cancer causation:
 
“Emphasis is placed on elucidating the role of environmental and lifestyle risk factors and studying their interplay with genetic background in population-based studies and appropriate experimental models. This emphasis reflects the understanding that most cancers are, directly or indirectly, linked to environmental factors and thus are preventable.”
 
The proposition that cancer is preventable runs directly counter to the dominant science ideology which views cancer as arising from genetic determinism and/or “bad luck” and the only acceptable response to be massively expensive and interventionist “cures” supervised by Big Drug and other corporate sectors. This is why the corporate scientific establishment, regulators like the EPA and EFSA, and the corporate media all despise the IARC. And this is why Reuters has embarked on a vendetta against the agency.
 
I often ponder the irony that even among “decent” people the great heroic metaphor is “curing cancer”, while someone like me who has dedicated my life to preventing cancer is beyond the pale. That’s because even the good people do demand their worthless expensive destructive junk, and the basic template applies not just to corporate-controlled institutions but to everyone. Even cancer must be dealt with only within the framework which exalts productionism, consumerism, technocracy, corporate rule as normal and normative. Even efforts against cancer must never hinder this imperative. Among the people of the system, its supporters and its tacit followers, there is consensus on this.
 
 
 
 
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