January 17, 2018

The Dicamba Crisis Part Four: The Strict Intent of the Destructive System


Parts one, two, three.
Monsanto dubbed the 2017 dicamba disaster a “tremendous success” with “wonderful results.” What does it mean when Monsanto proclaims success?
Monsanto’s commitment in the face of disaster to push on aggressively with the Xtend expansion, to double down, proves that disaster is a core goal for them. In 2015 Monsanto marketed Xtend cotton seed in the absence of regulatory approval for any of the allegedly “improved” herbicide formulations. Xtend soybeans followed in 2016, still no brand-name dicamba. Therefore from the start it was evident that the company envisioned off-label use of the cheapest, most volatile dicamba formulations. This didn’t matter because Monsanto and BASF knew their own brand-name formulations also were highly volatile. In 2015-2016 Monsanto merely was setting up one of its future alibis, the lie that farmers were illicitly using cheap formulations. The company secured any future plausibility of this lie by ensuring it would be true for Xtend adopters in 2016.
The 2017 crisis of volatility and destruction of non-Xtend soybeans and all other broad-leaf crops and plants followed like clock-work. It was predicted, it was forecast, it was intended by the sellers of dicamba and dicamba-tolerant seeds. Anyone who now wants to continue with business as usual, full speed ahead, self-evidently is a conscious criminal. Monsanto is ardent to expand at the most breakneck speed in the most reckless way. The company proclaims its goal to go from 20 million acres of soybeans planted to Xtend in 2017 to 40 million in 2018 and 55 million in 2019.
Monsanto’s campaign is classic disaster capitalism: Intentionally generate a disaster then use it to maximize your profit and power. Dicamba’s volatility is a campaign of extortion designed to force all soy farmers to buy Xtend seeds. More broadly the goal is to render food production as tenuous as possible. The worst part of dicamba’s ravages is that it’s destroying produce farms and vegetable gardens, it’s destroying actual food production. If the Xtend system continues to expand it will render everything but commodity dicamba-tolerant soybeans impossible to grow across the range of the Xtend deployment. This is a case study in the real goal of poison-based agriculture. The will to continue this deployment on the part of Monsanto, the US and state governments, academia and the mainstream media proves that this destruction is the goal.
The evidence for these truths is patent throughout the historical record. We see it with Monsanto’s scorched-earth resistance to all temporal, geographic, and temperature limitations, and to all application restrictions except those of its own label. We see it in their systematic campaign of lies, blaming everything imaginable except the inherent volatility of their product. We see it in their campaign of lawsuits and corruption against even the most moderate, rational response to the crisis. We see it in their rebate plan for farmers who buy Xtend seeds and XtendiMax dicamba herbicide. This is the carrot to go with the Xtortion stick. Both are toward the same goal of seizing and holding arable territory, market share. The goal is to entrench the Xtend system to the point that it would be impossible to dislodge it within the context of commodity agriculture.
From the start Monsanto refused to allow study of the volatility of its brand-name dicamba herbicide. Weed scientists had to wait until they could purchase XtendiMax at the store in order to subject it to scientific purview. In a perfect symbol of Monsanto’s scorched-earth anti-science policy the University of Arkansas soybean test plot was wiped out by volatile drift from outside.
Nevertheless researchers soldiered on and proved that all dicamba is volatile, including the alleged “improved, non-volatile” formulations like XtendiMax. They uncovered another example of the fraudulent “science” typical of the corporations. The claims of Monsanto, DuPont, BASF were based on perfunctory tests performed in ivory tower labs. When weed scientists tested the same formulations in the field, i.e. under real world conditions, they found significant volatility for all the formulations. This is to be expected, since volatility is a function of atmospheric suffusion and weather conditions. How is it possible to test dicamba volatility in a lab? Only in the world of corporate fake science, the kind exalted by the STEM establishment, academia, and media. (The same scam was used by Matin Qaim to claim good yields for Bt cotton. This scientific fraud is still often cited in the mainstream media.) This also is emblematic of the limitations of lab-controlled experiment even if it were to be undertaken in good faith. Of course the corporations and government regulators never have any but bad faith.
In reality, dicamba is so volatile that in a normal year there wouldn’t be enough appropriate spraying days even according to the bogus regulations Monsanto “voluntarily” agreed to with the EPA and Monsanto’s own impossible label restrictions.
Anyone familiar with the history of bureaucracy and legalistic Catch-22s designed to turn everyone into a potential lawbreaker knows what’s going on here. Monsanto, with EPA connivance, intentionally designed the label to be impossible to faithfully adhere to. That way in every case of drift or volatilization they can play “Gotcha” and blame the farmer for improper application. This also proves Monsanto and the EPA fully anticipated the epidemic of off-site damage.
This proves that the product is impossible to use safely. The state regulations are bogus and that Monsanto does not intend for farmers to abide by them (just like with Bt refuges). It proves the only purpose of the regulations is as a political ploy to buy time against public unrest, and to play Gotcha with even the most scrupulous dicamba users, to keep them ready to become scapegoats.*
[*Poison farmers are criminals as well, but low-level ones. Monsanto and the EPA give the orders and control everything. Monsanto would prefer to maintain industrial farmers as a united pro-poison front, submissive to corporate control and working to poison the people. But setting farmers at one another’s throats as they’re doing here isn’t bad either. Note that all calls for compromise, unity, reconciliation are only on corporate control terms and implicitly assume submission to Xtend, continued submission to herbicide-tolerant GMO-poison systems as such. Also, it seems that Monsanto is being intentionally confusing in order to force farmers to sign up for its otherwise unnecessary Climate Corporation subscription.]
All this is proof of the systemic destructive totalitarian intent of the corporate-technocratic system. On Monsanto’s part this intent indisputably is conscious and willful. All their actions, most of which are premeditated, prove this.
The dicamba crisis is the latest and most extreme example yet of how co-existence with GMOs is impossible. It’s obviously impossible for organic farming. It’s impossible for non-GM conventional farming. With Xtend Monsanto has upped the ante, stepping up the assault on organic and non-GM farming and even rendering all previous GM soy varieties untenable. This is the first effective example of what the cartel projects as an indefinitely re-writable blank slate it can force to be continually wiped clean and rewritten, a process of destruction and re-destruction redolent of using war to destroy in order to generate space profitable to rebuild. This is the essence of disaster capitalism. Monsanto dreams of an agriculture totally subjugated by the most profitable GM varieties, until these too are rendered obsolete and wiped out by even higher-stacked, more expensive, more extreme varieties.
Today it’s universally acknowledged that soybean co-existence is impossible. The volatility is too extreme for even the most conscientious sprayers to prevent it. Where it comes to planting dicamba-tolerant seeds, it’s all or nothing. “We can’t co-exist. It’s so volatile and unpredictable.”
At the same time Monsanto also is driving the pesticide treadmill as hard as it can. The more total the Xtend deployment, the more volatility/drift/atmospheric loading with dicamba, the faster Palmer amaranth and other weeds will resist. This proves Monsanto’s strict intent to generate dicamba-resistant superweeds as fast and expansively as possible.
The corporations like the pesticide/superpest arms race for obvious reasons: It’s the most potent fuel driving the machine of ever more extravagant GM stacks and multi-product pesticide slatherings. This maximizes profit, control, power, and destruction. Again, the lies, extortion, rebates, legal and political lobbying, and refusal to allow study all prove the intent.
The USDA and EPA also intend and desire all this. The EPA explicitly endorsed part one of my corporate template with this quote: “We’re committed to taking appropriate action for the 2018 growing season with an eye toward ensuring that the technology is available, number one, to growers but that it is used responsibly.” Throughout the crisis the agency has provided Monsanto with its imprimatur, as per part three of the template. The EPA itself refused to perform or require volatility testing in the first place. Therefore both Monsanto and the EPA strictly admit the volatility of Monsanto’s XtendiMax. Such an admission is always implicit where those with the resources and responsibility to test refuse to do so and work to prevent anyone else from doing so. In the broad sense this is Strict Proof that the corporations and governments know or believe pesticides and GMOs to be harmful to human health. If they didn’t believe this they certainly would have performed legitimate safety tests instead of promulgating the religious lie of “substantial equivalence” along with a passel of methodologically fraudulent tests and rumors of “secret science”, a contradiction in terms. We know that the worst we can speculate is in fact true. The corporations and governments themselves admit this, proven by their consistent pattern of action.
In the same way, any consistent course of action on the part of those who can choose a different course proves their Strict Intent to cause all the consistent significant effects of their consistent course of action. Here we see the intent of Monsanto and the US government to wipe out all non-GM soy, as much of any other kind of farming, gardening, ornamentals, and wild plants as possible, and along the way to poison the soil and environment as totally as possible. Whatever human and animal health effects soon arise from the atmospheric suffusion of the dicamba zone also have been intended by these organizations.
The refusal of government and private insurers to cover off-target dicamba damage is further proof that this is a comprehensive campaign to drive out all non-Xtend soy farming. It’s government/insuser collusion against farmers.
What recourse does the imputation of justice have, what course the law? There’s a welter of lawsuits arguing correctly that the product is impossible to use safely, that the damage is the result of negligence or malice on the part of Monsanto and BASF, and that the dicamba sellers colluded to form an extortion racket.
We know this is true. Xtortion plus rebate is meant to add up to an offer you can’t refuse if you’re a soy farmer. Monsanto wants to maximize dicamba use (sales, from a mundane profiterring point of view; but maximal poison deployment has implications for power and control far beyond mundane profits) regardless of destructive effects, or intentionally to maximize the destruction. It makes no difference since by Strict Intent there’s no practical difference between willful premeditated nihilism and the active will and premeditation to destroy. Therefore there is no moral difference, and there should be no difference from the perspective of the law or policy. This doctrine is necessary especially in a case like poison drift where it’s difficult to impossible to pinpoint responsibility for specific damage and where, even if this circumstance of non-responsibility hadn’t been anticipated and pre-planned, all the perpetrators rush to take advantage of it in a deliberate, systematic way.
Therefore it follows that abolitionist doctrine must be to impose Strict Liability upon all participants in the poison racket, from developers to sellers to users. It’s the same principle as for any other criminal conspiracy: The guy driving the getaway car is just as guilty of murder as the robber inside the bank who pulls the trigger, even though he never left the car. Everyone knows how toxic and destructive all these chemicals are, the corporations and regulators most of all, so no one can claim innocent ignorance. This is a core movement principle and the movement must promise to put this into effect wherever it gets the power. This principle follows practically from the principles of Strict Proof and Strict Intent.
Everyone, abolitionists and reformers alike, should take up these doctrines, make them mainstays of philosophy and political communication, and promise to make them the law of the land.
To prevent confusion, I’m not saying there’s a master cabal somewhere consciously plotting all this out, though Monsanto certainly is conscious of much of it. I’m describing an existential inertia and a biological campaign. Therefore we’re only dealing proximately with conventional moral philosophy. Rather, we’re dealing with an elemental process whose morality we must view more primally in terms of its consistent action rather than foolish speculation about the “consciousness” of the creatures driving it. You might as well speculate about the consciousness of corporations, patents, and dollars while you’re at it. Anyway, in this case the primary organisms involved are Agrobacterium tumefaciens, soybeans and cotton, and weeds like Palmer amaranth. The humans involved behave according to the same patterns. The technocratic propagandists who exalt corporate personhood, artificial intelligence, and robots are similarly disparaging their own role on the other, “post-human” end.
We see how inadequate conventional moralizing is to the crisis. Rather we need the strict morality of Strict Intent, Strict Proof, Strict Liability. We must apply it to the corporations, the regulators, the scientific establishment, academia, the mainstream media, the technocratic political class in general.
Herbicide-tolerance is a proven failed technology. Xtend and Enlist are as doomed as Roundup Ready. Any support for the continuation of this genre is automatic bad faith and automatic support for all the worst effects of the deployment. Therefore all harms caused by it are willful, deliberate, malicious.
The system has literally zero ideas beyond poison plants, which is all GMOs are. Literally no amount of failure and destruction could cause these creatures to think in any terms other than betting even more of the future of humanity and the Earth on an already busted hand. They are criminally insane, or analogous to pathogenic microbes, and can be dealt with only as such.
As for soybeans, we have to purge them from processed food and from animal feed. Once again we see the critical need to abolish factory farms.
Propagate the necessary new ideas.


  1. Genius piece, part of a genius series, thank you Russ.

    Xtortion, lol!!! I always hated those stupid patent-names for these gmo crops, I wonder how much the guy gets paid to come up with them.

    Robb Fraley is a special kind of idiot-criminal, a Hillary Clinton styled PR politician. Anyone who thinks Monsanto has changed for the better need only look at the dicamba crisis.

    Farmers usually never question Monsanto en masse, perhaps this crisis is the final straw… I get the sense that more and more “normal” farmers are getting fed up, this might be the beginning of the end.

    And to think… all this over a shitty commodity crop, 80 percent of which will go to feed tortured animals in CAFOs, and the remainder turned into junk oil for junk food, all of which is making us sick.

    Like you say, this interferes with real FOOD production… perfect example of how corporate farming was never intended to feed anything but doom and destruction.

    Comment by Bob — January 17, 2018 @ 9:51 am

    • Thanks Bob. I hate it all. Rob Fraley is a perfect example of a bipartisan criminal. He’ll probably become CEO. As you remind us, Democrats love Monsanto even more than Republicans do.

      Comment by Russ — January 17, 2018 @ 10:44 am

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