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May 20, 2016

March Against Monsanto 2016

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Saturday May 21st will be the fourth annual March Against Monsanto. It’s a day of solidarity and action for the growing world movement against this worst of all corporate scourges. There will be hundreds of actions around the world. While these demonstrations by themselves won’t suffice to abolish the Poisoner onslaught, they’re a transitional form between the initial awareness and the formation of the real abolitionist movement.
 
This day of action for health and freedom is a punctuation of the worldwide day-to-day resistance movement across the world. If the event was thought up in the West, and is top-loaded with North American events, this is because the West hasn’t yet developed a permanent basis for a constant, relentless, disciplined struggle. But along with the community rights, food sovereignty, and labeling movements, the publicity and education stemming from this event will help generate a political will and recruit abolitionists who will then form the fighting organizations we need.
 
There’s many reasons to fight to abolish Monsanto and GMOs. They’re agriculturally and environmentally totalitarian. They inevitably contaminate all other crops and the environment and accelerate soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. They accelerate the same climate change which is cited as one of the reasons corporate ag must allegedly provide “new technology”. The more that GMOs are field tested and commercialized, i.e. the longer they exist at all, the worse this contamination shall become, and the more we’ll pass points-of-no-return where the contamination shall become significantly malign and irreversible.
 
They’re economically and politically totalitarian. GMOs are designed primarily to maximize pesticide use and force humanity into a complete, permanent dependency on an ever-escalating welter of pesticides, even as pests develop ever increasing resistance. The GMO cartel is escalating what’s already a non-competitive monopoly concentration in the seed sector. It aggressively uses this position to build horizontal and vertical monopoly power, enforce its dictates up and down the food production and distribution chains, drive non-GM seed varieties out of the market (and out of existence), greatly jack up seed prices, force obscenely lopsided “contracts” upon farmers, persecute farmers with harassment, thuggery, and lawsuits, and get governments to enact repressive seed laws intended to escalate and accelerate this whole process.
 
That’s just one way in which the GMO cartel has seized control of governments around the world. While governments are controlled by corporate power in general, the kind of control being exercised by the GMO corporations, and the unique threat to humanity and the Earth posed by such corporate control over agriculture and food, render this form of corporate control over government particularly clear and present danger to the future of humanity. People can try to argue about the implication of corporate power where it comes to other sectors, but there can be no argument here – humanity must purge this clear and present danger to our freedom, our democracy, and our literal survival.
 
GMOs also present a clear and present danger to our health. All independent studies, and even almost all of the corporations’ own rigged studies, find reason for concern or alarm. The genetic engineering process itself, and the massive glyphosate residues in our food and water, wreck our microbiome (our internal gastrointestinal microbial community with which our bodies cooperate for mutual health), cause gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every kind of disease, trigger escalations in allergies, asthma, autism, and every other kind of autoimmune disease, cause cancer, organ damage, infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. These are just the best documented effects. Glyphosate-tolerant crops are also nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods” and the many diseases this causes or exacerbates.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is because of such a pathetic, worthless product. GMOs are shoddy, retrograde, luddite products which don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. Their yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture; they require far more pesticides than conventional agriculture; by helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate superweeds and superbugs against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place; the “special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
All these factors build the despair, anger, and sense of social, political, and economic bottlenecks and cramp which are driving the March Against Monsanto and the vast global movement of which it’s a part.
 
The trenchline runs across the global South, while here behind enemy lines in the West we are rising to take back our corporate-invaded land and agriculture.
 
On every front, from Southern farmer opposition, to Western consumer and citizen opposition, to the growing consensus that GMOs are shoddy and inferior in every way to either organic or non-GM conventional production, to the cartel’s own broadening implicit admission that GE doesn’t work for anything beyond poison delivery, to the incontrovertible fact that nature is routing GMOs on every front, and that all the new-fangled “second generation” products are nothing but desperate rearguard actions against the surging weeds and insects (which can be controlled effectively only through agroecological practices), it’s increasingly clear that nothing but brute force keeps GMOs in the field at all, literally or politically/economically. GMOs are about nothing but greed for money and power, and are the enemy of every human value.
 
The March Against Monsanto is part of the rising counterforce of humanity which shall break and rout this scourge upon our earth.

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May 6, 2016

GMO/Poisoner Summary, May 6th, 2016

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*Dole knew for over a year that its plant had a listeria outbreak and was lethally contaminating its food products. It kept this secret and would have continued to do so if inspectors hadn’t uncovered the poisoning. This is standard corporate practice, and any corporation can always be counted upon to tell any such lie necessary. The entire scientific, regulatory, and media paradigm of modern civilization, completely dependent as it is upon the religious faith that corporations can be trusted to tell the truth about themselves, is a pure lie, and all that follows from this paradigm is nothing but lies.
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The example also proves yet again that the centralized structures of corporate agriculture and food are designed to maximize the incidence and severity of food disease outbreaks. This is in addition to the systematic Poisoner campaign and the systematic campaign to incubate pandemics in shantytowns (generated by corporate agriculture’s mass expulsion of the people from their lands) and CAFOs.
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*Get your Roundup label campaign packs from Global Justice Now. They had their chance to be honest. Now we the people must force them to come clean completely.
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Here’s a real label, stamped directly on the poison, directly by the people.
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*Members of the European Parliament are condemning the European Commission’s “compromise” proposal to re-licence glyphosate for ten years instead of fifteen. No compromise offered on the unlimited poisoning of agricultural zones, public parks, playgrounds, backyards, and so on. By now a ban on park and residential use is the bare minimum among decent human beings, and this is only the first step to be followed shortly by a complete ban on agricultural use.
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*Our upstanding, respectable people aren’t phased by that kind of trivia, but may become upset to learn their fine wines are loaded with the cancer juice. That’s why an ABC news report on California wines loaded with glyphosate residue is being censored by the network. The ABC news page is now “Page Not Found”.
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*Aspiring eugenicists have been trying to synthesize the smallest possible genome, allegedly stripped down to minimum essentials. They sought to strip away all seemingly extraneous sequences leaving only those necessary to the basic self-sustaining functions of the cell. But against all expectations they ended up with a genome one third of whose genes are evidently necessary but whose function can’t be discerned. They’d expected, according to the theory they started out with, a maximum of 5-10% of the genes being of this character. Once again alleged GE “science” is left debunked and confused. My favorite part – the scientific theory didn’t work, “So the team took a different and more labor-intensive tack, replacing the design approach with trial and error.” Just like with the entire genetic engineering endeavor.
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The long run goal is to be able to engineer purely functional (in an economic sense) animals and humans. So they’re experimenting with genetic minimalism – how much “extraneous” stuff can they dispense with and still have a functional organism. Like figuring out the absolute minimum needed to feed slaves to keep them “efficiently” working.
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*Here’s the latest in the long line of studies debunking the Bt “precision” lie, again proving the universal truth of all pesticides from hot pepper to the most virulent synthetic: All indiscriminately harm beneficial insects. This is the intended goal of insecticides, to kill insects as such. The only difference is the degree of potency. Concentrated Bt poison in GMO crops cells is one of the more indiscriminately toxic. We can expect RNAi insecticidal crops to be at lease as imprecise and indiscriminate.
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The study also adds to the already conclusive evidence on how multiple poisons in combination add up to greater lethality than the sum of the individual poisons. But, much like with formulations compared with “pure” primary poisons, synergy effects should be cited only in special circumstances. For everyday combat, it’s best and strongest to emphasize the fact that each of the poisons, including and especially the so-called “active”, primary poison, is lethally toxic to all animals including humans and must be banned. This fact, always coupled with its companion fact that the whole paradigm of pesticide-based agriculture doesn’t work, will be most lethal to the enemy’s endeavor.
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*Here’s the latest result of the GMO cartel’s campaign to eradicate all non-GM seeds: Punjab wants to promote indigenous desi open-pollinated cotton, but the seeds aren’t available.
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Organizations like Navdanya and seed conservationists like Debal Deb have preserved and continue to grow desi varieties, though they don’t have the stock to immediately supply a large demand. But if they were given a big state order, they could quickly do a seed increase.
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*We just saw an example of the economic suppression of non-GM seeds and genetics. Meanwhile the campaign of biological suppression through GM contamination of true crops continues. Canadian organic alfalfa farmers continue to resist the commercial deployment of Roundup Ready alfalfa, with the fight focusing especially on Prince Edward Island. Alfalfa is an insect-pollinated perennial and is therefore prone to rapid cross-pollination and subsequent contamination. This contamination is a primary intended goal of governments and Monsanto in deploying this false poison-based crop. A proximate goal is to render the existing certification structure for organic meat and dairy impossible by wiping out non-GM hay as a feed. From there the only possibilities are to let GMOs into the organic certification, or else let the organic sector die out completely. Monsanto will be happy either way.
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The Canadian government engages in the standard Orwellian lies, claiming to champion “choice” when the conscious goal is to eradicate all choice. We have decades of data on how seed sector concentration and genetic pollution destroy seed choice. Everyone knows this and it’s not possible to be mistaken about it. Any pro-GMO activist who touts “choice” is a willful liar.
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*Here’s a good two-fer, phony climate change concern and skillful use of the old scapegoat-the-farmer. Of course in reality industrial agriculture as such is by far the worst driver of climate change and cannot be reformed, can only be abolished.
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*Is the Obama administration being so aggressive and obnoxious in its pro-corporate thuggery that it’s going to force Europe, against the desire of the EU government and most of the member state governments, to reject the TTIP globalization pact? There’s increasing reason to think the combination of public protest and tyrannical US/corporate behavior may deep-six the vile thing.
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Here we are over two years past the time the US and EU were expecting to have this thing all wrapped up and enacted (even longer for the CETA, the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement), and it’s still in the arduous negotiation stage precisely because the corporations and the US government are so all-at-once totalitarian about it. That’s even though the “harmonization” (Gleichschaltung) provisions are designed to accomplish all the corporations could ever want, just more gradually.
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I even have some optimism that the whole thing will collapse and not be enacted, precisely because the US is being so openly belligerent and totalitarian about it, to the point even of making the EU governments leery. At any rate US brazenness has rendered the European political environment more and more hostile toward these surrender pacts.
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Rejecting the TTIP will be a great boon for Europe. Unfortunately at best this will only partially help the American people if the US corporate government goes ahead with the TPP.
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The enemy’s also going for all-or-nothing as far as the legitimacy of “science”. These globalization pacts include provisions officially enshrining as law the notion that science is to be defined according to corporate imperatives. We the people either will have to accept the steel bars of the law, “science is what the corporations say it is”, or else completely reject the legitimacy of establishment “science” across the board.
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April 22, 2016

Earth Day: Poisoner News Summary April 22nd, 2016

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*Earth Day. If a god created this world, this ecology, the beauty of it all, the intricacy and logic of it all, it’s inconceivable this god would have wanted humans to trash it, to defile it, to desecrate it. This, I believe, is the incontrovertible a priori for any meaningful theology or philosophy, whatever one’s personal state of faith. The much abused translation “dominion” in Genesis can mean only stewardship, if it has any meaning at all.
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This perception is reinforced by the fail-safe mechanism God created, the way nature imposes a correction wherever, on account of whatever temporary environmental circumstance, a species runs out of control. From any point of view including that of secular biology, Homo sapiens is certainly out of control. The circumstance enabling this has been the temporary availability of cheaply extractable fossil fuels. When we factor in humanity’s moral character, we must also recognize the rogues of the species, those who seek to poison us all, as evil.
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The stewardship model has been proven unanimously, on every level from the religious to the most nuts-and-bolts secular, to create the best life and greatest happiness for all even as it preserves and enhances the ecology at every level from the local to the global.
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This is the only true religion, the only true philosophy, the only true science. This is the one and only Truth. Do we still dream of the Garden of Eden? But this Earth is the one and only Garden of Eden, because it is humanity’s one and only home. Time’s up, and we must choose.
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*Climate scientists admit they’re “censoring their own research”, because the evidence indicates a current status and prognosis far worse than what they’ve generally been willing to report. Even as it is, what’s already been publicized proves that none of the popular “reforms” can have any effect and simply comprise a form of denialism, the form of putting off real action. If scientists told the truth about how bad things really are, even those willing to pay lip service to caring about the climate crisis would tune out the science completely and become de jure deniers.
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This is because even among those who wring their hands over climate change there’s a near-complete unwillingness to face up to the fact that there is one way and only one way to do anything about this crisis: Emit far less GHGs, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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That makes the hand-wringers and crocodile-criers climate deniers as well.
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*The Chinese government is about to launch the campaign we’ve been predicting for years, its attempt to propagate its own GMO cartel to compete with that of the West. This will complement its longstanding campaign of land-grabbing in Africa and elsewhere. The goals are to ensure China’s own CAFO feed chain and to open a new front in its challenge to US power. ChemChina’s deal with Syngenta intends to co-opt some top-of-the-line Western technical expertise and start splitting the EU’s interest in this intensifying geopolitical struggle.
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China would be better off bolstering its own agricultural resiliency and that of the allies it’s trying to cultivate by fully deploying agroecology for food production. This would make for far greater food security in times of climate chaos, ecological collapse, and geopolitical conflict. Europe still has the chance to do this if it chooses, but EU elites are dead set on collective suicide, judging by their ardent embrace of the TTIP and CETA and their increasingly aggressive attempts to force GMOs on Europe. Similarly, China’s elites are basically the same as Western elites. They too are incapable of thinking in terms other than globalization and commodity agriculture. Deng Xiaoping said, “Black cat, white cat, as long as it catches mice it’s a good cat.” But any cat operating in the oil-dependent industrial monoculture commodity fields won’t be catching mice much longer, as his nine lives are just about used up. Indeed, even by the conventional economic outlook China looks to be trying to get into the GMO market at its peak, as the product has reached market saturation and stalled out around the world. The Western agrochemical/GMO sector is cannibalizing itself, which is what drove Syngenta into the Chinese orbit in the first place, after the Swiss company at first hoped it could maintain a “neutral” independence. It’s not clear what incentives the Chinese will offer the farmers of the world, and what new lies they’ll tell, in order to continue with the GMO paradigm but get the world to switch from the West to the Orient. One thing we can be sure of, the Chinese product won’t work any better than the Western, nor will it force the use of any less poison.
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*One critical battlefront where Monsanto, and the GMO ideal itself, is facing rejection is among Africans who are rejecting Bt cotton. Africans have seen the havoc wrought in India as well as closer to home in South Africa. They know the product is disastrous for farmers. Burkina Faso’s attempt to flout this fact led quickly to one of the typical outcomes: Even when the GM cotton crop isn’t decimated by pests and yields well on paper, the lint is of subpar length and therefore makes for an inferior product which can be sold only at inferior prices. All this is after paying a premium price for the seed. Therefore the government is now planning to phase out the fraudulent GM seeds and replace them completely with non-GM conventional seeds by 2018. This parallels and goes beyond India’s so far more modest program to encourage the use of native, non-GM cotton seeds.
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*Pakistan has had nothing but travails of its own with Bt cotton, and now must cope with the corrupt politics of GM maize. Here too there’s a scandal driven by the climate change minister’s surreptitious and illegal approval of commercial release of Monsanto’s GM maize without prior field trials. This violates the national biosafety law. Under pressure from farmers and scientists the government is halting the sale of the seeds. Leaving aside its usual, long-debunked lies about GMOs being good for farmers, Monsanto openly says the purpose of GMO commercialization is for commodity globalization, and even more for the propaganda of the commodification idea: “Monsanto official Aamir Mirza said…that the promotion of biotechnology will…send strong signals that the country is welcoming investments in research into cutting-edge technologies. ‘This will improve the agriculture sector’s international competitiveness over the long term,’ he remarked.”
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ALL problems of hunger and malnutrition among the poor have been known at least since the 1970s to be directly caused or greatly aggravated by agricultural commodification. Monsanto and its flunkeys like to tell lies about “feeding the world”, but their conscious, intentional goal and action sums up to GMOs Starve the World
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*Monsanto faces mounting problems collecting its tax in Latin America. Brazil and Argentina don’t have the same draconian intellectual property laws as those of the US. Therefore Monsanto has to rely on the farmer’s contractual agreement to pay the Monsanto Tax. This is readily enough collected at the point of sale when farmers formally purchase Roundup Ready or Intacta soybean seed. But how to force farmers who save and replant GM seed (or are just accused of doing so) to pay the tax, in a place where you can’t so easily sue them? Monsanto’s idea has been to make each farmer produce his tax document when he brings in his soybean harvest to the trader. If the farmer can’t produce proof he paid the tax, Monsanto demands that the trader to collect the tax on Monsanto’s behalf, or else refuse to accept the shipment if the farmer refuses to pay. The shipment is assumed to be GM unless the farmer can prove he used only non-GM seeds, but Monsanto sets the bar for this proof so high as to be near impossible to meet. The tax is then remitted to Monsanto. The trader gets nothing for acting as Monsanto’s collection agency.
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It’s not surprising that most traders have objected to this arrangement (that’s our Monsanto, making friends everywhere it goes), and now the Argentine government, which has already disappointed Monsanto many times in failing to meet the company’s demand to tighten seed patent law, is intervening. The government says it will exercise oversight and must approve of any arrangement where Monsanto or its dragooned agents demand a tax from farmers.
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This unfavorable environment for Monsanto’s patent privilege is a major motivation for the company to commercialize the Terminator gene as quickly as is politically possible.
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*Case study in the corporate science paradigm. Where scientists aren’t sufficiently self-policing, authoritarian regimes will deploy varying levels of coercion to enforce the party line in “science”. We see it with US regulators like the USDA and EPA, and we see it now even more aggressively official with the British government.
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These are all manifestations of the total assault on democracy by the corporations, which are totalitarian organizations recognizing zero right for any value to exist other than their own profit prerogatives. In the case of science, part of the whole mythology as elaborated by Karl Popper is that science is an integral part of the “open society”. This means that science, in order to be socially constructive and true to itself, can be undertaken only under conditions of complete transparency and intellectual freedom. Thus true science and democracy go hand in hand, while any kind of secrecy or censorship of science is automatically an assault on democracy as well. (That’s part of mythology because establishment science has never in fact functioned that way, nor have most of its practitioners ever agreed with democratic values.)
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*Lawsuits are part of a general delaying action. Since as a rule those who file lawsuits would be unwilling to engage in more radical forms of action, it’s good that they at least do this. Lawsuits have the primary effect of delaying the Poisoner progress, as the USDA recently complained about the EPA. They can also be excellent occasions for public education and agitation by abolitionists, and we must use these opportunities far more effectively. But like any other reform action condoned by the establishment, they’re insufficient and are no substitute for the necessary work of building and enacting the abolition movement and the food sovereignty way of life.
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*Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the whole Poisoner campaign is how right out in plain sight governments and corporations are intentionally, systematically destroying antibiotics as an effective medical treatment, and no one cares.
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*Tom Philpott softens under the Bill Nye treatment. No surprise there.
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Monsanto’s record is absolutely perfect throughout its history: It sells as much poison as it can and tells every lie imaginable about it. Philpott knows this perfectly well and yet pretends to find these lies believable. He goes so far as to imply that Monsanto can be an honest broker. Once again the rule is proven, that every system propagandist, including the “reformer” types, has his price for becoming a de jure liar. In the case of Nye, Philpott, and the labeling “leaders” who were willing to endorse the secret Vilsack/GMA conclave, the price may be rhetorical, the “quality” of the lie. But make no mistake, all such persons are, in the final analysis, on the Monsanto side.
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*A new study has found that quinone outside inhibitors, a class of fungicide whose use on vegetables and grains in the US has surged exponentially in recent years, affect mouse neural cells in vitro in ways similar to the neural cell effects found in humans suffering from autism, advanced age, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Now, it’s important to note, Zylka told me in an interview, that in vitro research like the kind his team conducted for this study is only the first step in determining whether a chemical poses risk to people. The project identified chemicals that can cause harm to brain cells in a lab setting, but it did not establish that they harm human brains as they’re currently used. Nailing that down will involve careful epidemiological studies, Zylka said: Scientists will have to track populations that have been exposed to the chemicals—say, farm workers—to see if they show a heightened propensity for brain disorders, and they’ll have to test people who eat foods with residues of suspect chemicals to see if those chemicals show up in their bodies at significant levels.

That work remains to be done, Zylka said. “What’s most disturbing to me is that we’ve allowed these chemicals to be widely used, widely found on food and in the environment, without knowing more about their potential effects,” he said.

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Contrary to this nonsense, we know for a fact that all agricultural poisons are severely harmful to humans and other animals. In the hundred year history of poison-based agriculture there has never been an exception among the poisons for which evidence has been compiled at all. So by now, for any rational person, the first step is to regard the case as closed and to abolish all agricultural poisons forthwith. The endless whack-a-mole of testing which is mechanically called for by every lukewarm critic of these poisons is nothing but procrastination, at best. That is, where it’s not a willful delaying tactic.
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Our supposition that the call for “more testing” is a scam is reinforced when we consider the fact, known perfectly well by Philpott and Zylka, that the kind of epidemiological studies they call for here are seldom sought or funded, and when they are carried out their results are dismissed out of hand by regulators like the EPA, FDA, and the German BfR and EU’s EFSA as we saw most recently in the case of their whitewash of glyphosate’s proven carcinogenicity. So epidemiological study is, for official regulatory purposes, unscience. Meanwhile testing people who have ingested residues is never done, and the many preliminary studies which would have to be performed, in order to ascertain the presence of pesticide residues in the food supply in the first place, are also evaded by regulators and can be carried out by independent researchers only in the most sporadic, ad hoc way. (Meanwhile the FDA illegally refuses to regulate pesticides as the food additives they self-evidently are.) So this prescription for “more and better testing” describes a scenario which no one within the establishment will ever enact, and no one outside the establishment would ever have the resources to enact.
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Nor should dissidents want to use our scarce resources this way, since as I said we already know that all these poisons cause cancer, birth defects, and neurodisease, along with a host of other harms. We have vastly more than enough evidence already, compiled over the course of a century. We need better use of the sufficient evidence we have, not the insufficient course of procrastination, filling the wasted time with vain calls for “more and better testing”.
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The political dance between “reformers” and the poison manufacturers is made complete with the corporate retort.
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In an emailed statement, a BASF spokeswoman wrote that cell tissue studies like Zylka’s “have not demonstrated relevance compared with results from studies conducted on [live] animals.” She added, “While the study adds to the debate of some scientific questions, it provides no evidence that the chemicals contribute to the development of some diseases of the central nervous system. This publication has no impact on the established safety of pyraclostrobin when used according to label instructions in agricultural settings.” A Bayer spokesman told me that the company’s scientists are looking into the Zylka study and “don’t have any initial feedback to offer right now.” He added that “our products are rigorously tested and their safety and efficacy is our focus.”

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In fact all establishment scientists and commentators on science flip-flop constantly on whether entire classes of research are valid or not. Thus when BASF contemplates this case, they suddenly discover that in vitro research as such is invalid. Yet like the Stalinists who officially rejected quantum mechanics even as they applied it for the Soviet nuclear program, so BASF constantly uses in vitro research itself, especially in the genetic engineering process. Similarly, in vivo lab studies are generally considered the gold standard in science (a notion which has problems of its own, which I’ll leave aside for now), except where these must suddenly be thrown out because they don’t adequately reflect real world conditions or allegedly have faulty methodology even though the methodology is the same as that of prior studies the corporation itself carried out. This suddenly becomes the corporate position when in vivo studies provide evidence adverse to corporate interests. The most infamous example is the scientific establishment’s defamation of the 2012 Seralini study, which was a perfect example of the classic falsificationist scientific method in action. To this day pro-GMO activists will say with a straight face that the Seralini study, nearly identical to prior Monsanto studies in every way except in its longer duration and the parameters it measured, was a bad study while the near-identical Monsanto studies were good.
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Finally, epidemiological studies which actually do measure things under real world conditions are rejected as a class on the opposite grounds, that they’re not well enough controlled, the moment they provide evidence adverse to a corporate campaign. Like we said, this is invariably the case where it comes to agricultural poisons. This is why regulators, on principle, refuse to recognize the existence of epidemiological science.
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As we can see, contrary to its lies about itself “science” has no stable canons of practice or evidence, but is the same game of doing whatever you have to do to get the “evidence” you want and suppress the evidence which is against you as is standard in every other branch of politics. To continue playing the corporate science game is to condemn oneself to a literally endless round of whack-a-mole. The actual science is unequivocal and overwhelming, and confirms what reason and common sense always knew: Poison is poisonous to us, and the campaign of putting it on our food is insane and evil and must be put to an end with all due speed. But as we also see, the lukewarm have a different agenda which is more in line with that of the corporations. Whether it’s that they lack confidence in reason and real science, or whether they actively support corporate capitalism and are willing to tolerate a certain level of intentionally caused cancer (thus the regulatory concept of “tolerances”), or most likely a combination of this cowardice and this evil, they end up in agreement with the corporate poisoners that no level of evidence will ever be enough to convict poisons of being poisons.
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Self-evidently, this is not the way forward.
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March 16, 2016

Continuing A Perfect Pattern: Pro-GMO Activists Are Climate Change Deniers

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Next time you run into a pro-GMO activist, just tell him that you were glad to see Ted Cruz is on the same page with the pro-GM version of “science”.
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While you’re at it, also throw in all the avowed climate change deniers led by Marc Montagu and Ingo Potrykus who publicly and ardently endorsed Patrick Moore explicitly on grounds of his climate change denial.
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On an institutional level, Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organization (CSIRO), which spends lavishly to research GMOs for eventual privatization and to propagandize for GMOs as such, is gutting its climate change research program.
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These are just a few data points which exemplify the unanimous trend: Pro-GMO activists are climate change deniers. These two forms of anti-science naturally go together because both are in the service of techno-cultism and corporate profiteering.
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The fact that mainstream media outlets often equate criticism of genetic engineering with climate change denial, or give space to those who do, is de jure proof that the media tells conscious, willful lies about this subject. All media outlets know for a fact that in reality pro-GMO activism and climate change denial go together, since it only takes five minutes of Internet searching to learn this.
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February 12, 2016

GMO News Summary February 12th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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January 27, 2016

Zika, Part of the Corporate Normal

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

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January 24, 2016

Three Good Actions and No Evil Actions

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A basic watchword for director Howard Hawks was that “A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes.” It strikes me that this is a reasonable expectation for those who claim to want what’s good for people and the environment. How about we phrase it, Three good actions and no evil actions.
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This is a supplement to my earlier post about what’s necessary and what’s insufficient. Unfortunately there will be the need for many reprises. To repeat the basic fact:
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There is one way and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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There is no argument which can be made against this fact, and anyone who tries to say it’s wrong or ‘complicated or that there’s some kind of workaround or shortcut or magic bullet is a fool or a liar.
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To call for the insufficient is always pointless and stupid and abets evil. Usually it’s actively evil, since it’s usually in order to shout down the call for what is necessary, as is the case with the pro-nuke liars and shills among false “climate change activists”, including former standout climate change activist James Hansen. As much as I appreciate Hansen’s years of work publicizing the climate change evidence and his civil disobedience against Keystone and elsewhere, this cannot justify an overtly evil action like shilling for nukes, any more than the alleged environmentalist history of Patrick Moore or Mark Lynas, if this history in fact existed, would justify or mitigate their current crimes.
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It’s clear that this is no passing lapse on Hansen’s part. He’s not someone who mentioned nukes in passing a few times as possibly part of the mix, though that too would be discreditable. No, he’s a systematic, aggressive, belligerent propagandist for the nuclear cartel, and therefore among the second type of climate change deniers, those who claim to care about climate change but really use it to shill for some kind of corporate welfare scam. Hansen was furious about the COP21 outcome, denouncing it as “a fraud” and “bullshit”. But contrary to what one might think, his anger wasn’t because the agreement was a complete fraud. No, he objected only because it included no “incentives” (i.e. new government subsidies) for nuclear reactors. I stress new subsidies since nuclear power, just like industrial agriculture, has always been 100% dependent upon corporate welfare, without which it would cease to function immediately.
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See the COP21 press release of the four “climate scientists” turned science deniers where it comes to the facts about the nuclear industry. This communication is quite peculiar in that it reads as a pro-nuke manifesto which mentions climate mitigation as an alleged fringe benefit, rather than a climate action manifesto which mentions nukes as an alleged potential part of mitigation. The emphasis is telling. (Of course, any Western establishment figure jaunting off to a secretive globalization cabal meeting like the COP21 to participate as an insider “stakeholder” or “expert” should be regarded with the highest suspicion. No chance of their kind standing outside with the real people who are forcibly excluded, like Southern indigenous and civil society representatives. For a true conference of the true people, see here.)
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Indeed, we see from nuke apologists like these the same types of vileness as from other corporate hacks. In this case we have lies about nuclear energy displacing fossil fueled generation, the fraudulent framing of options as being between fossil fuels or nuclear (where it comes to agriculture and food the false comparison is always industrial with industrial, monoculture with monoculture, poison with poison, never industrial vs agroecological, never poison vs. healthy), the standard fantasies about thorium reactors, and many others. We’ve all heard this form of corporate sloganeering before: “Safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power”. Just like for “clean coal”, fracking, “climate-smart agriculture”, and the similar slogans propagated by similar climate denialists. How about this from Hansen-Streicher on the absolutely intractable crisis of nuclear reactor toxic waste: “Nuclear waste: it is not waste, it is fuel for 4th generation reactors!” The ExxonMobil and Monsanto flacks are jealous of that one. Most despicably of all, Hansen spits on the dead of Chernobyl and those already dead or who will die from Fukushima.
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The industries that commit mass murder are the same who ravage the Earth including driving the global climate to insanity. The deniers and liars for the murders are the deniers and liars for the ecological ravage, no matter what front they put up. Anyone who doesn’t get by now that these are all peas in a pod and that the one and only climate solution is to greatly cut emissions, stop destroying sinks, rebuild sinks, those and nothing but those, is beyond help.
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Indeed, some of these shills seem to be fundamentally ignorant about even the basics of today’s nuclear deployment and the physical possibilities for its continuation and expansion. Needless to say, only an idiot thinks expanded nuclear energy could replace fossil fueled electricity generation instead of just adding to the consumption maw. That’s like believing corporations could ever want to “feed the world” even if it were economically possible for them to do so, which it’s not. The kind of person who wants to build more nuclear reactors is never the kind of person who actually wants to reduce GHG emissions and therefore energy consumption. It’s always the kind of person who wants for everything cancerously to “grow” forever. (“Growth” as the Western ideology envisions it is directly analogous to cancer in every way, from the brainless proliferation to the inevitable death.) It’s the kind of person who is cancer incarnate. I don’t know if Hansen is actually such a person – he didn’t previously seem to be so – or whether in his old age, worn down by all the struggles, he’s weakened and let himself be co-opted by the cancer people. Either way he now speaks for evil every time he says a word about nukes.
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Why do they feel the need to be nuke shills, even though this contradicts everything else they say about human health, GHGs, and environmental destruction? There’s always corruption. I don’t know if these “climate scientists” are getting nuke money the same way other scientists get money from Big Oil or Big Coal or the fracking industry, but the result is the same. Then perhaps there’s the crackpot notion which I often see phrased as “you can’t oppose everything”. I guess the idea’s supposed to be that you can oppose the US government’s wars in Iraq and Libya but not in Afghanistan, or something like that. It makes no sense to me, but that’s the logic. The moment one embraces this lie, or joins with it deliberately, one abdicates the entire cause and betrays it in principle.
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I’d say what has to be opposed is what needs to be opposed, whatever its extent. But in fact where it comes to climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (these are one whole and cannot be separated – whatever poisons also causes climate change, and whatever causes climate change also poisons) it’s not necessary to oppose “everything”, as there are superb alternatives available, starting with agroecology and decentralized renewable energy. When privileged system cadres and those who are still part of the shrinking Western middle class say they can’t oppose everything, they mean that they accept the Big Lie that their own extremely high-footprint lifestyles are sustainable in a way compatible with averting the worst of climate change and the rest of ecological destruction. In other words, in the end they join hands with the most unreconstructed Republican-type de jure deniers in believing the extremely destructive, privileged, expensive yet extremely cheap and shoddy Western “way of life is non-negotiable”, indeed is morally defensible, and propagate their lies accordingly. Ergo Hansen’s Patrick Moore-like lies and smears attacking environmental groups. Cowardly bullying shills are the same no matter which climate crime they’re shilling for.
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In the end we have the same old phony difference like the one between conservatives and liberals. Both commit and support the same crimes, but the latter are more likely to cry crocodile tears over it. Thus our liberal deniers will pretend to care about climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (once more, these are one whole and cannot be separated*) and even reject some sources of it, especially coal. (But many will temporize even there – “clean coal” and similar scams.) But they’ll then flip completely and support other vectors of destruction, such as nukes or corporate agriculture, where the latter are bolstered by the appropriate lies told to the ignorant.
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[*Nor can socioeconomic justice be separated from environmental redemption. All social injustice goes with ecological destruction, and all ecological destruction is accompanied by socioeconomic crimes. Environmental domination always goes with social domination, and often the former has the latter as one of its main purposes. The attitude of “man against nature” always goes hand in hand with man against man.]
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The same goes for traitor organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy which support corporate crimes and ecological devastation around the world. They do this not because they sincerely believe this is the best environmental outcome which can be attained. They do it because at best they want some environmental amelioration but only within the framework of continued corporate domination, which they assume also ensures their own luxurious circumstances. I say “at best”, though no doubt many of them are nothing but mercenary frauds who care zero about the Earth.
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All of these kinds of shills are part of what I’ve often described in these pages (most recently here), the template of “regulation” within the framework of corporate rule. Its steps:
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1. Corporate rule and the projects of corporations are normative and must go forward under all circumstances.
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2. A regulator, NGO, etc. may choose to try to ameliorate the worst “abuses”, or may just pretend to do so, or may actively assist the corporation’s worst crimes. Whatever it does, under no circumstances may it ever significantly hinder the corporate imperative.
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3. The regulator/NGO/celebrity type then goes forth, puts its seal of approval on the fraudulently “regulation”, “agreement” or whatever, laundering the fraud and the crime, and tells the people to stand down and go to sleep. It tells the people they can sleep easy knowing the “professionals” are in charge. Where necessary it snarls at them to STFU and stop questioning their betters.
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Do we the people really want to avert the worst of climate change and the rest of environmental destruction? Then we need a radically different template, one whose first principle is the opposite of the corporate template and whose second follows from it.
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1. Ending environmental destruction and building an ecological mindset and society is necessary and normative and must go forward no matter what.
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2. Given this framework, where it’s necessary we may take small steps, but each step must be along the vector toward the ecological and/or abolition goals. Under no circumstances can a retrograde step, a step which hinders progress along this vector, be practical or acceptable. So the one and only measure of the expedience of an action is whether or not it’s along the right vector.
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As a movement rises committed to this ecological principle and this strategic and tactical principle, its actions will speak for themselves and will need no fraudulent seals of approval.
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I’m sick of the seemingly omnipresent and infinite corruption of this Sodom and Gomorrah. In this City of Destruction all we see are the destroyers and the willingly self-destroyed. I’m not looking for the perfect in anyone, just a few good actions and no evil actions. So far that seems like too much to ask, and it’s definitely far too much to ask of anyone who’s part of the corporate system.
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Therefore the new ecological movement through which humanity and the Earth must come together to germinate and push up toward the sun must come from completely outside this system – outside its institutions and most of all outside its ideas. The system’s institutions and ideas are all modes and vectors of cancer, and it’s no accident that figurative cancer also kicks us in the gut most literally with a growing epidemic of physical cancer, the vast majority of it caused by agricultural and industrial poisons. There can be no safety there and no recourse. “Pick your poison” in the most literal sense, where that’s the best the likes of James Hansen and the WWF can come up with, is at best a confession of complete bankruptcy, exhaustion, and surrender. This is no direction to keep heading.
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There’s one way and only one way to honestly and constructively face up to climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks. This is congruent with abolishing all anti-ecological poisons, the only way to face up to all forms of ecological destruction and the only way for humanity to feed itself going forward. These are the only possible goals, since all other paths lead to the same death. The only possible goals then dictate the only possible actions.
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We have everything we need for the affirmative work. The ideas are fully developed, the science is fully proven, the practices are fully demonstrated and ready for global deployment. The new movement needs no special technology or nonrenewable resources or concentrated wealth or power to fully flourish and let humanity lead itself to health, vigor, prosperity, and fulfillment. It needs nothing but for the cancerous institutions, ideology, and practices to be abolished. These must in the end perish anyway, and Earth will heal itself and continue. The only question is whether humanity will assert itself in time with the necessary transformative actions. I know we can, and I write in the expectation that we will.
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January 18, 2016

The Spirit of King Against Poison Agriculture

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In April 1963, Martin Luther King and many of his fellow Birmingham direct actionists sat in jail. They had expected such a response from the segregationist power structure. Unfortunately, it was also predictable that they’d be hearing criticism and condemnation from most of the people who in theory should have been on their side. King seems to have anticipated this, as he was able to respond immediately with an eloquent refutation and exposure of this collaborationist position. This was the great Letter From Birmingham Jail.
Here King faces those who object to demonstrations, to boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience in general, indeed to anything but the most tepid (and “civil”) criticism which is guaranteed to remain impotent. He opens up with their immortal objection to any real resistance, that it’s “unwise and untimely”. Today this could be the signature of all who are lukewarm.
As King knew, protest is always timely and wise in the broadest sense. As for the specific timing, we who want humanity and the Earth to have a future must recognize when the time has come, and when today is the day. Our task today isn’t the same as that of the Civil Rights Movement. They sought a specific set of reforms. They were up against an obsolete set of attitudes and practices which were mostly an embarrassment to corporate power and which wouldn’t interfere with corporate imperatives. (Indeed as we’ve seen, the end of segregation was put to good political use by corporate power. It has helped render racially astroturfed divide-and-conquer even more insidious and harder to counteract. This is the crime of the corporations and the rich and the fault of malingering racists themselves, not of desegregation. But we should be aware of this history of corporate domination.)
Today we need nothing less than to abolish pesticides and GMOs, which comprise a technological and organizational offensive against humanity. We need to transform our agriculture and food systems on the basis of moral, just, rational, and scientific agroecology. We must build this alternative to the corporate agriculture and food system, counter to it where possible, in resistance to it where necessary. This is a permanent necessity, whose goal is the eventual complete replacement of this world of crime and malice by a world of democracy and universal prosperity.
We’ll constantly be expressing the need for total abolition, and along the way we’ll probably encounter many opportunities for the kind of direct action and civil disobedience campaigns King so masterfully led. Two examples are direct action against GMO plantings, and civil disobedience on behalf of the Community Food movement which the corporate system is trying to repress as an economic and political threat to its domination. Up against these, we’ll no doubt also often encounter the same sort of opposition, including the opposition King specifically addresses in his Letter.

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.

When we speak of the global ecological and human network and the global corporate assault upon it, in particular the global onslaught of poison-based agriculture, we know that anyone who lives in the Earth can never be considered an outsider anywhere upon it. (And conversely, corporations and the hominid functionaries of corporations are purely alien to the Earth, just squatters on its surface, and can never be considered part of it.)

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.

1. There can be no doubt at all about the injustice.
There’s many reasons to fight to abolish Monsanto and GMOs. They’re agriculturally and environmentally totalitarian. They inevitably contaminate all other crops and the environment, and accelerate soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. They accelerate the same climate change which is cited as one of the reasons corporate agriculture allegedly must provide “new technology”. The more that GMOs are field tested and commercialized, i.e. the longer they exist at all, the worse this contamination shall become, and the more we’ll pass points-of-no-return where the contamination shall become significantly malign and irreversible.
They’re economically and politically totalitarian. The GMO cartel is increasing what’s already a non-competitive monopoly concentration in the seed sector. It aggressively uses this position to build horizontal and vertical monopoly power, enforce its dictates up and down the food production and distribution chains, drives non-GM seed varieties out of the market and increasingly out of existence (our most recent big demonstration of that has been the revelation that non-GM industrial sugar beet varieties were laregly driven out in just a few years of Roundup Ready dominance), greatly jack up seed prices, force obscenely lopsided “contracts” upon farmers, persecute farmers with harassment, thuggery, and lawsuits, and get governments to enact repressive seed laws intended to escalate and accelerate this whole process.
 
That’s just one way in which the GMO cartel has seized control of governments around the world. While governments are naturally controlled by corporate power, the kind of control being exercised by the GMO corporations, and the unique threat to humanity and the Earth posed by such corporate control over agriculture and food, render this form of corporate control over government particularly nefarious. Humanity must purge this clear and present danger to our freedom, our democracy, and our literal survival.
 
GMOs and pesticides also present a clear and present danger to our health. In 2015 the IARC confirmed what campaigners and science have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. Similarly, we know that all pesticides are endocrine disruptors and are genotoxic, and therefore are all carcinogenic at low doses. All independent studies, and even almost all of the corporations’ own rigged studies, find reason for concern or alarm. The genetic engineering process itself, and the massive glyphosate residues in our food and water, wreck our microbiome (our internal gastrointestinal microbial community with which our bodies cooperate for mutual health), cause gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every kind of disease, trigger escalations in allergies, asthma, autism, and every other kind of autoimmune disease, cause cancer, organ damage, infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. These are just the best documented effects. Glyphosate-tolerant crops are also nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods”, and the many diseases this can cause or exacerbate.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. GMOs are shoddy, antiquated, failure-prone products based upon a backward, luddite mental framework (that the way to deal with crop pests and disease is with poison) which don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. Their yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture. They require far more pesticides than non-GM conventional agriculture. By helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate superweeds and superbugs against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place. The ”special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
All these factors build the despair, anger, and sense of social, political, and economic cramp which are driving the March Against Monsanto, and the vast global movement of which it’s a part.
 
The trenchline runs across the global South, while here behind enemy lines in the West we are rising to take back our corporate-invaded land and agriculture.
 
2. Not that we the people owe it to those who are in principle our public servants to negotiate with them, but nevertheless we have done so ad nauseum. For decades now, starting before GMOs were ever commercialized, scientists and public health advocates have called for mandatory long-term safety testing of GMOs and actual regulation. (I don’t say “better regulation”, since there was never ANY regulation.) Citizens have fought for GMO labeling in all the states of the union. Citizens have fought for and passed anti-corporate legislation at the local level. Citizens and farmers have filed lawsuits like OSGATA vs. Monsanto. Almost everyone involved with the rising Community Food movement has wanted to do so with the blessing of the power structure and has been appeasement-minded about it.
 
No, we’ve done all we can to negotiate. The fact is, representative democracy itself, the periodic elections, were supposed to constitute such negotiations. But we see that this was always a sham. System politicians have never done anything but lie to the people, and have never felt the slightest obligation to live up to their promises after the election. Indeed, many ideologues of pseudo-democracy (if not the practicing liar politicians themselves) have explicitly argued that the “representative” has no obligation to his constituents at all after the election is over, but is free to “vote his conscience”, conscience usually being a euphemism for corrupt personal interest.
 
Reasonable people have to concede that the “negotiation” failed. We can never have a responsible, responsive, legitimate government in its current form.
 
In his own context, Martin Luther King came to a similar conclusion.
 

As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.

 
All that was left was self-purification, and then you go out there and do it.
 

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

 
This is a direct rejoinder to those who want to keep the people kettled within a polity-wide “free speech zone”.
 
King goes on to discuss the change of governmental administrations which never constitutes a structural change. He agrees with the anarchists: Only direct action ever accomplished anything, and it did so with nonviolent force.
 

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

 
We have not only the right, but the obligation, to disobey unjust laws:
 

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

 
All this is morally and intellectually clear. Today we can add that just laws would be laws and policy in harmony with ecosystems and interrelating constructively with them, since the only thing which biologically exists are these ecological relationships. Agricultural and ecological pioneers long knew this intuitively and empirically, and over the course of the 20th century science has confirmed it. By contrast, poison-based agriculture, genetic engineering, “intellectual property”, property in land, the corporate-held agricultural system, segregates we the people from our work, from our land, from our food, from our own bodies. The whole ideology of scientism, technocracy, instrumental reason, arises out of a fundamental self-loathing and hatred for the physical earth and the physical human body.
 
The “I and Thou” invoked by Buber and King also signifies the human affinity with the Earth, its natural ecosystems, its soil, its crops, its food, and especially the earthly human labor which indelibly interacts with these. The “I and It” demarcates our sundering from all that makes us human, our forced exile driven by corporate agriculture. Alien, anti-human corporations and all that is of them renders human society a destructive and self-destructive parasite squatter on the surface of the earth, no longer a constructive part of it. With every action corporate agriculture expresses its contempt for the earth. It insults the soil as the cradle of all complex life, treating it as nothing but an inert medium. It insults the seed as the universal embryo, treating it as a commodity to be painted, pimped, and most of all controlled. It adds the obscene injury of its wholesale poisoning of the soil, air, water, crops, and environment.
 
Legally and ideologically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation of humanity. The land, the soil, the very seed are “owned”, which word we must render in all corporate contexts as controlled and dominated by an alien, anti-human entity. Indeed, a patent on a seed is alienation squared, since the patent is an abominable segregation and sundering of we the people from our common heritage, and it’s “owned” by an alien, anti-human entity whose very existence is also such an abomination.
 
Economically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation from humanity. Growing our food is the essential human labor, the core human economic activity, the primary economy, and a deep spiritual endeavor. It’s the main form of our communion with the earth and our thread of its harmony. We’re now to be alienated from this, driven off the land. For the Western middle class, into spiritual ghettos. For the Global South, into physical concentration camps called shantytowns. And in the longer run this bell tolls also for us in the West, as our economic liquidation proceeds and the capitalist era deteriorates to a more brutally direct mode of tyranny. 
 
We’re all too familiar with this type today:
 

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

 
Except that today the “moderate” isn’t an outsider with a shallow understanding, but either a predatory collaborator or else part of the prey herd himself. His moderation and lukewarm state are homicidal and/or suicidal. He sides with the oppressor against those who would fight.
 
King describes how the inertial mass deplores those who fight as “extremists”, as instigators of violence, and as being too impatient. But these charges are false. It’s the enemy who’s extreme, it’s the enemy who’s violent, and we’ve been far too patient for far too long.
 
But in all the things we do, we aren’t the ones generating the “tension” so unpleasant to conformists. Where it comes to that, we’re merely symptomatic:
 

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

 
This is the only path forward.
 
King describes how the early Christians were sustained by their faith and their relentless will against long odds.
 

Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.”‘ But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

 
That’s the hardest thing, to overcome the feeling of astronomical intimidation. The mission is daunting, and existing institutions are unlikely to offer any support:
 

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world.

 
This will ring true for us today wherever we transpose it to any institution of the corporate-dominated system.
 

I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands…

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

 
Today, although for we who a relatively advantaged in the West the conflict isn’t over de jure slavery (but there’s still much of that worldwide) nor over de jure segregation (but land policy is very effective at “segregating” out of existence small farmers who produce food for the community and do so without poisons), we are being economically destroyed and physically malnourished and poisoned. We are literally being given cancer. Ecosystems, carbon sinks, arable soil all over the world are being physically poisoned and destroyed. New crop deployments based on massive upsurges in 2,4-D and dicamba will turn vast swathes of US cropland into the equivalent of Times Beach, while the “New Alliance” plan to recolonize Africa coupled with corporate-driven climate chaos threatens to turn all of subsaharan Africa into a literal desert. Do we have the luxury of the “patience” King discusses here?
 

I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

 
Time itself is neutral, and the flow of time itself has no characteristic independent of what we choose to do with it. Abolitionism is a way of life. It’s not just labor toward a goal, let alone the ideas contained in the goal itself. Most of all it’s a way of life. The goal is most realized in the here and now, every day. This way of life means not only exercising democracy in any way we can but also fighting for it everywhere we must. This adds to the challenge and striving, but this challenge is the challenge of being human at all. In the context of King’s struggle he was writing of direct action in the most literal sense. Abolitionists of agricultural poisons will certainly have all too many opportunities and needs for such direct action as well. But primarily we rise to the need for the positive direct action of rebuilding our agricultural and food systems, building agroecology and food sovereignty,propagating far and wide the ideas of these, while rejecting the poison systems on a personal and group level and propagating the demolition and condemnation of the ideas of these.
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The essence of humanity is to take responsibility for oneself within the community and ecology, to achieve power over oneself, to exercise one’s responsibility, combining one’s personal strength in free cooperation with others to build a free and prosperous human community. Only in such a community can we then create the space for the essence of humanity, positive freedom. This is spiritual freedom, creative freedom, political freedom, participatory freedom, ecological freedom. These can exist only on the basis of the cooperative prosperity which affords the time and opportunity for this freedom. Only this deserves the name democracy, and only this can be called in the most profound sense civilization.
 
Today corporate barbarians seek to destroy democracy, civilization, agriculture, the world ecology, and humanity itself. These barbarians are the opposite of the original tribes raging out of Central Asia. Those were the vigorous barbarians of ascent toward a richer civilization. Today’s barbarians of decadence are rotted and malevolent, ugly and stupid, but infinitely wicked. Their technology and wealth renders them the most powerful ruling class in history, at the same time that their utter lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever renders them history’s nadir, history’s most degraded, nihilistic, parasitic, worthless ruling class. They represent not a stage of Western Civilization but its final self-cannibalization. This is the end of this pseudo-civilization, for better or worse. The corporate barbarians certainly intend the worst – the full reinstatement of a slave economy, through the vehicles of debt indenture and corporate domination of agriculture and food.
 
But we can defeat this satanic plan if we redeem from the wreckage of the corporate industrial agriculture system the greatest treasure we’ve won: The consciousness that we the people can feed ourselves and rule ourselves. We can realize and fulfill our happiness and prosperity through full political and economic democracy. We don’t need “elites” for anything, those who are never anything but parasites and criminals.
 
All we need to do is accept this fact, believe in it, and take responsibility for it. The true Human Renaissance beckons. This is the same human evolution and salvation for which Martin Luther King fought, for which he sat in jail, for which he wrote a letter from that jail.
 
We shall live up to the standard he and so many other great fighters for humanity have set for us. It’s a very high standard, and the forces ranged against it are formidable. But we can do it. Freedom is ours wherever and whenever we want it. The time is ours whenever we choose it. Our freedom will assert itself as soon as we freely choose to fight for it.

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January 16, 2016

Africa Vantage

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Monsanto Kenya Ltd. is pushing Bollgard II Bt cotton for Kenya. This is the same technology which has a perfect record of failure everywhere on Earth. Let’s briefly survey Bt cotton’s record just in Africa. Complete failure in South Africa’s Makhathini Flats, failure and abandonment in Burkina Faso, failure and abandonment in Benin. Bt cotton is guaranteed to fail in Kenya as well. In 2013 Monsanto’s attempt to introduce Bt cotton in Malawi failed, in large part because of the opposition of GMO Free Malawi. The group critiqued the submission, noting especially how flimsy it was where it came to malign socioeconomic effects and how poorly Bt cotton would hold up against secondary pests.
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Monsanto and its bootlicks are spewing the same well-worn lie: They claim that only poison can face up to lepidopteran cotton pests. In reality poison is the worst way to deal with pests, on cotton especially. Similarly, Monsanto blames Kenyan cotton’s current vulnerability on “lack of certified seeds.” In reality farmers naturally deal with pests according to rational, socioeconomically and ecologically sound agronomic practices geared to production for regional use and markets. Pests only become a problem when farmers are forced onto the commodity monoculture treadmill which Monsanto and the West want to escalate radically for Africa. Monoculture is an ecological dead zone which favors pests and disease. In that context these then have to be “fought” with an ever-escalating poison treadmill. So commodity monoculture is a triple win for the corporations, since the framework they enforce increases their power, generates a forced market for their poisons, generates an ever-escalating pest affliction which continually becomes resistant to the existing poisons, so that the farmers have to keep buying and using more and more poison, having no other choice.
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Kenya’s National Biosafety Authority is reviewing the GM cotton application. Kenya would become fourth country to approve GMO cultivation after South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Sudan. This is very important politically for the “New Alliance” cabal, since although ten African governments have signed up for the agribusiness recolonization plan Kenya is still dragging its feet. Monsanto, the Gates Foundation, and the US and UK governments had expected Kenya to become the centerpiece member several years ago. The cabal is now putting more intense pressure on the government.
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Kenya also has an application outstanding for cultivation of a Bt maize variety. There have been several field tests of Bt maize in the country. But Bt maize also has a clear record of failure in Africa. The Kenyan media and establishment types talk of food shortages and the country’s having to import cotton from Tanzania. But this is all because of commodity monoculture production for export. What good has export-based commodity agriculture ever done for the farmers and public of any country? None, it’s only harmed them. What good has this ever done for the farmers and public of any African country? None, it’s only harmed them, for example causing the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s. What good could it possibly do for the farmers and public of any African country now? None, it can only harm them, and is harming them now. Land monopolization for export production is currently causing food shortages and hunger in Ethiopia, and it’s also the cause of food shortages in Kenya.
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El Nino, rendered more chaotic and fierce by climate change, has rendered maize cultivation parlous in Zambia, and many farmers are diversifying with other crops and livestock. In Zambia much of this maize production is for local/regional food use, as it was in Mexico prior to NAFTA. The New Alliance, a far more malign force than El Nino, wants to destroy this regional food economy and force all this land into commodity monoculture production at the exact moment that climate chaos makes industrial agriculture even more vulnerable, as a study in Nature recently documented. Climate change, a crime of corporate industrialism, threatens to cause food shortages in Zambia. In an exercise of pure disaster capitalism, agribusiness bolstered by Gates and USAID will push agriculture based on commodity export as the answer. This is guaranteed to turn the food shortage these same Western corporations and governments caused in the first place into a full blown famine.
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In Malawi commodity maize production is widespread, but there’s still extensive cultivation of maize for regional food use. Both agricultures are highly vulnerable to drought. In recent years climate change increasingly is causing drought here, culminating so far in this year’s El Nino. Academics and government officials are calling for more irrigation through the Greenbelt Irrigation and Water Development program. The government says this program has provided irrigation to hundreds of thousands of smallholder community farmers as well as industrial plantations. Malawi still maintains some of the old-style agricultural public investment programs which the IMF eradicated over much of Africa as part of “structural adjustment”. Malawi’s government seems to be still relatively serious about seeking national food security. The New Alliance plans to wipe all that out. For now the climate change drought has caused such regional food shortages that maize prices are soaring according to a worried Oxfam. They say Malawi is normally supplemented with maize imports from Zambia and South Africa, but maize production in those countries as well has been depressed by El Nino. They say Zimbabwe is closest to full-blown famine. Ethiopia also is suffering intensely from the climate chaos drought.
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But El Nino is only the proximate cause of all this. Ethiopia and other countries are so vulnerable in the first place precisely because the land which should be producing food for the people on a diversified agroecological basis instead is being grabbed and monopolized for export commodity production. This is a total loss for the people and leaves them in a state of food insecurity even under the best weather conditions. Under conditions of climate chaos, food insecurity becomes extreme. This is the case over much of Africa, and this precarious state is rapidly spreading around the world, anywhere corporate agriculture’s grip continues to intensify. In Africa especially, corporate agriculture is the cause of it all. The New Alliance wants to greatly escalate it.
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To finish with a brighter prospect, even as Zambia undergoes its second round of pondering Bt cotton, in Benin farmers have dumped Bt cotton and moved into organic production where they can be paid a premium for their harvest. “In Benin, farmers are now growing organic cotton and getting paid a premium. The buyers of the lint add value to the whole chain – spinning, weaving until the final garment. This is all done within the country, thus creating employment for the local people…At one time Zambia had ginneries, spinners, weavers and seed…The industry can be re-established with organic cotton. GMO cotton will provide high quality products.” In 2002 Zambia considered Bt cotton and rejected it. The country is currently experiencing the fruits of the corporate double assault of climate chaos and commodity monoculture. Adopting Bt cotton would only make this worse. The people of Zambia should reaffirm their earlier correct choice. Instead of going further down the destructive and self-destructive corporate path, they have a golden opportunity to fully embrace agroecology. All of African agriculture has this opportunity to reject the evils of corporate poison-based agriculture and instead undertake the natural and rational transition from their traditional agriculture to scientific agroecology. This is the path to food security, economic stability and prosperity, human and ecological health, and political freedom. The same is true throughout the world.
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January 15, 2016

GMO News Summary January 15th, 2016

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

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

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

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