Volatility

January 23, 2016

Monsanto Seed Report

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Here’s a Monsanto seed mini-report. I looked at five Monsanto companies: Lewis Hybrids, Kruger Seeds, Specialty Hybrids, Stewart Seeds, Stone Seed. The websites are now completely standardized.
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The results were pretty much the same for all five, and similar to 2014 and 2015. Each has an information page about Roundup Ready Xtend soybeans (glyphosate and dicamba-tolerant) but says those aren’t yet available pending further regulatory approval. But they’re expected to become available for 2016. For maize, SmartStax (eight transgenes, six expressing eight Bt poisons plus Roundup Ready and the pat glufosinate-tolerance trait – that’s ten GMO-affiliated poisons total loading up your corn, plus neonics, atrazine, fungicides, sprayed insecticides, god knows what else) has the most varieties followed by DoublePro (Roundup Ready plus two anti-borer Bt toxins), with four of the five sellers having considerably fewer TriplePro (same as DoublePro plus an anti-rootworm toxin). Makes sense. If you’re going to take on rootworm “insurance”, as farmers often convince themselves to see it, might as well go for SmartStax which has Dow’s Cry34/35AB1, the only rootworm toxin which was still working semi-reliably last I heard. All DroughtGard varieties are DoublePro. The number available ranged from one to five. Each had a handful of Roundup Ready 2 (RR2) corn varieties. Available non-GM conventional ranged from zero to three varieties. All soybeans are Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y) except for two sellers who carried one conventional variety each.
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January 21, 2016

The Role of the Gates Foundation

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A new report, Gated Development from Global Justice Now, describes the role of the Gates Foundation as providing fraudulent “philanthropic” propaganda cover for what’s really nothing but brutal corporate colonialism. I’ll add that this colonialism is also a testing ground for other totalitarian assaults. This piece is just an introduction.
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In spite of its “humanitarian” lies (which are always embellished with Randroid spin that all good things can come only from total corporate control), the Gates Foundation really stands for three extremely anti-human things:
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1. Total corporate control of agriculture and food on a monoculture commodity export basis. For decades this has been proven to do nothing but increase hunger, famine, and disease. The Gates Foundation is an extreme activist on behalf of globalization export agriculture and seeks systematically to eradicate African food production, and therefore to maximize food insecurity, hunger, and famine. According to official globalization propaganda the country that eradicates food production in favor of commodity export is supposed to import food. (From where, once everyone’s all in on Roundup Ready soybeans and Bt corn and cotton, as the logic of the system demands? From Mars, I guess.) But this was proven not to work decades ago, and therefore has been a conscious, criminal lie for decades. Bill Gates is a Nuremburg-level criminal liar. As are all propagators of the “Feed the World” Big Lie.
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2. The childish infatuation with the idea of alleged “hi-tech” for its own sake. I stress, it’s just the idea of GMOs that the techno-cultists worship. The fact that in reality GMOs are wrongly conceived, incompetently designed, shoddy, failure-prone, and 100% dependent on corporate welfare and brute force to keep them in the field doesn’t matter to the cultists. Nor that so-called “hi tech” GMOs are just supplementary products to help force the purchase and slathering of the retrograde, luddite technology of pesticides, and that in fact the entire GMO complex is a backward, luddite technological system. Reality doesn’t matter to cult fundamentalists, only their cult articles of faith.
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3. The long run goal of totalitarian technocratic control, supported by a mass eugenics program based on genetic engineering and the mass coerced genetic and hormonal control programs forced by application of environmental poisons. This is where the corporate and cultist agendas fully mesh. For the corporations, the eugenics program is intended to increase their power. For the cultists, the purpose of corporate rule is to aggrandize the eugenics program for its own sake, as well as increasing the power of engineers.
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The current uncontrolled onslaught of agricultural poisons and agricultural genetic engineering is driven not just by profiteering and the social and political control it generates for the corporate state. It’s also a stalking horse for animal and human eugenics, and a so far uncontrolled experiment in the effects of a massive application of environmental poisons upon human genetics, hormones, neurobiology, and general health. Especially cancer, since establishment science and the corporate state view cancer as a very promising phenomenon which they want to learn how to control. That’s why they’re intentionally, systematically inflicting massive doses of known cancer-causing poisons upon the people. It’s literally a massive, albeit uncontrolled, cancer experiment. This is not rhetoric, but the only conclusion which rationally can follow from the evidence. What other conclusion is possible? No sane, humanly decent person could be in any doubt about the physical savagery of industrial poisons, or have any thought other than to abolish them and production systems based upon them (which are always less efficient and less productive than ecological systems). So when we contemplate those who want to continue with poison-based agriculture and other poison onslaughts, the Poisoners, we can have recourse only to explanations which involve insanity and extremes of evil such as history has seldom equaled and never exceeded.
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Today the Gates Foundation is the primary propaganda coordinator on behalf of these three ideological and anti-political assaults. It’s the main coordinator among the various branches of the corporate state – the US and UK governments, the Big Ag corporations, the G8, the universities, the corporate media, and various system NGOs. The new report describes many of these coordination activities, and how they all add up to a comprehensive front of lies and policy aggression. I’ll be writing more on this.
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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 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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January 11, 2016

The EPA and Glyphosate

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In 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed the entire scientific record on glyphosate and conservatively decided that the herbicide is a probable human carcinogen.
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This finding contradicts decades of public assurances from the US EPA and Monsanto that glyphosate is safe, and in particular that it does not cause cancer. It calls into question the integrity and the competence of the EPA, which as recently as 2013 reaffirmed its position that “glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans” and licentiously raised the tolerance levels for glyphosate residues* in many foods. This is part of the well-worn regulatory path of mechanically raising tolerance levels for pesticide residues in food in accordance with whatever the manufacturer projects will be the result of a new product or use pattern. For example, let’s go back to the original Roundup Ready approvals in the mid-1990s:
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In final conclusion, Monsanto says that ‘the maximum combined glyphosate and AMPA residue level of approximately 40 ppm in soybean forage resulting from these new uses exceeds the currently established tolerance of 15 ppm. Therefore, an increase in the combined glyphosate and AMPA tolerance for residues in soybean forage will be requested.’ They know very well that adoption of herbicide tolerance crop needs higher safety standards. [Edit: “Higher” meaning allowing higher residues; the safety standard is of course lowered.] In effect, the US tolerance standard of combined glyphosate and AMPA in soybean forage was changed to 100 ppm after they approved the genetically engineered soybean.

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(I highly recommend that entire piece for its details on many kinds of corporate and regulatory “scientific” fraud.)
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[*Suffused pesticide such as glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA in herbicide tolerant GMOs or neonicotinoid insecticide in pretty much any industrial crop these days, is a premeditated food additive which becomes part of the food by the normal procedures of the agriculture and food systems. Therefore the FDA is required by law to assess and regulate it, including requiring its listing in the ingredients. The fact that the FDA refuses to do so is a typical example of how government regulators systematically break the de jure law in addition to their general gross treachery against the public and environmental health they’re allegedly there to safeguard. Capitalist regulators really have a very different mission. This includes lying about the public health, not defending it. Suffused pesticide is also one of the primary refutations of the FDA’s “substantial equivalence” religious dogma.]
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In the same way that the EPA mechanically raises the allowed poison residue levels at the corporations’ command, so it also has a history of changing its assessments of the carcinogenicity of corporate products in response to changing corporate needs. The most notorious example is glyphosate. EPA knew since at least the early 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer. The evidence was so conclusive that, in spite of EPA’s doing all it could to interpret Monsanto’s own test results in the best possible light, it felt compelled to give the poison Classification C – “Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential”.
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In terms of market share glyphosate wasn’t yet a major pesticide at the time of this 1985 classification. But by the early 1990s Monsanto was preparing to bring Roundup Ready crops to market. It was time to whitewash glyphosate’s cancer record more thoroughly. EPA happily complied. Without further ado, with zero new evidence, not even a new round of phony tests, EPA in 1991 changed the classification to Group E, “Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”. In an example of a common rhetorical ploy, EPA publicists issued an even stronger, more politicized and fraudulent phrasing: “Evidence of non-carcinogenicity to humans.”
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The EPA hasn’t yet issued a position on the IARC report. But based on this history we can expect it will continue to run interference and falsify the evidence on behalf of Monsanto and glyphosate. We’ve already seen act one of the spectacle of fraud in Europe. We can expect the EPA to do the same because it has an intrinsic imperative to maximize poison manufacture and use, what I call the Poisoner imperative. It also joins other agencies in having a mandate to bolster GMOs as an important “growth” (i.e. corporate domination) sector. Then there’s the usual mundane corruption and revolving door motives. And as I mentioned above, EPA’s entire credibility and legitimacy is on the line. It must double down on its lies and stand or fall with Monsanto. To break with the corporation and admit that glyphosate causes cancer would be a tremendous loss of face.
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There is one other possibility. If specially dedicated action groups could effectively propagate the facts about glyphosate directly to the people, evading the propaganda screen of government and mainstream media, and organize pressure groups upon government bodies which have oversight and/or procurement powers with regard to glyphosate to the point that these agencies felt real political pressure, it’s possible that we could not only continue the momentum of municipalities and retailers dropping or refusing to carry various poison products, but that we could even force the EPA to lose confidence in its lies. The EPA has shown a few slight signs of weakness lately. These two first two retrenchments were the direct result of lawsuits, but this latest change of position on neonics and honeybees has been forced by many years of untiring political pressure. Public interest lawsuits as well cannot exist in a technocratic vacuum but depend for their food and oxygen on a broad and committed political consciousness. In the end political action and resolve will decide the battle. In a soon-to-come post I’ll sketch out what kind of action groups I have in mind.
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January 10, 2016

The EPA Fights For 2,4-D and Dioxin

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Since the 1970s the EPA has been an ardent booster of maximal poison spraying and the application of poisons to ever new frontiers. One of the expanded corporate welfare programs was government contracts for herbicide spraying in national forests. Private companies also receive subsidies for massive spraying of 2,4,5-T, and 2,4-D, and glyphosate. This is a direct handout to the timber companies and ultimately a laundered handout to the poison manufacturers.
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By the late 1970s EPA was aware of huge spikes in birth defects and miscarriages in the timber regions where this spraying was most intense. Alsea, Oregon was stricken with a local epidemic of miscarriages and birth defects including babies being born with fatal brain defects or being stillborn without brains. EPA investigators found dioxin in local creek sediments and accumulating in the bodies of local people. By the early 1980s EPA was tracking similar outbreaks in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. Internal EPA memos make clear that EPA quickly zeroed in on the dioxins contained in 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D as the likely cause of the outbreaks. A 1981 memo called the dioxin TCDD “the most toxic chemical ever known”, cancer-causing and acutely lethal at “exceedingly low doses”.
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By the late 70s 2,4,5-T had such a bad reputation for its toxicity, and was relatively less important to the Poisoners than other herbicides such as 2,4-D and the triazines, that the US government decided it was expendable and banned it. EPA took the opportunity to blame the epidemics of birth defects and miscarriages on 2,4,5-T while letting 2,4-D off the hook. This was in spite of the fact that at least as early as 1983 EPA was aware that 2,4-D also contains dioxin.
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This information is from a piece by Evaggelos Vallianatos, one of many he’s written presenting information from his recent book Poison Spring. This is a whistle-blowing story based on Vallianatos’s 25 years as an EPA science analyst. Poison Spring describes the EPA’s systematic cover-ups and its lies to the people and Congress on behalf of the corporations that distribute poison. It’s a Nuremburg brief.
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Vallianatos says the information on the birth defect and miscarriage epidemics has been purged from EPA files and databases. This is part of the standard pattern of cover-ups, false science, and lies at EPA. There’s nothing new about the recent exposure of EPA’s manipulation of Dow’s own data in order to whitewash the adverse safety evidence on Enlist Duo. At least since the mid-seventies EPA has sought to cover up the systematic laboratory fraud uncovered by its own auditors.
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It’s always been an insult to common sense that regulators allow the corporations to police themselves and accept the corporation’s own product safety submissions as valid evidence. Simple rationality knows a priori that the fox can’t be allowed to guard the henhouse, and if reason’s not enough for you (ironically, it’s precisely those who exalt a cult of “Reason” who are the most contemptuous of rationality in day to day practice), we have the evidence record of history, which proves that the corporation will always lie about its own products. There are no exceptions to this. It’s as certain as that the sun will rise in the morning.
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Therefore, the fact that regulators like the EPA continue to accept corporate lies at face value and then propagate these lies whitewashed with the agencies’ own stamp of approval is an ongoing scandal and crime against humanity. There is no innocence about any of this. It’s impossible to make an honest mistake about the actions and “studies” of the likes of Monsanto and Dow.
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Then the corporate media takes up the laundered lies and gives them its own embellishment along with its own vote of confidence in the integrity of the regulators, and sometimes of the corporations as well. The goal, always, is to try to prop up “public confidence” in the technology, the poison, the corporation, and in the regulators themselves. That’s why the phrase “public confidence” has such an Orwellian ring these days. It’s a confidence game indeed, played by confidence men.
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As Vallianatos points out, even the rare times the media interrogates a regulator like the EPA, as in the recent Chicago Tribune piece exposing the EPA’s methodological fraud regarding Enlist Duo, the questioning is usually done within the framework of how well policy tallies with the establishment scientific literature. Seldom does anyone question the validity of this literature in the first place. But this literature was compiled largely under corporate direction and, as damning as it often is, still represents only what the corporations were willing to make public. It obscures the even more damning data which the corporations keep secret, and the greater range of scientific research which is never performed in the first place because the corporations and government live in terror of what such research would reveal about the health and environmental destruction wrought by their profitable and ideological products. If Dow’s own tendentious studies of Enlist found such organ toxicity and endocrine disruption, and Monsanto’s own studies (manipulated as they were) proved that glyphosate causes cancer, we can be sure that more rigorous tests would reveal even more horrific results.
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The epidemics of birth defects and miscarriages localized to US regions heavily sprayed with herbicides mirrors the vastly greater epidemics in Vietnam where the US waged vicious chemical warfare, devastating vast landscapes and whole communities with Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a 50-50 mix of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Monsanto and Dow were its main manufacturers. Today Dow expects that “Enlist Duo” herbicide, a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate, will be shipped and sprayed on a mass basis in 2016. “Enlist” corn and soybeans, first planted on a pilot basis in 2015 but slated for general mass plantings in 2016, are engineered to be resistant to this carcinogenic tandem. So Dow and the EPA are counting on a massive escalation of the spraying and drift of this primary Agent Orange ingredient, 2,4-D, and a massive escalation in the dioxin which will suffuse the environment, including our soil and food.
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2,4-D in its own right causes cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems such as miscarriages, Parkinson’s disease and other afflictions. Just as with glyphosate, 2,4-D is genotoxic, an endocrine disruptor, and causes oxidative stress. All three of these are mechanisms which cause cancer. As an endocrine disruptor it’s carcinogenic at very low doses and therefore has no safe level of application. If we want to significantly lower the cancer rate, we have no option other than to ban glyphosate, 2,4-D, neonicotinoids, and all other endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). 2,4-D is extremely drift prone, commonly destroying other crops. Pro-poison activists often claim that the manufacture of 2,4-D doesn’t automatically produce dioxin as a byproduct the way 2,4,5-T does, but that 2,4-D will be laced with dioxin only if the manufacturer cuts corners. But as Poison Spring documents, at least since the early 1980s EPA has had strong evidence that dioxin is a common byproduct of 2,4-D’s regular manufacture.
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Dow swears up and down its Enlist brand is “clean”, and in 2015 the EPA required that the pilot programs for the Enlist maize and soy varieties use only Dow’s brand of the poison. But if the 2,4-D expansion project goes forward, we can be sure that many farmers will use cheaper, more dangerous mixes. Of course we can’t trust Dow and the EPA either where it comes to the dioxin content of Enlist Duo. 2,4-D as such threatens to turn vast swathes of US arable land into the equivalent of Times Beach.
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And to repeat, even “clean” 2,4-D causes cancer, birth defects, and many other afflictions. Dicamba, the herbicide Monsanto is banking upon for its financial future, has the same severe effects. These herbicides, the same that just yesterday Monsanto and the USDA were calling extremely toxic and fraudulently promising would be rendered obsolete by the allegedly less toxic* Roundup Ready system, must be banned. We must dedicate relentless campaigns to strangling these retrograde, luddite poison crop systems before they become entrenched.
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[*Contrary to the standard lie about glyphosate, it’s impossible to know which is “more” toxic out of glyphosate, 2,4-D, or dicamba, and it’s irrelevant. The fact is that all three are far too toxic to be used. All three must be banned completely.]
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We have the EPA to thank most for allowing 2,4-D based herbicides in the first place. The FDA punts even though 1. it’s legally required to consider these endemic herbicide residues to be food additives, 2. to recognize them as carcinogenic (the EPA also connives on this point), 3. to ban foods which contain suffused glyphosate or 2,4-D, which would mean all food ingredients which came from herbicide tolerant GMOs. The FDA in fact violates the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with this dereliction, as it has violated the law in many other ways in the course of its rubberstamping and cheerleading for GMOs. The EPA also is used to breaking the de jure law wherever the Poisoner imperative makes it necessary.
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But like I said above about the official “scientific literature”, so it is with “the law”. As the official law has been narrowed and denuded in order to legalize most corporate crimes (and in fact the main purpose of the corporate form itself is to bestow personal legal immunity on criminals by allowing their crimes legally to be laundered through “the corporation”), so the scope of the crimes explodes massively beyond the bounds of the de jure law. As I mentioned at the start of this piece, we’re in the kind of criminal territory where only a Nuremburg-style proceeding would be equal to the character and magnitude of the crimes.
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What to do? The EPA and other regulatory bureaucracies are inherently anti-democratic and inherently secretive. That’s why, even leaving aside mundane corruption motives, all bureaucracies automatically have a close affinity and empathy with Monsanto and its projects, including such notions as the corporation policing itself, “secret science”, and the corporate science paradigm in general.
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We who oppose the poisoning of our food, water, soil, and bodies by dioxin, 2,4-D and glyphosate must not only directly counterattack Monsanto and Dow, but analyze and critique regulatory bureaucracies like the EPA and systematically propagate this analysis and criticism in weaponized form toward the goal of demolishing their credibility and legitimacy. Just as we must do against mercenary establishment “science”.
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January 5, 2016

How Does Monsanto Plan to Deploy the Terminator on a Mass Scale?

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According to lore, Monsanto halted its drive to commercialize GMOs containing the Terminator gene when Gordon Conway of the Rockefeller Foundation warned the company that its extreme aggressiveness was becoming so politically reckless and counterproductive as to put the entire GMO project at risk.
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Whatever the motivation, it’s true that Monsanto announced in 1999 it was not pursuing commercialization of the Terminator. This was followed in 2000 by an international moratorium on development and commercial approval of this technology, voted under the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The moratorium was reaffirmed in 2006 at the CBD meeting held in Brazil.
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[The Terminator, AKA a “GURT” (Genetic Use Restriction Technology), is a transgene which would cause the plants containing it to produce sterile seeds. This would render patent enforcement moot, since it would become physically impossible to save and replant seed from such a GMO. Some versions can be rendered fertile, i.e. the Terminator gene can be counteracted if the seed is coated with an antibiotic or some other chemical. So we see how, in addition to simplifying seed monopoly, the Terminator allows those deploying it to dream of inserting it into all commercial crop seed and then forcing all seed growers to buy the antidote from them.
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Could the Terminator spread chaotically to other crops and wild plants, rendering them sterile? As usual with genetic engineering, no one has the slightest idea. Anyone who claims to know this wouldn’t happen is a liar.
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The Terminator was developed jointly by Delta & Pine Land seed company and the USDA. These jointly hold the patent. In the late 1990s Monsanto’s attempt to buy DPL fell through, in part because of political outcry over the prospect of Monsanto’s gaining control of the Terminator technology. But in 2006 Monsanto was able to buy the company with little opposition.]
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We can take it for granted that Monsanto’s own Terminator moratorium has been purely a temporary expedient, and that their plan remains the same as always, to deploy the Terminator on a mass scale. The GURT must look especially attractive as GMOs expand beyond the range of the secure Western intellectual property regime. Brazil is troublesome for IP control in seeds, with many farmers allegedly saving and replanting GM soybeans without paying Monsanto’s tax. This has led to politically draining court battles and the very difficult process of Monsanto’s attempt to force traders to collect the tax on its behalf. Monsanto faces similar headaches collecting its taxes in Argentina. China of course is a problematic market from the point of view of patent enforcement. Africa’s an unknown quantity even if the US/UK/Monsanto colonization plan is able to conquer significant territory. Monsanto’s dream of conquering Iraqi agriculture, impeccable on paper as decreed by the US occupation regime, fizzled out for the inability to enforce it in physical reality.
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It’s clear that Monsanto needs to deploy the Terminator if it’s to have any hope of gaining the total control and power it seeks. So what’s one way this might happen? Here’s a way which seems plausible to me. Let’s list some facts.
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1. Monsanto’s Intacta soybean, developed specially for cultivation in Brazil and commercially introduced in 2013, is the first Monsanto product developed for a non-US market. (Intacta is a stacked product which is Roundup Ready and contains the Cry1AC Bt toxin vs. lepidopteran pests. But in Brazil glyphosate is failing against resistant superweeds and may render the soybean crop more susceptible to fungal infections. Across the world Cry1AC has widely failed in cotton, generating resistant superbugs. Just as Cry1F, deployed in maize GMOs, has widely collapsed in Brazil against the target armyworm, so we can anticipate Intacta’s vulnerability. According to Monsanto itself, feeding upon it may even strengthen some of the intended target pests. A 2015 study also found that Intacta yields less than non-GM conventional soybeans. So Intacta is triply a plagued, failing product just two years after it was put on the market.)
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2. In 2013 Brazilian officials negotiated a deal to export Intacta soybeans to China. In spite of some early indications that China would insist on a non-GM supply, it eventually agreed to accept Brazil’s general soybean commodity stream.
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3. For years China has been trying to develop its own GMO industry. Chinese state enterprises have worked on this themselves (many entries in the Developer list to the right), and perhaps in collaboration with DuPont (the story here is sketchy). In 2015 ChemChina made a bid to buy Syngenta.
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4. China is notorious for being an intellectual property scofflaw. Western patents and copyrights are frequently disrespected there.
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5. Soybeans are the most easily pirated crops, since they’re not hybrids like commodity maize, but open-pollinated.
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6. Obviously Monsanto’s Intacta patents are at some risk here.
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7. In late 2013 pro-Monsanto forces in Brazil launched a new attempt to gut the country’s 2005 Biosafety Law and have the country break the 10+ year moratorium on the Terminator. (These legislative attempts have been ongoing since 2005.) This is ironic since the moratorium was last reaffirmed in Brazil. Proponents claim to want to put the Terminator only in GM eucalyptus and other vegetatively propagated crops, but the proposal has enough loopholes and vagueness as to be indefinitely stretchable. So far this attempt has been beaten back, largely as the result of massive international grassroots pressure organized by the ETC Group. But the pro-GMO activists in the legislature continue to reintroduce the bill.
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8. Brazilian regulators approved GM eucalyptus in 2015.
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There’s the facts. What can we deduce from there? Obviously if the Terminator were to be incorporated in one product, it would quickly be deployed in others. In this case GM eucalyptus would be the camel’s nose in the tent. All of Monsanto’s interests say that Brazil and China are two places it would find the Terminator most useful. Therefore the indications point to Intacta as being the first major GMO into which Monsanto would want to engineer the Terminator gene. Grown in Brazil, exported mostly to China and other non-Western countries – perhaps it might not immediately generate a political firestorm in the West. (Some Intacta is exported to the EU for use in food and feed. European campaigners, recently seconded by a Norwegian government scientific assessment, have opposed it on food safety grounds. But no doubt the EFSA would deem a Terminator version of Intacta not to require a new review.)
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And then, once the Terminator was deployed in one major commercial GMO, it would be expanded to many or all of the others.
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So there’s one plausible scenario for the Terminator’s future.
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Campaigners around the world need to join with ETC and Brazilian campaigners to hinder the GM eucalyptus project and thwart the plan to have Brazil break the Terminator moratorium.
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January 4, 2016

The Regular “Regulation” of Agricultural Poisons At the US EPA

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Always start with the consciousness: For the corporate state system and its religious believers, the project of poison-based agriculture must go forward. Nothing may ever be allowed seriously to hinder this. This Poisoner campaign is at the core of all corporate profit, corporate/government power, and techno-cultism.
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Although under legal pressure EPA temporarily withdrew approval of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide formulation, we mustn’t expect this to be more than a temporary delay. Dow expects to ship the poison for the 2016 season. A more typical indicator of EPA’s relationship with Dow and Enlist was its active collusion with Dow in falsifying data in order to suppress Dow’s own trial results finding health dangers from Enlist. EPA “scientists” changed the agency’s rules for data analysis midstream in order to invalidate Dow’s own data showing that 2,4-D (one of the two main poisons contained in Enlist Duo, the other being glyphosate) causes kidney damage in rats. As the Environmental Working Group pointed out, EPA ”contradicted standard scientific practice” in order to set an alleged “no observed adverse effect level” (NOAEL) dose at a level which the company’s own tests showed to cause toxic effects in rats, including kidney lesions, thyroid damage, and reproductive organ changes. This puts the NOAEL concept in an even blacker light. The concept is already bogus in principle in the case of endocrine disruptors, including almost all pesticides. And now we see how, even where toxic effects are found at an inconveniently low dosage, EPA and other regulators will simply change the rules in the middle of the game. This puts in perspective the sanctimonious claims of regulators that in order to be considered in regulatory assessments, scientific work must adhere punctiliously to certain officially designated rules (which never have anything to do with scientific quality but do always favor big corporate labs). As we see, for the regulators such adherence is only for real scientists, never for the corporations or for themselves. For themselves and their corporate clients the only rule is Do What Thou Wilt.
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The EPA did this in order to give itself a pretext to approve the product. The regulator’s job is always to approve the product and claim it to be safe, no matter what. Therefore EPA destroyed the scientific evidence and then lied about it. This is nothing new, but is part of the standard EPA pattern of conduct going back to the 1970s.
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Here we have a case study in how the corporate science paradigm and the regulator template work together.
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I’ve described and applied the template many times, to regulators, pseudo-scientists (the post just linked), system NGOs, etc. Here’s a quick description again.
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1. The corporate prerogative and corporate tasks, profiteering and any other imperatives, are normative. The regulator must always seek to assist the corporations and boost their power.
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2. Given the framework of (1), the regulator may sometimes seek to ameliorate the worst abuses, perhaps even hinder or ban isolated, ad hoc products. Or, more commonly these days, the regulator only pretends to do this. Often, as in the case of EPA and EFSA with glyphosate, or the USDA with GMO approvals, it doesn’t even pretend. Either way, nothing the regulator does must hinder the overall corporate imperative or any significant corporate project. Therefore the pesticide and GMO genres, as well as particular blockbuster products like Roundup, must go forward no matter what.
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3. Whatever the regulator did or didn’t do, it now bestows its imprimatur of “safety” and any other necessary endorsement upon the product. It engages in taxpayer-funded PR and educational campaigns on behalf of the corporate product. Most of all, it tells the people, implicitly and where necessary explicitly, that they shouldn’t have any concerns, shouldn’t even think about the product, and most of all shouldn’t bother with educating themselves, let alone questioning the official imprimatur. As is typical of bureaucratic ideology, the regulator mindset is anti-democratic in the extreme. This is part of why regulators are so comfortable with fraudulent “secret science” and want to keep as much information from the public as possible. This is on ideological principle, as well as having more mundane corruption origins.
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So it goes: Pro-corporate ideological commitment; farcical and fraudulent “regulating”; propaganda and secrecy.
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In today’s example:
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1. EPA has always been activist toward the corporate task of maximizing poison use. It has always been willing to do whatever’s necessary toward this goal. In the late 1970s a massive scandal in lab testing broke involving IBT Laboratories, a favorite industry contractor. FDA investigators called it “the most massive scientific fraud ever committed in the United States, and perhaps the world”. Years later several executives would be convicted on criminal charges. (This is one of the purposes of corporate outsourcing to smaller contractors. But it’s the oligopolists who dictate the practices, and require the crimes.) Nazi experimenters would’ve been ashamed to work at this place, and the denizens of “Animal House” would’ve fled in horror.
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* New animals routinely substituted – often en masse – for test animals that died, without noting deaths or substitutions in lab reports
* Entire test data and lab reports for one test product copied into reports for other products
* “Magic pencil” studies substituted false data for tests never done or results implicating test products’ adverse or fatal effects
* Signatures of lab techs who had refused to sign false reports were forged by managers on the false reports
* Rats listed as dead and autopsied in one section of a report reappeared alive and breeding in another section of the same report (“Now IBT did some strange and unusual things,” Dr. Adrian Gross, who first revealed the IBT scandal, remarked, “but bringing back the dead wasn’t one of them.”)
* Substitution of unexposed control animals for test animals that died
* Substitution of dogs for rats when all the rats in one test died, then reporting them to be rats
* Wholesale concealment and falsification of cancers, testicular atrophy, death and other effects in test animals
* A laboratory that IBT scientists called “The Swamp”, with a faulty water system that drenched the entire room, cages, rodents and all, in a continuous spray of water, drowning the test animals in droves. “Dead rats and mice, technicians later told federal investigators, decomposed so rapidly in the Swamp that their bodies oozed through wire cage bottoms and lay in purple puddles on the dropping trays.”
* Massive, frequent die-offs of test animals due to staff failing to feed and water them over holidays, rodents dying from unhygienic conditions, rats dying from rat poison fed them by mistake, rodents escaping, rats and mice being shifted from one cage to another, contaminating and eating each other; frequent “search and destroy” hunts for escaped rodents, with scientists and lab techs dashing about squirting chloroform to “slow down” the escapees, often killing the test animals as well
* After Gross’s first visit to IBT in 1976 and before he could return with auditors, the company equipped its offices with paper shredders and “strip filed” huge volumes of raw data, studies and client lists, including all of its studies on 2,4-D, six other herbicides (never identified), artificial sweeteners, cyclamates and plastics components

Almost all of the products tested by IBT, including 2,4-D, glyphosate, atrazine and many of the 66 products banned on California red-legged frog habitat, are still on the market today.

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EPA worked aggressively to cover up the fraud and consulted with the corporations about how EPA would run interference with Congress and the media. As top official Fred Arnold put it to an industry convention, EPA had their backs: “The concept was to try and proceed in an orderly fashion and fill data gaps and not interfere with the ability to market pesticides.” He was referring to how EPA was going to lobby Congress to change the law to allow “conditional registration” of all the poisons which EPA had approved based on the IBT testing. (And testing at other labs; 47 of 82 audits found similar conditions at other labs contracted by the poison manufacturers.) The law required the cancellation of such fraudulent approvals. But in tandem with the poison corporations, EPA convinced Congress to allow it to extend “conditional” grace periods until industry could submit new tests.
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In other words, the proven systematic, premeditated fraudsters were going to be allowed to organize another systematic fraud. That’s always what the Fox Guarding the Henhouse means. Anyone, especially government regulators, who says that proven liars and organized criminals should be allowed to police themselves is really willfully collaborating in those massive crimes.
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Sure enough, the industry never submitted legitimate tests, and EPA never asked again for them. The shared goal of EPA and the corporations, maximizing the production, sales, and use of poisons, continued without flagging. The scandal was just a political speed bump. Just as the current embarrassment over Dow’s poison is intended to be a minor hiccup. Meanwhile, to this day EPA refuses to divulge which poisons were approved based on the fraudulent “studies” at INT and elsewhere. As per our usual rational method for dealing with those who maliciously invoke secrecy, we must assume that ALL EPA pesticide registrations during the years in question were allowed on the basis of those fraudulent studies.
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EPA’s services to Dow regarding Enlist are similar to the services it has performed for Monsanto on behalf of glyphosate (I’ll begin the discussion in this post) and PCBs (a subject for future posts).
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2. The main vehicle of EPA’s pretending to be looking out for the public and environmental good is its review processes for pesticides and other chemicals. These are always completely bogus. The Dow Enlist example is just an unusually egregious one.
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Of course sometimes the regulator will feel enough political pressure to go through the motions of doing something. An example is the recent expedient, mentioned above, of temporarily suspending Enlist registration. We also have the example from earlier in 2015 of sham limitations on glyphosate use. Ostensibly intended to slow the evolution of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, this is really meant to shift more of the political onus and legal risk onto farmers. Same for the whole “refuge” concept, allegedly for slowing the evolution of insect resistance to Bt toxins. EPA never required a meaningful acreage portion for the refuge (entomologists reached a consensus that 50% was the minimum necessary to have any hope of the policy having any effect; EPA never required more than 20%) and never rigorously enforced the policy. With the advent of multiple-toxin stacked products, EPA adopted corporate demands to lower the “required” acreage to 5%. The fact is that the “refuge” idea was never meant to be more than that – an idea, a propaganda theme, for media and pro-GM activist use. Bt refuge idea is one of the best examples of sham pro-corporate “regulation”.
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The EPA’s history with glyphosate cancer assessments gives another example of the regulator pretending to be looking out for the people. Since this has been above all a propaganda effort, especially during the GMO era, I’ll discuss it below.
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3. The final step of the whitewashing template is for the regulator to affirm that the product is safe and encourage the people to go back to sleep and let their government betters do any continued monitoring necessary. (None is ever done.) EPA has already proclaimed the alleged safety of Enlist, and is now waiting for Dow to give it enough of a pretext, even the most flimsy will suffice, to reaffirm this proclamation. For a prior case study, we can compare how EPA knew since at least the early 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer. The evidence was so conclusive that, in spite of EPA’s wishing to give Monsanto the green light and doing all it could to interpret Monsanto’s own test results in the best possible light, it felt compelled to give the poison Classification C – “Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential”.
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In terms of market share glyphosate wasn’t yet projected to become a major pesticide at this point, though Monsanto was already contemplating the idea of GMOs engineered to be tolerant of it. They worked on this idea (well, failed at it until they found some bacteria which had already done the main work for them) and by the early 1990s were preparing to bring Roundup Ready crops to market. It was time to whitewash glyphosate’s cancer record more thoroughly. EPA happily complied. With zero new evidence, not even a new round of phony tests, without further ado EPA in 1991 changed the classification to Group E, “Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” An even stronger, more politicized and fraudulent construction elsewhere in the regulation phrases this, “Evidence of non-carcinogenicity to humans.”
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This “evidence”, of course, is nothing but a political way of phrasing the real ideological position, that cancer cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the Poisoner imperative. Since, as EPA has known at least since the early 1980s, glyphosate does cause cancer in humans, EPA’s job becomes to deny this, cover it up, lie about it. Perform enough direct denial, and propagate the implicit mindset that giving farmers and consumers cancer is meaningless anyway compared to the great tasks of corporate rule and the Poisoner imperative, and in an ideological sense it does become “true” that “glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans”, as EPA proclaimed again most recently in 2013. If cancer is irrelevant, it may as well not exist. This is the reality of the psychopathic mindset involved here. And this is the psychology and set of priorities which has cohered in the era of corporate rule as the corporate science paradigm. The decisions made about which lines of inquiry to pursue in the first place, the workings of day-to-day science practice, the mindset and party line of the scientific establishment, the STEM fraternity in general, the corporate media, and the cultist fanboys, all follow from the dictates of this dominant paradigm of prostituted pseudo-science. A regulator like the EPA plays a very important role in orchestrating this fraudulent science and disseminating the propaganda of it, a double nimbus of “Science” and “Good Government”. Both are Big Lies.
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January 3, 2016

Europe’s Horsemen of the Roundup

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As the Cancer War begins to be joined, the first priority of Western governments is that Roundup must be sustained, literally at all costs. Some upcoming posts will assess the current status.
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Monsanto and Western governments have known since at least the early 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer. The US EPA and the EU’s European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) have been covering up this scientifically documented fact for decades, with little pressure except from some outsider dissidents. In spite of the Monsanto/EPA cover-up, the evidence has piled up for years, along with a strong uptick in cancer and other diseases correlating with the great surge in glyphosate use caused by the rapidly dominant deployment of Roundup Ready GM crops.
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Finally in 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) rocked the Poisoners’ world when it caught up with the evidence and issued its finding that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”. This is a major threat to the Poisoner campaign in general and to Monsanto in particular, dependent as the company is for the great bulk of its revenue on sales of Roundup and its accessory Roundup Ready GM seeds. Monsanto’s government, academic, and media lackeys have spent the year scrambling. The EFSA is first up to officially attack the IARC.
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The attempts to obfuscate and deny the IARC’s assessment of the scientific evidence are all rooted in a purely political, anti-scientific document, the fraudulent whitewash of glyphosate composed by the industry’s own Glyphosate Task Force (GTF). Germany’s Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR) was already working on its own glyphosate report which it would then submit to the EFSA, in Germany’s capacity as the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate. When the BfR released a summary of this report later in 2015, it openly admitted that it simply copied wholesale from the GTF, merely adding a few remarks of its own. In other words they did nothing but serve as Monsanto’s stenographer and then put their own name on the result. The report itself, as well as the alleged evidence that went into it, have all been kept secret because transparency would reveal the extent of the scientific fraud involved at every step of the assessment.
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(One of the basic rules of scientific method is that by definition science is transparent and public so that it can be critiqued and perhaps falsified. This publicity is also necessary in order for science to serve as a legitimate part of the input for the political decisions of an open society. “Secret science”, by extreme contrast, is a contradiction in terms. By the definition of science, anything secret cannot be part of science and is anti-scientific. Those who aspire to decide based on secrecy are the apostles of the closed society and enemies of the open, as well as of science.
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Therefore, a basic rule of rational method is that, confronted with secrecy and/or the refusal to perform scientific testing in the first place – the GMO/pesticide cartel and US and EU governments are systematically guilty of both – we must on principle assume the worst. We must assume that whatever secret data they have proves the great harms and dire risks of their products or endeavors. We must assume that wherever they refuse to seek data in the first place, it is because they assume such data would be similarly adverse to them. These are rational facts which apply to any corporation or government which invokes secrecy, and these are the facts we the people must act upon.)
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The EFSA then accepted the GTF/BfR propaganda pamphlet wholesale and, based upon nothing but Monsanto’s uncorroborated claims, declared that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. So we have a direct conveyor belt for Monsanto’s PR department: Monsanto —> Glyphosate Task Force —> BfR —> EFSA. It’s not even a game of telephone. The lies are passed along immaculate, and are then delivered to your doorstep via corporate newspapers declaring, “European regulator finds glyphosate does not cause cancer.”
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Such a Streicher-level crime has not gone unchallenged, of course. Throughout 2015 the IARC has vigorously defended itself and counterattacked its anti-scientific opponents. Doctors and scientists who work for the public interest have also strongly supported the IARC and condemned the BfR and EFSA, bolstered the evidence against glyphosate, and demolished the lies of Monsanto and its government flunkeys.
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The political heat has become so sweltering that we’re seeing some mad dog behavior from the crooks. In particular we have the bizarre public outburst of the EFSA’s director Bernhard Url, who sputtered incoherently about his critics and accused them of engaging in “Facebook science”, by which he meant “You have a scientific assessment, you put it in Facebook and you count how many people like it”.
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This is a typical Orwellianism. As Hannah Arendt and others have often noted, a totalitarian always accuses his opponents of the exact action he himself is perpetrating or intend to perpetrate. It’s standard for the pro-poison, pro-GMO activists, in attacking critics and skeptics, to talk really about themselves when they accuse others of wanting people to starve, of wanting people to become sick, of wanting to hurt farmers, of wanting to make agriculture impossible. These are all the things which poison-based agriculture has been doing for fifty years and more, and these are all the pathologies and crimes which GMOs are designed and intended to aggravate.
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As far as Facebook science goes, it’s always the pro-poison activists who want to have a fraudulent “vote” (but only among “officially” credentialed charlatans and idiots), who make a fetish of phony numbers, who lie incessantly about the non-existent “consensus” about this or that lie about GMOs, or who even will fall back on citing an alleged “majority” of STEM types who support this technology.
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If we reject the self-evident lies of the GTF/BfR/EFSA whitewash and look at the facts, we find that the IARC has looked at the whole science and nothing but the science, while the “regulators” ruled out all the science and issued a fraudulent regurgitation of the lies crafted in Monsanto’s PR department.
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1. The epidemiological evidence, although limited (by system-imposed funding constraints, I might add; a good example of the way establishment science chooses which lines of inquiry to pursue, almost always basing this choice on political and economic factors, almost never on scientific or public health factors), indicates glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans.
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2. Lab tests on mammals sufficiently establish that it does cause cancer in mammals.
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3. The experimental evidence also sufficiently establishes that glyphosate is genotoxic and causes oxidative stress. These are both carcinogenic mechanisms.
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So we have proof that glyphosate causes cancer in mammals and the very strong probability that this includes humans. We have two documented mechanisms through which glyphosate causes cancer. We can add a third, that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor. All pesticides are endocrine disruptors, which means they’re all carcinogens. Since endocrine disruption occurs at very low doses, this also means there’s literally no safe level of exposure to glyphosate or any other pesticide.
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Combining (1), (2), and (3) and in light of the fact that it’s not ethically possible to perform a lab test on human subjects, the IARC has concluded that within the limits of science, the evidence is that glyphosate “probably” (a term of art) causes cancer in humans. The lab evidence is already sufficient, and the WHO is confident that better epidemiological study would reinforce and confirm the existing “limited” evidence.
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In truth the EFSA is in violation of the law. EU law requires that wherever there’s “sufficient evidence” that a product causes cancer in animals, which is exactly what the IARC found, the product automatically classifies as a “presumed carcinogen” and must be banned. Url is so hysterical because he’s not only a criminal against humanity by Nuremburg standards but is breaking the de jure EU law as well.
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The regulatory agencies have done nothing but carry out the imperatives of the corporate science paradigm. In particular they genuflect before the two great frauds and abominations of the whole concept:
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1. The insane notion that the fox can guard the henhouse. According to regulator religion the corporations, who historically are proven to always lie wherever their power and profits are at stake, can be trusted to regulate themselves, while the “official”, “public” regulator’s role is to do nothing but rubber-stamp this fraudulent self-policing. This is self-evidently absurd and insane to any rational, honest person.
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2. That “secret science” not only exists and is valid, but indeed should be considered superior to transparent, legible science. This too is self-evidently absurd and insane.
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The position of these criminal agencies and their criminal cadres is parlous. The more the people learn about the cult of the Fox and His Secret Science, the more the legitimacy and authority of the regulators and establishment “science” as such will be destroyed. The IARC has joined the efforts of civil society to devastate the credibility of these basic elements of the corporate science paradigm. This is a clear and present danger to the Poisoner endeavor, which is the ideology and policy which seeks to maximize the deployment of industrial and agricultural poisons, which deployment is at the core of Western capitalist ideology and all its policy initiatives.
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In the end, the BfR and EFSA have nothing. All they have are the lies they’ve been spoon-fed directly by Monsanto and its industry front, the “Glyphosate Task Force”.
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1. They have literally zero evidence. On the contrary 100% of the direct evidence, as well as the implicit evidence of their own propensity for dereliction, lies, secrecy, and stenography, proves against them.
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2. They’ve been reduced to the Big Tobacco playbook. We know for a fact that anyone who must resort to this most discredited of strategies and tactics, whether it be on behalf of pesticides, GMOs, or any other product, is peddling something at least as toxic and cancerous as cigarettes.
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What to do? (I plan to include at least one suggestion with each piece.)
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The campaigns to end municipal spraying of glyphosate are gradually attaining successes. Two towns which have committed recently to ceasing from municipal spraying in parks and other public places are Barcelona, Spain, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Interestingly, these countries are at opposite ends of the spectrum of support for GMO cultivation. Spain is the only major GMO cultivator in Europe, though the acreage of MON810 cultivated is in some dispute. MON810 is not a Roundup Ready variety, but still the society’s willingness to tolerate it would seem to indicate more support for poisons in general. By contrast Scotland has the closest thing to a broad social consensus against GMO cultivation. So the fact that major cities in both countries are regarding glyphosate with a jaundiced eye is an interesting development.
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Such campaigns, along with pressure on retailers to stop carrying glyphosate formulations for residential and garden use (also finding success in Europe), are a promising start. Of course these don’t touch the vastly larger agricultural market, but they can serve as publicity vehicles toward the broader goal of a total ban on glyphosate. Just as we abolitionists should use support for GMO labeling as an educational and organizational vehicle toward the necessary abolition goals, so we can start small with agitating for glyphosate bans, using every occasion to spread the news about the need for the complete abolition of this extreme cancer-causing poison.
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January 2, 2016

Gaia Now

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What is modern fossil-fueled civilization doing to the Earth’s comprehensive ecology, which is often named for the goddess Gaia?*
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[*Humans have always modified their environments with predictable and incalculable reverberation effects. Indeed, the grammar which makes us tend to separate “the organism” from “the environment” is scientifically and philosophically wrong. There’s no such delineation. Organisms interact with and change and are changed by their environments, which are only pieces of “the” environment as a whole.
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But the modification which industrial civilization has been able to undertake, afforded by the one-off burn-off of the fossil fuel heritage of billions of years of extremely refined sunlight, is at such a higher order of magnitude than the historical norm as to be qualitatively different from this norm. The “Anthropocene” gambit is just a conceptual scam meant to absolve industrialization and capitalism of any absolutely unsustainable level of destructiveness, and to justify continuing with business as usual, as was just decided upon in Paris.
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To leap from a thousand foot cliff is very different from undergoing a two foot drop.]
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What are we doing to her, our only womb and home for the rest of our life?
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1. Jacking up the temperature on her.** The environmental chaos of climate change is already rending the Earth and will only get much worse. This is the thrashing of a body trapped in an oven while the temperature rises and rises and rises. The physical and psychological agony is profound, and the potential chaos can only become more kinetic in every way as the system is ever more energized by the embodied violence our fuel-burning and soil-ravaging industry keeps pumping into it.
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All the networked organisms of the ecology system are always reacting to changes in temperature. These reactions generally sum up to relative stability over evolutionary time, and this is part of the process of evolution. But where the change radically overleaps the dampening effect of evolutionary time including its many safeguards and diminishing feedback loops, especially where it’s coupled with many other drivers of chaos and destruction, the network becomes overstressed as many component organisms find it difficult to impossible to adapt. Civilized humans, and those subject to imperial civilization, are the most vulnerable of these organisms.
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Those who deny this, who deny the time element of evolution’s simmering process, are the most irrational and destructive kind of evolution denier, far worse and more ignorant than religious creationist types.
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[**In the same way, climate change has always occurred naturally***, and would have proceeded naturally in recent centuries as well. But the emissions waste from industrial burning of fossil fuels and destruction of carbon sinks (natural*** processes generate little or no waste) comprises an absolutely different order of magnitude and a qualitative difference in the speed and extremity of modern artificial*** climate change.]
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[***Whether or not a process generates waste, defined here as a by-product the ecological system cannot readily assimilate, is a criterion for distinguishing ecological vs. anti-ecological processes. The more usual attempt to distinguish “natural” vs. “artificial” is an unfruitful diversion. While as a rule there can be no such thing as a natural process which is anti-ecological, artifices can be ecological or anti-ecological. As examples of the later, human-artificed industrial processes often produce massive, toxic waste. Agroecology is the best example of an ecological artifice.]
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2. Dehydrating her. Industrial, especially for industrial agriculture, and personal luxury consumption are rapidly depleting the fossil water aquifers which originally filled over geologic time, in the same way we’re depleting the fossil fuel principal. Since the water cycle can recycle only a finite amount of water, much less than we use, the rest is effectively lost to us after at most a few usages, as it empties into the oceans.
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Those who deny this, or who deny fossil fuel depletion, are simply denying the very existence of geologic time, with the exact same mindset as those who believe the Earth is 5000 years old. They’re the Oil Creationists, the Water Creationists. Again, their version of creationism is the most ignorant, irrational, and destructive. We do indeed need an evolution education movement, and its main target must be the false teachings of those who deny evolution because of corporate and techno-cultist faith.
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3. Poisoning her. The entire corporate industrial system has a poison mandate at its core. Its core goal is to supply poisons and generate, by force where necessary, markets for these. This has many metaphorical applications, but today I’m speaking in the most physical sense. Poison-based agriculture is the core activity of corporate globalization, and in the end the entire structure will stand or fall based on the system’s capacity for sustaining this poison imperative. The proximate goal is to destroy everything on the surface of the Earth, figuratively and physically, except what’s functional toward corporate domination. Then there’s the longer-term religious goal of scientism, which I’ll discuss later on.
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We’re already seeing the physical ravages, as the ever-compounding poison load destroys human, animal, and environmental health. Everywhere these poisons are deployed we see the surge of cancer, birth defects, every kind of reproductive and developmental disease, neurodisease, allergies and other autoimmune disease, respiratory and digestive ailments, hormonal and neurotransmitter chaos, genetic damage, and myriad acute symptoms. All of these are iterated at every scale, from the bacterial – antibiotic-resistant pathogens are boosted, beneficial gut and soil bacteria suppressed; to the complex organic, where the networked diversity of life has more and more of its bonds frayed and broken completely as the poison load accumulates in the generality of organic tissues and, as an expanded mutation load, in the genes, as well as wreaking havoc with the endocrine, neurotransmission, and immune systems of organisms; to the global, as vast amounts of arable soil and groundwater are toxified, their microbial ecosystems decimated, the oceans are blemished with dead zones expanding from the great estuaries, as just the most visible leading edge of the oceanic toxification, and all the ecosystems which ramify from these are crippled by the poisoning of the foundation.
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There’s another kind of Creationist (usually the same person, of course) who believes there’s the water he poisons, and a “different”, separate, Specially Created Water which is reserved for himself, his kind, their families. Same for the air they poison and the Specially Created Air, the Specially Created Food, the Specially Created Soil, and in general the Specially Created Earth, which is different and separate from the Gaia these Poisoners ravage and are attempting to murder.
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4. Decimating her biodiversity and habitats. At any ecological level, from the microscopic to the global, from the most pristine wilderness to agriculture (and all of these are interlinked; such demarcations are only broad, convenient conceptual groupings), the more diverse and multi-linked the networks, the more resilient, robust, complex, adaptable, and therefore healthy the organic network is. As we started out saying, the network itself is a collective organism. By contrast, the more denuded and simplified the interconnections become, the more they become vulnerable, inflexible, calcified, maladaptive, inherently unhealthy and exposed to predation and disease.
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Capitalist industrialization, globalization, corporate rule, scientism and technocracy, most of all where these crystallize as the Poisoner and monoculture campaigns of corporate industrial agriculture, systematically and willfully destroy this biodiversity and the entire basis of organic resiliency and health. This will to destruction and monoculture has always been characteristic of tyranny, but only in the modern era have the aspiring tyrants been able to deploy such destructive forces with the hope of wiping out everything which is not under the most physical direct control and manipulation of the tyrants and their engineer lackeys.
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This, most of all, is the joint assassination attempt upon humanity and the Earth being conducted by the corporate and techno-cultist Poisoners. Humanity must act in the same self-defense vs. this murder attempt as any intrepid individual or group would against any other.
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They are cancer.
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What do you do when you’re suffering heat exhaustion? First thing, you stop throwing fuel on the bonfire. What do you do when you’re dying of thirst in the desert? You stop pouring your water onto the sand. What do you do when you’ve drank poison and have become violently ill? You stop drinking the poison. When you’ve damaged or destroyed so many of the things you depend upon for your very life? You stop destroying, and start fixing what you broke. And you seek the antidote for the poison. And you drink salubrious refreshing water. And you douse the flames and welcome a cool breeze.
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These are the things humanity must do in order to save the Earth for our time. This salvation is necessary for the entire weave of life, but most of all for its most frayed, vulnerable thread – our own species. In the long run Gaia will recover from us and continue as she was, whether we save ourselves or not. But unless we take the necessary cooperative action now, we shall not be part of this recovery. As I’ve written of many times before, the first step toward ultimate destruction will be the full dominion of the corporations. This will be political tyranny and economic enslavement. But this will be followed shortly by physical death.
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Let us change from this future. We start by changing our minds. From there, as Shakespeare had one of his characters say, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” All the ideas, the entire reason, science, and morality, starting with agroecology and food sovereignty, are fully demonstrated and ready for the entire human and ecological deployment. All that’s been lacking is sufficient will and organization.
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