March 22, 2018

“Golden Rice”, Case Study in the Propaganda Function of Regulators


Can you spot the truth in this picture? Those who spewed the fog try to make sure you can’t

A major role of regulatory agencies is to serve as corporate propaganda outlets. Specifically, the regulator places its imprimatur on the alleged safety of a corporate product whose safety was never really confirmed at all. Indeed, as with the cancerousness of glyphosate, the regulator has prior knowledge of the harmfulness of the product but helps the corporation suppress this knowledge. This imprimatur is the third part of what I’ve long called the corporate regulatory template.
Today we have a particularly clear example of this propaganda process, as Health Canada as well as the regulators of Australia and New Zealand are putting their safety imprimatur on “golden rice”, even though golden rice doesn’t exist in any commercial-ready form and therefore couldn’t possibly be safety-tested even in principle. Of course in practice no actual scientific tests were done at all, same as for every other GMO.
Health Canada was unusually frank in explaining its propaganda services: “Developers often choose to seek authorization in Canada as a first step in their regulatory plan even if they do not plan to sell the product in Canada.” This regulatory plan of course is to get corporate-friendly Western regulators to lend their imprimatur to the product. This often is sufficient to then force other countries to accept the product; globalization pacts often require such cross-acceptance. And where this isn’t in force, the imprimatur still serves the corporation in its pressure campaigns against resistant countries: If it’s safe enough for Canada, how can you say it’s not safe enough for here?
(Meanwhile there’s good reason to doubt the safety of golden rice. The food safety concern is especially critical here since golden rice, if it ever were deployed the way the pro-GMO activists claim to intend, would be the first GMO ever deployed as a staple direct food.)
This propaganda role is inherent to regulatory agencies in any productionist system, for example any capitalist system. It’s not an “abuse”, and you can’t “reform” it. It’s inherent to the regulatory model itself, which is dedicated to helping to foster maximal production for the sake of maximal production, inducing or forcing “demand” for this production, and managing any problems along the way. This “management” includes every kind of management, most obviously the management of how rapidly the system physically poisons humanity and the Earth, but not least the political management of any political problems the corporations encounter. From the inception of GMOs the regulators have performed this political service on behalf of the corporations. Today’s regulatory PR campaign on behalf of the idea of “golden rice” is a clear example.
I stress, the idea of golden rice. The real thing doesn’t exist as any kind of finished product. As the GMO regime of lies diverges ever further from reality, it’s fitting that the regulatory propaganda fog machine is being deployed on behalf of this longest-running media hoax. Golden rice itself is nothing but a dirty-yellow smog.

January 17, 2018

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


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

December 26, 2017

Genesis and Anti-Genesis


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

December 15, 2017

Fool’s Gold


Golden rice is only about one kind of gold

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

December 11, 2017

The Propagandists: Gates Foundation and Cornell’s “Alliance for Science”


Cancer has its own propaganda bureau

Cornell’s “Alliance for Science” has literally zero to do with science and is in fact aggressively anti-science by any measure of scientific method. On the contrary, it is a corporate front group funded by the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation, in turn, is 1. a tax dodge for big Microsoft shareholders, 2. an organization which coordinates corporate profiteering on the one hand with technocratic religious fundamentalism on the other. The Foundation works to coordinate the actions of these two groups for their mutual aggrandizement. Bill Gates himself straddles the two worlds of gutter profiteering and religious fanaticism.
This front group is perhaps the most clear-cut example of how corporate money can directly purchase propaganda under the name of “science” on university campuses, and how the STEM fraternity as a whole willfully, consciously, with malice aforethought shills for this massive academic fraud. It is an example of what the Mafia calls sticking up for Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing”. The average STEM cadre, and many post-graduate types in general, is completely ignorant about genetic engineering and GMOs but does know that a hard core of the fraternity is fanatically in support of this campaign, and that’s all these authoritarian followers need to know: It’s Our Thing. Much like with the culture war over vaccination, the idea of GMOs is being used as an organizational principle. The orchestrators of the campaign seek to organize the fanatics and fellow travellers: Proximately toward corporate goals, ultimately toward far-ranging eugenics and other totalitarian technocratic goals.
As a rule this propaganda group has been too cowardly to debate skeptics under circumstances where it doesn’t have total control and total license to lie. As a rule one prefers not to debate when one is lying and/or has a great preponderance of power. Since both apply in the case of corporate “science”, it’s not surprising that they’ve mostly dodged their critics.
Nevertheless it’s telling that even given the opportunity to use superior force to stomp truth into the ground with their well-amplified and professionally rehearsed lies, the pro-GMO activists are too cowardly to try. As always, they have no confidence in themselves or their lies except in places where they can act as pure thugs and direct shameless liars, like in comment threads.
The fact is that scientists and other technocrats find it harder than anyone to admit they’ve been proven wrong. In complete disregard of the many decades of failure and crime poison-based agriculture has racked up by now, the scientific establishment remains committed to poisonism. This displays the most extreme flat-earth fundamentalism of any cult ever.
Such systematic lies, propagated relentlessly on a global level, enlisting state of the art psychological techniques, bolstered by all that remains of the prestige and legitimacy of science, academia, and journalism, comprise the essence of propaganda, the culture and religion of the lie, whose theology permeates the scientism-technocracy cult to the core.
They don’t mind failure, lack of truth, outright lying. They feel no shame. This is because they believe as an article of religious faith that there’s no difference between power and truth. They intone with Hegel, “The powerful is the rational.” Their answer to Pilate’s question “What is truth?” is, “Whatever power can do.” They snarl with the Athenians at Melos, “The strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.”
This goes with their dogmatic denial that any variation in the state of something can add up to any value at all (for example, health vs. illness or injury) which should override their totalitarian will to manipulate and control as far as their technological capacity allows.
Power is truth, might makes right: This is the core fundamentalist tenet of all establishment STEM types. This is also why they can so easily subordinate themselves to temporal, especially corporate*, power.
They intend to use corporate and government power, up to and including the ultimate extremes of violence, to force their vision to become reality. They have faith that they will be able to do this. Thus they’re serene in their faith that they have possession of “truth”.
It matters not that today they do nothing but lie; here truth vs. falsehood is only a matter of mundane chronology. It will all become true in the future.
And the future also is now, since what really matters where it comes to GMOs, the Singularity, colonizing space, geoengineering, the rapture of nuclear war, is always the idea of these as this idea exists right now. These ideas are weapons of war and notes of religious certitude. The reality of these, the objective fact that none can accomplish any of the benefits claimed for it and can bring only destruction, is meaningless.
Force, power will be enough to make it all come true in the temporal reality, if this force wages war aggressively enough on behalf of these ideas and isn’t confronted with even more powerful opposing ideas whose own power is in their real Truth.
And history then will be rewritten to wipe out the prior temporal failure, and this too will cease to exist.
This is the propagandist’s role in this final war. This is the role of the corporate lie machine. Cornell University, as launderer of the Gates Foundation’s lies, provides a typical example, and one of the most extreme.
Conversely, the equal and opposite reaction is to confront the great machine of lies with the great movement of truth. The War of Ideas is one front of this Third World War already in motion, and one of the few fronts where humanity and Gaia already have the advantage if we can only organize the available forces. The physical war so far is predominantly on the fronts of biological and chemical warfare, and yet so few people realize it. This is the work of the propagandist. One of our first great tasks is to clarify this fact, proclaim it and drive it home to all of humanity, so that the idea of the fact is as clear and tactile as one’s street being under artillery bombardment.
Because physically, what’s already being perpetrated upon us is not far short of that. Spiritually we are 100% there.
*Scientists and engineers admire corporations above all because these pure sociopaths comprise the ultimate form of technocratic rule and the organization of concentrated power for the sake of power and nothing else.
For this latter reason corporations also comprise the ultimate organizational mode of Mammon, the fundamentalism of subordinating and reducing all of reality to money relations.
Propagate the necessary new ideas.

December 9, 2017

Lessons of the Burkina Faso Bt Cotton Debacle


Cotton as part of a bizarre sculpture. It’s still better crafted than Monsanto’s Bt cotton.

I’ve written so much on GM cotton I’m sick of it, but I’ll point out two salient points brought out in this piece on Burkina Faso’s brief, disastrous experience with Monsanto’s Bt cotton.
1. As I emphasized previously regarding Bt cotton, it’s a rich man’s technology which assumes optimum conditions and highly expensive inputs of fertilizer, irrigated water, and pesticides in order to work.
Today one of the government stooges who touted Monsanto to the country’s cotton farmers is falling on his sword, loyal to the last:

Roger Zangre, a Burkinabe agricultural scientist who helped bring Monsanto to Burkina Faso, said Burkina’s technical shortcomings were partly to blame for the problems with the GM crops. “Before the introduction, our capacities should have been reinforced. But all of that fell by the wayside, and that’s on us … We can’t blame Monsanto alone,” said Zangre, who was employed by the state and said he had never been paid by Monsanto.

But this makes no sense. If you sell a technology to people who don’t possess the technical infrastructure to use it, like selling cars to people who have no roads, then you’re committing a fraud. Monsanto, and government shills like this one, of course waved off all such concerns in the beginning. Just as to this day Monsanto’s shills still claim that Bt cotton is good for small farmers, and still look for marks among small cotton farmers anywhere on earth it can find them.
Sure enough, “in Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria, growers have also been testing Bollgard II, but they say Burkina Faso’s experience has made them more cautious. “We are being very sceptical now,” said James Wiyor, executive secretary of Ghana’s Cotton Development Authority.” This proves that Monsanto will tout this shoddy, high-maintenance, extremely expensive product to anyone it can gull, and is telling them the same lies it told the Burkinabes, and the South Africans of Makathini Flats, and the Indians.

Wilfried Yameogo, the director of Sofitex, Burkina Faso’s biggest cotton company, said the decision to go ahead was based on a pledge from Monsanto that it would fix the quality problems ahead of the commercial launch.

“Monsanto made promises, and we continued to produce it. They said, ‘No, no, no. It will be okay.’” Yameogo said.

2. Also as I’ve discussed previously, Monsanto always has disdained every aspect of agriculture and plant breeding except for its transgenic traits (and of course its pesticides). In particular it had a grandiose notion that its traits would be the smart “software” which would be the key monopoly input for the stupid “hardware” of the natural and conventionally bred plant genome. Their idea was that they’d become analogous to Microsoft and Windows. (Cf. Dan Charles’s Lords of the Harvest for more on this.)
Under pressure of reality Monsanto was forced to accept that the transgene is worthless if it’s inserted into what one of its Australian affiliates called “dogshit germplasm”. One type of dogshit germplasm was the low-quality no-frills varieties Monsanto originally wanted to sell to farmers everywhere on a global one-size-fits-all basis. We see here a typical example of the scientific reasoning and general intelligence level of pro-GM activists.
A second type is where, even after Monsanto bowed to reality and bred its transgene into higher-quality varieties, it then brings one of these varieties to a place to which it is unsuited. In the case of Burkina Faso, Monsanto sent varieties bred for American cultivation to the African country, where country-based breeders under intense time pressure did a shoddy rush job of crossbreeding the American variety with Burkinabean varieties.

The Burkinabes knew from the start that American cotton varieties containing Monsanto’s gene could not deliver the quality of their home-grown crop, cotton company officials and researchers told Reuters. But they pressed on because Monsanto agreed to breed its pest-resistant genes into their native plants, which they hoped would protect the cotton and keep its premium value. That, they say, was a failure…

[Geneticist Jane] Dever, who has developed cotton varieties for companies including Bayer, estimated that carrying out three more backcrosses would have pushed back the release date of Bt cotton by at least a year.

Zangre said that if the Burkinabes had possessed the proper tools and technical knowledge to introduce the Bt genes themselves, they could have avoided the mistake.

Yves Carrière, an entomology professor at the University of Arizona who studies Bt crops, arrived in Burkina Faso in 2009 planning to set up a programme to monitor the introduction. He was worried, he said: The Burkina authorities had plans to head off potential problems, but the universities and state agencies that in the developed world would typically support such a biotechnology launch appeared weak.

“It was rushed. That’s for sure … It was rushed and far from optimal,” he said. “It shows the shortcomings of the largest corporations, which do not have the structure and the means to do everything that needs to be done in developing countries.”

For its part, Monsanto never based technical staff in the country, a former Monsanto employee who was involved in the process told Reuters. Instead, he said Monsanto developed the new Bt varieties in the United States, paid around $350,000 annually to fund research institute INERA’s work on the GM cotton, and flew in its own scientists when required…

For Monsanto, whose $13.5 billion in revenues in 2016 were more than Burkina Faso’s GDP, it proved uneconomical to tailor the product closely to a market niche.

The result was a steep decline in the quality and salability of Burkinabean cotton. (Note also how this is yet another example of foisting the technology on a customer lacking the infrastructure to use it effectively.)
“Geneticists like Dever say the problem was the process, not the Bt gene.” By “the process” they mean the technical backcrossing process, while by “the Bt gene” they mean the transgene, but also the entire paradigm of GM crops. But on the contrary the Burkina Faso fiasco is a microcosm of how GMOs don’t work, solve problems which don’t exist and make existing problems worse, and are deployed with zero concern for any context or value other than profit, power, and the religious commitment to the idea of genetic engineering as such. The problem is indeed the entire process, and the entire paradigm of genetic engineering.
Meanwhile: “Mali, Africa’s number two producer and Burkina Faso’s main local rival, says it stuck with conventional, high-quality strains; it says this decision gave it an edge over its GM rivals.”

November 4, 2017

The Lies of the CRISPR/Gene Editing Media Campaign


The allegedly “new” GMOs are nothing but retreads of the old in every way. This is the case no matter whether the flacks call them by a technical name like CRISPR or Zinc Finger Nuclease, “gene editing”, “new breeding techniques”, or the more internet-colloquial GMOs 2.0 or what have you. The alleged novelty of these retreads is just the latest lie designed to rehabilitate all the same stale old lies.
GMO critics often have noted the self-contradiction between the original lie that genetic engineering was “precise” and the more recent hype touting CRISPR as “more precise than earlier methods”, thus conceding that these methods weren’t all that precise. This Wall Street Journal piece goes further, openly acknowledging that the GMO cartel wants simply to start over and “reset” all the lies. It doesn’t even say “more precise” but that “gene-editing technology…enables scientists to make precise changes to plants’ existing DNA”, thus admitting the complete lack of precision of the earlier methods. They’re also simply starting over with the lie equating genetic engineering with conventional breeding. The idea, evidently, is to pretend they never deployed these same lies for the earlier generation of GMOs, and that these lies weren’t all completely debunked.
Of course the same liars who tout the alleged greater precision of the retread GMOs still claim in other contexts that the old GMOs are “precise”. So we have two mutually exclusive versions of the “precision” lie being double-thought at all times by the same pro-GM activist liars. Then there’s the stealth version of the lie where a pro-GMO activist, pretending to be reasonable, concedes the failure of GM-based agriculture and pays lip service to emphasizing better farming practices over technological magic bullets, but in the very course of this smuggles in “gene editing” as “…a very different thing to GM [which] will change the whole picture.” This is the furthest I’ve seen a pro-GMO activist go in denigrating earlier GMOs while stealth-touting gene editing as something completely different and with completely different future prospects. In the same way as the more brazen liars he’s trying to get a do-over, a new beginning, for the products of genetic engineering. This fits with my analysis of agricultural GMOs as a stalking horse and preliminary experiment toward GE human eugenics, with animal modification a mid-point. And indeed pseudo-precise gene editing already is being used in human eugenic experimentation.
There’s more propaganda along those lines in these pieces, including a typical, indeed standard example of the reporter himself asserting “CRISPR is a far more accurate method of modifying genes than scientists have had access to before” instead of reporting this as a claim being made by the developers and sellers, the way a bona fide journalist would. This and other installments comprise a coordinated mainstream media propaganda campaign dedicated to ensuring the retreads are exempt from the meager, usually farcical regulation earlier GMOs were subject to, and to persuading the public to rescind its suspicion of GMOs as such by trying to convince them of all the same “precision” lies which were so evidently false the first time around.
This campaign also is a good example of a much greater confusion and lie. In principle science and technological development (engineering) are two completely different, although often related, things. I stress often but not necessarily related, since in the case of genetic engineering we have one of the cases where the technical deployment has nothing to do with the state of the science and indeed runs counter to it. Genetic engineering is based on nothing but determinist junk science and brute force empiricism (best symbolized by the fact that they literally shoot the transgenes into tissue cultured cells with a gun; read Lords of the Harvest for the image of how gene gun experimenters literally got splattered with onion gore; “precision” indeed!) and has almost nothing to do with science. Indeed, the more the actual science of genetics learns, the more geneticists realize how basically ignorant they are about how the genome works, and how impossible it is to attain any kind of “precision” with artificial genetic manipulation. Here’s a recent book (published in 2016) on the state of genetic science, written by a geneticist who is typically pro-GM. That is, no one could accuse her of slanting anything in an anti-biotech way. And yet the book completely demolishes any claim that genetic engineers could ever have the slightest idea what they’re doing and what the effects will be. (The author seems unaware of this; she’s an example of the double-think I described above.) Yet the propaganda of genetic engineering always systematically has conflated engineering with “science”. The media’s propaganda campaign touting gene editing is a typical example.
This leads to one of my basic points, that today’s establishment “science” is indeed nothing but the corporate science paradigm. (Cf. Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for his use of the terms “science paradigm” and “normal science”.) Under the corporate science paradigm, “science” is indeed defined as nothing more or less than the development of profitable technologies. From that point of view, GMO deployment would be called “science”. But this has zero to do with the mythology of the scientific method like we were taught in school, and in fact directly contradicts it. Yet the professional liars depend upon the average pseudo-educated reader to conflate the two in their mind.
The CRIPSR media campaign boils down to one of the fundamental political lies: [Insert failed policy] had this-or-that problem the hundred times we touted it before, but THIS time we really promise it’ll work, so believe us again and keep submitting. The most amazing thing is that this self-evident mode of lying works, so long as there’s enough people who are still desperate enough to believe the lie. In the case of genetic engineering, the idea and its toolkit of canned lies comprise a proxy for the crumbling, ever more desperate religious faith of middle class Westerners in technocratic “progress”. As I’ve long said, GMOs are most of all a propaganda campaign. Until enough Westerners are willing to face reality and psychologically burn their ships, the GMO idea, and from there the real-world deployment, will continue to have traction. That’s why the “anti-GMO” people as well are so peculiarly ambivalent and modest in their prescriptions: Most of them too are pro-technocracy consumerists whose opposition to one facet of that system (GM/pesticide food) is more a personal fluke than anything based in a coherent opposition to the system of which genetic engineering and eugenics comprise the supreme idea and product.
Propagate the necessary new ideas.

October 25, 2017

Using the Enemy’s Own Terms Helps the Enemy


Scientism and technocracy depend upon the people’s tacit acceptance of their authority and legitimacy. Although this patina of authority has been tarnished, it’s still mostly intact. Part of the job of we who oppose corporate-technocratic rule and poisonism is to keep undermining, subverting, eroding this perception of legitimacy. But this mission undermines itself when anti-poison people denote the enemy using the enemy’s own fraudulent term, such as “skeptic”, which the enemy adopted in the first place in order to bolster its perceived authority.
Scientism cultists are religious fundamentalists. By definition a fundamentalist can never be any kind of skeptic. A fundamentalist is someone who believes, in an absolute, rote, mechanical manner in one or more “fundamentals”, and who rejects in the same absolute rote mechanical way anything which is at odds with these fundamentals. At both ends there is zero room for skepticism, since there’s zero room for thought. It’s impossible for a fundamentalist to be a skeptic.
These fundamentalists call themselves skeptics because it falsely makes a claim to have looked honestly at the evidence and rationally concluded that something is implausible. It also has a general, positive connotation of free thinking (although even many bona fide skeptics are really cynics rather than free thinkers). When the corporate media calls someone a “skeptic” (it’s almost always someone shilling for the system line), they mean “here’s someone who is cutting through all the nonsense of the obstructionists and naysayers, and who will give you the straight talk explaining why to believe the government and the corporations”. And this is what the cultists want the people to think when they call themselves “skeptics”.
That’s one example of dissidents using the enemy’s own terms in the same way the enemy uses them, thereby reinforcing the enemy’s propaganda campaign. Perhaps the most common example of this is how often anti-globalists and anti-imperialists still use the term “free trade”, and often “free market”, without even the sarcastic quotation marks. “Free” trade of course is extremely anti-freedom: Globalization is a planned economy, completely dependent upon government subsidies and externalization of costs and risks, and it seeks total coerced participation and to eradicate all alternatives. But capitalism has systematically propagated the term since the 19th century for the obvious reason that people respond in a vague but strongly positive way to the words “free” and “freedom”. That’s why they continue to propagate the term today, because it still has that effect on the great mass of the people who don’t understand globalization and who might be inclined to fear and doubt it (to be truly skeptical of it).
So it’s counterproductive and stupid when even the opponents of globalized supply-based coerced trade adopt the enemy propaganda term “free trade”. They’re doing the enemy’s work for him.
It’s unfortunate that we have so many people who claim to be activists of a sort, who have a cause and say they want this cause to triumph, yet who so frequently reinforce the enemy’s own propaganda terminology. When I see such harmful sloppiness, and especially when I point it out and they don’t change this self-destructive pattern, I tend to assume that intellectually and philosophically the person is a slob who will never be reliable, since they can’t even impose the most basic terminological discipline on their thinking and communication. Someone like that is ripe to be manipulated and co-opted by every kind of enemy scam.
This goes for the term and concept science itself. There’s no such mystical thing as “science”, only the people who practice it and the structure of their actions. In principle science is just one of many philosophical tools which helps these people to perform these actions. Today in practice these actions and the way they’re structured and directed comprise only the corporate science paradigm. This corporate directed and controlled paradigm is the everyday practice, funding, and career structure of science.
And yet too many anti-poison people implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) endorse scientism’s lie that science is the most important tool, even the only tool. This is even though the deployment of pesticides and GMOs has zero to do with science, while genetic engineering itself has very little scientific theory. It depends almost completely on genetic determinist junk science and brute force empiricism. More importantly, today’s scientific establishment and mass media have only one system and depiction of science, and this is the corporate science paradigm. Any scientific fact or knowledge which contradicts this paradigm is ruled out by the system as unscience.
So the fetish of “always stick with the science”, standard among anti-GMO people who are both politically and scientifically naive, not only accepts the enemy’s fraudulent choice of battleground but it demonstrates a confusion about what the mainstream is willing to accept as being part of science in the first place. It’s not just bringing a knife to a gunfight, it’s bringing a chicken to a chess game.
Perhaps some of the anti-poison people see themselves as working to compile the factual evidence for some future day when a new scientific paradigm which accepts such facts will exist. (But I’ve never encountered anyone who said anything indicating such a consciousness.) That’s fine, but it has little to do with fighting to abolish poisonism here and now.
We who truly are abolitionists, as well as those who truly want to fight for reformist goals, have to understand that this is a struggle of politics, economics, history, philosophy, culture, religion, and biology, not of science; that there is no mainstream battleground of science, so that even if your fight is for the true science you can commence this fight only from outside the system and against it. We have to understand this, and act accordingly.
Propagate the new and necessary ideas.

October 16, 2017

“Is There Any Good Use for Biotech?”


Question I saw in a comment thread: “Is there any good use for biotech at all?”
Answer: No.
Even if we had that mythical beast, a truly socialist yet hi-tech society which was truly based on egalitarian principles dedicated to human and ecological well-being, where all hierarchies and surplus value extraction* truly were based on reason and the good of the people (we’re piling up lots of “trulys” here, none of which are possible in reality), it would still be a fact that there’s nothing biotech can achieve which agroecology cannot achieve less expensively, more robustly, more securely, more safely. Therefore such a society would still reject biotech on rational grounds.
And then biotech isn’t just “hi-tech” but most of all high-maintenance tech which means it depends absolutely on cheap, plentiful fossil fuels. Therefore like all other high-maintenance tech it will become unsustainable and cease to exist as the fossil fuel binge fades out. So it has no future regardless. Only agroecology has a future.
We can answer the same question in the same way for all other forms of high-maintenance technology.
*Biotech, like all high-maintenance tech, requires hierarchy, surplus value extraction, and democratically unaccountable expert cadres in order to exist. Therefore by definition it’s incompatible with anarchism. The fact that so many self-alleged “anarchists” still directly contradict themselves with dreams of space travel, industrial renewables deployment, even a socially and ecologically responsible deployment of biotech, just to give a few examples of highly elitist, hierarchical techno-deployments, is simply proof of how stupid techno-cheerleading makes one, and what frauds even the vast majority of our anarchists are. That’s one reason I gave up on anarchism as offering no solution.

October 14, 2017

Monsanto Stole Everything, Innovated Nothing


There’s many reasons to abolish Monsanto and GMOs. They’re agriculturally and environmentally totalitarian. They inevitably contaminate all other crops and the environment. They accelerate soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. They aggravate and accelerate climate change and every other environmental crisis. The more that GMOs are field tested and commercialized, the longer they exist at all, the worse their ecological ravages shall become, and the more we’ll pass points-of-no-return where the contamination shall become significantly malign and irreversible.
GMOs are economically and politically totalitarian. The GMO cartel is leader of the corporate agricultural onslaught dedicated to driving all people off the land. The cartel is escalating what’s already a non-competitive monopoly concentration in the seed sector. It aggressively uses this position to build horizontal and vertical monopoly power, enforce its dictates up and down the food production and distribution chains, drive non-GM seed varieties out of the market and out of existence, greatly jack up seed prices, force obscenely lopsided “contracts” upon farmers, persecute farmers with harassment, thuggery, and lawsuits, and get governments to enact repressive seed laws designed to escalate and accelerate this whole process.
That’s just one way the agribusiness cartel has seized control of governments around the world. Under capitalism, governments intrinsically are controlled by corporate power such as the kind of control being exercised by the GMO corporations. The unique threat to humanity and the Earth posed by such corporate control over agriculture and food render corporate control over government particularly nefarious. People can waste time trying to argue about the malevolence of corporate power in other sectors, but there can be no argument here: Humanity must purge this clear and present danger to our freedom, our democracy, and our literal survival.
Pesticides/GMOs also present a clear and present danger to our health. All independent studies, as well as almost all the corporations’ own rigged studies, find reason for concern or alarm. The genetic engineering process itself, and the massive pesticide residues in our food and water, wreck our microbiome (our internal gastrointestinal microbial community which with our bodies comprises as symbiotic joint organism cooperating 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 also are nutritionally denuded. To ingest the processed foods made from these merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods” and adds to the many diseases this can cause or aggravate.
Most of all, the fact that governments and corporations always have refused to perform legitimate full-length scientific safety studies on GMOs is strict proof that governments and corporations believe the results of such studies would be devastating to the GM products. In the same way that Monsanto and the US government have known since the early 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer, so they’ve always known or suspected the severe health dangers of GMOs. That’s why they’ve systematically refused to test them and disparaged the very idea of testing them. That’s proof of bad faith which can come only from the worst suspicions of the worst. Here we must agree with Monsanto, any real safety test of any GMO would give evidence of the worst.
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. GMOs are cheap, shoddy, worthless, highly expensive products which don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. Their yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture; they require far more pesticides than conventional agriculture; they systematically help weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, and thus resistance to themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were alleged 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.
Another big hoax is that Monsanto and other agrochemical corporations have accomplished any of this so-called “innovation”. In reality, the existence of GMOs, for worse or worst, has been the work of not-for-profit operatives who then had their work stolen or otherwise lifted by the big corporation. I’ll list some examples which include all the big milestones in the development of the main GMO types. My main source is the pro-Monsanto corporate history, Lords of the Harvest by NPR corporate-liberal columnist Dan Charles (page numbers will be tagged DC), with some additional information from The World According to Monsanto by French investigative journalist Marie-Monique Robin (MMR).
1. The most commonly used vehicle for insertion of the transgene into the target genome is to attach it to a plasmid from the bacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens which in nature is a parasite that inserts itself into the DNA of plant hosts. The extracted plasmid with an attached transgene can accomplish the same genetic transfer with many kinds of plant cells. Monsanto did nothing to come up with this idea or to figure out how to do it. Instead, Monsanto took the basic idea of using A. tumefaciens and some DNA snippets from a hired consultant from academia, Mary-Dell Chilton (DC 18).
2. Once a mess of transgenes has been shotgunned into tissue cultured plant cells (no matter which insertion method used, bacterial plasmid or gene gun, it’s a purely brute forcible, messy, wasteful, scattershot process with no hint of “precision” about it), the engineers need a way to identify which cells have successfully received the transgenic insertion. The most common way to do this is to include within the “gene cassette” (the transgenic material being inserted) an antibiotic resistance gene which was extracted from another bacterium. (Thus genetic engineering contributes to the corporate campaign of antibiotic abuse and intentional spread of antibiotic resistance, all dedicated to eradicating antibiotics as an effective medical treatment.*) The engineers then douse the lot with the antibiotic, usually kanamycin. The cells which survive are those which successfully received the insertion.
But it was technically difficult getting the bacterial gene to work in the recipient plant cells. Monsanto couldn’t figure it out themselves. In order to render the kanamycin antibiotic resistance marker active, they took the idea of using the promoter and terminator sequence from A. tumefaciens itself, along with some more genetic snippets, from another consultant, Michael Bevan (DC 18-19).**
3. Early in 1983 Monsanto rushed to patent the A. tumefaciens insertion process even though they knew it was prior art. Charles quotes Monsanto patent lawyer Patrick Kelly: “We knew that Schell and Chilton were going to be [at an upcoming conference], and they were going to generate a set of publications which would be held as prior art.” In the demented world of intellectual property, a patent usually is awarded not to whoever can prove they were the first inventors of something, but merely whoever gets their patent application in first. (This time Monsanto didn’t get things all their own way. It turned out Chilton and Schell had also filed patent applications, and multi-decade litigation ensued.) (DC 21-2)
4. In nature, genes will be actively expressive or not (“switched on” or “off”), and at varying levels of expression, depending on timing and environmental conditions. This is an exquisitely developed evolutionary mechanism. In defiance of evolutionary safeguards, and therefore existing in a state of evolution denialism, in contempt of evolution, genetic engineering is dependent upon artificially forcing the transgene to be switched on at full power at all times, 24/7. This requires that the transgene for the particular trait have a special genetic promoter harnessed to it. The main workhorse promoter used in genetic engineering is the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus promoter (CaMV35S). Once again Monsanto couldn’t figure out any of this, the idea or how to do it. For the idea to snip and deploy the CaMV promoter they engaged in corporate espionage. They lifted ideas and data from Calgene and from a Rockefeller Institute consultant. Monsanto then used laboratory brute force to get the thing to work, and in 1984 they patented it (DC 34-5).
5. Consultant Roger Beachy was studying viral cross-protection among plants, wherein a plant exposed to one virus may develop resistance to others. Although in the long run little came of it, at the time the idea of using viral transgenes to induce broader viral resistance seemed to be a promising line of research. Monsanto didn’t know how to do it, but they were able to exploit Beachy’s work. (DC 35-6)
6. Everyone had the same idea for a synthetic Bt gene. Only Monsanto had the financial resources for the laboratory brute force to do it quickly (DC 46). Any other mode of social organization besides the private corporate person could have done so just as easily.
7. Hired consultants did all the work engineering bovine growth hormone (BGH), which became the Monsanto product Posilac (MMR 91).
9. Monsanto’s flagship product since the 1970s has been the herbicide Roundup, and its primary GMO product has been the Roundup Ready line. To this day, despite desperate hype campaigns, Monsanto remains financially dependent upon the Roundup Ready system. Yet Monsanto never was able to isolate and engineer glyphosate tolerance. (Calgene did figure out how to do it (DC 67).) This was in spite of years of extremely expensive, futile attempts. But in the end nature handed them the genetic tolerance as a gift which had evolved among bacteria in the polluted ponds surrounding a lowly glyphosate factory. (DC 68-9)
We see how it was nature, messed with by consultants dependent upon the socially built infrastructure of technical research and development, who did all the work. Monsanto, evidently, did nothing but reap the right to tax all this. So who created GMOs? In descending order of importance, each standing atop the foundation of the previous levels:
1. Nature, which always provides the near-absolute basis and resources for all human endeavor. That right there absolutely demolishes any claim that profit ever can be justified.
2. The common project of society, which completes this basis. No “individual” (let alone any corporate “person”) ever has accomplished anything requiring the existence of any infrastructure, other than as a networked part of the ecological and socio-ecological basis.
3. Farmers carried out the empirical practice of ten thousand years of selecting seeds, developing crop types, breeding landraces. Empirical farmers built 100% of this foundation. Empirical farmers are 100% responsible for developing agricultural crops in the first place and deserve 100% of whatever credit this warrants. And these farmers largely were dependent upon the social structures of those ten thousand years, albeit not as much as modern industrial agriculture and corporations are dependent upon the modern social structure.
4. The modern science of plant breeding, completely developed and almost completely practiced by public sector plant breeders.
5. The public funded most research in genetics and genetic engineering. The public paid for the corporate state to construct the planned economy of industrial agriculture and food. The public has always funded most of the propaganda for this system. All corporate sectors are elements of a planned economy of neoliberal globalization wherein all the corporations are completely dependent upon corporate welfare, starting with the planned monetarist system itself, in order to exist at all. Big Ag is second only to the finance sector itself in this absolute dependency.
6. Within the sector itself, the corporation seldom does any actual work, but exploits a galaxy of consultants and contractors (cf. Naomi Klein’s No Logo). Monsanto exemplifies this paradigm to perfection.
7. I can’t figure out what Monsanto contributes at the end.
So there we have it. Monsanto and corporations like it do nothing but steal and enclose natural and human resources, usually perverting and destroying them along the way, and use these to build massive power for nothing but to escalate their campaigns of robbery and destruction.
Genetic engineering (and poison-based agriculture as such) is a shoddy, hyper-expensive, destructive technology which doesn’t work and was never necessary for any human purpose. Corporations also are extremely expensive and destructive, a pure loss and plague on civilization. The Big Ag corporations like Monsanto therefore redouble the evils they perpetrate, the thefts (public domain crops) and enclosures (the goal is to drive non-“protected” varieties out of the market and eradicate all crop biodiversity and bio/cultural diversity as such), the destruction (the agricultural and wild germplasm; and as always everything which is destroyed by poison-based agriculture – the soil, the air, the water, forests, the environment, human and livestock health), all toward their goals of power and control.
Propagate the new and necessary ideas. Only these can be the seeds of the next ten thousand years.
*Remember this next time you see someone shrieking about the alleged threat to public health from a handful of non-vaccinators. Demand to know what he’s doing about the systematic campaign of governments and corporations to wipe out antibiotics via their profligate abuse in CAFOs and genetic engineering. This is a campaign which intentionally generates maximal antibiotic resistance among pathogens. Of course the cultists do nothing and say nothing about this. On the contrary, they actively support all the crimes of corporate agriculture including the campaign to wipe out antibiotics. This proves that they couldn’t care less about public health, and that their hysteria and hatred toward non-vaccinators has zero to do with public health. Rather, as authoritarian cult members they’re enraged by this form of civil disobedience as an affront to their statism and scientism. These fundamentalists see non-vaccination as blasphemy against their religion. So the surface arguments about vaccination are just a proxy for a religious culture war. That’s why the techno-cultists, insofar as they shriek about non-vaccinators, should be called proxxers. Always let your first thought be: “These supporters of the CAFO/GMO system want to eradicate antibiotics. They want antibiotics to cease to exist.”
**This business of hiring consultants brings us to a far bigger truth. We’re often told that society has to allow profiteering and intellectual property and corporate personhood in order to encourage necessary innovation. Now, much so-called “innovation” is worthless and destructive and humanity would be much better off without it. But let’s say for the sake of argument that a given innovation is worthwhile. Similarly, corporate personhood is perhaps the worst idea humanity has ever had: It serves zero purpose but legally to shield criminals from liability for their crimes, and gamblers from having to take losses. But’s let’s say for the sake of argument that even the corporate form is worthwhile. Still, must this corporation be allowed to own patents and profiteer?
Monsanto never thought so. That’s why they felt they could do just fine hiring consultants for nothing but a fee, no percentage at all. And they turned out to be right: Consultants were willing to work, to “innovate”, for nothing but the fee.
Given that fact, if society decides that it does need corporations to perform certain tasks, why shouldn’t society hire these corporations in the exact same way, as consultants, as contractors, for a fee, while retaining control of society’s own common property? We have the incontrovertible testimony of the corporations themselves, led by Monsanto, that this would work just fine. So why is anyone stupid enough still to believe that society must offer “personhood” and “property rights”, profiteering sovereignty, the right to tax, to private actors in order to get them to innovate? The fact is, even if you think the services and products of corporations are worthwhile, and even if you think only corporations can most effectively deliver them (another disproven lie), that’s still no reason to give them a cut of what only nature and the common labor produces. You can just hire ’em for a fee. Does Monsanto believe this? They’ve counted on it!
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