Volatility

November 4, 2017

The Lies of the CRISPR/Gene Editing Media Campaign

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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.
 
 
 
 
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October 25, 2017

Using the Enemy’s Own Terms Helps the Enemy

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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?”

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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

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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!
 
 
 
 
 

October 9, 2017

Christopher Columbus

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(This post uses Columbus as an example of broad themes. Many other widely revered persons can be substituted for some or all of these themes, and we’ll be getting around to discussions of some of them.)
 
On the holiday which honors this explorer there will be a huge bout of unexamined celebration as well as familiar denunciation of his role in imperial aggression. (Certainly his role here was significant and enthusiastic.) In this message I’m going to give a few words about a different aspect of the Columbus image of modern times. This image depicts Christopher Columbus as a hero of scientific exploration whose intrepid journey is a pole star for all scientific endeavor, with the most literal parallel being the Holy Grail of the technologically empowered Ubermenschen departing from Earth, the despised “rock”, once and for all.
 
 
 
 
This Columbus image plays a role in the modern false separation of religion and science (a pivotal example of the more general belief that an organic whole can be split artificially into parts which are more important than the whole they comprise in the real world; this itself is a religious tenet promulgated by the scientism religion; the question of which parts are “most” important is then answered tendentiously; but in reality the organic whole is always most important); the myth/lie that historically there’s been a “war” of religion vs. science; and the fact that this false separation and systematic lying are performed in order to exalt a new religion, scientism*, above all other religions, and to seek the eradication of all other religions. This campaign has been in the name of “science”, but in reality science has been one of the most trampled casualties of this campaign. All integrity in scientific thought and practice has been purged, and whatever existed of Popperian scientific method has been veritably sacrificed on the altars of the scientistic religion and the corporate control of all scientific and engineering practice.
 
[*Scientism is the religious worship of the idea of science in principle, and of the idea of technology in practice. Actual technological performance, facts such as that GMOs increase pesticide use and yield less and have never been tested for safety because they’re believed by their own creators to be unsafe, or that computers cannot think, or that space colonization is physically impossible because the necessary resources are not available, is not considered important. The only thing important is the idea of what these technologies can accomplish, an idea exalted in the religious imagination. As for science, almost everyone today who exalts the word “science” is ignorant and contemptuous of the actual state of current science as well as how science actually works.]
 
A good introduction to the real Columbus is found in David Noble’s indispensable theological history, The Religion of Technology. The book traces the history of the cult within Christianity which has exalted technology and technological endeavor as such (with the cult always lumping in science as the waterboy of engineering) as holy and as imitations of God. The book goes on the describe how in modern times cultists of this mistake within Christianity have sought to establish it as a completely new and separate religion, mostly in a veiled “secular” form, though the overlap with overt Christian rhetoric remains strong.
 
Noble places Columbus within this history. First and most importantly, the book documents the extreme Christian devotion Columbus brought to his career and how devoutly he conceived all his goals and discoveries. (Page numbers refer to the second edition.)
 
In the first entry of his journal of the 1492 expedition Columbus hailed Ferdinand and Isabella: “Your highnesses…who love and promote the Christian faith, and are enemies of the doctrine of Mahomet, and of all idolatry and heresy, determined to send me…to India [to learn] the proper method of converting them to our holy faith.” (p. 31)
 
By the standards of the times Columbus was extreme in his devotion. According to his son Columbus was so devout and ascetic in his daily life as to “have been taken for a member of a religious order”, and indeed many of his closest friends, with whom he closely associated in their monasteries when he was home in Spain, were Franciscan monks. “After his second voyage, he walked the streets of Seville and Cadiz dressed in the sackcloth of a penitent and appeared indistinguishable from his Franciscan friends. On his deathbed he took the habit of a Franciscan tertiary and was buried in a Carthusian monastery.” (32)
 
Following from his spiritual guide Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly, a prolific writer on scientific discovery and the religious meaning thereof, Columbus believed himself a “divinely inspired fulfiller of prophecy.” As Noble puts it, Columbus saw himself as “chosen to carry the Christ child across the waters.” The expeditions were, in Columbus’s words, “the enterprise of Jerusalem.” He called for a new crusade to the Holy Land to accompany what he saw as his crusade. He assured the monarchs, “Who would doubt this light, which comforted me with its rays of marvelous clarity..and urged me onward.” He believed he was fulfilling a recent prophecy, “he who will restore the ark of Zion will come from Spain.” (32-3)
 
Columbus worked on his own Book of Prophecies wherein he expounded his own inner visions, depicting them as continuing and confirming the visions of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation. For him the New World was the fulfillment on Earth of the promise of Revelation 21.
 
Columbus’s most profound error and crime was that in his benightment he believed he was bringing new preparation for this holy vision to a degraded land and people when the truth was the opposite: The New World as Columbus found it was already better prepared than the world he knew. The voyagers should have learned from the higher civilization rather than pontificated and attacked to drag it down to the lower. (Not that the indigenous societies of the Western hemisphere were holy. The were very imperfect. But they were more advanced than Europe.) Thus, instead of helping to uplift as Columbus believed he was doing, he was continuing to perpetrate the fall. This has been the usual performance of the religion of technology.
 
Today we new travelers in the West, amid Babylon, verily do contemplate terra nullius, empty space, no-man’s-land. All around us we see a land debased to the extreme rock bottom and ground zero by the depredation and poisoning of Mammon and its corporations. We who exhort our neighbors to reclaim the land in trust and stewardship to prepare it for the necessary future do bring a version of the word of the New Jerusalem to an exhausted and darkened land and show the way to work and fight to prepare for this consummation. This is the true enterprise of Jerusalem.
 
To say again, this does not apply to Babylon’s continued imperial aggression across the global South, which only continues the exact same delusion and crime under which Columbus labored, trying to bring spirit and civilization to people who know far more of these than the barbarian Sodom and Babylon could ever dream.
 
Noble also describes how Columbus exalted his technical knowledge and achievements as sacred manifestations of his relationship with God.
 

“This sailor’s art predisposes one who follows it towards the desire to know the secrets of the world,” Columbus explained, which led him in his life to seek and gain an understanding of prophecy and his appointed role in it. “Reason, mathematics, and mappaemundi were of no use to me in the execution of the enterprise of the Indies,” he insisted, without such divine inspiration and guidance. His achievement was, in reality, “a very evident miracle.” (p. 31)

 
This, along with the broad “exploration” theme as such, is the mindset which the scientism cultists wrench from its overtly Christian context and fraudulently try to claim for their faith. But Columbus would have rejected with extreme vehemence any suggestion that science and technology can be separated from God, and would have regarded as blasphemous the notion that these can have “their own” will, set their own goals, and finally that these should be placed in the service of newly conjured demons called “corporate persons”.
 
Thus we see how Columbus Day is in truth a religious holiday celebrating a religious crusade. In the same way, today’s dominant religions of Mammon and scientism seek to hijack the name Columbus for their own purposes. Of course the holiday is seen mostly in secular terms, which serves the purpose of the latter religious hijacking.
 
 
Technology isn’t good or bad in itself**. It is a tool, not a sacrament. Thus the religion of technology is intrinsically misguided. The early Christian church, like all primal societies as well as most civilizations, had a better idea. To the primal church technology, like the use of our minds and hands as such, is a blessing from God. But these tools and tool-making are not inherently holy, any more than secular philosophy. Nor is science holy.
 
But today they who take up the name of Columbus as an evangelist, not of the Christian word supplemented by the religion of technology, which was the way he saw himself, but as an emblem of secular scientism, and are trying to flip him as exemplar from one religion to a different and opposed religion. They also are continuing the same colonial onslaught in which Columbus himself was implicated. This includes many who are loudest in denouncing the imperial racist Columbus. This is only the most vile hypocrisy coming from those who support Bill Gates today.
 
Thus: It is false to see Columbus as a modernist, for good or bad. It is false to see him as a pioneer of “science” as that term is used by the scientism cult. It is false to believe it’s possible to be any kind of passionate pioneer, especially a proselytizing one, other than as driven by religious compulsion.
 
It is true to understand Columbus as a spiritual explorer of both religion and technology. It is correct to understand that he saw these as inextricably combined, though he seems to have had mistaken notions about the inherent sanctity of technology itself. It is true that he regarded science and engineering as consecrated to Christianity, and in particular to the proselytizing mission, which he saw as an essential part of the imminent end times.
 
Thus Columbus was a pioneer in the material world who carried a timeless sense of spiritual unity within him, however much some of his concepts were wrong-headed. So if one truly wanted to make him an exemplar, this is his example.
 
 
We too are such travelers, and our spirit, in the broad sense, is the same: We seek the holism, the unity, and are driven by spirit and toward spiritual goals, helped by all the tools of intellect and science. (We can add, money, temporal power, etc. insofar as these are used only as tools.) Pathology and evil come when people mistake the tools for the spirit itself, when they believe it’s the tool itself which drives us, and worst of all when they turn the tool into the spiritual end in itself. But the only worthy, righteous, and possible goal is the ecological sustenance of God, Humanity, Earth.
 
So that aspect of Columbus deserves respect, but not his confusion of a temporal empire with God’s will, church, and end. This confusion was the source of the worst of his colonial aggression, and this colonial aggression must be denounced in him and in everyone who shares this confusion.
 
But we must also reject and denounce the Columbus image of those who, out of malignity or stupidity, claim to be able to separate religion and science. Their real goal is to make scientism the one true faith and to eradicate all others, de jure religions as well as all secular values. In other words, their agenda overlaps with that of corporate totalitarianism.
 
Thus the deniers of religion are themselves among the most fanatical of religious fundamentalists, since they’re not even atheists (though they lie about this) but substitute one religion for another and then seek to exalt it to the exclusion of all others, using every weapon and mode of aggression of which they’re capable.
 
 
 
 
**This doesn’t mean technology is “neutral” relative to its political and economic context, the way the lies of modern bourgeois ideology would have it. On the contrary, science and technology are chosen predominantly by a particular power system in line with the power goals of that system. A capitalist system chooses pro-capitalist science and technology, a truly socialist system would choose different technologies and be more honest about science.
 
The fact that most of today’s self-alleged “radicals”, including those who still call themselves “Marxists”, parrot the quintessential bourgeois line that science or technology can be neutral (it is, of course, Historical Materialism 101 that these never can be neutral), is itself an excellent gauge of the fact that almost all self-defined “political” groups are just so many hobby clubs within bourgeois ideology and conformity to bourgeois ways of life. In other words, they’re all Mammonists.
 
And this in turn was one of the main factors forcing me to the conclusion that Politics is Dead: There simply is no way forward for humanity within the framework of “politics” as we’ve known it in modern times.
 
 
 
 

October 7, 2017

Potato Seed at the Edge of Transformation

Filed under: Agroecology, GMO Hoaxes, GMOs Don't Increase Yield — Russ @ 5:17 am

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The Dutch seed company Solynta has developed potato varieties that are resistant to potato late blight using conventional breeding techniques. The UK’s Sarpo has had blight-resistant varieties on the market for several years now. Therefore Sarpo and Solynta have left in the dust the GMO developers who continue to struggle to produce a blight-resistant GM potato, even after pirating the necessary traits from pre-existing conventionally bred varieties. Once again have proof of one of the iron laws of GMOs, proven anew every time: Where it comes to any GMO touted for its alleged “product quality” (nutrition, taste, storability, etc.) or “agronomic trait” (disease resistance, drought resistance, etc.), there already exists a better, higher quality, safer, less expensive non-GM version. There are no exceptions. GM potatoes have a typically sordid history. (And then the GM version is more often than not a hoax anyway. “Golden rice” in particular is one of the most egregious media hoaxes in modern memory.)
 
Unless one is religiously committed to the failed path of genetic engineering, the way you breed potatoes is by crossing varieties and planting the resultant “true seed”. This term refers to the actual seeds from potato plants, as opposed to “seed potatoes” which refers to planting pieces of the tubers themselves, which results in a clone plant.
 
Solynta has bred hybrid varieties for whose seeds it plans globalized commodity distribution: “[P]otato seeds can thus be distributed quickly and easily around the whole world.” This is part of the century-long pattern of hybrid breeding. Corporate agriculture chose the path of breeding hybrids instead of open-pollinated varieties for reasons of power and profit. Both agronomically and legally, farmers are foreclosed from saving the seeds of hybrids. Hybrids are produced by crossing two pure parent lines, and the seeds of the hybrids themselves are too genetically unpredictable for commercial planting. And then these varieties are usually patented or hold plant protection certificates. Thus hybrid-based agriculture is aligned with GM-based in its corporate enclosure framework.
 
And then, globalized distribution of seed is part of the corporate monoculture onslaught which cannot work because to be most effective varieties must be adapted to regional conditions (that’s part of the reason golden rice keeps failing), and because in the long run agriculture depends upon sustaining millions of small farmers dedicated to producing food for their communities and the locally-adapted seed such a system needs. By contrast the mode of destroying all farmers and seed and replacing them with giant corporate plantations dedicated to producing not food but globalized commodities is part of the doomed paradigm which, if humanity persists in it, inevitably will bring the total collapse of agriculture and subsequent mass famine.
 
History has proven that conventional breeding of agronomic traits such as blight resistance works well and quickly, while genetic modification seldom works at all, and where it does the result is inferior and more expensive in every way. But history also proves that hybridization was never necessary for effective breeding of such traits. Agronomists know that for example the yield increases of hybrid-based agriculture also could have been attained by breeding of open-pollinated varieties, and that hybrids were chosen for capitalist reasons, not agronomic ones.
 
Our great need today includes such projects as breeding blight-resistant potatoes. But we don’t need the globalized, patent-based hybridization structure for this. This structure is undesirable, part of the corporate pathology we fight rather than part of any solution. On the contrary, potato varieties can be bred from open-pollinated true seed. The same is done with other crops. We can and must continue to build the community food sector including the breeding of regionally adapted, open-pollinated crop varieties. This breeding must be done on the basis of the participation of practicing farmers and committed amateurs, with the assistance of agronomists who are committed to agroecology and food sovereignty. This is called participatory plant breeding, and it’s part of the great agroecological transformation we need.
 
 
 
 
 

June 1, 2017

Fighting the CRISPR Lie

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Meet the new GM, same as the old GM.

 
 
Here’s the latest addition to the already substantial evidence of the danger and shoddiness of the CRISPR “gene editing” technique. In a medical research study the researchers wanted to find out how many mutations CRISPR really causes. Therefore they sequenced the entire genomes of the mice subjects instead of the usual procedure of sampling them according to a computer algorithm which predicts where mutations are likely to be. They found thousands of mutations not predicted by the algorithm.
 
The algorithm procedure is typical crackpot reductive science with little or no validity for the real world:
 

“These predictive algorithms seem to do a good job when CRISPR is performed in cells or tissues in a dish, but whole genome sequencing has not been employed to look for all off-target effects in living animals,” says co-author Alexander Bassuk, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa….

“Researchers who aren’t using whole genome sequencing to find off-target effects may be missing potentially important mutations,” Dr. Tsang says. “Even a single nucleotide change can have a huge impact.”

 
We see how different the result is when the study focuses on something closer to reality, the whole genomes of test subjects.
 
 
Here’s the takeaways and talking points.
 
1. This is just the latest proof that gene editing causes an extreme number of mutations and therefore is unsafe.
 
The health dangers of the “new” GMOs are the same as for the old GMOs. Scrambled genomes, insertional and tissue culture mutations, and the effects of these: A gene producing too much or too little of a protein with toxic or other ill effects, producing the wrong protein with toxic effect, producing a misfolded protein with toxic effect (Mad Cow disease is caused by a misfolded protein), toxically excessive or foreign metabolites, gene or cell damage leading to cancer or any number of other severe and lethal diseases.
 
2. This is just the latest proof of how gene editing is highly imprecise.
 
Once again we see how any claim to precision will never be anything more than one of the standard lies of genetic engineering. And make no mistake – this is a willful, deliberate campaign of lying on the part of the scientific establishment, government regulators, and the mainstream media. We’re far past the point of it being possible to be honestly mistaken about any of this. Everyone knows “precision” was a lie from the beginning, so even those who willfully choose not to look at the specific evidence in the case of CRISPR still knows its alleged precision is being touted by the same old liars. We’re long past the point where it’s possible to have good faith trust in any corporation, or to advocate such trust. On the contrary, anyone from government or media who says or implies that we the people should trust any corporation is acting in the worst of bad faith.
 
3. In both these ways the “new” GMOs are nothing new. On the contrary they’re the same old GMOs. That’s why we should call them retread GMOs.
 
4. As in every other case, retread GM products like the Simplot potato and the botox apple are nothing but an inferior, more complex and expensive, less safe version of already existing non-GM varieties which are better, safer, and less expensive. Those are RNAi products; any future CRISPR products would be no different. We see how the retread GMOs, just like all previous GMOs, have no redeeming agronomic or social purpose. On the contrary their only purpose is corporate profit and control, and to feed the idiot fantasies of the scientism cult which worships inferior high-maintenance technology for its own sake. They believe because it’s absurd.
 
5. We must stress that there is nothing at all “unintended” about these effects. The effects of genetic engineering are grossly unpredictable, but this unpredictability is known and embraced ahead of time. “Unpredictable” has nothing conceptually in common with “unintended.” We can compare the typical operations of poison-based agriculture to spinning a roulette wheel where the various colors and numbers indicate various chaotic effects, many of them to be a surprise. Which number will come up is unpredictable, but one spins the wheel with full malice aforethought, full intent to trigger the chaos.
 
Genetic engineers and breeders involved in developing GM crops for commercial release have full knowledge of their inability to predict anything, therefore they intend chaotic results, just as they do with their broader mandate to drive climate change and pump as much synthetic poison into ecosystems as possible. The pro-GMO activists simply lie about all this when they make any claim to “precision” or predictability. No one who wanted stable, predictable results would still be working with genetic engineering. Where it comes to our food, agriculture, and environment, we’re not just spinning the roulette wheel. We’re playing Russian roulette, as Black Swan author Nassim Taleb put it.
 
Therefore I recommend to anyone interested in conceptual and terminological discipline that we discard the whole false notion of “unintended” effects of GMOs, pesticides, climate change, etc. This is factually wrong and morally far too lenient. Chaos is the predictable effect of genetic engineering, therefore the pro-GM activists intend chaos. That’s one of the purposes of this massive uncontrolled human feeding experiment, to log the unpredictable effects of the globally promiscuous deployment of GMOs in the environment and diet. They premeditate the chaos so they can hope someday to understand it, toward vastly further-reaching eugenic goals.
 
6. As a group the retread GMOs must be seen and publicly branded as nothing but a propaganda campaign trying to revamp the tattered image of GMOs, which are increasingly being seen in their true light as a shoddy, backward, regressive, reactionary technology dedicated to propping up the antiquated, proven failure of the paradigm of pesticide-based agriculture. Objectively, the retread campaign adds nothing new in any way at all.
 
The retreads also enable the legalistic and propaganda campaign of regulators like the USDA who want to abdicate all responsibility for GMO oversight. Lately I’ve been writing often about the need to relinquish all faith in government regulators and that this movement has the task of demolishing all public trust in regulatory agencies. Here’s yet more proof that the regulators are not on our side, serve no constructive purpose, and that we don’t need them: By the regulators’ own testimony they have no reason for being, since they themselves openly abdicate all responsibility for GM oversight.
 
 
 
Help propagate the abolitionist ideas.
 
 
 
 

May 11, 2017

The “New” Old Monsanto, Attempting a Cult Revival

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For all its current power Monsanto has a bleak future. In a sector scrambling to consolidate because its real opportunities for the future are increasingly constrained, Monsanto is especially vulnerable. The company is dependent upon Roundup for about 70% of its revenues. Roundup accounts for half its sales, while GMOs dependent upon it make up much of the rest. That’s why Syngenta had little interest even in Monsanto’s GMO business. In 2015 the entire world learned for keeps what campaigners, Monsanto, and regulators have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. With the WHO’s announcement the clock is now ticking, counting down the rest of glyphosate’s legal life. The people will now slowly but surely force the complete ban of glyphosate-based poisons. The bell is tolling for Roundup, Monsanto knows it, everyone knows it. They must find new products or die. They’re hyping everything in sight, from slapping new ad slogans on old, pointless, narrow-market products to touting the idea of RNA interference GMOs. But if these ever came to market they’d still be the same kind of shoddy insecticidal GMOs which in Bt form are already a failure with a gradually diminishing market.
 
The structural reason driving the current consolidation is that GMOs are a shoddy product and don’t have much of a market or a future in themselves. On the contrary, there’s a growing consensus inside and outside the sector, including on Wall Street, that the pesticides remain primary, with the GMOs being secondary to these and dependent upon them. Their fundamentals are bad. In other words the finance sector now agrees with what GMO critics have said from the start, that GMOs in the real world are nothing but pesticide plants, poison plants. Although Wall Street is poor at acknowledging its own pyramid schemes, it knows how to call them out in other sectors. GMOs are a scam.
 
By now all the GMO cartel has is the hype and hoaxes of the pro-GM activists and the corporate media. Monsanto in particular is desperate to tout its new GMO campaign, and with media fanfare is licensing two CRISPR “gene editing” processes. Monsanto’s Roundup business is seen as having a highly questionable future, and in all the merger talk the only thing which has really interested anyone is the company’s potential to develop GM traits other than those based on glyphosate. Here we see Monsanto desperate to reassure skeptical Bayer shareholders. Indeed, the hype over “new GMOs” may continue fooling the business world for awhile, but hype is all it is. As a practical way for the GMO project to get on track and start delivering on its promises, the retread GMOs are a vain ploy and a malign lie.
 
 
Here’s all anyone needs to know about CRISPR etc., the whole false notion of a retread “second generation” of GMOs based on “gene editing”, RNA interference, and similar tricks: These retreads are the same failed technology, the same failed GMOs, the same failed mode, the same failed agricultural paradigm based on poison, guaranteed to have the same result as all prior pesticides and GMOs. Pests will quickly overcome it, it will function only on the same ever-accelerating pesticide treadmill which already spins endlessly, it will poison people, animals, and the environment, and it will contaminate non-GM crops and wild plants. It’s not possible to be mistaken about any of this. Indeed, these are proven to be intentional primary effects of every technology deployed as part of poison-based agriculture. As its name says, this is the project of maximizing the production and use of poisons in order to maximize the poisoning of people and the Earth. All of this is being done for its own sake, as well as for the sake of profit and power. All of it is disguised with the lie that any of it has anything to do with producing food.
 
By now all we have are conscious, willful liars on the one hand, vast amounts of gratuitous, self-willed ignorance on the other, with a few scattered truth-tellers who recognize the clear facts.
 
The health dangers of the retread GMOs are the same as for the old GMOs. Scrambled genomes, insertional and tissue culture mutations, and the effects of these: A gene producing too much or too little of a protein with toxic or other ill effects, producing the wrong protein with toxic effect, producing a misfolded protein with toxic effect (Mad Cow disease is caused by a misfolded protein), toxically excessive or foreign metabolites, gene or cell damage leading to cancer or any number of other health destructions, “silencing” the genes of humans who come into contact (topical, inhaled, ingested) with the RNAi pesticide, and any number of other predictably unpredictable chaotic effects. The retread GMOs are the same as the old GMOs.
 
In the same way the health dangers are the same as for any other pesticide. The engineers and propagandists have no more idea how genotoxic, hormone disrupting, neurotoxic, organically toxic, and carcinogenic the RNAi pesticides will be than they originally had for the other classes of pesticides, all of which proved to be lethal to humans in all these ways. To put that another way, they know perfectly well that the RNAi pesticides will almost certainly have the same effects that all other pesticides have. The new pesticides are the same as the old pesticides, and will fail against pests and poison people in the same way the old ones always do.
 
It’s not possible to be mistaken about any of this. These are all known facts.
 
Of course the “new” retread GMOs are designed to aggravate the socioeconomic and political evils of corporate agriculture and commodity-based production the same way all previous GMOs were designed. Just like all prior GMOs, the goal of the retread GMOs is to starve the world in order to feed a handful of gluttons.
 
All the hype surrounding the new GMOs is based on the junk science of genetic determinism, same as for the old GMOs. In both cases the facts are:
 
1. On the most basic factual level, the engineers and their supporters have no idea what they’re doing. Jonathan Latham writes,
 

[The industry and media’s] exposition is belied by the evidence. If CRISPR were already precise, accurate and specific there would, for example, be no publications in prominent scientific journals titled “Improving CRISPR-Cas nuclease specificity using truncated guide RNAs“. And these would not begin by describing how ordinary CRISPR “can induce mutations at sites that differ by as many as five nucleotides from the intended target”, i.e. CRISPR may act at unknown sites in the genome where it is not wanted (Fu et al., 2014).

…[I]t is technically not possible to make a single (and only a single) genetic change to a genome using CRISPR and be sure one has done so (Fichtner et al., 2014). As Fichtner noted “in mammalian systems Cas9 causes a high degree of off-target effects”…There is, furthermore, no guarantee that more precise versions of CRISPR are even biologically possible. Technically therefore, precision is a myth: no form of genome editing can do what is currently being claimed.

 
2. In addition to their complete ignorance of ecology and agronomy, they know nothing about the science of genetics or biology. To believe in genetic determinism requires ignorance of even the most basic elements of the state of the science. Here’s Latham again.
 

[A] defined, discrete or simple pathway from gene to trait probably never exists. Most gene function is mediated murkily through highly complex biochemical and other networks that depend on many conditional factors, such as the presence of other genes and their variants, on the environment, on the age of the organism, on chance, and so forth. Geneticists and molecular biologists, however, since the time of Gregor Mendel, have striven to find or create artificial experimental systems in which environmental or any other sources of variation are minimised so as not to distract from the more “important” business of genetic discovery.

But by discarding organisms or traits that do not follow their expectations, geneticists and molecular biologists have built themselves a circular argument in favour of a naive deterministic account of gene function. Their paradigm habitually downplays the enormous complexities by which information passes (in both directions) between organisms and their genomes. It has created an immense and mostly unexamined bias in the default public understanding of genes and DNA.

 
Where this isn’t willful lying, it’s the common mode of being seduced by a crackpot version of “scientific method”. They reify these ivory tower experimental conditions of limited usefulness into the lie that these are real conditions which give real knowledge.
 
 
The primary lie making up the marketing campaign for the retread GMOs is that they’ve been made with extra-special “precision”. The propaganda theme that the retread GMOs have been engineered with precision is the exact same lie as the theme that the old GMOs were the result of precision engineering. In reality all genetic engineering is an extremely sloppy, wasteful, scattershot empirical process relying on brute force and massive reiteration to produce an adequate result once in awhile. Genetic engineering and its results is best represented by the proverbial stopped clock which is correct twice a day. So it’s been for all GMOs to date, and so it is for the “new” GMOs.
 
In itself, precision is only as intelligent or moronic as allowed by the extent of one’s knowledge. Latham gives a good analogy: “Suppose, as a non-Chinese speaker, I were to precisely remove from a Chinese text one character, one line, or one page. I would have one hundred percent precision, but zero control over the change in meaning. Precision, therefore, is only as useful as the understanding that underlies it.” In reality, even legitimate science knows little about the details of genomes and next to nothing about the chaotic genome effects of genetic engineering. When we add to this ignorance of the details and repercussions the engineers’ junk science of biological determinism and their complete ignorance of the state of genetic and biological science, we see how even if they did have a precision technique they’d still have absolutely no idea what they were doing. They’d be firing with good marksmanship into a soundless, pitch black void. But to say again, they have no precision technique either. They’re really hurling handfuls of gravel into that void.
 
The “precision” lie is a core article of the religious faith of scientism, going back centuries to the de jure Christian roots of the engineering ideology. Although engineers and scientists have never had such precision control of anything, they’ve always prayed to themselves and lied to the world that they did possess such precision knowledge and control. Here again, the hype about CRISPR is just the latest incarnation of the most hackneyed lies. Here too it’s not possible to be mistaken. Anyone familiar with the history of science and engineering, especially the history of pesticides and GMOs, knows the lie by heart.
 

Technologies based on the reductive, poisonist junk science like genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, synthetic “life”, robotics, nanotech, geoengineering and others share the fantasy of the engineer exercising total control through the precision use of control technologies and engineering techniques. Science has seldom been more than a servant of this cult religion of control. More often than not the process by which these technologies are developed has little to no “precision” involved, but is a very messy process based on profligate, wasteful deployment of brute force empiricism toward whatever approximate result is “close enough” in practice as long as it can be transformed through the fantasy into an idea of precision. In the same way, as a rule these technologies don’t work in the real world. The real world performance of GMOs ranges from temporarily adequate as long as supported by the most lavish, expensive panoply of inputs – bank credit, machinery, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides – to a complete disaster from the start. Nowhere on Earth have GMOs ever consistently performed as well as the much healthier, much less expensive true crops. But as long as cheap oil, industrial inputs, and corporate welfare can provide enough brute force to keep GMOs in the field at all, this is enough for the scientism cultists and their fanboys to fetishize GMOs into a transcendent religious ideal.
 
When we consider the origin and circumstances of the STEM cadre this cultism isn’t surprising. STEM disciplines attract the most hierarchically-oriented, authoritarian, reductive, order-obsessed types who are also the most alienated from physical (ecological) reality and at the same time possessed of the most intense religiosity. In the modern era scientism and “Progress” have presented themselves as secular civil religions, but this pseudo-secularity is just a temporary variation on the Christian millennarian roots of technology worship and science ideology. For over 900 years inventors and practitioners of engineering and science explicitly saw themselves as imitating Adam in the Garden of Eden, creating in the image of the Creator, becoming co-Creators with God, and as preparing the human condition for the Second Coming. To this day these apocalyptic religious themes remain explicit and normative among aerospace and weapons engineers. It’s also standard rhetoric among AI cultists and “transhumanists”.
 
The explicit Christian rhetoric is also common among genetic engineers and GMO cultists, and the transcendent tone, evangelical attitude, and warnings/hopes of the imminent apocalypse are exactly the same. It’s the same millennarian Christian religiosity, even where temporarily submerged by civil religious ideology.
 
Given this extremist interior, the fact that the engineers usually must function as lower-level cogs in the corporate machine, obeying the dictates of executives and marketers, the whole endeavor just a subdivision of the much more comprehensive Mammon religion, must bother them. To give just one example, Lords of the Harvest describes the initial cultural conflict at Monsanto between the high-flown fantasies and pretensions of the genetic engineering division and the agrochemical division, which the genetic engineers at first disdained as a gang of backward luddites. It was only after the GE division put up a perfect record of failure over years of very expensive confusion that they finally lowered their sights and began working on poison plants. (They failed at this too; one day soon I’ll write a piece documenting Monsanto’s near-perfect record of failure and theft.)
 
When we put all this together, it’s no wonder the techno-cultists exalt the fantasy of precision and control and keep telling themselves and the world lies about it. And although they continue to tell these lies about the GMOs which have been deployed so far, at the same time they implicitly admit they were always lying about these when they hype the alleged “new” kinds of GMOs, even going so far as to deny these GMOs are GMOs, which also disparages the existing types. They’re trying first to convince themselves that this time the “precision” really is precise, the “control” real control. But it’s all nothing but a retread of the same old lies, same old failures, same old bottleneck.
 
Most profoundly, we see in these phenomena some of the sources of the indelible culture of the lie among technocrats and scientism cultists. Humanity should have demanded of the very first scientist, “What is Truth?” The idealization of some notion of Truth, which is touted as the ultimate justification of science, originated in Christian theology and to this day remains a religious justification. Scientific “Truth” is therefore Truth as revealed by religious transcendence. As the engineers and scientists constantly say, with their technology they seek to transcend reality – the environment, biology, mortality, the irrationality and emotionality of human beings, the physical Earth. Their will to truth means the will to another world, an otherworld, an afterworld. Their will to truth must go hand in hand with the cult of technology. This means their “Truth” has always been purely instrumental. So from both directions – Truth as a theological article, and Truth as whatever idea of control technology is able to effect, right down to boosting profit margins – the culture of the lie is inherent in the technological version of Truth. As with all fundamentalist cults, the scientism cult recognizes only its transcendent ideal and its day to day empirical work, but displays absolute faithlessness toward any and all day to day measures of fact or truth. As for science itself, for the STEM cult this is nothing but an appendage of instrumental engineering. At best it can sometimes serve as a methodological guide, but is most commonly a propaganda facade. Just as the pseudo-democratic, pseudo-political ideology which has supplanted classical liberalism is called “neoliberalism”, so bona fide science has become a fraudulent “neoscience” completely engulfed within the corporate science paradigm of today’s STEM establishment. Between this mercenary hijacking and the religious basis of science as such, there’s little left of the exalted, allegedly rationalistic Enlightenment mythology. It’s the practicing engineers and scientists themselves who present the most extreme manifestation of human irrationalism and human emotionalism, as well as malignity, faithlessness, and absolute practical nihilism. But in their minds they dwell in a cloud city presided over by their own god. They see their task as to wipe out the ecological reality of the real Earth and humanity and replace it with a technology-dominated co-Creation between themselves and this god. If humanity is to survive, we must put a stop to them.
 
Thus Monsanto’s media advertorials for its future CRISPR projects are more than just typical corporate media hype. Underlying this is the will of the cult to arise from the muck of the bogged-down GMO/pesticide project and transcend on the wings of the gloriously retreaded “new” version of the same old anti-scientific, failure-mongering notions. In the end the CRISPR hype is still just hype, still just the same old lies. But the goal is far more than just propping up the stock price. The goal is to reinvigorate the flagging religious crusade. In the end, since Monsanto has no practical basis for future profit and power, it hopes to harness the power of religion to keep itself on top.
 
 
 
Help propagate the necessary actions.
 
 
 
 

May 10, 2017

GMO Field Trials and the Deliberate Contamination Campaign

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Corporate agriculture sows disorder and chaos.

 
 
The British government has approved the Sainsbury lab’s application for open air field trials of GM potatoes which not only have not been subjected to controlled greenhouse tests but don’t yet even exist.
 
As I wrote a few weeks ago, Sainsbury’s application for an as yet nonexistent product, and its invitation to the regulator to assure the public of the safety of this product which doesn’t yet exist, is the best commentary on the fact that everything the corporate system tells us about GMOs, in addition to being always a lie, is always a pure fabrication. The corporations and governments tout nothing but the idea of “GMOs” as such, while in reality the actual GM crops are always poorly-designed, shoddy, backward, failure-prone products.
 
This is also the best commentary on the fact that field trials have no scientific basis or purpose, but rather are propaganda exercises. They propagate the fraud that GMOs are tested for environmental safety and agronomic performance when in reality the tests are designed to give no meaningful information on either of these, just as corporate feeding trials test nothing but industrial parameters irrelevant to food safety.
 
Therefore field trials are designed to serve as propaganda vehicles. They’re meant to normalize the GMO ideology as such and to impress upon the people the sense of the alleged ubiquity and necessity of GMOs and the alleged inevitability of GMO domination.
 
We see how GM field trials serve as a stage of the GM propaganda process just as they comprise a stage of the GM crop development process. This parallel is poetically appropriate since GMOs as such serve only fictive purposes, including an overall propaganda function. Their ultimate purposes – profit, power, control – have nothing to do with natural reality, but only with the totalitarian will to obliterate existing reality and replace it with a malign, ideologically determined reality. And thus it’s also appropriate, and was always inevitable, that all of the real-world effects of GMOs – environmental, health, agronomic, economic – are purely destructive.
 
 
Therefore the GM regime won’t be content with just the verbal propaganda threatening total GMO domination. Propaganda is never separable from action, and GM propaganda always accompanies the aggressive campaign physically to propagate GMOs as far and wide across the surface of the globe as possible. This includes not just the legal deployment of commercial GMOs but illegal deployment as well as the systematic contamination of non-GM crops and wild relatives with GM genetics.
 
We can sum up what we know:
 
1. GMOs in the open environment cannot be controlled. They automatically contaminate non-GM crops and wild relatives. This is true of field trials as well.
 
2. The intent and goal of corporations and government regulators is maximal contamination. This is proven by the systematic illegal cultivation of GMOs by corporations such as Monsanto and the way the briar-patched governments such as those of Brazil and India then legalize this illegal campaign. It is proven also by the consistent pattern of action of regulators.
 
3. We know field trials have the propaganda goals I described above.
 
4. So we can deduce that, although the experimentalists may not yet have used field trials this way, they hold in reserve the intent to launch new experiments in GM contamination by turning “field trials” (always a pretext and proxy) into a general, uncontrolled environmental release.
 
 
Consider the example of a joint corporate-university algae agrofuel experiment. Agrofuel GMOs are most symbolic of how wasteful and worthless GMOs are, and therefore are emblematic of the overall destructive goal of the corporate-technocratic project.
 
Here the experimenters tout how the GM algae “disperse[s] from the cultivation ponds” though they claim they’ve been unable to document aggressive “colonization…with increasing distance.” But they’ll keep trying. If the reader is in any doubt about the kind of language used in this study, consider this proclamation: “[T]he gains in productivity measured in GE terrestrial crops are predicted to be mirrored in GE algae..” Since these gains are known to be zero, indeed negative, here’s the experimenters acknowledging that the GM algae project is part of the project of waste and destruction, and broadcasting the Orwellian character of their communication throughout. We must apply this knowledge to our assessment of their real purpose in gauging the what the experimenters themselves call the “colonial” potential of their monster. Did any monarch ever send out a colonial expedition without intending far-reaching violent conquest? We already know that this algae is intended to be deployed worldwide. Only a fool thinks the difference between controlled and uncontrolled deployment, legal and illegal, is anything but purely methodological in the minds of the experimenters.
 
For another key example, the USDA’s ongoing GM grass approvals in the aftermath of the permanent escape of GM creeping bentgrass from a field trial and its subsequent environmental colonization proves:
 
1. The USDA agrees with the corporations and experimenters that all GMOs should be given full release with zero regulation and zero concern for the consequences except insofar as these provide data toward future controlled experimentation.
 
2. The USDA wants to maximize GM contamination. This is its intent and goal.
 
3. This is the ideology of regulators, prior to any mundane corruption and revolving door careerism.
 
This regulator consciousness, this willful intent, is proven by the fact that even as the USDA washes its hands of the earlier disaster it is allowing new releases. This proves that the regulator actively, consciously wants total contamination. Therefore “co-existence” is a lie, and not just physically. In cases like GM grass, alfalfa, canola, maize, cotton, and many others, where the physical impossibility of controlling the spread of the transgene is proven, regulator actions prove that governments want the eradication of all non-GM crops.
 
It’s appropriate that so many of these trials and releases are for products that are worthless even by GMO standards – crops for fuel, herbicide tolerant grass for golf courses. It goes to the core of the culture of the lie incarnated in the very idea of GMOs: The most ardently touted GM products are those which most directly, in principle, contradict the #1 GMO lie, that they’re supposed to help “feed the world”.
 
And this in turn exposes the entire GMO endeavor as having literally zero to do with anything which could ever benefit humanity. On the contrary genetic engineering is a campaign of corporate and government power and the object of religious worship by a particularly noxious strain of vermin, the scientism cult.
 
 
Therefore all the pro-GM activists cherish the program of spreading GM contamination as such. It forces corporate power upon agriculture and food, it concentrates government power, it destroys the integrity of communities and the environment, it’s a campaign of uncontrolled human experimentation as a step toward controlled eugenic experimentation and technological development, and it’s a form of fundamentalist proselytization, propaganda by deed.
 
GM field trials offer great opportunities for expansion of this deed of deliberate contamination. This campaign which transforms propaganda into action is the logical extension of the general propaganda character of the whole field trial endeavor.
 
The contamination campaign has the goal of finally forcing through attrition the mindset of “you just sort of surrender” which Monsanto long ago verbalized as the mindset it works to force upon humanity. But this is just the beginning of its goals. All totalitarians regard the initial physical conquest as just the beginning of their aggression and violence.
 
The pro-GM activists are betting that the result of their contamination campaign will be to sow this surrender mentality rather than to spur real movement resistance and counterattack.
 
 
Co-existence with GMOs is physically impossible. The goal of government regulators, corporations, and GM farmers is total contamination of all crops. Therefore co-existence is politically impossible as well, and the only viable political position and goal is total abolitionism.
 
For as long as the GMO deployment continues the contamination will become worse and worse, and the chances of it becoming indelible, with all the agronomic and ecological destruction that will follow, will increase. Which is all the more reason to Abolish GMOs Now.
 
 
 
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April 27, 2017

The Corporate Science Establishment Vs. the Scientific Method

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Conclusion first – experiment afterwards! In fact genetic engineering is nothing but mass non-consensual human experiment and religiously pre-determined “conclusion”, with zero concern for data which doesn’t fit the dogma. Nor is any hypothesis or scientific theory ever involved. There is no science of genetic engineering.
 
 
What is scientific method? Science is not qualitatively different from other belief systems, but is part of the same general complex as philosophy, political theory, and religion. Where actually practiced according to the theory of how it’s supposed to be practiced, science is a well-defined set of actions performed in accord with reason which attains a limited but reasonably reliable result. The rationality which prescribes the actions and the reliability of the result are sound within rationally circumscribed limits and as long as the practitioners and everyone else acknowledge these limits. Therefore science is a form of practical philosophy which is more applicable to physical objects and processes than most other kinds. According to the scientists themselves, as most fully elaborated by Karl Popper, explicator of “the scientific method”, what distinguishes science from other forms of philosophy is that its results must always be falsifiable. This means that at least in principle there must be an experiment which could generate data which disproves a scientific contention. If no such experiment can be conceived even in principle, a proposition automatically is supposed to be ruled out of science.
 
That’s how it’s supposed to work. Of course in reality people tend to conform, to seek agreement and consensus, and for several reasons STEM types are among the most congenitally conformist and authoritarian. So it was always dubious and indeed suspicious that the scientific fraternity exalted an ideal which is so uncongenial to human nature and especially to their own nature, this heroic notion of the eternal vigilance and critical nature of everyday science practitioners. The falsification ideal also goes against simple careerism. No rational person would expect eminent scientists with influence over research funding to prefer aspiring falsifiers of their work over aspiring conformists and reinforcements.
 
Any fraternity, especially one which combines such extremes of tribalism, arrogance, and persecution complex as the scientific fraternity does, generally seeks tribal compaction over assimilation to any idea which is more universal, or one which contradicts one of the tribe’s defining tenets. The Mafia calls this sticking up for Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing”. The average STEM cadre, as well as 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. So from the evidence of history we’d expect that, once the scientific fraternity has committed itself spiritually to the exaltation of genetic engineering, it would tend automatically to rally around the GMO rallying cry and to despise anyone with questions, criticisms or, most wickedly, falsifications.
 
Now we understand how the proposition that “GMOs are safe for human consumption”, while readily falsifiable in principle given sufficient research resources, became unfalsifiable in practice. What do we learn from the scientific establishment’s institutional obstructionism and refusal to fund whole genres of theoretically possible and morally imperative testing? This rationally implies that the obstructionists – corporations and governments – believe their theory is false and are using lies and obstructionism to shield it from the test of falsifiability.
 
The scientific establishment always has refused to perform scientific safety tests on GMOs. Instead:
 
1. They promulgated the religious dogma that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to non-GM crops and foods. This is part of the prior religious Conclusion of genetic engineers and their cultists I cited above.
 
Of course this equivalence was always self-evidently a lie since plants suffused with herbicide and/or endemic Bt toxins automatically are very different from plants which are not poisonous in this way. And even according to the system’s own narrow, technical concept, the equivalence dogma has been disproven many times. But the scientific establishment continues to promulgate it as dogma.
 
2. The scientific establishment has systematically lied in representing industrial testing of such parameters as fast weight gain in CAFO inmates to be legitimate food safety tests relevant to human food safety. Corporations, governments, and the mainstream media then parrot these lies, but it’s the scientists themselves who design and initially propagate the lies.
 
3. They claim to possess evidence, e.g. that glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer, but say they cannot show it to us. This alleged evidence must remain secret, and the world must trust the corporate science establishment on faith. What would Popper say about that?
 
4. They’ve presented a united front in trying to suppress actual scientists who attempt falsification on their own.
 
 
It’s clear that establishment science systematically has evaded its obligation to test GMOs for safety, systematically has lied about its dereliction, and systematically has sought to obstruct science and repress real falsification-seeking scientists. This proves the general malignity of this establishment and its complete lack of scientific credibility, authority, and legitimacy.
 
To say a few more words about secret science, its purpose is to exalt the corporate-technocratic establishment as an authoritative priesthood. This means that it must prefer assertion and obfuscation over rational argument and the presentation of evidence, since no one who wants to be seen as an authoritarian command figure can afford to let the peasants question his authority, for example by demanding rational debate and evidence. This is a major reason why genetic engineers and their fanboys historically never were willing rationally to answer questions and objections to their endeavor, but rather resorted from day one to vague utopian rhetoric, epithets, and insults. The other reason was that rationality and the evidence have always been strongly against genetic engineering.
 
From this perspective we see that the proximate reason given for the secrecy, intellectual property, is more a pretext than a cause. Both the patenting and the secrecy that goes with it are important for profiteering, but they’re more important for power as such. One must never be distracted by the kind of idiot who would rationalize secret science by invoking IP privilege. IP is a pure fiction which has no reality-based purpose, but which is only a weapon of corporate and scientism cultist power.
 
And as we see, IP cannot co-exist with the scientific method. You can have one or the other, never both. The entire Western political and STEM class, as well as the voters, have chosen to exalt corporate intellectual property and to degrade science. This is part of the complete enclosure of all of “science” within the corporate science paradigm.
 
 
The scientific method dictates that even in principle we never reasonably can conclude that “GMOs are safe”. The genetic engineering process guarantees that each “event” will have unique chaotic effects since there’s so many random mutations from each transgenic insertion and each tissue culturing.
 
Random variation and its sometimes major real-world effects is the first premise of Darwinism. Since genetic engineering ideology lies about its precision and dogmatically decrees that it generates no significant mutations, we see how this pseudo-science is denialist, not just of evolution as such but specifically of Darwinism.
 
The radical overall evolution denialism of the genetic engineers and their religious following is part of their eugenics agenda. They despise natural evolution and intend to break out of all of its mechanisms and leap over all of its safeguards. Their campaign to deploy GM crops as universally over the globe as possible, as quickly as possible, with an ostentatious contempt for the effects of this, is extremely reckless and dangerous from any rational or scientific point of view.
 
But we must understand that from the religious crusading point of view of eugenic scientism, the recklessness and danger of this deployment is precisely why it should be done, on principle. The massive non-consensual human feeding experiment ultimately has eugenic goals. In the same way, the so far uncontrolled experiment of the vast-scale environmental release of GMOs ultimately has the goal of forcibly overriding evolution and imposing technocratic creationism over the entire globe. This is the richer significance of the malign experimentalism of the STEM establishment. Both of these experiments are being carried out with the most extreme, radical, reckless indifference to human and ecological well-being, precisely because the technocratic mentality does not recognize such well-being as a value at all and has nothing but contempt for it. This goes to the core of why technology in general so seldom works to make our lives better: Such a value has always meant nothing to the scientists and engineers. They seek nothing but control for the sake of control. Therefore they campaign to impose their vast uncontrolled experiments upon humanity and the Earth toward the goal of one day turning these into controlled experiments, and eventually being able to enforce total eugenic control. At that point they’ll completely have eradicated nature and history and replaced these with divinely willed creationism. As insane and physically impossible as it is, this is their goal. They’ve hijacked science to serve this goal.
 
 
Thus, where it comes to genetic engineering where would you even get started with “scientific method”? There’s no theory, and the engineers despise observation. Otherwise they’d reject the project as having no possible benefit, only risks and harms. Rather, they start with the experiment itself, for its own ultimately eugenic sake and for corporate profit. If one makes a prediction it’s nothing but wishful thinking and not part of scientific method at all, since they have no theory or evidence upon which to base it. Therefore what they really do is invent the religious conclusion that GMOs are beneficial, indeed utopian, then embark upon the experiment, accompanied with lies and corporate hype. This is another reason genetic engineers started out with such a belligerent, anti-rationalist attitude – they had no other option.
 
Of course the proposition that GMOs as such are safe and that genetic engineering never has harmful effects already has been falsified many times: The lethal Showa Denko epidemic, the StarLink allergenic outbreak, allergenic GM soy engineered with a gene from Brazil nuts, GM corn which has toxic liver and kidney effects, just to name a few.
 
Thus we see how according to the scientific method, which the science establishment, the scientism cult, academia and the mainstream media all claim is the method they practice and/or consider legitimate, genetic engineering is anti-science and anti-evolution. And yet all these institutions don’t just support GMOs but ardently exalt them. This proves that they lie when they claim to practice and respect the scientific method.
 
 
There are many proofs that the modern corporate science establishment is systematically anti-science and has no credibility and should be accorded no legitimacy by humanity. The best proof is the STEM establishment’s bizarre love affair with this backward, shoddy, failed technology which never had any real-world purpose but to help a few agrochemical corporations sell more poison. It’ll go down as one of history’s great marvels of depravity that science threw it all away for the sake of something so stupid, worthless, and mean.
 
 
 
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