Volatility

March 27, 2015

GMO News Report March 27th, 2015

<

*Polish farmers continue their protests and vigils, now centered on the “Green City”, a small Occupation-style camp they have set up across the street from the prime minister’s palace. Here, groups of farmers camp in shifts, their presence an ongoing Bonus Army-style protest against the agricultural globalization which is systematically liquidating farmers everywhere, from the US and Europe to Africa and India.
.
*Farmers are similarly protesting in India. Thousands convened a Kisan Maha Panchayat (farmer meeting) sit-in where they demanded pro-farmer reforms and the rolling back of pernicious globalization pacts. Meanwhile conflicts over GMOs continue within the Modi government’s political coalition in India. The nationalist Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has again objected to the new wave of field trials in Maharashtra state, and the central government’s political support for these. The Modi government is ideologically neoliberal and wants to drag India into further servitude to the US government and its corporations, while its coalition allies the SJM and RSS seem to be more like our paleoconservatives here in the US. Although some of them (the Indians, not the US version so far as I’ve seen) have pointed out the evidence against GMO safety, their main concern is globalization’s anti-nationalist economic and political effects.
.
*Food sovereignty campaigners protested at the corporate conference convened in London by USAID and the Gates Foundation. They condemned the Western plan to recolonize Africa along corporate industrial agriculture lines. The corporate assault seeks to destroy the existing system of millions of community farmers producing food for their families and communities and replace it with industrial plantations growing industrial GMOs for Asian factory farms and Western ethanol. This is meant to force into being a vast new market for Western proprietary seeds as well as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides produced by Western corporations. It’s also meant to force the African people as a whole to stop producing their own food and instead buy imported food controlled by, yes, Western corporations. These millions of people currently living in farming-based communities are to be driven off their land and into shantytowns. In the end they’re supposed to become ill and eventually die off from disease and starvation. That’s the Monsanto/Gates/US administration plan. More about the London conference here.
.
*First reports are that for the second time in two tries, the Bangladesh experiment with Bt brinjal (eggplant) is an agronomic failure and economic disaster for many of the participating farmers. The initial reports are that many plants died prematurely, others that had seemed to be growing well suddenly died of disease or of unknown causes, while plants which produced fruit often yielded poorly. Just as in 2014, there are some reports of plants which failed to resist the target pest, the fruit-and-shoot borer. The director of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) shrugged off most of the disaster, quipping “we never said the plants wouldn’t be vulnerable to disease”. BARI has been running the breeding program and the limited commercial experiments. The initial technical development was done by Monsanto-Mahyco, and most funding came from the US public via USAID. So this worthless project, which gravely threatens the genetic basis of the world’s center for brinjal biodiversity, and which can benefit no one but Monsanto, is being paid for by American taxpayers.
.
*Some good news for Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh in his legal battles with a neighboring contract farmer, Michael Baxter, whose GMO canola contaminated Marsh’s farm and cost him his organic certification. Marsh is currently appealing the pro-Monsanto trial decision, where the judge essentially ruled that GMO contamination is inevitable and normative, and that if organic farming can’t move its face from where Monsanto wants to swing its fist, then it deserves to be hit. The decision included an order that Marsh pay the polluter’s legal bills. But the appeals court has ruled that Baxter must disclose to the court how much legal assistance he got from trade groups and from any corporation such as Monsanto itself. This is significant since Australian law says that awards of legal expenses can cover only what a litigant spent out of his own pocket. Australian industry groups adopted Baxter as a poster child from the beginning of the original lawsuit, but never publicly disclosed how much money they or Monsanto were paying for his legal defense.
.
*The Mexican people continue to rack up victories in court as Acción Colectiva del Maíz announces four court victories in February rejecting Monsanto’s appeals of court decisions upholding Mexico’s moratorium on commercial release of GM maize and the injunction against the government’s abrogating this moratorium. The moratorium is based on defending Mexico’s place as a center of origin and diversity of maize and teosinte germplasm, a critically important place which is under assault from contamination by genetically monocultural GMO maize.
.
*Monsanto has announced another farcical settlement of claims by seven groups of Midwestern and Southern US wheat farmers arising from the 2013 Oregon incident where a farmer discovered feral Roundup Ready wheat in his field, sparking a collapse in wheat exports as Asian markets rejected potentially contaminated shipments. According to the company, the settlement is in the form of $350,000 in donations to various agricultural schools. In other words, Monsanto gets to have its standard financial controls over university agriculture departments double as lawsuit settlements. Pretty sweet. This is even better than last November’s settlement with Oregon wheat farmers. There, although most of the money went to pro-GM wheat trade groups, a modest amount went to the farmers themselves. Here it sounds like no farmer is getting a penny. All the money basically goes back to Monsanto itself, in the form of value from lobbying and corruption. This kind of thing is becoming more common with corporate “settlements”.
.
*More buffoonery from Patrick Moore. This time he was claiming in a taped interview that glyphosate was safe enough to drink and that “I’d be happy to” drink some if it were offered. When the interviewer, a documentary filmmaker exposing the health and socioeconomic ravages of the industrial soy system in Argentina, produced a glass, Moore flip-flopped, refused to drink it, and stomped out. We must stress that in spite of his generally stupid and undignified demeanor, Moore is one of the most prominent professional climate change deniers and is celebrated by the most respectable figures of the pro-GMO establishment. In particular, “World Food Prize” winner Marc von Montagu and “golden rice” lead developer Ingo Potrykus recently led an effort to endorse Moore’s “contributions to science” on behalf of the GMO establishment, thus rendering official the ideological unity of pro-GMO activism and climate change denial. No GMO supporter objected to the Moore anointment.
.
*In 2013 the Maine legislature passed a GMO labeling law which, like Connecticut’s, requires that several other states pass similar laws before it becomes effective. This is called a “trigger”. This immediately proved a problem since Maine’s trigger specified that adjoining New Hampshire would have to be one of the states enacting a similar policy, but a legislative attempt there soon afterward failed. Now a new proposed bill in Maine would upgrade the 2013 law by removing the trigger. If this bill passes Maine would join Vermont as the second state to pass a true labeling law without the self-negating trigger. Obviously a law with a trigger is, at best, a study in ambivalence. Most likely it indicates a government which wants to pretend to be doing something without actually having to do it.

>

March 24, 2015

Rounding Up Roundup

<

The notion that glyphosate is “safer” than other herbicides is a mainstay even among lukewarm critics of GMOs, and of course the US government has long propagated this slogan, although in order for it to do so the EPA had to change its 1985 finding of “possibly carcincogenic to humans” to “evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans” in 1991. As with all EPA findings since the beginning of the GMO era, this change had zero to do with scientific evidence, but was a purely political decision to accommodate Monsanto. Now lying like this will be a bit more difficult, as the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has upgraded its assessment: Glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
.
Actually they’ve known glyphosate is carcinogenic since the 1980s, and as I said even the Reagan EPA felt constrained to call it a “possible human carcinogen”. The EPA then downgraded that to “not a carcinogen”, straight up because Monsanto demanded it. Today we see Monsanto’s hysterical reaction to the previously reliable WHO breaking ranks like this. We’ll see if the WHO sticks by its guns or moves to marginalize its own scientific finding. Of course Monsanto’s already succeeding in getting the corporate media to “report” on “the controversy” rather than on the fact. But at least the fact that the WHO is now admitting this brings Roundup’s cancer-causing nature into the media’s realm of controversy, whereas the cartel, the US government, and the NYT have long collaborated in making glyphosate’s toxicity an un-fact. (Maybe the American Cancer Society will now have to acknowledge the very existence of this cancer agent.) Even many GMO critics have parroted the Monsanto line that glyphosate is “less toxic” than other herbicides. Hopefully this will at least put an end to that self-defeating stupidity.
.
Let’s get this point straight: Glyphosate as well as 2,4-D and dicamba are highly toxic. The Big Lie is that glyphosate is not highly toxic, period. That’s what the liars always mean when they call it “less toxic”. So it’s idiotic to even ask “which is worse.” The point is that they’re both well beyond the level of “too toxic to be used at all.”
.
As always we must stress that glyphosate is never used in pure form, but is always deployed in commercial forms like Roundup which contain several other toxic ingredients. These real world commercial formulations are far more toxic than ivory tower glyphosate. That’s why it’s a standard scam among regulators to assess only the non-commercial “pure” glyphosate, because they know it’s less toxic. Yet, as the IARC has finally acknowledged, even pure glyphosate is severely toxic and causes cancer.
.
Here’s more on Roundup. The latest in the line of studies out of Argentina exposing the health and environmental destruction wrought by Roundup finds a much higher level (44% higher) of genetic damage among children consistently exposed to Roundup and other herbicides. This group also had a high incidence of chronic respiratory, skin, and eye symptoms, while no children from the unexposed group reported any such persistent symptoms.
.
I’ve often pointed out how antibiotic abuse on factory farms and in genetic engineering (the widespread use of antibiotic resistance markers in GMO development) is effectively a campaign to eradicate antibiotics as a medically effective treatment, and how this corporate campaign is setting up humanity for lethal pandemics as well as driving the ongoing chronic rise in deaths from illness caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (I’ve also pointed out the fraudulence and stupidity of those who attack small groups of dissidents for allegedly endangering public health even as the ydo nothing to abolish subtherapeutic antibiotic use.) Now we can add a third industrial driver of antibiotic resistance. New science documents that bacteria exposed to such commercial herbicides as glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba are prone to then have changed responses to application of antibiotics, usually showing resistance. So the wholesale slathering of the agricultural landscape and surrounding environs with Roundup, and starting this year GMOs engineered to be tolerant of 2,4-D or dicamba, is perhaps accelerating the evolution of antibiotic resistant strains and subsequent end game for antibiotics as a whole.
.
More fun with glyphosate and Roundup: A new study gives further proof that Roundup, as well as glyphosate even in its pure form is acutely toxic to human cells and is an endocrine disruptor through causing the death of cells which produce progesterone. The study tested in vitro exposure to human cells at concentration levels allowed in Australian drinking water. It found that Roundup is more deadly to human cells than pure glyphosate (thus again proving that the real world formulation is more toxic than the “pure” chemical which is the sole purview of regulators), but that both kill cells and cause endocrine disruption through cell death. The study didn’t probe whether these poisons are endocrine disruptors in other ways, but there’s strong evidence for this as well.
.
Among the less heralded US government handouts to Monsanto is the longstanding Roundup fumigation program in Colombia, whose proximate goal is to wipe out coca cultivation. This gives a good insight into the real character of the Drug War and any pretensions it has to being about “public health”. On the contrary, it has nothing to do with human health and everything to do with power and corporate welfare. In a case like this the farcical character of the “health” aspect is especially on display, as the spraying program, a veritable chemical warfare campaign (compare the Agent Orange chemical weapons campaign during the Vietnam War), is well documented as causing severe health effects. The Colombian government has supported US paramilitary campaigns within its country because the US pays it off and because they have a shared enemy in legitimate popular movements among the peasantry. But with this WHO report, even some within the Colombian government are starting to wonder if this wholesale program of poisoning the people’s bodies and destroying their crops isn’t, just maybe, politically and ultimately militarily doing more harm than good.
.
The fact is there’s no such thing as a demarcation between purely “civilian” poison spraying and chemical warfare. It’s all on a militaristic spectrum, thus the popularity of violent names for agricultural poisons. Monsanto seems to prefer the Wild West theme. Similarly, the agrochemical corporations and the US government effectively see themselves as waging war upon humanity in general and in particular upon small farmers, subsistence farmers, organic farmers, farmers producing food for communities, all farmers and communities not sufficiently coordinated according to the corporate imperative. The goal is to clear the land for mechanized industrial plantations under corporate control. The goal is to force the people off the land and into slums. The campaign is the same as the post-medieval, pre-modern enclosure campaigns of Europe. The only difference is that in the earlier campaign part of the goal was to forcibly generate an urban proletariat, while today the shantytowns are meant to serve as terminal concentration camps for the permanently liquidated and immiserated. I defy anyone to tell me poison-based agriculture isn’t chemical warfare, against people on a more profound level than against bugs and weeds. Roundup has long been the number one weapon of globalization war. It generated the most perfect agro-state yet, Argentina’s “Soy Republic”.
.
That Roundup and glyphosate, along with 2,4-D and dicamba, are also severely toxic and destructive to human and ecosystem health renders the chemical warfare concept physically as well as economically true. There are many things preventing us from living in peace and prosperity. Among the most vicious assaults upon us are agricultural poisons like Roundup and GMOs. We must abolish them completely if humanity is to have a future, physically or in any other meaningful sense.
.
Today even the usually pro-GMO World Health Organization itself is saying: Roundup is cancer. This is a physical fact, and it’s a political and spiritual fact. We must do what’s necessary.

>

March 21, 2015

The FDA “Review” Process As Part of the Poisoner Campaign

>

I’ve often written about how the FDA has no review process for GMOs. All the FDA has is a voluntary letter dance: If it chooses, the developer sends the FDA a letter saying it performed this or that bogus test on its own product and is satisfied that the product is safe. The FDA then replies, to paraphrase, “We understand that you consider this product to be safe.” And that’s it. That’s the whole alleged review. That’s the quicksand upon which all the liars, including in government and media, build their lie that GMOs are ever tested or reviewed for safety at all.
.
The historical and ideological fact is that in the 1980s, under cartel tutelage, the FDA adopted the “substantial equivalence” of GMOs and true crops as its doctrine. This was in spite of the fact that there was never any evidence for substantial equivalence, that GMOs which express Bt toxins and/or are suffused with herbicide residues are self-evidently VERY different from their non-GM counterparts*, and that a large amount of evidence has subsequently accumulated that GMOs are substantially different from non-GM crops in many other compositional ways (here’s just one example). Reason rejected “substantial equivalence” from the start, and since then science has completely trounced it. But none of that matters to the FDA, for whom substantial equivalence is nothing more or less than fundamentalist religious dogma.
.
To see the latest example of your government regulators in action, check out the FDA’s press release concluding its “review” of the botox apple and the “Innate” potato. At the bottom of the release are links to the two FDA letters to the respective developers, where it says “we understand…” Note that neither letter contains a shred of information, but is pure bureaucrat-speak which adds up to trust in the fox guarding the henhouse.
.
No sane person thinks the profit-seeking developers of GMOs or other agricultural poisons can be trusted to judge the safety of their own products. Reason and common sense would reject such an absurd notion out of hand, and then we have the evidence record of the entire industrial era which proves that profit-seekers will ALWAYS lie about their own products.
.
There’s no doubt and no debate: The corporate state is dedicated to the aggrandizement of the corporate rackets. In this case, the government system is set up intentionally to help the poison corporations lie about the health harms of their products. The FDA, EPA, and USDA are conscious, willful, systematic liars on behalf of the wholesale poisoning of people, livestock, and the environment. (This is in addition to the government’s role as corporate welfare purveyor and creator of supply-driven markets for these products, which usually have no natural market.) As always, I challenge anyone to try to refute this, or to defend the system on any level. It would be very amusing to hear someone explain how the fox can be trusted with the henhouse, and therefore the FDA’s process makes any sense at all.
.
And so again, for the thousandth time, we have refutation of the lie that GMOs are tested for safety. Never have been, never will be, by this government or any other. And so we also have, again for the thousandth time, refutation of the delusion that we the people can look to government regulators for defense of our well-being. On the contrary, nothing could be more clear than that these regulators systematically lie to we the people on behalf of those who are poisoning us. At the New Nuremburg we’ll be putting the FDA and EPA cadres in the dock right alongside their partners from Monsanto and Dow.
.
*I propose this demonstration, in thought or with physical props, to make clear what the FDA and the bodies which have adopted its doctrine are claiming when they say “substantial equivalence”. I’m holding two ears of corn. I say “All the kernels on this ear are loaded with Bt toxins. This other ear is free of Bt. But they’re physically the same thing.” Does that make sense? Similarly, I hold two handfuls of soybeans. I say “These soybeans are full of Roundup. These other soybeans have no Roundup residues. But they’re physically the same thing.” Agree? And to say again, GMOs are often found to be compositionally different in other significant, completely unpredictable, ways.
.
The bad faith and intellectual idiocy of the whole endeavor are on display with the fact that “substantial equivalence” has always really meant, “equivalent except for the major poison inherent in the GMO.” But, needless to say, that’s not how the FDA or its corporate media flunkeys portray the concept when propagating it for the public’s edification.
.
Substantial Equivalence, upon which the US government’s entire pro-GMO propaganda edifice is built, is a classic Big Lie.

>

March 14, 2015

Pro-GMO Activists, the Various Climate Change Lies, and the Mainstream Media

<

*A few weeks back I mentioned US Right to Know’s Freedom of Information requests to several prominent pro-GMO activists ensconced in academia, in the course of citing these as typical examples of how the pro-GM activists consistently impersonate various kinds of scientists and other professionals even as they hypocritically insist that GM critics have no standing to opine unless they possess the right “credentials”. As I documented there, without exception all pro-GM activists stray far beyond the bounds of their own formal credentials, where they have any in the first place. (Many do not.)
.
Since then USRTK has been attacked in academia and the corporate media by these same mercenary hacks, who exceed themselves in fraud and hypocrisy. One propaganda disseminator is the Gates Foundation-funded pro-Monsanto media center at Cornell University, which in Orwellian manner proclaimed its goal to “depolarize the GMO debate”. By this they mean they’re trying to restore the status quo ante where corporate ideology completely dominated all politics, economics, and science. The Cornell propagandists want a unipolar world. That’s what they mean by “depolarize”. Depolarize is also a synonym for depoliticize, meaning that democracy and politics as such should cease to exist wherever these interfere with the corporate imperative. This is in line with the movement toward a Corporate Constitution and Bill of Rights, which the TTIP and TPP seek to enshrine.
.
Toward these goals Cornell, using Gates money, created a bogus position for corporate publicist Mark Lynas and other Monsanto and Gates-affiliated publicists. Similarly, the Guardian published an op-ed from three paid mercenaries while abetting them in suppressing their conflict of interest. The Guardian let them fraudulently depict themselves as being “neutral academics” while failing to list their paid positions with the GMO cartel. Most hilariously of all, they regurgitated the self-evident lie comparing GMO critics to climate change deniers even as at least one of the three, Philip Sharp, is himself a climate change denier employed by the Koch Brothers.
.
As I developed in an earlier post, the real demarcation is being a corporate mercenary vs. being a critic of corporate-decreed “science”. It’s GMO advocacy and climate change denial which logically line up, and sure enough the ranks of pro-GMO activists include many professional climate change deniers: Patrick Moore, Owen Paterson, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, just to name a few. By contrast, there are no climate change deniers among GMO critics. There you see the measure of the mainstream media’s integrity, that it keeps repeating the lie but never takes even five minutes to investigate whether real-life climate change deniers actually support or oppose GMOs.
.
The fact that the likes of National Geographic, the Guardian, and many others intentionally refrain from this simple fact check is proof that they’re most interested in propagating this lie and want to suppress knowledge of the truth, which they know would be unfavorable to their agenda.
.
Meanwhile the canned lie that GMO cultivation can help sequester carbon through chemical no-till, also more euphemistically called “conservation tillage”, is being completely debunked as the spread of Roundup-resistant weeds increasingly requires the most aggressive tillage to give farmers any hope of keeping their fields partially clear.
.
The concept of chemical no-till as carbon sequestration tactic was bogus in principle, since the slathering of Roundup destroys the soil ecosystem which incorporates carbon as humus in the first place. The very term “sequestration” demonstrates the fundamental error of the approach: Nature doesn’t “sequester” anything, but actively incorporates it into a dynamic system. Poison-based agriculture, of which the Roundup Ready system is the ultimate example, automatically destroys the soil ecosystem and leaves sterile dirt which would be incapable of incorporating carbon. That’s why irrigation water has to be fortified with chemical additives to bind it to dirt molecules. That’s the only way to keep the water from running off the site immediately, eroding all the dirt with it. Sure enough, studies found that chemical no-till could at best “sequester” a small amount of carbon in the immediate topsoil where the biomass from the previous crop degrades, but does nothing to build organic matter deeper into the dirt, turning it into real soil. The whole concept of chemical no-till is incorrect. That’s to be expected, as it’s an extension of the absolutely erroneous NPK ideology, which is the source of all the agronomic and ecological pathologies in the first place.
.
In this clash of lies we see how one lie, chemical no-till and GMOs as “climate friendly”, runs up against the planned obsolescence strategy of the GMO cartel. Although Monsanto would prefer that the Roundup Ready system remain in power indefinitely, this is more of a subjective preference which is counter to the overall dynamic of ever-accelerating obsolescence and turnover. This dynamic is best exemplified in Monsanto’s own publicly admitted plan for obsolescence and escalated stacking of Bt toxins, collecting an extra tax for each proprietary toxin of course. That Roundup Ready is set to be superseded by Dow’s 2,4-D based “Enlist” system and Monsanto’s own dicamba-based system embodies the real logic of the GMO concept and deployment.
.
In the real world, industrial agriculture is the worst driver of climate change. It is the most profligate emitter of greenhouse gases and by far the worst destroyer of carbon sinks. GMOs comprise the escalation of all the pathologies of industrial agriculture including those affecting climate change.
.
In the real world, agroecology offers the only solution for climate change, in terms of both mitigation and adaptation.
.
More broadly – politically, economically, ecologically, and in the most stark terms of our being able to eat in the future – humanity’s great imperative is to abolish industrial agriculture and transform to agroecology on a food sovereignty basis. Nothing short of this will suffice physically, nor is anything short of this worthy of our great human endeavor.
.
What are the mean little lies of hacks and scribblers compared to that?

<

March 10, 2015

The Politics of Vaccination: Astroturfing in the Corporate Media

<

Or as I should say, the evident attempt to rile up hatred against a small, relatively harmless dissident group to set them up as scapegoats for the vastly worse threats being forced upon us by corporate agriculture.
.
Let me stress at the outset that this post is not about vaccination in itself. Vaccination makes sense in principle. But I begin by stressing that there are two separate questions here: Vaccine science in principle, and the safety of corporate-manufactured vaccines we actually have. In a typical authoritarian tactic those who criticize non-vaccinators always smear these two together and come up with the standard lie, “anti-vax = anti-science”. Now, maybe there are some non-vaccinators who reject vaccination as such, in principle. But everyone I’ve seen is mostly or completely motivated by skepticism toward the corporations who manufacture and advertise them. Obviously no rational person would take on faith the word of corrupt corporate and government scienticians, given their record to date systematically lying about cigarette smoking, asbestos, PCBs, dioxin, DDT, GMOs, and many other poisons, as well as denying climate change.
.
[I’ll also stress, since industry propagandists and the corporate media try to confuse this fact, that the rational and empirically-proven common thread is that corporate “science” always lies, dissidents are usually right. To give a common example, in comparing climate change denial with criticism of genetic engineering, the correct conceptual division is not being “for” or “against” some vapid, abstract notion of “science”, though such gaseous conceptual shibboleths are standard with scientism ideology. The correct line which works in real life is the faith-based swallowing of corporate propaganda which calls itself “science”, vs. taking a critical view of this propaganda.
.
Climate change denial is interesting in that some powerful corporate sectors like finance seek to profit off scams like carbon offsets or geoengineering and so “believe in” climate change, while others like Big Oil are fervent “deniers”. Monsanto and the GMO cartel play both sides of the fence. In reality no corporatist or technocrat cares one way or the other about climate change or its effects. They “believe” whatever it’s profitable to believe. So it’s not surprising that while so far as I’ve seen there are no GMO critics who also deny climate change, the ranks of the pro-GMO activists are littered with climate change deniers – Patrick Moore, Marc van Montague, Ingo Potrykus, Owen Paterson, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, just to name a few. So much for the lies of “National Geographic” and others who are desperately trying to push the notion that opposing corporate “science” is the same thing as opposing science. The truth is the exact opposite. Indeed, to support GMOs is by definition to be an implicit climate change denier. This is because industrial agriculture, as the #1 emitter of greenhouse gases and the #1 destroyer of carbon sinks, is the worst sector driving climate change, while GMOs comprise nothing more or less than an escalation of industrial ag and an aggravation of all its pathologies.]
.
In any discussion or debate I’d keep insisting on keeping the two separate questions, separate. That means, for non-vaccinators as well as for anyone who opposes irrational scientistic lynch mobs, focusing on how dubious corporate-controlled vaccination is. Of course I’m against the corporatism of vaccines, as I am against all corporatism.
.
There’s incontrovertible evidence, provided by the corporations and the government themselves, that corporate vaccines are inferior and potentially dangerous, indeed likely to cause great harm. This is the fact that in the 1980s the government absolved the corporate manufacturers of liability for any harm caused by their products, no matter how negligent or structurally toxic the manufacturing process was.
.
In the same way that the refusal of Monsanto or the US government to test GMOs for safety proves that they live in terror of what the results of such tests would be, so the government’s grant of immunity and setting up of a massive corporate welfare fund to force the taxpayers to pay off corporate liabilities for toxic products proves that the government believes the products are going to be ever more dangerous.
.
Of course it’s obscene and irrational – if dispensing vaccines is too risky for corporate liability, isn’t it too risky in general? At the very least, if they won’t assume the risk, how can their profit be justified? In that case the government should take over the entire operation on a public non-profit basis. There we have proof of principle, of the overall bad faith of the system (how can it be rationally or morally coherent to absolve “capitalists” of risk and force that risk onto the taxpayers, but still allow those companies to collect profit?) and of the fact that the companies and the government believe the legal risk is extreme. They think it likely these vaccines will have dire side effects.
.
And indeed, as we see with the sometimes lethal Gardisil vaccine (which the Texas state government mandated as a form of poll-tax-via-poison, like forcing people to buy and drink moonshine which blinds them) and the harmful effects of aluminum-based vaccines on people with weak immune systems, there’s specific affirmative evidence of harm.
.
Unlike GMOs*, vaccines do make sense in principle. But what they could be in principle and what Big Drug corporations actually do in producing them are two completely separate things. The fact that the critics of vaccine dissent are incapable of making this distinction is one of the proofs that they’re motivated not by real concern for public health but by authoritarian cultism.
.
[*Just two examples of how GMOs don’t make sense in principle: 1. Pleiotropy rules out the long-promised-never-delivered GMOs designed to produce better agronomic and product quality traits. Rendering crops poisonous is not an improvement, but literal poison plants (those which exude a systemic insecticide, those which systemically absorb herbicide, and usually both at the same time) are the only kinds genetic engineering can create. 2. GMOs cannot be capitalized, developed, produced, distributed other than through big corporations. Indeed GMOs were developed in the first place to intensify corporate control and domination. But corporate control is antithetical to productive, food-based, sustainable agriculture. By definition corporate agriculture, producing commodities and poison instead of food, with food then supposed to “trickle down” as a side effect, is incoherent, irrational, and an abdication. GMOs represent the extreme manifestation of corporate agriculture.]
.
Now we reach the core question regarding those who pretend to support vaccination but should really be called “anti-anti-vaxxers”, since their actions prove they’re not really for anything, but instead are merely majoritarians attacking a small dissenting group. How is it possible to talk meaningfully about the alleged health risks from a relative handful of vaccine dissenters while the same fear-mongers do nothing to put a stop to the infinitely worse public health threat from antibiotic abuse in factory farms and antibiotic resistance markers in genetic engineering? This is, after all, a massive, systematic corporate campaign to destroy the effectiveness of antibiotics. Any adverse health effects of non-vaccination are utterly trivial compared to these and other massive corporate assaults on public health (pesticides, Fukushima’s fallout, just to name two more).
.
Anyone who doesn’t spend significant time and energy calling for the abolition of antibiotic abuse has zero credibility if he claims to be concerned about the relatively infinitesimal risk of non-vaccination. The shrillness of the anti-anti-vaxxers juxtaposed with their resounding silence where it comes to antibiotic abuse adds up to proof that they’re lying when they claim to be worried about public health. Obviously their “concern” is for something other than public health. On the contrary, they’re authoritarian statists who are outraged by a form of civil disobedience they find particularly offensive as an affront to their statism and scientism. They should be systematically counterattacked as such, whatever one’s views on vaccination itself.
.
So faced with anyone who claims to criticize non-vaccinators from the point of view of a concern for public health, I start with one question: What have you done to oppose subtherapeutic antibiotic abuse in factory farms and genetic engineering? Please direct me to where you’ve written about or taken action on this.
.
A satisfactory answer to this is necessary to establish someone’s bona fides. Anyone who can’t do so is a fraud who’s really jumping in a typical way onto an anti-dissident bandwagon out of typically cowardly bullying authoritarian motives.
.
In my analysis and criticism of corporate agriculture I’ve refused to argue substantively with pro-GMO activists and others who are clearly acting in bad faith and lying about their fundamental motivations. Instead I counterattack to demolish their lies and destroy their credibility. Where it comes to the vaccination lynch mob, dissenters and critics should always counterattack these bad faith liars the way I describe. The only way the people can win is if enough people are disciplined that way. The point is to reveal them as authoritarian liars and hypocrites who have zero credibility as they attack trivial or nonexistent “threats” while the vastly greater dangers go unchallenged. (Remember the crooks who wanted to ban a local seed library out of fears over “agri-terrorism”? Of course the supporters of centralized industrial ag are intentionally rendering America’s food supply vulnerable to terrorism, while decentralization is the only solution to this and every other problem.) I’d never allow an anti-anti-vaxxer to get away with ignoring CAFOs and antibiotic resistance markers in GMOs. I’d just hammer and hammer and hammer – “What are you doing for the struggle to abolish antibiotic abuse, an infinitely worse public health danger?” Until I got a satisfactory answer, I’d refuse to even discuss vaccination. In general, we should seize every opportunity to counterattack and direct attention to the lethal pandemics being prepared by corporate agriculture and by globalization in general.
.
This takes us to what’s going on the corporate media lately, a top-down media-engineered campaign intended to demonize the trivial group of non-vaccinators. Given the growing evidence of the ongoing harms and great dangers of the corporate agricultural system, as well as how obviously destructive the rest of the corporate onslaught is becoming, the corporate media is increasingly desperate to trump up diversions and scapegoats. In the case of the lethal pandemics already being caused by globalization’s shantytowns and factory farms, and the far worse ones inevitably to come, the system’s goal is to provide scapegoats to divert public fears and anger, as well as to muster fascistic discipline among potential cadres along the lines of scientism, the only purely corporate ideology which can tap into ideological threads which aren’t 100% mercenary. Thus the most unreconstructed, brutal greed, powerlust, sadism, and hate try to make common cause with what’s left of the withering “Progress” ideology.
.
Whatever the trivial effects of non-vaccination, if any, the great disease incubators of the planet are the factory farms and shantytowns created by globalization and by corporate agriculture in particular. No one who’s not fighting CAFOs, GMOs that use antibiotic resistance markers, and corporate agriculture in general has any standing to say a word about vaccination. Those who do so regardless are really lying when they claim to care about public health. They’re really motivated by authoritarianism.
.
I’d call this a basic litmus test for authoritarianism and the very ability to conceive in non-corporatized terms: Having the right perspective on an ad hoc handful of non-vaccinators, vs. the massive, systematic campaign of the biggest, most powerful corporations and governments on earth to destroy antibiotics as a medically useful technology. I’d expect anyone who’s on the level to forget the non-vaxxers immediately and get after those corporations and government bureaucracies.
.
The two necessary goals: Abolish factory farms, abolish GMOs. Nothing short of this can suffice, and nothing short of this can comprise a rationally or morally coherent position for anyone who claims to care about public health.
.

<

March 8, 2015

Notes Toward the Critique of “Peer Review”

>

(This started out as a comment and I don’t have time to work it up into a full post right now, but I’ll post it as a note.)
.
Peer review is increasingly corrupt. Plenty of good studies have been suppressed or subjected to attempted suppressions by corrupt reviewers. Just this morning I was reading about the example of Ignacio Chapela and David Quist’s findings of GM contamination in Mexican criollo maize landraces and the fact that the corrupting effects of the transgene were expressing chaotically in both the genome and the physical manifestations of the phenotype. In addition to proving how easily and widely GMO contamination proceeds, this was the strongest evidence to date of the fact that genetic engineering is an extremely stupid, messy, chaotic process with highly unpredictable, chaotic results. Conversely it’s among the strongest refutations of the hack lie that GE is some kind of “precision”, “scientific” process. It’s really just very sloppy, brute force empiricism.
.
Even though the Mexican government, which no one would ever mistake for being anti-GMO, had confirmed the first peer-reviewed, Nature-published study, under industry pressure Nature cravenly and despicably disavowed it. Then when Ezcurra and team submitted their study (mentioned in the above link) confirming and expanding upon Chapela and Quist’s findings, Nature intentionally sent it to known corrupt pro-GM “reviewers” who rejected it. The funny thing is the pro-GM activists didn’t get their rationale straight among themselves ahead of time, and so one of them rejected it because the result was simply “impossible”. Now THAT’s “scientific”. Of course Monsanto itself had long adhered to the line that what it dubs with the euphemism “adventitious presence” is inevitable, “natural”, and nothing to worry about. Thus a second reviewer rejected the study because the result was “obvious” and therefore pedestrian. How’s that for suppressing a clear fact – declare that it’s so clear that no one should be allowed to point it out any longer. We see the pro-GM activist version of “science” in action.
.
Meanwhile plenty of manifestly fraudulent studies have been passed by corrupt reviewers. We still have the ongoing scandal of how the Seralini study was retracted for purely ideological reasons while Monsanto’s and many other studies whose methodology is inferior by every measure are allowed to stand.
.
We still see the fetish of “peer review” cropping up often among GMO critics, but this is misguided. Peer review can’t be relied upon any more than any other institution of establishment “science”. In this radically corrupted environment we have to take any alleged piece of science on a case-by-case basis, judging according to its methodology and who paid for it. Just to give one example, by definition a legitimate toxicology or cancer study has to proceed for the duration of the full life cycle of the test subjects. Thus by definition only the Seralini study is even a candidate for incarnating legitimate science since it lasted for the full 2-year life cycle of the rat subjects, while Monsanto’s 90-day “subchronic” studies are by definition illegitimate. (90 days is a typical duration for fraudulent industry “studies”.)

>

February 21, 2015

The Lunatics Running the Asylum

>

Remember “drapetomania”, the expert-diagnosed mental illness that caused slaves irrationally to want to escape from slavery? Those same experts are now trying to call the desire and fight for real food a mental illness, “orthorexia nervosa”. I like it. Let them keep it up with their superciliousness, insults, and obvious lies. It’ll only further discredit their fraudulent “scientific” corporate establishment. It’ll only further isolate scientism from all political and social grounding, rendering it even more completely dependent on the brute force which will eventually fail. And then where will they turn?
.
Meanwhile so far as I know there’s not yet a diagnosis and term for irrationally taking the word of credentialed experts, even though their corporate mercenary interest is clear and their historical record for being grotesquely wrong in every such case is nearly unbroken. Same for corporate media “journalists” like those who are trying to be boosters for this notion that wanting unpoisoned food is irrational. This must be especially attractive to the NYT-led media, which specializes in trying to “diagnose” dissident individuals and movements and military opposition to US aggression as being forms of mental illness.
.
Is there a diagnosis and term for being OK with poisoning the food, water, air, and soil, and being happy to eat and drink poison this way?

>

February 17, 2015

By Their Own Standard, Credentialist Pro-GMO Activists Are Ignorant Yahoos

>

The US Right to Know issued a Freedom of Information request to universities where four prominent pro-GMO activists are housed. The four – Kevin Folta at the University of Florida, Alison Eenennaam at UC Davis, Richard Goodman at the U of Nebraska, and Bruce Chassy at the U of Illinois – were selected for being prolific pro-Monsanto publicists, and particularly for their participation at the cartel propaganda site GMO Answers. US Right to Know wants to learn the extent of their direct or indirect funding and payments from biotech corporations and trade groups. Of course they’re stonewalling, since they know the extent of the corruption an honest answer would expose. And anyway they’re professional liars, so transparency and truth just aren’t what they do.
.
Cadres such as these are usually called “scientists”, solely on account of the formal credentials they’ve procured, but they are in fact not scientists at all but corporate propagandists. They do nothing but knowingly tell lies, claim knowledge where they have none, and intentionally or out of stupidity confuse the nature of every issue. All the while they sanctimoniously insist that anyone who lacks formal scientific credentials is unqualified to speak about GMOs. (This of course applies only to critics, skeptics, and dissidents. It doesn’t apply to corporate executives or pro-GMO politicians and media flacks.) The best proof of this, as well as of their hypocrisy when they play the credential card, is that literally none of them, so far as I have seen, stays within the bounds of their own disciplines when pontificating about GMOs. On the contrary, every credentialed pro-GM activist evidently feels free to spew the most ignorant, idiotic opinions on any subject imaginable, no matter how unqualified they are according to their own credentialist standard. Our four subjects of the US Right to Know request are typical examples of this promiscuous amateurism of ignorance. By their own standard they have no standing or right to make the vast majority of their assertions and comments. We must hold them to their own standard and reject out of hand anything any of them says which isn’t firmly within the bounds of their formally credentialed discipline.
.
Kevin Folta’s official credentials are in molecular biology and biology, but he thinks he’s an agronomist. His resume is that of a terminal myopic who obsessively knows one detail, and a malign one at that, but who has the delusion of grandeur that he knows the slightest bit about agronomic systems and the broader ecosystems in which these are enfolded. That’s what you’re prone to get when a molecular biologist thinks he’s an agricultural and ecological expert. If he believes a word of the lies he spews, his lack of agricultural training must play a role in his being so stupid.
.
Like his fellow anti-science hack Pamela Ronald, Folta also poses as a medical doctor and nutritionist even though he has zero credentials in either discipline. He also pontificates constantly on purely political issues like labeling and lies about his university receiving funding from the GMO cartel.
.
Folta claims he’s never been paid by the GMO cartel, but his university has certainly been bought. Check out this list. Res ipsa loquitur.
.
Bruce Chassy is officially trained in chemistry and biochemistry. In other words he’s a poison-peddler whose formal connection to systems-based knowledge is even more tenuous than Folta’s. This hasn’t stopped him from impersonating a doctor and nutritionist who knows something about food safety and human health, nor has it stopped the University of Illinois and the FDA from fraudulently depicting him as such.
.
Chassy is co-founder of the propaganda site Academics Review. Here we find lots of commentary on food safety, human medicine, agriculture, and slamming Jeffrey Smith for his lack of formal STEM credentials. But what praytell is Chassy’s credential which qualifies him to have opinions on any of these topics? The fact is that from the point of view of credentialism, Chassy is identical to Smith. They’re uncredentialed laymen writing about subjects in which they have no formal training. The same is true of Chassy’s collaborator David Tribe (chemistry, biochemistry, applied molecular genetics). The same is true of every pro-GMO activist. I challenge anyone to provide an example of a pro-GMO activist who stays within the bounds of his credentialed discipline.
.
In Chassy’s case there’s no doubt about his being directly paid by Monsanto and other biotech companies. In general he’s been more active as a propagandist than as someone who even pretends to be a scientist. He was also the sole credentialed type who joined several uncredentialed publicists in trying to drum up an Internet lynch mob against Reuters reporter Carey Gillam last year. That says it all about Chassy’s real character and ideology and how much it has to do with “science”.
.
Folta and Chassy are typical in having no formal agricultural training. Most genetic engineers and “scientist” flacks like these (for example carnival barker Neal DeGrasse Tyson, who has also shilled for Monsanto in the most ignorant, moronic way) have zero formal agronomic qualifications. Indeed, when you read a history like First the Seed or Lords of the Harvest you see how often the engineers and publicists not only have zero agricultural training or knowledge but seem proud of the fact. This combination of ignorance and arrogance, always characteristic of credentialed technocrats and elitist professionals in general, must be why GMOs are such shoddy, failure-prone products, and why they’re 100% dedicated to escalating the most counterproductive, destructive, and famine-prone mode of agriculture. It’s simply insane the way society has let such brain-dead psychopaths gain control of our agriculture and foods.
.
Meanwhile the personnel who do have some agriculture-related training are just as prone to go straying far outside their disciplinary lines while still fraudulently claiming to be “scientists”. Richard Goodman’s formal training is a mix of agricultural and non-agricultural – biology, dairy science, immunology.
.
Goodman is most notorious for his suspected role in the illicit retraction of the Seralini study by the now-corrupted journal Food and Chemical Toxiciology. The Seralini study is a real scientific study correcting the fraudulent Monsanto feeding trials which the EFSA accepted on faith when it approved the importation into Europe of Roundup Ready maize in food and feed. It remains one of the few legitimate toxicology studies which have been performed on a GMO (or on Roundup). Through a British media campaign of lies and slander which started even before the study was published, FCT came under intense industry pressure to retract the study. At first it refused. At this point the cartel shifted its pressure on the publication. The pro-GMO activists now accused it of being biased against GMOs. To prove its lack of bias, it was forced to accept Monsanto’s man onto its editorial roster. The truth is, of course, the exact opposite. At first FCT was demonstrating its lack of bias either way, and was serving science. It was then forced to accept Goodman so that it could be subject to Gleichschaltung, attaining the ideologically correct pro-Monsanto bias, from within.
.
FCT’s cowardly action now demonstrates how well this corporate coordination process has worked. You can look at their excuse for the retraction and see that it’s nothing but a retread of the same tired lies which attacked the study from day one. If FCT refused to retract on these grounds in 2012, why did it do so in 2013, just a few months after bringing Goodman on board? Because it was taken over from within, following the injection of a Monsanto cadre. There’s no other explanation.
.
What precisely in Goodman’s formal resume qualifies him to pass any sort of judgement or have any opinion at all about a toxicology study performed upon rats? It’s not an allergy study nor was it performed upon cows.
.
Goodman has been an employee of Monsanto and has consulted for them and other biotech corporations
.
Alison van Eenennaam’s formal training is in agricultural science, animal science, and genetics. Yet Here’s Eenennaam blathering about politics and economics, posing as a constitutional scholar, impersonating an expert on food safety and human medicine, and telling several direct lies, for example that pesticide use goes down with GMO cultivation; that product labeling where it comes to harmful ingredients is typically voluntary; that GMO labeling will drive up food costs, and several others. She also regurgitates the canned lie that genetic engineering is the same as conventional breeding. If she really believes this she’s an incompetent agronomist. But I’d bet she’s consciously lying. We saw the scurrilous character of her “science” in the propaganda broadside she issued on Monsanto’s behalf last autumn. Here’s the best takedown of this hack I’ve seen. Here’s another good refutation.
.
She also endorses the non-credentialed PR flack Jon Entine’s unscientific rhetorical flourishes about her “review”, which demonstrates how she sees her “scientific” work as designed to feed the Monsanto propaganda machine.
.
Like Goodman, Eenennaam has been employed by Monsanto, and her university receives funding from Monsanto and a host of Big Ag corporations.
.
GMO labeling has certainly brought the amateur interlopers out in force. This pro-cartel paper parroting the Monsanto line against GMO labeling includes Eenennaam and Chassy among its authors and Goodman among its “reviewers”, alongside Mark Lynas sporting his phony Cornell pseudo-position, bought for him by the Gates Foundation. Here again we see alleged scientists holding forth on a purely political issue, as well as economics, law, constitutional scholarship, and statistical social science. My, we must be in the presence of the most prodigious polymath geniuses in history. Also the most incorrigible liars*.
.
Regarding the standing of these persons to comment on political controversies, some readers may be thinking that’s anyone’s right no matter who they are. But keep in mind that it’s precisely these cadres who consistently deny that the people have any right to a say on any issue which the corporate propaganda machine can depict as having anything to do with “science”. On the contrary, they insist that an issue like GMO labeling should be out of the hands of democracy and solely within the hands of corporate technocracy. Indeed, to the extent these cadres can be said to have a political ideology beyond straight corporate authoritarianism, this ideology is technocracy, the belief that formally credentialed experts should make all decisions for society, while democracy and politics as such should cease to exist. This is an extreme version of the standard anti-citizenship, anti-democracy, anti-political character of bourgeois ideology. (You won’t find a more perfect example of one of these amateurish hacks describing his own faction than the abstract of this paper. The thing is a short masterpiece of Orwellianism, and of course is packed with lies. The conclusion, of course, is true and condemns these criminals and their whole endeavor.)
.
Here too we reject their authoritarianism, but we should hold them to their own standard. They despise democracy and politics and want to abolish these for everyone else, so we must see them as having forfeited such things for themselves.
.
Of course among pro-GM activists there’s no lack of uncredentialed publicists, from former TV news/tabloid producer Jon Entine to nihilist mercenary Mark Lynas to software thief Bill Gates, not to mention an endless list of corporate executives and PR flacks, politicians, and corporate media stenographers. Why do we never see the credentialists direct these people, who “have no discernable scientific training” in the allegedly damning words the Academics Review site utters about Smith, to depart from the field?
.
I stress that we abolitionists aren’t credentialists. Most of the worthwhile thinkers throughout history weren’t formally trained system drones, whose record in every era for being wrong about pretty much everything is unmatched. We paraphrase Martin Luther King and see the world in terms judging people not by the level of their formal training within the corporate degree conveyor belt but by the content of their ideas and character. These hacks fail on both counts. But these pro-GMO activists, so many of them part of the corporate establishment including holding its bogus credentials, insist shrilly on the importance of credentialism. We shall hold them to their own standard, and so we must with all due rigor call attention every time any of these “scientists” crosses the bounds of his discipline and starts blathering about things which, by his own standard, he has no standing or right to blather.
.
An important point we must always make is that these “scientifically credentialed” personnel always take every opportunity to claim that lack of formal credentials means one is unqualified to talk about GMOs, but meanwhile all of them without exception incessantly stray beyond the bounds of their own formal disciplines to amateurishly comment on other scientific aspects, let alone on socioeconomic effects or political policy like when so-called “scientists” pontificate against labeling, as the targets of this FOIA request all have. Let’s hold these hypocrites to their own standard and point out what uncredentialed, unscientific, ignorant, opinion-spouting layman yahoos they really are in almost everything they say.
.
We critics and skeptics and dissidents from GMOs and poison-based agriculture must stop calling these people “scientists”. No matter what their formal credentials, they act and speak mostly outside the bounds of those disciplines, and they lie and distort even the rare times they do speak within their theoretical discipline. We must see them as and call them what they are – publicists, propagandists, unregistered lobbyists, pro-corporate political activists, charlatans, quacks, impersonators. That’s what they are and that’s all they are.
.
The pro-GMO activists have proclaimed the credentialist standard. Of course we reject their authoritarianism here as we do everywhere else, so it doesn’t apply to us and we don’t apply it in general. But since they proclaimed it, it rightfully applies to themselves, and we shall apply it to them with all due rigor. So OUR standard must be that whenever a credentialed cadre opens his lying yap to exalt Monsanto, we declare the facial inadmissibility of every word except for what is strictly within the bounds of that cadre’s formal discipline. By their own proclaimed standard they have forfeited all right to make any comment beyond these bounds. And this is the standard we must encourage the people to apply to all scientism/technocrat types, where it comes to GMOs and to every other context where technician types lie and pretend to be scientists, but are really nothing but gutter corporate shills. Q.E.D.
.
.
[*For anyone interested, here’s a list of the lies I spotted just skimming the thing: That there’s a lack of evidence for the health dangers of GMOs – there’s actually overwhelming positive and negative evidence of danger (the negative evidence is the fact that governments and corporations refuse to perform legitimate food safety or epidemiological tests, which is implicit proof that they know GMOs are harmful and don’t want to contribute to scientifically proving that fact); that labeling of hazardous ingredients is always voluntary; that labeling will increase food prices; fraudulent Wall Street-type numbers on the “economic benefits” of GMOs; that genetic engineering is even similar to (let alone the same as) conventional breeding; that GMOs aren’t “in the food” and that being a GMO is really an ineffable “process” rather than a physical fact (I think this peculiar proposition deserves a post of its own); that they’ve been “extensively tested” – actually they were never tested at all except for some ad hoc independent studies which all found evidence of health harms; that the FDA evaluates GMOs – in the vast majority of cases the FDA does zero evaluation, and doesn’t even have to be notified when a new GMO is being marketed; that there exists “independent research” and “long-term research” which vindicates GMOs – no studies of either kind exist; it calls industry groups and professional coordination bodies “scientific organizations”; that no compositional differences have been found between GMOs and non-GM equivalents – of course a GMO containing one or more transgenes plus Bt endotoxins and/or cellularly suffused herbicide residues is by definition compositionally different, and studies have found many other examples of genetic and phytochemical difference in every commercialized GMO which has been independently tested for such difference (again, governments and corporations don’t test at all).
.
I think my favorite part is where they say the absence of GMO-based products on the supermarket shelves in countries which have mandatory labeling is in some metaphysical way because of the label itself, rather than as the result of consumers seeing the label and rejecting the product. In the legal/constitutional/political discussion the paper gives some good hints of the corporate totalitarianism these thugs want.]

>

February 15, 2015

“Foreign Aid” is Corporate Welfare

<

To extend my point from the other day’s post on “welfare” for people and corporate welfare, we can say the same about so-called “foreign aid”, for example as laundered through USAID and the Gates Foundation (to give one each of a nominally “public” and nominally “private” example; in reality there’s no difference). The money channeled through these is invariably, except for a few cosmetically spent pennies, dedicated to increasing the penetration, domination, and profitability of Western transnational corporations in the recipient countries. USAID also continues with its original Cold War mission, to disseminate pro-corporate propaganda and actively seek imperialist goals within these countries. To the extent anyone involved even thinks of actual benefit for people (almost no one does), they see it solely in terms of trickle-down.
.
The corporate media frames this corporate welfare as “humanitarian”, and this stirs up the standard partisan conflict between conservatives and liberals, each group believing this lie. Meanwhile the corporations go their merry way.
.
In addition to comprising corporate welfare, this aid is also often in the form of dumping, as with Monsanto’s attempt to capitalize on Haiti’s misery following the 2010 earthquake. In all cases a primary goal is to destroy local economies and any form of economic or political self-determination among the “recipient” peoples.
.
All this is true regardless of whether the “aid” is direct from a government or corporation, or laundered through any kind of NGO or charity. These are front groups. The corporate character of the dumping is the same in every case.
.
As Bill Gates explains in this interview, practically a synthetic compendium of the corporate aid ideology, no one from the system would ever dispense foreign aid unless the point was for all of it to go through corporate tollbooths, set up corporate infrastructure, and help impose corporate enclosure, profit, control, and domination.
.
This is preparatory to my upcoming posts on the “New Alliance” corporate colonization plan for African agriculture and food. USAID’s role in aggrandizing corporate agriculture goes back decades. Along with the International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs), its goal throughout the so-called “green revolution” was to spread capitalist propaganda among Southern governments, agronomists, and farmers, help the corporations penetrate and commodify Southern agriculture, and help plunder the germplasm resources of the South for the benefit of the corporate West.

>

February 11, 2015

The Bt Cotton Fraud Part Three: The Global Record, and What It All Means

<

From the history we explored in Parts One and Two we see how Bt cotton has aggravated the poison/debt agronomic treadmill and economic trap which enclose small farmers in hopelessness and misery, to the point that in the end their only avenues of escape are suicide or to flee the land for the terminal shantytown slums. Bt cotton has turned an agricultural crisis into a catastrophe.
.
This result was no accident, nor was it unforeseen. On the contrary, it’s simply an escalation of standard “green revolution” phenomena: The replacement of food-based (or in this case textile-based) agriculture with poison- and commodity-based; the enclosure and concentration of agricultural power and profitability on an elitist basis; the forced mass expulsion of the people from the land. The fact that government, corporate, academic, and media elites touted Bt cotton to small farmers knowing it could lead only to their destruction comprises a great crime against humanity.
.
Various Indian state governments and some central government officials have made half-hearted attempts to ameliorate the situation. In 2005 the government of Andhra Pradesh state banned three Monsanto-Mahyco varieties for poor performance and sought in vain to force Mahyco to compensate farmers. In 2006 the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) issued an anti-monopoly pricing order against Monsanto-Mahyco, which Mahyco has done all it can to flout. The central government in 2008 as well as the state governments of Maharashtra in 2008, Maharashtra again in 2011 and 2012, and Karnataka in 2014 undertook regional farmer bailouts in response to atrocious Bt performance and crop failures. At various times Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have banned Mahyco seeds for bad performance and fraudulent sales practices. But these ad hoc, piecemeal measures are utterly insufficient.
.
Meanwhile, Monsanto’s lie machine has made lame attempts to suppress the facts. Regional crop failures, as in Karnataka in 2014, are attributed to allegedly unforeseen plagues of secondary pests. The farmers themselves are always a popular scapegoat. It’s especially perverse the way Monsanto and the Indian government encourage cash-poor small farmers to to buy the GMO product, lying all the way about the expensive inputs necessary to grow it, and then blame the farmer for not being able to provide these inputs, for example the added pesticides necessary to battle those newly insurgent secondary pests which always follow in Bt’s train. As always with technocrats and elitists in general, if the people lack the resources to get a technology to perform, that doesn’t mean the technology was wrongly deployed by the supplier, but that the people failed the technology.
.
Most absurdly, the Monsanto publicists attribute the economic plight of small farmers and the suicide epidemic to “debt”. In the first place, this is tautological, since farmer debt is practically synonymous with their economic crisis. More important, this is just an attempted semantic misdirection which is substantively identical to saying: The cause of the farmer economic crisis and suicide epidemic is the commodification and poison treadmill, exacerbated by Bt cotton. This has driven them into a terminal debt crisis. In other words, the hacks themselves confess that their GMO is a main driver of the crisis, and that the is 100% the result of their commodification of Indian agriculture.
.
There’s a summary of the horrific record of the Bt cotton experiment in India. This same record is borne out everywhere around the world Bt cotton has been deployed: It requires far more water, therefore farmers can never depend upon rainfall but need artificial irrigation; it uses more pesticides; it needs more synthetic fertilizer; it costs more to grow. Given the full outlay of expensive inputs, it may temporarily yield well and require less pesticide. This difference lasts only a few years. Small farmers lacking the resources to provide the accessory inputs never enjoy any benefit.
.
This pattern has held everywhere, from the richest countries like the US and Australia (both suffered yield declines and subsequent reduced Bt plantings during the drought of 2013) to Latin America. Bt cotton in Argentina has a starkly differing performance record between rich plantation farmers and hardscrabble small farmers.
.
The abstract of the study I just linked does such a good job of encapsulating the basic fact that I’ll quote it here.
.

Drawing on a socio-technical systems perspective we compare the ways in which novel genetically modified (GM) crop artefacts, related devices and techniques, actors, practices, and institutions have been linked together, or configured, across two distinctive cotton production systems in north east Argentina, one based around large-scale farming and the other based around small-scale family farming. In the former system, new GM seeds, actors, complementary artefacts, agricultural techniques, and technical support, and modified supply markets and regulatory rules have been linked together in ways that mean agricultural biotechnologies perform well. In the latter system, the new GM artefacts were unavailable, whilst conventional seeds disappeared from input markets. Instead, linkages were formed between informal seed multipliers and dealers, copied GM seeds, of unreliable identify and poor quality, unmodified production practices, declining technical support, uncontrolled pest problems, and an absence of regulatory oversight, resulting in a poorly performing technology. In effect, working agricultural biotechnologies are different in the two farming systems; they have different characteristics and capabilities and perform in different ways.

.
The Colombian government fined Monsanto for the awful performance of its Bt cotton seeds. It was the same story: for small farmers Bt cotton didn’t perform well against pests, didn’t reduce pesticide use or costs, yielded poorly. Elsewhere in Asia, Chinese production, long afflicted by the secondary mirid bug, is suffering from surging bollworm resistance. Chinese problems with Bt cotton aren’t new. A 2006 Chinese/Cornell study already documented the standard pattern: Seven years of Chinese Bt cotton cultivation had seen a temporary decline in pesticide use and rise in income, then the surge of secondary pests drove farmers back to spraying as much as 20 times a year. Soon they were paying more for pesticides and making less money than non-GM conventional farmers. In Pakistan pesticide use and costs are rising steeply on account of the rampant fraud and the generally dismal performance of the seeds against pests. In Africa’s Burkino Faso, farmer success or failure with Bt cotton has been a function of farmer access to credit on rational terms and the ability of farmers to pay for expensive inputs.
.
African cotton farmers, like the small farmers of India, are especially devastated by US dumping of its heavily subsidized cotton. Never forget that the same US government which touts GMOs around the world as a great bet for small farmers is ruthlessly dumping its corporate welfare crops on the heads of those same farmers like hot coals. China and the EU also subsidize cotton.
.
Second to the Indian saga, the most famous Bt cotton rollout was the abortive deployment in the Makhathini Flats region of South Africa from the latter 1990s to 2005. In Makhathini, the neoliberal government undertook the same kind of propaganda campaign, promised loans and subsidies, told the same high-flying lies, though these seem to have been directed at the international community and world media at least as much as at Makhathini’s farmers. (Sure enough, the UN’s FAO bit; its 2004 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report, which swallowed the lies whole, is a favorite citation of corporate and media hacks to this day.) Local leaders were enlisted to attest to the benefits of Bt cotton. Economically beleaguered small farmers responded by adopting the Bt technology, with the same result as in India – increased costs, crop failure, the poison treadmill, the debt trap, ending in being driven off the land. (Some were able to stick around as laborers on land they’d once stewarded.) Most survivors abandoned cotton completely. By the late 1990s over 90% of Makhathini cotton farmers had adopted Bt. By 2004 drought (lack of irrigation), pesticide costs (secondary pests and then target resistance), depressed cotton prices (US dumping), and impossible debt had caused most farmers to abandon cotton completely.
.
The worldwide evidence record of the agronomic and environmental performance of Bt cotton has been the same everywhere. It has always led to failure and disaster for small farmers. That Monsanto, governments, academia, and the media continue to hype Bt cotton as appropriate for small farmers must qualify by now as history’s ultimate fraud and hoax. It “works” for no one but the destructive, parasitic elites who profit off it and use it to exert ever greater control over agriculture.
.
The Makhathini Flats episode most clearly highlights the basic PR hoax aspect of Bt cotton. Bt cotton was debuted in Makhathini with such fanfare, followed by a few years of hype while performance plummeted and farmers abandoned in droves not only Bt cotton but cotton itself, so that the whole thing had fizzled out by 2005, leaving nothing behind but an ongoing lie. (The uninformed who listen only to government and the corporate media probably think Bt cotton is to this day an ongoing success in South Africa. In fact there’s practically no Bt cotton being grown, and little cotton in general.) Part of Bt’s promise as a hoax product is that it can serve as a Trojan horse for GMOs in general. Often, as in India, GM cotton is the first GMO deployed in a country. Since cotton is perceived as a non-food (but cottonseed oil is widely used in processed foods), Bt cotton tends not to be as inflammatory an issue as GMOs such as corn or soy bound to be incorporated into food, let alone direct Frankenfoods like a GM potato or salmon. GMO-leery farmers and populations have been more readily induced to accept it. So the less controversial GMO is supposed to serve as the camel’s nose in the tent. Once its commercial presence politically normalizes GMOs as such, it’ll be easier to commercialize crops indirectly and directly bound to be food. That’s the Monsanto plan. In India the plan was to commercialize Bt cotton, then use that as the precedent to deploy Bt brinjal (eggplant), GM maize and rice, and other crops. So far this plan has stalled out, in large part because Bt cotton has been such a disaster. In general this strategy hasn’t worked well for the cartel. Even in countries where GM cotton is established, the people remain suspicious of GMOs. “Golden rice” is supposed to serve the same Trojan horse purpose if the bozos trying to develop it can ever get it to work. In the meantime it remains a seemingly permanent propaganda fixture even though it doesn’t really exist in any deployable form. It’s the most pure GMO media hoax.
.
In fact, the failure of Bt cotton and the great fraud it incarnates are typical of the Bt and herbicide tolerance (HT) GMOs in general. These are the only two effective types of GMOs. Both are literally poison plants. They’re engineered to produce their own endemic Bt insecticide and/or to tolerate copious slatherings of herbicide, usually Monsanto’s Roundup. The herbicide is taken into the crop itself and suffuses all its cells. Therefore GMOs add two completely new, massive, indelible presences of extreme poison in our food.
.
In both cases the poison treadmill and the business strategy of planned obsolescence are fully operational. Except for a few trivial exceptions like the small and declining acreage of MON810 cultivation in Spain, no single-trait Bt maize variety has been effective for years. They’ve been replaced by stacked varieties which produce as many as six Bt toxins. Varieties which produce even more are in the pipeline, as pest resistance escalates and accelerates. Meanwhile the Roundup Ready GMO regime no longer works, as over a dozen RR superweeds rampage across North America, Brazil, and elsewhere. The only solution the system offers is to stack herbicide tolerances. Monsanto originally touted RR GMOs as rendering even more toxic poisons like 2,4-D and dicamba obsolete, while glyphosate (the main ingredient of Roundup, though not the only actively toxic ingredient) would never suffer weed resistance.
.
Today Roundup Ready is in ruins, and the cartel and governments are pushing GMOs tolerant of the exact same ultra-toxic 2,4-D and dicamba which those same corporations and governments promised us would be a thing of the past if we just believed them about Roundup Ready. The results with each of these shall, of course, be exactly the same total failure, but with even worse socioeconomic, agronomic, environmental, and health destruction wrought along the way. This is why the Technical Expert Committee appointed by India’s supreme court to advise it on GMOs recommended, among several other important restrictions, that HT GMOs never be commercialized because of how badly they would aggravate the ongoing socioeconomic carnage by wiping out vast numbers of agricultural laborers. (Economically, HT crops are meant to be standard “labor-saving”, job-destroying devices. They’re also designed to save time so the farmer can expand his acreage, thus feeding the classical vicious circle of agricultural overproduction and trying to “make it up on volume”. This of course also adds to the Get Big or Get Out pressure.)
.
We can see how both the Bt and the HT genres as such are in the aggregate massive frauds of the exact same character as Bt cotton. Bt cotton just provides the most clear example of how GMOs as such comprise a monumental fraud and crime.
.
GMOs are worthless, wasteful, counterproductive, and destructive. They impose a severe constraint and bottleneck on all attempts to innovate and advance in agriculture, farming, and food. They are in fact intended to drive out all small and independent producers and, through attaining total corporate control of agriculture and food, impose such a strangling grip on the throat of humanity that we’ll never break free.
.
GMOs must be completely abolished.

>

Older Posts »

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 249 other followers