Volatility

April 25, 2016

The USDA Abdicates Even Sham Regulation: Problem and Opportunity

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The USDA gambit of refusing to regulate so-called “second generation” GMOs has several purposes and goals.
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Most directly, it’s meant to obliterate regulation of GMOs as such, as an increasing proportion of future product launches are of these newer types. (We can observe that it’s a Democrat administration initiating this major acceleration of anti-regulation, even though according to flat-earth tribal lore such policy tends to be associated more with Republicans. But by now anyone with eyes to see and a brain to think has long recognized that this is a one party system, the system of the Corporate One-Party whose two flavors are there only as a misdirection ploy. In our case, anyone who thinks the intensive poisoning of our food and water is a crisis and Nuremburg level crime must recognize that we have no options within the corporate system, as both parties are aggressive Poisoner Parties.)
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It’s also supposed to reinforce the Big Lie generally propagated in the corporate media including the so-called “science” media that GMOs were ever meaningfully regulated in the first place. The lie that the FDA ever regulated GMO safety is a mainstay among every outlet from the New York Times to Scientific American. There’s also an implication that USDA regulation ever had anything to do with safety, but the USDA’s procedure intentionally avoided all meaningful assessment by fixating on the bizarre criterion of whether any element of the transgenic insertion came from a potential “plant pest”. Whether or not the finished GMO product itself could become any such pest, for example through transgenic contamination, was a matter the USDA stubbornly refused to consider. Note that this is a direct contradiction of the usual propaganda theme of pro-GMO activists, that regulation if it’s to exist at all should focus only on the product and not the “process”.
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This lie parallels the companion lie that GMOs have somehow been established to be safe by their widespread presence in the diet for many years without large numbers of people immediately dropping dead from them. The “Trillion Meal” lie essentially concedes that this has been a vast, uncontrolled feeding experiment on unconsenting human beings, but claims that the result has been to find GMOs safe. This could be argued only from the anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, anti-medical point of view that that the one and only measure of safety is whether or not something causes acute toxicity. This is indeed regulatory dogma, while regulators studiously refuse to assess long-term effects of any level of exposure. (In fact, GMOs and products of genetic engineering have periodically caused acute outbreaks, including the lethal Showa Denko epidemic and the potentially lethal outbreak of allergic reactions when StarLink maize, which even the EPA considered too dangerous to be allowed in human food but did allow in crops to be used only as livestock feed, inevitably infiltrated the human food supply.)
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In fact within the last twenty years there’s been a surge of many kinds of chronic and gradually-developing diseases which is correlated with the period of the GMO influx into the diet. These range from cancer to birth defects and reproductive problems to many kinds of gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases. Strictly speaking, we may not yet have enough data to disentangle the health effects of GMOs from the health effects of their necessary companion pesticides*, but we know that the combined poison product is wreaking havoc with human health and is already perpetrating mass murder, albeit in a way more “gradual” than a death camp. The fact that the US government and agrochemical corporations have always refused to perform real safety tests on GMOs or pesticides proves that the US government and agrochemical companies know or believe that these products are murderous. If they did not believe this, they would have been willing to perform the tests, and if whatever tests they did perform generated data which tended to support the contention that the product is safe, they would publicize this data (as the very practice of science requires) instead of keeping it secret. This secrecy proves that whatever data they do have indicates the product is unsafe.
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The USDA is fully aware of how toxic to human health** these agricultural poisons are. The fact that the agency is now escalating its dereliction and redoubling its lies, now following the FDA’s longstanding practice of engaging in a sham exchange of letters with a corporate developer as the extent of its “regulatory process”, is proof that the USDA is consciously, willfully committing crimes against humanity.
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[*All GMOs are literal poison plants, whether this be because the genetic engineering itself generates an insecticide or prepares the crop to be drenched in herbicide (these two types encompass virtually all commercialized GMOs), or because as part of the poison-based agricultural system the crop is subject to intense bombardment of poisons not directly related to the genetic engineering. Together these add up to 100%: A primary purpose of corporate industrial agriculture is to maximize poison manufacture, use, and presence in human food, and the purpose of GMOs is to escalate poison-based industrial agriculture. There are literally zero examples of genetic engineering projects contemplating the integration of GMOs with agroecology. This is structurally impossible, since genetic engineering and the GMO class of products are inextricably part of and dependent upon radically authoritarian capitalist government and corporate structures for their development and distribution, and can be applied only within a radical framework seeking hierarchical control of commodity production amid a monocultural environment, political and physical, while agroecology exists only to maximize the opposite tendencies of biodiversity, polyculture, and political and economic decentralization, all toward food production for human beings amid an ecological way of life. In a world based on humanism, ecological practice, and science, there would be zero place for pesticides or GMOs.]
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[**I’ve noticed for awhile that the language makes it hard to give a direct, forcible expression for how these poisons (or anything else) harm people. What should we say – “health dangers” or “health hazards”? More speculative than we need to be by now. “Health harms”? Factually right, but sounds to me kind of weak relative to the magnitude of the destruction. How about “health destruction”? Sounds strange, though if people started using it this could sound normal soon enough. Then there’s terms like “toxicity”, “poisonousness”, “destructivity”, which don’t quite roll off the tongue. Is there a term or expression I’m missing which clearly, simply, strongly drives the meaning that these things are badly damaging our health and often killing us? It’s as if the language intentionally avoids offering such an expression.]
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By means of this common scam of regulators and the mainstream media, the fact that there was never meaningful regulation in the first place is supposed to be transformed into proof that no further regulation is needed. The fact that no evidence of GMO safety was ever produced is supposed to be transformed into proof that no evidence needs to be provided. The Streichers of the mainstream media use these lies to continue and escalate their systematic suppression of the overwhelming evidence of the health destruction caused by agricultural poisons, and their cover-up of the strict proof of these dangers and harms provided by the refusal of governments and corporations to perform the necessary tests.
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What to do now? We already know that GMOs are harmful in themselves and exist only to maximize pesticide use, and we already know the pesticides are lethal. So we don’t need or want more testing or regulation in the sense of needing more evidence. The rote calls for “more and better testing” are just procrastination. However, meaningless as USDA regulation is from the point of view of health and safety, it still imposes some financial and time costs on the corporations, and is therefore better to have than not to have. So it’s worth trying to pressure the USDA to backpedal on this dereliction campaign.
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But our main thrust should be a much better organized, focused, and relentless campaign propagating the facts: Pesticides don’t work, pesticides all cause cancer and a host of other harms, GMOs were never tested by the system, regulators and media lie about this, regulators and media are in fact lackeys of the corporations and enemies of the people, the very fact of this dereliction proves that the US government and the corporations know or believe GMOs are harmful to health, “secret science” is a contradiction in terms, the dereliction and secrecy proves the pro-GMO activists have zero science on their side and are themselves anti-science, all the independent science which has been done gives evidence of this health destruction, and every other fact and lie which combine to convict the Poisoner system, its activists, and its media propagandists, convict them beyond any reasonable doubt of willful, systematic crimes against humanity and the Earth.
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This newest lesson in what regulatory agencies are should also finally cure those labelists still laboring under the delusion that the FDA could ever preside over a meaningful labeling policy. This was always a stupid, ignorant position to hold, and by now it’s simply impossible still to hold this position in good faith. We know what these regulators are, fully activist participants in the Poisoner campaign. By now the measure of support among labelists for FDA labeling is simply a measure of the bad faith of labelism as such.
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To the extent there still exist labeling advocates who have integrity and therefore still want the state-level campaign, they need to make sure that any labeling proposal includes all the “second generation” techniques and products. Obviously even if by some accident Congress voted to make the FDA institute so-called “mandatory” labeling, the FDA would exclude all such techniques and products. There again we see what an obviously wrong and malign idea FDA labeling is.
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Shakespeare has King Henry V proclaiming before the Battle of Agincourt, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” It seems that the minds of the people aren’t quite ready, given the widespread lingering belief (even among critics of pesticides and GMOs) in the legitimacy of establishment science, government regulators, and mainstream media. So it follows that a primary goal in the war of ideas is to suffuse the public consciousness with the ideas and facts subverting the legitimacy and authority of these bodies and their propaganda themes.
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But when the enemy is entrenched and embodies the status quo it’s never enough to disprove his lies. The criticism and subversion must be accompanied by a new idea, and just as importantly the perception that the new idea is doable, requiring only the will to do it, that all things are indeed ready once our minds are so. And things are ready: Agroecology stands ready as a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment. We know this will provide the highest quantity and quality of food and health. We know its companion social philosophy of Food Sovereignty will build the highest level of human freedom, equality, and happiness. We know these elements of agricultural and food philosophy find their counterparts in every other sector of economic and political life. All things are ready, and await only the political and spiritual commitment. We must saturate the public consciousness with the subversive ideas and the new ideas, as the first necessary step toward evolving this commitment.
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The crimes of the regulatory agencies and the scientific establishment, vile as these are and demoralizing as they may at first seem, also offer an opportunity if campaigners can develop the strongest and most direct forms of describing and explaining these crimes to the people, toward the goal of convincing them that no way forward is possible in the same world with this criminal establishment, but that much better and much more practical alternatives are available and ready to go, as soon as we’re ready to go.
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April 22, 2016

Earth Day: Poisoner News Summary April 22nd, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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Next time you run into a pro-GMO activist, just tell him that you were glad to see Ted Cruz is on the same page with the pro-GM version of “science”.
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While you’re at it, also throw in all the avowed climate change deniers led by Marc Montagu and Ingo Potrykus who publicly and ardently endorsed Patrick Moore explicitly on grounds of his climate change denial.
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On an institutional level, Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organization (CSIRO), which spends lavishly to research GMOs for eventual privatization and to propagandize for GMOs as such, is gutting its climate change research program.
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These are just a few data points which exemplify the unanimous trend: Pro-GMO activists are climate change deniers. These two forms of anti-science naturally go together because both are in the service of techno-cultism and corporate profiteering.
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The fact that mainstream media outlets often equate criticism of genetic engineering with climate change denial, or give space to those who do, is de jure proof that the media tells conscious, willful lies about this subject. All media outlets know for a fact that in reality pro-GMO activism and climate change denial go together, since it only takes five minutes of Internet searching to learn this.
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February 26, 2016

GMO News Summary February 26th, 2016

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*As they try again to pass a version of the DARK Act (Plan A version), let’s look ahead to a possible world where it’s been passed.
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I recommend, and will always myself use, a form of ju jitsu. If the DARK Act passes, let’s try to turn the tables on them by telling everyone far and wide that this proves all industrial food is GMO unless otherwise labeled, but that the alleged need for such a law proves that the manufacturers are desperate to hide this fact. After all, Pompeo’s own flunkeys said so: “Consumers can choose to presume that all foods have GMO contents unless they are labeled or otherwise presented as non-GMO. Meaning that it is knowable and it is known by the public which products have GMO and which don’t.” Exactly right. Monsanto forecast that putting a label on things would be like a skull and crossbones? Let’s turn this into a reverse skull and crossbones. Let’s loudly catcall every manufacturer, in every forum where consumers who might care will see it: Campbell’s is willing to label and confirms that it won’t cost anything extra. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? Let’s stick that DARK version of the skull and crossbones on everything.
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According to the draft this version of the DARK Act will give the agriculture secretary a formal pro-GMO propaganda mandate. Of course this would just formalize the status quo, and highlights how purely political the government’s version of “science” is. Anyone who knows the slightest bit about science knows it’s a contradiction in terms to order that someone simultaneously be “science-based” and be automatically “for” anything. You can have one or the other, not both. Just as you can have secrecy or science, never both. There we have just two examples of how radically anti-science the pro-GMO activists are. Of course by now the very term “science-based”, in the mouth of anyone from the establishment, is an Orwellism just like the Big Tobacco lobbying term “sound science”. Wherever you see either term you can be assured it means the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to sound like. Wherever anyone from government, corporations, or their media says “science”, it automatically means corporate “science”.
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Ah well, the ag secretary already has the power to shill and does so. To my way of thinking, a law giving him a formal mandate to do so ought to further discredit the government in the eyes of anyone who’s still in any doubt about how committed the government is to corporate imperatives.
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With the endless iterations of the DARK Act we have a war of attrition which, in the end, the corporations are bound to win, if anti-poison types keep fighting primarily on these grounds. Which brings up another point, which is that this mode keeps the anti-GMO movement firmly on the defensive, really just fighting the DARK Act over and over. As for Non-GMO labels or any other kind of labeling, let’s always keep in mind that the corporate plan, no matter what kind of labeling were ever to exist, is that the allowed level of “adventitious presence” below which something could still be called “non-GM” (or not have to be labeled as GM) will keep mechanically being raised as GM contamination proceeds. The corporations expect this to happen in the exact same way regulators mechanically keep raising the allowed pesticide “tolerances”. There’s no doubt about it, any kind of labeling strategy is doomed to fail completely in the end, because co-existence is impossible, physically and politically.
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*For example, transgenic contamination has been afflicting maize in its Mexican center of origin and biodiversity ever since NAFTA was instituted in the 1990s. This is in spite of the fact that GM maize has never legally been cultivated in Mexico. Transgenic pollen also contaminates the wild progenitor of maize, teosinte. Thus this contamination compromises not only the existing genetic diversity of maize, narrow as that has become under corporate monoculture farming; it’s also compromising the genetic wellspring necessary for the future of the crop.
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Today the public is learning something the Spanish government and Monsanto have known at least since 2009, that teosinte has established itself as an “invasive” in Spain. (For some reason they don’t call maize itself an invasive, though; but both reached Spain in much the same deliberate way.) This brings the danger that MON810, the only GM crop grown legally in Europe and widely grown only in Spain, may contaminate this teosinte stock in the same way the contamination has spread to teosinte in Mexico.
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By law GM crops can be authorized for cultivation in Europe only if they pose no cross-contamination threat. Governments and corporations, in this case Monsanto, have an obligation to monitor this potentiality. In practice this kind of requirement is invariably flouted, and there’s never any penalty for flouting it. In fact, this systematic condoning of systematic flouting proves that the law itself is really a propaganda sham which was never intended to be enforced, much like Bt refuges. In this case both Monsanto and the Spanish government have failed for many years to report the presence of teosinte to the EU government, and in 2014 Spanish officials lied about it in response to questions from the European Parliament. See below for more on the EU’s own refusal to meet its legally mandated reporting standards.
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*Among the basic scams of regulators is to pretend there’s no such thing as synergy effects when multiple poisons afflict an organism, or indeed that there’s more than one poison at all. Instead they pretend that whichever chemical is the topic of the moment is the one and only chemical in existence, and they undertake their bogus “assessment” and set the “tolerance” based on this lie. Thus there’s no such thing as a maximum cumulative tolerance, e.g. for all pesticides combined, nor is there any assessment of the combined effect of multiple pesticides even though there’s conclusive evidence that this combined effect is often severe. Indeed, the EPA’s recent temporary revocation of the registration for Dow’s Enlist herbicide was triggered by EPA’s embarrassment during a lawsuit. In the course of telling EPA there was no synergy effect while telling the patent office there is one (this self-contradiction in itself is standard procedure and is no problem for the EPA or for the FDA’s “substantial equivalence” lie), Dow was so assertive in its synergy rhetoric that in the context of the public interest lawsuit this embarrassed the regulator. So there’s Dow itself claiming glyphosate and 2,4-D together have a greatly more severe effect than just adding together the effects of each by itself. (And to repeat, the EPA never even does this basic adding, let alone takes synergy into account.)
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There’s now a new report assembling the evidence for combined effects, as well as the cumulative effects of exposure over time, which is another thing regulators never test. According to their junk science paradigm, the one and only thing to test is short-term acute exposure, and even this is done in bogus ways. Regulators will continue to do all they can to stall, obfuscate and deny, throwing up a fog of obscurantism and lies to go along with the literal poison fogs they help inflict upon us all.
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*”The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa Agribusiness Association opposed the liability bills (House Bill 289 and Senate Bill 1190), testifying that commercial applicators wouldn’t be able to qualify for or afford these levels of insurance.” That’s as clear as testimony gets that an industrial activity is unviable according to the mythology of capitalism, which claims that a worthwhile good or service can always pay its own way. But here’s the state of Iowa and its poison-marketing trade group openly admitting it’s not possible for those who profit from the action to pay for its costs, and that those costs have to be borne by others. Of course the damage to other crops caused by pesticide drift is just one part of the destruction wrought by poison manufacturers and users. As we see in this case, if we intend to do anything about this we’re going to need to be rather more severe in return than just advocating laws about regulating and monitoring pesticide drift. For starters, we can resolve to abolish 2,4-D and dicamba completely and focus completely on this and only this goal. As we see in Iowa, the enemy is so totalitarian that it will not tolerate even the most modest restraints, and is willing openly to say that third parties should have to pay for poison harms, not the sellers or users. Is it possible to be more clear about what a zero-sum game this is?
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*CAFOs are among the most hideously filthy places on Earth. The animals are permanently sick and require massive doses of antibiotics, not just to put on weight but to remain alive at all. They are veritable bioweapons labs, incubators of every kind of pathogen, the most perfectly crafted habitat for bacteria-borne disease. Dust from these CAFOs and their manure lagoons then spreads the potential for infection as far as the wind carries the infected particles. According to a new study CAFO drift has greater potential than previously documented to contaminate produce with potentially pathogenic bacteria. This joins with pesticide drift and transgenic contamination via pollen drift to prove that coexistence is impossible. This puts in reality-based perspective the lies about how “precise” and “controlled” industrial agriculture is, and how much of a lie the ideology of scientific control is in the first place. It also demonstrates how all the pretensions of control so pompously touted by engineers, corporate bureaucrats, and their political and media flunkeys are really lies, and how they premeditate the systematic spread of disease and poisoning. They know all this and they persist.

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Persistence Proves Intent.
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.*The EU’s ombudsman finds that the EU systematically abuses its institution of “confirmatory data procedure” for special regulation of poisons where the original submissions are proven to be so fraudulent that even the regulator can’t just cover up. Just like with the EPA’s “conditional registration”, when there’s incontrovertible evidence of a severe problem the EU allows poison sellers to say “the data’s in the mail” while they keep selling. In her ruling on a suit filed by the Pesticide Action Network of Europe the ombudsman also criticized EU regulators for lack of environmental protection assessments, lack of required follow-up monitoring (as I described above in the case of Spain’s teosinte, this scofflawing is so standard that we can call it a systematic lie among all regulators), and the health agency’s blithe approval of poisons which even the EFSA says give “critical areas of concern”. The ruling has no enforcement power and hands down no penalty, it merely demands that the EU submit a report within the next two years. In this report the liars are supposed to tell how the lies they used to tell are no longer being told. Because we know how credible such a report will be.
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Therefore it’s no surprise that the European Commission is responding to the WHO’s finding that glyphosate causes cancer by proposing to extend glyphosate’s official endorsement for the next 15 years and expand the allowed range of uses. The “European Council” of various national ministers is slated to meet in March to vote on the proposal.
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The WHO has summed up the decades of evidence, and the EU responds that it wants to give all Europeans cancer. It would be difficult for a government to more openly, starkly express its conscious, willful, homicidal intent. Certainly no ombudsman’s ruling, however harsh, will ever be sufficient for meeting this crisis.
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*Here’s the FDA temporarily backing down on its planned assault on raw milk cheesemakers. By its own testimony it’s backing off, for the moment, because of strong opposition from the Community Food sector, the producers and customers. But as the communication says, the agency still plans to use the power it was given by the “Food Safety Modernization Act” to carry out the intention of that act: To attack small farms, the cottage food industry, and any other rising rival to the poison-based Big Ag and Big Food system.
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Like the USDA and EPA, the FDA is dedicated to maximizing corporate control of agriculture and food, in particular maximizing the production and use of poison and the presence of this poison in our food. The FDA is also the lead federal organization seeking to strangle the rising Community Food sector which is working to restore rational and healthful agricultural and food economies based naturally on foodsheds and watersheds. This is a civil war, so far being waged mostly through chemical warfare which seeks to destroy our ecosystems, soils, and bodies. The FDA’s assault on community food continues, on behalf of the poison-based agriculture and food sectors. They plan to greatly escalate the assault under the “Food Safety Modernization Act”, a name Orwell would’ve had trouble bettering.
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*Among the lesser known of Israel’s crimes against humanity is its systematic chemical warfare against Palestinian agriculture, conducted under the rubric of a nebulous, ever-changing “security” policy. This is really a typical control measure, arbitrarily deployed and expanded at the will of the military. With only minor modification we can describe poison-based agriculture in general, including its increasing poison drift, in the same terms. Pesticide technology and the poisoner mindset historically have migrated to civilian use from prior military use, and there’s never been any clear dividing line between civilian agricultural use of these poisons, their military and police use vs. crops in Vietnam, Colombia, Palestine, and elsewhere, and their fully weaponized use against human beings in combat and the Nazi death camps. Most formally, the exact same scientific researchers, engineers, and government personnel, and the exact same corporations selling the exact same chemicals, span this entire spectrum.

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February 5, 2016

GMO News Summary, February 5th 2016

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*The ChemChina/Syngenta deal is near complete. “ChemChina, as the closely-held company is known, offered $465 a share in cash, according to a statement on Wednesday. The offer, endorsed by Syngenta’s board, is about 20 percent higher than the stock’s last close.” China has long been planning to build its own GMO/pesticide conglomerate and assert itself globally in competition with the US-based cartel. Syngenta’s chairman has suggested that he thinks Syngenta could become China’s primary supplier of GM technology and primary Western partner for China’s project. Bloomberg complacently comments on how China and Syngenta will nevertheless submit to US review and veto power over the deal, because “even though Syngenta isn’t based in the U.S, it does have North American operations that generated $3.6 billion in sales last year” which the US could threaten to hinder and harm in some way if the company doesn’t stay in line. Although Syngenta is more diversified across the pesticide line (which is economically prior to and more important than GM seeds) than Monsanto and therefore relatively better positioned (but over the long run the fundamentals are bad for all of industrial agriculture), Syngenta evidently is being subject to stick-ups by both China and the US.
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This is part of the intensifying Great Game for total control of agriculture and food. The agrochemical conglomerates are at the peak of their power, but their position has never been more precarious. Having been aced out of a Syngenta deal, if Monsanto doesn’t make a deal with BASF or something similar they might be in deep trouble.
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*One of my four featured yahoos who impersonate scientists is still at it. More detail on Bruce Chassy’s ongoing career as a mercenary fraud. In spite of his claims about his scientific credentials, he actually has zero credentials in agriculture, food science, medicine, biology, or genetics. Yet the FDA and the University of Illinois, and of course the media, have joined in perpetrating the fraud that he does have some kind of expertise in these areas.
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*Here’s another example of the pro-GMO activists’ standard attitude toward truth and morality. Critics of poison agriculture are accusing the Genetic Illiteracy Project of publishing personal information and changing headlines and text when reposting their pieces. More amusingly, those complaining of tampering with headlines and text include such pro-GMO activists as Keith Kloor, Anastasia Bodnar of Biofalsified, Helena Bottemiller, and Julie Kelly. Now they’re all whining about “unethical practices”, which is quite rich coming from the likes of Kloor and company. Of course the GIP’s systematic lying on behalf of cancer-causing poisons and corporate domination of agriculture and food doesn’t bother them one bit, since such Nuremburg lies are their trade as well.
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*The Indian central government is admitting in court what farmers and critics have known for over ten years, that Bt cotton is an extremely failure prone product. The admission comes in a court proceeding where the government is defending its imposition of price controls on the shoddy seeds against a challenge from Mahyco-Monsanto. The corporations especially object to the government’s placement of limits on the tax Monsanto collects on cotton seed sales. The government admits that it allowed Monsanto to attain a near-monopoly on cotton seed. (It also actively encouraged this monopoly.) But between the tax and the generally very poor performance of the crop farmers can no longer afford to plant it. This is driving the suicide epidemic among small cotton farmers in India. This price control policy, along with the latest of the many Karnataka bailouts, is just the latest in the long line of central and state government bailouts, price controls, and bans on shoddy seeds.
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*The political struggle continues over that same Indian central government’s imminent approval of Bt mustard for commercial release. The opposition to this and to GM crops in general has included several elements of the Modi government’s coalition such as farmer unions and “nationalist” types. In defiance of prior court decisions and transparency law the government is keeping secret the biosafety dossier from the field trials and any lab testing which has been done, which is proof that the evidence is very bad regarding the GM product’s agronomic behavior and health and safety implications. As far as GM contamination we don’t really need the secret data, as the crop’s lead developer Deepak Pental has freely admitted that “the crossing of the transgenic gene to other non-GM mustard varieties is expected.” It certainly is expected to happen especially broadly and rapidly with brassicas. Indeed contamination is so universally documented and economic policy is so relentless in seeking to normalize ever increasing levels of “adventitious presence”* that we have to call it a primary purpose of the GMO project. Meanwhile public health campaigner Aruna Rodrigues filed a petition with the supreme court for an injunction against the government’s plans to approve herbicide tolerant mustard, cotton, and corn. In 2013 the court-appointed Technical Expert Committee, in addition to advising strong precautions and transparency where it comes to GMOs in general, found that herbicide tolerant GMOs as such would be economically inappropriate for India.
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(It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of GM mustard is being talked about in various contexts, in particular which is the one supposedly about to be approved for commercial release. Most pieces I’ve seen called it Bt mustard, but the last few days they’ve been talking about a product which would be herbicide tolerant as well.)
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[*According to EuropaBio lobbying, TTIP negotiations, and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association’s proposed GMO labeling standards, where it comes to GM contamination of the general agriculture, commodity stream, and food supply the regulatory threshold for “non-GMO” is supposed to increase mechanically as the contamination becomes more prevalent, in the exact same way that regulators mechanically increase the “tolerance” levels for pesticide residues in food. This is one of several reasons why it’s utopian to think the FDA could ever apply a strong GMO labeling policy: The FDA would mechanically raise the legally allowed level of contamination which would be called “adventitious” as the chronic contamination increased. Therefore the level of GM material in a product which would require it to be labeled “contains genetically engineered ingredients”, and beneath which it would not have to carry a label, would continually, automatically increase. The FDA would also preempt any state law or voluntary body like the Non-GMO Project from imposing a more rigorous standard.]
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*GMO contamination is a systematic policy goal. The USDA and Monsanto will never stop until they are stopped once and for all. Here we have documentary proof that the most far-ranging and aggressive contamination is a core part of the intended goal.
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*This interview with Marc Edwards, a scientist who helped expose the poisoning of the Flint water supply, is a case study in how normal science really works under corporate rule. He speaks to how rare it is for the scientific method, falsification and all, to actually be applied, and what happens when a scientist actually does work that way. Here’s a quote from the piece:
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Q. I keep coming back to these university researchers in Flint who said: “The state has 50 epidemiologists. They say that the water’s safe. So I’m going to focus my energy on something that’s less settled.” How do you decide when the state should be challenged?

A. That’s a great question. We are not skeptical enough about each other’s results. What’s the upside in that? You’re going to make enemies. People might start questioning your results. And that’s going to start slowing down our publication assembly line. Everyone’s invested in just cranking out more crap papers.

So when you start asking questions about people, and you approach them as a scientist, if you feel like you’re talking to an adult and they give you a rational response and are willing to share data and discuss an issue rationally, I’m out of there. I go home.

But when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA [open-records requests], y’know. … In each case I just started asking questions and turning over rocks, and I resolved to myself, The second something slimy doesn’t come out, I’m gonna go home. But every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out.

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Unfortunately Edwards isn’t yet the kind of public health campaigner we the people need since he still thinks and talks in terms of restoring trust in the system even though he just testified to how the system is depraved beyond redemption. That’s not the first time I’ve seen the same notion coming from a partially dissident scientist, that “restoring trust in the system” as such is somehow supposed to be one of the goals. A true dissident, which by now also means anyone who has scientific integrity, must work to demolish the credibility, legitimacy, and authority of an establishment “science” system which has become completely anti-scientific under corporate directives and in furtherance of corporate rule.
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*Corporate Europe Observatory has released a new report on the corporate attempt in Europe to have the newer kinds of GMOs arbitrarily declared outside the bounds of regulation. This parallels the USDA’s campaign to exempt more and more GMOs from its own purview.
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This would include exemption from labeling requirements for all so-called “second generation” GMOs developed via gene editing and so-called “cisgenesis”* The report specifically highlights how GM apples and potatoes are supposed to be exempted from regulation including labeling. Here’s another reason why it’s impossible to get real labeling from the FDA. The agency whose primary religious dogma is that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to true crops and which abdicated nearly all regulatory oversight will certainly follow the USDA’s lead in declaring the second generation GMOs not to be GMOs at all for purposes of labeling.
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[*A de jure and de facto fraud. Even where the main transgene is from the same species, the cisgenesis gene cassette includes several elements from other species, such as a viral promoter. And the violent, mutation-inducing insertion and tissue culture procedures are the same as for any other GMO. So nothing’s different. “Cisgenesis” is a scientifically meaningless term, a pure propaganda/marketing hoax.]
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Although we must fight these lawless attempts, we the people should fully reciprocate the mindset that GMOs and their activists are outlaws in the full medieval sense of the term, exactly as they say they want to be.
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This and the earlier point about contamination highlight not only the impossibility of any real FDA labeling, but how the idea of labeling is misguided in principle. Here we have two examples of how a very slow, clumsy, often static labeling policy would try to keep track of a fast-moving, crafty GMO target, and would try to do this within the “co-existence” framework which everyone knows is impossible. Labeling sounded good and maybe even sufficient when the idea was first broached all those years ago. By now we’ve learned enough to know that it’s insufficient and not worth being any kind of significant goal. It’s time to move beyond the concept of labeling as anything more than an organizational tool, and to full abolition as the necessary, fully conscious goal, and adapt all organizational principle, strategy, and tactics to that.
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*The people of California’s Sonoma County are working for a county-level ban on GMO cultivation. They look to join the growing list of counties in California, Oregon, and Hawaii which have passed such bans. These county-level bans have had mixed fortunes in the courts, but in the long run the courts can never be the source of the people’s health and freedom. Only our political will can do that, and if we find this will the “law” will follow.

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February 1, 2016

Science is Part of Human History

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System authoritarian types tend to strongly resist historical evidence and the proposition that it’s important to know history. Most blatantly, they want to convince the people to believe corporations tell the truth about the corporations’ own “research” on their products, and evidently want to believe this themselves. But no one who is even minimally informed of the history could believe this for a second or would place any value at all on the self-testimony of corporations like Monsanto and Dow whose entire history is nothing but an unbroken record of lies. I defy anyone to explain to me how it’s possible rationally to believe a word a corporation says. Yet it is regulator, media, and establishment “science” dogma that the fox can be trusted to guard the henhouse.
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The precautionary principle makes sense rationally, and any rational person would automatically want to apply it. But the best evidence in favor of it is the empirical record of history, which proves that every precaution should always be taken, especially where dealing with such proven liars. Of course by now where it comes to GMOs and other agricultural and industrial poisons events have gone far beyond the precautionary principle, and it’s basically moot other than as historical evidence for who was rational, scientific, and cared about the public and environmental health (we who called for precaution), vs. those who were irrational, anti-scientific, and psychopathic (the corporations, governments, and cultists). By now we have the proofs of how toxic and destructive poison-based agriculture is, and we no longer call for precaution but abolition.
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We know that throughout history wherever dissidents were in opposition to political/economic power, the power structure was always lying while the critics were correct or at least much closer to the truth. (In most cases history also judges the dissenters to have been morally in the right, and power in the wrong, though here doublethink usually refuses to recognize the same moral equation where it comes to present power elites.) So why would anyone believe that the same isn’t true of the same opposition today, and that history won’t judge it as such? How do today’s authoritarians who are at all aware of history overcome cognitive dissonance here?
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The only thing I can see, other than the doublethink I mentioned, is that they think today there’s a new thing called “science” which is somehow qualitatively different from and objectively more correct than previous political ideology and religion. Therefore, they think, if concentrated power lines up with alleged “science”, this is some kind of measure of power finally being on the side of truth.
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In reality, 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 (as most fully elaborated by Karl Popper, explicator of “the scientific method”), science is a well-defined set of actions performed in accord with reason which attain a limited but reasonably reliable result. The rationality which prescribes the actions and the reliability of the result are sound, as long as their limits are realized. Therefore science is much like a kind of philosophy which is more applicable to physical objects and processes than most other kinds.
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(In fact the vast majority of “science” cultists and people who claim to respect science, including the vast majority of highly educated STEM types and other professionals, don’t do or think anything remotely like this, but rather make the idea of science into a conventional ideological/religious totem.)
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As for the scientific result itself, this has no inherent content but is then technologically applied, or not, depending on the more general political/economic/religious environment.
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This general political environment also dictates which problems the well-defined set of actions (scientific research) is applied to in the first place. Of the potentially infinite number of lines of scientific inquiry, humans can choose only a tiny fraction to pursue. This choice is almost never made on rational/scientific grounds in the first place. On the contrary, the choice is made on political and economic grounds and according to political and economic goals. Especially in the modern era of scientific professionalization and specialization, this choice is almost always made by existing political/economic elites. The axiom, “In any era the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class”, is nowhere more true than where it comes to how technology and science are chosen.
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Since power dictates what kind of science is done, it also dictates how truly rational and rigorous the practices are, and how honest and forthcoming the practitioners are about the results. The result is the same age-old practice of power: Establishment “science”, having been chosen to protect and increase the power of elites, is also practiced in order to bring about the elites’ desired result, not the result that rationality in search of truth would attain. The result is then publicized, not in an open, honest, descriptive way, but as a form of political propaganda, with all the usual propaganda methods applied to it, from suppression to secrecy to cherry-picking to distortion to tendentious interpretation to flat-out lies.
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To sum up: Scientific inquiry is set in motion in a particular direction by political ideology. The results of scientific inquiry are applied according to political ideology. The inquiry itself is a form of philosophy, in theory. In practice, even this truly scientific inquiry almost never happens, as science is hijacked completely by power and put completely to power’s uses.
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Therefore, we can see that in principle science is not some new portal to truth. In principle it’s part of the same ancient system of human beliefs as politics and religion, and even those who truly do practice science are still fully ensconced within the normal political and economic history. In practice, most of what’s called “science” is part of the normal, ancient passel of lies.
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Therefore, today’s authoritarians and conformists can’t console themselves that their chosen Leaders have some uniquely new reservoir of truth which distinguishes them from all the malign liars of history, and that today’s critics, skeptics, and dissidents are, for the first time in history, on the wrong side of history. On the contrary, today’s elites are the exact same elites as all prior elites. They tell the exact same lies. Today’s cult followers are the exact same brain-dead bootlicks upon whom history spits in all other times and places. And today’s dissidents are the exact same truth-tellers driven by the exact same soul and conscience.
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And real science, by the way, is also 100% on our side. So it follows that we Food Sovereignty campaigners, we who fight for the environment, food and water security, public health, democracy, human equality and freedom, human fulfillment (these all comprise one indivisible cause), must emphasize the limits of the authority of science as such, as well as how within those limits the science is unequivocally on our side and against the corporations.

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January 27, 2016

Zika, Part of the Corporate Normal

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

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January 25, 2016

Chipotle

Filed under: Food and Farms, Mainstream Media, Relocalization — Tags: , — Russ @ 10:41 am

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As Chipotle was blamed for E. coli outbreaks, the corporate media piled on, blaming the chain’s local produce sourcing. The Schadenfreude was palpable, against both the chain and its customers. Chipotle itself was spooked into a partial disavowal of its own proclaimed philosophy even though the evidence never supported the allegation that local sourcing had anything to do with the outbreak. It seems like Chipotle panicked and rushed to appease the mob.
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Some analysts agreed:
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Ultimately, though, Chipotle will need to step back from its ‘food with integrity’ corporate ethos and become a more traditional fast/casual chain. Foods, including all produce (not just tomatoes), spices, and meats, will need to be centrally sourced and prepared to realize the economies of scale that are necessary to profitably integrate costly periodic food testing…

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There was little room for facts or thought amid the media firestorm. While there is at least a correlation between Chipotle and the E. coli outbreaks, by all accounts it was simply a lie to blame the local sourcing model.
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In December the Centers for Disease Control stated, “The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak.” This would rule out the locally sourced produce the corporate media gleefully rushed to finger as the culprit. This witch hunt atmosphere provided the background for the New York Times’s recent slander of farmers’ markets. There’s clearly no end to the junk reasoning and innuendo the pro-poison media will propagate as their cancer-causing system comes under increasing scrutiny. And, I feel safe assuming, no retractions from media or “experts”.
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Therefore the CDC itself vouches for the fact that the source had to be part of the chain’s centralized distribution, unless it was a bioterrorist attack using similar pathogens at several locations at once. (I haven’t heard of any special evidence for this latter thesis, though the record of the pro-GM activists is vile enough that we know they’re capable of it. Given their outpourings of hatred for Chipotle since it announced it was going partially non-GMO, the possibility can’t be rejected out of hand. The only thing we know for sure is that locally sourced ingredients weren’t to blame.)
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If Chipotle has been the source of these outbreaks, the vector was central sourcing, the same centralizing scourge of the whole corporate industrial food system. Therefore, far from these events being a reason for Chipotle to retreat from its identity, this is the time for it to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment. Many commentators and analysts agree.
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Fast food is a toxic and unsustainable model across the board, and no one should romanticize Chipotle. Nevertheless, given our dawning situation where in so many ways so many growers, suppliers, processors, and consumers are trying to find their way toward less poisoned, better quality, more relocalized food, Chipotle’s partial efforts on local sourcing and purging some GMO ingredients are steps in the right direction. It’s best to purge fast food and industrial food completely, and once we do this we can wash our hands completely of these kinds of squabbles among the system. In the meantime it’s best to be aware of the lies and give moral support to those who are on the vector.
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While Chipotle may be suffering from weaknesses inherent to the very model of centralization the analyst quoted above touts, we need to stick up for local food and encourage local sourcing on the part of bigger operations. Like I detailed above, the same media lie we see here also strikes much deeper at our farmers’ markets and our generally growing direct retail community food sector. So I’m writing this post not for Chipotle’s sake, but for the sake of the local sourcing model, which the corporate media rightly sees as an enemy of the centralized poison-based agriculture and food system it worships.

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January 19, 2016

Concentration in the Poison Sector (Dow/DuPont; Syngenta; Monsanto)

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The year 2015 was a year of concentration in the already uncompetitive poison sector. For many years the pesticide and seed markets have become increasingly dominated by a small handful of corporations – Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and a few others. The GMO phenomenon has greatly accelerated this trend, as the world’s most powerful governments and corporate sectors have boosted biotech worldwide as capitalism’s last great hope to break the bonds of physics and biology. This has profound religious, economic, and paramilitary implications we’ll discuss in depth as we proceed. For today we’ll stick with the proximate phenomenon of sector concentration.
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First came Monsanto’s bid to buy Syngenta, which Syngenta rejected with some disdain. Most onlookers thought it looked like a good fit – Monsanto’s seeds and traits to complement Syngenta’s more diversified pesticide line. But Syngenta evidently was not as interested in Monsanto’s GMO line as conventional wisdom thought it should be. In August Monsanto gave up for the time being after Syngenta had rejected at least three Monsanto bids. As the year wore on Monsanto announced two major rounds of contraction. In October the company announced it would cut 2600 jobs (12% of its work force), buy back stocks (down 30% since February at that time), and undertake a “restructuring” including cutting research and development spending. (Around the same time Syngenta and DuPont announced more modest contractions.) Later that month the company said it would close three R&D centers which focus on genetic engineering and breeding development, cutting another 90 employees. Both GMO and Roundup sales are down compared to the previous year. The new year looks no less bleak as Monsanto announced a third contraction. The company announced deeply depressed Roundup and GM maize sales, larger than expected losses, and will cut another thousand employees. Monsanto’s fundamentals are not looking good.
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In November the Chinese conglomerate ChemChina made its own bid for Syngenta. The company rejected this first bid, but is now said to be in “advanced talks” with ChemChina. Its chairman now says Syngenta is merger-minded, but continues to disparage a potential Monsanto deal. When the music stops Monsanto’s going to be left without a chair! In December Monsanto also announced it would not proceed with projected construction of a seed factory in Iowa. DuPont also cancelled three Iowa projects. The climax was the announcement that Dow and DuPont will merge and then split into three companies including one dedicated to agrochemicals. The proposed agrochemical spinoff would represent $19 billion in combined sales from the two companies. This would make it the largest GMO/pesticide company in the world. The Dow/DuPont deal evidently spurred Syngenta to enter the final round of negotiations with ChemChina, in part because of the increasing unease of Syngenta’s shareholders. The company’s chairman has hinted that he thinks Syngenta could become China’s primary supplier of GM technology and primary Western partner for China’s long-planned attempt to build its own GMO/pesticide conglomerate and assert itself globally in competition with the US-based cartel.
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According to the business papers, the proximate reason for the woes and tensions disturbing the sector has been the prolonged sagging of agricultural commodity prices. The downturn has caused many farmers to cut back on their high-input, highly expensive commodity crop production, and this in turn has been affecting the profits of Monsanto and others for a few years now. This in turn makes them disreputable on Wall Street. It’s great to see agribusiness hurting under the same vicious circle of high input prices, low harvest prices, and the imperative to “Get Big or Get Out” they help force upon farmers. (Roundup Ready crops, for example, were specifically designed to accelerate Get Big or Get Out. They were never seriously claimed to increase yield by the acre. Rather, they were supposed to make it easier to cultivate a greater acreage. The farmer would allegedly “make it up on volume”. Thus they were intended to accelerate farm consolidation.) And this increasing sector consolidation will just squeeze the oligopolists further and render all the economic pathologies worse. The fundamentals look bad.
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As a rule mergers among oligopolists are the sign of a superannuated, calcifying, decadent sector. It means companies are running out of ideas, losing confidence in the sector and in themselves. It’s the most extreme version of buying your ideas, patents, and products rather than being an innovator and entrepreneur who develops these yourself. Dow and DuPont believe they’re reaching dead ends and each needs to buy what the other has. Dow needs Pioneer germplasm*, DuPont needs Dow’s genetic engineering expertise and patents. Everyone recognized how Monsanto was trying to achieve this with its Syngenta bid. But Syngenta seemed not to want any kind of deal at all with them. Evidently Monsanto has nothing it wants, at least not at the price Monsanto offered. Meanwhile a few years ago BASF’s GMO operation was driven out of Europe completely. Those two may end up having to get together.
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[*Dow’s germplasm situation is interesting. If you look at ISAAA data, it looks like prior to the Enlist system Dow’s only solo commercialized GMO line has been some varieties of Widestrike cotton, while their other projects have involved contributing transgenes to joint products with DuPont and Monsanto. If you look at Dow’s seed company holdings, they’re relatively meager compared to those of DuPont and Monsanto. I’ll suppose that for those joint projects Dow had to rely on the other company to contribute not only transgenes of its own but much or all of the genetic framework.**
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Then there’s the curious fact that for several years running Dow’s been surprisingly willing to sit quietly for regulator-imposed delays. First there was the USDA delay while the agency ran a full Environmental Impact Statement. Then came the EPA’s imposition of various restrictions on Enlist commercial plantings in 2015, and most recently EPA’s temporary revocation of Enlist Duo’s registration. It’s almost as if Dow is nervous about its own product for some reason. It’s not displaying much of the aggressiveness we’re used to from the GMO corporations. Do they doubt some fundamental of the product, like perhaps the quality of their own seed genetics? That would be part of the explanation for why Dow was so ardent for this merger.]
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Another force driving the sector toward trying to diversify through consolidation is fear of the political countermovement against agricultural poisons. Monsanto is especially vulnerable, 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. This is 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 banning of glyphosate-based poisons. The bell is tolling for Roundup, Monsanto knows it, and so 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’s still be the same kind of shoddy insecticidal GMOs which in Bt form are already a failure with a gradually diminishing market.
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The fact is that 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. (As opposed to GMO hype and hoaxes of the pro-GM activists and the corporate media.) 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.
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None of this is a surprise and confirms what we critics said all along. These are poison companies, their number one activity and goal is to manufacture and sell poison, therefore the primary proximate goal of GMOs must be to sell more poison. It’s actually astonishing that anyone was ever willing to believe such a self-evident absurdity as that the likes of Monsanto or DuPont would ever market a product which would cause them to sell less of their primary products. Yet that’s what the peddlers of the “GMOs lessen pesticide use” lie would have you believe.
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Sure enough: 1. With the deployment of GMOs, pesticide use always increases.
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2. It has to, since these are poison plants and are designed only to sustain poisons being sprayed upon them (in the case of herbicide tolerant GMOs), or to handle only certain “target” pests (Bt products). The rest must still be met with sprays and seed coatings. Bayer and Syngenta didn’t participate in GMO deployment and support the GMO idea in general because they thought they’d sell less neonics.
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3. Both of these GMO genres, the only ones which exist and the only ones in the pipeline, are failures. They can be called “successful” only according to the Failure is Success form of planned obsolescence and the ever-escalating, ever more expensive stacking-and-pesticide treadmill.
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GMOs have a tenuous future. Everyone knows that herbicide tolerant and insecticidal GMOs are running out of room. Once SmartStax, 2,4-D, and dicamba fail, what then? That’s why there’s such a propaganda campaign touting CRISPR, “gene editing”, RNAi. The sector is trying to convince itself, Wall Street, governments, commodifiers, food manufacturers and retailers, and the world at large that there’s a whole new GMO frontier to be opened up. To be sure, elites everywhere want to believe this, since capitalism as such badly needs it. But so far this is all in the realm of fantasy, and there’s no reason to believe it will ever break free of the land of lies, where the “first generation” of GMOs remains to this day.
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The media claims GMOs mean gene editing for agronomic and product quality traits? I’m afraid not. Today’s GMO reality is the collapse of the Roundup Ready system and the sector’s reactionary, luddite answer: To double down on proven failure by regressing to GMOs tolerant of older, even more destructive herbicides. This is the context in which the evolution-denialist system is promulgating the backward, luddite “solution” of corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the retrograde herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two primary components of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This is one of the dark age poisons which Monsanto and the US government originally promised would be permanently relegated to the scrap heap by the Roundup Ready system. Dicamba is another such regressive chemical being poised by Monsanto for a comeback.
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There’s the real GMO future as demonstrated by the actions, rather than the media lies, of the corporations and regulators. And this bears out the fact that, contrary to the moronic techno-hype and fundamentalist cultism of GMOs, the real fundamental of corporate agriculture remains the most regressive, stupid, blunt-instrument, flat-earth technology of all, pesticides. The best irony since the IARC finding has been the spectacle of our intrepid futurists, who always tried to hold aloof from the dinosaur pesticide technology while exalting their idolized space-age GMO technology, having to reduce themselves to the level of Roundup shills. This too proves something we always said about them, that for all their high-flown scientism pretensions, they’re really nothing but gutter Monsanto bootlicks. This is the real character of the GMO sector – antiquated, backward, an economic and innovation bottleneck, shoddy, tawdry. This is borne out by one consistent thread which runs through all the sector consolidation events. Monsanto’s contractions, Monsanto’s proposals to Syngenta, the Dow/DuPont merger (see several of the links above) – all involve cutting research and development spending. In other words the sector has reached the point where it thinks more in terms of stock buybacks and scrounging whatever technology and patents it can buy rather than developing anything on its own. To some extent this is inherent to any big corporation and any oligopoly sector. But it’s especially congenital to the agrochemical sector, which was always based on accelerating planned obsolescence toward its inevitable culmination in the complete exhaustion and obsolescence of the entire paradigm.
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The sector faces another problem – GMOs are reaching market saturation. The cartel won’t be able to force a market for them in Africa unless it can either grab the land to turn it into vast industrial plantations to grow CAFO feed for Asia, and/or convince enough smallholder farmers to fall for the same scam Monsanto used on cotton farmers in India. (But Bt cotton has already been tried and rejected in three African countries, and the word is out.) But can the several African governments play the same carnival-barker role the Indian government did? This is the Monsanto/Gates Foundation “New Alliance” plan, with massive corporate welfare to be financed by the taxpayers of the US, UK, and Africa, geared to the complete subjugation of African agriculture to land-grabbing and monoculture production for commodity export.
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Even if the sector can overcome the stiffening political resistance and inherent agronomic resistance (pests and diseases which flourish) to this scheme, how much and how long can the Asian middle class prop up its demand for this forced supply? The agribusiness sector is the most supply-driven of all and is 100% dependent on forcing artificial markets into being, for example convincing people to whom it never occurred before that they want to eat a lot more factory farm meat. Obviously a sector whose entire existence is based, not on real demand, but on puffed up fictive “demand” which can dry up at any time, and which will dry up as the masses lose the capacity for luxury spending, is built on sand. Here again, everyone recognizes the basic bubble, pyramid scheme character of the whole sector. It’s ironic that GMO jargon uses the term “pyramid” for another of its scams.
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China’s stock and real estate bubbles are cruising for a big fall. With any significant Asian recession, the whole Africa plan collapses for lack of even a theoretical market. Or if by then the sector has already forced full-scale commodity monoculture upon Africa and is generating huge amounts of GM maize and soy there, they’ll have to dump it on the rest of the world and further crash those commodity prices.
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Meanwhile, unless the cartel can seize control of the land in India they’ll soon be run out of the country. Anywhere on earth there’s still a large mass of small farmers, corporate agriculture is in a race to grab the land before their products are worn out and cast out. Although the sector’s propaganda continues to flog the long-debunked lie that GMOs can be good for small farmers, in reality only where the land is concentrated into vast commodity plantations can the sector maintain its GM seed sales. Soon this will be true of pesticides as well.
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Meanwhile, as we discussed earlier, the seeds accelerate the obsolescence of the pesticides, which then also renders the GM seed lines obsolete. This has been a campaign of planned obsolescence; the sector wants to force farmers to buy ever higher stacks and deploy an ever more complex multiple-pesticide choreography. But at the same time this accelerates the discrediting of the whole pesticide plant concept at the same time that it renders GMOs and pesticides less and less affordable. Sector oligopolists are in a race against time and resistance, and they’re not getting ahead as fast as they’d hoped. Monsanto originally expected to have attained near-complete monopoly for the sector by sometime in the first decade of the century. Obviously they’re falling well short and very late of that goal. Thus the oligopolists are reaching the point where they have to consolidate among themselves.
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The fact is that both the GMOs and the pesticides are ill-conceived, ultimately self-destructive product types. It’s not just that many of the products, such as most of the GMOs, shoddily constructed. The basic idea underlying all the products – using poison against agricultural weeds and pests, and synthetic inputs including transgenes to meet other agricultural challenges – is bad in principle. The entire agrochemical sector is built on sand. The fundamentals of all these companies and their sector as a whole are bad.
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What’s going on is more profound than the superficial accounts of the business section, focused as it is on stock prices and quarterly “earnings”. The sector is following its destiny in accord with the Poisoner imperative, a structural economic, political, religious, and biological campaign. Although Wall Street and politics are forcing these companies to make certain accommodations with reality, such as recognizing the primacy of pesticides over GMOs on the most reality-based level, nothing has changed for them ideologically. They are committed to the total domination of their program of eugenics via genetic engineering. They’re just in an ever more pressing race against time, as the ecological resistance, expressed biologically, economically, and politically, is becoming stronger by the year.
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Although the companies of the GMO cartel grudgingly recognized their need for high-quality agricultural germplasm such as could be bought through Pioneer, their original disdainful arrogance was no accident, nor has this fundamental ideology changed. Reality may have forced itself upon Monsanto when the company finally bowed to the need to put its transgenes into good crop varieties (and thus it embarked upon its odyssey of buying seed companies – as always, Monsanto never innovates anything, just steals or buys the work others have done), it did so under duress and to this day doesn’t really believe in it. Deep down any techno-cultist, for example a GMO fanboy, thinks the technology he idolizes is the only meaningful reality and has nothing but contempt for everything else. That’s why pro-GMO activists are so ignorant of every branch of science – genetics, biology, ecology, botany, entomology, agronomy, physiology, medical science, you name it – and have such contempt for knowledge as such. They spew the word “Science” but take great pride in knowing nothing about it, its content or how it works. No one becomes a religious zealot of genetic engineering because he has respect for natural or agroecologically bred genetics. He does it because he has fear and loathing for anything which is not under the control of high-technology engineering. To be precise, their idolatry is for the idea of such technological control. The fact that in practice GMOs are such an imprecise, stupidly executed, shoddily performing product doesn’t matter to the cultists, only their shining idea. Which is good for them since by now they have no choice but to be shills, not only for the mythically “hi-tech” products of genetic engineering, but for what until not long ago they themselves sneered at as dinosaur technology, sprayed and slathered pesticides like Roundup.
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The history of genetic engineering displays a level of combined ignorance and arrogance on the part of its practitioners and controllers which is astonishing. Monsanto started out thinking they’d take their Roundup Ready gene and their Bt gene, stick them into any old public domain maize variety, and then just mass produce it for every farmer the world over. Robb Fraley’s notion, which the company tried to follow at first, was that they’d do exactly what Microsoft had done with software, their transgenes being the Windows-type “software”, with the crop and its genetics being the basically stupid, meaningless “hardware”. This is typical of the delusion that on the one hand things like computer software, patents, corporations, money, are real things, while on the other something like agricultural germplasm is mystical “information”. They simply tuned out anyone who tried to tell them agriculture doesn’t work that way. This delusion is endemic to scientism and corporatism and is connected intimately with the monoculture mentality those cults also share, in agriculture as well as every other realm of thought and action.
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But in fact the ecological reality is the only reality, and agroecological ideas are the only ideas that can truly work for agriculture as well as ecology, and for a healthy economy and polity as well. But nothing about Monsanto, Roundup, or GMOs – corporate control, profits, patents, the idea of precision control and manipulation of physical genomes – touches reality at any point, while the poisons can only destroy, never create or sustain. The fundamentals are bad. From the most hermetic, short-run Wall Street preoccupations to the most profound intellectual and ecological arcs, the fundamentals are bad.
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This is the real reason the poison sector’s confrontation with nature, its attempt to subjugate the ecology by force, only drives itself further into no man’s land. Today the GMO cartel feels insecure enough that it must retrench the only way it knows how. Tomorrow it will perish completely.
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**Charles Benbrook’s “Free Pioneer” idea would be good if there was a way to do it. In spite of Breen’s assurances that the new agricultural spinoff won’t cut productive jobs at Pioneer, just “middlemen”, that’s often not the way it works. Pioneer could still be worth something to agriculture, whereas the rest of DuPont, and all of Dow, is worthless and destructive. That in itself usually means the worthwhile, constructive part gets gutted.
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Pioneer is still part of unsustainable commodity agriculture, but it is an important repository of germplasm and breeder expertise, and in theory it could be refurbished for a mission more in line with agroecology, if it could be liberated from the corporate clutch.
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In the meantime, Benbrook is right, the one thing guaranteed is that this merger will further squeeze farmers and reduce their seed choices. Which will be a further opportunity for we who are exhorting GMO farmers to switch to non-GM, and industrial farmers in general to switch to organic.
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Food and Water Watch has a petition to the Justice Department urging them to block the merger.
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Monsanto really is in some serious trouble with its Roundup vulnerability. With glyphosate on the ropes politically, Monsanto could go down quickly if there were a domino effect of bans. If people wanted to get together to focus on getting glyphosate banned everywhere possible, it could become a permanently crippling blow.
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January 17, 2016

There’s Lies, Damned Lies….

Filed under: Food and Farms, Mainstream Media — Tags: — Russ @ 6:32 am

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…Although this pseudo-scholarly garbage about farmers markets in the New York Times isn’t even slippery statistics, but just a scary headline and empty innuendo. That’s our NYT, shilling for corporate food and agriculture as usual.
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The piece is nothing but a scary headline and innuendo. If you read it closely, you see that the hack who wrote it has found literally zero evidence that a single farmers market transaction ever made anyone sick. Rather, he’s talking about nothing but a statistical correlation between “farmers markets per capita” in a state and the incidence of certain food-borne outbreaks. Assuming this correlation really exists at all, by his own testimony he knows nothing about what this means or what was the source of the foods that caused the outbreaks. Maybe the more filthy the supermarkets and fast food outlets are in a region, the more popular farmers markets become. Or maybe the kinds of people who report food-borne illnesses are more likely to support farmers markets. There’s just two of the possible explanations for the correlation which would mean the outbreaks aren’t from farmers market food at all.
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But the author and the editors very much want to convey the opposite impression to the reader. The fact is that the piece has zero substantive content and zero evidence for what it implies in such an inflammatory. It’s pure innuendo, pure rumor-mongering. There’s a few lame disclaimers buried toward the end assuring that most readers won’t see them, and these are immediately contradicted by yet more guilt-by-association innuendo, at this point reaching the level of slander, about how people shouldn’t assume farmers market produce has no unsafe bacteria and that they should wash farmers market produce better. This is true of course, but there’s no reason to think there’s a significant problem. Like I said the fraud who did the “research” has zero evidence that a single tomato from a farmers market gave a single person a single tummyache. This is a piece of pure academic fraud.
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Meanwhile the piece talks only about whether or not farmers market produce is more or less bacterially safe than industrial food and implies that this is the only reason people shop at farmers markets. Not a word about pesticides and the many other ways in which much farmers market food is usually much safer and healthier than industrial products.
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They don’t call it the corporate media for nothing!
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