Volatility

April 21, 2015

Glyphosate and Its Advocates Are Cancer

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Since the 1980s we’ve been gathering the evidence that glyphosate, AKA Roundup and other commercial formulations, causes cancer. From the start Monsanto and the US EPA were aware, based on toxic and pre-cancerous kidney effects which manifested in studies commissioned by Monsanto itself, that glyphosate was a likely cancer agent. EPA collaborated with Monsanto in keeping the study data secret, thus inaugurating for glyphosate the currently dominant paradigm of “science” as subject to corporate secrecy and information control.
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Since then laboratory researchers, epidemiologists, and health statisticians have gathered the evidence that glyphosate causes lymphoma and cancers of the brain, breast, prostate, and testicles. Even as the science has developed the links between these cancers and glyphosate, we’ve seen surges in their incidence, just as we’d expect during the period of the great surge of Roundup use as a result of the deployment of Roundup Ready GMOs. We reached a milestone with the official acknowledgement of the UN World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
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Contrary to the Monsanto lies which smeared the IARC as having conducted a cursory review, the IARC has been monitoring the science for many years. In April 2014, nearly a year prior to the 2015 declaration, the IARC published a study reviewing thirty years of scientific evidence linking many agricultural poisons including glyphosate and 2,4-D to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
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Today we have the latest study confirming that glyphosate causes cancer. This comes out of Argentina where the truth about glyphosate has long been manifest. Nowhere on earth has glyphosate wrought such health devastation among a populace of innocent bystanders as in the “soy republic” of Argentina and neighboring countries. Here entire landscapes have become sacrifice zones to industrial soy being grown for biodiesel and CAFO feed (NOT for food for people; see below on the “feed the world” Big Lie). Just part of the health carnage has been the doubling, quadrupling, and quintupling of cancer rates and cancer mortality in regions dominated by glyphosate-based soy agriculture.
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What’s significant about the World Health Organization’s finding that glyphosate is a probable cancer agent isn’t that it tells us anything new, but that it’s a major break in the system’s propaganda front. This is why Monsanto and its flacks have reacted so hysterically.
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(Although the WHO as a whole has been consistently pro-Monsanto, the IARC is out of step with the dominant corporate/reductionist ideological framework, instead emphasizing environmental factors in cancer causation.
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Emphasis is placed on elucidating the role of environmental and lifestyle risk factors and studying their interplay with genetic background in population-based studies and appropriate experimental models. This emphasis reflects the understanding that most cancers are, directly or indirectly, linked to environmental factors and thus are preventable.

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The proposition that cancer is preventable runs directly counter to the dominant “science” ideology which views cancer as arising from genetic determinism and the acceptable response to be massively expensive and interventionist cures supervised by Big Drug and other corporate sectors. This ideology is driven by the need of the poison-peddling corporations to obscure and deny the fact that profitable products like glyphosate are in fact major cancer drivers. The corporate flacks are abetted by scientism’s religious zealots who refuse to hear any evil spoken of their technological rabbits’ feet.)
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Since the WHO has historically been pro-GMO and pro-poison, the Poisoners have been able to react only awkwardly, absurdly calling for the WHO to “take back” what it said, or inventing such anti-science talking points as that the WHO’s finding applies only to extremely high concentrations. This is contradicted by the evidence the IARC cites, and in general isn’t supported by any rational or scientific proposition or evidence.
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Similarly, pro-poison government regulators have scrambled to limit the damage. We can take Health Canada’s quickly-cobbled-together position as a textbook exercise in the regulator scam. Health Canada says it’ll jigger the labels on Roundup and other glyphosate formulations in order to lessen the probability of poison drift beyond the spray zone and the exposure of farm workers. As I’ve previously described it:
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1. The corporate project is normative and must go on regardless of how worthless, expensive, and destructive it is. Under no circumstances shall the government do anything which would significantly hinder, let alone block, the corporate imperative. Nowhere is this more obviously true than in the case of GMOs, a completely failed, worthless, and destructive product which humanity never wanted, for which no natural market ever existed, which could never have endured even a modestly objective regulatory process, and which has always been 100% dependent on government regulator forbearance and support, corporate welfare, and monopoly muscle.
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In today’s case, Health Canada takes it for granted that overall sales of the #1 herbicide must not be hindered even though it’s a human carcinogen.
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2. Given the parameters of (1), the regulator may try to ameliorate the worst “abuses”, or may just pretend to do so, or may not even pretend. For years Western regulators haven’t cared even to pretend there should be any limit to glyphosate’s license to assault our health. But as we see here, the WHO’s breaking ranks has forced Health Canada into the position of running interference and issuing a sham limitation. Health Canada doesn’t want to thwart Monsanto’s domination or profit, but it feels under enough pressure that it’s introducing an anodyne “reform” which it won’t enforce. (This label change will have added bonus of putting another legal barrier between Monsanto and liability, since it’ll be easier to claim farmers violated the directions on the the label. As we’ve seen, the few exceptions to the united front of regulators and media blacking out any acknowledgement of the failures and harms of GMOs is in cases like the rise of superweeds and superbugs where the system can scapegoat the farmers.)
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3. The regulator then puts its imprimatur on the sham policy. It assures the public that the product is safe and that oversight is in the good hands of a vigilant government alert to the public interest, and so the people should go back to sleep, get on with their private lives, not worry our little heads about anything to do with public affairs including the safety of system agriculture and food.
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Here we see the political, or I should say the generally anti-political and elitist, manifestation of corporate ideology. In cases having to do with agriculture and food we see with special clarity how this anti-political ideology dovetails with the dominant “scientific” framework of recent decades, which can be summed up as “science is whatever the corporations decree it to be”. Through conventional corruption and systemic capture of universities, professional organizations, and government bodies, and of course through near-complete control of career paths, the corporations have procured a comprehensive level of discipline and coordination among the STEM fraternity in a short period of time. Today the vast majority of STEM types agree that science is whatever the corporate publicity divisions say it is, and they formulate their scientific and political opinions and proceed about their day-to-day work accordingly.
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That’s why the response among them to the WHO’s indiscipline has been such a combination of confusion, panic, furious rejection, and improvised lies. Monsanto having failed to get the WHO to immediately reverse itself, the Poisoners are starting to settle on the combination lie of “glyphosate is basically safe, and the WHO’s finding applies only to extreme circumstances, if that, but there’s no alternative to GMOs and these poisons since these are needed to feed the world”. Scientific American offers a typical example.
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We see how determined these fanatics are to continue to poison us. As their scrambling to defend Roundup proves, they have not even a shred of human decency and literally no thought process beyond the monomania of poison – the crop genomes, the plant tissues, the soil, the food, the water, the air, the ecology, the bodies of animals and people, all must be poisoned to the maximum extent possible. That’s why they react with such lies and hatred to the evidence and prescriptions of ecological science and the science and practice of agroecology. We have the corporations whose profits and power, whose literal existence, is completely dependent on the poison paradigm; we have the governments who also look to such corporate paradigms as guarantors of their own power and control; and we have the ideological and religious fanatics, the scientism cultists and general authoritarian followers who are psychologically invested in technophilia, the war of man vs. nature, the worship of power, and the ardent desire to construct a malign new religion out of all this filth, to replace the older religion where they can no longer find any kind of validation.
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All this would be contemptible enough if it existed only in these people’s minds. But right now they have the power, and they’re using it to force these poisons upon us and the environment. They’re literally giving us cancer, and will continue to do so until humanity stops them once and for all.
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I’ll be dealing more with the “feed the world” Big Lie. For now it’ll suffice to say that this is in fact a pure lie. The world already produces far more than enough food for everyone who is alive now or ever will be alive according to the highest UN projections of future population. Yet even though the world now produces enough food for 10 billion people, of the 7 billion alive today 1 billion suffer from hunger, while at least another 2 billion suffer from diet-related diseases. All of this is 100% the result of a malevolent distribution system, and nothing can ever change until this system is radically changed. Until then it won’t matter if there’s enough food for fifty billion people: hunger will only continue to spread. GMOs and poison-based agriculture represent the escalation of this malign, hunger-causing and malnutrition-causing system. These are not and cannot represent any alternative to it, as they’re physically based in industrial agriculture and politically and economically based in corporate profit-seeking. I’ll add that they’re also completely based in the corporate scientism ideology/religion, of which they’re not just a product but a religious ritual and icon.
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So in all these ways – agronomic, economic, political, scientific/religious – humanity and the Earth cannot coexist with the regime of poison-based agriculture or with the Poisoner movement which exalts it. These people, their ideas, their practices, are totalitarian and viciously destructive. They are cancer. We must put a stop to them once and for all.

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April 19, 2015

Pro-GMO Activism and Climate Change Denial

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We who are rational skeptics where it comes to agricultural poisons are used to the ideology/religion propagated by pro-GM activists in the mainstream media. Much of this is made up of brazen falsifications, such as regarding the relationship between GMOs and pesticide use (they increase it), or GMOs and productivity (GMOs are less productive than organic or non-GM conventional production).
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One of the most blatant lies, and perhaps the most self-condemnatory of the alleged integrity of the media, is the notion that GMO criticism can be linked, conceptually or in practice, to climate change denial. This talking point was only recently invented by the GMO propaganda machine and has quickly been propagated through the corporate media. National Geographic has been a high-profile propagator (although the magazine blares on its cover that GMO skepticism is equivalent to climate change denial, the piece actually only touches on GMOs in passing, as if embarrassed at its own absurdity; clearly it dragged in GMOs in only the most tendentious, false-analogy way), while the Guardian recently handed its pages over to an op-ed written by industry publicists so they could repeat this fraudulent comparison. Industry flacks also parrot the phrase at every likely (or, in the case of the more stupid ones, not-so-likely) opportunity.
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We can start with the fact that whether or not climate change deniers are also GMO critics and vice versa is not some kind of speculative hypothetical. Rather, it’s an empirical question of fact or fiction which can easily be checked with a few minutes of online research. And in fact anyone who takes those few minutes finds that professional climate change deniers also support GMOs, and that many GMO supporters are also climate change deniers, while there are no visible GMO critics who are also climate change deniers.
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On the contrary, GM critics and food sovereignty advocates are the most assertive and fact-based in condemning industrial agriculture as the #1 driver of climate change and calling for decentralized food production on an agroecological basis as the only real solution, for climate change and for many other problems. Meanwhile the pro-GMO activists want only to double down on all the pathologies of industrial agriculture including its GHG emissions and destruction of carbon sinks.
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Never once have I seen a GMO supporter criticize an actual climate change denier. On the contrary, many of the most respected pro-GM figures led by Marc von Montagu and Ingo Potrykus explicitly endorsed one of the most inveterate and scabrous of climate change deniers, Patrick Moore. Click the link to see the long list of establishment scientists and other pro-GM figures formally declaring their solidarity with professional climate change denier Moore. This is symbolic of the essential affinity of pro-GMO activism and climate change denial.
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Contrary to the media construction, the rational and practical demarcation line is not “science” vs. “anti-science”, but the willingness to parrot corporate-decreed “science” vs. skepticism toward such a biased framework with such a record of lies. Criticism of such propaganda then concurs with the real science which invariably contradicts the corporate party line. Technicians and publicists paid by ExxonMobil are the same as technicians and publicists paid by Monsanto, just as independent researchers and analysts studying climate change are similar to independent researchers and analysts studying the effects of GMOs. The corporate operatives and flacks of the one are often the same as those of the other, as we see in such cases as the US’s ALEC, Heartland Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, or the UK’s Scientific Alliance, just to name a few of the corporatist propaganda outfits where I immediately found both climate change denial and pro-GMO lies. Owen Paterson, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, Henry Miller, Dennis Avery, Martin Livermore, are high profile corporate activists who shill for GMOs and deny climate change. The three flacks who penned the Guardian piece were allowed by the paper to fraudulently depict themselves as neutral academics while failing to list their paid positions with the GMO cartel. One of them, Phillip Sharp, is himself employed by the climate-denying Koch Brothers. Climate change deniers and pro-GMO activists are corporate funded, while GMO skeptics and critics face a hard scrabble for support.
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In all this we see a typical example of the mainstream media’s bad faith and lack of integrity. Since everything I’ve written here is elementary fact checking which would take a reporter or editor just a few minutes, we can be sure that National Geographic, the Guardian, and the rest of the corporate media know the facts on the connection between climate change denial and support for GMOs but intentionally suppress these facts in favor of depicting the issue as a hypothetical.
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In fact, such obfuscation and deception is the only recourse of the GMO cartel and its media enablers, since all the logic and all the facts are against them. It’s conceptually clear and historically proven that on all such issues the corporations will always lie while dissidents and critics always turn out to be right. As for the deniers, we know who they are. At the moment they’re most shrill where we have them pinned to the wall, as they’re increasingly desperate in denying glyphosate causes cancer. These are the same historically who have systematically lied about cigarette smoking, asbestos, PCBs, dioxin, DDT, and who today deny climate change. They’re also the same, and often with the exact same corporations they lied for in the past, who today lie in support of GMOs.
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The various lines of propaganda interweaving GMOs and the climate change struggle are among the typical canned lies of the GMO cartel. In the real world, industrial agriculture is the worst driver of climate change. It’s the most profligate emitter of GHGs and by far the worst destroyer of carbon sinks. GMOs comprise the escalation of all the evils of corporate industrial agriculture including those driving climate change. In the real world, agroecology on a food sovereignty basis offers the only solution for climate change, in terms of both mitigation and adaptation.
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But for the corporate system, GMOs and corporate agriculture comprise one of the final possible “growth” opportunities amid an otherwise bleak picture of global market saturation and failing profits, since the finance scams currently propping up all corporate “profit” can’t be sustained much longer. In fact the vision of a genetically engineered blank slate cherished by the biotech corporations can’t be sustained either; for many reasons GMOs are both agronomic and economic failures, which is why they’re completely dependent on government subsidies and oligopoly muscle.
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That’s why the cartel and the media have been so prolific in the quantity and superficial diversity of their lies on behalf of this corporate project, however low the quality of these lies has always been. The “GMO criticism = climate change denial” lie is one of the most pathetic and self-debunking yet. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

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April 14, 2015

Would You Call This Science or a Cult?

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From here, good job by Rachel Parent.
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The first question I had for the Health Canada officials was if they did any of their own safety studies on GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Dr. Yan confirmed they did not, and went on to say, “We review the data that is given to us by the company. It’s up to them to demonstrate the safety.”

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The entire debate about whether GMO regulation has anything to do with science comes to an end right there. According to their own words, they accept the information given them by companies who are proven liars with regard to this exact kind of situation where billions in profits are at stake. So the regulatory process has zero grounding in science or rationality as such, but is based on the cult faith that a confirmed liar is now telling the truth.
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Perhaps the real question is whether, to the extent that these regulators aren’t straight-up corrupted liars, they’re expressing some kind of cult faith in corporate rule as such. And we can ask the same of people in general who want to believe the corporations directly, or at least believe them where the faith is mediated through the government regulators.
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The Health Canada cadre gives us another clue:
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I wanted to know if the studies given to Health Canada for safety assessments were peer-reviewed. No surprise, the answer was no. Dr. Yan advised that “Some of the data is actually proprietary data. They invest millions of dollars to develop their crop, so they’re not going to divulge it to anyone else to test the product.”

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As I’ve said, according to the self-image of Science itself there can be no such thing as secret science. By definition all data, to count as scientific, must be public so it can be assessed by the scientific fraternity. (According to democracy it must also be accessible and assessable by the people, and in addition various branches of the humanities would also claim a right to assess it.) Where practicing scientists are willing to recognize a secrecy regime we’re dealing with either a totally new paradigm of scientific practice which directly contradicts even the extant propaganda of science, or else with corruption and cowardice to such an extreme that we can only conclude that science as such has completely abdicated and been replaced by purely instrumental mercenary engineering.
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Either way, when a regulator can claim that not only are the people as well as scientists in general not to be allowed to see the evidence, but that he himself will perform his duties and give a judgement based on this secrecy, in camera like some hooded judge, and then expects the people to accept this judgement as authoritative and scientific, again we’re clearly dealing with a proclamation of cult faith and a demand that the people bow down and submit to such faith.
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(The TTIP and TPP intend to further enshrine such faith, by explicitly declaring, as a matter of public policy, that where it comes to corporate propaganda sheets derived from secret science or any other alleged secret evidence, “the tribunal shall assume to be true the claimant’s [i.e. the corporation’s] factual allegations in support of any claim in the notice of arbitration”. As we’ve seen, this is already in effect how government regulators act.)
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Indeed, as we see with the ongoing cults of the two corporate “political” parties here in the US, and things aren’t much different in Canada, there’s still a widespread appetite for such cultist “authority”. That’s why the Canadian regulators feel so confident about telling direct lies about the nature of the problem and the scope of their policy authority.
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After my meeting with the Health Minister in November, 2014, I was under the impression that labelling GMOs was up to the scientists at Health Canada, but unfortunately when I asked them about it, I was told that it’s not a health and safety issue; therefore it is not within their mandate.

So I asked, if it’s not up to Health Canada, and it’s not up to the Health Minister, then whose responsibility is it? Dr. Yan said “Non health and safety labelling is really under the jurisdiction of the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).”….

This is the statement that [Health Minister] Ambrose made during an interview with Global News last year: “If we had the evidence that this was unhealthy, Health Canada would act and impose mandatory labels. That’s our job, to keep Canadians safe and healthy. But right now there is no scientific evidence that conclusively says that in any way genetically modified foods are unhealthy for Canadians.”

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In other words, in circular fashion they’ll refuse to seek and find the evidence on health and safety, then base the dogma “it’s not a health and safety issue” upon this refusal. “We found no evidence. Of course we never looked, which is the best way to find nothing!” We’re Through the Looking Glass indeed. And then, since there’s no evidence, which proves there’s no problem, there’s then no mandate to require labeling.
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Again, none of this can be explained or justified according to any recognizable scientific or rational standard. This is either a fundamentalist religion of faith in corporate rule, or else straight criminality. Or a combination.
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This is constantly being expressed in many propaganda and policy formulations which are self-evidently absurd to anyone outside the cult, such as:
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*A crop which produces its own insecticidal poison in every cell is “substantially equivalent” to one which does not.
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*A crop which through its intended use has its tissues suffused with herbicidal poison is substantially equivalent to one which hasn’t been suffused with poison.
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*None of these poisons are “food additives” which need to be studied, tested, and regulated as such.
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*A chemical which is lethally poisonous to one kind of organism is unlikely to be poisonous to other organisms. This is the bedrock proposition of the Poisoner ideology. To anyone who has even elementary reasoning capacities or simple common sense, this is self-evidently stupid and insane, and at the very least would need to be rigorously proven before policy based upon it could rationally be deployed. Yet as unproven dogma this is one of the bedrock principles of today’s scientific establishment, which can also be called corporate science. Most STEM credential-holders at least claim to believe this dogma and to agree that it has to be accepted on faith, to the point that they regard any demand for proof as some kind of lese majeste, an affront to their god-given legitimacy. (I’ll be writing more about how the proxxer mob scene is an applied example of this authoritarian cultism.)
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Once again we can see how we’re dealing with something straddling the line of a dogmatic authoritarian ideology and a veritably religious cult. In either case it has zero to do with science or reason, and indeed aggressively abrogates all the alleged principles of both.
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Unfortunately, the record of labeling initiatives in the US proves that so far there’s a significant number of people who ratify the secrecy regime, who evidently don’t want to know any information at all. This implicit ratification of “secret science” on the part of people who, unlike the revolving door regulators, can’t possibly benefit from it, and can only be hurt, seems to demand a religious/ideological analysis. Obviously many people still have faith in corporate rule, either directly in the corporations or indirectly through the government. One question is why anyone who’s not being paid to believe any of this would want to do so. Another question, the primary question of our time, is how to counteract this malign cult by demolishing its legitimacy and authority and destroying its faith.

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April 9, 2015

Scientism and the Secret “Science” on Roundup

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Three Chinese citizens are suing the government trying to force it to disclose the secret information it has on Roundup and the process by which it approved Roundup. We see how the Chinese government is at one with those of the US and EU in wanting to help Monsanto and other corporations keep the actual evidence about the severely toxic and cancer-causing effects of chemicals like Roundup secret from the people. What’s more, these corporations and governments evidently hold to an entirely new concept and paradigm of “science” under which the alleged scientific evidence is to be kept secret from the people, and research materials themselves made available to researchers only under corporate supervision. Instead, government and media elites are to publicly release whatever information the corporations see fit to publicize, this is to be christened as “science”, and the people are supposed to believe it on faith. This is a significant departure from previous scientific practice and in direct contradiction of the self-image and propaganda of today’s capital-S “Science” (i.e. scientism). Yet evidently the mainstream of the STEM and academic establishment supports this new concept and practice of secret alleged science. Therefore, today’s scientific establishment is nothing more or less than an authoritarian cult.
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The fact is that by definition there cannot be secret scientific evidence. By definition evidence has to be publicized, so we can assume that the secrecy is in fact a cover-up. We must assume that whatever evidence does exist condemns glyphosate (and GMOs) as harmful to health and the environment, which is the reason why corporations and governments want to keep this evidence secret. Meanwhile the public assurances that agricultural poisons are safe, indeed that the system ever tested them for safety at all, are nothing but propaganda and lies, and “our” regulators and media are part of this conscious, willful campaign of deceit. No rational model of science or democracy can come to any other conclusion.

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April 8, 2015

Scientism’s Equivalent of “Alien Abductions”

Filed under: Corporatism, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russ @ 1:32 pm

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Or, NASA desperate to justify its continued funding.
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It’s not unlikely the universe is full of life. But there’s no reason to think humanity is going to “discover” it anytime soon, if ever. (The emotional dream of doing so is exactly that – a kind of religious faith. See the Zaitsev quote here for the “Good News”.) This “scientific” prediction, i.e. media stunt, is just the typical tabloidism of scientism PR and corporate welfare advocacy.
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My prediction is that eventually they will make some kind of observation which some of them will claim is proof of extraterrestrial life. (This has been attempted before, but they couldn’t make it stick.) Other scientists, probably a minority at first, will correctly refute this hoax but be temporarily shouted down by the establishment and the mainstream media. The same kind of thing is already happening everywhere in science and scholarship, as corporate-decreed “science” has become Science As Such, while real science has abdicated for the time being. Whatever way humanity will get it back won’t be from within the establishment.

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April 3, 2015

GMO News Report April 3rd, 2015

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*The EPA is unlikely to change its pro-poison course of action on account of the WHO’s recent admission of what everyone has long known, that Roundup/glyphosate causes cancer. But it is being forced to change its official policy by a far more implacable foe, the 32 species of Roundup resistant superweeds triumphally marching across the American heartland. According to Reuters the EPA will be formally requiring farmers to adhere to a stewardship program when they purchase Roundup. This theoretical stewardship will be similar to that the EPA is already imposing on the new Agent Orange corn and soy types being released in 2015.
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This EPA stewardship requirement is likely to be a scam of the same character as the agency’s “refuge” requirements for Bt-expressing crops. The refuges are set at too small a percentage and aren’t enforced, and are therefore widely flouted, even at those inadequate acreages. But the idea of the refuges lets the EPA pretend to have a policy in place to prevent the development of Bt-resistant superbugs, and when these superbugs inevitably evolve, it gives Monsanto and the government a convenient way to scapegoat the farmers for not honoring a policy which was never intended to be honored. Similarly, Monsanto and the corporate media scapegoat farmers for using “too much Roundup”, which is an absurd lie. Farmers have never used a drop more of Roundup than the amount urged upon them by Monsanto and the USDA.
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This ability to scapegoat farmers is one of the reasons superweeds and superbugs are allowed to be acknowledged in the media discourse instead of being directly lied about the way pesticide use (GMOs really increase it) or yields (GMOs yield less than non-GM) are.
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*Field trials are set to begin in Maharashtra state in India, where in 2014 the government broke earlier promises and issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the open-air trials. Monsanto, its Indian partner Mahyco, BASF, and others plan to test types of GM corn, cotton, chickpeas, and rice.
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*Remember the Friedman Unit? Charles Margulis of the Centre for Environmental Health has put together a timeline documenting the similar golden rice unit. He rightly calls it an example of vaporware. I’ve long been calling golden rice a myth and boondoggle and a hoax.
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*Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a petition with the USDA calling upon it to end its harassment of staff researchers who perform science which may or does lead to results contrary to corporate interests and lies. The PEER brief cites the effects of glyphosate and neonicotinoids as areas where honest research is especially subject to persecution. The USDA denies the charge and claims its existing complaint and review procedure is adequate, though the numbers it gives are self-refuting. According to Reuters, “An agency spokesman confirmed that from May 2013 through April 2014 eight complaints were filed. Five of those were deemed worthy of investigation and one was deemed to have merit, the agency spokesman said.”
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Given how hostile the USDA environment is for whistleblowers, and how thankless their task, this is one of those contexts where my default is to assume that someone who files a complaint is telling the truth. So the fact that only one complaint “was deemed to have merit” is strong evidence for PEER’s point, that the USDA’s existing system is a sham. Meanwhile the fact that only eight complaints were filed in the first place is eloquent testimony to a climate of fear and self-censorship, and of the overall self-conformity.
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*As the EU’s new “subsidiarity” policy on GMO approvals and opt-out bans goes into effect, pro-GMO activists continue with their bureaucratic shenanigans. That’s the basic purpose of the policy – to provide a propaganda fig leaf while EFSA approvals are “streamlined” and a legalistic catch-22 is set up against any long-term abolition policy. Meanwhile IFOAM has again denounced “co-existence” as a scam and called for EU member state bans on GM cultivation as the only rational policy. This is of course the truth. Note the huge difference from the US, where even county-level bans are widely considered to be “radical” even among GMO critics. Yes, we American abolitionists have a tough row to hoe.
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*A Monsanto cadre speaking to an audience mostly of agricultural students confessed that Monsanto maintains “an entire department” dedicated to lies and smearing the science which continually piles up against Monsanto’s products. Author Stephanie Hampton of the Benton County Community Rights Coalition calls it Monsanto’s “Discredit Bureau”.
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This incident again confirms that Monsanto continues its pattern of systematically lying about the many severe harms caused by its products. One of the most extreme examples of today’s depravity is the way so many people refuse to believe that corporations like Monsanto or Dow will always lie about the safety of their products, whenever they consider this necessary to hang onto “even one dollar of profit”, as a secret internal memo cried out in the course of Monsanto’s decades-long suppression of data about the hideously toxic effects of PCBs on human beings. Monsanto and its supporters today continue this infinitely vile crime against humanity.

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April 1, 2015

“Science Issues” Are Political

Filed under: Climate Crisis, GMO Corporate State, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 9:07 am

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There’s been much hand-wringing about the benighted heathens discovered by the recent Pew survey which found often large discrepancies between the views of the general public and of “scientists”* where it comes to what it pleases Pew to call “science-related topics” like climate change and GMOs. Blast that confounded democracy thing!
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The fraud here is the claim that in formulating their publicly stated opinions, “scientists” have a motivation and mindset different from that of the general public. In fact, scientists think about political issues in exactly the same way everyone else thinks about them – politically. The fraud is to depict controversies like climate change or genetic engineering as “scientific” issues when they’re in fact predominantly political and economic issues. The notion that these are primarily “scientific” issues is an authoritarian fallacy meant to discourage democratic participation and give corporate propaganda a free hand. It’s an ideological attempt to deny that the people have intellectual standing to dispute corporate decrees, wherever these can be dressed up as “scientific”. Therefore, the discrepancies in the views of scientists vs. those of the general public** reflect the fact that scientists are more likely to politically support their corporate paymasters. Therefore they espouse the party line of corporate decreed “science”. (There’s also the fraternity solidarity element of STEM types agreeing that any significant corporate technological project is part of their version of Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing”. Thus they furiously try to enforce cadre discipline on the infrequent occasions a member of the fraternity deviates from the party line. But that’ll be a subject for future posts.)
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As I’ve been writing, the demarcation line on these issues, contrary to the lies of the corporate media, is never “science” vs. “anti-science”. It wouldn’t be, since these aren’t scientific controversies. The line is the willingness to fall into line with corporate-decreed “science” vs. a refusal to do so. With many such “scientific” political controversies the corporate/anti-corporate line is clear. Climate change is an outlier because here there’s powerful corporate sectors on both sides, and the influence of Wall Street and the biotech sector evidently outweighs that of Big Oil, though the media remains studiously polite to the latter as well.
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*Evidently each AAAS scientist was asked all the questions. Now my question is, how is it possible for one person to have scientific expertise across such a wide range of subjects – climatology, energy, toxicology, human medicine, agronomy, botany, biology, ecology, oceanography, space travel? My, these must be the most extraordinary polymath geniuses in all of history.
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Unless, of course, Pew and the AAAS are simply perpetrating the standard fraud of allowing each narrow specialist to impersonate an expert in all the other fields, and then calling each a “scientist” where it comes to those fields. The truth is that each member of the AAAS cadre is an alleged “scientist” only where it comes to his own specialty, but a member of the general public where it comes to the other subject fields. That’s according to their own credentialist ideology. The fact that our scientists are willing, knowing participants in this fraud says it all about their honesty and integrity.
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**What on earth is a “general public”, and how is it conceptually valid to separate one alleged element and compare it to the mushy aggregate? How does Pew assure us that this general public really constitutes a well-blended mix, the way their figures claim, as opposed to a large number of distinct elements? In other words, how do we know there’s such a thing as a general public from which an element called “scientists” can be qualitatively distinguished? This notion that scientists comprise some truly unique group, as opposed to being just another political/religious group which has far more in common with other political/religious groups than differences, is in fact a highly dubious and contested proposition in itself. But this purely ideological proposition is of course essential for scientism’s attempt to maintain social authority.

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March 27, 2015

GMO News Report March 27th, 2015

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

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March 24, 2015

Rounding Up Roundup

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

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March 21, 2015

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

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

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