December 21, 2017

The Dicamba Crisis Part 2: GMO/Pesticides Vs. Evolution


The final step would be no plants and therefore no humans.

Part one, describing the crisis.
Contrary to modernist religion evolution does not “progress”, but barring extreme events it tends in a linear way toward greater diversity. It doesn’t make great leaps outside of its own limits and laws. This is why scientifically sound agriculture is based on soil-building, biodiversity, attracting beneficial insects and other organisms, and putting natural stress on pests. These are the basis of agroecology.
Poison-based agriculture comprises, in theory and practice, the radical repudiation of science and wisdom. Rejecting biodiversity in every way and exalting monculture, it is anti-evolutionary and counter-evolutionary. It seeks to break out of evolution and nature completely and replace these with a technological desert. We see this most clearly with the GMO campaign.
One of the core cult faiths of genetic engineering cultism is that the engineers can lift themselves and their product out of the framework of natural evolution, leap over all its processes and safeguards, and superimpose their own anti-evolved, non-contexted product over the entire globe in minimal time. The GMO ideology is based on a technological leaping-out of natural evolution, in the same way technocracy as an order of social engineering wants to leap out of human politics, indeed out of human nature as such. As we see with the unfolding dicamba crisis, the results are likely to be disastrous.
The networked organisms of the ecological system are always reacting to changes in their environment. Their organic reactions generally sum up to relative stability over evolutionary time, and this is part of the process of evolution. Where a change radically leaps over the dampening effect of evolutionary time including its many safeguards and diminishing feedback loops, especially where this radical change is combined with many other drivers of chaos and destruction, the network becomes overstressed as many component organisms find it difficult or impossible to adapt.
Naturally evolving organisms and the conventional crop breeding which necessarily is done within the framework of evolution must encounter the naturally evolved safeguards against mutation and ecological disruption. Changes need time and effort to run a gamut of naturally imposed challenges, or the challenges of breeder selection, to become established. Genetic engineering, on the contrary, aggressively seeks to override these safeguards and leap over these challenges. It seeks to deploy the infected genome in the environment over vast regions as fast as it can. This is such a difference of magnitude, speed, and geographical reach as to comprise a qualitative difference. It seeks to maximize mutations and chaotic effects in the environment, along with the great disruptions the impresarios deliberately premeditate.
Black Swan author Nassim Taleb co-authored a paper on the systemic risk of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering has zero in common with conventional breeding, physically or ecologically. The lies and denials of pro-GMO activists with regard to this fact demonstrate their general ignorance of evolution and flippant disregard for its implications. The most extreme manifestation of pro-GM evolution denial is this incapacity or refusal to recognize the great difference between adaptation to a wide range of natural environmental hurdles encountered over evolutionary time, as opposed to seeking to leap over all the hurdles in an instant, with the entire process from genetic extraction to insertion to breeding to distribution taking place in a totally artificial, hermetic, alien, non-contextual bubble, and from there to deploy a biological technology developed in this anti-environmental way all at once on a global basis in the real world. Under such circumstances a rational person would expect nothing but disaster.
No one even slightly familiar with ecology, biology, genetics, agronomy, or history could take this seriously for a moment. Any natural allele, mutation, horizontal genetic transfer, must run a long gauntlet of safeguards developed by evolution including the genome’s own repair mechanism, then the greater hurdles of the local environment, and must adapt and spread over millions of years. Farmer selection and conventional breeding have followed such a pattern for 10,000 years.
But the genetic engineering technique which has existed for just a few years now claims to supersede these thousands and millions of years. It claims to be able to leap over the evolutionary genetic hurdles using technology. This is impossible. Therefore the genetic engineering project implicitly seeks to maximize the harmful mutations, latent weaknesses, unfit traits, and hazards.
Similarly, genetic engineering and the political-economic GMO deployment system claim to be able to leap over the evolutionary environmental hurdles, as well as the geographic hurdles, using economic brute force. This means it wants to spread the infected, harmful genetic and biological material, and the agronomic and ecological destruction which follows from it, as globally as possible as fast as possible.
Genetic engineering ideology wants to leap over the entire evolutionary time and action during which all matters of fitness, quality, and toxicity are worked out by nature, or by human thought and labor in conjunction with nature. The hubris and contempt for science on display with these persons is staggering. Genetic engineering has nothing in common with conventional breeding. GMOs can be only a debilitating parasite free riding on conventional breeding and destroying its work.
Therefore with GMOs we have a phenomenon where politics and economics meld inextricably with ecology. Ecologists, and those whose science is sculpted by an ecological mindset, are the only scientists qualified to speak about GMOs. Beyond that this technology is fundamentally a political and economic phenomenon. GMOs as deployed in the real world, rather than in the depraved minds of their idolators, have very little to do with science. This renders it all the more ironic when the pro-GM activists go hysterically braying about how even the most modest questions or criticisms are “anti-science! anti-science!” We see the evolution denialism of the pro-GMO activists.
The pesticide model of agriculture is conjoined with the GMO ideology of technologically leaping out of natural evolution. Pesticides are dedicated to the scorched earth monoculture model of agriculture and the ideology which regards the natural world as something to be wiped out. Poisonism is a radical rejection of biodiversity in principle and practice and comprises the will to wipe out all life except that specially selected to be part of the technocratic socio-ecological engineering.
The primary privileged organisms in this anti-evolutionary order are the bacterium A. tumefaciens (used as the main insertion vector in genetic engineering, thus using the engineers for its own purposes) and the proprietary GM crops themselves, along with the corporate persons (dogmatically declared to be “real” life forms) and the few humans who are monetarily wealthy. Ironically, the other main group of life forms privileged under this system are the pests, weeds, and diseases whose eradication is the alleged reason for deploying pesticides in the first place.
Corporate industrial agriculture denies weed and pest resistance in principle, even as its monoculture provides the best terrain for these organisms to prosper. (It does the same for rats, now the subject of a pro-CRISPR propaganda campaign against “invasives”; more on how the corporate system deliberately privileges rats for its own purposes in an upcoming piece.) Where forced by reality to discuss resistance, the corporations and media blame farmers for sloppy pesticide application and thus pretend that proper application can forestall the development of resistance. But everyone knows the pesticide treadmill, the endless arms race between the escalation of poisons and the resistance the targets inevitably develop against these poisons, is an intrinsic element of the system. In fact this is deliberate planned obsolescence. Everyone knows that no poison works longer than a few years and then must be supplemented by additional, more destructive poisons. The entire model of agrochemicals and GMOs is based on this malevolent dynamic. Therefore weed and pest resistance is the phenomenon upon which they are completely dependent for their continued profit and power. By contrast, if farmers switched to agroecology and dealt with pests and weeds by balancing them out within the framework of evolution rather than a scorched earth arms race running directly counter to it, agriculture would be far more productive, constructive, efficient, and profitable for the actual growers, and it would be the end of the power of agribusiness.
We see the horror this prospect strikes in the minds not only of the corporate operatives and scientism cultists themselves, but of the entire governmental, scientific, academic, and media system. That’s why, in spite of some lip service here and there about mixed systems like integrated pest management (IPM), the only truly allowable response to the patent failure of each pesticide and pesticide/GMO system is to deploy even more and worse poisons. The deployment of the Xtend/dicamba system is in response to the collapse of the Roundup Ready system as glyphosate-resistant weeds make a mockery of even the most copious slatherings of the poison. Dicamba and 2,4-D (upon which Dow’s Enlist system is built) both, Monsanto and the USDA promised in the 1990s, would be rendered obsolete by the Roundup Ready system based on the allegedly less harmful glyphosate. All the weed scientists researching and publicizing the dicamba disaster nevertheless agree that the dicamba deployment is the necessary response to Roundup’s collapse, even as they acknowledge that dicamba inevitably will fail and, implicitly, that the herbicide-tolerance GMO model itself is a complete failure. Dicamba’s revival is just the latest proof. For the corporate-technocratic system the only allowed response to failure is to escalate on proven failure. Poison-based agriculture is the most clear and extreme example.
Sure enough, weed scientists already are touting the upcoming corporate poison escalations.

Scott talked about the HT3 soybean from Monsanto, a “triple stack” soybean that will tolerate three herbicide chemistries: glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba. Glyphosate is known commercially as Roundup. Glufosinate is known as Liberty. Scott said these beans may be available as early as 2019, but likely in limited amounts.

“We observed very good pigweed control with these technologies”, he said.

Also on the horizon, possibly as early as 2018, are the Enlist soybeans. Scott said these beans are “only awaiting Chinese approval for their being legal to use in the U.S.”

Syngenta and Bayer are working on HPPD-tolerant soybeans, “which are further down the line.” The timeline for availability may be 2020 to 2023, Scott said, and the beans are likely to be stacked with other traits.

Still, the message was hopeful at a time when current weed management methods are dividing the farm community.

“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve heard the chemical companies say they’ve got some new tools in the pipeline,” he said.

And if these are commercialized, just as surely as glyphosate and dicamba before them these too inevitably will fail, causing even more extreme damage along the way. And so they ratchet from poison to poison, each allegedly representing the end of all other poisons.
This proves that the system’s mode of action systematically selects for weed resistance (just as the Bt refuge scam and the entire insecticide model select for insect resistance). This is the one and only point of contact between the poison system and evolution. The system denies evolution in principle and claims some magic combination of poisons will overcome it, even as in practice the system intentionally drives the evolution of resistance in order to sustain and increase its own political and economic power.
Therefore, just as monocultural cropping provides the optimal terrain for pests and weeds, the pesticide treadmill fosters their accelerated evolutionary resistance to poisons. In the same way dicamba, like all herbicides and like the entire industrial system based on CAFOs and the antibiotic resistance markers used in genetic engineering, drives the evolution of antibiotic resistant microbes. This too must be seen as an intended goal of the system, a way it manipulates evolution even while denying it. This affects most of all those people directly in contact with the herbicides – farmers, applicators, and in the case of dicamba’s atmospheric loading, all people who live in the dicamba zone. Herbicides decimate our microbiome, selectively sparing pathogens and boosting their resistance to antibiotics. The greater the drift effect, the greater the antibiotic resistance effect. Therefore the dicamba deployment, and the entire glyphosate/2,4-D/dicamba campaign, must be placed in the context of the systematic campaign of governments and corporations to wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. No one who understands and respects evolution could be in any doubt about this goal.
We understand the insanity of the dicamba GMO crisis. It builds on the failure of Roundup and of the pesticide model as such. It simultaneously denies evolution and drives a specially destructive mode of evolution. Herbicide tolerant GMOs systematically select for weed resistance. Sure enough, dicamba-resistant weeds already are on the rise. The greater the atmospheric loading of volatile dicamba vapor, the faster it’ll drive weed resistance along with every other ecological and health harm.
Dicamba’s inherent volatility renders it impossible to control even assuming the greatest care in spraying. Contrary to Monsanto’s lies, all dicamba is volatile including the name brand formulations of Monsanto and BASF. Indeed there’s evidence that dicamba’s volatility is essential to it having any proximate herbicidal effect on weeds in the first place. The more dicamba is sprayed under the warm, humid conditions which cause it to become volatile (i.e., the way it’s intended to be used with the Xtend system), the more the atmosphere in the dicamba zone will become suffused with dicamba vapor and the more completely it will settle over the entire countryside. Under those conditions it will become impossible for any other soybean variety, GM or non-GM, to exist. Farmers will be forced to purchase the few soybean varieties engineered with the Xtend trait. This is Monsanto’s deliberate campaign of biological extortion. (“Xtortion”, as many soybean farmers are calling it.)
Therefore Monsanto’s goal is to wipe out all non-Xtend soybeans and attain a monopoly. But that’s just the beginning. We also see the system’s implicit will to destroy vast swaths of vegetables, ornamentals, and trees. However senseless this might seem from the point of view of any textbook profit motive, it’s an expression of the fanatical monoculture mentality which wants to wipe out all natural plant growth and reduce all cultivation to corporate-controlled industrial monoculture.
What alternative intent can we infer from the system’s will to escalate the deployment in 2018 after 2017 already proved it so indiscriminately destructive? All USDA and Monsanto projections and proclamations continue to prove that their strict goal is to maximize dicamba’s use and destructiveness. If all goes according to corporate plan, by fall 2018’s seed increase 80% of the commercial soybean seed and 90% of the cotton will be engineered to maximize spraying of dicamba or 2,4-D. Monsanto’s rebate plan for 2018 is further proof that the goal is to attain a complete monopoly over soybean seed, and dicamba’s complete geographical and biological domination, as quickly as possible in order to forestall all social resistance and agronomic alternatives. Any advcacy of full speed ahead with business as usual proves the will to drive out all non-Xtend soybeans and from there all other broad-leaf plants, period. (Meanwhile 2,4-D threatens/promises to do the same for grasses.)
We see what an extreme renunciation of evolution’s process and diversity this campaign is. The ultimate monoculture goal is nothing less than to wipe out all biodiversity except for the pests themselves and replace it with a technocratic blank slate. The cultists and operatives first deny evolution in principle, then seek to wipe it out in practice. The goal is to use violence (technological and where necessary conventional) to force their nightmare vision of technocratic “progress” onto natural succession.
They cannot succeed because their program seeks to defy evolution. In spite of their pretensions to, as one of their leaders in the Bush administration said, “create our own reality”, they cannot do so. However grim things look right now, their anti-nature, anti-evolution program dooms them to destruction.
We mammals must wait it out, taking every opportunity to destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs.
Propagate the necessary new ideas.

October 31, 2017

Who Are the Proxxers? We Start With the Vaccination Controversy


Here’s the source of death. An eminently respectable, scientific campaign.

Governments and corporations are engaged in a systematic campaign to eradicate antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. The three main vectors of this campaign are mainstays of corporate industrial agriculture:
1. In factory farms animals are massively dosed with antibiotics in order to keep them alive under such disease-promoting conditions, and to promote quick weight gain.
2. In genetic engineering the transgene often includes an “antibiotic resistance marker”. Following the insertion process the engineers douse the cultured cells with an antibiotic, which kills all but the cells which incorporated the transgene.
3. Herbicides like glyphosate and 2,4-D are antibiotics, and in the process of weeds and bacteria developing resistance to herbicides they also develop a general resistance to antibiotics.
In all these ways the corporate-technocracy system deliberately drives the ever faster evolution of antibiotic resistant microbes, and the escalating failure of antibiotics as a medical treatment.
Since these effects are well known we also know that this is a consciously intended result of corporate industrial agriculture, and that the cadres and supporters of this mode of agriculture are part of this campaign to wipe out the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Peculiarly, many of these corporate fanboys are in a state of rage about the existence of people who are nonconformists where it comes to the ideology of vaccination.* Although their denunciations are usually incoherent, to the extent they give a reason they claim to fear for the public health.
But they’re obviously lying when they claim to care about public health, since they express no concern at all about the corporate state’s campaign to wipe out antibiotics, even though this systematic campaign on the part of the power structure is vastly more dangerous to public health than the actions of a relatively small, ad hoc group of vaccine dissenters. This proves that the hysteria against the non-vaccinators is a proxy for something. Therefore this figurative lynch mob should be called proxxers.
What motivates these persons? Most obviously, they’re hard core members of the religious cult of scientism, statism, technocracy, “progress”, Mammon. This gives us the first, most obvious clue: As typical authoritarian followers, these persons will hear no evil said of the corporations, but gleefully will attack any dissident group the media directs them against.
In recent years there has been a top-down media-engineered campaign designed to demonize the trivial group of non-vaccinators. Given the growing evidence of the ongoing harms and great dangers of the corporate agricultural system, as well as how obviously destructive the rest of the corporate onslaught is becoming, the corporate media is increasingly desperate to trump up diversions and scapegoats. In the case of the lethal pandemics already being caused by globalization’s shantytowns and factory farms, and the far worse inevitably to come, the system’s goal is to provide scapegoats to divert public fears and anger, as well as to muster fascistic discipline among potential cadres along the lines of scientism, the only pro-corporate ideology which can tap into threads which aren’t purely mercenary. Thus the most unreconstructed, brutal greed, powerlust, sadism, and hate try to make common cause with what’s left of the withering “Progress” ideology.
The progress religion also explains why these cultists faithfully believe that antibiotic resistance is no problem for public health while non-vaccination or raw milk allegedly are. From their point of view, antibiotic resistance is the result of the profound “progress” of CAFOs and genetic engineering. Where a more spectacular progress is trumping another, the bigger spectacle wins. Thus the doomed efficacy of antibiotics is a price the technocracy cultists are willing to pay in order to fully develop the technocratic domination of agriculture and food. By contrast, from this perspective raw milk and non-vaccination are not examples of further “progress”, but alleged regressions. Thus the public health fears which cease to exist in the case of the far greater danger of antibiotic resistance suddenly become “real” for the cultists, and they shriek accordingly.
Most intense of all, the proxxers become all the more enraged and incipiently violent in direct relation to how they’re losing faith in their religion. They see ever growing numbers of people losing faith in scientism and statism, ever growing numbers rejecting these with contempt. And the cultists themselves give a daily demonstration of how they’re losing confidence in themselves and their cult. The corporate state and technocratic establishment are still in full power and still wield the overwhelming preponderance of power, while dissidents are only so many small mammals hiding in the underbrush. What kind of snowflake would a dinosaur have to be to go on shrieking hysterically about the alleged misdeeds of these powerless mammals? Obviously they sense the impending destruction of their dominion and are becoming ever more desperate, even as their power seems still to be fully intact.
The pogrom mentality of the proxxers against the non-vaccinators is an expression of their rage against the civil disobedience of a small dissident group. They see non-vaccination as an intolerable affront to the religious majesty of scientism and statism. They experience it as a form of lese majestie. Sensing the inevitable collapse of the system they worship (since in terms of resources and ecological destruction the technocratic civilization is unsustainable), they react with all the venom of their despairing rage against an officially designated target.
This brings us to a more concrete reason for the demonization campaign. The CAFO system with its corresponding eradication of antibiotic efficacy inevitably will generate lethal pandemics. The corporate state at least accepts this as a cost of ramifying the system, same as the rank and file cultists do; and it may believe it can control such pandemics as a weapon of terror and population control.
Whatever the nightmare visions of the likes of Bill Gates, Monsanto, and the US military, everyone knows CAFOs, along with the rest of the general campaign of environmental poisonism, will generate pandemics. So the system is already setting up non-vaccinators to serve as a scapegoat when such pandemics arise. That’s a big part of why the corporate media obsesses on the mouse in the room (vaccines) and not the elephant (antibiotics), and that’s a big part of why the lynch mob responds the way it does.
So we have a first draft toward understanding why supporters of the eradication of antibiotics** turn around and shriek about the alleged threat non-vaccinators pose to public health. It has zero to do with any real concern about public health. On the contrary, it’s rooted in technocratic religion; it comprises a lashing out on account of the cultists’ losing faith in this religion; and it’s preparing the ground for a disaster capitalist scapegoating of an innocent minority when the actions of the corporate system inevitably bring disaster.
Anyone who doesn’t fight for the abolition of antibiotic abuse has zero credibility if he turns around and claims to be concerned about the relatively small risks from non-vaccination. The shrillness of the proxxers juxtaposed with their resounding silence where it comes to antibiotic abuse adds up to proof of their bad faith and cowardice. They’re nothing but authoritarian statists who are outraged by a form of civil disobedience they find particularly offensive as an affront to their statism and scientism. They should be systematically counterattacked as such, whatever one’s views on vaccination itself.
Faced with anyone who claims to criticize non-vaccinators from the point of view of a concern for public health, I start with one question: What have you done to oppose sub-therapeutic antibiotic abuse in factory farms and genetic engineering? Please direct me to where you’ve written or taken action on this.
A satisfactory answer to this question is necessary to establish one’s bona fides. Anyone who can’t do so is a fraud who’s really jumping onto an anti-dissident bandwagon out of typically cowardly bullying authoritarian motives. Where it comes to the vaccination lynch mob, dissenters and critics should always counterattack these bad faith liars the way I describe.
Do you really care about public health? If so, here’s two of the necessary goals: Abolish factory farms, abolish GMOs. Nothing short of this can suffice, and nothing short of this can comprise a rationally or morally coherent position for anyone who claims to care about public health.
*This piece is not about vaccination in itself. Vaccination makes sense in principle. But there are three separate matters here: The science of vaccination in principle; the alleged need for and safety of the corporate-manufactured vaccines we actually have; and the ideology which decrees that humans need an indefinitely expanding array of vaccinations, and that wherever the technocratic establishment orders people to get themselves and their children vaccinated, the people must obey without question. This, of course, is fundamentalist religion, not science or reason (let alone democracy). But in a typically fraudulent authoritarian tactic, those who criticize non-vaccinators always blur these three together and come up with the standard lie, “non-vaccination = anti-science”. That’s because neither the case for corporate control of vaccines nor the scientism religion of vaccines can stand up to political or rational scrutiny.
**Most antibiotics are derived from soil bacteria, the same soil microbes systematically being eradicated by industrial agriculture. So the corporate-technocratic campaign also strikes at the very root of medical research. Conversely, only the transformation to agroecology and a massive commitment to rebuilding the soil can provide any future basis for antibiotic development. More on this later.

October 27, 2017

“Competition” as Ideological Proxy for Biological Warfare


“Although there are many examples of such mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships, an intense competition occurs among the diverse organisms in healthy soils.”
Building Soils for Better Crops, p. 38
Where it comes to a naturally evolving ecosystem like soil, what one chooses to see as competition as opposed to cooperation is mostly a matter of ideology and one’s view of individual death. Are soldiers in combat cooperating or competing? Consider the two armies together: Are they competing to kill one another, or cooperating to carry out the war?
The Spencerist/Darwinist presentation, with its emphasis on competition and “survival of the fittest”, was adapted from the capitalist ideology of 19th century Britain. All of Darwin’s observations and the theory he induced from them he could have written up at least as easily in terms of cooperation. Darwin simply chose not to, for reasons of ideology which is prior to science.
Now consider the balanced soil ecosystem: Are predators and prey in competition or cooperation? Are two organisms which feed on the same resource competing for that resource or cooperating to process that resource as part of the flow of the ecosystem?
It seems to me that cooperation better describes the fundamental units (for example, animal-bacterial and plant-bacterial symbioses) and the overall holism, and that this is good reason to consider cooperation the better basic description of the ecology. This is according to the same logic whereby the Copernican description is preferred over that of Ptolemy. This is not because the Copernican is more “true”; neither is “true” or “false”, they’re just different depictions of the same observations. The Copernican presentation is preferable because it accounts for the most important observations in a simpler and more coherent, more logically cogent way than that of Ptolemy.
When does competition prevail? At the human level, tribes naturally cooperate within themselves but sometimes undergo intertribal competition, even to the point of warfare. As hierarchies develop, as power centralizes, as natural use-based economies become engulfed in larger-scale supply-driven commodity-based economies, human community aggregates dissolve, the people atomize, and they become subject to the competition of class war from above and intense pressure from above to tear into each other. In these ways criminals who have organized to maximize power strive to force competition upon humanity and to repress natural cooperation.
Yet the strongest proof that humans are naturally cooperative is the fact that, despite the power elites’ having had hundreds of years of total power to inflict their indoctrination, propaganda, inducements, threats, and violence upon humanity with all the massive, relentless force at their disposal, they still need to renew this massive barrage every day in order to get people to act in an even semi-competitive way. Self-evidently, if this daily infusion ever were to flag, people quickly would revert to their cooperative default.
Meanwhile, as anarchism always points out, capitalism and the state depend utterly on massive unpaid cooperation on the part of workers and citizens. If the people ever were to go on a work-to-rule general strike, which simply means working to the letter of one’s job description and not one jot more; and if the people were to obey the absolute letter of the law, not one jot more or less, the whole structure of capitalist society would collapse within days, so dependent is it upon the creative cooperation of workers and citizens vis their workplaces and the mores of social life.
At the ecological level, what we could call competition comes in where for some reason an imbalance in the system temporarily allows a species to get out of control. Industrial agriculture generates the most extreme artificial imbalances by eradicating as much biodiversity as possible and seeking to impose a strictly regimented goose-stepping monoculture regime. In practice this generates the best terrain for pests, weeds, disease, and such vermin as rats. Since this is the invariable primary result of the monocultural agriculture system, we know that this is the primary intent and goal of the governments, corporations, academics, and journalists who work to enforce this system. Related and parallel examples, part of the same ideological and paramilitary structure, are the systematic overuse of antibiotics (intended to generate resistant microbes and wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective technology) and pasteurization (intended to wipe out diverse microbial communities which keep pathogens in check, in order to create an open frontier for those pathogens; just as pesticides are intended to maximize opportunities for pests and disease by wiping out all counterbalancing diversity).
Another example of the artificial imposition of competition over cooperation is where an invasive species becomes able quickly to debouch through an ecosystem, rather than gradually assimilate over time and through the mediation of evolutionary safeguards. The most extreme example is technocracy’s campaign to deploy GMOs as globally as possible as fast as possible with as brutal a suppression of evolutionary safeguards as possible.
This campaign is intended to be an even more total, more biologically eliminationist extension of the first “green revolution” of a monoculture paradigm based on poisons, machines, and enclosed seeds. Modern industrial agriculture is the most extreme anti-evolutionary campaign in history (and its cadres and ideologues the most extreme cohort of evolution deniers). GMO-based agriculture, the “Green Revolution II”, is in turn the most extreme version of this competitive/destructive debouchment.
The surest way to tell an imbalance is gathering force and ecological/economic flows are being blocked, even more sure than tangible destruction, is any buildup of waste, and any tangible accumulation which automatically is a form of pollution.
This is the closest we can come to an objective definition of cooperation as opposed to competition: Does the system embody Nietzsche’s idea of the Ubermensch, does it keep everything in motion and use, does it organize itself in motion at every moment? This is the mutual cooperation of all with all, and it is the normal state of nature. Or is the system becoming hobbled and unbalanced with accumulation and waste? This is the mutually destructive competition of atom against atom, with no possible result other than mutual destruction and death.
Propagate the necessary new ideas.

October 14, 2017

Monsanto Stole Everything, Innovated Nothing


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