Volatility

November 6, 2017

Another Day, Another Monsanto Poisoning, Another Streicherism in the Media

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Monsanto admits it’s delaying the commercial deployment of a nematocide after the poison caused skin rashes among users in field trials.
 
In its report Reuters takes the poisonist paradigm as given and therefore suppresses the context that nematodes can sustainably be controlled only through soil-building and other agroecological practices. The poison treadmill has been a proven failure for over 60 years. By now the continued media and academic campaign on poisonism’s behalf is, by Nuremburg standards, a willful campaign of crimes against humanity.
 
The campaign continues to advocate the wholesale poisoning of the ecology and destruction of biodiversity. Poison-based agriculture long has been proven an agronomic failure, and it’s long been proven to increase hunger rather than alleviate it. Therefore we know Monsanto, regulators, and the mainstream media don’t advocate poisonism for agronomic reasons. We know they’re willfully, intentionally committing ecocide and giving people cancer for the sake of nothing but power, profit, and destruction of biodiversity for the very sake of this destruction, since monoculture in itself (political, cultural, and biological) is a totalitarian goal of the system. In 2017 the Monsanto Tribunal condemned Monsanto for these crimes, including ecocide.
 
 
The proposition that ecosystems have the same rights as humans, long touted by pioneering thinkers including supreme court justice William O. Douglas and more recently by the community rights movement, has not gained much ground within the system’s legalism. But rationally it follows from any coherent concept of human rights, such as that upon which the Nuremburg tribunal based its jurisprudence. This is because humanity is inextricably part of the overall ecology. Therefore it’s both rationally and morally meaningless to conceive any human right, on a community or individual level, other than as part of a combined human-ecological right. (Meanwhile “the individual” is a false construction in itself, but also can exist only within ecological and community contexts. So individual rights can exist only within the context of ecological rights.)
 
(Douglas also pointed out that unlike purely artificial, government-created corporations, which have had legal and constitutional rights bestowed upon them by the system, ecosystems and natural features actually exist. This total inversion of all reason and morality, where everything that truly exists, including flesh-and-blood human beings, is denied all rights or effectively stripped of what rights they nominally have, while the most totally fake things like money and corporations are empowered with all the “right”, practical and legal, the system can give, gives us profound insight into the elemental falsity of corporate technocracy and scientism, its culture of the lie, and its will to eradicate all naturally evolved reality and replace it with a purely static artificial one. As I said above, this is the totalitarian goal of the monoculture campaign in agriculture and every other form of culture and ecology.)
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
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October 21, 2017

The Primal Mammalian Movement

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From the smallest beginnings, and the power of a seed.

 
 
One of the mainstream media’s primary tasks is to convince each individual media consumer that he’s all alone with any critical or dissenting thought he might have, so it’s best to suppress those thoughts. It’s part of the “softer” neoliberal alternative to fascism: Rather than de jure censorship and violent repression of dissent, get the mass of atomized individuals each to censor himself, use crimestop, never listen to thoughtcrime or entertain any cognitive dissonance.
 
Hierarchical, professionalized science, including its hyperspecialization, is inherently authoritarian and pro-status quo. This is especially true of the technocracy paradigm under which science is assumed by almost all practitioners and fans to be equivalent to the development of technology. Under this paradigm, science = engineering. Most of all it’s true under the corporate science paradigm where this tech development mission automatically is assumed to be in the service of profit-seeking corporations. Putting that together, we have the modern scientific paradigm where what Kuhn called “normal science” quite simply is what otherwise would be called “corruption”.
 
I propose to overthrow this scientific paradigm and replace it with a paradigm of science rededicated to seeking knowledge for its own sake and for the well-being of humanity and the Earth. In the same way that every branch of politics must be socialist if it’s to have any legitimacy at all, so all branches of science must become the ecological versions of their respective disciplines. Therefore the ecological sciences, inflected by chaos theory, must become paramount. In the same way, technological design must adhere to the ecology rather than strive for domination and control. In particular, only agroecology offers a way for humanity to restore the soil, avert the worst of climate chaos and all other environmental crises, eat sufficiently and well, and organize society in a way combining the best of reason, humaneness, and ecological holism. This is the vision of food sovereignty.
 
There’s lots of people already doing good work toward that eventual goal. We need to scale that up, first as a campaign of ideas. As for our personal lives, the Earth’s call to anyone is to commit your life to the cause. That’s a very hard sell in this Mammon theocracy where even among the people who superficially have the right ideas and good intent, most still are objectively Randroids in the way they view the world. Even fellow travelers of the necessary ideas fundamentally don’t understand the concept of having no private existence, existing fundamentally as a political animal, a public citizen. All we can do for starters is to keep propagating ideas which are fundamentally against the whole grain of this theocracy, and try to find fellow atheists versus the superstitions of Mammon, technocracy, scientism, productionism who want to work on that atheism-propagation project. This is one of the basic building blocks necessary to build a true cultural, spiritual, existential movement dedicated affirmatively to the necessary agroecology/food sovereignty transformation, negatively to the total abolition of poison-based agriculture.
 
That’s the ultimate need. What individuals and small groups can do right now:
 
1. Take on as much of the propagation work as one can.
 
2. Become active building up the community food sector as much as one can. Growing some of one’s own food in a garden is a good first step, and the actions quickly scale up from there.
 
3. In one’s personal lifestyle get as independent of the system, as “off-grid” (using that term both literally and metaphorically) as possible.
 
4. To the extent one has to remain enmeshed in the system for the time being, at least be clear in thought and word that this is under duress. I still have to drive a car, but I never think or say anything other than that the car as such has to go. This is contrary to the climate crocodiles who wring their hands and then tout hybrids and electric cars (i.e. fracking cars, nuke cars, coal cars) as some kind of answer. No, that’s just a more pernicious form of climate denialism.
 
5. In general: Do the most good you can and never do evil. I have never once heard of an example of an evil action that was necessary in any way. That’s always a lie.
 
Much of this focuses on ideas and propagating ideas. I’m forced to be a writer since for now I lack any greater scope for action. In Eric Hoffer’s terminology, I’m an activist by nature who’s been forced into the role of the “man of words”. For now there really is no greater scope for action in America, since the necessary movement doesn’t yet exist in any tangible, coherent form. Or, any rudiments which may be cohering are not yet visible to the general culture of dissent.
 
So it follows that the first, prerequisite step toward building this movement is to propagate the necessary ideas for this movement. Not even at first to convince people, but to force the existence of truly alternative and practicable ideas into the public consciousness so that, when the cultural tipping point suddenly comes (history demonstrates that we have no idea when it will come or what proximate cause will trigger it) and lots of people are suddenly looking for a new idea, this set of ideas will be one of the sets laying around ready to be taken up.
 
Toward that great goal, the second necessary preliminary step is to form at least the nucleus of a future mass movement in the form of coherent organizations, of whatever size attainable, which will undertake whatever wedge actions are possible for the time being but whose primary action will be to propagate the ideas as far and wide as possible.
 
 
And then all this must take place in tandem with building up the community food sector. We especially need more local retail producers, and processing infrastructure, and political organization against the state’s repressive campaigns. The community food movement already exists as a vibrant movement with great scope for all the action one could desire (in addition to my so far intermittent market gardening, I’ve worked at a farmers’ market, herbal medicine garden, and am director of two community gardens). We need for the whole thing, from organic horticulture to market gardening to abolition of pesticides/GMOs to a global agroecology transformation, to evolve into one coherent cultural force.
 
 
Propagate the new and necessary ideas.
 
 
 
 
 
 

November 12, 2016

What is “States’ Rights”?

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And so once again we see lots of rhetoric about “states rights”. What does this term mean? I’ll begin by describing the principle of it, insofar as I can deduce any principle from the rather inchoate rhetoric of its proponents. Of course what it’s really supposed to mean in practice is something different, i.e. the usual collaboration with corporations.
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1. It makes a fetish of lines drawn on a map rather than any value derived from morality or reason.
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2. It does not want to be rational and base political units on watersheds or foodsheds.
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3. It is a form of pure statism which wants arbitrarily to centralize beyond rationally defined boundaries for no purpose other than to concentrate power.
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4. It differs from other pure statists in that it wants arbitrarily to halt the centralization at some point rather than expand this indefinitely. Lacking any other basis for where to call a halt, it chooses the arbitrary borders* of US states as the place to do this.
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[*There’s a few state borderlines which run along the crests of mountain ranges where streams divide, and thus in themselves are rational. But these are never organically part of any larger rational system of borders. Meanwhile far more common is the actively irrational practice of using rivers themselves as legal-political borders. This is worse than purely arbitrary; it aggressively splits reason in half.]
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So there it is. States rights ideology is based on two arbitrary leaps. First, it arbitrarily wants to centralize beyond rational boundaries and without regard for any rational or moral value. It has this in common with other forms of statism. Second, and contrary to conventional statism, it arbitrarily wants to halt the centralizing process somewhere short of however far power can concentrate itself.
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Some may say I’m leaving something out, that states rights does have a value, the value of constitutionalism. Allegedly, in exalting the tenth amendment this is trying to recapture the true spirit of the 1788 constitution.
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The most obvious refutation of this is that states righters, like everyone else who claims the constitution as a value, seem to care little to nothing about other core elements of the constitution such as those which would make the imperial army, the police state ,and the prison-industrial complex impossible, nor do they seem concerned to take back the constitution from corporate abusers. (For this, one must look to the community rights movement.) So in idolizing the constitution the states rights types are really just cherry-picking.
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And indeed, should the 1788 constitution, conceived by elites for the avowed purpose of quashing the American Revolution and building a continental empire (both Hamilton and Madison say so in the Federalist papers), be an object of idolatry in the first place? The fact is that constitution-worship is no value in itself for anyone, but rather is always a stalking horse for other, usually pro-corporate agendas. Of course the constitutional conventioneers accepted the Bill of Rights in the first place only under duress and only because they were confident that the authoritarian centralizing campaign enshrined in the main articles of the document wouldn’t unduly be hindered by what they saw as a pointless sop. And so it has been.
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Nor do I see any reason to think the states rights people have any greater respect than conventional centralizing statists do for the vastly more rational and morally coherent philosophy of community rights. If anything, the states rights types might be even more aggressive in wanting to allow/help corporations to devastate communities.
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Obviously in practice the notion of state rights is just like the constitution, or law, or property, or “free trade”, or “science”, or “the free press” or what have you. It’s propagated by corporate elites and meant to be used and abused, regarded and disregarded, in a purely cynical, tactical way according to whatever maximizes corporate domination.
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By fetishizing a purely arbitrary legally-defined border and caring zero for reason or any moral value, the “state rights” notion is especially useful for this corporate purpose. In this way it goes well with the most vile feral scam of all, “libertarianism”, which wants direct corporate dictatorship and uses the rhetoric of “freedom” to mean “freedom from all mutual responsibility, freedom from all human community, from all moral and rational values, license for total exploitation and theft, for those who are already rich.” Of course corporations are nothing more or less than creations and extensions of government, so to be for corporate power is by definition to be for big government, while to be against big government has to mean wanting to abolish government’s corporate power. That’s why it’s called the corporate state, a monolith. How in principle libertarians can be simultaneously for and against the most vile extremes of big government remains one of the mysteries of the universe. Of course the simple truth is that they’re liars. If they weren’t they’d be anarchists.
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Getting back to the state righters, I suppose many of them have the temperament which, among national groups, tends to manifest as nationalism. But, in spite of lots of idiotic rhetoric from conservatives and liberals alike, there is so far no such thing as an American nation, nor can a new nation ever cohere under the conditions of corporate globalization. Indeed, globalization’s basic thrust is to eradicate all human modes except that of the atomized individual, all alone in body and soul, facing the awesome might of the corporate demon. Never forget, anyone who in any way speaks against movement solidarity and organization as such is doing the work of the corporate Satan. (It should be needless to say that any political philosophy which explicitly or implicitly says voting is the be-all and end-all is part of this corporate assault.) Anyone who dreams of an American nation must commit to the total abolition of corporate rule as a prerequisite.
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It’s possible such an abolitionist movement itself can be a strong point where such a national consciousness can begin to cohere.
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Humanity and the Earth need a new movement based on a complete organic embrace of human values and reason, on the new idea necessary for a new beginning as natural history soon resumes after the berserk digression of the fossil fuel binge. And we need a movement basis which totally rejects and condemns all the lies and stupidities of the corporate global “order”. We must form the adamant core of the affirmation and the inexorable force of the negation. Anything which can be used toward these great goals may be used, but only in the right ways. The wrong ways also are for the flames.
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We have a long, hard road ahead. The necessary work is only beginning. It will continue at its necessary pace without regard for the idiocies of superficial “politics” and false “culture”. There we see nothing but decadent barbarism. The corporate age was always evil, and now it becomes ever more rancid. Sometimes it seems human beings need gas masks. It’s hard to tell what’s worse, the physical poisons or the spiritual ones.
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But the eternal wind, the wind of the spirit which nourishes and cleanses and carries us always between and through the home to which we’re heading and the home we never left, never stopped flowing. Briefly amid the din of Babylon we were unable to hear it and lost knowledge of whence and where it blows. But the strains of the new song are starting to come through.
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October 27, 2016

The Community Food Sector Must Fight to Survive and Win (Also Some GMO Comments)

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Have to be hid in attics from Big Ag.

Have to be hid from Big Ag in attics.

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1. The case of Mark Baker may seem to be extreme, but it’s also typical of the attitude of corporate agriculture’s servant bureaucracies toward the rising Community Food sector, the most clear and present danger to the continued domination of poison-based agriculture and corporate “food”. What Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is trying to do to heritage pig farmer Baker is typical of many other cases of federal* and state thugs attempting, legally and illegally, to destroy our movement. In their minds the bureaucrats, from the lowest state thug to the federal agriculture secretary himself, are completely eradicating Community Food by whatever means necessary. In practice they’ll do so by whatever means are possible.
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This means whatever’s politically possible. The measure of that will be how intrepidly growers and citizens of food (that ought to be all Americans, though so far it’s still far too few) affirmatively organize ourselves to take back the land and grow real crops and distribute real food, and how fiercely we fight back against the corporate state’s attempt to destroy all we’re building.
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*For example the FDA, which bizarrely is much beloved among “anti-GMO” people and among the NGOs which usually claim to support Community Food but which turned around and abetted Monsanto’s “Food Safety Modernization Act.” (FSMA).
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2. From the outset of the pro-marijuana movement there were many who strongly insisted on the word and concept “decriminalization” rather than “legalization”. In addition to the philosophical implications of the difference, we see the very practical, big difference between legalization under corporate control only vs. true decriminalization, i.e. control in the hands of the people.
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This distinction can be applied very widely. For example, GMOs don’t naturally exist nor is it a simple, inexpensive thing to create them. Rather they had to be very aggressively legalized through corporate welfare, radical changes in patent law, changes in regulatory law and disregard of existing law by regulators. They could easily be abolished simply by removing the Rube Goldberg legalization structure they depend upon. No corporate welfare, no GMOs. No patents, no GMOs. In that case a legal ban would be redundant, although a legal ban would simply de-legalize something that was a purely fabricated, “legalized” government confection in the first place. This also shoots down the dumbest objection to labeling, that it’s “government interference”. No, the government massively interferes by artificially building the astronomically expensive structure that sustains GMOs in the first place. Think of it as a trillion dollar greenhouse the taxpayers pay for. Is the hothouse flower being grown within a natural creation of a “free market”?
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Here I’m applying to GMOs an analysis I first developed for everything Wall Street does. (I wrote about it in dozens of posts, go check ’em out. Like this one.) Un-legalize the legalized gambling the big banks do, and Wall Street will cease to exist. Finis. The same goes for much of the rest of Mammon’s evils.
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3. With this conventionally bred “orange maize” we once again have proof of one of the iron laws of GMOs, proven anew every time: Where it comes to any GMO touted for its alleged “product quality” (nutrition, taste, storability, etc.) or “agronomic trait” (drought resistance, etc.), there already exists a better, higher quality, safer, less expensive non-GM version. There are no exceptions. (And then the GM version is more often than not a hoax anyway. “Golden rice” in particular is one of the most flamboyant media hoaxes in modern memory.)
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The piece I linked demonstrates the pitfall of wanting to imitate the corporate hype surrounding techno-miracles, merely counterpoising “alternative” miracles which are otherwise just as unanchored, uncontexted, and imply that silver bullet solutions are possible. (The piece and GMWatch’s commentary keeps calling such varieties “enriched” and “fortified”. If they inherently contain the nutrient out of conventional breeding they’re neither.)
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It’s constructive to talk about these non-GM anodynes only within the context of stressing that all problems of diet and hunger are caused completely by poison-based commodity agriculture itself and can be solved only by restoring community food production and distribution, as is ecologically and economically natural. But then the orange maize is a product of the corporate state’s CGIAR “HarvestPlus” project and therefore is designed to be perceived only as an anodyne within the context of continued globalization.
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As we see with these examples, this kind of project can bring results which the people can then put to good use, and indeed the piece says the Zambian government claims it will prevent export commodity production of the orange maize but instead reserve it for national food production. That’s an excellent idea, and a motivated, well-organized, vigilant people can maintain control of such agronomic research and development and see to it that these products truly are advances. But a prerequisite is to understand clearly that where it comes to a putative public-private partnership like this, the developers themselves regard everything we’re talking about here as a transitional stage and fringe benefit at best, and more likely a propaganda front. The real goal, as with every other globalization project, no matter how ostensibly “public” and “national” in its form, and no matter what the PR presentation, is patent-based, profiteering commodity production. Again, golden rice provides the original template, with Syngenta claiming it would forego its patent prerogatives (but with lots of fine print the newspapers didn’t mention), while at the same time the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the “public” front of the Syngenta/Gates campaign and actual developer of the pseudo-rice, has explicitly reserved the right to take out patents of its own. This too is just another permutation of the corporation retaining all control and freedom of action.
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See here for the same dynamic in the case of the African project to develop “drought-resistant maize”, another Syngenta/Gates campaign.
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The takeaway: Don’t trust anything the corporate-controlled system does, because it’s not meant for us, and by us I mean humanity. The projects of the corporate system, no matter what the nominal form of the organization leading the project or performing the action, are corporate projects being done under corporate control toward corporate goals. No self-respecting big shareholder would ever settle for less in any of these cases.
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The takeaway: As always, we the people need our own organizations, our own projects, our own actions, our own movement.
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March 4, 2016

GMO News Summary March 4th, 2016

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*As we discussed last week the EU government shows what it thinks of the WHO-acknowledged fact that glyphosate causes cancer by calling for the re-approval of glyphosate in Europe for the next 15 years. This isn’t just an ongoing crime at the most monumental human and environmental level, but it even violates EU de jure law. (The latter is more important to most people who care at all.) The 2009 EU pesticides law requires that carcinogenic pesticides be banned.
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Six European NGOs are now suing on the grounds that the German BfR and EU’s EFSA also broke the law in the tendentious way they reassessed glyphosate, in particular the way they whitewashed the WHO’s finding that glyphosate causes cancer.
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Specifically, by its own admission the German BfR did nothing but regurgitate and launder the propaganda put out by the industry’s Glyphosate Task Force. The BfR then used fraudulent, industry-dictated methodologies to disparage the WHO’s procedure and falsely exculpate glyphosate. The EFSA then parroted the BfR’s whitewash, and the EU in turn will try to use this to justify re-authorizing glyphosate. The NGO suit is trying to have the GTF/BfR/EFSA fraud thrown out and force the regulators to start over.
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There’s one element of the regulator strategy to continue literally to force this cancer agent into our bodies.
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*Another element is what GMWatch hails as “a modest breakthrough” in the lies the European Union government is telling about glyphosate and other pesticides. Under stepped up pressure following the WHO’s 2015 finding that glyphosate causes cancer, such as the lawsuit I just mentioned, Germany’s BfR and the EFSA feel the need to go so far as to admit that maybe the commercial glyphosate formulations have some cancer risk. This was the only way they could try to assimilate part of the WHO’s finding while still politically exonerating glyphosate. One of the basic regulator frauds is to assess in ivory tower isolation only the so-called “active ingredient” in a pesticide and not the formulation which is used in the real world. In reality the terms “active” and “inert” have zero scientific meaning but are purely political, meant to facilitate this regulatory scam and fool people into thinking the dictionary definition of “inert” applies and that these ingredients are non-toxic. In reality these supplementary ingredients are there to render the primary ingredient more potent and therefore more toxic, and such supplementary ingredients as POEA (used in Roundup all over the world except in Germany itself, where it’s banned) are often more toxic than the primary ingredient. So a commercial formulation is actually far more poisonous by volume (in Poison Spring E. Vallianatos describes how one of the purposes of the active/inert scam is to greatly reduce the volume of poisons reported sprayed) and in its potency. (Not to mention synergy effects among the multiple poisons.)
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Now, under the spotlight of parliamentary questioning in anticipation of the upcoming vote of member states to reauthorize glyphosate in Europe for the next 15 years, the European Commission says it will start to think about revising its assessment procedure to include some account of the real world product and not the falsely isolated “active ingredient” which is used nowhere in reality. As the bureaucrat put it, “In the context of the regulatory system we are opening a new area of work. This is not something we have done a lot before, looking at the co-formulant, looking at the end product.” Looking at the end product, imagine that! What’ll they think of next? Actually they’re not really thinking of it now either, only about “a lot of concerns we have heard, including from MEPs and civil society.” As always only political pressure can make anyone do anything. As with the FDA’s promise to test for glyphosate residues in some food products, they’ll see how far they can get with just the announcement, how long they can delay actually doing anything, and then what minimal level of action will be sufficient to appease enough erstwhile “concerned” people. Cf. the new GMO labeling proposal below for a similar example.
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This is also meant to evade the Pesticides Law I mentioned above. The law applies to carcinogenic “active” ingredients. So if the EU can get away with blaming all the cancer evidence on tallowamine, it can claim that the continued authorization of glyphosate is legal as well as safe. But in fact regulators have known at least since the early 1980s that glyphosate by itself causes cancer. The fact that commercial glyphosate formulations are even more carcinogenic doesn’t exonerate glyphosate itself.
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*For an example of what these glyphosate co-formulants, these “inert” ingredients, actually do to our health, see the new study which measures the endocrine disruptive effects of the co-formulants of six glyphosate herbicides. The study found that the co-formulants by themselves as well as each of the formulations decreased aromatase activity (essential for balancing production of testosterone and estrogen) at doses far below standard agricultural uses. This is why there’s no safe “tolerance” level for pesticide exposure or ingestion: They’re all endocrine disruptors, and these effects occur at very low doses. Endocrine disruption in turn is a major cause of reproductive problems, birth defects, and cancer.
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*Given the standard operating procedure of regulators, it’s no surprise that the USDA muzzles scientists and persecutes those who adhere to the scientific method instead of the corporate science paradigm. Nor is it a surprise that the USDA concluded a review of this censorship process by congratulating itself and promising to stay the course. PEER, the NGO which has been organizing the pressure on this front, concludes, “Something now unmistakably clear is that no scientist in their right mind should report political manipulation of science inside USDA.” This is true, but the conclusion goes way beyond this. Something now unmistakably clear, if it wasn’t clear before, is that any citizen should recognize there is no science at the USDA, only corporate-dictated “science”.
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*I forgot to include legal immunity as part three of my regulator template. (See here for one of my many descriptions of this heuristic which I’ve found to be broadly applicable to all kinds of political phenomena.) Do you still believe now there’s such a thing as a “rule of law”?
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*BASF announces it’s rolling back the range of its genetic engineering projects. This follows the removal of its GE division from Europe to North Carolina a few years ago, a migration in search of a more favorable political habitat. If GMWatch’s take is right, this latest move sounds like Monsanto and BASF would not be a good match, since Monsanto can’t pretend to offer anything but more of the same genetic engineering hype which BASF may be gradually moving away from. Yet BASF was looking like Monsanto’s last chance to make the kind of diversification deal it needs. Monsanto needs to make a deal with someone who’s more product-diversified since it’s so dependent on Roundup, a product whose time may be running out. As we saw with Syngenta’s spurning of their suit last year, Monsanto may not have much that anyone else wants.
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*In news related to the sector calcification we touched on in the above item, here’s more fraud centering on the hype of genetic engineering. As with patent pumping in general, this is looking more and more like another stock-pumping scam. A few weeks ago I discussed how “hi-tech agriculture” is looking like another dotcom bubble in the making.
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*Purdue University is a liar. Monsanto publicists there have put out a fake “study” which claims to find that GM crops outyield non-GM. In order to obtain this result which runs counter to all prior evidence, they cherry-picked some answers from a USDA questionnaire which the agency itself said was completely unscientific, and then bogusly interpreted these extremely qualitative figures. Namely, they arbitrarily compared production figures for the variable “GMO” vs. “non-GMO” with zero knowledge of all other variables (such as fertilizer use) and fraudulently declared any differences to be caused by this variable. Anyone with a high school level knowledge of scientific method knows you can’t attain a result this way. But clearly Purdue professors never comprehended even this elementary concept. This kind of “science” is the norm under the corporate science paradigm.
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*Clearly nothing is more loathesome than what Republican propaganda consultant Frank Luntz dubbed “the patchwork”. Luntz’s term is now extremely popular among both Republican and Democrat types. Thus we have broad consensus, from Monsanto to Merkley: Monoculture good, diversity (and democracy) bad. They disagree only on some details.
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*Here’s a stark lesson in how the corporate system views the difference between real democracy, including real votes driven by the people, and the corporate-approved kangaroo elections being held this year for “president” and other corporate positions. In Washington the state supreme court is quashing ballot democracy in compliance with corporate demands. As the CELDF’s Mari Margil writes:
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“Let the voters decide.”

While we hear that slogan often – especially in a presidential election year – the truth is that at the local level, Washington voters rarely get to cast a ballot in their own communities on critical issues.

That’s because our authority to place issues directly on the ballot – through the citizens’ initiative – has been under siege by business interests affected by its use and by courts friendly to those interests.

In February, the Washington Supreme Court continued that trend, removing a citizens’ initiative from the Spokane ballot that sought to protect community, environmental and worker rights. In its ruling, the court declared that the people’s local initiative power isn’t really a right at all, but merely a privilege granted by state government to our communities….

More than a century ago, the people of Washington enacted the citizens’ initiative process to secure our rights to directly make law. With its recent ruling, the state Supreme Court effectively eliminated our authority to do so.

With the court’s action, going forward we should expect few, if any, local citizens’ initiatives – in Spokane or other communities across Washington – to be placed on the ballot for a vote. This includes in Tacoma, where opponents of the proposed methanol plant are seeking to place an initiative on the ballot to give residents the authority to decide whether to grant permits to large water users, such as the methanol plant, that seek to use more than one million gallons a day….

State governmental power exercised in this manner, of course, is nothing new. State governments guard their powers jealously, even to the point of forcibly preventing local communities from protecting their own people, workers and the natural environment….

Our state Legislature is not unique in seeking to preempt local governing authority, even when that authority is exercised to protect people’s rights to their own health and safety. Across the country, state governments have now eliminated the power of communities to ban hydro-fracking for natural gas, genetically modified crops, corporate water bottling operations, pipelines and other practices.

It’s precisely when we watch our elected officials restricting our democratic rights that the people need the initiative power more than ever….

It’s time to push back against the power of the state to tell communities what they can and cannot do. It’s time to recognize a right of communities to expand rights at the local level and to insulate the exercise of that right from the power of state governments to override it.

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Hostility toward participatory democracy and the technocratic lust for preemption of democracy is widespread and not limited to the corporations either. For example, this technocratic mindset is one thing upon which Monsanto and many GMO labeling advocates agree. As I mentioned above, nothing’s more abhorrent to monoculture believers of every sort than the “patchwork”, aka diversity, of ecology, democracy, and freedom.

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February 12, 2016

GMO News Summary February 12th, 2016

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*José Manuel Silva, president of the Portuguese Medical Association, has called for a global ban on glyphosate: “For glyphosate the conclusion is clear: this herbicide should be banned worldwide.” This is the beginning of what will at first be a trickle of those who will first enter through the breach the WHO opened up and then go beyond to call for this ban. The job of the glyphosate abolition movement is to hammer away and widen this breach, drive the coming sea change in public knowledge and opinion, and bring the trickle to a flood.
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*The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is now talking tough to the EFSA about the agency’s slanders of the IARC’s work. Director Chris Wild is demanding that the EFSA retract the lies it has posted about the IARC’s study and correct several distortions before the cancer research agency will go through with a scheduled meeting with the pro-poison regulator. The lies center on the IARC’s determination to stick with the whole science and nothing but the science in their assessment of the glyphosate cancer evidence. The EFSA and German Bureau of Risk Assessment (BfR), by contrast, refuse to recognize the scientific record (for example, their anti-scientific dogma rejects epidemiological research even though this is the most complete scientific evidence possible), but instead recognize only “secret science”, which by definition is not science at all. The BfR and EFSA consulted only this mythical pseudo-science and, to add insult, berated the IARC for not having consulted the same even though: 1. Secret science doesn’t count as evidence at all; and 2. It’s secret, so the IARC panel wouldn’t have been allowed to see it even if they had wanted to. The EFSA has also told technical lies about the IARC’s methods. EFSA director Bernhard Url continues his months-long pattern of squirming and lying as he tries to do the minimum possible to induce the IARC to go through with the meeting.
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*Monsanto is settling with the SEC for $80 million to cover for a vastly greater amount of accounting fraud regarding the way it logged its Roundup revenues without subtracting the cost of rebates. From 2009-11 Monsanto paid rebates to farmers so they could purchase the additional pesticides they needed to spray when Monsanto’s GM crops failed to work as advertised. The SEC found that Monsanto was failing to log the full cost of these rebates in order to inflate its revenue figures. Monsanto admits no wrongdoing but is paying this small fine, and its CEO will regurgitate some of his bonuses. All this won’t help the company’s reputation on Wall Street, which is already looking askance at them.
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All this is just the mildest slap on the wrist. As I said two weeks ago about the court judgements against Monsanto for its crimes involving PCBs, the penalties aren’t even in the same galaxy with what the company, its executives, its technicians and its salesmen deserve.
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*Is the globalization-assisted Zika virus causing an epidemic of microcephaly? Are the GM mosquitoes themselves causing it? Or is it actually yet another epidemic being caused by a pesticide. The Argentine public health doctors’ group Physicians of the Crop-Sprayed Towns and their Brazilian counterpart Abrasco are reporting that they have evidence linking the epidemic to pyriproxyfen, a poison sprayed to kill mosquito larvae. If true, this means the specter of allegedly mosquito-borne disease, including birth defects, is being used as the pretext to sell and spray a poison which is actually causing the worst epidemic of birth defects. This kind of psychopathy is par for the course for disaster capitalism, and especially for the corporate poison sector.
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*According to records publicly posted by the EPA, the USDA along with state agriculture departments is openly exasperated with the EPA. As the USDA sees it, although the two agencies share a mandate to maximize the production and use of agricultural poisons the EPA has sometimes been slack. The result has been that “EPA added an additional and unnecessary burden to farmers by publishing a portion of an incomplete risk assessment”, which is regulator code for “an additional and unnecessary burden to the corporations.” By all accounts the EPA is just as ardent a poison booster as the USDA, but has sometimes had to delay approvals because of adverse legal decisions. Evidently the USDA believes EPA has been too willing to obey court orders and hasn’t been creative or defiant enough in disobeying them. This gives us an insight into the USDA’s attitude toward the law and society. Indeed in 2010 the USDA allowed planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets in direct defiance of a court order forbidding this.
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Meanwhile the EPA just got hit with another lawsuit. The Center for Biological Diversity will try again to force the EPA to obey the Endangered Species Act, this time with regard to its assessment of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide. By now EPA’s attitude toward the ESA is clear: Ignore and evade it as much as possible. If a lawsuit forces them to face up to it, make the narrowest deal possible while continuing to evade and ignore at every other point. Force groups like the CBD to keep filing lawsuit after lawsuit over specific acts of flouting, and avoid any general accounting.
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Yet even this systematic lawlessness is still far too law-abiding for the USDA’s taste.
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*Over fifty farmer unions comprising a spectrum from small organic farmers groups to large commodity unions, including many members of the Modi government coalition, are opposing the rumored imminence of the government’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) cultivation approval for GM mustard. The unions object to the secrecy of the process and the fact that there’s no need for the product. They point out how Bt cotton has aggravated the economic crisis and suicide epidemic among small cotton farmers and how it has increased pesticide use. They accuse the government of pushing the project for no reason other than “collusion with the seed and chemical industry”.
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We can expect the same government and corporate propaganda campaign as was undertaken with Bt cotton. Advertising, seed dealers, and secretly paid local farming leaders will tout the product. The goal is to hook farmers on the pesticide and debt treadmill, accelerating the liquidation of small farmers and the consequent concentration of farmland. Perhaps with such better informed and organized farmer opposition this time around, there will be a more effective alternative source of information for farmers than the corporate status quo.
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*Researchers in Burkina Faso are attributing this latest in the long line of Bt cotton blunders to a typical pleiotropic effect, which in the case of the pirated Bollgard II Burkinabe varieties causes the bolls to produce lint whose threads are too short, even when the bolls themselves yield superficially well. This is poor quality cotton which can’t be sold at market price. As always, genetic engineering is sloppy, imprecise, opaque to the engineers who have only the haziest notion of what they’re doing, and the only thing predictable about it is that it will produce chaotically unpredictable effects. As always, any alleged pesticide reduction, even if true for the spraying, is fraudulent accounting since it omits the increasing number of neonic and other seed coatings as well as the Bt toxin itself. Meanwhile spraying reductions are always temporary.
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(This is also a good study in what a meaningless crackpot measure “yield” is in itself. What’s the substantive meaning when one says, “Even though cotton yields are up, the amount machines are able to extract from the picked cotton has diminished. In other words, Bt cotton produces both less cotton lint, and lint of an inferior quality”? That sure sounds to me like Bt cotton yields more poorly by any meaningful measure. And again, even by their measure any increase in gross bolls is dependent on optimal conditions and is purely temporary pending the inevitable debouching of secondary pests and evolution of resistance among the target insect.)
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*Government “intelligence” types including James Clapper are suddenly catching on to what we’ve always known, that genetic engineering is inherently a bioweapons program, in the same way that in its pesticide plant manifestation (pretty much all of it so far) it’s also a chemical warfare program.
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Of course system bureaucrats and flacks are concerned only with how “enemies” and “non-state actors” might obtain and use these weapons, not about the infinitely greater bio- and chemical warfare being waged right now by governments and corporations all around the world. Most of this is under the guise of industrial agriculture, but objectively speaking it’s literal war against all the ecosystems of the Earth and against almost all the people.
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*More on the Oregon state legislative proposal seeking partial reversal of the preemption law enacted in 2013 (on a fast-track “emergency” basis, no less) with the goal of crushing Oregon’s rising food sovereignty, anti-corporate, community rights movement. The bill’s sponsor insists he wants to retain preemption in general but just get rid of one provision, the regulation of seeds, which he thinks is over-broad. Opponents say the sky is falling and that this would “gut” the whole law. The truth sounds like the proposal is pretty meager. If everyone remains so in favor of preemption that those who are really opposed would have to operate by stealth, then how could they get a meaningful law passed anyway? One thing you can always be sure of is that anyone using the canned propaganda term “patchwork” is talking in bad faith.
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Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, told the committee the law was written so broadly that it prohibits any local regulation of plants, including city ordinances regulating overgrown yards, city tree policies, and lawmakers’ own desire to let counties regulate marijuana.

Several area farmers testified about the difficulties a “patchwork of local regulations” would present to those who farm in multiple counties.

Ivan Maluski, policy director for Friends of Family Farmers, countered that there’s been no action on a statewide solution to the conflict between GMO and non-GMO farmers, something that then Gov. Kitzhaber committed to in writing to win legislative support for the legislation in 2013.

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Surprise surprise, while yelling “Stampede!” Kitzhaber promised solutions to problems afterward, but turns out to have been lying about that.
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*Hawaii developments continue: The SHAKA movement is proceeding with its appeal of the federal court ruling slapping down Maui’s democratically voted moratorium on GMO cultivation. The court ruled that this ballot initiative was preempted by state law. The appeals court rejected the corporations’ motion to reject the appeal.
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In response to a similar preemption ruling from the same pro-corporate court striking down Kauai’s 2013 law imposing modest notification requirements for pesticide spraying near schools, hospitals, old age homes and similar places, state legislators have introduced legislation to impose similar notification requirements statewide.
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Hawaii is subject to one of the most concentrated poison attacks on earth. Modest as they are, these legislative attempts are the beginning of the necessary abolition of all poison-based agriculture in Hawaii.

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January 15, 2016

GMO News Summary January 15th, 2016

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*Soon, maybe next week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will hold his secret conference of “stakeholders” to hammer out a plan to prevent Vermont’s GMO labeling law from going into effect in July and destroy the labeling democracy movement (the state-level movement) once and for all. Campbell’s timed its public call for FDA “mandatory” labeling in order to coincide with the Vilsack conference and push this proposal as a major subject at the conference. It’s peculiar how many people purport to stick up for Vermont at the same time they’re saying “Go Campbell’s!”
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Meanwhile Mark Lynas says the Campbell’s plan is a great thing. NOW we know it’s anti-GMO!

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Lynas’ position on labeling has been clear for a long time. He thinks Dark Act Plan A won’t work and is bad politics, but that a weak and fraudulent, but “mandatory”, FDA policy which preempts real labeling at the state level (DARK Act Plan B) would not only destroy the labeling movement but destroy the rising trend of advocacy beyond labeling toward outright bans. He thinks this will help normalize and maximize GMOs in our food. Campbell’s is the first big industry “stakeholder” to agree completely with this position in public. There is a perfect consensus among establishment types – politicians, industry, insider NGOs. Wherever else they may sometimes disagree, they’re all firm that the #1 purpose of any federal standard is to preempt the labeling democracy movement and forestall the abolition movement.
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*Word is there’s worry within the EFSA about how they’re squandering what little credibility they have left faster than a Roundup Ready pigweed grows. Meanwhile EC’s health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis replied to 96 scientists who sent him an Open Letter demolishing the lies of the BfR and EFSA and calling upon him to support the IARC and uphold the science. Andriukaitis begged off in a shame-faced way, claiming he has no legal authority to reject the EFSA dictate. Meanwhile EFSA chief Bernhard Url continues with his exercises in public buffoonery. He keeps admitting that the IARC assessed glyphosate formulations which are actually used in the real world while the EFSA assessed only fantasyland pure glyphosate which is never used. Yet he’s so stupid he continues to think this is a good point for his EFSA, rather than absolutely shattering for its credibility.
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*At a workshop held at the University of Agricultural Sciences at Raichur in India’s Karnataka state, government and university officials joined farmer representatives in condemning the “Green Revolution” and its technology focus for economically ruining vast numbers of farmers and rendering farming the extremely precarious profession it has become in India. Well over 300,000 farmer suicides can attest to that. Destroying farmers and driving millions off the land was always one of the core goals of the Green Revolution and remains so today.
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*The record of Bt cotton remains perfect. Except where bolstered with massively subsidized inputs (and even then often just for a little while), the crop never performs well and quickly fails. Today Pakistan is hitting rock bottom as the world’s fourth largest cotton producer is suffering a 22% yield collapse and having to resort to importation for basic cotton needs. According to the USDA 95% of Pakistan’s cotton crop is GM. The industry’s own International Cotton Advisory Committee tells the story: “…adverse weather [i.e. climate chaos inducing drought], increased pest pressure from whitefly and pink bollworm [both secondary and target pests enjoying the feast], and the high cost of inputs discouraging farmers from better crop management.”
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Yes, with GM cotton especially the costs of inputs are indeed extremely high. But that’s a peculiar variation on farmer scapegoating – high input cost is what’s causing their “poor management”? But if your technology is too expensive for those to whom you make such a hard-sell marketing pitch, isn’t that the fault of yourselves and your technology, not the buyer who’s financially unable to use it? Indeed I’d call that consumer fraud myself. A massive, Nuremburg-level case of it.
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*Armed with an eviction order procured from a corporate-friendly judge, Monsanto is trying to drive off the Malvinas community camp blockading the company’s attempt to build a chemical seed factory. If built this factory would spew vast clouds of toxic fumes and leave regular spills of the neonics, fungicides, and the many other poisons it would be applying as seed coatings. This would add to the already devastating poison burden the people of the soy zone must endure every day. Citizen groups are rallying to the support of the people of Malvinas.
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As the people of Argentina continue their growing fight to take back their country from the tyranny of agribusiness, the poison industry has a friend in the new president: “President Mauricio Macri has also shown his support for big agribusiness in his first month in office. In a move he promoted as a boost to agricultural production, Macri scrapped export taxes on big agricultural corporations producing corn, wheat, and beef, and lowered taxes on soybeans.”
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This contradicts what has always been the number one argument offered in favor of the Argentine “soy republic” and other branches of agribiz, that these commodity export taxes are the basis of Argentina’s allegedly vibrant economy, playing the same role as oil does for Saudi Arabia. I.e., Argentina is the equivalent of a petro-state. Indeed, since industrial agriculture is 100% dependent on cheap fossil fuels, we can call Argentina a meta-petro-state, essentially reselling oil in a rudimentary value-added form. Now they’re admitting that the alleged economic need for all this was always a lie.
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*Here’s a state of the union for Bt toxins, and things are looking quite nullific. In Brazil Cry1AB (MON810) and Cry1F (1507) are both failing against the target armyworm. A new study is unable to conclude whether the longstanding trend of resistance to Cry1F is now becoming cross-resistance to Cry1AB, or whether the resistance to Cry1AB is evolving on its own. Whatever, the researchers who just proved failure recommend more failure: The poisons should simply be stacked ever higher. The cool-sounding term for this is the “pyramid” strategy. They don’t tell you that the pyramid is constructed upside-down, and is just as structurally stable as you’d expect. Doug Gurian-Sherman explains why stacks are already failing and why cross-resistance is likely to become more prevalent. He also explains why RNAi insecticidal GMOs are likely to fail for the same reasons. Just like herbicide tolerant GMOs, insecticidal GMOs are a failed product genre. Reality has completely refuted them. Only cartel monopoly and government power keep them in existence at all.
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*As if Bt cotton doesn’t have enough problems with its inherent shoddiness and great vulnerability to anything less than maximum irrigation (Australian cotton has been a victim of climate chaos drought in recent years), in Australia it’s also being destroyed by 2,4-D drift. 2,4-D and dicamba are among the most highly volatile and drift-prone herbicides, causing massive damage to wild plants and other crops every year. If Dow and Monsanto are able to go through with their plan to commercialize on a mass scale GMOs tolerant of 2,4-D (Dow) and dicamba (Monsanto), the collateral destruction will surge exponentially. This is one of several reasons we must find a way to stop this deployment before it really gets rolling. Of course the EPA and USDA ardently back this great escalation of the Poison War.
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In the piece linked, note the notion “incorrect spraying”. This is false – 2,4-D drifts unpredictably, often for great distances, even when the user adheres to the label directions with the utmost vigilance. That’s part of why drift and superweeds/bugs are allowed to be acknowledged in the mainstream media. The farmer’s alleged “incorrect use” or “overuse” is always scapegoated. (I also noted above the Pakistan industry group’s absurd attempt to blame the farmers.) The other reason is that the proposed answer is always escalated poison technology. Drift is the problem? Dow’s patented formula is non-drift. Roundup Ready superweeds? The answer is Agent Orange crops. Superbugs? As the researchers I mentioned above recommended, stack more Bt toxins, and then it’ll be gene silencing to the rescue.
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*A judge issued a $53.5 million judgement against GM tree company ArborGen and its corporate parents International Paper, MeadWestvaco (now WestRock) and New Zealand-based Rubicon for defrauding ten “employees”. The plaintiffs, judged to have been defrauded out of their equity position, are evidently the genetic engineers themselves:
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While working for ArborGen, Plaintiffs were productive. It is undisputed that, as one
former ArborGen officer testified at trial, Plaintiffs were “good employees” when they worked for
ArborGen. TT 224:1-7 (Mann). ArborGen’s Chief Technology Officer Maud Hinchee testified by
way of her deposition that the secunded employees, particularly the senior scientists including
Plaintiff Shujun Chang, were instrumental in making ArborGen successful by generating
intellectual property and technology when ArborGen was starting out. SeePX 530 (Hinchee Depo.
25:2-11). Indeed, several Plaintiffs made key contributions to the intellectual property of
ArborGen that helped ArborGen’s value grow over time. See, e.g., PX 487 & 489 (relating to
somatic embryogenesis patents generated for ArborGen by Plaintiffs Nehra, Clark and Stout). Dr.
Nehra testified that the number of patents held by ArborGen that had been originated by its
scientists probably numbered in the hundreds. 1-1 471:17-22 (Nehra). Mr. Clark testified he alone
has 10 patent applications from his tenure at ArborGen. TT 1226:14-18 (Clark).

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I’m not sure who I would’ve preferred to see lose the case. That the corporation defrauded the engineers is certainly poetic justice and an occasion for schadenfreude. In researching my TTIP posts I noted that, according to the BIO’s submitted comments, they’re hoping the TTIP will increase “labor mobility”, i.e. drive down engineer salaries. Couldn’t happen to nicer guys.
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*A USDA study confirms the agency’s own original forecast that GM alfalfa would promiscuously the contaminate non-GM crop. This follows upon years of contamination incidents and China’s rejection of many hay shipments from the US. It contradicts the USDA’s own lies about “co-existence” and confirms that one of the goals of Roundup Ready alfalfa is to render organic meat and dairy production, which is heavily dependent upon non-GM hay, impossible.
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*The USDA continues to refuse to monitor glyphosate residues in food. Therefore, as per rational method where dealing with any such cover-up on the part of a derelict regulator, we must assume: 1. The USDA believes many common foods contain very high levels of glyphosate residue. 2. The USDA believes this causes cancer and many other health detriments. 3. That’s why they don’t want to know. “Plausible deniability.” If they were honest and self-confident, they would test. The same is true at every point of the entire system.
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Instead, they play their usual games of regulatory whack-a-mole (“the EPA says it’s safe, and anyway is currently conducting its own reassessment, so let’s wait for that”) and pleading that testing would be too expensive. Well, of course Monsanto, which should have to pay for the testing but NOT conduct it, would say it’s expensive. But why would a regulator allegedly concerned with the “public interest” be parroting Monsanto’s position? Why indeed.
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*When Monsanto hires a PR firm is that tax-deductible? And is that income tax-exempt for the firm? I’d think not. But when the company launders the same operation through a university, it’s tax-exempt and probably tax-deductible. Yet the money was handed over to Kevin Folta to use at his own discretion as a publicist, dirty trickster, and whatever else he felt like doing. This sure looks like what the IRS would call tax fraud if any small fish got caught doing it.
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*A new study in Nature traces the climate change denial propaganda network. It’s organized in the same way as the pro-GMO propaganda machine and overlaps to a large extent. The same professional liars often hired for both purposes, and in general there’s a very strong correlation of climate change deniers with pro-GMO activists and a strong anti-correlation of climate deniers and GMO critics. The new report (behind a paywall, so I couldn’t see the whole thing yet) undoubtedly traces many denier figures who are also GMO propagandists, and zero who are critics.
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Anthropogenic climate change represents a global threat to human well-being and ecosystem functioning. Yet despite its importance for science and policy, our understanding of the causes of widespread uncertainty and doubt found among the general public remains limited.

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I can help them with that. The general public sees lots of politicians and insider NGO types issuing the most dire warnings about climate change, yet without exception these persons continue to advocate economic Business As Usual, as we just saw in Paris. The vast majority of them also live the most gluttonous personal lifestyles and have huge personal carbon footprints. So it makes perfect sense that members of the public would take an attitude, if not denying the actual physical science, still denying the political contention that this is really a crisis. After all, the actions of the likes of Obama, his negotiators at Paris, the Big Green environmental groups, all directly contradict their rhetoric. Clearly they’re liars when they claim to believe climate change is a growing crisis that must be faced honestly, rationally, morally, and without sham.
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Those who do recognize the full magnitude and peril of the crisis know there’s only one path: Greatly reduce GHG emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks. All else is vanity and sham.
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BTW, bona fide climate change deniers are proportionally more common among the more highly formally educated, and especially among STEM types, than among the general public. (Just as Christian fundamentalists and evolution deniers are more common among engineers than among the public.) I just wanted to point that out, apropos of the implied elitism of the abstract quoted above.
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*Public health author Pam Killeen eulogizes Joe Cummins: “He didn’t keep his mouth shut, and that made him the renegade scientist, the renegade professor.” Very high praise in the time of the dominion of corporate science. He died of the cancer he spent his life fighting, in forms from PCBs to GMOs.
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*Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski is threatening to block FDA nominee Robert Califf until he pledges that FDA will require that GM salmon be labeled. The Alaska delegation cares so much about this particular GMO only because they want to protect Alaska’s wild salmon industry, and indeed they should be concerned. But just as we suspected, Murkowski is quick to stipulate that she doesn’t want labeling for any other GMOs, offering a completely unscientific and irrational distinction between genetically engineered crops and a genetically engineered animal. Is there any such distinction? No one knows, and there’s zero reason to think that anything unsafe about GM salmon wouldn’t also be unsafe about GM plants.
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*One thing Campbell’s confirms once and for all, though common sense always knew it and studies proved it – GMO labeling will have zero effect on food prices. The piece is better than many. While “thanking” Campbell’s it makes clear that the company is saying these things only under duress from consumer pressure, the state-level movement, and Vermont. That’s the same state-level movement so many “labeling advocates” have suddenly shown such eagerness to throw overboard, the moment a so-called “mandatory” FDA policy is on the table.
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January 8, 2016

GMO News Summary, January 8th 2016

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*Climate change deniers of all stripes like to believe that such extreme effects as lessened precipitation becoming the occasion of drought* will be a big problem for the global South but not so much for the West. The overt deniers and nihilists openly say that climate change would be a winner for Western agriculture. The COP20 types and pro-GMO activists also believe this.
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But a new study published in Nature confirms that weather-affected drought is more destructively plaguing the monoculture agriculture of the US, Australia, and other industrialized countries than it is the agriculture of the unindustrialized world. This is because commodity monocrops, especially GMOs, are very high-maintenance and require optimal growing conditions, while the more diversified food-based agriculture of the global South is more resilient. As has been the case for thousands of years, rational societies today still organize their agriculture to be redundant and resilient, so that if bad weather or a pest or disease outbreak decimates one part of the harvest, other parts are likely to come through. The modern science of agroecology is built upon this and other fundamental facts. But such reason and science are of course anathema to irrational, anti-scientific commodity-based agriculture. Therefore the societies which shackle themselves to monocultures will reap the worst of the climate change whirlwind, while those which either transform to agroecology or, still practicing rational diversified agriculture such as in Africa, resist the corporate onslaught and supplement and build upon their traditions by adapting agroecological science to their conditions and traditions, will survive and thrive. There’s no other way forward, for facing up to the climate crisis and to the companion crises of this climactic era.
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[*As John Widtsoe described, drought is properly defined not as lack of sufficient precipitation, but a predictable lack of precipitation sufficient to sustain the water needs of an unsustainably thirsty economy or economic sector. That is, it’s an artificial condition, not a natural one. Truly unpredictable dearths are rare. There is nothing unpredictable or unpredicted about how industrial agriculture will fare very poorly under the onset of climate change.]
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Providing a good example of the ideas and actions necessary to get this necessary and prosperous transformation going, agroecology practitioners and campaigners in Britain just concluded their annual Oxford Real Farming Conference. The Conference is dedicated to exchanging ideas on the practice and economics of agroecology and the modes of spreading the agroecology idea among the people. The creativity, ferment, and excitement sharply contrasted with the dolor and stagnation in evidence at the establishment’s Oxford Farming Conference, attended by corporate and government hacks along with bootlick contract “farmers”. The stale monoculture of the atmosphere reflected the stale monoculture of their words, which of course were about nothing but dead physical monoculture. As the Guardian writer put it, “The Oxford Real Farming Conference has rapidly outgrown its decades-old establishment counterpart and is calling for radical reforms to the industrialised intensive model they represent.”
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*Even as Africa (whose people have contributed very little to the emissions and destruction of sinks driving climate change) struggles to hang on to its relatively much better adapted agricultural position, the exact same world historical criminals driving climate change to the crisis point are also trying to destroy Africa’s resiliency and force self-destructive monoculture upon it.
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Monsanto, the US and UK governments, and the Gates Foundation continue to push their “New Alliance” plan for the renewed colonial subjugation of Africa under the rule of corporate agriculture. Kenya was supposed to be the most important adherent to the plan, which basically uses US and UK taxpayer money to bribe African governments to allow Western corporations to rampage unrestrained across the land and people. African countries are to make any necessary changes to seed, IP, and land law, dismantle anything that’s left of the old-style public agricultural programs (largely wiped out years ago by the IMF’s “structural adjustment” assaults), steal tribal land and facilitate corporate land-grabbing, help construct any necessary globalization infrastructure, and submit to Western dumping and profit expatriation. The goal is to eradicate African diversified agriculture, economically liquidate millions of farmers and wipe out thousands of communities, turn the entire landscape into one vast corporate plantation export zone, and slam the coffin shut on any hope of an agroecological transformation. In the long run the entire continent is to become an uninhabited desert. This is the conscious goal of Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (of course any Republican in office would push it as well), David Cameron, as well as useful idiots like Bono, Bob Geldof, and many others.
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Although several countries such as Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Ghana have signed up, the prized adherent Kenya has so far disappointed the cabal. This is in large part because of intense grassroots opposition from the Kenyan people. The cartel and its allied governments are now making their strongest push yet to break through. The food sovereignty activists fighting in Kenya, Ghana, and everywhere else in Africa are fighting hard for all the people of Africa and the world, and richly deserve the full support of the world against this great crime.
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*Better news from Africa: What do you know, it actually is possible for a regulator to say No. It’s easy to forget that, given how the USDA, EPA, and FDA consistently claim that they have no choice but to approve everything put before them.
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In this case, South African regulators rejected the Agricultural Research Council’s application to market an insecticidal potato called SpuntaG2. The product concept is much like that of the GM potato variety Arpad Pusztai’s research found to be hazardous to mammal health. The regulator and appeals board cited biosafety, public health, and socioeconomic problems. One of the project’s own hired consultants concluded the GMO was “a solution in search of a problem”, thereby acknowledging that there’s never any need for any GMO. There’s always higher quality, far less expensive, safe, conventionally bred alternatives for whatever a particular GMO was supposed to do.
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So a regulator actually can say No. But according to the USDA, EPA, and FDA that word just doesn’t exist and is impossible to conceive.
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*In Pakistan and India Monsanto’s Bollgard II cotton continues to be decimated by the target pest, pink bollworm. This GMO contains two Bt toxins, the Cry1AC which generated resistance against itself and failed in the original Bollgard, and Cry2AB2, which is now failing as well. The GM cotton is also being ravaged by secondary pests like whitefly. Therefore all Bt cotton still requires massive and escalating insecticide use even during the period when it works against the target pest.
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Meanwhile according to the piece the Pakistan government is saying “Crop wiped out? Don’t worry, just feed it to livestock!” Needless to say that’s an insult to the farmers who have been economically wiped out by their destroyed crop. It also blithely overlooks the many dangers of deploying such livestock “feed”, dangers such as aflatoxin and the death of livestock which has often followed their feeding on Bt crop refuse. Most of all, there’s the ongoing fundamental idiocy of denying the proven fact that the product is a failure.
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*According to a Greenpeace report, Chinese farmers are “illegally” growing GM maize. A large proportion of samples taken from cornfields, markets, and processed food tested positive for GM contamination. The identifiable varieties include products from Monsanto, Syngenta, and DuPont. Of the six varieties identified, three are government-certified as conventional varieties, which if correct means they’ve been contaminated by illicit GM cultivation. The other three which tested positive are not certified. For a long time there have been rumors that seed from GM field trials was illicitly sold to farmers. That may be the source of the contamination. Probably these are all hybrid varieties. If so, commercial farmers would have a hard time saving seeds from them. In that case there’s either a constant influx of new GM seeds, or else the seed crop is becoming contaminated.
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The other day I briefly discussed the tumultuous and often inscrutable GMO situation in China. For more see here, here, here, here, and here. The GM corn phenomenon seems like a chaotic black market situation. Presumably the cartel is displeased with this black market trade.
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*The EPA continues living up to form. According to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), EPA has once again flouted its own deadlines to complete new “risk assessments” for glyphosate, atrazine, and imidacloprid. The glyphosate assessment was supposed to have been done last summer. (Meanwhile in Europe the EFSA moved its own already-belated glyphosate deadline from December 2015 to June 2016. This is a constant among these regulators, procrastination. This is because it becomes more and more difficult for them to come up with even pseudo-plausible lies to justify the clean bill of health they criminally bestow upon these deadly poisons.)
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Just last year in June the EPA settled in the CBD’s lawsuit over another dereliction, EPA’s breaking the law in refusing to analyze the effect of these poisons on endangered species. According to the settlement EPA grudgingly agreed to obey the Endangered Species Act. We’ll see – breaking the de jure law as well as committing crimes against humanity is the daily routine at these regulators.
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It’s not just for central governments. Here’s Hawaiian state and county officials engaging in the same procrastination.
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*Since I have an upcoming post on Monsanto’s ongoing financial travails and consolidation among the GMO/agrochemical cartel, I’ll save comment for there. Monsanto really is in some serious trouble, though. If people wanted to get together to focus on getting Roundup banned everywhere possible, it could become a permanently crippling blow. Of course the US government will do all it can for its favorite non-Wall Street corporation.
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*Vermont’s GMO labeling law will go into effect in June 2016. Looking ahead to this and perhaps other state laws to come, Campbell’s is becoming the first manufacturer to break ranks and add “made with genetically engineered ingredients” to its packaging. In other words they expect/hope what some of us think likely, that actual labels may help normalize GMOs, and even “get [Campbell’s] credit for transparency” as one analyst says in the piece. That’s one of several reasons I’m ambivalent about labels.
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I continue to note the proliferation of the Frank Luntz propaganda term “patchwork” (one of his favorite “Words That Work”), originally propagated among Republicans to oppose California’s CAFE standards. Today it’s most often used among opponents of GMO labeling, including the frauds who want sham FDA labeling which would preempt the states. In this NYT piece we see both the quoted CEO as well as the “journalist” using the loaded term.
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*A legal settlement in Jackson County upholds the 2014 law passed by a vote of the people and ends a SLAPP suit filed by two alfalfa contractors backed by the GMO cartel. The deal means Jackson farmers who already have Roundup Ready alfalfa in the ground can continue working it for the remaining years of its productive life, but they nor anyone else can plant more. (Alfalfa is a perennial generally harvested for hay for 4-8 years before replanting.)
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Making the world safe for organic and conventional alfalfa, one county at a time, has been one of the main goals of the local food system initiatives community rights campaigners are promulgating in Oregon such as the Jackson GMO ban. As a wind-pollinated perennial crop GM alfalfa has the highest rate of cross-pollination and contamination of non-GM varieties. Many GM-contaminated hay shipments have been rejected by China, a major buyer of US hay. This is the main reason Canadian farmers have put up enough resistance to forestall the approval of RR alfalfa there so far.
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An ulterior motive for the way Monsanto and the USDA have pushed this worthless product is to render organic meat and dairy untenable by making it impossible to source reliably non-GM hay. GMOs are forbidden under the USDA Organic certification, including the feed given to animals which are to be the source of organic meat or dairy. The corporations and government want either to apply more pressure to ease the organic standards to allow GMOs (this has always been a fond wish at USDA) or else wipe out the sector completely. That’s why Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and the industrial organic sector tried to put over their alfalfa “co-existence” compromise in 2011.
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*Even as the US government continues to lie about how the TTIP, TPP, and CETA would legally empower corporations directly to sue countries based on nothing but the most fairytale unmet profiteering expectations, TransCanada is now suing the US government based precisely on such a fish story. Of course these legal assaults via investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) have been ongoing under NAFTA, CAFTA, and many bilateral globalization deals for over twenty years now. We know for a fact that the TPP and TTIP would vastly escalate these stickups.
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Globalization and the compacts concluded under it have zero to do with legitimate demand-based trade. On the contrary, they drive a supply-based gangster economy where the corporate sectors use government subsidies and government muscle to force projects and products nobody wants upon supine populations.
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December 20, 2015

Corporate Fossil Fuel Extraction vs. Freedom

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Three grassroots fights against the water-poisoners and incipient destroyers of our lands and communities. Sometimes with the full collaboration of traitor local “authorities”, sometimes with virtuous local representatives siding with the people.
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In every case – fracking, the tar sands, shale oil – it’s a big lie that the devastation has anything to do with “energy independence”. On the contrary, the fact of this cancerously expanding pipeline infrastructure is proof that the extracted fuels are commodities for export. The communities ravaged by extraction and pipeline or bomb train transportation get nothing. Stability, security, prosperity, happiness can never be found on the path of the relentless, infinite corporate havoc. On the contrary, what little is left of these will only be wiped out completely.
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Note how the Kelo case disproves the lie that capitalism has anything to do with “property rights”. Under capitalism only the biggest, most powerful players have any rights at all, to property, speech, or anything else. Again, freedom, rights, justice, morality will never lie with the corporation. The corporate can never represent anything but the absolute destruction of these.
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December 18, 2015

GMO News Summary, December 18th, 2015

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Been off doing other things for awhile, but posting will resume shortly on a regularly scheduled basis.
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*The fact that pro-GMO activists rely 100% on secrecy, obscurantism, and direct lies is proof that their endeavor has zero to do with science. By definition science has to be fully public and transparent, while “secret science” is a contradiction in terms.
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From the initial refusal to ever perform safety tests on any GMO to the regulators’ refusal to render public the alleged evidence they use for their glyphosate reviews to the massive political campaign against labeling genetically modified additives, the corporations, their flunkeys, and their fanboys betray their contempt and fear of scientific scrutiny and assessment, and their complete abdication of any scientific position whatsoever.
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This is also implicit proof that Monsanto and the US government consider these products to be extremely harmful to human health and live in terror of what legitimate scientific study would find.
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The legislative skullduggery of trying to smuggle in the DARK Act as part of a spending bill, in addition to exposing its supporters as holding democracy in contempt, also demonstrates how they hold science in contempt. Most of all it betrays how they know they could never win an honest fight held in the full light of day.
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*The Philippine supreme court, unlike that of the US, still retains some intelligence, responsibility, and morality. Here it has prohibited government-approved field trials of Bt talong (eggplant) because the government failed to meet the requirements of its own National Biosafety Framework.
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But unlike the narrowly-tailored technicality-based decisions we’re used to in America, the court went much further. It issued a temporary moratorium on any new GMO field trials and approvals for cultivation or importation (the piece doesn’t say with regard to existing cultivation) on the grounds of the precautionary principle. The court conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature and found that the GMO cartel has not provided any evidence for the public health or environmental safety of GMOs.
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Taiwan and Venezuela have also enacted new restrictions on GM food and seeds.
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*In March 2015 the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) caught up with the evidence and found that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”. Since then Monsanto’s regulatory lackeys, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR; Germany is the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate regulation, making official recommendations to the EU and the member states) and the EFSA, have declared glyphosate “not a carcinogen”. In order to do this they’ve had to reject all the scientific evidence and resort to secret “evidence” which, as it’s secret, by definition is not part of science.
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For anyone who’s interested in this Roundup wrangle, here’s the best summary I’ve seen of the evidence, the IARC’s procedure and findings, and the derelictions and lies of the BfR and EFSA. It’s an open letter to the EU health commissioner signed by nearly a hundred scientists and doctors.
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*There’s an important new study debunking the “bad luck” and genetic determinist theories of cancer (i.e. those favored by the governments and corporations which release vast amounts of carcinogenic poisons into the environment). The study finds that intrinsic factors can account for only as much as 10-30% of the incidence of cancer. So as much as 90% of cancers are caused by such extrinsic factors as industrial and agricultural poisons.
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Little by little the environmental causation paradigm favored by the IARC and other such bodies is gaining ground, as the evidence becomes more and more difficult for corporate establishment medicine and “science” to deny.
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*The state of “our” regulatory agencies under corporate rule: “They have come to the conclusion that my particular skill set [being an actual scientist and servant of the public] does not meet the needs of my employer.” See also the USDA’s persecution of Jonathan Lundgren.
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In November the PICRI project (Partnership between Institutions and Citizens for Research and Innovation) held an international conference in Paris dedicated to several topics involving corporate agriculture and the way it has promulgated fraudulent pseudo-science. The conference brought credentialed researchers together with citizen participants from around the world to attain a truly comprehensive discussion of real science. The topics included the “substantial equivalence” fraud, the bogus studies corporations conduct to satisfy regulatory review, the way existing regulatory models give a free pass to endocrine disrupting poisons, and the effect of agricultural poisons on soil ecosystems.
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Throughout, the discussions emphasized how to develop truly honest and scientific models for testing the health and environmental effects of these poisons, and how scientists and technicians must work with citizens within a democratic framework in order to render science and technology beneficial to humanity.
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*Like in Oregon and Colorado and other states, the people of New Hampshire are putting forward an amendment to their state constitution that recognizes the right to local, community self government.
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