Volatility

June 17, 2018

The Billion Dollar Bug, Indeed

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“That which the borer has left, the earworm has eaten; and that which the earworm has left, the rootworm has eaten…”
 
The treadmill of planned obsolescence continues. The goal, as proven by the corporate state’s pattern of action, is to cause insect resistance to pesticides to evolve ever faster, to provide a rationale for the ever faster development of ever more complex GMO/pesticide packages. The real purpose of this technological deployment, beyond mundane profit motives, is control, war, and the total destruction of the ecology.
 
All prior anti-rootworm Bt GMOs are admitted failures. Rootworm now resists them all. Monsanto’s “SmartStax Pro” AKA “Corn Rootworm III” (MON 87411), currently in development, is the next GMO “solution” being touted for rootworm control. SS Pro is being developed with the RNA interference mode. RNAi is simply a more aggressive gene driving attack on the ecology than the regular GM contamination already driving its toxic genetics.* As for pest control, this is the exact same product as prior insecticidal GMOs and will fail just as quickly in the exact same way.
 
The piece GMWatch links, a pro-poison outlet, admits that all GMOs are a failure and that farmers have to spray just as much as before, as well as rotate crops and observe insects in the field (what radical ideas, those last two). A neutral observer might think they should admit that the pesticide paradigm is a proven failure. A neutral observer might think they have an ulterior motive for continuing to shill for pesticides even as they admit pesticides don’t work. Rootworm is indeed a “billion dollar bug” for Monsanto, Syngenta, and Dow.
 
Today most Bt GM seed in the US is sold in the form of a “refuge in a bag” (RIB). This means that non-GM seed is scattered in among the bulk of GM seed. RIB abrogates the entire notion of non-Bt “refuges”, which already were a propaganda scam in the first place.** The fact that the EPA lowered the percentage requirement from 20% for discrete “structured” refuges (entomologists originally insisted that at least 50% was necessary, but were bought off at 20%) to 5% for the diffused “RIB” shows their twisted sense of humor. To make the joke complete, they should have lowered the RIB to 0%. It would be just as effective. This is further proof that the pesticide arms race is an intentionally escalating planned failure.
 
 
*All GMOs have unstable genomes riddled with mutations, and almost all are driven by the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus promoter which has a recombination hot-spot. For both of these reasons GMOs are more likely to be vectors of horizontal gene transfer than natural plants and are more aggressive in this transfer, forcing their alien genetics into any available place including the genomes of animals that eat them. Therefore every GMO is inherently a gene drive agent and seeks to force its brutish promoter-amplified alien nucleic acids into every possible organism: Related plants and plant-eating animals. Every GMO is a cancer agent in a precise sense, just as each is a cancer cell from the perspective of the ecosystem as a whole. GMOs are cancer amid the ecosystem, and they seek to sow cancer within individual animals. In this way they work to weaken animal populations from below, while gross ecocide exterminates them from above.
 
**The pesticide treadmill of planned, deliberate obsolescence gives the lie to the whole notion of “refugia”, which are stands of non-Bt corn which the EPA and similar regulators in other countries require poison farmers to set aside. The idea is supposed to be that the non-Bt stand provides a “refuge” for insects without innate resistance to survive and interbreed with the naturally resistant ones who have survived feeding on the Bt crop. Their offspring will be less likely to inherit the resistance trait, and therefore the overall conversion of the pest population to a resistant variety is supposed to be delayed.
 
As we see, the theoretical setting aside of refuges has done little to halt the march of Bt-resistant rootworms and other resistant insects. Refuges were really a political scam in the first place. Neither the EPA nor regulators in other countries enforce them, nor were refuges ever supposed to be enforced. The idea of the refuge, as a way for regulators and corporations to reassure skeptics that the product will work, always had more significance then the real world application.
 
This is proven by the fact that, in the same way that regulators set allowable pesticide levels in water and food, not according to public health or any other scientific measure, but simply according to whatever level will result from the amount of pesticides corporations need to sell and farmers are driven to spray, so the refuge percentages aren’t set according to any scientific measure, but according to the lowest politically justifiable level.
 
Therefore although USDA entomologists recommended 50% refuge planting if the policy was supposed to have any chance of being effective, the EPA originally set the requirement at 20% for single and then double trait Bt poison crops. Needless to say Monsanto originally opposed the refuge concept as such and has always lobbied for the lowest possible level. The EPA was happy to accept the cartel’s argument that stacked varieties, by incorporating multiple poisons, would attack target insects so many ways at once that the 20% refuge was no longer necessary and could be reduced to 5%. This “reduced refuge” requirement was inaugurated with SmartStax corn in 2009, and we have indeed seen rapid results where it’s come to the evolution of rootworm resistance. RIB has further accelerated the arms race.
 
 
 
 
 
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April 4, 2017

“Pesticides’ Lives Matter”, Says the European Government

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“Pesticides are products that matter—to farmers, consumers, and the environment. We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment,” says Margrethe Vestager, the EC commissioner in charge of competition policy.

 
That’s the industry’s American Chemical Society quoting the European central government’s competition czar. The European Commission has given its approval to the pending Dow-DuPont merger, contingent on DuPont divesting several holdings including its pesticides R&D division. The reason they give is that they think combining the Dow and DuPont R&D divisions would result in lower quantity and quality of research and development.
 
Pesticides invariably become ever more harmful to people and the environment, but the EC reads from Orwell’s playbook.
 
As we see, the Poisoner ideology and the pesticide mandate of regulators is so normative that antitrust regulators publicly avow that they are motivated by a mandate to ensure maximal research and development of poisons toward maximal usage. Here the regulator is engaging in pro-corporate propaganda, promising the public that agrochemical sector consolidation will result in better, less toxic poisons. This is a premeditated lie, since the inertia of corporate industrial agriculture is exclusively toward ever more toxic poisons in ever greater amounts.
 
This is an example of the corporate-technocratic regulator template in action. As per (1) the corporate project is normative. As per (2) the antitrust regulator makes a show of ordering sham concessions from the corporation. As per (3) the regulator then turns corporate propagandist and assures the public that the government has acted in the public interest, that the corporate project now will proceed in a benevolent way, and that the people therefore should tend to their private concerns and go to sleep.
 
Of course the public rationale here is idiotic. The whole point of consolidation such as the Dow-DuPont combination is that research and development has run out of road and the oligopoly needs to self-cannibalize. As a rule mergers among oligopolists are the sign of a superannuated, calcifying, decadent sector. It means companies are running out of ideas, losing confidence in the sector and in themselves. It’s the most extreme version of buying your ideas, patents, and products rather than being an innovator and entrepreneur who develops these yourself. Dow and DuPont believe they’re reaching dead ends and each needs to buy what the other has. Dow needs Pioneer seed germplasm, DuPont needs Dow’s pesticide lines and genetic engineering expertise and patents. When the antitrust regulator orders DuPont to divest its pesticide R&D and some pesticide lines, this merely is throwing the company into the briar patch.
 
The real character of the pesticide/GMO sector is that it is antiquated, backward, an economic and innovation bottleneck, shoddy, tawdry. This is borne out by one consistent thread which runs through all the sector consolidation events. Monsanto’s contractions, Monsanto’s proposals to Syngenta, the Dow/DuPont merger: All involve cutting research and development spending. In other words the sector has reached the point where it thinks more in terms of stock buybacks and scrounging whatever technology and patents it can buy rather than developing anything on its own. To some extent this is inherent to any big corporation and any oligopoly sector. But it’s especially congenital to the agrochemical sector, which was always based on accelerating planned obsolescence toward its inevitable culmination in the complete exhaustion and obsolescence of the entire paradigm.
 
Therefore research and development always is a target for down-sizing in a case like this. If continued R&D opportunities existed, that would be an incentive against merging in the first place.
 
Of course the industry’s flack who authored the piece has to tout such a merger as a pro-innovative step. But in truth the only innovation in this case is toward preservation of corporate power. For the agrochemical cartel, wracked by such bad fundamentals, where the sector’s inertia is becoming less powerful, more diffuse and centrifugal, preserving power now means consolidation.
 
 
Meanwhile India’s Competition Commission is making a different public sound. It “is of prima facie opinion” that the merger will hurt competition and announces it will seek public comment and demand more public transparency from Dow and DuPont about their plans.
 
India’s regulators in recent years have shown more willingness to hinder Western corporate projects, especially where it comes to seed prices and corporate taxation on seeds. The “nationalist” Modi government looks somewhat less like the US poodle of previous Indian central governments and more like China and Russia in being leery of Western corporate domination of agriculture and food. I remain skeptical that any of these governments are in any way anti-GMO, the way some elements of the Modi coalition claim to be, but at any rate they seem determined to reduce the global dominion of Western corporations like Monsanto.
 
At least in the case of China, this certainly is because they plan to build their own competing GM/pesticide cartel. Indeed the most pivotal of the ongoing mergers may be that of the state’s ChemChina with Syngenta.
 
But as I say in those pieces, China looks to be getting into the GMO/pesticide market at its peak, and would do much better to convert to agroecology. But of course power-driven insanity is no monopoly of the West, and most of the non-Western world also will insist on doing everything the hardest, most destructive, most self-destructive way possible.
 
 
 

January 19, 2016

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

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The year 2015 was a year of concentration in the already uncompetitive poison sector. For many years the pesticide and seed markets have become increasingly dominated by a small handful of corporations – Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and a few others. The GMO phenomenon has greatly accelerated this trend, as the world’s most powerful governments and corporate sectors have boosted biotech worldwide as capitalism’s last great hope to break the bonds of physics and biology. This has profound religious, economic, and paramilitary implications we’ll discuss in depth as we proceed. For today we’ll stick with the proximate phenomenon of sector concentration.
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First came Monsanto’s bid to buy Syngenta, which Syngenta rejected with some disdain. Most onlookers thought it looked like a good fit – Monsanto’s seeds and traits to complement Syngenta’s more diversified pesticide line. But Syngenta evidently was not as interested in Monsanto’s GMO line as conventional wisdom thought it should be. In August Monsanto gave up for the time being after Syngenta had rejected at least three Monsanto bids. As the year wore on Monsanto announced two major rounds of contraction. In October the company announced it would cut 2600 jobs (12% of its work force), buy back stocks (down 30% since February at that time), and undertake a “restructuring” including cutting research and development spending. (Around the same time Syngenta and DuPont announced more modest contractions.) Later that month the company said it would close three R&D centers which focus on genetic engineering and breeding development, cutting another 90 employees. Both GMO and Roundup sales are down compared to the previous year. The new year looks no less bleak as Monsanto announced a third contraction. The company announced deeply depressed Roundup and GM maize sales, larger than expected losses, and will cut another thousand employees. Monsanto’s fundamentals are not looking good.
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In November the Chinese conglomerate ChemChina made its own bid for Syngenta. The company rejected this first bid, but is now said to be in “advanced talks” with ChemChina. Its chairman now says Syngenta is merger-minded, but continues to disparage a potential Monsanto deal. When the music stops Monsanto’s going to be left without a chair! In December Monsanto also announced it would not proceed with projected construction of a seed factory in Iowa. DuPont also cancelled three Iowa projects. The climax was the announcement that Dow and DuPont will merge and then split into three companies including one dedicated to agrochemicals. The proposed agrochemical spinoff would represent $19 billion in combined sales from the two companies. This would make it the largest GMO/pesticide company in the world. The Dow/DuPont deal evidently spurred Syngenta to enter the final round of negotiations with ChemChina, in part because of the increasing unease of Syngenta’s shareholders. The company’s chairman has hinted that he thinks Syngenta could become China’s primary supplier of GM technology and primary Western partner for China’s long-planned attempt to build its own GMO/pesticide conglomerate and assert itself globally in competition with the US-based cartel.
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According to the business papers, the proximate reason for the woes and tensions disturbing the sector has been the prolonged sagging of agricultural commodity prices. The downturn has caused many farmers to cut back on their high-input, highly expensive commodity crop production, and this in turn has been affecting the profits of Monsanto and others for a few years now. This in turn makes them disreputable on Wall Street. It’s great to see agribusiness hurting under the same vicious circle of high input prices, low harvest prices, and the imperative to “Get Big or Get Out” they help force upon farmers. (Roundup Ready crops, for example, were specifically designed to accelerate Get Big or Get Out. They were never seriously claimed to increase yield by the acre. Rather, they were supposed to make it easier to cultivate a greater acreage. The farmer would allegedly “make it up on volume”. Thus they were intended to accelerate farm consolidation.) And this increasing sector consolidation will just squeeze the oligopolists further and render all the economic pathologies worse. The fundamentals look bad.
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As a rule mergers among oligopolists are the sign of a superannuated, calcifying, decadent sector. It means companies are running out of ideas, losing confidence in the sector and in themselves. It’s the most extreme version of buying your ideas, patents, and products rather than being an innovator and entrepreneur who develops these yourself. Dow and DuPont believe they’re reaching dead ends and each needs to buy what the other has. Dow needs Pioneer germplasm*, DuPont needs Dow’s genetic engineering expertise and patents. Everyone recognized how Monsanto was trying to achieve this with its Syngenta bid. But Syngenta seemed not to want any kind of deal at all with them. Evidently Monsanto has nothing it wants, at least not at the price Monsanto offered. Meanwhile a few years ago BASF’s GMO operation was driven out of Europe completely. Those two may end up having to get together.
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[*Dow’s germplasm situation is interesting. If you look at ISAAA data, it looks like prior to the Enlist system Dow’s only solo commercialized GMO line has been some varieties of Widestrike cotton, while their other projects have involved contributing transgenes to joint products with DuPont and Monsanto. If you look at Dow’s seed company holdings, they’re relatively meager compared to those of DuPont and Monsanto. I’ll suppose that for those joint projects Dow had to rely on the other company to contribute not only transgenes of its own but much or all of the genetic framework.**
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Then there’s the curious fact that for several years running Dow’s been surprisingly willing to sit quietly for regulator-imposed delays. First there was the USDA delay while the agency ran a full Environmental Impact Statement. Then came the EPA’s imposition of various restrictions on Enlist commercial plantings in 2015, and most recently EPA’s temporary revocation of Enlist Duo’s registration. It’s almost as if Dow is nervous about its own product for some reason. It’s not displaying much of the aggressiveness we’re used to from the GMO corporations. Do they doubt some fundamental of the product, like perhaps the quality of their own seed genetics? That would be part of the explanation for why Dow was so ardent for this merger.]
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Another force driving the sector toward trying to diversify through consolidation is fear of the political countermovement against agricultural poisons. Monsanto is especially vulnerable, dependent upon Roundup for about 70% of its revenues. Roundup accounts for half its sales, while GMOs dependent upon it make up much of the rest. This is why Syngenta had little interest even in Monsanto’s GMO business. In 2015 the entire world learned for keeps what campaigners, Monsanto, and regulators have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. With the WHO’s announcement the clock is now ticking, counting down the rest of glyphosate’s legal life. The people will now slowly but surely force the complete banning of glyphosate-based poisons. The bell is tolling for Roundup, Monsanto knows it, and so they must find new products or die. They’re hyping everything in sight, from slapping new ad slogans on old, pointless, narrow-market products to touting the idea of RNA interference GMOs. But if these ever came to market they’s still be the same kind of shoddy insecticidal GMOs which in Bt form are already a failure with a gradually diminishing market.
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The fact is that the structural reason driving the current consolidation is that GMOs are a shoddy product and don’t have much of a market or a future in themselves. On the contrary, there’s a growing consensus inside and outside the sector, including on Wall Street, that the pesticides remain primary, with the GMOs being secondary to these and dependent upon them. Their fundamentals are bad. In other words the finance sector now agrees with what GMO critics have said from the start, that GMOs in the real world are nothing but pesticide plants, poison plants. (As opposed to GMO hype and hoaxes of the pro-GM activists and the corporate media.) Although Wall Street is poor at acknowledging its own pyramid schemes, it knows how to call them out in other sectors. GMOs are a scam.
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None of this is a surprise and confirms what we critics said all along. These are poison companies, their number one activity and goal is to manufacture and sell poison, therefore the primary proximate goal of GMOs must be to sell more poison. It’s actually astonishing that anyone was ever willing to believe such a self-evident absurdity as that the likes of Monsanto or DuPont would ever market a product which would cause them to sell less of their primary products. Yet that’s what the peddlers of the “GMOs lessen pesticide use” lie would have you believe.
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Sure enough: 1. With the deployment of GMOs, pesticide use always increases.
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2. It has to, since these are poison plants and are designed only to sustain poisons being sprayed upon them (in the case of herbicide tolerant GMOs), or to handle only certain “target” pests (Bt products). The rest must still be met with sprays and seed coatings. Bayer and Syngenta didn’t participate in GMO deployment and support the GMO idea in general because they thought they’d sell less neonics.
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3. Both of these GMO genres, the only ones which exist and the only ones in the pipeline, are failures. They can be called “successful” only according to the Failure is Success form of planned obsolescence and the ever-escalating, ever more expensive stacking-and-pesticide treadmill.
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GMOs have a tenuous future. Everyone knows that herbicide tolerant and insecticidal GMOs are running out of room. Once SmartStax, 2,4-D, and dicamba fail, what then? That’s why there’s such a propaganda campaign touting CRISPR, “gene editing”, RNAi. The sector is trying to convince itself, Wall Street, governments, commodifiers, food manufacturers and retailers, and the world at large that there’s a whole new GMO frontier to be opened up. To be sure, elites everywhere want to believe this, since capitalism as such badly needs it. But so far this is all in the realm of fantasy, and there’s no reason to believe it will ever break free of the land of lies, where the “first generation” of GMOs remains to this day.
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The media claims GMOs mean gene editing for agronomic and product quality traits? I’m afraid not. Today’s GMO reality is the collapse of the Roundup Ready system and the sector’s reactionary, luddite answer: To double down on proven failure by regressing to GMOs tolerant of older, even more destructive herbicides. This is the context in which the evolution-denialist system is promulgating the backward, luddite “solution” of corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the retrograde herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two primary components of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This is one of the dark age poisons which Monsanto and the US government originally promised would be permanently relegated to the scrap heap by the Roundup Ready system. Dicamba is another such regressive chemical being poised by Monsanto for a comeback.
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There’s the real GMO future as demonstrated by the actions, rather than the media lies, of the corporations and regulators. And this bears out the fact that, contrary to the moronic techno-hype and fundamentalist cultism of GMOs, the real fundamental of corporate agriculture remains the most regressive, stupid, blunt-instrument, flat-earth technology of all, pesticides. The best irony since the IARC finding has been the spectacle of our intrepid futurists, who always tried to hold aloof from the dinosaur pesticide technology while exalting their idolized space-age GMO technology, having to reduce themselves to the level of Roundup shills. This too proves something we always said about them, that for all their high-flown scientism pretensions, they’re really nothing but gutter Monsanto bootlicks. This is the real character of the GMO sector – antiquated, backward, an economic and innovation bottleneck, shoddy, tawdry. This is borne out by one consistent thread which runs through all the sector consolidation events. Monsanto’s contractions, Monsanto’s proposals to Syngenta, the Dow/DuPont merger (see several of the links above) – all involve cutting research and development spending. In other words the sector has reached the point where it thinks more in terms of stock buybacks and scrounging whatever technology and patents it can buy rather than developing anything on its own. To some extent this is inherent to any big corporation and any oligopoly sector. But it’s especially congenital to the agrochemical sector, which was always based on accelerating planned obsolescence toward its inevitable culmination in the complete exhaustion and obsolescence of the entire paradigm.
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The sector faces another problem – GMOs are reaching market saturation. The cartel won’t be able to force a market for them in Africa unless it can either grab the land to turn it into vast industrial plantations to grow CAFO feed for Asia, and/or convince enough smallholder farmers to fall for the same scam Monsanto used on cotton farmers in India. (But Bt cotton has already been tried and rejected in three African countries, and the word is out.) But can the several African governments play the same carnival-barker role the Indian government did? This is the Monsanto/Gates Foundation “New Alliance” plan, with massive corporate welfare to be financed by the taxpayers of the US, UK, and Africa, geared to the complete subjugation of African agriculture to land-grabbing and monoculture production for commodity export.
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Even if the sector can overcome the stiffening political resistance and inherent agronomic resistance (pests and diseases which flourish) to this scheme, how much and how long can the Asian middle class prop up its demand for this forced supply? The agribusiness sector is the most supply-driven of all and is 100% dependent on forcing artificial markets into being, for example convincing people to whom it never occurred before that they want to eat a lot more factory farm meat. Obviously a sector whose entire existence is based, not on real demand, but on puffed up fictive “demand” which can dry up at any time, and which will dry up as the masses lose the capacity for luxury spending, is built on sand. Here again, everyone recognizes the basic bubble, pyramid scheme character of the whole sector. It’s ironic that GMO jargon uses the term “pyramid” for another of its scams.
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China’s stock and real estate bubbles are cruising for a big fall. With any significant Asian recession, the whole Africa plan collapses for lack of even a theoretical market. Or if by then the sector has already forced full-scale commodity monoculture upon Africa and is generating huge amounts of GM maize and soy there, they’ll have to dump it on the rest of the world and further crash those commodity prices.
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Meanwhile, unless the cartel can seize control of the land in India they’ll soon be run out of the country. Anywhere on earth there’s still a large mass of small farmers, corporate agriculture is in a race to grab the land before their products are worn out and cast out. Although the sector’s propaganda continues to flog the long-debunked lie that GMOs can be good for small farmers, in reality only where the land is concentrated into vast commodity plantations can the sector maintain its GM seed sales. Soon this will be true of pesticides as well.
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Meanwhile, as we discussed earlier, the seeds accelerate the obsolescence of the pesticides, which then also renders the GM seed lines obsolete. This has been a campaign of planned obsolescence; the sector wants to force farmers to buy ever higher stacks and deploy an ever more complex multiple-pesticide choreography. But at the same time this accelerates the discrediting of the whole pesticide plant concept at the same time that it renders GMOs and pesticides less and less affordable. Sector oligopolists are in a race against time and resistance, and they’re not getting ahead as fast as they’d hoped. Monsanto originally expected to have attained near-complete monopoly for the sector by sometime in the first decade of the century. Obviously they’re falling well short and very late of that goal. Thus the oligopolists are reaching the point where they have to consolidate among themselves.
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The fact is that both the GMOs and the pesticides are ill-conceived, ultimately self-destructive product types. It’s not just that many of the products, such as most of the GMOs, shoddily constructed. The basic idea underlying all the products – using poison against agricultural weeds and pests, and synthetic inputs including transgenes to meet other agricultural challenges – is bad in principle. The entire agrochemical sector is built on sand. The fundamentals of all these companies and their sector as a whole are bad.
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What’s going on is more profound than the superficial accounts of the business section, focused as it is on stock prices and quarterly “earnings”. The sector is following its destiny in accord with the Poisoner imperative, a structural economic, political, religious, and biological campaign. Although Wall Street and politics are forcing these companies to make certain accommodations with reality, such as recognizing the primacy of pesticides over GMOs on the most reality-based level, nothing has changed for them ideologically. They are committed to the total domination of their program of eugenics via genetic engineering. They’re just in an ever more pressing race against time, as the ecological resistance, expressed biologically, economically, and politically, is becoming stronger by the year.
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Although the companies of the GMO cartel grudgingly recognized their need for high-quality agricultural germplasm such as could be bought through Pioneer, their original disdainful arrogance was no accident, nor has this fundamental ideology changed. Reality may have forced itself upon Monsanto when the company finally bowed to the need to put its transgenes into good crop varieties (and thus it embarked upon its odyssey of buying seed companies – as always, Monsanto never innovates anything, just steals or buys the work others have done), it did so under duress and to this day doesn’t really believe in it. Deep down any techno-cultist, for example a GMO fanboy, thinks the technology he idolizes is the only meaningful reality and has nothing but contempt for everything else. That’s why pro-GMO activists are so ignorant of every branch of science – genetics, biology, ecology, botany, entomology, agronomy, physiology, medical science, you name it – and have such contempt for knowledge as such. They spew the word “Science” but take great pride in knowing nothing about it, its content or how it works. No one becomes a religious zealot of genetic engineering because he has respect for natural or agroecologically bred genetics. He does it because he has fear and loathing for anything which is not under the control of high-technology engineering. To be precise, their idolatry is for the idea of such technological control. The fact that in practice GMOs are such an imprecise, stupidly executed, shoddily performing product doesn’t matter to the cultists, only their shining idea. Which is good for them since by now they have no choice but to be shills, not only for the mythically “hi-tech” products of genetic engineering, but for what until not long ago they themselves sneered at as dinosaur technology, sprayed and slathered pesticides like Roundup.
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The history of genetic engineering displays a level of combined ignorance and arrogance on the part of its practitioners and controllers which is astonishing. Monsanto started out thinking they’d take their Roundup Ready gene and their Bt gene, stick them into any old public domain maize variety, and then just mass produce it for every farmer the world over. Robb Fraley’s notion, which the company tried to follow at first, was that they’d do exactly what Microsoft had done with software, their transgenes being the Windows-type “software”, with the crop and its genetics being the basically stupid, meaningless “hardware”. This is typical of the delusion that on the one hand things like computer software, patents, corporations, money, are real things, while on the other something like agricultural germplasm is mystical “information”. They simply tuned out anyone who tried to tell them agriculture doesn’t work that way. This delusion is endemic to scientism and corporatism and is connected intimately with the monoculture mentality those cults also share, in agriculture as well as every other realm of thought and action.
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But in fact the ecological reality is the only reality, and agroecological ideas are the only ideas that can truly work for agriculture as well as ecology, and for a healthy economy and polity as well. But nothing about Monsanto, Roundup, or GMOs – corporate control, profits, patents, the idea of precision control and manipulation of physical genomes – touches reality at any point, while the poisons can only destroy, never create or sustain. The fundamentals are bad. From the most hermetic, short-run Wall Street preoccupations to the most profound intellectual and ecological arcs, the fundamentals are bad.
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This is the real reason the poison sector’s confrontation with nature, its attempt to subjugate the ecology by force, only drives itself further into no man’s land. Today the GMO cartel feels insecure enough that it must retrench the only way it knows how. Tomorrow it will perish completely.
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**Charles Benbrook’s “Free Pioneer” idea would be good if there was a way to do it. In spite of Breen’s assurances that the new agricultural spinoff won’t cut productive jobs at Pioneer, just “middlemen”, that’s often not the way it works. Pioneer could still be worth something to agriculture, whereas the rest of DuPont, and all of Dow, is worthless and destructive. That in itself usually means the worthwhile, constructive part gets gutted.
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Pioneer is still part of unsustainable commodity agriculture, but it is an important repository of germplasm and breeder expertise, and in theory it could be refurbished for a mission more in line with agroecology, if it could be liberated from the corporate clutch.
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In the meantime, Benbrook is right, the one thing guaranteed is that this merger will further squeeze farmers and reduce their seed choices. Which will be a further opportunity for we who are exhorting GMO farmers to switch to non-GM, and industrial farmers in general to switch to organic.
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Food and Water Watch has a petition to the Justice Department urging them to block the merger.
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Monsanto really is in some serious trouble with its Roundup vulnerability. With glyphosate on the ropes politically, Monsanto could go down quickly if there were a domino effect of bans. If people wanted to get together to focus on getting glyphosate banned everywhere possible, it could become a permanently crippling blow.
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January 10, 2016

The EPA Fights For 2,4-D and Dioxin

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Since the 1970s the EPA has been an ardent booster of maximal poison spraying and the application of poisons to ever new frontiers. One of the expanded corporate welfare programs was government contracts for herbicide spraying in national forests. Private companies also receive subsidies for massive spraying of 2,4,5-T, and 2,4-D, and glyphosate. This is a direct handout to the timber companies and ultimately a laundered handout to the poison manufacturers.
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By the late 1970s EPA was aware of huge spikes in birth defects and miscarriages in the timber regions where this spraying was most intense. Alsea, Oregon was stricken with a local epidemic of miscarriages and birth defects including babies being born with fatal brain defects or being stillborn without brains. EPA investigators found dioxin in local creek sediments and accumulating in the bodies of local people. By the early 1980s EPA was tracking similar outbreaks in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. Internal EPA memos make clear that EPA quickly zeroed in on the dioxins contained in 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D as the likely cause of the outbreaks. A 1981 memo called the dioxin TCDD “the most toxic chemical ever known”, cancer-causing and acutely lethal at “exceedingly low doses”.
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By the late 70s 2,4,5-T had such a bad reputation for its toxicity, and was relatively less important to the Poisoners than other herbicides such as 2,4-D and the triazines, that the US government decided it was expendable and banned it. EPA took the opportunity to blame the epidemics of birth defects and miscarriages on 2,4,5-T while letting 2,4-D off the hook. This was in spite of the fact that at least as early as 1983 EPA was aware that 2,4-D also contains dioxin.
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This information is from a piece by Evaggelos Vallianatos, one of many he’s written presenting information from his recent book Poison Spring. This is a whistle-blowing story based on Vallianatos’s 25 years as an EPA science analyst. Poison Spring describes the EPA’s systematic cover-ups and its lies to the people and Congress on behalf of the corporations that distribute poison. It’s a Nuremburg brief.
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Vallianatos says the information on the birth defect and miscarriage epidemics has been purged from EPA files and databases. This is part of the standard pattern of cover-ups, false science, and lies at EPA. There’s nothing new about the recent exposure of EPA’s manipulation of Dow’s own data in order to whitewash the adverse safety evidence on Enlist Duo. At least since the mid-seventies EPA has sought to cover up the systematic laboratory fraud uncovered by its own auditors.
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It’s always been an insult to common sense that regulators allow the corporations to police themselves and accept the corporation’s own product safety submissions as valid evidence. Simple rationality knows a priori that the fox can’t be allowed to guard the henhouse, and if reason’s not enough for you (ironically, it’s precisely those who exalt a cult of “Reason” who are the most contemptuous of rationality in day to day practice), we have the evidence record of history, which proves that the corporation will always lie about its own products. There are no exceptions to this. It’s as certain as that the sun will rise in the morning.
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Therefore, the fact that regulators like the EPA continue to accept corporate lies at face value and then propagate these lies whitewashed with the agencies’ own stamp of approval is an ongoing scandal and crime against humanity. There is no innocence about any of this. It’s impossible to make an honest mistake about the actions and “studies” of the likes of Monsanto and Dow.
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Then the corporate media takes up the laundered lies and gives them its own embellishment along with its own vote of confidence in the integrity of the regulators, and sometimes of the corporations as well. The goal, always, is to try to prop up “public confidence” in the technology, the poison, the corporation, and in the regulators themselves. That’s why the phrase “public confidence” has such an Orwellian ring these days. It’s a confidence game indeed, played by confidence men.
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As Vallianatos points out, even the rare times the media interrogates a regulator like the EPA, as in the recent Chicago Tribune piece exposing the EPA’s methodological fraud regarding Enlist Duo, the questioning is usually done within the framework of how well policy tallies with the establishment scientific literature. Seldom does anyone question the validity of this literature in the first place. But this literature was compiled largely under corporate direction and, as damning as it often is, still represents only what the corporations were willing to make public. It obscures the even more damning data which the corporations keep secret, and the greater range of scientific research which is never performed in the first place because the corporations and government live in terror of what such research would reveal about the health and environmental destruction wrought by their profitable and ideological products. If Dow’s own tendentious studies of Enlist found such organ toxicity and endocrine disruption, and Monsanto’s own studies (manipulated as they were) proved that glyphosate causes cancer, we can be sure that more rigorous tests would reveal even more horrific results.
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The epidemics of birth defects and miscarriages localized to US regions heavily sprayed with herbicides mirrors the vastly greater epidemics in Vietnam where the US waged vicious chemical warfare, devastating vast landscapes and whole communities with Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a 50-50 mix of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Monsanto and Dow were its main manufacturers. Today Dow expects that “Enlist Duo” herbicide, a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate, will be shipped and sprayed on a mass basis in 2016. “Enlist” corn and soybeans, first planted on a pilot basis in 2015 but slated for general mass plantings in 2016, are engineered to be resistant to this carcinogenic tandem. So Dow and the EPA are counting on a massive escalation of the spraying and drift of this primary Agent Orange ingredient, 2,4-D, and a massive escalation in the dioxin which will suffuse the environment, including our soil and food.
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2,4-D in its own right causes cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems such as miscarriages, Parkinson’s disease and other afflictions. Just as with glyphosate, 2,4-D is genotoxic, an endocrine disruptor, and causes oxidative stress. All three of these are mechanisms which cause cancer. As an endocrine disruptor it’s carcinogenic at very low doses and therefore has no safe level of application. If we want to significantly lower the cancer rate, we have no option other than to ban glyphosate, 2,4-D, neonicotinoids, and all other endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). 2,4-D is extremely drift prone, commonly destroying other crops. Pro-poison activists often claim that the manufacture of 2,4-D doesn’t automatically produce dioxin as a byproduct the way 2,4,5-T does, but that 2,4-D will be laced with dioxin only if the manufacturer cuts corners. But as Poison Spring documents, at least since the early 1980s EPA has had strong evidence that dioxin is a common byproduct of 2,4-D’s regular manufacture.
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Dow swears up and down its Enlist brand is “clean”, and in 2015 the EPA required that the pilot programs for the Enlist maize and soy varieties use only Dow’s brand of the poison. But if the 2,4-D expansion project goes forward, we can be sure that many farmers will use cheaper, more dangerous mixes. Of course we can’t trust Dow and the EPA either where it comes to the dioxin content of Enlist Duo. 2,4-D as such threatens to turn vast swathes of US arable land into the equivalent of Times Beach.
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And to repeat, even “clean” 2,4-D causes cancer, birth defects, and many other afflictions. Dicamba, the herbicide Monsanto is banking upon for its financial future, has the same severe effects. These herbicides, the same that just yesterday Monsanto and the USDA were calling extremely toxic and fraudulently promising would be rendered obsolete by the allegedly less toxic* Roundup Ready system, must be banned. We must dedicate relentless campaigns to strangling these retrograde, luddite poison crop systems before they become entrenched.
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[*Contrary to the standard lie about glyphosate, it’s impossible to know which is “more” toxic out of glyphosate, 2,4-D, or dicamba, and it’s irrelevant. The fact is that all three are far too toxic to be used. All three must be banned completely.]
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We have the EPA to thank most for allowing 2,4-D based herbicides in the first place. The FDA punts even though 1. it’s legally required to consider these endemic herbicide residues to be food additives, 2. to recognize them as carcinogenic (the EPA also connives on this point), 3. to ban foods which contain suffused glyphosate or 2,4-D, which would mean all food ingredients which came from herbicide tolerant GMOs. The FDA in fact violates the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with this dereliction, as it has violated the law in many other ways in the course of its rubberstamping and cheerleading for GMOs. The EPA also is used to breaking the de jure law wherever the Poisoner imperative makes it necessary.
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But like I said above about the official “scientific literature”, so it is with “the law”. As the official law has been narrowed and denuded in order to legalize most corporate crimes (and in fact the main purpose of the corporate form itself is to bestow personal legal immunity on criminals by allowing their crimes legally to be laundered through “the corporation”), so the scope of the crimes explodes massively beyond the bounds of the de jure law. As I mentioned at the start of this piece, we’re in the kind of criminal territory where only a Nuremburg-style proceeding would be equal to the character and magnitude of the crimes.
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What to do? The EPA and other regulatory bureaucracies are inherently anti-democratic and inherently secretive. That’s why, even leaving aside mundane corruption motives, all bureaucracies automatically have a close affinity and empathy with Monsanto and its projects, including such notions as the corporation policing itself, “secret science”, and the corporate science paradigm in general.
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We who oppose the poisoning of our food, water, soil, and bodies by dioxin, 2,4-D and glyphosate must not only directly counterattack Monsanto and Dow, but analyze and critique regulatory bureaucracies like the EPA and systematically propagate this analysis and criticism in weaponized form toward the goal of demolishing their credibility and legitimacy. Just as we must do against mercenary establishment “science”.
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January 7, 2016

GMOs Increase Pesticide Use

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1. This standard canned lie always implies lots of fine print. Namely, it refers only to pesticides which are physically sprayed. But this obfuscates two monumental accounting frauds.
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2. These days the number one form of insecticide application is the coating of seeds with neonicotinoid insecticides. To the extent that less spraying is done, this is primarily because neonic seed coatings have replaced spraying. In fact GMO seeds including Bt varieties are slathered, not just with neonics but usually with fungicides and other poison treatments. We see the great fraud necessary to put over the “less pesticide” lie.
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These poison coatings are designed to become endemic in the cells of the crop, including the edible part.
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3. Then we must include the Bt endotoxin load itself. Of course the pro-GM activists and their media stenographers always omit this massive pesticide load when they parrot the line about “less pesticide”. But according to the calculations of Charles Benbrook (p.6), based on data from corporate submissions to the regulators, SmartStax maize (which Monsanto touts as the normative baseline Bt maize product at this point) generates an average Bt endotoxin load of 4.2 kilograms per hectare, 19 times the application rate of conventional sprayed insecticides in 2010. So acre for acre SmartStax deploys pesticide at 19 times the rate which the “less pesticide” lie implies is the total application. How’s that for accounting fraud? Benbrook finds that in general Bt endotoxins equal or exceed the amount of sprayed insecticides displaced. In fact, just as with neonics, to the extent any spraying is displaced, that’s only because it’s replaced by other poisons such as the Bt toxins.
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The Bt poison is endemic in every cell of the crop including the edible part.
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4. With those two great frauds we’re already at a vastly greater level of pesticide use than in the pre-GM era. Each of both neonics and endemic Bt toxins exceed the best-case scenario for displacement, and so with GMOs we’re at already over double the level of insecticide use over the pre-GM era right there. But what about those sprayed insecticides? Are there really less of those, at least?
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A. For most GM insecticidal products in most regions, any decreases in spraying are only temporary, only for the earliest years of a product’s deployment. As a rule the target pest soon develops resistance. Unless the GMO peddlers have an escalated, more expensive product ready to go, the farmers have to go back to spraying. Sometimes the product fails immediately against the target.
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Then there’s the secondary pests. Where the product temporarily works against the target pest, this often creates a vacuum into which another pest not affected by the GMO debouches. Often this “secondary” affliction is worse than the original one, if the two pest species were originally in balance but the temporary void lets one of them get out of ecological control. In such cases the farmer has to continue or even increase his spraying, at the same time that he’s also paying for the Bt product and inflicting its poison load on the environment.
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The neonic seed coatings are so necessary by now because Bt GMOs are so unreliable they require a booster against the target pest(s), as well as so vulnerable to secondary afflictions that they need extra protection against these. (Industrial farmers increasingly have been brainwashed into the mentality that they’re helpless without poisons, and that they have to keep adding layer upon layer of poison – Bt endemic, seed coating, sprayed – just to keep up. They often rationalize it as paying for a form of insurance. Of course historically insecticides were applied upon evidence of a pest outbreak, not on a broad-based preemptive level. This indoctrination reflects the physical truth of the pesticide treadmill – once you commit to preemptive poisons, you commit to an endless cycle of expensive application, development of resistance, and far more expensive escalated application. The brainwashing is necessary to discourage farmers from thinking about how insane, destructive, and self-destructive the whole paradigm is, and how any sane farmer would take action to break free of it.)
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B. For any GMO to work as advertised requires lavish inputs of every kind. Therefore any insecticidal GMO requires the highest application of herbicide (or some other kind of intensive weed control) in order to function properly. More on so-called herbicides below. Similarly, any GMO requires the highest application of synthetic fertilizer. Although nitrogen runoff isn’t usually considered a “pesticide”, it is identical in that it’s a poison which decimates aquatic life. Since ecological philosophy and science does not recognize such fraudulent ideological distinctions as “intended effect” vs. “side effect” (there’s only known and predictable effects vs. legitimately unpredictable effects, though I can’t think of any examples of the latter), “active ingredient” vs. “inert ingredient” (they’re all active or contribute to the action, and often highly toxic), “pesticide” vs. any agricultural or industrial chemical which is poisonous and kills living things through its usual application. These are all poisons and must be taken as such.
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C. Often the alleged decrease in spraying is because lower volumes of more potent poison (p.2) are substituted for higher volumes of less potent poison. Obviously this doesn’t mean “less poison” if it’s merely more concentrated. Another form of accounting fraud.
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5. We must consider the entire poison load. So-called “herbicides” are broadly toxic to life forms from soil and gut bacteria to humans. All are endocrine disruptors and genotoxic and therefore carcinogenic in humans, as well as causing many other severe health harms. GMOs cause a great increase in “herbicide” use.
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A. Glyphosate and overall herbicide spraying has skyrocketed because of GMOs. According to Benbrook’s 2012 analysis, Roundup Ready crops caused overall herbicide use to increase over what would have been sprayed on exclusively non-GM conventional crops by a total of 527 million pounds from 1996 to 2011, the great bulk of this being extra glyphosate.
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B. As glyphosate-resistant superweeds render even these extreme applications insufficient, the extreme glyphosate load has to be supplemented with vastly increased spraying of the even more toxic, retrograde poisons which Monsanto and the USDA originally promised the Roundup Ready system would render obsolete. Benbrook projects that the commercialization of Agent Orange crops may cause as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D application (p.5). Even the industry-friendly USDA and EPA themselves project increases in the spraying of 2,4-D and dicamba. Dow of course expects a huge increase in 2,4-D use, while Monsanto’s banking on an extreme increase in the spraying of dicamba.
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It’s self-evident that every action of the companies and regulators is geared toward always increasing the amount of pesticides used, to the maximum extent possible. Literally every action of the USDA, EPA, and the agrochemical corporations contradicts the claim that GMOs are even intended to lessen pesticide use, let alone that they actually do so. On the contrary, this is a classical Big Lie.
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Herbicide-tolerant GMOs don’t slough off the poison or anything like that. On the contrary, the herbicide is assimilated into the crop and indelibly suffuses all its tissues, including the edible parts.
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6. Although the practice is not directly related to GMOs, this exposition wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the rampant surge in the use of glyphosate to burn down crops for a quick harvest. This dumps huge amounts of this extremely toxic poison onto a vast array of crops, GM as well as such non-GM crops as wheat, oats, barley, lentils, beans, and many others.
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This vile practice gives the lie to the entire line of propaganda which claims corporate agriculture is trying to lessen pesticide use. On the contrary, exactly as rationality and common sense would expect, corporations that manufacture poisons and the regulators who see their mission as to serve these corporations do all they can to maximize the use of every possible kind of poison. This is their poison mandate, their Poisoner imperative. By now it’s a mechanical process beyond the reach of reason or scientific evidence. We must see it as an ideologically based campaign of war on humanity and the Earth.
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7. Finally, I must repeat that whereas sprayed pesticides can be partially washed off, these new GMO-based poison phenomena – Bt endotoxins, neonic seed coatings, the herbicide sprayed upon herbicide-tolerant GM crops – are suffused indelibly throughout the crop. These poisons accumulate in every cell of the grain, legume, fruit, or vegetable and cannot be removed. We have no choice but to ingest this massive poison load every time we eat anything produced by poison-based agriculture. That’s in addition to all the other ways industrial food is nutritionally inferior and unhealthy.
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So even if they were spraying less poison, we’re eating vastly more.
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January 4, 2016

The Regular “Regulation” of Agricultural Poisons At the US EPA

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Always start with the consciousness: For the corporate state system and its religious believers, the project of poison-based agriculture must go forward. Nothing may ever be allowed seriously to hinder this. This Poisoner campaign is at the core of all corporate profit, corporate/government power, and techno-cultism.
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Although under legal pressure EPA temporarily withdrew approval of Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide formulation, we mustn’t expect this to be more than a temporary delay. Dow expects to ship the poison for the 2016 season. A more typical indicator of EPA’s relationship with Dow and Enlist was its active collusion with Dow in falsifying data in order to suppress Dow’s own trial results finding health dangers from Enlist. EPA “scientists” changed the agency’s rules for data analysis midstream in order to invalidate Dow’s own data showing that 2,4-D (one of the two main poisons contained in Enlist Duo, the other being glyphosate) causes kidney damage in rats. As the Environmental Working Group pointed out, EPA ”contradicted standard scientific practice” in order to set an alleged “no observed adverse effect level” (NOAEL) dose at a level which the company’s own tests showed to cause toxic effects in rats, including kidney lesions, thyroid damage, and reproductive organ changes. This puts the NOAEL concept in an even blacker light. The concept is already bogus in principle in the case of endocrine disruptors, including almost all pesticides. And now we see how, even where toxic effects are found at an inconveniently low dosage, EPA and other regulators will simply change the rules in the middle of the game. This puts in perspective the sanctimonious claims of regulators that in order to be considered in regulatory assessments, scientific work must adhere punctiliously to certain officially designated rules (which never have anything to do with scientific quality but do always favor big corporate labs). As we see, for the regulators such adherence is only for real scientists, never for the corporations or for themselves. For themselves and their corporate clients the only rule is Do What Thou Wilt.
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The EPA did this in order to give itself a pretext to approve the product. The regulator’s job is always to approve the product and claim it to be safe, no matter what. Therefore EPA destroyed the scientific evidence and then lied about it. This is nothing new, but is part of the standard EPA pattern of conduct going back to the 1970s.
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Here we have a case study in how the corporate science paradigm and the regulator template work together.
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I’ve described and applied the template many times, to regulators, pseudo-scientists (the post just linked), system NGOs, etc. Here’s a quick description again.
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1. The corporate prerogative and corporate tasks, profiteering and any other imperatives, are normative. The regulator must always seek to assist the corporations and boost their power.
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2. Given the framework of (1), the regulator may sometimes seek to ameliorate the worst abuses, perhaps even hinder or ban isolated, ad hoc products. Or, more commonly these days, the regulator only pretends to do this. Often, as in the case of EPA and EFSA with glyphosate, or the USDA with GMO approvals, it doesn’t even pretend. Either way, nothing the regulator does must hinder the overall corporate imperative or any significant corporate project. Therefore the pesticide and GMO genres, as well as particular blockbuster products like Roundup, must go forward no matter what.
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3. Whatever the regulator did or didn’t do, it now bestows its imprimatur of “safety” and any other necessary endorsement upon the product. It engages in taxpayer-funded PR and educational campaigns on behalf of the corporate product. Most of all, it tells the people, implicitly and where necessary explicitly, that they shouldn’t have any concerns, shouldn’t even think about the product, and most of all shouldn’t bother with educating themselves, let alone questioning the official imprimatur. As is typical of bureaucratic ideology, the regulator mindset is anti-democratic in the extreme. This is part of why regulators are so comfortable with fraudulent “secret science” and want to keep as much information from the public as possible. This is on ideological principle, as well as having more mundane corruption origins.
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So it goes: Pro-corporate ideological commitment; farcical and fraudulent “regulating”; propaganda and secrecy.
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In today’s example:
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1. EPA has always been activist toward the corporate task of maximizing poison use. It has always been willing to do whatever’s necessary toward this goal. In the late 1970s a massive scandal in lab testing broke involving IBT Laboratories, a favorite industry contractor. FDA investigators called it “the most massive scientific fraud ever committed in the United States, and perhaps the world”. Years later several executives would be convicted on criminal charges. (This is one of the purposes of corporate outsourcing to smaller contractors. But it’s the oligopolists who dictate the practices, and require the crimes.) Nazi experimenters would’ve been ashamed to work at this place, and the denizens of “Animal House” would’ve fled in horror.
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* New animals routinely substituted – often en masse – for test animals that died, without noting deaths or substitutions in lab reports
* Entire test data and lab reports for one test product copied into reports for other products
* “Magic pencil” studies substituted false data for tests never done or results implicating test products’ adverse or fatal effects
* Signatures of lab techs who had refused to sign false reports were forged by managers on the false reports
* Rats listed as dead and autopsied in one section of a report reappeared alive and breeding in another section of the same report (“Now IBT did some strange and unusual things,” Dr. Adrian Gross, who first revealed the IBT scandal, remarked, “but bringing back the dead wasn’t one of them.”)
* Substitution of unexposed control animals for test animals that died
* Substitution of dogs for rats when all the rats in one test died, then reporting them to be rats
* Wholesale concealment and falsification of cancers, testicular atrophy, death and other effects in test animals
* A laboratory that IBT scientists called “The Swamp”, with a faulty water system that drenched the entire room, cages, rodents and all, in a continuous spray of water, drowning the test animals in droves. “Dead rats and mice, technicians later told federal investigators, decomposed so rapidly in the Swamp that their bodies oozed through wire cage bottoms and lay in purple puddles on the dropping trays.”
* Massive, frequent die-offs of test animals due to staff failing to feed and water them over holidays, rodents dying from unhygienic conditions, rats dying from rat poison fed them by mistake, rodents escaping, rats and mice being shifted from one cage to another, contaminating and eating each other; frequent “search and destroy” hunts for escaped rodents, with scientists and lab techs dashing about squirting chloroform to “slow down” the escapees, often killing the test animals as well
* After Gross’s first visit to IBT in 1976 and before he could return with auditors, the company equipped its offices with paper shredders and “strip filed” huge volumes of raw data, studies and client lists, including all of its studies on 2,4-D, six other herbicides (never identified), artificial sweeteners, cyclamates and plastics components

Almost all of the products tested by IBT, including 2,4-D, glyphosate, atrazine and many of the 66 products banned on California red-legged frog habitat, are still on the market today.

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EPA worked aggressively to cover up the fraud and consulted with the corporations about how EPA would run interference with Congress and the media. As top official Fred Arnold put it to an industry convention, EPA had their backs: “The concept was to try and proceed in an orderly fashion and fill data gaps and not interfere with the ability to market pesticides.” He was referring to how EPA was going to lobby Congress to change the law to allow “conditional registration” of all the poisons which EPA had approved based on the IBT testing. (And testing at other labs; 47 of 82 audits found similar conditions at other labs contracted by the poison manufacturers.) The law required the cancellation of such fraudulent approvals. But in tandem with the poison corporations, EPA convinced Congress to allow it to extend “conditional” grace periods until industry could submit new tests.
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In other words, the proven systematic, premeditated fraudsters were going to be allowed to organize another systematic fraud. That’s always what the Fox Guarding the Henhouse means. Anyone, especially government regulators, who says that proven liars and organized criminals should be allowed to police themselves is really willfully collaborating in those massive crimes.
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Sure enough, the industry never submitted legitimate tests, and EPA never asked again for them. The shared goal of EPA and the corporations, maximizing the production, sales, and use of poisons, continued without flagging. The scandal was just a political speed bump. Just as the current embarrassment over Dow’s poison is intended to be a minor hiccup. Meanwhile, to this day EPA refuses to divulge which poisons were approved based on the fraudulent “studies” at INT and elsewhere. As per our usual rational method for dealing with those who maliciously invoke secrecy, we must assume that ALL EPA pesticide registrations during the years in question were allowed on the basis of those fraudulent studies.
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EPA’s services to Dow regarding Enlist are similar to the services it has performed for Monsanto on behalf of glyphosate (I’ll begin the discussion in this post) and PCBs (a subject for future posts).
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2. The main vehicle of EPA’s pretending to be looking out for the public and environmental good is its review processes for pesticides and other chemicals. These are always completely bogus. The Dow Enlist example is just an unusually egregious one.
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Of course sometimes the regulator will feel enough political pressure to go through the motions of doing something. An example is the recent expedient, mentioned above, of temporarily suspending Enlist registration. We also have the example from earlier in 2015 of sham limitations on glyphosate use. Ostensibly intended to slow the evolution of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, this is really meant to shift more of the political onus and legal risk onto farmers. Same for the whole “refuge” concept, allegedly for slowing the evolution of insect resistance to Bt toxins. EPA never required a meaningful acreage portion for the refuge (entomologists reached a consensus that 50% was the minimum necessary to have any hope of the policy having any effect; EPA never required more than 20%) and never rigorously enforced the policy. With the advent of multiple-toxin stacked products, EPA adopted corporate demands to lower the “required” acreage to 5%. The fact is that the “refuge” idea was never meant to be more than that – an idea, a propaganda theme, for media and pro-GM activist use. Bt refuge idea is one of the best examples of sham pro-corporate “regulation”.
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The EPA’s history with glyphosate cancer assessments gives another example of the regulator pretending to be looking out for the people. Since this has been above all a propaganda effort, especially during the GMO era, I’ll discuss it below.
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3. The final step of the whitewashing template is for the regulator to affirm that the product is safe and encourage the people to go back to sleep and let their government betters do any continued monitoring necessary. (None is ever done.) EPA has already proclaimed the alleged safety of Enlist, and is now waiting for Dow to give it enough of a pretext, even the most flimsy will suffice, to reaffirm this proclamation. For a prior case study, we can compare how EPA knew since at least the early 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer. The evidence was so conclusive that, in spite of EPA’s wishing to give Monsanto the green light and doing all it could to interpret Monsanto’s own test results in the best possible light, it felt compelled to give the poison Classification C – “Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential”.
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In terms of market share glyphosate wasn’t yet projected to become a major pesticide at this point, though Monsanto was already contemplating the idea of GMOs engineered to be tolerant of it. They worked on this idea (well, failed at it until they found some bacteria which had already done the main work for them) and by the early 1990s were preparing to bring Roundup Ready crops to market. It was time to whitewash glyphosate’s cancer record more thoroughly. EPA happily complied. With zero new evidence, not even a new round of phony tests, without further ado EPA in 1991 changed the classification to Group E, “Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” An even stronger, more politicized and fraudulent construction elsewhere in the regulation phrases this, “Evidence of non-carcinogenicity to humans.”
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This “evidence”, of course, is nothing but a political way of phrasing the real ideological position, that cancer cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the Poisoner imperative. Since, as EPA has known at least since the early 1980s, glyphosate does cause cancer in humans, EPA’s job becomes to deny this, cover it up, lie about it. Perform enough direct denial, and propagate the implicit mindset that giving farmers and consumers cancer is meaningless anyway compared to the great tasks of corporate rule and the Poisoner imperative, and in an ideological sense it does become “true” that “glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans”, as EPA proclaimed again most recently in 2013. If cancer is irrelevant, it may as well not exist. This is the reality of the psychopathic mindset involved here. And this is the psychology and set of priorities which has cohered in the era of corporate rule as the corporate science paradigm. The decisions made about which lines of inquiry to pursue in the first place, the workings of day-to-day science practice, the mindset and party line of the scientific establishment, the STEM fraternity in general, the corporate media, and the cultist fanboys, all follow from the dictates of this dominant paradigm of prostituted pseudo-science. A regulator like the EPA plays a very important role in orchestrating this fraudulent science and disseminating the propaganda of it, a double nimbus of “Science” and “Good Government”. Both are Big Lies.
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