Volatility

March 4, 2015

Notes Toward Analysis of the TTIP and Corporate Rule

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1. Government by bureaucracy is government directly by power. This contrasts with how constitutional government, a so-called government of laws, is supposed to function. As Hannah Arendt puts it in Origins of Totalitarianism, “Power, which in constitutional government only enforces the law, becomes the direct source of legislation.” In reality the “government by laws” never really existed except maybe for brief periods and only for certain groups. Far more commonly government dresses up its might makes right nature with sham facades of constitutionality, law, democracy. Neoliberalism represents the conscious, systematic application of this government-by-facade strategy. (Throughout these discussions I refer to modern states, the states of the fossil fuel age, the age of extreme, ahistorical energy consumption. I’m leaving aside pre-oil and possible post-oil forms.)
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Government at the directive of corporate bureaucracy is the most direct and brutal form of government by bureaucracy, government directly by power. Indeed, unlike with the lies the system tells about government bureaucracies and police, corporate bureaucracies are increasingly declared explicitly to be above the law. This is the main purpose of globalization pacts like the TTIP and TPP. Specific provisions of these pacts essentially override all law wherever this might interfere with an assumed pre-society, state-of-nature right of corporations to seek and collect plunder in the legalized form of “profit”. ISDS gives corporations a weapon of aggression to seek even the most speculative theoretical “profit”, not by running the risks of investment and actually having to produce a good or service, but by attacking the legal basis of society in a secret World Bank tribunal. Here a Mafia-style stickup is carried out. The corporation names the amount of profit it demands the taxpayers hand over, and the World Bank orders the society to cough it up.
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(“Profit” is nothing but a metric of corporate power and corporate looting, and has no special economic meaning beyond that. The government of course allows every kind of fraudulent accounting, from fictitious mark-to-market pricing of securities to the direct transfer of government handouts to the balance sheet, to the monumental level of negative externalities which are shrugged off as nonexistent. All corporate oligopoly sectors are completely dependent on corporate welfare and government “forbearance”, i.e. winking at massive crimes like pollution and accounting fraud. All big corporations would collapse tomorrow without these. No big corporation has “earned” a textbook profit in decades. They all hemorrhage wealth.
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As far as what capitalism really is, the corporations are way ahead of everyone else. They understand that every concept and tenet of “capitalism” is sheer bunk, and that the only thing real for them is control, domination, the never-ending expansion of power. Profit-seeking is only one form of this power accumulation, to be used or abused or jettisoned as necessary. Profit as the Economics 101 textbooks depict it is already a myth. Eventually the corporations won’t even formally measure it at all, even in the fraudulent way they do today.
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Power is the only thing corporations understand, and a world based upon nothing but this psychotic fantasy is the world they are trying to force upon humanity.)
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Beyond these “sector specific” and thug enforcement provisions putting corporate activism outside and above the law, the TTIP seeks to institute a permanent process of corporate-government bureaucratic Gleichschaltung, called “regulatory coherence”. Here government regulators are to be coordinated under corporate direction to advocate or oppose existing or proposed laws, to oppose existing regulations which the corporations feel hamper them, advocate those which accelerate the race to the bottom as well as regulations of aggression vs. alternatives to corporate domination. (We also have an excellent current example of how government regulators are openly conspiring with corporations to murder c. 200 people over the next 20 years as the “collateral damage” of shale gas and oil export. Collateral damage is of course not an accident, but by definition is premeditated.) In all of these ways “law” is to be nominally maintained but twisted in practice under the command of the corporate sectors.
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2. Ideologically, both aggressive globalization and the systematic demolition of civilization under the campaign name austerity are versions of the “progress” ideology. This aspect of Progress is based on the notion that only limitless power and wealth accumulation can maintain the stability of alleged economic “laws”. In reality there are no such “laws”, only politically chosen frameworks, and it’s the expansion and accumulation process itself which is the greatest destroyer of stability and of civilization itself, as the corporatists themselves admit in another, contradictory branch of their propaganda, the paean to “creative destruction”.
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Expansionism is the accumulation ideology as applied to the state, which effectively provides the subsidy basis for the growth of all the corporate sectors, and whose sword arm makes global corporate activism possible. “Profit” does not mean actual wealth creation; more often it is destructive for the country as a whole.
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Supply-based productionism, the wholesale destruction of the planet to enable mindless production for its own sake, is the practical basis of “expansion for expansion’s sake”. The alternative is a demand-based economy.
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The logic of course shipwrecks at the limits of the globe itself, and that’s where it extrudes the parallel earth-hating cults of “getting off the rock” and of genetic engineering. Both are fantasies of breaking free of the Earth’s physical limits, one by allowing elites to literally colonize other planets, the other by technologically generating a repeatable, “creatively destructive” blank slate where nature and/or prior agricultural orders used to be. This is one of the many ways GMOs embody a precise analogy, and not just an analogy, to war, which also resuscitates faltering accumulation processes by destroying on a massive scale what already exists.
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3. With today’s globalization in its most extremist forms – NAFTA and the pacts which are modeled upon it, culminating in the TTIP, TPP, and CETA – we have the most extreme, crusading imperialist form of US-based corporate rule.
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Europe seemingly wants to relinquish its centuries-old doctrine of seeking a balance of powers in favor of lying prostrate while the US corporate boot stomps it. This is inherent in the transformation the modern state underwent starting in the latter half of the 19th century, a transformation which is reaching its totalitarian consummation only now.
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If the nation-state was first organized in an unproductive way, its reorganization was forced by the rise of fossil fuels and the tremendous temporary leap these afforded in energy consumption, and therefore of economic activism. The nation-state tried to act as a non-profit state rather than as a business. The bourgeoisie has acted to take over the state and run it as a profit-seeking, power-seeking entity. The capitalists’ accumulation-seeking activism had embroiled it in conflict around the world, and they needed state protection and aggression on their behalf. The modern business state’s primary action has been to foster and support “private” economic accumulation. Its foreign policy has been based on expansionism and military aggression on behalf of this accumulation. The state had to be reorganized in an accumulation-seeking way, otherwise it would be superseded by a government form which was so organized. This is the morphology of modern power concentration. Corporations are the most direct, distilled form of accumulation-seeking power, and the profit-oriented state has become more and more a corporate state. With globalization pacts we’re now at the threshold of a unprecedentedly direct form of de jure corporate government.
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The government itself was now put on a profit basis, and all subsequent foreign policy, including so-called “trade” policy, was undertaken more or less from the point of view of a corporation seeking to plunder and extract.
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This was the main driver of the abandonment of the old “balance of power” mindset in favor of an all-or-nothing mindset. This change was most spectacularly displayed in WWI, where the Germans openly proclaimed continental annexation goals while the Allied-imposed Versailles Treaty intended to permanently cripple Germany economically and militarily. But this transformation had been developing over decades.
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The state was transformed into a political form based on the accumulation of wealth and power and the export of economic commodities and of raw power. This was driven by and reinforced the development of a political class which sees all of politics as being about nothing but power. Power and violence aren’t new, but the modern business state is new in making these the very basis of the whole political and economic system, power for its own sake. This is the essence of the corporation’s world view. With the globalization pacts we’re undergoing the formal enshrinement of this Hobbesian framework as the overriding action and basis of government as such, while all human values and concerns are to be literally outlawed wherever they stand in the way of the corporate imperative.
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So the nation itself, civil society in all its aspects, are to be quashed in favor of the power prerogatives of the corporate sectors. This direct corporate rule is being enshrined by its own pseudo-constitution. We can indeed read the text of the TTIP and TPP, and NAFTA and others before them, as comprising a Corporate Constitution overriding the constitutions and laws people think they live by today. But in truth, just as we can view corporate oligopoly as an extraconstitutional Fourth Branch of government to which the first three branches are ceding all power, so we can see how the entirety of the US Constitution has been swallowed up and dissolved by three clauses – the Commerce clause which is today deployed in a veritably totalitarian way, the Supremacy clause which is used to quash democracy and civil society action in every sector, and the treaty-making power under which the nominal “public” government is abrogating much of its power to the TTIP, i.e. the corporations. So looking at it that way leads us to back to the first track – “public”, “constitutional” government is shifting all power to the “private”, extraconstitutional corporate branch of government. This is the legalistic process by which corporate government is being instituted. The globalization pacts play a major role.
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4. In the practical sense, what corporate elites want is for the state to act as corporate welfare conveyor and violent enforcer through threats and military/police means, and to take all the financial and other risks upon itself (i.e. the taxpayers) but not engage in public policy beyond this. Beyond this the state should just maintain a sham facade of “elections” and the two primary astroturfs, the Democrat and Republican Parties. Whatever’s left of public interest government, anything which could actually help people, anything which isn’t directly profitable for the corporate sectors, is to be gutted and dismantled. All true politics are to be eradicated and replaced by a corporatized anti-politics. I call this the bagman/thug model of government.
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This sums up neoliberalism and austerity, and is also the reason why anything the government undertakes which is allegedly for the public benefit, such as “health care reform”, is intentionally set up primarily as a corporate toll booth and to further organize such a core element of human society as medicine under corporate rule. Any government policy must be first and foremost corporate welfare, while a policy like Single Payer that directly helps people and doesn’t convey wealth to the corporations is literally inconceivable by the elites and the political class. This is true no matter how beneficial, rational, and less expensive the public interest policy would be, and no matter how harmful, destructive, irrational, and vastly more expensive the corporatist policy is. The globalization pacts represent the ultimate enshrinement of the this corporate policy derangement.
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5. So we have:
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A. A basically unitary, monolithic corporate elite class, which is roughly synonymous with the 1% and its flunkeys. These include the political class and “professionals” as groups. The organizations wielding tremendously concentrated power are big corporations grouped into oligopoly sectors. The sectors exist in a rough hierarchy with Wall Street at the top. Relations within each sector are based more on collusion than conflict. There’s jockeying for position but only rarely does a serious fight break out.
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B. In the US government system, the political class is transferring power and control from the three constitutional, nominally accountable branches to the extraconstitutional, unaccountable in principle Fourth Branch of government, the corporations themselves.
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Parallel processes are well underway in academia, among professional groupings, and as written into the very ideology of such endeavors as science and journalism, which now exist primarily in the form of corporate-dictated “science” and the corporate media.
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C. The first three branches are to remain potent as corporate welfare bagman and thug, promoter of the pseudo-democratic facade, and as holder of all risk.
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Now that corporatism, and the bourgeois ideology of which it is the ultimate consummation, has won for the time being, the corporate government’s goal is to cause the state to wither away in favor of direct corporate rule, except insofar as the state serves as bagman and thug.
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6. As Arendt put it, the corporations and their supporters want “power without a body politic”. Corporations are to have total power and license, individuals are to be atomized and stripped of all effective power and rights. We can trace the evolution of a yet another parallel track, the evolution of the obscene concept of “corporate rights”. Corporate personhood was first surreptitiously smuggled into constitutional jurisprudence, from there asserted as a precedent, from there became the assumption of the law, and from there to a presumably normative assumption of politics and the public consciousness. This morphed into an affirmative concept of corporate “rights” which was first asserted in court decisions, then elaborated by the courts into a de facto corporate “bill of rights” overriding the people’s bill of rights, and has become a mainstay of media propaganda and corporate rhetoric. Thus Monsanto calls itself a “global corporate citizen” (doubly an oxymoron). From this aggrandizement of corporate “rights” we reach the effective condition where only corporations are presumed to have rights, only corporations are seen as “citizens” (the jargon substitutes the term “stakeholder”), and human beings are disenfranchised. Rather than formally denationalize citizens as prior modern tyrannies have often done, corporate government seeks to render citizenship itself effectively meaningless. It wants to render us all effectively stateless. And today we have globalization pacts like the TTIP which seek to formally enshrine this infinite corporate empowerment and complete human dispossession. Such a concept as the “right to profit” seeks the end of all human and earthly existence as anything but a resource mine and waste dump.
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7. “Profit” is just a pretext for the corporate accumulation and exercise of power, while the goods and services corporations allegedly provide comprise the same kind of propaganda scam as the services allegedly provided by the austerity governments of today. In reality goods and services come from the same source which has always provided them: Nature, and the people who do the actual work. People have always provided the goods and services of civilization in spite of the government and corporate hierarchies which “organize” them, not because of these. The greatly superior moral, rational, practical alternative to all supply-based economic and political policy is a demand-based economy.
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The first step of humanity’s liberation must be the conscious realization that the corporations are not legitimate but alien and tyrannical, wherever they exist and exert power.

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February 28, 2015

The Current State of the TTIP

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently declared, “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.” He was referring to the iron resolve of the Eurozone cabal to crush any Greek attempt to liberate itself from the economic war of aggression called “austerity”. This ideological proclamation can be applied just as much to the Commission’s resolve to join the US government and the global corporations in a second and parallel economic war waged upon the people. This is the attempt to impose upon the people of America and Europe a corporate dictatorship in the form of a globalization treaty, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the TTIP. A similar attempt is ongoing on the other side of the world with the Transpacific Partnership, the TPP. I focus on the TTIP, but everything I say applies to the TPP as well.
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The US government and the European Commission were hoping to have the TTIP wrapped up and ratified by a year ago, but democratic pressures have forced a big slowdown, as the EC and officials from various member states have sought to get their propaganda in order. Thus the EC felt compelled to hold a bogus “public consultation” (the equivalent of a public comment period) on the most controversial element of the plan, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), while government officials struggled to present a united front in promising that the TTIP would not lead directly to such outcomes as the privatization of Britain’s health system or the eradication of European truth-in-geographical-branding regulations, a common concern everywhere. It obviously will bring these and far worse outcomes, as some officials admitted before later backpedaling. Meanwhile even high-level pro-TTIP (and pro-CETA, Canada-Europe Trade Agreement, another pact which was supposed to be completed in 2014 but has stalled) officials are now telling the US they think ISDS is overkill. They give legalistic reasons for this change of heart, though the main reason must be that they think it’s political overkill which threatens ratification of the pact itself. That’s why the EC had to take time out for the “consultation” a year ago.
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Indeed, European civil society must ensure that it’s political overkill, enough overkill to kill the pacts. This is their best bet for getting the European Parliament and/or the governments of the 28 EU member states to refuse to ratify these two pacts. Even if ISDS is taken out of the agreement(s) in a de jure sense, we must go ahead and say it’s still in there, since the only thing which will have changed is that instead of explicitly enshrining it upfront like they’d originally planned, they’ll instead seek to institute its equivalent gradually through the permanent and ongoing “regulatory coherence” war plan. This is where all the most inflammatory goals are likely to seek realization, for example the gutting of the precautionary principle.
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In spite of the delay, the negotiations are gradually oozing forward. Early in February US and EC representatives met in Brussels to draft the sector specific Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) provisions of the TTIP. This includes the pact’s goal of gutting all that still exists of food safety, public health, and animal welfare regulation. The draft encodes almost all the demands submitted by industry, including the establishment of a secret US/EC/corporate committee that would have the power to oversee safety regulation prior to government regulatory processes, pact-imposed federal preemption in the US and Europe, an effective ban on any future restrictions on product classes, severe restrictions on customs inspections at the port of entry, the requirement that all regulations be “harmonized” with the WTO and its Codex Alimentarius, and many other draconian clauses. It formally institutes ISDS within these sectors. It pays lip service to government rights to protect human life and animal and plant health, but governments may do this only in ways that are the “least trade restrictive”. How can you enshrine a value like protecting human life but then put a restriction on it – a restriction which strongly implies that corporate profit is a higher value than human life. Obviously this is the same as not valuing human life at all, as indeed these pro-globalization activists and their supporters do not.
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The goal here as with every other part of the TTIP is to gut all public interest and democratic controls. Power and effective decision-making are to be shifted from member states and the EC itself to the pact committees. The same is to happen in the US. In addition to a radical escalation of the existing trend toward federal preemption and usurpation of the power that rightly reposes at lower levels of government and sovereignty, effective power is also to be shifted from the US system in general to the TTIP itself. The real power and control will be wielded by the corporate oligopoly sectors. This is typical of all such globalization policy. The TTIP is explicit in its charter: The goal is to maximize supply-driven “trade” and profits “to the greatest extent possible”. At the SPS committee meetings hundreds demonstrated against this “Trojan Horse Treaty”, which under the fraudulent rubric of “free trade” seeks to establish the closest thing yet to direct corporate dictatorship on a mass scale.
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I’ve written extensively about the rise of corporate domination. In Part Two we’ll review this evolution of government power from the nation-state to the modern bureaucratic state to globalization and corporate rule.

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February 27, 2015

GMO News Report, February 27th 2015

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*Farmer demonstrations under the Solidarity banner continue in Poland. In the most recent action, over 6000 farmers marched in Warsaw. Their demands include a continued ban on corporate land-grabbing, the decriminalization of direct farm sales, farmer compensation for economic harm to them caused by globalization, and a ban on GMO sale and cultivation.
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*Friends of the Earth in cooperation with a coalition of African farmer and civil society groups has released a new report detailing the plan of the US government, the Gates Foundation, and the GMO cartel to recolonize Africa. The immediate goal is to force new markets for GMO seeds, synthetic fertilizer, and pesticides. The report emphasizes the proven record I’ve recently discussed, that GMOs can partially “work” only on large, heavily capitalized industrial plantations and are utterly unviable for small farmers. The longer run goal is obviously the goal already proven by the historical record – to economically liquidate the vast mass of African small farmers and drive them off the land. This longer arc goes with the ongoing land-grabbing onslaught.

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*A new development in the legal fight which has followed from China’s 2013-2014 rejection of US corn shipments containing the unapproved Syngenta variety MIR 162, AKA Viptera. China finally approved it in December 2014, but not before US corn growers and traders lost billions in revenue. Cargill, ADM, several other companies, and hundreds of farmers have sued Syngenta. The latest suit is trying to put the RICO Act to good use for once, suing Syngenta under the act alleging that it intentionally generated the problem in order to pressure China. The allegations as described in the complaint are broadly true. Everyone knows that it’s impossible to “steward” one part of the commodity grain supply and prevent it from contaminating the rest. Everyone knows “co-existence” is impossible. Cartel representatives are on record saying that the goal is to force farmers and citizens into the mindset that there is no alternative: “The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.” All this is well-known, and Syngenta and the other cartel members always act with these facts in mind. Did they go further and formally concoct a Machiavellian plan? Who knows, though I think everything can be explained by regular corporate inertia, which is criminal enough. Syngenta went ahead sure in the knowledge that even if there were any problems, the overall endeavor would be profitable. As for pressuring China, there was some of this. The USDA used taxpayer money to serve as Syngenta’s lobbyist. Monsanto also exerted effort to clear up the general China situation. But China also extracted some trade concessions from the US prior to approving MIR 162.
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The racketeering allegation is certainly true, morally and rationally, though I doubt a court will apply the RICO Act that way. Just as every other kind of crime is “legal” when the corporate state does it, so is racketeering. Just look again at the first item here, a joint campaign of the US and UK governments and the GMO cartel to tell the small farmers of Africa to adopt GMOs, with the goal of subjugating and wiping them out. Laws like RICO are to be applied only to those outside the criminally organized system.
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*One for the comedy files. Professional climate change denier and pro-GMO activist Owen Paterson, who these days focuses mostly on working the “golden rice” con in a particularly overwrought, irrational, emotional way, tweeted a mawkish poem allegedly written by a sufferer from vitamin A deficiency. We see the high level of scientific argumentation being attempted. Further inquiry quickly ascertained that the poem was actually written by a Dow/Syngenta activist who was too stupid not to put her real name on it. As usual it’s someone with zero medical credentials expressing ignorant opinions on human medicine and nutrition. Same goes for climate change denier Paterson, who has no credentials whatsoever but whose alleged authority is held in high regard by the pro-GMO faction.
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*Hershey has announced that it will be phasing out some GMO ingredients from its milk chocolate and Kisses by the end of 2015. It says it will stop using sugar from GM sugar beets (about half the supply; if a product with sugar doesn’t say 100% cane sugar, then it includes GM sugar) and milk from cows fed Bovine Growth Hormone. These products are already free of corn syrup. Hershey also promises to stop using artificial vanillin, which would strike a blow at one of the most-touted prospective markets for the products of “synthetic biology”. The GMWatch note exaggerates a bit, since Hershey’s doesn’t say the milk will come from cows fed a non-GM diet, and its pledge doesn’t actually promise that there will be no GM-based ingredients at all.
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*A bill to protect farmers victimized by transgenetic trespass and contamination of their crops from being sued by the corporations which sell the pollutants has passed the New York State Assembly. A similar bill is pending in the Senate. Monsanto and other GMO peddlers routinely sue farmers who never bought or planted patented GM seeds but who become victims of contamination (through pollen drift) or rogue GMOs growing on their land (seeds easily can be sown randomly across the landscape by wind or falling out of trucks). The most famous case is that of Percy Schmeiser in Canada. The data shows that states such as Maine, California, Indiana, and North and South Dakota which have passed such farmer protection laws see farmer persecution lawsuits drop to near zero. (Other abuses these laws often curb include forbidding the corporation from intruding onto the farmer’s land without permission and/or meeting other requirements, and overriding the Monsanto contract which demands that all litigation be held on its home turf in St. Louis.)

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February 13, 2015

GMO News Summary February 13, 2015

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*In India, the new state government of Maharashtra will allow field trials of GM cotton, maize, rice, brinjal (eggplant), and chickpea. Maharashtra issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC), allowing the central government to approve the trials. In India the states have the right to refuse to allow field trials within their territory. Most states have refused to issue these NOCs, and so field trials are officially disallowed. Delhi University also received approval to trial GM mustard. The rationales given for these field trials are typical scams – that they’re testing “drought resistant” and “nitrogen efficiency” GMOs. Neither of these exists. This comes even as crashing commodity prices at harvest time this year cost Indian cotton and maize farmers vast revenue (Rs 12000 crore), while state farmer supports continue to be eroded. A recent study found that from 1996 to 2013 the government’s Minimum Support Price for a range of industrial crops including maize, cotton, and soybeans has only covered 45-72% of farmer costs. Farming in India becomes increasingly unviable for any but the richest farmers.
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*Undeterred by the poor agronomic and economic (for the farmers) results of its first season of a demonstration commercial release of four Bt brinjal varieties, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) plans to release five more varieties this year. This project, developed by Mahyco and funded by BARI and USAID (corporate welfare, all profits to go to Monsanto-Mahyco) is going forward in spite of the fact that it has zero rationale, was an economic disaster for many of the farmers who participated in the first season, that the crops performed poorly, thast Mahyco’s own tests found toxic effects, that BARI has gone ahead with these releases without performing the slightest environmental or health assessments, that there exist over 4000 regionally adapted brinjal varieties in Southeast Asia, that Southeast Asia is the world center of brinjal origin and diversity, and that a corporate monoculture program like this threatens this agricultural biodiversity, as all GMOs do.
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*Polish farmers are using tractors to block roads and picket government offices as they make four demands which they regard as critical to alleviate economic crises in Polish agriculture. The four demands are: Reject foreign land-grabbing of Polish farmland (slated to be legalized in 2016); decriminalize direct retail farm sales (this is one of the surest ways for farmers to get off the commodification treadmill and regain economic self-determination; Poland has draconian rules effectively outlawing it); allow inheritance of lease rights to farmland; ban GMOs.
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*Farmers and companies have filed more than 360 lawsuits against Syngenta for marketing its Viptera maize before getting import approval from China. As a result, starting in November 2013 China began rejecting US maize shipments which tested positive for Viptera. This cost US growers and commodifiers lost $1-3 billion in revenue through the 2014 season. China rejected a total of over 131 million bushels. The suits have been filed in twenty states, and hundreds more may be coming. A federal judge is currently mulling whether to combine them into a class action. China finally approved Viptera in December.
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*GMO labeling bills have been introduced in the legislatures of Indiana and Minnesota. The Indiana bill would also ban the use of the term “natural” on products containing GMOs.
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*A federal judge granted the motion of the Center for Food Safety, Our Family Farms Coalition, and several local farmers to intervene as co-defendants in the industry lawsuit against Jackson County, Oregon. In May 2014 the county voted by a wide margin (66%) to ban GMO cultivation as an economic and contamination assault on the true farmers of the county. They’re now being sued by contract “farmers” who are really cartel proxies.
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This spring Benton County will vote on a combined community rights, food sovereignty, GMO ban initiative.

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November 10, 2014

European Parliament Has Its Chance to Redeem European GMO Regulation

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[Update 11/12: The Parliament voted to reinstate environmental rationales for national bans and removed the absurd requirement that countries supplicate before the GMO-peddling corporations before instituting bans. It also mandated anti-contamination measures. The EP version of the law must now be negotiated with the Council’s pro-cartel version voted in June. The EP’s  law doesn’t affect the pro-GMO regulatory “streamlining” momentum at the EFSA. This is merely a defensive action.]

In June the European Council (an executive committee of national ministers) fulfilled the wishes of the GMO cartel and the US government by voting for a new “subsidiarity” policy to replace the EU’s existing approval process for the cultivation of GMOs in Europe. As things are the European Commission’s EFSA (an unaccountable supranational bureaucracy) approves applications on a Europe-wide basis, but individual national governments are free to enact their own bans. Right now MON810 Bt maize is the only GMO approved for cultivation, but Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, and Poland have banned it. Only in Spain is it grown on any significant acreage. (In 2014 DuPont/Dow’s 1507 stacked maize is becoming the second cultivation-approved GMO.)

This kind of federalism, really an upside-down federalism since it “allows” delegation of power from the top down, has only been grudgingly tolerated by the Commission. It has long been a target for the US government and the cartel, which want to gut Europe’s superior non-GMO agriculture and flood Europe with proprietary GMO seeds. This is a good example of how EU federalism, like any other such concept and practice, has no stable existence but is only agreed to by the corporations or assaulted by them depending upon whatever serves corporate power at the moment. Thus, as I’ve been pointing out for years, European GMO “subsidiarity” was originally talked up by the system as a safeguard: “Any national government is free to ban any GMO it chooses. Therefore there’s no reason for the EFSA’s approval procedure to be so strict, and it should be liberalized.” This argument was being made in favor of the approval of 1507 as recently as a year ago. Then there’s the obscene spectacle of the US promoting its subsidy-based planned economy Big Ag sector under the banner of “free trade” and railing against Europe’s alleged “trade barriers”. Again, no one actually believes in “free trade” or “protectionism” as values. Either of these are merely slogans and weapons to be used according to the power tactics of the moment. I call such examples might-makes-right mutabilities.

In spite of the “federalism” rhetoric, the Biotechnology Industry Association has long lobbied for Europe to change to its own Orwellian version of federalism, AKA “subsidiarity”. The US government has taken up the fight. The Commission has been ardent, and the bureaucratic campaign came together in 2014, leading up to the Council vote in June.

According to the proposal, countries will no longer be free to enact national bans when they choose and how they choose. Instead, each country would have to take action early in the bureaucratic approval process. A national government would have to request that the corporation exclude that country’s territory from its application. Only if the corporation refuses would the country then be allowed to enact its own ban. The technical criteria for a ban to be legally valid in the EU’s bureaucratic courts would also be tightened. It’s meant to set up a legalistic Catch-22. The member states would surrender their right to institute bans based on health or environmental rationales. These rationales would be surrendered completely to the EFSA’s discretion. Yet these are the only rationales which in theory are allowed under the WTO regime.

Meanwhile the member states would retain a right, under this policy, to enact bans based on socioeconomic, cultural, or planning grounds. But these are precisely the kind of policy rationales banned under WTO rules. Therefore the policy proposal is meant to take a roundabout route to gut the Precautionary Principle and national regulatory power over GMOs, and exalt the preemptive power of EFSA assessments. The revolving door EFSA is little more than a Monsanto division.

In addition to its structural aims, the policy is meant to be cumbersome to the point of impossibility. Instead of taking cultivation approvals on a case-by-case basis, a national government is supposed to track down every pending application, assess it  in a hypothetical way, make a future-oriented decision, and formulate a request. And just who is supposed to do this: A bureaucracy which is naturally more likely to support the corporate project than a legislature which may be more responsive to the public good. And then there’s the fact that the government of a day is supposed to be able to tie the hands of its successors in perpetuity, if it fails to make the right “requests” and enact its bans within a narrow window of opportunity. (Needless to say this only works one way; any ban can always be rescinded by a later government.) Once again we see the fundamental hostility of the EC (and the US government) to democracy and to politics as such.

The policy is being bruited in terms familiar from big business rhetoric – this will “break the logjam”, will “streamline” regulation. Of course in reality the only logjam on economic innovation and productivity is that imposed by corporate oligopoly, most of all corporate agriculture’s attempt to enclose and calcify the agriculture and food sectors once and for all. The GMO onslaught is the culmination and final war to attain this enclosure and domination. The “subsidiarity” policy is intended to do exactly what I’ve been predicting about EU federalism since 2010: First open the floodgates to general EU cultivation approvals, then gut the state-level bans piecemeal.

(Meanwhile the TTIP if enacted is intended to make a clean sweep of all of this, replacing the whole WTO rigmarole with the leaner meaner NAFTA model of direct corporate legal weapons (in the form of ISDS) and systematic, permanent “regulatory coordination” across all government bureaucracies, forcing all of these to conform to standards set by corporate bureaucracy and to obey corporate directives. I won’t recap the TTIP here, but here’s my posts on it from earlier in 2014.

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-ttip-corporatism-and-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/corporatism-and-globalization-the-context-of-the-ttip-and-tpp/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-ttip-and-globalizations-corporate-coordination-master-plan-1-of-3/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/the-ttip-and-the-corporate-coordination-master-plan-2-of-3-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-ttip-and-the-corporatist-coordination-plan-part-three/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-ttip-and-the-right-to-profit-investor-to-state-dispute-settlement/  )

This week the European Parliament is scheduled to vote on subsidiarity. If it votes No it can gut the policy, or it can vote for a reformed version which could ameliorate the worst parts. Greenpeace issued a list of minimal reform demands, including:

*Restore the ability of member countries to enact bans on environmental grounds. [Greenpeace doesn’t mention public health/food safety grounds, although these too are critical.]

*Change the legal basis for the policy from the “internal market” section of the EU code to the environmental section.

*Confirm the right of countries to ban GMOs as such or groups of GMOs by crop or trait.

*Scuttle the formal position of corporations in the approval and banning process.

It seems to me it would be better to just scuttle the whole thing, but anything which delays the juggernaut is helpful, since time is running out for the cartel, just as it’s running out for humanity.

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July 4, 2014

GMO News Summary July 4th 2014

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*In honor of Independence Day we celebrate the recent successes and ongoing action of the Community Rights movement. This movement to abolish alien corporate power over communities and regions looks to become a key part of the rising anti-corporate movement. This movement shall be at the core of the second stage of the American Revolution. We’re currently undergoing the oppressions and humiliations of the New Stamp Acts and Intolerable Acts being perpetrated by the corporate state. Here’s a salute to one of the promising new movements seeking to break corporate power.
 
*In the latest victory, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities have the right to use zoning and land use policy to ban oil and gas drilling. This was only a partial victory within an adverse framework, as the court found that the community has rights which were delegated to it by the state, but reaffirmed the state’s alleged dominion over communities. Therefore it’s not a community rights ruling, and movement work is needed in New York to build the consciousness and resolve among communities to reject the state itself where this becomes necessary. As things are, the court has invited the state legislature to pass a new law overriding fracking bans on any grounds whatsoever. The court’s decision is therefore what I’d call a passive corporatist decision.
 
But nevertheless the ruling does find that even within corporatism there are grounds for communities to limit and reject the corporate prerogative. It’s a step toward the necessary goal of community rejection of all corporate state prerogatives and “authority” and reassertion of the community’s rightful sovereignty.
 
*A new report from the EU’s council of environmental ministers surveys some of the environmental effects of the herbicide tolerant GMO genre. It confirms the fact that HT GMOs do not increase yield over non-GM conventional. It confirms the universal pattern, that the introduction of HT crops may (but doesn’t always) cause a brief initial decline in overall herbicide use, but that this quickly reverses. HT GMOs soon come to require greater herbicide use than non-GM conventional agriculture, and this difference increases over time. The report also further confirms the consensus that GMOs yield more poorly than non-GM conventional and organic crops.
 
The report also finds that HT GMO system is a threat to biodiversity and explores the ways that herbicide tolerance spreads through feral growth of GMOs like Roundup Ready canola and contamination of related wild plants. It discusses the bioweapons arms race as the GMO system causes weeds to evolve greater resistance to an ever-widening spectrum of herbicides. It discusses how herbicide residue weakens the crops themselves.
 
It makes one mistake, frequently citing the alleged benefits of the “chemical no-till” system without mentioning that as superweeds overwhelm HT GMO systems, farmers return not only to supposedly obsolete herbicides but to tillage as well.
 
The report finds that for policy purposes the HT GMO system should be compared with low external input agroecology, whose practices and results are superior in every way. The report concludes that from an environmental perspective “Herbicide tolerant crops are not part of the solution, but are part of the problem”.
 
*The German government (Germany is the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate) and the EFSA continue to refuse to release to the public the secret toxicity tests which allegedly find glyphosate safe enough that the Allowed Daily Intake should be nearly doubled, as the German government is recommending. This refusal is now flouting a 2013 order from the European Court of Justice that studies relevant to environmental pollutants must be release to the public. The government bureaucracies refuse to give we the people our information on the grounds of “commercial confidentiality”. In other words the corporate bureaucracy doesn’t want the government bureaucracy to publicize how poisonous to human and animal health glyphosate really is. 
 
What does this prove?
 
1. Glyphosate is extremely toxic to humans and animals. If the data didn’t prove this, Monsanto and its flunkey governments would be thrilled to publicize the fact.
 
2. As I’ve always said, government regulators do not serve the people nor are they designed to. They consciously see themselves as serving the corporate “client”, and were designed for this purpose in the first place. What else would common sense expect of a regulator within a pro-corporate government which is aggressively promoting a corporatist economic and political system? It’s quite insane to expect an inherently corporatist regulator to behave in the public interest.
 
3. Since transparency is a bedrock principle and practice of science, it follows that it’s impossible to support GMOs and other agricultural poisons from a scientific point of view. On the contrary, such support, which must include support for the secrecy policy, is radically opposed to science. 
 
*The US and other governments will oppose a UN working group dedicated to enforcing a new treaty which would require transnational corporations to abide by human rights and not commit crimes against humanity. It’s easy to see why the US government, dedicated to supporting corporate crime of aggression everywhere on earth, opposes this.
 
*You can register for a webinar on how the TTIP is being planned as a major weapon in the GMO assault on Europe, and will also be used against rational regulation of GMOs and other poisons in the US.
 
*China’s food quarantine agency is reported to have suspended import licenses for distillers’ grain solubles (a corn product used in CAFO feed) from the US after a series of rejected US shipments due to contamination by an unapproved GM variety.
 
*Boycott Coca-Cola and all its brands for its incorrigible and hypocritical funding of anti-labeling campaigns in California and Washington. In Washington in 2013 Coca-Cola and other food manufacturers were too cowardly to openly espouse their anti-democracy position, but instead illegally and cravenly spent the money secretly, through the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto’s group which coordinates the actions of the manufacturers on its behalf.

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June 14, 2014

EU Set to Gut GMO Regulation and Democracy

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This week the European Council voted to change the process by which EU member states can opt out of authorizing cultivation within their territories of GMO crops authorized by the Commission. The change heavily weights the process in favor of the cartel and bureaucracy and against the people.
 
As things are now, whether or not a GMO which has been authorized for cultivation in the EU (as of this writing, only MON810 maize, though Commission approval for 1507 maize seems imminent) is allowed in a particular member state is a matter of that country’s normal political process. The result of this relatively accountable system is that MON810 has been banned in ten European countries and is widely grown only in Spain.
 
Under the new system, the main power over the opt-out process will be in the hands of a country’s unaccountable bureaucracy, which is far more likely to support the GMO prerogative than a European legislature. It’ll be up to the bureaucracy to take proactive action during the initial application stage and jump through several hoops in order to lay the groundwork for the government to then ban the GMO. If the bureaucracy fails to do this, the government’s hands are tied. The system also sets up a legalistic catch-22 in that member states must agree to accept EFSA rubber-stamping where it comes to human, livestock, and environmental safety, while basing their national bans only on socioeconomic, planning, or cultural concerns. These, of course, are the kinds of concerns which are banned by the WTO, which on the other hand in theory does have to allow the safety exceptions. So the goal is to render all rationales legally invalid one way or another. States must also waive all right to redress in the inevitable event of contamination.
 
Meanwhile, a state which goes through this rigmarole would also be forestalled from voting against EU-wide approval for the GMO. The result of all this is that everything rubber-stamped by the EFSA would automatically glide to EU-wide approval, and any state which wanted to allow any GMO would have license to go ahead. The UK government, hysterical to authorize GM crops and frustrated by both the EU and rejection by Scotland and Wales, has spearheaded this whole campaign.
 
Of course all of this is typical of what happens when a nation surrenders its sovereignty to any kind of alien bureaucracy. I’ve written before about how, from the point of view of the European Commission, the goal of the TTIP is to radically mitigate the extent to which European politics which can still affect the corporate economy.
 
But as we see here the Commission’s doing what it can to work with what it has right now. If this policy goes through it’ll gut the democratic oversight the peoples of Europe now have over whether GMOs are cultivated in their own lands. (Their NIMBYism in importing a huge amount of GM feed from Latin America and elsewhere is a different problem.)
 
I wrote more on this here and here.

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June 6, 2014

GMO News Summary June 6th, 2014

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*An estimated 2 million people worldwide took part in the third March Against Monsanto held on May 24th.
 
*Fruit from Brazil will be likely to have GMO fruit fly maggot carcasses in the fruit, as Brazil has authorized field releases of genetically engineered fruit flies. The GMO bugs like these work is they’re supposed to mate with wild insects and have offspring who die as larvae. That means the fruit or vegetable involved will have the corpses inside. There are plans to do the same with olive flies in Europe, so the GMO maggots will be inside the olives you eat.
 
European imports of such GMO-laced material from Brazil or elsewhere would be illegal, since EU regulations require a special testing and approval process for any GMO to be eaten directly as food, as these maggots will be. But the regulatory evasion seems the least of the problems with this.
 
The Brazilian releases are slated to take place sometime in 2014.
 
*In the same way that the GMO racket has always been long on hype but short on accomplishment, actually producing only poison-based crops, so the nascent synthetic biology sector has already given up the pursuit of the technological miracles it’s been promising and is instead focusing on luxury “fine chemicals” for food and cosmetics. So they’re keeping pace with their older sibling in being worthless for anything that could actually help people. There’s a good chance, though, that they’ll succeed at least as well in harming people.
 
*As the EPA continues on its slow boat toward maybe completing its reassessment of the health and environmental effects of glyphosate in 2015, after postponing it repeatedly over the last several years, Moms Across America broke the blissful see-no-evil speak-no-evil calm with a five-day phone blitz demanding faster action in light of the evidence which continues to pile up of glyphosate’s toxicity and its buildup in human tissues and breast milk. The EPA was forced to meet with the group.
 
In 2013 the EPA continued its pattern going back to the mid-90s of raising the officially “safe” levels of glyphosate residues in response to the ever-higher levels generated by the ever-greater use of this poison which has accompanied the spread of Roundup Ready GMO crops. These bureaucratic escalations never have anything to do with scientific evidence of safety, but are simply automatic, in response to the corporate need. 
 
*EU member states just voted for a proposal which promises to gut Europe’s moderate protections against GMO cultivation. According to this revision of the “subsidiarity” policy, each country would be required to make a special preliminary bureaucratic request of the applicant corporation for each individual application asking that its own territory be excluded from the scope of the application. Only if the applicant refuses will the member state then be allowed to enact its own ban. The technical criteria for such a ban to be valid in the bureaucratic courts would also be tightened. It’s meant to set up a legalistic Catch-22. The member states would relinquish their right to institute bans based on health or environmental rationales, i.e. the only rationales in theory allowed under globalization rules. These rationales would be surrendered completely to the pro-GMO rubber-stamp EFSA. Meanwhile the member states would retain a right, under this policy, to institute bans based on socioeconomic and planning concerns. But these are precisely the kind of policy rationales banned under WTO rules. The policy proposal is meant to take a roundabout route to gut the Precautionary Principle and state regulatory power over GMOs, and further exalt the preemptive power of EFSA assessments. The revolving door EFSA is little more than a Monsanto division.
 
In addition to its structural aims, the policy is meant to be cumbersome to the point of impossibility. Instead of taking cultivation approvals on a case by case basis, a national government is supposed to track down every pending application, assess its approval in a hypothetical way, make a future-oriented decision, and formulate a request. And who is supposed to do this – a bureaucracy which is naturally more likely to support the corporate project than a legislature which is more likely to be responsive to the public good. And then there’s the fact that the government of a day is to be able to tie the hands of its successors in perpetuity. Once again we see the fundamental hostility of the EC to democracy and to politics as such.
 
The policy is being bruited in terms familiar from big business rhetoric – this will “break the logjam”, will “streamline” regulation. It is indeed intended to do exactly what I’ve predicted about this EU federalism since 2010 – first open the floodgates to general EU cultivation approvals, and then gut the state-level bans piecemeal.
 
*That good old European regulation is on display as the EFSA is up to its antics again, this time with Dupont’s 1507 stacked maize variety. The EC is intent on approving 1507 for cultivation in spite of a spate of reports by Testbiotech calling its safety into question, as well as its rejection in European Parliament and European Council votes.
 
*Under pro-GMO European Commission pressure, Bulgaria is refusing to rescind its ban on cultivation of MON810 Bt maize. MON810 is currently the only GMO approved for cultivation in the EU, though as I just mentioned the EC is planning to authorize 1507 stacked maize for 2015.
 
*While pro-GMO propaganda continues to tout a genetically modified “anti-cancer purple tomato”, the conventionally bred non-GMO real thing is already available in supermarkets.
 
Meanwhile the corporate welfare project being carried out by the UK’s John Innes Center seems to be technologically stalled. It’s the same old story as with “golden rice” and other media hoaxes – the GM purple tomato doesn’t work.
 
So far you’d never go wrong if, presented with the idea of some special GMO which isn’t the same old kind of poison plant, you were to assume that a better conventionally bred variety already exists, and that the GM version doesn’t work.
 
*A new coalition, No Patents on Seeds, has filed a challenge with the European Patent Office against what it calls a fraudulent Monsanto patent on a conventionally bred tomato which Monsanto implied was genetically engineered. In Europe GE processes can be patented, but the results of conventional breeding cannot.
 
Monsanto pirated the original seeds, which it then crossed with other tomato varieties, from the international gene bank at Gatersleben, Germany. These kinds of germplasm repositories have a long history of playing this “public private partnership” role: They use public resources to pirate germplasm across the global South and gather the results for the convenience of corporate research.
 
*There’s a call out for Canadian volunteers to participate in a country-wide test for glyphosate residues in the body. This is intended to be a Canadian followup to the Moms Across America bombshell which discovered how much the breast milk of even health-conscious American eaters is laden with this poison.

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May 27, 2014

The Corporate Poison Regime and Regulatory Shamming: The EFSA’s “Public Consultation” on Glyphosate

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GM-Free Cymru has filed a formal complaint over the EFSA’s farcical “public consultation” over whether the EU should renew its approval of glyphosate and raise the allowable level of the poison in water and food, as Germany, the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate, recently recommended.
 
Although the EFSA is legally required to receive public comments, it flouted this requirement by setting up a tortuous, arcane online submission system which was designed to make it near-impossible to submit substantive comments. Respondents were required to tailor their comments to EFSA specifications including tight space restrictions. The EFSA required commenters to sign a waiver basically disavowing their right to have their comments published at EFSA discretion. This too is designed to evade the law. There are several other parts of GM-Free Cymru’s complaint detailing how the process is openly discouraging to potentially adverse commenters, and how the initial German assessment is corrupt and has had information illegally and unscientifically redacted from public releases. 
 
Most substantively fraudulent, the EFSA declared that it would delete any comments which referred to Roundup. Respondents are allowed to comment only on glyphosate. This is in spite of the fact that in agricultural practice it’ll be Roundup and similar formulations which are actually sprayed, while pure glyphosate is never used anywhere but in the laboratory test.
 
This is a standard scam on the part of poison manufacturers and regulators. The regulatory process, meager and inadequate as it is, deals only with an isolated so-called “active ingredient” such as glyphosate. It never deals with the kind of commercial formulation which will be used in the real world. Therefore it’s a fraud from any scientific or government ethics point of view. “Active ingredient” isn’t a practically meaningful term, since the commercial formulation will contain several bioactive ingredients. Instead this is an ideological term meant to isolate one ingredient in an unworldly ivory tower manner. Under such isolation of a single ingredient which never appears in isolation in reality, it’s easier for corporations and regulators to manufacture the sham semblance of testing and assurances of safety.
 
Meanwhile independent testing and epidemiological evidence has abundantly documented that many such commercial poisons are far more toxic in their real-world form than the “active ingredient” is in laboratory isolation.
 
In the case of glyphosate, the evidence proves that the combination of glyphosate with the surfactant POEA is far more toxic to human health than glyphosate in isolation. This combination, along with several other truly active poisons, is typical of glyphosate’s commercial formulations including Roundup.
 
Regulators are practically robotic in mechanically raising allowable levels of industrial poisons in air, water, soil, crops, food, and human bodies in response to corporate demands. It’s literally the case that the regulator sets the “safe” level of the poison based on how much of the poison the corporations expect to sell. When the corporations project a market expansion and concomitant increase in the environmental presence of the poison, they lobby the regulator to raise the “safe” level commensurately. The regulator invariably complies, since the regulator sees its job as to assist the corporate prerogative, never to hinder it.
 
I’ve described this process before, calling it “regulator triangulation”. By triangulation I mean the regulator pretends to be a public servant but is really trying to represent a corporatist agenda as “public service”.
 
1. The government regulator regards the corporate prerogative as normative. Indeed, as an EFSA memo discussing the EU law which would gradually ban endocrine-disrupting chemicals like Roundup openly says, the regulator ideology is based on an assumed corporate right to maximum profit. Any competing value is generally considered an irritant to be quashed. Under no circumstance will even the most conscientious regulator do anything which would seriously hinder corporate profit and control.
 
2. Given (1), a regulator may or may not try to ameliorate the worst harms and “abuses”. As we see in this case and many others, the EFSA is the kind of bureaucracy which doesn’t even want meager amelioration, but is gung ho on behalf of the full corporate onslaught.
 
3. The regulator then places its imprimatur on the resulting policy. It calls this the result of meticulous deliberation which takes the public interest into account. It declares the product “safe” and promises its own professional vigilance in ensuring the policy is carried out. But in fact only the corporate agenda and how to camouflage it went into the deliberation, “safe” is an Orwellian term which means, “what’s the minimum paper restraint we can politically get away with?”, and there’s seldom even a modest attempt on the regulator’s part to enforce this sham minimum. The US EPA’s “refugia” policy for Bt crops is a good example of a policy which is weak and insufficient in principle and is indifferently enforced in practice, whose only real purpose is as propaganda.
 
By means of this parallax effect the regulator helps direct public attention to a sham depiction of “good government” and “public health” while the real position is a direct, coordinated assault of the corporate state on public health and on every other human value.
 
The EFSA’s campaign to help force more of this viciously toxic poison upon us while making it look “safe” is a typical example. As is the contempt for democracy and accountability it’s demonstrating in the process. But then, the whole “public comment” process is intrinsic to the basic regulation scam.

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May 23, 2014

GMO News Summary May 23rd, 2014

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*Congratulations to the Community Rights movement and the people of Jackson and Josephine counties in Oregon who voted by wide margins to ban cultivation of GMOs. The initiatives also declare seed patents invalid. These defensive measures are part of an affirmative effort to rebuild local food sovereignty.
 
Benton County will vote on a similar measure in November, and several other Oregon counties are in varying stages of preparation to launch their own initiatives.
 
*As the Russian parliament ponders a bill which would effectively ban cultivation of GMOs, the non-profit Genetic Safety Public Association is enlisting researchers and raising funds to perform what it says will be the “first-ever independent international research on GMOs.”
 
*A new meta-analysis further confirms the link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is especially prevalent among farmers and agricultural workers.
 
*European Commission bureaucrats are plotting to evade enforcement of a law passed by the European Parliament which would effectively ban for most uses endocrine disrupting poisons like glyphosate and neonicotinoids. The EFSA and DG SANCO (the EC’s chemicals regulators) have been dragging their feet and missed several legislatively mandated deadlines for presenting plans to enforce the law. Sweden has announced it will file suit in the European Court of Justice to force EC bureaucrats to obey the law.
 
A memo from an EFSA cadre to DG SANCO proposes that the two bureaucracies team up to evade the law by expanding a narrow exemption for uses that create “negligible exposure” for humans into a giant loophole. The mechanism presumably would be the normal one wherein the bureaucracy simply raises the level of exposure which it dogmatically declares to be “safe” or “negligible”. This has been the pattern of US and EU bureaucracies all along – allowed levels of human exposure to any agricultural poison are set not according to any scientific standards based on health evidence, but instead are set at whatever level the corporations desire. The bureaucracy then declares this level to be “safe” in doctrinaire fundamentalist fashion.
 
The memo also delves into EFSA philosophy. It objects to the law in principle on the grounds that the law would restrict what the government bureaucracy sees as a corporate right to profit. It’s easy to see why the EC is so ardent for the TTIP, with its “Investor/State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) provision, to be concluded and forcibly imposed on Europe. Only this can maximize the ideology and enforcement of a corporate license to seek profit regardless of any and all other values.
 
*New Zealand’s High Court has overruled a ruling by the NZ Environmental Protection Agency that a “genome editing” technique being used by the country’s publicly funded corporate research group Scion does not qualify as genetic engineering and therefore does not need to be regulated as such.
 
This is one win amid a general trend in the US and elsewhere to try to remove new kinds of GMOs from any regulatory oversight at all, meager as this oversight is.

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