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July 31, 2015

Module: Glyphosate Causes Birth Defects

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A summary of the evidence.
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*Both Roundup and glyphosate by itself caused malformations in chicken and frog embryos at doses far below agricultural applications. This 2010 lab study, performed by Argentine scientist Andres Carrasco and his research team, gave laboratory confirmation of the kinds of birth defects which epidemiological studies (see below) find to be rampant among humans living in the industrial soy zone. The researchers identified glyphosate’s interference with the retinoic acid signaling pathway as the likely mechanism of toxicity. This is one of the many disproofs of the standard lie that glyphosate cannot harm people because it affects only the shikimate pathway which is found only in plants. A subsequent module will focus on glyphosate’s mechanisms of human toxicity.
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*A lab study from 2007 exposed rat mothers to Roundup during pregnancy and lactation. The doses were not found to be toxic to the mothers. Male offspring showed decreased sperm count, lower levels of sperm production, a heightened percentage of abnormal sperm, lower serum testosterone at puberty, and sperm cell degeneration.
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*A 2003 lab study found skeletal malformations in rat fetuses after their mothers had been given maternally non-toxic doses of Roundup.
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*A 2003 lab study found that commercial glyphosate formulation caused death and, at lower doses, malformations in tadpoles.
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*A Russian researcher found that female rats fed Roundup Ready soybean meal produced litters with over 55% of the pups stunted. This was 6-9X the rate found in two groups not given the Roundup-laced feed. The stunted rats died within three weeks, while the non-stunted survivors were sterile.
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*Monsanto’s own studies on glyphosate (they seem never to have tested Roundup) found that maternal exposure to glyphosate in rabbits and rats, at both maternally toxic and at lower, maternally non-toxic doses, caused birth defects in offspring. European regulators tendentiously dismissed the data even though the UK’s Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) itself said the industry’s own studies established “a pattern” of birth defects.
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*A 2009 review of Monsanto’s own studies found that Roundup causes necrosis and apoptosis (two kinds of cell death) in human umbilical, placental, and embryonic cells.
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*A 2005 lab study found that glyphosate damages human placental cells and is an aromatase inhibitor. This highlights the fact that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor and causes developmental harm in many ways because of this. I’ll be devoting a module to glyphosate as endocrine disruptor, where there will also be more birth defect evidence, because these overlap. Glyphosate’s interference with estrogen production also associates it with breast cancer.
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*A 1997 epidemiological study of farming families in Ontario found a that the father’s exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides was significantly correlated with late miscarriages and premature births.
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*An epidemiological study carried out in California with publications in 2004 and 2006 found that Roundup exposure can lead to anencephaly, a birth defect of neural tubes or the brain and spinal structures, in which part of the skull and brain are missing. This finding along with the Argentine epidemiological studies is consistent with the lab studies which find that Roundup and glyphosate consistently impair central nervous system development. Monsanto’s own studies have also found that glyphosate harms skull development.
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Epidemiological studies from the world’s Roundup ground zero, the “Soy Republic” of Argentina, provide copious data on the effects of this poison on exposed residents, especially birth defects, reproductive problems, and cancer.
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*The 2010 Cordoba Conference of the Physicians of Fumigated Towns reported on the many health horrors the doctors documented from the Roundup zone, including an epidemic of birth defects, miscarriages, infertility, and neurological development problems in children, as well as very high cancer rates among children, young adults, and older adults.
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*Also in 2010 a government-commissioned report on the health of the glyphosate-saturated Chaco province found, among other epidemics, that birth defects quadrupled and childhood cancer rates tripled in the ten years of Roundup Ready soy cultivation.
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*Regional birth reports in the Chaco province documented a quadrupling of birth defects among villages in the Roundup zone.This spurred a multi-year study comparing Chaco villages within the Roundup zone to villages outside, which further documented the birth defects and reproductive problems and found much higher cancer rates in the Roundup-saturated area.
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*Most recently, a University of Cordoba study in the town of Monte Maiz, located near the Roundup fields and also used for grain storage, found massive glyphosate residues in the soil and air and documented a rate of spontaneous abortions five times the national average, a tripling of the miscarriage rate, as well as cancer rates five times the national average along with a long list of other severe health effects such as soaring rates of diabetes.
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*Danish farmer Ib Borup Pederson whose pigs were suffering an epidemic of birth defects, reduced live births, diarrhea, bloating, and poor appetite found that these symptoms, which developed after he had started using GM-based animal feed, disappeared when he switched back to non-GM feed. The feed was based primarily on Roundup Ready soy, and Pederson supposes the main problem was the Roundup residue. Based on Pederson’s experience, the Danish government announced a plan to conduct a study on the effects of different soy-based diets on pig health.
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*Retired USDA scientist Don Huber has been a leading figure documenting the severe epidemic of reproductive problems and birth defects among US livestock since Roundup-laced animal feed became the norm. Although there are several possible causes of the epidemic, each is related to Roundup, either as directly caused by it or else associated with it.
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Earth Open Source’s report, “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?”, summarizes the proven history of the European system’s conscious knowledge. The US regulatory knowledge has been even more precocious.
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Taken together, the industry studies and regulatory documents on which the current approval of glyphosate rests reveal that:

● Industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses.

● Industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower and mid doses.

● The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations.

● The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations.

● The EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year its DG SANCO division published its final review report, laying out the basis for the current approval of glyphosate.

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As always where dealing with the corporate science paradigm and its corrupt system, we must keep in mind that much of the most damning evidence is being kept secret by Monsanto and the US and German governments. These continue to stonewall and refuse to render public much of the information they have, under the rubric of protecting “trade secrets”. But where it comes to science no secret has any right to exist, and to assert or find such a right is prima facie proof of one’s bad faith and malign intent.
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By definition there can be no such thing as “secret science”. You can have science, whose results are part of the public record, or you can have secrecy. In that case reason and common sense must assume that the evidence is devastating to the secret-keeper. This, along with the absolute, systematic refusal of the government and corporations to perform legitimate safety testing on any GMO or pesticide, comprises negative proof that the corporations know or fear the worst. They live in terror of what would become of them and their criminal products if the truth came to light.
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We can regard this as definitively proven and go on from there.
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For further reading:
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http://earthopensource.org/gmomythsandtruths/sample-page/4-health-hazards-roundup-glyphosate/4-1-myth-roundup-safe-herbicide-low-toxicity-animals-humans/
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http://earthopensource.org/wp-content/uploads/RoundupandBirthDefectsv5.pdf
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http://www.i-sis.org.uk/glyphosateCausesBirthDefects.php
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http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Why_Glyphosate_Should_be_Banned.php
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http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2015-articles/16090-the-case-for-banning-roundup-dr-jeff-ritterman
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http://www.gmeducation.org/food-and-health/p216779-argentina-s-genetically-engineered-hell.html
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Case Study in the Corporate “Science” Paradigm

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Here’s a textbook case, punctuated with a small victory.
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1. Under the corporate science paradigm, standard practice for regulators is to consider only secret corporate “studies” in their assessments, and to do nothing but rubber-stamp these. Independent science is rejected out of hand. In 2009 the European Parliament passed a law requiring the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA, a typical pro-corporate regulator) to consider in its pesticide assessments not only non-scientific, fraudulent and secret corporate “science” the way regulators prefer, but that it must consider independent science as well.
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2. EFSA dodged this by issuing a guidance in 2011 applying a special corporate standard as the single yes-or-no standard for admitting a study to the assessment. This is the “Klimisch criterion”, named after the head of a gang of BASF operatives who promulgated it in 1997. In 2012 the European Commission’s Science and Health Committee concurred. Perversely, the Klimisch standard is a pure example of the tendentious corporate “science” whose unchallenged reign the Parliament wanted to end. The single standard for assessment it asserts is called, Orwell-fashion, “Good Laboratory Practice” (GLP).
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GLP is a classic example of a pedantic regulation which has nothing to do with quality control, but which is fraudulently put forward by the corporation and the regulator as being a rigorous control. Rather, it is meant to set up procedural hurdles which wealthy corporations can easily overcome, but which would be too onerous for many independent studies. In theory GLP was supposed to apply only to corporate studies, not independent science, which instead is supposed to be held accountable by the peer review system. Therefore independent studies are not designed to conform to GLP, nor are they supposed to in principle.
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There we see another nefarious purpose of GLP. It’s supposed to justify “secret science”, as comprising an alleged alternative to publicity and peer review.
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So the EFSA and EC turned the Parliament’s intent completely inside out, parrying the attempt to force regulators to take science into account by imposing a corporate standard which dictates which “science” is allowed to be assessed. It’s standard corporate regulatory whack-a-mole.
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3. A scientist consultant to the EFSA, Geoff Frampton, recommended against adoption of GLP but had his submission censored and his recommendation changed by secret EFSA bureaucrats. When the public interest groups Client Earth and Pesticide Action Network Europe asked EFSA for the names of these bureaucrats, the EFSA refused to tell.
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The two groups sued, and the European Court of Justice (Second Chamber) has ordered EFSA to divulge the names. If EFSA complies, we’ll certainly find that they are or have been corporate employees, operatives of the exact same corporations whose products are being “regulated”.
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We’ll see if the EFSA obeys this judgement, or else what kind of trick or outright defiance it’ll try next. The only thing certain is that they’ll never give up and never change until GMOs and the Poisoner regime are abolished.
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For now science continues to face a harsh struggle to get its findings acknowledged and considered, indeed it faces a harsh struggle to exist at all, as the overwhelming preponderance of wealth, power, and cadre commitment is dedicated to the corporate “science” paradigm and to corporate power as such.

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April 24, 2015

GMO News Report April 24th, 2015

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*A new initiative is offering lab-certified glyphosate tests to the public. (Previous testing with the ELISA method was ignored by the EPA on a trumped up pretext, but the organizers want to pin the feds to the wall with the validated LS/MS/MS test.) We already know this poison which causes cancer, birth defects, liver and kidney disease, neurological disease, and many other maladies is rampant in our food, water, air, and soil, and we already know humanity must ban it. This testing program will allow anyone who wishes to further document the suffusion of this poison throughout our world. The tests will be available for drinking water, urine, and soon for breast milk. Check out their excellent information resource on the human health ravages of glyphosate.
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*Monsanto is being sued in Los Angeles County for false advertising of its Roundup herbicide. The suit focuses on one of the standard lies about glyphosate, that because it “only” targets the EPSPS enzyme pathway, which is found only in plants and not mammals, therefore glyphosate can’t be harmful to people, pets, or livestock.
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The suit focuses on the fact that EPSPS is found in the beneficial bacteria of our microbiome. These bacteria are critical for healthy digestive and other body systems. By disrupting these, glyphosate does affect mammalian health.
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We can add that glyphosate does adversely affect at least two mammalian pathways, the retinoic acid pathway and the CYP pathway. Glyphosate’s harmful action causes retinoic acid oversignaling which disrupts gene expression, leading to birth defects and cancer. Glyphosate also disrupts the CYP enzymes which are important for detoxifying foodborne and other environmental toxins. Therefore it suppresses our detoxification mechanism as well as the help we get from gut bacterial detoxification action, since these bacteria have the CYP pathway as well. This can lead to directly toxic effects, can trigger autoimmune disease and a wide range of conditions. “Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease”, in the words of scientist Stephanie Seneff. Finally, glyphosate’s chelation effect also concentrates hard metals in food, water, and our bodies, which causes kidney toxicity as documented in studies, and which scientists think is the cause of the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu).
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*Environmental groups are condemning the new draft rules the European Commission has issued for the importation of GMO products for use in food and feed. (This is a separate rule from the previously disputed one on GM cultivation within the EU.) The draft directly breaks the prior promise of Commissioner Juncker to make the GM importation process more democratic. On the contrary, the new rule does not improve upon the ability of the European Council to block import approval by a majority vote (as things are now, it needs a supermajority; failing this, the decision passes to the undemocratic EC). Instead, the new rule will further limit the EU-approved grounds on which member countries can ban cultivation or import of GMOs. All this will be accompanied by an accelerated EFSA approval treadmill. The EC and the US government expect that once the flow of imports becomes a flood, it’ll be impossible for any part of Europe to resist or even monitor the Europe-wide spread of GM-based products. As things are, meat and dairy from animals fed on GM feed don’t have to be labeled, though many brands and retailers have committed to using non-GM feed. The new rules are meant to overwhelm all feed chains.
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*The Vermont attorney general’s office is drawing up rules for the state’s GMO labeling law, the first effective policy in the US, which will go into effect July 2016.
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*Neil Young is releasing an album this June including songs against Monsanto. Recently Young has been praising Vermont for its labeling law, condemning the Grocery Manufacturers Association (with such members as Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Kelloggs) for its SLAPP suit against Vermont’s democracy, and calling for a boycott of GMA member Starbucks.

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April 17, 2015

GMO News Report April 17th, 2015

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*Putting the AMA and similar Western professional organizations to shame, the Federation of Health Professionals of Argentina (FESPROSA) representing 30,000 doctors and health care workers has issued a statement demanding a ban on glyphosate in light of the WHO’s acknowledgement that it causes cancer. They add that Argentine researchers and doctors have also proven glyphosate causes reproductive problems, birth defects, and neurological disease. They condemn the Argentine government for its complicity in this massive poisoning of the people.
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Argentina is often called the Soy Republic (though Soy Regime would be more accurate), as the complete domination of the national economy by the Roundup Ready soy system is far more advanced here than for GMOs in any other country. But through the same circumstance Argentina has also seen the most comprehensive gathering of evidence documenting the health devastation wrought by Roundup.
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*A federal court is now extending the same hooded-judge in camera secrecy provisions we’re already enduring in cases where the government fraudulently invokes “national security” to corporate invocations of secrecy and “security”. The judges in Monsanto’s SLAPP suit against the people of Maui have accepted corporate submissions as evidence but are making only heavily redacted versions accessible to the defense. This is of course standard procedure in the corporate tribunals convened under globalization pacts like NAFTA, a jurisdiction of direct corporate dictatorship which will be vastly expanded if the TTIP and/or TPP go into effect.
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But as we see, the US federal courts are avoiding the rush. This secrecy regime, which already encompasses the void left behind where the scientific and academic establishment has abdicated even the pretense of integrity and legitimacy, is now being extended even to the basics of courtroom procedure. The courts shall increasingly be nothing but corporate kangaroo courts. This is the only way Monsanto can sustain its lies.
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These must be our principles: 1. Where it’s kept secret, and where they refuse to test at all, we can assume the worst must be true. The corporations and government would certainly trumpet to the skies any bona fide evidence which was good for their position.
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2. We reject all their secretive “studies” out of hand since these are based on secret alleged data which may not even exist at all, and at any rate does not scientifically exist, since only public data can scientifically exist.
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*Brazilian bioregulator CTNBio went ahead as expected and approved commercial cultivation of GM eucalyptus trees. The Campaign to Stop GE Trees denounces the decision as an illegal violation of the Convention on Biodiversity (to which Brazil is a signatory) and the Precautionary Principle. GM eucalyptus, if it is in fact more profitable for industrial foresters as expected on account of its faster growth, will only accelerate Brazilian rainforest destruction escalate the resultant carbon emissions and destruction of biodiversity. Contrary to the lies of pro-GM activists, all previous “efficiency” gains in industrial forestry only led to greater acreage being destroyed and given over to monoculture plantations. Of course GM trees growing for over five years will also spread their contaminated pollen far more widely than GM annual crops, to related trees and to honey production. And we can still expect a revival of 2013’s attempt to use GM eucalyptus as the camel’s nose in the tent for the Terminator gene, which Monsanto must be ardent to deploy in such crops as Brazil’s Intacta soybean.
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*This month the European Commission is expected to release rules for a new regulatory protocol for EFSA approval of GMOs for importation in food and feed. Friends of the Earth is criticizing a leaked draft promising the new importation approval system will be the same kind of sham as the cultivation approval protocol. In both cases, member states are allegedly to have an improved way to opt out of any GMO approvals. But these opt out provisions will actually be more onerous than the status quo, and will explicitly disallow national bans based on criteria the EFSA assesses, namely health and environmental concerns. This means that the pro-GM EFSA shall be officially enshrined as the only legal arbiter of the science of GMO-related health and environmental issues, which also happen to be the only WTO-allowed criteria for enacting what it would otherwise ban as “barriers to trade”. Meanwhile, the criteria which the new EU opt-out protocol will allow, such as socioeconomic and cultural effects, are precisely those banned by the WTO. So the goal here is to effectively outlaw EU member state bans on GMO cultivation or importation through a bureaucratic Catch-22. The new plan makes some noises about “co-existence” and anti-contamination measures, but will have zero enforcement provisions. Nor does anyone seriously think it will be possible to police the intra-European borders vs. the free flow of imported GM products.
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And what do member states have to give in return for this treacherous form of “opt-out”? Nothing but the surrender of their prior power to block Europe-wide approvals in the European Council, and their acquiescence in a general “streamlining” of the EFSA approval system.
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So the EC’s goal is to open the floodgates to EFSA approvals Europe-wide, inundate the continent with imported GM products (and undermine labeling rules), and make it easy for rogue states who want to allow chaotic GMO cultivation to do so, thereby greatly increasing the rate of general European contamination by GMOs.
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Of course all of this is just the prelude to what the GMO cartel and the EC hope to accomplish if the TTIP is enacted.

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April 11, 2015

Yet Another Study Proves GMOs Are Not “Substantially Equivalent” Even Among Themselves, Let Alone To Non-GM Crops

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A new study compared two varieties of Monsanto’s MON810 insecticidal maize under optimal conditions and under two kinds of environmental stress: Cold and wet conditions, and hot and dry. According to the pro-GM activists, in the case of both varieties: 1. The transgene should be equally active. 2. It should express equal levels of the Bt toxin (Cry1AB, vs. corn borers and other lepidopteran larvae). 3. There should be a clear, constant ratio of transgene activity to Bt expression. 4. Environmental stresses should have no effect on 1-3. 5. If there is any effect, it should be the same in both varieties.
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The results were quite different:
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1. Under optimal conditions, transgenic action (gauged by the RT-PCR test) was similar, but the average Bt content (tested by ELISA) was higher in one variety than the other.
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2. Under cold/wet conditions, the Bt content increased in one variety but not the other.
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3. Hot/dry conditions, transgenic expression was significantly lower in one variety, but this did not affect Bt content.
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The researchers concluded that even though transgene expression was similar under “normal” conditions, Bt content is affected also by the genetics of the original maize variety, and will therefore vary chaotically from variety to variety (a given transgene will be bred into often dozens of varieties). Under stress conditions the Bt content is highly unpredictable. Inconsistent Bt expression will help the target insects develop resistance, another refutation of the scam “refuge” policy.
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Based on these results, the crop science group Testbiotech is calling for all authorizations of Bt GMOs to be suspended while a new safety review protocol is drawn up and put into effect, as this study demonstrates how chaotic the real-world transgenic behavior and Bt production of these GMOs is. Researcher Angelika Hilbeck noted that this study, along with several previous studies which also found chaotic variation in Bt expression, refute the entire paradigm of “safety assessment” as deployed by regulators, as this assumes consistent levels of the poison in the product. It also refutes advertising which promises a given level of “active ingredient” in the product. Buying the seeds of a poison plant is, after all, the same thing as buying a gallon of chemical pesticide.
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As is standard with regulators all over the world including in the US, the EU’s EFSA assessments do almost nothing to assess the real-world performance of GMOs. (Much like how only ivory tower glyphosate is subjected to only meager testing, while real-world Roundup is subjected to none, and the bogus testing of Roundup Ready GMOs doesn’t include spraying them with Roundup!) No one has the slightest idea what the real world effects of changing environmental conditions will be on GMO performance, and the subsequent effects on human and animal health, beneficial insects, and soil ecosystems.

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April 10, 2015

GMO News Report April 10th, 2015

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*Unlike comparable organizations in the West, Brazil’s National Cancer Institute (INCA) is capable of connecting simple dots. Even the WHO now acknowledges that glyphosate causes cancer. INCA reiterates this and the many other health afflictions caused by glyphosate and other poisons, and goes on to state the obvious, that it’s herbicide tolerant GMOs which are by far the main driver of this great surge of glyphosate use, and therefore of the cancer caused by it.
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As if in direct contradiction of the Cancer Institute, Brazil’s “regulator” CTNBio issued cultivation approvals for soybeans and corn engineered to be tolerant to another cancer-causing herbicide, 2,4-D, as well as water-guzzling, deforestation-driving GM eucalyptus, whose prolific pollen spread promises to quickly contaminate all related trees across the environment.
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*Chinese citizens are suing the government trying to force it to disclose the secret information it has on Roundup and the process by which it approved Roundup. We see how the Chinese government is at one with those of the US and EU in wanting to help Monsanto and other corporations keep the actual evidence about the effects of chemicals like Roundup secret from the people. The escalating democracy campaign to force disclosure of how much the corporations and governments really know about how deadly these agricultural poisons really are becomes all the more critical as we learn more and more about the health and environmental devastation being wrought by Roundup, including the gathering avalanche of knowledge about how it causes cancer.
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The fact is that by definition there cannot be secret scientific evidence. By definition evidence has to be publicized, so we can assume that the secrecy is in fact a cover-up. We must assume that whatever evidence does exist condemns glyphosate (and GMOs) as harmful to health and the environment, which is the reason why corporations and governments want to keep this evidence secret. Meanwhile the public assurances are nothing but propaganda and lies. No legitimate model of science or democracy can come to any other conclusion.
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*Food and Water Watch filed a pair of petitions with the FDA calling upon the agency to follow the law and regulate GMO salmon as the food containing a new additive it clearly is, rather than as an “animal drug”, the way the FDA has been preferring to do. The food additive review process is, in theory, more rigorous and more strongly applies the precautionary principle.
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*In a court filing forced out of it, Monsanto now admits it bankrolled the legal defense of the contract GMO “farmer” who trespassed upon and contaminated West Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh’s land, causing him to lose his certification and costing him his livelihood. It’s no surprise that Monsanto would see the outcome of this case as important for its future revenue and power, since one of the basic elements of government assistance it depends upon is the “co-existence” lie in general and in particular the de facto legal doctrine that where it comes to transgenic trespass and vandalism, the law is presumptively on the side of the aggressor, while it’s the legal and financial responsibility of the target to avoid being assaulted, or simply to submit to it and plant the herbicide tolerant GMOs himself. So among other things it’s a protection racket. In this case, the 2014 trial decision admitted that “co-existence” is impossible even as it reaffirmed the pro-polluter, pro-trespasser, pro-vandal, pro-aggressor doctrine. Since then the legal dispute has been over the trial judge’s order that March pay the Monsanto contractor’s legal fees. It was in that context that Marsh’s legal team was able to force Monsanto’s divulgence, since legal costs can be awarded only for a principal’s out of pocket expenses.
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*Most of the attention to the EU’s revamped “subsidiarity” policy for GMO approvals has focused on GMO cultivation. Now the Commission is about to release its new rules for approval of imported GMOs in food and feed. The main loophole in the EU’s GMO labeling policy is that meat and dairy from animals which were fed GMOs doesn’t have to be labeled, although many supermarket chains eschew GM feed for their own meat and dairy brands. Member states opposed to GM importations have generally been unable to prevent imported feed from entering their own supply chains, but have instead focused on blocking import approval in the first place. Although the details are unclear right now, both the Commission and civil society campaigners are expecting that the new rules, generally dedicated to “streamlining” regulation (i.e. making it more pro-corporate), will make it harder for member states to block EFSA import approval at the outset. There will be fig-leaf “opt out” provisions, but as a practical matter for a member state to opt out of allowing an imported processed product, which will easily cross the border in any number of ways, will be more difficult than opting out of allowing cultivation of a GMO.
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*In its desperation to claim some kind, any kind of support for the TPP and TTIP globalization assaults, the Obama administration released a set of quotes from the always reliable corporate environmentalist front groups the WWF and the Nature Conservancy, along with some other bogus NGOs, which expressed these groups’ “environmentalist” support for the pacts. Although the cowards are now trying to backpedal by claiming they have not technically endorsed these corporate anti-constitutions, the pieces and submissions are loaded with the sycophancy, lies, and neoliberal propaganda we’d expect from the the WWF and their treacherous like.

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April 3, 2015

GMO News Report April 3rd, 2015

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

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March 7, 2015

The TTIP and Corporate Rule

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1. The name “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” expresses what the globalization process sees as the only real sovereign group and political constituency – corporate “investors”. (Under the term “stakeholders”, these are explicitly considered to be the only legitimate citizens of the corporate-dominated society envisioned by the TTIP and similar pacts. These pacts comprise a new Corporate Constitution to effectively crush existing human constitutions and institutions.) Meanwhile the term “trade” is purely Orwellian, since globalization is not about legitimate demand-based trade, but the extreme opposite: Forcing supply upon markets which don’t demand it at all, or don’t demand it in the form corporatism wants to supply it.
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The system takes it for granted that the goal of the TTIP and of all globalization policy (and government policy as such) is “market liberalization”, i.e. a command economy based on overproduction, corporate welfare, dumping, coerced markets, and the total gutting of all public interest regulation. Note well that only public interest regulation and demand-side policy like local buying requirements are targeted for “equivalence” and “coordination”. Corporate welfare, such as Big Ag crop insurance, is not considered a “regulation” which needs to be “equalized” among the parties to the compact.
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We need rigorous discipline regarding the propaganda term “free trade”. We should never let this term pass unnoticed in our thoughts and words. We must reject in thought and words any concession to the Big Lie that globalization has anything to do with legitimate trade. Globalization is all about maximizing the imperatives and prerogatives of supply-driven corporate “markets”, toward the corporate concentration of all economic and political power. Real trade is demand-based and develops naturally and organically from human economies. Globalization, so-called “free trade”, is a top-down planned economy based on intentional overproduction and the subsequent forced creation of “markets” for this overproduction. To be anti-globalization is therefore to be pro-trade in the real economic sense, and vice versa.
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Europe proves that the supply-driven export dictatorship which globalization pacts seek to impose aren’t necessary for the general prosperity. For example, Europe’s overwhelmingly conventional agriculture is superior in every way, quantitatively and qualitatively, to the GMO-based agriculture dominant in the US and Canada. This proves at least that a fully modern Western society is better off without GMOs. But one of the core goals of the TTIP is to impose the US GMO model upon Europe, thus eradicating Europe’s great qualitative advantage, for the domestic economy and for trade.
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This leads us to the specific case of GMOs and their structural importance. Obviously the US government and the GMO cartel see Europe as a massive, relatively untapped market. But beyond this, they have a structural imperative to force all economies to come under GMO domination. They also loathe the current state of European agriculture as a real world alternative which has proven superior in every way to GMO domination. Europe proves every day that even given the parameters of industrial agriculture, GMOs are unnecessary and inferior. Europe proves every day that conventional agriculture performs better and less expensively without them. This is an ongoing embarrassment and affront to US corporatism. The US corporate system tries to deny this in the same way that during the Cold War the US and USSR would deny the very existence of ways in which one outperformed the other.
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They would have destroyed these embarrassing facts if they could. Today the US government is trying to use the TTIP to wipe out the embarrassing fact of Europe’s superior agriculture and its far healthier food system. The EC bureaucracy is coordinated with this goal, since by its nature it sees things in terms of corporate one-world government rather than as a power struggle with the US-corporatist bloc.
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2. The explicit goal of the TTIP is to coordinate all regulation which has anything to do with “any planned and existing trade”. That means all regulation, law, court decisions, etc. It’s the same principle as with the totalitarian expansion of the commerce clause in US constitutional jurisprudence, since it can encompass literally anything power wants it to. The coordination is also to be extended by whatever means necessary to EU member countries and US states. Sector-specific provisions will supersede “cross-cutting horizontal” coordination, which sets a floor. Corporate-dictated “commerce” assaults and supply-driven “trade” are already taken in the US to encompass all production/consumption activity including the informal economy, including production purely for personal use and including even pure inertness. That is, the imposition of corporate poll taxes is said by the system to be part of the Commerce power. The TTIP will enforce this for Europe as well, and far more intensely for both zones. Note well that as usual this only goes one way. Domestic economic activity, the informal economy, production for personal use, and any other kind of activity which doesn’t formally seek profit across national borders will not have access to the World Bank tribunals or to any court to litigate any harm arising out of this “trade” aggression. As always with this criminal system, it’s heads the elites win, tails the people lose.
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The process gives oligopoly corporations based in any country which is party to a compact special privileges over the rights of the people or of any legitimate business within any country which is also a party. It exalts the “right” to corporate profit and supply-driven “trade” as the supreme imperatives of society, lofting these far above all other values, rights, goals of policy and law. This includes the suppression of domestic economic activity, since the supply-driven export imperative favors the big corporations, the oligopoly sectors. NAFTA’s Chapter 11, upon which the TTIP and TPP ISDS provisions are modeled, lets corporations complain about any policy, law, regulation, court decision, which in any way allegedly infringes on any hypothetical profit the corporations can conceive. This has nothing to do with uneven treatment between foreign and domestic businesses. Even where the provision applies equally to all, it’s held to strict liability as far as how it impacts any corporation’s alleged ability to profit.
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This is proof that globalization compacts are not about trade, but about power. If they were about trade, then a law which applied to everyone equally wouldn’t be a problem.
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Profit, meanwhile, is purely a measure of power, indeed an artifice of the mysticism of power. Especially in the time of quantitative easing and mark-to-make believe accounting for the finance sector and “austerity” for humanity, corporate “profit” is self-evidently a reflection not of actual productivity and wealth but on the contrary of destruction and robbery.
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3. In being formally totalitarian, dedicated only to profit in principle, corporate bureaucracies are explicitly established as the direct exercise and rule of power (Might Makes Right), mediated only by government regulatory action. Strictly speaking, corporations are not supposed to be restrained directly by law. On the contrary, part of the purpose of the corporate form is to place legal barriers between the actions of corporate cadres and those actions’ having any actionable legal character, civil or criminal. The purpose is to legalize crimes when committed by representatives of “the corporation”.
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Government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is supposed to be restrained by law and by respect for democracy. But here too individuals are often formally absolved of personal responsibility for actions. This kind of absolution goes to the core of the evil of any such hierarchies, since nothing is so firmly proven as that if you give individuals power and freedom from consequences for their actions, they’ll take their actions to bad extremes. That’s why humans should never allow power to concentrate, and should never grant individuals a blank check, and most of all should never combine the two. Meanwhile it’s laughable to expect any bureaucrat to respect democracy. By its nature bureaucracy respects only administrative power and process, and despises law and democracy. (Meanwhile, the “Law and Economics” ideology and jurisprudence seeks to impose radical responsibility upon regular workers for their actions, even where coerced by bosses into dangerous or illegal actions. There’s the Heads I Win Tails You Lose again.)
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With this Gleichschaltung plan, a more complete formalization and rationalization of government bureaucracy’s subordination to corporate bureaucracy, the nominally “legal” bureaucracy is to be subsumed under the direct power bureaucracy. The government regulators are then to use their nominal fig leaf of legality, not as a restraint on power, but as propaganda on power’s behalf (and, where appropriate, as a weapon against rivals). This is the most institutionalized and rationalized form of the neoliberal scam.
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So EC bureaucrats and similar bureaucracies (e.g. the EPA, FDA, and USDA) exemplify the mindset and role of the bureaucrat, which is to carry out the dictates of power in an automated way. As corporate power increases, these government bureaucracies will naturally become more inherently pro-corporate. This is according to their basic inertia, what they inherently are, rather than “capture” or “corruption”. These latter do exist, but are epiphenomenal. To emphasize those is to reinforce the lie that corporations and regulators have any kind of inherently adversarial relationship. On the contrary, where corporations hold the power, bureaucrats naturally see them as their true constituency. All this is also naturally pleasing to the inherent elitism and anti-democratic tendencies of bureaucrat types.
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4. Where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
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This is borne out by the analysis of globalization as an economic and anti-political offensive being carried out by corporatism toward the goal of total domination. By economic and anti-political I mean that the goal is total domination through total economic domination, while all real manifestations of politics are to be suppressed completely. The neoliberal phony semblance of “politics” – sham elections, nominal constitutional rights and so on – may continue for some time. Actual power will be exercised at the command of corporate oligopoly sectors, by executive government bureaucracies and extranational globalization tribunals, and increasingly, directly by the corporations themselves.
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5. This is not a new kind of corporate behavior. Privateering, the formal charter to commit crimes, goes back to the 16th century, the dawn of the corporate form. Corporations were envisioned in the first place to help enable “violent crime grafted onto trade”, as Ted Nace put it. The very term “free trade” originally referred directly to freedom from the law. Or as Hannah Arendt wrote in Origins of Totalitarianism, legalized gangsters sought to use politics to regulate their bloodshed. The British East India Company’s violent lawlessness is exactly mirrored today in the form every sort of corporate thuggery and the way corporate crimes are generally considered above and outside the law. Blackwater, explicitly declared above the law and granted a charter to literally perpetrate massacres, is merely the distillation of the way every large corporation is empowered to act, and the way they usually do act. Indeed, in principle this is the way they are required to act according to the core principle that profit-seeking is the only acceptable value. (What kind of sick society would ever have enshrined such a sociopathic form in the first place? The very existence of profit-seeking corporations reflects a self-loathing and self-destructiveness on the part of civilization itself.)
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Today’s “free trade” has exactly the same criminal nature, but the term has been sanitized to refer to an economic theory rather than a legal concept of chartered outlawry.
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Today it’s true in a precise sense that corporations are formally legalized criminal organizations. Take for example the repeal of the bucket laws, which used to recognize gambling as gambling whether done over dice in a back alley or stocks on an exchange. A bank couldn’t ask the state to enforce a wager any more than could a two-bit hood. But these sane laws started being repealed in the 1980s. The process culminated in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA; recognize a similarity to the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA)? the similarity isn’t just terminological). Now what was naturally unproductive antisocial gambling was legalized as a “contract”. The result was massively bloated bank profits and hideous distortions of the economy, climaxing in Wall Street’s intentional crash of the real economy in 2008. The crash was then used as the pretext for the Bailout and austerity. The Wall Street bailout was a massive payout on bets gone bust. This entire process was premeditated and had its origin in the legalization of what are naturally outlawed acts. Acts of reckless gambling by the banks, indistinguishable from a bunch of drunks at a bar betting on a football game, have come to comprise legal contracts. Of course, when a solitary bum bets his children’s lunch money at the track and loses, it’s terrible for that family. When the government lets the banksters do the same thing with trillions and then pays off these bets with taxpayer money, millions of children must go hungry.
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The massive collusion, dating back to the 1990s, to fraudulently induce mortgages was helped along by this original legalization. And the rest of the crimes were piggybacked on these, leading up to the finance sector’s intentional crash of the global economy in 2008. Today where ISDS is in force we see the most extreme form of this kind of government protection. Here the corporate gambler doesn’t even need to make the bet, but only to say it could exist in theory, in order to get paid.
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This is the most extremely destructive and the most typical of the legalized forms of organized crime which are bound up in the corporate form. While many of the subsequent crimes may still technically be illegal, they were enabled by the underlying legalization of gambling. And once the government has been corrupted enough, even existing laws are no longer enforced, as we see every day. This is simply the de facto legalization of corporate crime.
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6. Corporatism is the process by which the 1% seeks to shift decision-making power and control from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. In US constitutional parlance, the system is transferring this power asset from the three branches of government enshrined in the written constitution to the extra-constitutional Fourth Branch, the corporations. In this way, power and control are shifted from nominally accountable “representative democracy” to power structures which are totally unaccountable even in principle. The nominal government remains as corporate welfare bagman and police thug, and to maintain the fraudulent facade of elections and other trappings of representative democracy. I call this the bagman-thug model of government. This process is also called neoliberalism, since it seeks to maintain the semblance of classical liberalism and pseudo-democracy even as it institutes most of the substance of fascism.
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This is part of the 1%’s general secession trend. The government abdicates its power to corporations at home, to globalization cadres abroad. It imports the alien power of the globalization cadres to domestic affairs. Throughout, government abdicates all public policy, privatizes all public property, but maximizes its absolute size, only now as corporate welfare bagman and thug.
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Accounting 101 for corporate rule: The entity is Government. Power is its asset. Democratic accountability and financial risk are among its liabilities. Government’s creation and support for corporations is an organizational shell game. The goal is to transfer the power asset to the “private” corporate entity while leaving all liabilities with the taxpayer-liable “public” entity.
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To sum up, here’s the basic tenets of corporate ideology:
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A. Governments should create corporations. (Corporations are in fact extensions of government. They’re meant to reorganize central government power, removing it from even the theoretical jurisdiction of “representative government”. It’s a kind of organizational shell game, transferring an asset from one entity to another. Meanwhile any liabilities remain with the original entity.)
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B. Corporations should be enshrined as entities that have infinite rights and zero responsibilities. They should have their profits guaranteed by the government, while all their risks are assumed by the government (i.e. the taxpayers, society) and the environment.
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C. The main purpose of government is to provide corporate welfare and thug services for corporations.
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D. Government should seek to liquidate all aspects of itself which are not directly toward B and C.
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E. Government (including in the form of globalization cadres like the WTO and IMF) should always get bigger and more aggressive, but only in ways that are directly toward B and C.
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F. The purpose of humanity and the earth are to serve as resource mines and waste dumps for corporations. Society, civilization, etc., are to be maintained only insofar as they help organize and pacify these slaves and victims. Otherwise these are to be liquidated.
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Of course I’m not saying there’s some secret master council while consciously deliberates all this. I’m describing the behavior and inertia of a socioeconomic and political force, in the same way I’d describe how the ocean organizes itself and moves.
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7. Today we confront the ultimate totalitarian manifestation of this ideology and the institutions based upon it, globalization. This reached a new level of aggressiveness in the post-war time, and especially since the end of the Cold War. The “free trade” treaties starting with NAFTA, “the law of the land” according to the Constitution, comprise a global anti-constitution. Their only content enshrines corporate license and prerogative at a level far above national governments and laws. Democracy and civil society have no place at all in this system. The “treaties”, written by multinational corporations, peddled by corrupted bagman/goon governments, and forced upon all other countries, are nothing but laundry lists of anti-sovereign usurpation and incitements to governments to set up administrative “free trade zones”, designed to obliterate all rule of law after the example of the Nazi General Government of Poland (as Richard Rubenstein pointed out, legalistically speaking no crimes were committed at Auschwitz), whose secession from law and civil society are then to be extended to encompass the entire “country”. At that point sovereignty would be completely obliterated and replaced by direct corporate rule.
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The provisions are set up to encourage corporations or their goon government proxies to file lawsuits against any manifestation of sovereignty or democracy anywhere which could hinder the profit-seeking imperative, which is the only one recognized by the globalization structure. (The same imperative which is the only one recognized by the “legal personality” regime.) The suits are heard by unelected, unaccountable secret tribunals staffed, as are the globalization cadres themselves, by corporate lawyers who come in through the revolving door. Suits have been filed against the US, Canada, Mexico, and many other governments. The very threat of such suits has a stifling effect on democracy and public health.
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While the WTO is relatively backward in having governments sue other governments on behalf of corporations, lateral agreements like NAFTA are more advanced in having the corporation directly sue the offending democracy. If it was deranged to allow domestic corporations to sue for rights against the government that created them, how anti-sovereign is it to allow alien corporations to sue a government? Perhaps the most telling fact is that under NAFTA and similar “treaties”, an alien corporation actually has more rights against a sovereign people than a purely domestic one not involved in global commerce and therefore not eligible for the powers of the Treaty.
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This perversion of sovereignty is the terminal manifestation of how so-called foreign policy has always been the mechanism by which anti-democracy and subversion has been innovated “elsewhere” and then brought home to impose domestic tyranny.
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8. The policies business wants encoded in the TTIP and TPP and enforced by governments and World Bank tribunals provide a clear picture of what these persons are. They’re nominally “businessmen” seeking “profit”. They’re really political and economic totalitarians seeking total power and control. They seek this under the rubric of business ideology, and using the corporation as their basic mode of organization. But any large corporation is not really trying to provide a good/service and make a profit, but is rather a power-seeking organization using its particular economic sector as its base of operations. It seeks to attain total power within that sector and use that economic base to assert political domination as extensively as possible.
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I was about to say, “just because it’s not overtly political, the way a de jure political party or political pressure group is, doesn’t make it any less the same kind of organization.” But in fact anyone who pays attention to corporate actions knows they’re every bit as openly political as any non-profit, de jure political group. Corporations and their trade groups describe and disseminate political principles, devise political strategies and carry them out, lobby nominal politicians and regulators. There’s really no such thing as a lobbyist-politician dichotomy, but only two political activists talking to one another. In every way corporations are organizations which seek political power. The only difference is that under representative democracy a de jure “party” is the kind of organization which runs someone called a “candidate” for a particular type of political office, while corporations are bureaucracies, identical in a de facto way to nominal government bureaucracies like the USDA or FDA.
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The twin bureaucratic structures, corporate and regulatory, understand their mission well. Today the TTIP and the TPP propose to expand the NAFTA model from North America across both oceans to encompass Europe and the Pacific Rim under a single corporate umbrella, turn the Atlantic and Pacific into ponds upon one big corporate park, use this power position to overawe Latin America and ruthlessly subjugate Africa, and to crush what’s left of the substance of democracy and economic self-determination in every country encompassed, including America and the EU. The corporations see total power within their grasp. Today they’re gearing up to reach for it. The coupled mechanisms of the globalization compacts through which they intend to attain the totalitarian goal are “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) and “regulatory coherence”. The former is a direct assault on democracy, civil society, and politics as such, as well as being a massive corporate welfare conveyor. The latter is a formula for total bureaucratic Gleichschaltung (coordination). More specifically, it’s a plan to fully and formally institutionalize the subservience of government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy, and to fully rationalize the processes of this subservience.
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Take for example the European Commission. The existing EU system is not pleasing to it. The EC, like any bureaucracy, despises democracy and accountability, and politics as such, and seeks to maximize its own power as such without any necessary reference to what its nominal job is supposed to be.
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To its ongoing frustration, the EC hasn’t been able to persuade Europeans to relinquish political power, nor has economic coordination gone as far as the Commission wants, which is always the maximum conceivable. Although the EC has vast power to propose and decree “legislation” (what really are administrative decrees for the most part), it’s subject to some checks and balances from the European Council of national ministers and, to a lesser extent, the elected Parliament. Both of these latter bodies are subject to considerable bottom-up pressure from the people, and in turn put pressure on the EC. A good example of how the EC has been hamstrung is how relatively few GMO applications it has approved for cultivation, even though in theory it could have decreed the approval of far more. Of course a more practical obstacle is that few European countries want to cultivate them.
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So in the EU there’s mostly administrative rule in theory, but to its disgust the EC has to jump through lots of political hoops. It looks to the TTIP to solve this problem of residual democracy. That’s why the EC is so ardent to embrace a compact which will turn it into a flunkey of the US government and mostly US-based corporations. The EC would rather hold a lower position in a fully rationalized, coordinated hierarchy of administrative rule, than be at the top of what it sees as a mishmash.
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The TTIP is meant to override European democracy and European politics in general. Globalization is inherently anti-political. Corporatism sees politics as such to be an atavism. Globalization is meant to impose a bureaucratic, anti-political solution to this atavism.
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To sum up. Regulatory coordination as enshrined under the TTIP and TPP will seek to:
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*Formally coordinate all regulators under the goal of serving corporate power. It will formally subordinate government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy. Bureaucracy will go to war against democracy, politics and whatever’s left of law, while sham law will be enlisted to serve corporate power. All real government power (i.e. the power of violence) will be put under corporate control.
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*A race to the bottom among all governments in all regulatory sectors.
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*The direct access of corporations to regulators. Corporations shall directly write regulations.
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*Regulators shall always be proactive on behalf of the corporations and at their command.
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*Regulators shall always inform the corporations of any threat and help them to fight it.
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*Regulators are to be required to respond to any corporate demands.
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*All this is to be always in motion, always accelerating, always seeking the next way to further amplify corporate profit, power, control, domination.
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Real power is inertially in the hands of the bureaucracies, “public” and “private”. But of course bureaucracies don’t just passively receive and use the power which economic structures deliver to them. On the contrary, globalization is a planned economy. It’s been planned by those same bureaucrats toward the goal of permanently increasing and expanding their power. Going back to the rise of imperialist ideology and corporate lobbying in the 19th century, corporatism has relentlessly and with ever greater self-consciousness and intentional focus sought to build this command economy.
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The corporate manifesto I analyzed in my post on corporate-government bureaucratic coordination was issued by the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. Its provisions are typical of the consensus among all corporate “trade” groups and the various sector and industry groups.
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The proposal is clearly not just any proposal. On both sides, many other cross-sector business groups explicitly support the proposal or suggest a similar approach in their contributions to the official consultations on TTIP, including BDI (German Industry Association), Confederation of British Industry, Coalitions of Services Industries, British American Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Roundtable on Trade and Competition, Transatlantic Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Eurometaux and the United States Council for International Business. Some, notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, take a step further and demand that businesses are able to choose freely which set of standards and regulations they will apply.

On top of this, 30 business associations, including most of the aforementioned, have written a common letter to the US Trade Representative and to Commissioner de Gucht’s department to stress the importance of a system of “regulatory cooperation”. They include sectoral lobby groups from the chemicals industry, car industry, the financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and many more. They point to the existing structures on regulatory dialogue, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and assert that they “can be made much more effective and should include enhanced opportunities for dialogue with stakeholders”.

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This is explicit confirmation from the corporations themselves that their goal is total economic control and domination, to be leveraged into total political control and domination. This confirms everything I’ve written about corporate totalitarianism and that humanity’s great need is to completely abolish the de jure corporate mode of organization. We have to abolish the corporations completely.
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9. Today we’ve reached the terminal stage of this devolution. The neofeudal elites wish to undertake the final enclosure of all real assets – land, natural resources, physical space itself, buildings, infrastructure, and all the products of the mind. At the same time they want to cut all ties with human beings other than the ties of exploitation. They want to eradicate all semblance of government, law, and civil society, except insofar as these are weapons of domination or of pacification. They want to take totalitarian control of the Earth itself, enjoy a total license to do anything they wish and have this license enshrined as their “right”, while being absolved of literally ALL social or legal responsibility. These sociopaths, these willful outlaws, want to actually secede from civilization. They want to steal all the benefit of human interaction but incur zero reciprocal responsibility or obligation. They want to burn off all relationships between human and human, distilling them to the primal confrontation of master and slave in the dead of a wasteland. Since neither slaver nor slave can be human, these corporate fundamentalists wish to completely eradicate civilization and humanity itself. They are in fact post-civilizational barbarians.
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The TTIP (and TPP) as a whole is an assault on freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, and human happiness. It’s to be a major escalation of corporate tyranny, a major step toward corporate domination. As we should have abundant experience by now, all of its promises are lies, and none of its promised benefits will come true. It’ll only accelerate the corporate destruction of the real economy and what’s left of democratic politics, leaving behind only austerity, serfdom, hunger, disease, and an ever more severe police state.
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The rise of corporate rule has been a counterrevolution within the revolutionary age of fossil fuels, industrialism, capitalism, and democracy. Just as those, including the birth of the democratic consciousness, were features of the Oil Age, so was corporate rule a necessary countermeasure if the crypto-feudal parasites were to carry their prerogatives through the dangerous age.
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Now all of those except one must decline and perish. In prospect we perceive the feudal core now rising again in the form of post-capitalist corporate domination, and we experience whatever’s left of the democratic consciousness which is the one shining legacy of the fossil fuel age, the greatest lesson humanity has ever learned, the most marvelous gift we bestowed upon ourselves out of the seemingly endless and pointless travails of history. It’s now up to us to either embrace this democratic heritage and go forward boldly living it, or reject it and adhere to the noxious residue as eternal slaves in the darkness.
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Here’s my earlier TTIP posts. If you don’t read anything else, I strongly recommend reading at least part one about the coordination plan and the ISDS post.

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

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/2014/02/24/corporatism-and-globalization-the-context-of-the-ttip-and-tpp/

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

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/notes-toward-analysis-of-the-ttip-and-corporate-rule/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/the-current-state-of-the-ttip/

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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