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April 29, 2016

GMO/Poisoner News Summary April 29th, 2016

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*Whistleblower Ray Seidler, formerly of the EPA, condemns the EU’s imminent approval for import in food and feed of two types of soybeans engineered to be tolerant of glyphosate plus, respectively, dicamba and isoxaflutole. These pesticides are at least as toxic as glyphosate and inflict the same severe health detriments on humans, animals, and the ecology. Both are genotoxic and are endocrine disruptors at low doses. Both are organically toxic and cause birth defects, neurodisease, and cancer
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These “second generation” GMOs (exactly the same in every way as the old GMOs) are destined primarily for European CAFOs. Much of what drives the pesticide and GMO machine, in terms of “demand”, is the factory farm system which in turn is sustained by the demand among consumers for cheap meat. The vegans are right that this consumer demand is not a law of consumer nature, but has been instilled by propaganda and indoctrination. It follows logically that there’s the possibility of a strong alliance between poison abolitionists and vegans who want to abolish CAFOs. Factory farms themselves are major poison sources and destroyers of public health (via their systematic creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the rampant water and air pollution they generate), while any knowledgeable vegan would know that CAFOs exist in large part to serve as a consumption maw for the productionism of poisons and monoculture grain, and therefore one can’t target just one link in the chain of industrial agriculture, but must target the whole evil structure for abolition.
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CAFOism is the best direct refutation of the “Feed the World” Big Lie, with its strange notion that the way to produce food for people is to take 10 calories of grain and turn it into one calorie of meat. This seems to be a convoluted way of destroying food instead of feeding people. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to engineer the crops to spontaneously combust in the field prior to harvest? It also provides a window on the alleged intellectual prowess of our scientists and engineers. With that grasp of arithmetic, how did they ever get out of kindergarten, let alone attain doctorates? I must question the integrity of our the entire educational system.
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*The UK government has approved the field trial of GM camelina engineered to produce extra Omega-3 fatty acids. Ravaged butterflies demonstrate how toxic this false crop is. As with every other GMO, it’s a false pretense for a false purpose. It’s meant to be fed to factory farmed fish. These diseased fish (also soon to be genetically engineered, if the FDA and AquaBounty get their way) consistently escape from their pens and contaminate the wild populations the fish CAFOs are supposed to be sparing. Massive, concentrated waste from factory fish farming also pollutes the water and aquatic ecosystems. It all goes round and round. It’s clear that industrial fishing as such is unsustainable and anti-ecological.
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As per the law of “product quality” GMOs, there’s no need for this product even if it did work and wasn’t toxic. As with golden rice and other such worthless products, the main purpose of fish-oil GMOs is a propaganda purpose, to tout the idea of GMOs which are something other than poison plants and which would do something other than maximize the use of agricultural poisons. Of course in practice any of these GMOs, if they were ever commercialized, would come only in Bt and/or herbicide tolerant forms. They would have the exact same socioeconomic and ideological goals as bad old Roundup Ready corn and soybeans.
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Each high-profile field trial, no matter how pointless in itself, is a propaganda exercise. It’s meant to continue to normalize the GMO ideology as such, and is also meant to continue to impress upon the people the sense of the alleged inevitability of GMO domination.
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*I’ve long argued that from a business point of view Oxitec looks more like a stock pump-and-dump scam than anything else. Analysts and investors are now drawing the same conclusion.
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*I’m hearing the sirens already: The DARK Act will be up again in July or sooner. Aren’t people getting sick of this? Meanwhile with each iteration of the alleged crisis I become less convinced of the substance of the labeling idea as such and more convinced that for too many people the very idea of “labeling” is becoming a fetish which doesn’t need to have any substance, much like the idea of GMOs is for the techno-cultists. How else does one explain the disregard most people have for the actual content of any prospective labeling policy, how little they care about the inherent weaknesses and likely frauds in the way any labeling policy would ever be enforced, or the continued desire on the part of many for the aggressively pro-GMO FDA of all things to be in charge of labeling? To say the least, there’s an extreme dissonance between claiming to be against pesticides and GMOs but for increasing the power of the FDA which is pro-pesticide and pro-GMO to its core. (In a similar outbreak, all the “food safety” NGOs supported Big Ag’s “Food Safety Modernization Act”, which does indeed seek further to entrench and empower modern corporate notions of “food safety”.)
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The only way to explain it is to theorize that many people think there’s two different FDAs and can conceive one or the other as the situation calls for. But in reality there’s only one FDA and it’s pro-GMO. There must be a manifestation of state-worship at work here. Two opposite FDAs at once: The irrationality of this indicates it’s a religious phenomenon. But the government and its corporations hardly comprise a proper object of worship, if worship is what one feels the need to do.
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April 25, 2016

The USDA Abdicates Even Sham Regulation: Problem and Opportunity

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The USDA gambit of refusing to regulate so-called “second generation” GMOs has several purposes and goals.
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Most directly, it’s meant to obliterate regulation of GMOs as such, as an increasing proportion of future product launches are of these newer types. (We can observe that it’s a Democrat administration initiating this major acceleration of anti-regulation, even though according to flat-earth tribal lore such policy tends to be associated more with Republicans. But by now anyone with eyes to see and a brain to think has long recognized that this is a one party system, the system of the Corporate One-Party whose two flavors are there only as a misdirection ploy. In our case, anyone who thinks the intensive poisoning of our food and water is a crisis and Nuremburg level crime must recognize that we have no options within the corporate system, as both parties are aggressive Poisoner Parties.)
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It’s also supposed to reinforce the Big Lie generally propagated in the corporate media including the so-called “science” media that GMOs were ever meaningfully regulated in the first place. The lie that the FDA ever regulated GMO safety is a mainstay among every outlet from the New York Times to Scientific American. There’s also an implication that USDA regulation ever had anything to do with safety, but the USDA’s procedure intentionally avoided all meaningful assessment by fixating on the bizarre criterion of whether any element of the transgenic insertion came from a potential “plant pest”. Whether or not the finished GMO product itself could become any such pest, for example through transgenic contamination, was a matter the USDA stubbornly refused to consider. Note that this is a direct contradiction of the usual propaganda theme of pro-GMO activists, that regulation if it’s to exist at all should focus only on the product and not the “process”.
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This lie parallels the companion lie that GMOs have somehow been established to be safe by their widespread presence in the diet for many years without large numbers of people immediately dropping dead from them. The “Trillion Meal” lie essentially concedes that this has been a vast, uncontrolled feeding experiment on unconsenting human beings, but claims that the result has been to find GMOs safe. This could be argued only from the anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, anti-medical point of view that that the one and only measure of safety is whether or not something causes acute toxicity. This is indeed regulatory dogma, while regulators studiously refuse to assess long-term effects of any level of exposure. (In fact, GMOs and products of genetic engineering have periodically caused acute outbreaks, including the lethal Showa Denko epidemic and the potentially lethal outbreak of allergic reactions when StarLink maize, which even the EPA considered too dangerous to be allowed in human food but did allow in crops to be used only as livestock feed, inevitably infiltrated the human food supply.)
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In fact within the last twenty years there’s been a surge of many kinds of chronic and gradually-developing diseases which is correlated with the period of the GMO influx into the diet. These range from cancer to birth defects and reproductive problems to many kinds of gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases. Strictly speaking, we may not yet have enough data to disentangle the health effects of GMOs from the health effects of their necessary companion pesticides*, but we know that the combined poison product is wreaking havoc with human health and is already perpetrating mass murder, albeit in a way more “gradual” than a death camp. The fact that the US government and agrochemical corporations have always refused to perform real safety tests on GMOs or pesticides proves that the US government and agrochemical companies know or believe that these products are murderous. If they did not believe this, they would have been willing to perform the tests, and if whatever tests they did perform generated data which tended to support the contention that the product is safe, they would publicize this data (as the very practice of science requires) instead of keeping it secret. This secrecy proves that whatever data they do have indicates the product is unsafe.
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The USDA is fully aware of how toxic to human health** these agricultural poisons are. The fact that the agency is now escalating its dereliction and redoubling its lies, now following the FDA’s longstanding practice of engaging in a sham exchange of letters with a corporate developer as the extent of its “regulatory process”, is proof that the USDA is consciously, willfully committing crimes against humanity.
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[*All GMOs are literal poison plants, whether this be because the genetic engineering itself generates an insecticide or prepares the crop to be drenched in herbicide (these two types encompass virtually all commercialized GMOs), or because as part of the poison-based agricultural system the crop is subject to intense bombardment of poisons not directly related to the genetic engineering. Together these add up to 100%: A primary purpose of corporate industrial agriculture is to maximize poison manufacture, use, and presence in human food, and the purpose of GMOs is to escalate poison-based industrial agriculture. There are literally zero examples of genetic engineering projects contemplating the integration of GMOs with agroecology. This is structurally impossible, since genetic engineering and the GMO class of products are inextricably part of and dependent upon radically authoritarian capitalist government and corporate structures for their development and distribution, and can be applied only within a radical framework seeking hierarchical control of commodity production amid a monocultural environment, political and physical, while agroecology exists only to maximize the opposite tendencies of biodiversity, polyculture, and political and economic decentralization, all toward food production for human beings amid an ecological way of life. In a world based on humanism, ecological practice, and science, there would be zero place for pesticides or GMOs.]
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[**I’ve noticed for awhile that the language makes it hard to give a direct, forcible expression for how these poisons (or anything else) harm people. What should we say – “health dangers” or “health hazards”? More speculative than we need to be by now. “Health harms”? Factually right, but sounds to me kind of weak relative to the magnitude of the destruction. How about “health destruction”? Sounds strange, though if people started using it this could sound normal soon enough. Then there’s terms like “toxicity”, “poisonousness”, “destructivity”, which don’t quite roll off the tongue. Is there a term or expression I’m missing which clearly, simply, strongly drives the meaning that these things are badly damaging our health and often killing us? It’s as if the language intentionally avoids offering such an expression.]
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By means of this common scam of regulators and the mainstream media, the fact that there was never meaningful regulation in the first place is supposed to be transformed into proof that no further regulation is needed. The fact that no evidence of GMO safety was ever produced is supposed to be transformed into proof that no evidence needs to be provided. The Streichers of the mainstream media use these lies to continue and escalate their systematic suppression of the overwhelming evidence of the health destruction caused by agricultural poisons, and their cover-up of the strict proof of these dangers and harms provided by the refusal of governments and corporations to perform the necessary tests.
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What to do now? We already know that GMOs are harmful in themselves and exist only to maximize pesticide use, and we already know the pesticides are lethal. So we don’t need or want more testing or regulation in the sense of needing more evidence. The rote calls for “more and better testing” are just procrastination. However, meaningless as USDA regulation is from the point of view of health and safety, it still imposes some financial and time costs on the corporations, and is therefore better to have than not to have. So it’s worth trying to pressure the USDA to backpedal on this dereliction campaign.
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But our main thrust should be a much better organized, focused, and relentless campaign propagating the facts: Pesticides don’t work, pesticides all cause cancer and a host of other harms, GMOs were never tested by the system, regulators and media lie about this, regulators and media are in fact lackeys of the corporations and enemies of the people, the very fact of this dereliction proves that the US government and the corporations know or believe GMOs are harmful to health, “secret science” is a contradiction in terms, the dereliction and secrecy proves the pro-GMO activists have zero science on their side and are themselves anti-science, all the independent science which has been done gives evidence of this health destruction, and every other fact and lie which combine to convict the Poisoner system, its activists, and its media propagandists, convict them beyond any reasonable doubt of willful, systematic crimes against humanity and the Earth.
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This newest lesson in what regulatory agencies are should also finally cure those labelists still laboring under the delusion that the FDA could ever preside over a meaningful labeling policy. This was always a stupid, ignorant position to hold, and by now it’s simply impossible still to hold this position in good faith. We know what these regulators are, fully activist participants in the Poisoner campaign. By now the measure of support among labelists for FDA labeling is simply a measure of the bad faith of labelism as such.
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To the extent there still exist labeling advocates who have integrity and therefore still want the state-level campaign, they need to make sure that any labeling proposal includes all the “second generation” techniques and products. Obviously even if by some accident Congress voted to make the FDA institute so-called “mandatory” labeling, the FDA would exclude all such techniques and products. There again we see what an obviously wrong and malign idea FDA labeling is.
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Shakespeare has King Henry V proclaiming before the Battle of Agincourt, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” It seems that the minds of the people aren’t quite ready, given the widespread lingering belief (even among critics of pesticides and GMOs) in the legitimacy of establishment science, government regulators, and mainstream media. So it follows that a primary goal in the war of ideas is to suffuse the public consciousness with the ideas and facts subverting the legitimacy and authority of these bodies and their propaganda themes.
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But when the enemy is entrenched and embodies the status quo it’s never enough to disprove his lies. The criticism and subversion must be accompanied by a new idea, and just as importantly the perception that the new idea is doable, requiring only the will to do it, that all things are indeed ready once our minds are so. And things are ready: Agroecology stands ready as a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment. We know this will provide the highest quantity and quality of food and health. We know its companion social philosophy of Food Sovereignty will build the highest level of human freedom, equality, and happiness. We know these elements of agricultural and food philosophy find their counterparts in every other sector of economic and political life. All things are ready, and await only the political and spiritual commitment. We must saturate the public consciousness with the subversive ideas and the new ideas, as the first necessary step toward evolving this commitment.
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The crimes of the regulatory agencies and the scientific establishment, vile as these are and demoralizing as they may at first seem, also offer an opportunity if campaigners can develop the strongest and most direct forms of describing and explaining these crimes to the people, toward the goal of convincing them that no way forward is possible in the same world with this criminal establishment, but that much better and much more practical alternatives are available and ready to go, as soon as we’re ready to go.
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February 26, 2016

GMO News Summary February 26th, 2016

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*As they try again to pass a version of the DARK Act (Plan A version), let’s look ahead to a possible world where it’s been passed.
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I recommend, and will always myself use, a form of ju jitsu. If the DARK Act passes, let’s try to turn the tables on them by telling everyone far and wide that this proves all industrial food is GMO unless otherwise labeled, but that the alleged need for such a law proves that the manufacturers are desperate to hide this fact. After all, Pompeo’s own flunkeys said so: “Consumers can choose to presume that all foods have GMO contents unless they are labeled or otherwise presented as non-GMO. Meaning that it is knowable and it is known by the public which products have GMO and which don’t.” Exactly right. Monsanto forecast that putting a label on things would be like a skull and crossbones? Let’s turn this into a reverse skull and crossbones. Let’s loudly catcall every manufacturer, in every forum where consumers who might care will see it: Campbell’s is willing to label and confirms that it won’t cost anything extra. WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? Let’s stick that DARK version of the skull and crossbones on everything.
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According to the draft this version of the DARK Act will give the agriculture secretary a formal pro-GMO propaganda mandate. Of course this would just formalize the status quo, and highlights how purely political the government’s version of “science” is. Anyone who knows the slightest bit about science knows it’s a contradiction in terms to order that someone simultaneously be “science-based” and be automatically “for” anything. You can have one or the other, not both. Just as you can have secrecy or science, never both. There we have just two examples of how radically anti-science the pro-GMO activists are. Of course by now the very term “science-based”, in the mouth of anyone from the establishment, is an Orwellism just like the Big Tobacco lobbying term “sound science”. Wherever you see either term you can be assured it means the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to sound like. Wherever anyone from government, corporations, or their media says “science”, it automatically means corporate “science”.
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Ah well, the ag secretary already has the power to shill and does so. To my way of thinking, a law giving him a formal mandate to do so ought to further discredit the government in the eyes of anyone who’s still in any doubt about how committed the government is to corporate imperatives.
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With the endless iterations of the DARK Act we have a war of attrition which, in the end, the corporations are bound to win, if anti-poison types keep fighting primarily on these grounds. Which brings up another point, which is that this mode keeps the anti-GMO movement firmly on the defensive, really just fighting the DARK Act over and over. As for Non-GMO labels or any other kind of labeling, let’s always keep in mind that the corporate plan, no matter what kind of labeling were ever to exist, is that the allowed level of “adventitious presence” below which something could still be called “non-GM” (or not have to be labeled as GM) will keep mechanically being raised as GM contamination proceeds. The corporations expect this to happen in the exact same way regulators mechanically keep raising the allowed pesticide “tolerances”. There’s no doubt about it, any kind of labeling strategy is doomed to fail completely in the end, because co-existence is impossible, physically and politically.
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*For example, transgenic contamination has been afflicting maize in its Mexican center of origin and biodiversity ever since NAFTA was instituted in the 1990s. This is in spite of the fact that GM maize has never legally been cultivated in Mexico. Transgenic pollen also contaminates the wild progenitor of maize, teosinte. Thus this contamination compromises not only the existing genetic diversity of maize, narrow as that has become under corporate monoculture farming; it’s also compromising the genetic wellspring necessary for the future of the crop.
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Today the public is learning something the Spanish government and Monsanto have known at least since 2009, that teosinte has established itself as an “invasive” in Spain. (For some reason they don’t call maize itself an invasive, though; but both reached Spain in much the same deliberate way.) This brings the danger that MON810, the only GM crop grown legally in Europe and widely grown only in Spain, may contaminate this teosinte stock in the same way the contamination has spread to teosinte in Mexico.
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By law GM crops can be authorized for cultivation in Europe only if they pose no cross-contamination threat. Governments and corporations, in this case Monsanto, have an obligation to monitor this potentiality. In practice this kind of requirement is invariably flouted, and there’s never any penalty for flouting it. In fact, this systematic condoning of systematic flouting proves that the law itself is really a propaganda sham which was never intended to be enforced, much like Bt refuges. In this case both Monsanto and the Spanish government have failed for many years to report the presence of teosinte to the EU government, and in 2014 Spanish officials lied about it in response to questions from the European Parliament. See below for more on the EU’s own refusal to meet its legally mandated reporting standards.
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*Among the basic scams of regulators is to pretend there’s no such thing as synergy effects when multiple poisons afflict an organism, or indeed that there’s more than one poison at all. Instead they pretend that whichever chemical is the topic of the moment is the one and only chemical in existence, and they undertake their bogus “assessment” and set the “tolerance” based on this lie. Thus there’s no such thing as a maximum cumulative tolerance, e.g. for all pesticides combined, nor is there any assessment of the combined effect of multiple pesticides even though there’s conclusive evidence that this combined effect is often severe. Indeed, the EPA’s recent temporary revocation of the registration for Dow’s Enlist herbicide was triggered by EPA’s embarrassment during a lawsuit. In the course of telling EPA there was no synergy effect while telling the patent office there is one (this self-contradiction in itself is standard procedure and is no problem for the EPA or for the FDA’s “substantial equivalence” lie), Dow was so assertive in its synergy rhetoric that in the context of the public interest lawsuit this embarrassed the regulator. So there’s Dow itself claiming glyphosate and 2,4-D together have a greatly more severe effect than just adding together the effects of each by itself. (And to repeat, the EPA never even does this basic adding, let alone takes synergy into account.)
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There’s now a new report assembling the evidence for combined effects, as well as the cumulative effects of exposure over time, which is another thing regulators never test. According to their junk science paradigm, the one and only thing to test is short-term acute exposure, and even this is done in bogus ways. Regulators will continue to do all they can to stall, obfuscate and deny, throwing up a fog of obscurantism and lies to go along with the literal poison fogs they help inflict upon us all.
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*”The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa Agribusiness Association opposed the liability bills (House Bill 289 and Senate Bill 1190), testifying that commercial applicators wouldn’t be able to qualify for or afford these levels of insurance.” That’s as clear as testimony gets that an industrial activity is unviable according to the mythology of capitalism, which claims that a worthwhile good or service can always pay its own way. But here’s the state of Iowa and its poison-marketing trade group openly admitting it’s not possible for those who profit from the action to pay for its costs, and that those costs have to be borne by others. Of course the damage to other crops caused by pesticide drift is just one part of the destruction wrought by poison manufacturers and users. As we see in this case, if we intend to do anything about this we’re going to need to be rather more severe in return than just advocating laws about regulating and monitoring pesticide drift. For starters, we can resolve to abolish 2,4-D and dicamba completely and focus completely on this and only this goal. As we see in Iowa, the enemy is so totalitarian that it will not tolerate even the most modest restraints, and is willing openly to say that third parties should have to pay for poison harms, not the sellers or users. Is it possible to be more clear about what a zero-sum game this is?
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*CAFOs are among the most hideously filthy places on Earth. The animals are permanently sick and require massive doses of antibiotics, not just to put on weight but to remain alive at all. They are veritable bioweapons labs, incubators of every kind of pathogen, the most perfectly crafted habitat for bacteria-borne disease. Dust from these CAFOs and their manure lagoons then spreads the potential for infection as far as the wind carries the infected particles. According to a new study CAFO drift has greater potential than previously documented to contaminate produce with potentially pathogenic bacteria. This joins with pesticide drift and transgenic contamination via pollen drift to prove that coexistence is impossible. This puts in reality-based perspective the lies about how “precise” and “controlled” industrial agriculture is, and how much of a lie the ideology of scientific control is in the first place. It also demonstrates how all the pretensions of control so pompously touted by engineers, corporate bureaucrats, and their political and media flunkeys are really lies, and how they premeditate the systematic spread of disease and poisoning. They know all this and they persist.

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Persistence Proves Intent.
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.*The EU’s ombudsman finds that the EU systematically abuses its institution of “confirmatory data procedure” for special regulation of poisons where the original submissions are proven to be so fraudulent that even the regulator can’t just cover up. Just like with the EPA’s “conditional registration”, when there’s incontrovertible evidence of a severe problem the EU allows poison sellers to say “the data’s in the mail” while they keep selling. In her ruling on a suit filed by the Pesticide Action Network of Europe the ombudsman also criticized EU regulators for lack of environmental protection assessments, lack of required follow-up monitoring (as I described above in the case of Spain’s teosinte, this scofflawing is so standard that we can call it a systematic lie among all regulators), and the health agency’s blithe approval of poisons which even the EFSA says give “critical areas of concern”. The ruling has no enforcement power and hands down no penalty, it merely demands that the EU submit a report within the next two years. In this report the liars are supposed to tell how the lies they used to tell are no longer being told. Because we know how credible such a report will be.
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Therefore it’s no surprise that the European Commission is responding to the WHO’s finding that glyphosate causes cancer by proposing to extend glyphosate’s official endorsement for the next 15 years and expand the allowed range of uses. The “European Council” of various national ministers is slated to meet in March to vote on the proposal.
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The WHO has summed up the decades of evidence, and the EU responds that it wants to give all Europeans cancer. It would be difficult for a government to more openly, starkly express its conscious, willful, homicidal intent. Certainly no ombudsman’s ruling, however harsh, will ever be sufficient for meeting this crisis.
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*Here’s the FDA temporarily backing down on its planned assault on raw milk cheesemakers. By its own testimony it’s backing off, for the moment, because of strong opposition from the Community Food sector, the producers and customers. But as the communication says, the agency still plans to use the power it was given by the “Food Safety Modernization Act” to carry out the intention of that act: To attack small farms, the cottage food industry, and any other rising rival to the poison-based Big Ag and Big Food system.
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Like the USDA and EPA, the FDA is dedicated to maximizing corporate control of agriculture and food, in particular maximizing the production and use of poison and the presence of this poison in our food. The FDA is also the lead federal organization seeking to strangle the rising Community Food sector which is working to restore rational and healthful agricultural and food economies based naturally on foodsheds and watersheds. This is a civil war, so far being waged mostly through chemical warfare which seeks to destroy our ecosystems, soils, and bodies. The FDA’s assault on community food continues, on behalf of the poison-based agriculture and food sectors. They plan to greatly escalate the assault under the “Food Safety Modernization Act”, a name Orwell would’ve had trouble bettering.
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*Among the lesser known of Israel’s crimes against humanity is its systematic chemical warfare against Palestinian agriculture, conducted under the rubric of a nebulous, ever-changing “security” policy. This is really a typical control measure, arbitrarily deployed and expanded at the will of the military. With only minor modification we can describe poison-based agriculture in general, including its increasing poison drift, in the same terms. Pesticide technology and the poisoner mindset historically have migrated to civilian use from prior military use, and there’s never been any clear dividing line between civilian agricultural use of these poisons, their military and police use vs. crops in Vietnam, Colombia, Palestine, and elsewhere, and their fully weaponized use against human beings in combat and the Nazi death camps. Most formally, the exact same scientific researchers, engineers, and government personnel, and the exact same corporations selling the exact same chemicals, span this entire spectrum.

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February 21, 2016

Under Pressure the FDA Says It Will Test for Glyphosate Residues In Food

Filed under: Dance of Death, GMO Health Hazards, GMO-Based Poison Infliction — Tags: , , , , , — Russ @ 4:59 am

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The FDA is required by law to test and regulate food additives. As part of the product design and intended use of herbicide tolerant GMOs such as the Roundup Ready system, pesticide residues such as those of glyphosate suffuse the cells of the crops including any eventual food products. These are food additives according to any reasonable definition. The same is true of the insecticidal endotoxins in Bt crops. The FDA has directly flouted the law in refusing to regulate these highly toxic additives or even to require their listing among the ingredients of food. One reason why the FDA has refused to test glyphosate residues is to help give it the pretext of ignorance. A surprisingly common excuse among regulators is to say in effect, “We can’t do anything, because we don’t have any information, because we refuse to test for that information (and reject it when others test for it and offer it to us).” Listen to what the likes of the FDA and EPA say and you’ll come across it frequently. So it is with glyphosate levels in food.
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But as the political pressure mounts against regulator dereliction and collaboration where it comes to pesticides, glyphosate especially, we see regulators scrambling to make weak or sham concessions. Wherever direct defiance is looking politically ineffective, the goal becomes delay at all costs. So it is with the FDA’s announcement that it will start testing glyphosate levels in food, forced in part by strong criticism from GAO auditors. The FDA’s lack of willingness is clear, given how it calls the matter “sensitive” and only now admits that such testing won’t break the bank. (Regulators claim glyphosate testing is too expensive, which is obviously a lie. They sure have lots of money available for subsidies and pro-industry advertising. But in any sane system which cared about science and public health the manufacturer would pay for but not control the testing.) Although in theory the FDA and USDA split the duty of testing for pesticide residues in food, with USDA testing meat and dairy, FDA fruits and vegetables, in practice neither tests for glyphosate precisely because it’s likely the most prevalent poison in the food, and is certainly the most commonly used in agriculture.
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Note the role of the EPA’s imprimatur in Monsanto’s PR statement (found at the bottom of the link) : Residue levels found so far have been below EPA tolerances. But EPA “tolerance” levels are set with zero regard for science or public health, but only at the behest of the corporations. EPA and other regulators mechanically raise the allowed levels to keep ahead of the residue levels the corporation expects based on how much of the poison it sells. Here we see part three of the regulator template – the nominally “public” regulator puts its imprimatur on what are essentially directives it received from the corporation. The corporation’s lies are laundered this way by the regulator, and the corporation then regurgitates its own lies but now represents them as coming from “the EPA”. (The very concept of setting “tolerances” in order to “manage” the levels of known carcinogens like glyphosate instead of banning them is also a core element of regulator propaganda.)
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To expose this ongoing propaganda scam and anti-scientific fraud is one of the motivations of the fourteen scientists who have published a report deploring the current pseudo-scientific state of regulatory assessment and calling upon regulators to act in accord with science and public health. The scientists condemn the false paradigm of regulatory assessment (rejection of epidemiological evidence, reliance on corporate laboratory experiments performed according to fraudulent methodologies, the long-debunked “dose-response” ideology, the “active ingredient” scam I discussed above, and other bogosities) and offer many suggestions for an improved testing regime. We abolitionists do not echo the rote call for “more testing” since we know there’s already far more than enough evidence to ban these poisons. But reports like this one are handy to demolish the fraudulent claims of the regulatory agencies that their assessment procedures are anything more or less than cover-ups and whitewashes.
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February 19, 2016

GMO News Summary February 19th, 2016

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*As was clear from the start, the number one pressing goal of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Campbell’s, Mark Lynas, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, and the rest of the pro-Monsanto, anti-labeling brigade has been to prevent the Vermont labeling law from going into effect.
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Today we’re hearing from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) of a new attempt at “compromise”, i.e. exactly the kind of scam I predicted all along. This is a version of what I call DARK Act Plan B. The idea is that since the original DARK Act which would directly preempt Vermont looks unable to pass in the Senate, the anti-Vermont forces with propaganda help from Gary Hirshberg (and probably the rest of industrial organic) will push for a two year Congress-imposed “delay” to prevent Vermont’s law from going into effect. This two years would then be used to get a more permanent preemption policy enacted, or for new lawsuits to be filed by the GMA, or to cause Vermont to wither and die in some other way. The OCA is right to be upset, although they too have been willing to waffle away from what used to be an uncompromising anti-preemption, pro-democracy position (i.e. for the state-level movement, against FDA preemption). Now we see where such waffling gets one.
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It’s always been clear that preemption is the absolute litmus test. To be uncompromisingly, unequivocally against preemption is a prerequisite for strong labeling, the right to know, and democracy. To be for preemption is to be against all these things, in principle and in practice.
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The history of preemption proves this, in the same way that the FDA’s history (especially where it comes to GMOs) proves its inability and unwillingness to enact or carry out a real labeling policy. These are examples of why pro-corporates hate history so much and do all they can to encourage people’s general anti-historical bent. Because movements which can’t be bothered to know their history set themselves up for assured failure.
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*A scientific panel of the French environmental ministry ANSES endorses the WHO’s finding that glyphosate is cancerous to humans. The environmental minister Segolene Royal publicly supports the panel and says she wants the agency to withdraw approval for glyphosate formulations, especially those containing the surfactant POEA. (There’s no rational or scientific difference between the so-called “active ingredient” in a pesticide or any other chemical product or drug, as opposed to the “inert ingredients”, which contrary to the English definition are often extremely toxic. Those two terms are purely ideological jargon meant to make the product seem less toxic than it is. In reality, commercial formulations are usually far more toxic than the nominally primary ingredient by itself. This is because the additional chemicals are there to render the primary ingredient more potent, and because these additional ingredients are often so poisonous in themselves. Plus any escalated synergy effect among these combined toxins. This is why corporations and regulators insist that only the so-called “active ingredient”, never the real-world formulation, be subject to whatever bogus testing they perform. It’s a scientific fraud and a public health crime. That’s how the BfR and EFSA were able to claim that the IARC was wrong about cancer, even as they admitted the evidence is there. They admitted that perhaps the commercial formulations may be carcinogenic. In other words they admitted that in real life glyphosate causes cancer. Royal and the ANSES panel are now taking what the EFSA said at face value and proceeding accordingly.) In 2015 Royal touted how proactive France allegedly is being, on the occasion of new legal restrictions on the sale of glyphosate at garden centers: “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides…I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.” France also has bans or restrictions on aerial spraying of pesticides and spraying in parks.
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As I said in last week’s summary, the impetus is spreading gradually. Let’s get the glyphosate abolition campaign going and really intensify and accelerate the natural political momentum already gathering toward this necessary and inevitable goal.
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*More of the same proven-to-fail scams from corporate “environmentalist” front groups like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which issued this fluff piece. “Habitat exchange”, that’s their new term for the same old scam? Meanwhile the real goal is always the same for the likes of the EDF, to misdirect focus away from the need to ban glyphosate, period. Because that’s what groups like the EDF are there for, to make sure the corporate project always continues unhindered. Therefore the corporate environmental prescription is always of the same basic form: Allow the corporation to continue destroying, often in what the flacks themselves call a “sacrifice zone”. But make a deal to somehow “make up for” the destruction through something like a “carbon offset” or a “mitigation” where another piece of land is allegedly not destroyed, or is restored, or is “improved”. The scam is often bolstered with a phony application of the “island biogeography” concept, even though even in principle the fragment “conserved” in some mangled state doesn’t even remotely resemble a bona fide natural island habitat. Meanwhile the conservation is always a straight-up scam. Almost all projects endorsed under “offset”-type scams were going to be built anyway, and almost all which are mothballed were going to be mothballed anyway. The conserved fragment often ends up destroyed anyway and is always severely damaged. The greenhouse gas emissions, chemical poisoning, carbon sink destruction and biodiversity destruction continue unabated. The corporate “environmental” front groups give PR cover to it all. “Habitat exchange” joins this Orwellian parade of happy lies.
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The evidence has been piling up which associates the monarch decline more and more strongly with glyphosate, especially as farm subsidies increasingly encourage cultivation of “marginal” land. Studies have assembled this evidence. Of course a corporate group like the EDF is congenitally capable of thinking only in terms of, at best, rejiggering the subsidy system (as this piece advocates). But that’s already proven to be a failure in general, and more often a fraud. (Now if we could all get together to campaign to abolish industrial farm subsidies completely, that would really be something worthwhile) At any rate it’s intentional misdirection in order to diffuse focus and waste time. I bet Monsanto’s hoping the monarch will go extinct ASAP so they can stop having to hear about it and everyone else will forget about it. We can take it to the bank that if we do anything but the opposite of what the likes of the EDF propose, we’ll lose the monarch in no time.
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*The whistleblower controversy at the USDA is blossoming into a bona fide scandal requiring even the attention of the department’s inspector general. Now the inquiry is expanding to take in animal abuse at USDA labs. Gratuitous neglect and abuse of animal subjects will automatically follow when the sociopathic commitment of a system reaches a certain point (today’s corporate regulators are way past that point), just as the scientists empowered by the Nazis to experiment upon human subjects in the concentration camps quickly went beyond the nominal scientific purposes of the research and started gratuitously inflicting pain and death, just for the hell of it, as a form of “pure science”. I think this fact is key for understanding everything that’s happening today, and where the vector is headed.
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*In recent years the agrochemical industry has wearily confessed that it has no ideas for new herbicide “modes of action” to combat the increasingly triumphant superweeds which GMOs are producing. “Growers think there will be something over the horizon that will bail them out, says Larry Steckel, weed management scientist at the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. But there isn’t.” But there’s new research contradicting this and playing to the fantasies of those alleged growers. The piece is published at the propaganda front group called the “American Association for the Advancement of Science”, by which they mean corporate “science”.
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According to publicly-funded profit-oriented researchers at Britain’s John Innes Center, they’ve discovered a specimen of Arabadopsis thaliana (a mustard often used in botanical research, the plant equivalent of the fruit flies regularly used in genetic research) which is resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. This poison kills bacteria and plants by interfering with an enzyme necessary for photosynthesis. The researchers doused 400,000 mutated tissue-cultured specimens to find one which showed resistance to the antibiotic. (The rest were thrown out, typical of the extreme wastefulness and sociopathic attitude toward life inherent in all genetic engineering.) Next they’ll try to figure out how to turn the tolerance mutation into a transgene while they also work on an herbicide based on the antibiotic or a similar compound. The researchers disavow any intention of directly using the antibiotic as an herbicide, but of course this is a lie. We already see their paradigm’s standard attitude toward antibiotics in their attitude toward subtherapeutic antibiotic use in CAFOs and in genetic engineering itself including this experiment. Certainly no one among them would object to an antibiotic-based herbicide. Glyphosate is an antibiotic and was patented as such in the 1960s. Nor do these scientists, engineers, regulators, and corporate cadres care about the fact that existing commercial herbicides help trigger antibiotic resistance among potentially pathogenic bacteria, or that glyphosate selects for pathogenic bacteria in the mammalian digestive tract. No, I think we can rest assured that if the corporations demand such an herbicide and it can be made to work, these researchers will happily deliver it, and the AAAS will be right there cheering them on as it cheers on all these crimes against humanity and the Earth.
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The AAAS is also regurgitating the straight bald-faced Monsanto lie, most commonly told about glyphosate, that if a poison affects only plants and bacteria then it won’t affect humans: “This research also highlights another important benefit for using DNA gyrase as a target for the development of new herbicides. DNA gyrase is only present in plants and bacteria, and does not exist in animals. Therefore any new herbicides that target this DNA gyrase in plants are very unlikely to be any danger to humans.”
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Even if this were true as far as it goes (it’s a lie for glyphosate, which affects the mammalian cytochrome P450 and retinoic acid pathways as well as adversely affecting mineral chelation), it’s a complete lie because science knows humans and other mammals are symbiotic with our bacterial microbiome. What harms our gut bacteria, harms us. The AAAS knows this, they lie about it, they are criminally culpable for any harm which follows from it.
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The piece once again reminds us how by now the pro-GMO activists are perfectly at home simultaneously telling two mutually exclusive and directly contradictory lies, that “GMOs reduce pesticide use” while we also need “Eureka! New pesticides!” It’s also another example of how they’ve had to drop the whole line of bull that “we’re for hi-tech GMOs, not for luddite chemical pesticides” and especially “GMOs don’t equal Monsanto, and we ARE NOT Monsanto shills.” But then the WHO pretty much forced everyone’s hand on that one. Since then Monsanto’s needed all hands on deck to stick up for Roundup, no matter how much of a stupid, luddite, dinosaur technology it is. But then all of GMO agriculture is really only pseudo-advanced. It’s really all retrograde, backward, reactionary. It’s a jalopy on blocks, but with a flashy new paint-job, and those who fall for the hype are the kind of morons who would fall for any scam like that.
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*Looks like another dotcom bubble in the making. This provides some insight into the fundamentally fictive, socially engineered character of agribusiness. It plunges ahead not just in the regular bubble manner [i.e. unrelated to the real, productive economy, like the recent dotcom, tech, and housing bubbles, or today’s fracking bubble and general stock bubble] but in direct defiance of the real fundamentals of the sector. We see the basic lack of connection with reality which has always been evident with agricultural GMOs and genetic engineering in general. When an ideology has such direct contempt for science and reality, although corporate profiteering via government subsidies can prop it up and keep it going for awhile, it’s also bound to collapse quickly like any other bubble. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the erosion of the fundamentals for the agrochemical sector don’t go hand in hand with a bubble centered on the idea of “hi-tech agriculture”. Along with everything else that’s stupid, shoddy, and harmful about GMOs, I’ve always seen them as an aspiring tech bubble. Maybe someone who had a few extra bucks lying around who was thinking of dabbling in stocks might consider Monsanto along with some of these start-ups. These stocks have been disparaged for awhile now, but they might be ready to temporarily surge. The current mainstream excitement over mergers and further oligopoly consolidation, which ought to tell us how creatively bankrupt and decadent the sector is, can readily be transformed into the typical bubble irrationality. Just don’t be one of the idiots who buys high right before the bubble bursts. And for the divestment movement, if these stocks do start rising, make sure to tell the pension funds that it’s a bubble, hype over an idea which has no basis in reality and no staying power.
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February 5, 2016

GMO News Summary, February 5th 2016

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*The ChemChina/Syngenta deal is near complete. “ChemChina, as the closely-held company is known, offered $465 a share in cash, according to a statement on Wednesday. The offer, endorsed by Syngenta’s board, is about 20 percent higher than the stock’s last close.” China has long been planning to build its own GMO/pesticide conglomerate and assert itself globally in competition with the US-based cartel. Syngenta’s chairman has suggested that he thinks Syngenta could become China’s primary supplier of GM technology and primary Western partner for China’s project. Bloomberg complacently comments on how China and Syngenta will nevertheless submit to US review and veto power over the deal, because “even though Syngenta isn’t based in the U.S, it does have North American operations that generated $3.6 billion in sales last year” which the US could threaten to hinder and harm in some way if the company doesn’t stay in line. Although Syngenta is more diversified across the pesticide line (which is economically prior to and more important than GM seeds) than Monsanto and therefore relatively better positioned (but over the long run the fundamentals are bad for all of industrial agriculture), Syngenta evidently is being subject to stick-ups by both China and the US.
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This is part of the intensifying Great Game for total control of agriculture and food. The agrochemical conglomerates are at the peak of their power, but their position has never been more precarious. Having been aced out of a Syngenta deal, if Monsanto doesn’t make a deal with BASF or something similar they might be in deep trouble.
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*One of my four featured yahoos who impersonate scientists is still at it. More detail on Bruce Chassy’s ongoing career as a mercenary fraud. In spite of his claims about his scientific credentials, he actually has zero credentials in agriculture, food science, medicine, biology, or genetics. Yet the FDA and the University of Illinois, and of course the media, have joined in perpetrating the fraud that he does have some kind of expertise in these areas.
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*Here’s another example of the pro-GMO activists’ standard attitude toward truth and morality. Critics of poison agriculture are accusing the Genetic Illiteracy Project of publishing personal information and changing headlines and text when reposting their pieces. More amusingly, those complaining of tampering with headlines and text include such pro-GMO activists as Keith Kloor, Anastasia Bodnar of Biofalsified, Helena Bottemiller, and Julie Kelly. Now they’re all whining about “unethical practices”, which is quite rich coming from the likes of Kloor and company. Of course the GIP’s systematic lying on behalf of cancer-causing poisons and corporate domination of agriculture and food doesn’t bother them one bit, since such Nuremburg lies are their trade as well.
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*The Indian central government is admitting in court what farmers and critics have known for over ten years, that Bt cotton is an extremely failure prone product. The admission comes in a court proceeding where the government is defending its imposition of price controls on the shoddy seeds against a challenge from Mahyco-Monsanto. The corporations especially object to the government’s placement of limits on the tax Monsanto collects on cotton seed sales. The government admits that it allowed Monsanto to attain a near-monopoly on cotton seed. (It also actively encouraged this monopoly.) But between the tax and the generally very poor performance of the crop farmers can no longer afford to plant it. This is driving the suicide epidemic among small cotton farmers in India. This price control policy, along with the latest of the many Karnataka bailouts, is just the latest in the long line of central and state government bailouts, price controls, and bans on shoddy seeds.
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*The political struggle continues over that same Indian central government’s imminent approval of Bt mustard for commercial release. The opposition to this and to GM crops in general has included several elements of the Modi government’s coalition such as farmer unions and “nationalist” types. In defiance of prior court decisions and transparency law the government is keeping secret the biosafety dossier from the field trials and any lab testing which has been done, which is proof that the evidence is very bad regarding the GM product’s agronomic behavior and health and safety implications. As far as GM contamination we don’t really need the secret data, as the crop’s lead developer Deepak Pental has freely admitted that “the crossing of the transgenic gene to other non-GM mustard varieties is expected.” It certainly is expected to happen especially broadly and rapidly with brassicas. Indeed contamination is so universally documented and economic policy is so relentless in seeking to normalize ever increasing levels of “adventitious presence”* that we have to call it a primary purpose of the GMO project. Meanwhile public health campaigner Aruna Rodrigues filed a petition with the supreme court for an injunction against the government’s plans to approve herbicide tolerant mustard, cotton, and corn. In 2013 the court-appointed Technical Expert Committee, in addition to advising strong precautions and transparency where it comes to GMOs in general, found that herbicide tolerant GMOs as such would be economically inappropriate for India.
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(It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of GM mustard is being talked about in various contexts, in particular which is the one supposedly about to be approved for commercial release. Most pieces I’ve seen called it Bt mustard, but the last few days they’ve been talking about a product which would be herbicide tolerant as well.)
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[*According to EuropaBio lobbying, TTIP negotiations, and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association’s proposed GMO labeling standards, where it comes to GM contamination of the general agriculture, commodity stream, and food supply the regulatory threshold for “non-GMO” is supposed to increase mechanically as the contamination becomes more prevalent, in the exact same way that regulators mechanically increase the “tolerance” levels for pesticide residues in food. This is one of several reasons why it’s utopian to think the FDA could ever apply a strong GMO labeling policy: The FDA would mechanically raise the legally allowed level of contamination which would be called “adventitious” as the chronic contamination increased. Therefore the level of GM material in a product which would require it to be labeled “contains genetically engineered ingredients”, and beneath which it would not have to carry a label, would continually, automatically increase. The FDA would also preempt any state law or voluntary body like the Non-GMO Project from imposing a more rigorous standard.]
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*GMO contamination is a systematic policy goal. The USDA and Monsanto will never stop until they are stopped once and for all. Here we have documentary proof that the most far-ranging and aggressive contamination is a core part of the intended goal.
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*This interview with Marc Edwards, a scientist who helped expose the poisoning of the Flint water supply, is a case study in how normal science really works under corporate rule. He speaks to how rare it is for the scientific method, falsification and all, to actually be applied, and what happens when a scientist actually does work that way. Here’s a quote from the piece:
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Q. I keep coming back to these university researchers in Flint who said: “The state has 50 epidemiologists. They say that the water’s safe. So I’m going to focus my energy on something that’s less settled.” How do you decide when the state should be challenged?

A. That’s a great question. We are not skeptical enough about each other’s results. What’s the upside in that? You’re going to make enemies. People might start questioning your results. And that’s going to start slowing down our publication assembly line. Everyone’s invested in just cranking out more crap papers.

So when you start asking questions about people, and you approach them as a scientist, if you feel like you’re talking to an adult and they give you a rational response and are willing to share data and discuss an issue rationally, I’m out of there. I go home.

But when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA [open-records requests], y’know. … In each case I just started asking questions and turning over rocks, and I resolved to myself, The second something slimy doesn’t come out, I’m gonna go home. But every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out.

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Unfortunately Edwards isn’t yet the kind of public health campaigner we the people need since he still thinks and talks in terms of restoring trust in the system even though he just testified to how the system is depraved beyond redemption. That’s not the first time I’ve seen the same notion coming from a partially dissident scientist, that “restoring trust in the system” as such is somehow supposed to be one of the goals. A true dissident, which by now also means anyone who has scientific integrity, must work to demolish the credibility, legitimacy, and authority of an establishment “science” system which has become completely anti-scientific under corporate directives and in furtherance of corporate rule.
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*Corporate Europe Observatory has released a new report on the corporate attempt in Europe to have the newer kinds of GMOs arbitrarily declared outside the bounds of regulation. This parallels the USDA’s campaign to exempt more and more GMOs from its own purview.
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This would include exemption from labeling requirements for all so-called “second generation” GMOs developed via gene editing and so-called “cisgenesis”* The report specifically highlights how GM apples and potatoes are supposed to be exempted from regulation including labeling. Here’s another reason why it’s impossible to get real labeling from the FDA. The agency whose primary religious dogma is that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to true crops and which abdicated nearly all regulatory oversight will certainly follow the USDA’s lead in declaring the second generation GMOs not to be GMOs at all for purposes of labeling.
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[*A de jure and de facto fraud. Even where the main transgene is from the same species, the cisgenesis gene cassette includes several elements from other species, such as a viral promoter. And the violent, mutation-inducing insertion and tissue culture procedures are the same as for any other GMO. So nothing’s different. “Cisgenesis” is a scientifically meaningless term, a pure propaganda/marketing hoax.]
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Although we must fight these lawless attempts, we the people should fully reciprocate the mindset that GMOs and their activists are outlaws in the full medieval sense of the term, exactly as they say they want to be.
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This and the earlier point about contamination highlight not only the impossibility of any real FDA labeling, but how the idea of labeling is misguided in principle. Here we have two examples of how a very slow, clumsy, often static labeling policy would try to keep track of a fast-moving, crafty GMO target, and would try to do this within the “co-existence” framework which everyone knows is impossible. Labeling sounded good and maybe even sufficient when the idea was first broached all those years ago. By now we’ve learned enough to know that it’s insufficient and not worth being any kind of significant goal. It’s time to move beyond the concept of labeling as anything more than an organizational tool, and to full abolition as the necessary, fully conscious goal, and adapt all organizational principle, strategy, and tactics to that.
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*The people of California’s Sonoma County are working for a county-level ban on GMO cultivation. They look to join the growing list of counties in California, Oregon, and Hawaii which have passed such bans. These county-level bans have had mixed fortunes in the courts, but in the long run the courts can never be the source of the people’s health and freedom. Only our political will can do that, and if we find this will the “law” will follow.

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January 26, 2016

The USDA/Monsanto Deliberate Campaign to Contaminate All Alfalfa

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If successful, this campaign would lead to a Monsanto monopoly on alfalfa seed and render organic meat and dairy impossible under the current USDA standards. The USDA has always wanted GMOs to qualify under the organic standard, and has long seen GM alfalfa as a mode of attack to bring on this result.
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Persistence Proves Intent. If the US government and Monsanto see that this surging contamination is an inevitable direct effect of their action in deploying GM alfalfa and they continue with the deployment, that proves that this contamination is part of the intended effect. The major effects of a large-scale action are always an organic whole. It’s never true that a necessary government policy has ambivalent results. On the contrary, the major effects are always the desired effects, because if the government desired different effects, there’s always an alternative which could preserve the “good” effects without the allegedly “bad”. There’s really no such thing as “collateral damage”. That’s just a propaganda distinction to help with the lie that some effects weren’t sought by the policy-maker and are deplored by it. But if there really were major effects which the government did not anticipate and found bad, it would change the policy so as no longer to produce those effects in a major way. Persistence proves either that the effect, if truly unanticipated, is nevertheless welcome, or else that it was anticipated and consciously intended all along. Morally and practically it makes no difference. The major effects of an action comprise an organic whole, so anyone who wants one characteristic effect of an action will anticipate and want its other effects and will welcome any major effect he didn’t anticipate.
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In the case of GM alfalfa there’s no question that USDA and Monsanto had full prior knowledge of its extremely high rate of contamination. It’s a perennial pollinated by wide-ranging bees. So as soon as GM alfalfa is planted it’s off on an imperialistic campaign for the next 4-8 years. Indeed, the USDA was aware of contamination of alfalfa seed stocks just from GM field trials at least as early as 2005. There’s zero doubt that the rapid contamination was consciously anticipated.
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As for the contamination effect being desired, if the US government didn’t want to contaminate the entire alfalfa crop it would not have allowed and encouraged Monsanto to deploy the product. Some alternatives within the capitalist framework include the ante-biotech status quo, encouraging integrated weed management, government subsidies for hand-weeding labor instead of herbicide, encouraging greater organic production. Of course there’s a vastly better alternative to globalized corporate agriculture as such, but here I’m just sticking with options available to the USDA given its capitalist premises. The fact is that the government would not have set up the system the way it has in such a way as to maximize contamination, if it did not want to maximize this contamination.
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Monsanto’s own interest in total contamination is of course obvious and I assume uncontroversial. If Monsanto’s Roundup Ready gene can contaminate the rest of the alfalfa crop such as to render unattainable any of the benefits organic or non-GM conventional growers hope to gain – an organic premium, overseas markets for non-GM hay – then the company could expect farmers to take on the “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” mindset and just adopt the Roundup Ready system. There’s already ample precedent for this surrenderist attitude among farmers and academics. Monsanto often has explicitly stated its totalitarian goals.
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What about the USDA? In general, a corporate regulator is designed to second the goals and actions of the most powerful corporations. Monsanto, stupid and clumsy as it’s been in many other ways (public relations, farmer relations, attitude toward agronomy), has been particularly adept and aggressive at imposing its will on government and making regulators want to serve it. (This makes it particularly bizarre and counterproductive when people still look to regulatory agencies to put limits on corporate action and uphold any value other than corporate power. A coherent, disciplined, aggressive, ecological populist movement can sometimes pressure government agencies from outside, against their will, to do what it wants. But this is only because as a coherent cultural and political movement it possesses power, never because the regulator wants to do it or inherently feels like it should do it. On the other hand a mass of consumerist atoms, no matter how many of them come together for a superficial comment period or petition or gripefest, or for a one-off superficial political campaign, can never exert such pressure because they don’t constitute coherent, directed power. That’s part of why there’s zero chance of an FDA GMO labeling policy being anything other than a preemptive sham, and why it’s madness or treason for those who claim to oppose GMOs and pesticides to want such a thing.)
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More fundamentally for our kind of example, the ideology of regulators of agricultural poisons is based on the Poison Principle. This means that no matter what the problem, the only conceivable solution is poison, more poison is always better than less, poison doesn’t just solve problems but is actively good, all comparative study is to compare only poison with poison and never poison with an alternative to poison, and that the regulator’s job at all times is to maximize poison production, sales, and application. In Poison Spring E. Vallianatos describes working in the “Benefits and Use” division at the EPA, where these terms were religiously understood to mean “benefit” for the corporations and the biggest industrial farmers, and “use” of poisons (starting from production and marketing) always to be allowed, encouraged, and maximized. Vallianatos’s whole book is devoted to detailing the strategic and tactical execution of this ideology on the part of the EPA and the horrific real world results. He remarks that at its founding the EPA was staffed largely by former USDA cadres who imported the USDA’s poisoner ideology. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed is one of several excellent books describing the USDA’s extreme culture of poison-based and crackpot high-technology “solutions”.
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But for the supply-based corporate capitalism which is the fundamental paradigm of the globalization system, and therefore for the regulators, the problem is never anything more or less than the maximized production of the corporate product, and the solution is “finding” a market for this supply-driven production, through some combination of propaganda, incentives, public subsidies, threats, extortion, legal coercion, and violence. For example, the USDA offers special financial incentives to alfalfa growers who maximize their Roundup use, provides them with legal cover for transgenic trespass while stripping the victims of all legal protection, and threatens non-compliant alfalfa growers with GM contamination and economic extinction. This is because the USDA is suffused with the poisoner mindset and poisoner ideology. The USDA wants to maximize poison deployment. Therefore to the average USDA cadre, alfalfa with maximal roundup is better than with less or none. This is ideological and is prior to any mundane “corruption”, though there’s lots of this as well.
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For a more specific case, the USDA has always wanted GMOs to be part of the official organic certification. The agency included GMOs within its original proposed standards in the 1990s, and only a massive outcry from the farmers and consumers who were forcing the agency to adopt an organic standard in the first place forced it to back down on “GMO organic”. But to this day the USDA has never relinquished this wish. When it tries to define “new” kinds of GMOs such as those which have been “gene edited” as not being GMOs at all, this is primarily to excuse them from all regulatory oversight. (In itself this is a strong manifestation of the poisoner ideology. It’s rare to see a bureaucracy seeking so ardently to lessen its own power.) But it’s also toward the hope that CRISPR and other such GMOs will become certifiable as organic. (And also of exempting them from being subject to labeling if this ever were preemptively centralized under FDA control.)
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In the specific case of alfalfa, organic meat and dairy farmers are dependent upon a reliable supply of non-GM alfalfa for hay. If this supply became too unreliable or were completely eradicated, organic meat and dairy farming as we have it might become impossible. We already know that the USDA would like to force GMOs into the organic certification, and we already know that the USDA is aggressively pushing alfalfa GM contamination policy. It follows that a primary goal of the USDA, in addition to maximizing glyphosate use on alfalfa as such, is to disrupt permanently the supply of non-GM alfalfa in order to render the existing structure of organic meat and dairy impossible. At that point either consumers will have to submit to weakening the standards to allow GM feed for organic meat and dairy, or else we’ll have to give up organic meat and dairy completely. Since the “organic” brand is so important to so many, and since consumers have a history of pliability on such things, the most likely outcome is the submission and adaptation. Let’s recall how industrial agriculture flacks and government supporters used the occasion of the Steve Marsh lawsuit in Australia to argue for the weakening of Australian organic standards to allow more GM DNA presence. In a similar context, the general attitude toward the Syngenta/China flap wasn’t to criticize Syngenta’s lies or the commodity stream’s inefficiency and inflexibility, but rather to condemn the buyer for his preferences and call upon him to abandon those preferences. This is always the attitude of corporate fundamentalism. I haven’t yet seen such specific calls in the US as a result of the alfalfa contamination scandal, but if this call is not being made yet it soon will be.
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This outcome would further three primary components of USDA ideology, to serve the big corporation, to render agriculture more “hi-tech”, and to maximize poison deployment.
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Another basic measure of USDA ideology, intention, and desired goal is its fraudulent “coexistence” policy. The agency knows coexistence is impossible and is consciously lying. Its own Environmental Impact Statement on GM alfalfa (which the agency never wanted to perform in the first place but was forced upon it by a lawsuit) concedes the inevitability of full contamination and therefore the impossibility of coexistence. All the evidence before and since has confirmed the prognostication of the EIS. Also and to say again, the agency recommends that the law place the full legal and financial burden on the victim of transgenic trespass and vandalism. This is contrary to all common sense notions of law and is contrary even to most law as it still exists in the US. It’s a radical doctrine which clearly seeks to encourage and maximize the trespass and contamination and evinces a fundamental contempt for the target. It’s crystal clear that the USDA thinks non-GM alfalfa has no right to exist at all and that it should not exist. No one who didn’t think that way would ever have concocted such a policy, allowing the deployment of GM alfalfa, in the first place. In reality “coexistence” means incremental surrender of all non-GM agriculture to the total domination of GMOs, with the pace of erosion and surrender to be as fast as possible.
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Here again we see that the agency wants only to serve the big corporation, to render agriculture more fraudulently “hi-tech”, and to maximize poison deployment.
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As for Monsanto’s own attitude toward organic agriculture and food, it would probably like to see it cease to exist. But a gradual erosion of standards and expectations with an ever higher regulatory allowance for contamination and eventually formally allowing GMOs under the standard would also be a good outcome. But the existing organic system is odious to all agrochemical companies.

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January 12, 2016

The Two Versions of the DARK Act

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1. The only solution to the great ecological crises of our time, from the cancer epidemic to the chemical poisoning of ecosystems to the decimation of natural and agricultural biodiversity to climate change, is for humanity to abolish corporate industrial agriculture and transform civilization on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty. This is easily possible and would be in accord with science, reason, morality, and spirit. It would have every kind of benefit. In every way, except from the point of view of the greedy and power-hungry, it would be a great boon and end or greatly diminish all banes. It’s desirable and necessary. The facts are all known, the science and empirical practice fully demonstrated. All humanity needs is the will to do it.
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The starting point for this greatest human mission will have to come from the people, from the grassroots up. Centralized regulators are completely alien to the vast diversity of foodsheds and watersheds which naturally exist. By their inherent character such unaccountable bureaucracies wouldn’t be able to make rational, safe, and ecologically sound agricultural and food policy even if they wanted to. Of course their entire history proves they don’t want to.
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2. GMO labeling is worthless if it’s not inherently for the sake of public health, food safety, and democracy, and ultimately toward the Food Sovereignty goal. This has to mean real GMO labeling as aspired to by such state-level initiatives and legislation as those of Vermont, Washington, and California. It cannot mean the fraudulent standards promulgated by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and in any event real GMO labeling can never come via central government preemption.
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Therefore we have one core, non-negotiable premise for real vs. fraudulent GMO labeling: No preemption. This is self-evidently true if labeling is supposed to be an exercise in democracy. This includes the principle of a right to know, which can be argued only on a pro-democracy basis, what Karl Popper called the open society. On the other hand if one’s willing to throw democracy in the garbage by supporting preemption, then one also disarms oneself against those who claim there’s no such thing as a “right to know”. Other than democratically, what could that even mean?
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It’s also empirically true that any preemptive federal policy, “mandatory” or otherwise, would follow closely the sham standards promulgated by the GMA. It’s pure fantasy to even talk about a “strong” mandatory federal labeling policy. We have all we can handle just in staving off the DARK Act, i.e. just in blocking extremely bad federal policy. What could be rational or constructive in daydreaming about good federal policy? Such a thing is impossible. We’re not talking about those who mean well but are weak or confused or scared. We’re talking about those who mean us harm.
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But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s get to what’s happening.
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3. Sometime in January 2016 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will convene a secret meeting of corporate and government “stakeholders” (that term’s always a tip-off that the goal is to gut the people) to discuss how to prevent Vermont’s GMO labeling law from going into effect.
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This is the #1 proximate goal: Prevent Vermont.
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As Vilsack has proclaimed, the longer-run goal is to lay to rest the GMO labeling controversy, and implicitly the entire controversy, once and for all.
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An implicit criterion for achieving this is the need to buy off as many labeling advocates as possible as cheaply as possible.
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Another, related need is to reach some status which would appease enough GMO critics and skeptics that it would either prevent the abolition idea from gaining ground, or at least delay it for several more years. They know humanity doesn’t have more years to give.
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4. Even though there’s legislators in Congress promising to reintroduce the so far thwarted DARK Act, it seems that some of the stakeholders think the DARK Act as so far conceived won’t attain these necessary goals even if it passes. The most pressing matter they all agree upon is to somehow prevent Vermont’s law from going into effect. That’s why Vilsack’s calling this conference now, without waiting to see if the DARK Act fares better in 2016.
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5. This is where the January Campbell’s announcement comes in. The idea of mandatory FDA-controlled labeling on a pro-corporate basis has been around for awhile. Obviously the GMA and its members preferred to preempt all mandatory labeling and offer at most a “voluntary” basis (and this too according to weak, sham standards). The DARK Act as we’ve known it so far has been written on this basis. But there was always the option of taking these same weak, fraudulent GMA standards and making them mandatory while preempting all stronger, far more truthful standards. That’s what Campbell’s proposes.
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Let’s be crystal clear:
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*Campbell’s is very strongly pro-GMO.
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*Campbell’s shares the goals of Vilsack conference: #1, Prevent Vermont. Longer run, make an end of the entire GMO controversy on the basis of a complete victory for GMOs.
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No one can dispute this, since Campbell’s explicitly pledges its support to GMOs*, explicitly condemns the state-level movement, and explicitly says its political proposal is meant to replace and obliterate the state-level movement. This automatically brings along the strong implication that the content and timing of the company’s announcement is targeted especially at Vermont’s law (which Campbell’s singles out for special mention), and that the company’s number one proximate goal is the same as that of Vilsack, to prevent Vermont’s law from going into effect and to destroy any possibility of any such laws being enacted in the future.
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For a detailed analysis of the weak and scam elements of the GMA’s labeling standards which Campbell’s wants to make mandatory, see here.
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If a labeling policy would not label the Arctic Apple and Innate Potato (any “mandatory” FDA policy would not label these nor any other “second generation” GMO, and it would forbid states to require the labeling of these), the most dangerous kind of GMOs of all for food safety, is it a policy worth supporting?
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Lest anyone mistake me, it’s possible to be glad that Campbell’s says it will voluntary label its own products, assuming they really go ahead and do it, while firmly rejecting its call for preemptive federal labeling. What’s been disturbing is to see how many self-alleged labeling advocates don’t separate the two and implicitly or even explicitly embrace preemption. This is a complete abdication and is completely irrational, assuming meaningful labeling was ever really their ideal in the first place.
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[*In addition to the standard Big Lie rhetoric, the Campbell’s announcements also contain a pure factual lie: “[T]he science indicates that foods derived from crops grown using genetically modified seeds are not nutritionally different from other foods.” There is in fact zero science supporting this assertion (and an assertion is all it ever was: the FDA promulgated “substantial equivalence” as a purely cultist, pseudo-scientific dogma), while all the science which exists contradicts it. (At that link, cf. “The sham of substantial equivalence” and the next two sections.) Because of Roundup Ready GMOs, Campbell’s products almost certainly are loaded with cancer-causing glyphosate. So in addition to the usual political lies, we see how Campbell’s is a liar in the straight factual and scientific sense as well, including about the literal life-and-death matter of cancer. I’m sure I’m not being sufficiently “grateful”, but somehow I just can’t find my way to feel good about someone trying to sell me cancer-causing products and lying about it.]
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6. That brings us to what’s really going on here. Campbell’s and probably others have lost confidence in the GMA’s preferred “voluntary” DARK Act strategy, just as the GMA itself previously lost confidence in the scorched-earth 100% anti-labeling strategy which Monsanto prefers. We can assume Campbell’s wouldn’t have gone out on a limb alone, but that they satisfied themselves there would be more support coming for its position, probably at the Vilsack conference. It’s obvious that Campbell’s timed its announcement to mesh well with the upcoming Vilsack conference and looming Vermont deadline. They wanted to ensure that the idea of a “mandatory” version of the DARK Act, what we can now call DARK Act Plan B, would become a major topic of discussion at the Vilsack conference. Campbell’s and any like-minded “stakeholders”, and perhaps Vilsack himself (who in 2011 tried to broker a “co-existence” scam with the support of the industrial organic sector), see this as the best way to head off the Vermont challenge and preempt any further state-level policy while peeling off a sufficient number of labeling advocates. They think there’s a significant faction who oppose DARK Act Plan A but would accept or even support DARK Act Plan B.
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7. So what strategic and tactical prescription follows if all this is correct? What’s at stake is to fight a morphed version of the same old DARK Act. We should simply continue with the ongoing opposition to the DARK Act, whether in its Plan A “voluntary” or Plan B sham-“mandatory” version. If all those who ever said they were firmly against preemption would stick with that point and oppose ANY preemptive measure as the same old DARK Act and in exactly the same way, refusing to be distracted by the shiny thing “mandatory labeling” which is pure misdirection, then it would be the same fight against the DARK Act as we’ve already been fighting so effectively.
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By DARK Act Plan B I’m referring technically to whatever legislative proposal eventually arises from the Vilsack conference or any similar conclave. Campbell’s timed its announcement in order to make its proposal a major topic of discussion there. But I’m also referring to the general idea being propagated by Campbell’s.
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Opposition to preemption was one of the core reasons everyone gave for opposing the DARK Act (just as the right to know and therefore democracy is always given as a core reason to want labeling in the first place), so why should any other version of preemption be any different. Such organizations as the Organic Consumers Association and Food Democracy Now have said preemption would be a deal-breaker for them. If everyone who ever said this would simply continue to hold firm on it and continue to call a DARK Act a DARK Act, whether it be in the Plan A or Plan B version, then it would be a continuation of the same fight in the same way that people intend to oppose the new proposals for the Plan A version which various Congress types are promising for 2016.
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So the way to view it and the way politically to express it is to call it the same DARK Act in just a different shade of dark. Or if people decided it needed a special name, how about DUSK Act – Denying Us Sufficient Knowledge. But I’d stick with “It’s the same old DARK Act, since it preempts and therefore denies our real right to know.”
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And with this knowledge, state-level campaigners would also continue to fight for real labeling at the state level and not pack it in. They’d have to make the same argument to the public and potential activists and donors: The state level remains the only viable level to attain real labeling, while at the federal level there would only be the DARK Act.
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7. In the end we the people must, can, and will take back our agriculture and food and put an end to the onslaught of poison-based agriculture. What’s negative is to feel such deep doubts about this that one looks for plausible ways to give up, or to not share this great and necessary goal in the first place. A purely consumerist fad, committed only to the idea of labeling while not caring at all about the substance, was never worth having in the first place. That’s what’s negative. What’s worth having is a real democracy-committed movement which is on the vector toward the necessary abolition goal. That’s what’s positive.
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Let’s keep faith with Vermont and the fighters there who forced its GMO labeling law into being. Ironically, Vermont’s impending policy is the proximate trigger for all this – Campbell’s desperation move, the Vilsack conference, these are all being undertaken under duress. This proves the movement has been on the right course. Campbell’s desperation is evidence that everyone should want to continue on that course, not throw Vermont overboard and surrender everything.
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To say it one more time if anyone mistook me on this, the Campbell’s announcement is indeed a significant development. A major player has broken openly with the GMA’s preferred front and said DARK Act Plan A isn’t working, and that they want to move on to DARK Act Plan B.
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This is a heartening development, but the positive response is to say “Look how we have the bastards running scared! Now’s the time to redouble our efforts on the course we’re already on – keep opposing the DARK Act in both its forms and continue with the vigorous grassroots state-level movement.” This includes exposing attempts to hijack and co-opt the movement for real GMO labeling.
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January 11, 2016

The EPA and Glyphosate

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In 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed the entire scientific record on glyphosate and conservatively decided that the herbicide is a probable human carcinogen.
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This finding contradicts decades of public assurances from the US EPA and Monsanto that glyphosate is safe, and in particular that it does not cause cancer. It calls into question the integrity and the competence of the EPA, which as recently as 2013 reaffirmed its position that “glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans” and licentiously raised the tolerance levels for glyphosate residues* in many foods. This is part of the well-worn regulatory path of mechanically raising tolerance levels for pesticide residues in food in accordance with whatever the manufacturer projects will be the result of a new product or use pattern. For example, let’s go back to the original Roundup Ready approvals in the mid-1990s:
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In final conclusion, Monsanto says that ‘the maximum combined glyphosate and AMPA residue level of approximately 40 ppm in soybean forage resulting from these new uses exceeds the currently established tolerance of 15 ppm. Therefore, an increase in the combined glyphosate and AMPA tolerance for residues in soybean forage will be requested.’ They know very well that adoption of herbicide tolerance crop needs higher safety standards. [Edit: “Higher” meaning allowing higher residues; the safety standard is of course lowered.] In effect, the US tolerance standard of combined glyphosate and AMPA in soybean forage was changed to 100 ppm after they approved the genetically engineered soybean.

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(I highly recommend that entire piece for its details on many kinds of corporate and regulatory “scientific” fraud.)
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[*Suffused pesticide such as glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA in herbicide tolerant GMOs or neonicotinoid insecticide in pretty much any industrial crop these days, is a premeditated food additive which becomes part of the food by the normal procedures of the agriculture and food systems. Therefore the FDA is required by law to assess and regulate it, including requiring its listing in the ingredients. The fact that the FDA refuses to do so is a typical example of how government regulators systematically break the de jure law in addition to their general gross treachery against the public and environmental health they’re allegedly there to safeguard. Capitalist regulators really have a very different mission. This includes lying about the public health, not defending it. Suffused pesticide is also one of the primary refutations of the FDA’s “substantial equivalence” religious dogma.]
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In the same way that the EPA mechanically raises the allowed poison residue levels at the corporations’ command, so it also has a history of changing its assessments of the carcinogenicity of corporate products in response to changing corporate needs. The most notorious example is glyphosate. EPA knew since at least the early 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer. The evidence was so conclusive that, in spite of EPA’s doing all it could to interpret Monsanto’s own test results in the best possible light, it felt compelled to give the poison Classification C – “Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential”.
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In terms of market share glyphosate wasn’t yet a major pesticide at the time of this 1985 classification. But by the early 1990s Monsanto was preparing to bring Roundup Ready crops to market. It was time to whitewash glyphosate’s cancer record more thoroughly. EPA happily complied. Without further ado, with zero new evidence, not even a new round of phony tests, EPA in 1991 changed the classification to Group E, “Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”. In an example of a common rhetorical ploy, EPA publicists issued an even stronger, more politicized and fraudulent phrasing: “Evidence of non-carcinogenicity to humans.”
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The EPA hasn’t yet issued a position on the IARC report. But based on this history we can expect it will continue to run interference and falsify the evidence on behalf of Monsanto and glyphosate. We’ve already seen act one of the spectacle of fraud in Europe. We can expect the EPA to do the same because it has an intrinsic imperative to maximize poison manufacture and use, what I call the Poisoner imperative. It also joins other agencies in having a mandate to bolster GMOs as an important “growth” (i.e. corporate domination) sector. Then there’s the usual mundane corruption and revolving door motives. And as I mentioned above, EPA’s entire credibility and legitimacy is on the line. It must double down on its lies and stand or fall with Monsanto. To break with the corporation and admit that glyphosate causes cancer would be a tremendous loss of face.
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There is one other possibility. If specially dedicated action groups could effectively propagate the facts about glyphosate directly to the people, evading the propaganda screen of government and mainstream media, and organize pressure groups upon government bodies which have oversight and/or procurement powers with regard to glyphosate to the point that these agencies felt real political pressure, it’s possible that we could not only continue the momentum of municipalities and retailers dropping or refusing to carry various poison products, but that we could even force the EPA to lose confidence in its lies. The EPA has shown a few slight signs of weakness lately. These two first two retrenchments were the direct result of lawsuits, but this latest change of position on neonics and honeybees has been forced by many years of untiring political pressure. Public interest lawsuits as well cannot exist in a technocratic vacuum but depend for their food and oxygen on a broad and committed political consciousness. In the end political action and resolve will decide the battle. In a soon-to-come post I’ll sketch out what kind of action groups I have in mind.
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January 10, 2016

The EPA Fights For 2,4-D and Dioxin

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