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May 2, 2017

Non-GM Supply Chain Reforms, Their Potential and Their Limits

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Cargill is among the most powerful of the commodifiers who receive grain shipments from farmers, variously process the grains, and sell the grain products to food manufacturers. Commodifiers and input suppliers (sellers of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides, such as Monsanto) together maintain control of agriculture and have great power over the food supply. Therefore Cargill’s increasing participation in building a non-GMO supply chain is an important expansion of the restoration of the non-GM conventional sector. Food manufacturers and retailers increasingly have wanted to provide non-GMO products, but theirs is a relatively weak position. It’s very difficult for them to enforce changes in the supply chain from the buyer side. But when key elements of the supply side itself, commodifiers like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, are doing structural work toward building the alternative supply chain, it’ll become much easier for more manufacturers to choose this in deference to the demands of consumers.
 
 
This is an example of capitalism trying to save itself by reforming itself. Most of the corporate food chain, at least from manufacturer to end consumer, regards GMOs as a worthless, gratuitous, costly, politically inflammatory imposition upon them. From their point of view Monsanto is nothing but parasitic and predatory.
 
The response of Monsanto and its cultist fanboys proves once again that they are nothing more or less than religious fanatics and gangsters. They’re capitalists who in their shrill and feverish rhetoric turn against capitalism itself the moment other capitalists, who don’t share their religious commitment to this worthless technology, try to make a profit without it. Cargill’s CEO is quoted: “There’s a growing group of people who don’t want GMO ingredients. So let’s develop a supply chain for that, rather than say, ‘You’re wrong if you don’t want GMOs.’ Our mind-set is we’re going to empathize and understand the consumer on what they want in their food.”
 
As we’ve long known, “capitalism”, “property”, “contracts”, “satisfying the customer” are not values for the corporations and mean nothing to them. The ideology of these is only a set of lies they use and abuse as convenient toward their real goals of religion and power. We see this with Monsanto in its attacks on Chipotle, Dannon, and others who act in a truly rational capitalist way toward GMOs, treating these merely from the point of view of their profitability. Meanwhile the attitude of the pro-GMO capitalists is one of the best examples of how, contrary to its propaganda, capitalism usually is non-rational and irrational. Of course Cargill is doing this now only from this profit-seeking perspective, and only extreme naivete would see them as “good guys” or something, the way so many did with the Campbell’s PR scam.
 
(As for the “farmers” whose tweets are quoted in Ken Roseboro’s piece on Cargill, they’re likely paid trolls who may not even be farmers at all. Nor should humanity have any tolerance for the kind of farmer who willingly injects poison into our food, water, and environment. As for the content of their whining, how are they “suppliers” or anything else which implies agency? They’re slaves, 100% of their own volition. They’re willing slaves to Monsanto as well as to commodifiers like Cargill. So if they’re ever discomfited by a difference of opinion among their masters, they have no one to blame but themselves. Meanwhile anyone with a true farmer ethic supports anything which helps break the stranglehold on our food – first abolishing GMOs, then poisons as a whole, and then corporations as a whole. Any true farmer realizes the overriding importance of conserving and rebuilding the non-GM grain supply sector and improving its economy of scale. This is critical for non-GM farming, the organic sector, and most of all the rising community food sector.)
 
Roseboro’s piece finishes well: “The simple reason is that more and more people don’t want foods containing GMOs. If GMO technology is so great proponents should proudly feature it on food labels instead of trying to hide it and attacking companies and people that don’t want to use or eat the technology’s dubious fruits.” This is self-evident and indisputable. The pro-GMO activists claim to be so proud of their product in theory, yet in practice they’re obviously deeply embarrassed by it and ashamed of it to the point that they don’t want people to know when it’s there. Imagine if what you considered your great affirmative endeavor were so slimy that you had to skulk around in disguise like a pervert in a raincoat slinking into a porn theater.
 
 
Strategically, it seems superficially that the labelists are making progress toward their goal of reforming corporate industrial agriculture to purge it of GMOs. By the same token, corporations from Cargill to Dannon to McDonald’s evidently believe that the consumer movement against GMOs really is nothing more than a narrow-minded consumerist campaign, and that the labelists and “anti-GMO” people really don’t care about Food Sovereignty or the community food sector, at best care about the industrial organic sector, and really don’t care about pesticides either, but are just targeting this one product genre and can be appeased by giving them “non-GM” alternatives.
 
Indeed, a Bloomberg headline goes against common sense when it calls the Non-GMO Project an “anti-GMO group”. Since the Project, along with the rest of the testing sector, depends for its own rationale and funding upon the existence of GMOs and widespread contamination by them, by what logic could they be considered “anti-GMO”? The whole testing sector, and the whole complex of NGOs dedicated to seeking GMO labeling, depends upon co-existence, to use the cartel’s own term. This is simple capitalism and bureaucratic self-perpetuation as well, along with an ingrained ideological tendency inherent to reformism as such. (And of course even this bare minimum of reform has to assume: That it’s possible even now to sustain a non-GM supply chain, given how rampant contamination already is; how with many crops it’s impossible to prevent contamination; and how the very term and concept “non-GMO” keeps being diluted as the allowed level of “adventitious presence” mechanically and inexorably is increased. This is a fraud built into the whole notion of the co-existence of GMOs with non-GM products.)
 
 
We who work to abolish corporate industrial agriculture and build Food Sovereignty understand that no reformism within the corporate system or within industrial agriculture is possible or desirable. Therefore while we stand ready to use every opportunity to build community food and to condemn the evils and lies of the corporations and the technocratic cult, we must never be lulled into thinking reform is working well toward the necessary goals, or that it can become a goal in itself.
 
It’s not possible for corporate industrial agriculture to save itself. Industrial agriculture is doomed physically to collapse. At the same time, in spite of whatever short run calculations are shared by Cargill, the Non-GMO Project, and the labelist faction, in the long run GMOs as a primary mode of control over agriculture, food, and from there all of civilization, are too important for the corporate system to let them go without a war. So while the delays and obstructions forced by the reform campaigns are good, in the long run these won’t suffice. The system will, for as long as it has the power, force GMOs into our food supply and into agricultural and ecosystem genetics.
 
GMOs are physically totalitarian and politically totalitarian. For both these reasons humanity cannot co-exist with them, and therefore they must be abolished completely. And because industrial agriculture also is physically unsustainable and is guaranteed to collapse completely, even if GMOs could be abolished via the reform route while leaving conventional industrial agriculture in place, this would solve nothing toward the great looming food crisis and the great affirmative need for the global transformation to agroecology.
 
It’s true that the eventual physical collapse will bring an end to further GMO deployment once and for all and “abolish” them in that way. But until then they will wreak physical and cultural havoc, with incalculable reverberation effects long after Monsanto is dead and buried. Their existential presence will be much like the long run reverberation effects of extreme greenhouse gas concentrations, long after humanity’s artificial emissions have stopped. That’s why it’s insufficient for humanity to wait for the system to collapse. By then the contamination chaos will be wreaking dire, extreme harm, just as with climate chaos. These are among the practical reasons humanity must take its fate in its hands and build the transformation movement of its own free will and abolish corporate agriculture of its own agency, rather than waiting passively for the collapse. That’s in addition to the spiritual need freely and affirmatively to undertake the transformation work.
 
Unless we want the worst for ourselves and our progeny, we must affirmatively transform. This movement action must go hand in hand with the abolition action. Only this synergy will galvanize our spirit and provide the political basis for the affirmative work to go on in the face of the enemy’s obstruction and repression attempts. The squabbling in the media over “non-GMO” consumerist projects are just that, squabbles within consumerism over petty consumer “choices”. This is a tiny ripple amid the rising flood. Much bigger forces drive and comprise the flood tide, and much bigger forces must be deployed in order for us to swim amid it.
 
 
 
 

October 3, 2016

Black Horse Chronicle, October 3rd

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1. The black horse bears its balances across a blasted, haunted landscape hung with the night of ignorance. You stare hypnotized at the scales as they seem to weigh all love and food in exact proportion to a cairn of coins, and don’t see how the whole world comes unbalanced, tips and turns over.
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2. Break free, shake off, lift your eyes and look! The world is upside down. The world – the great trinity, God, Humanity, Earth – is sprawled in devastation. All degree is disrupted, all balance is lost. The black rider is the master of illusion and the propagator of conceit.
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(3. We see why the devil’s most cherished playthings are not even the material products of technology but the propaganda chimeras of scientism, the things which barely exist at all except as fantasies and delusions and lies, such as genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, space travel, or the peaceful use of nukes. This especially resides in anticipation of the all too real use of them in war.
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4. But we see the great confluence of fantasies of Mammon as the economic golems, the government’s corporate persons and the Fed’s money and Wall Street’s securities and the devil’s own “intellectual property” clasp and fuse with the technological golems of the scientism cult. If the term “seeds” may be used to encompass the Satanic patenting onslaught upon life itself, literal life enclosed within the false and fictive slave bounds of patents, then we can take the longstanding political acronym FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, as the first three great horsemen of the apocalypse of the false, self-cannibalizing meta-economy) and amend it to the FIRES sector. Verily it does describe the great bonfire of all human productivity, prosperity, happiness, and hope. This tyrannical economy of Babylon is based upon literally nothing but fictions and lies.)
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5. Thus Belial once again earns his title, Lord of Lies. The devil wouldn’t stand a chance without the multitudes who yearn to believe his lies. He’s not even a good liar, and his worldly minions are pathetically incompetent. But with the sinful credulity of masses, all things become possible.
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6. As the legion of corporate demons rampages over the earth and throughout our minds and souls, as the black rider of Revelation brandishes the scales as broadcast by the book, the book’s descriptions of the churches of John’s time still reverberate. The divisions are timeless. Thus book still sends its word to the Ephesians: You’ve worked hard, “not fainted”, supported the true activists both of radicalism and of reform, and rejected the explicit corporate liars. But you still dream of a solution within the corporate Babylon and even contemplate the “leaving of your first love” to the corporate demon state’s control. Thus it is with anyone who still yearns to place the business of the ecotrinity of God, Humanity, and the Earth under the domination of the corporate state; they all leave and lose their first love. Co-existence is impossible and such surrender will never be anything but complete and forever. “She that hath an ear, let her hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
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7. To Smyrna goes the exhortation to keep fighting as you have, and continue your works, in spite of the tribulations you must face. “She that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death”, but “shall receive a crown of life”. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.”
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8. Pergamos endures amid a bedeviled circumstance and has “held fast” and “not denied faith” while Thyatira demonstrates exemplary “charity, and service, and faith, and patience, and works; and the last to be more than the first.” But they are spiritually confused and prone to backsliding, as their affinity with Babylon and yearning for compromise and co-existence blinds them to the ultimate impossibility of their path. Worse, their blindness and corruption extends to toleration and embrace of idolatry and superstition toward various corporate hoaxes and civics textbook lies. “You suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”
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9. Today’s Sardis “has a name that you live, and are dead.” Indeed we endure daily an invasion of the undead hordes, dead names which still find sinfulness and credulity with which to conjure among the masses. Today the very word “politics” is the deadest of names and most virulently mesmerizing of zombies. The true politics of life is a fully participating way of life and is as growing food and pumping water. And so every idea of the mind and vibration of the spirit may proceed along the line of life, which leads resolutely away from Babylon forever, or down the pit of death. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.”
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10. The good word hails the stalwarts of Philadelphia. Especially across the bright crest of the Earth the faithful and courageous fight with clear minds, brave hearts, pure souls.
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“I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it…Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth…She that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and she shall go no more out: and I will write upon her the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon her my new name. She that has an ear, let her hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.”
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11. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, the lukewarm Laodiceans are still with us and still seek to smother all sparks which bring fire and life. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Jesus deplores the lukewarm and prefers to them even the cold, not because he endorses the cold, but because recognition of the cold and confrontation with it is necessary for the hot to attain its full flame and spread its sparks to all possible tinder. We need the great conflagration, we need the majestic speedy wildfire. But the lukewarm, falsely in the name of warmth, want to dump the swill to douse all sparks and preempt all future life.
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Let Jesus make it clear once and for all: “How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.” (Mark 3:23-26)
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This ultimately shall be part of the downfall of Babylon and the corporate dominion, as there is such division among its constituency. But a faithful few forced into dissidence and exile do not have the luxury of dividing against ourselves. We haven’t this luxury in mind, where so many divide a corporation, or a government bureaucracy, or a technology, or a propaganda campaign, or Babylon as a monolithic whole, into a schizophrenic duality and seek to find the devil to love and cherish amid the devil to oppose. We haven’t this luxury in action, which follows divided on account of this duality, derelict from the great need and necessity even as it acknowledges the need. We haven’t this luxury in spirit, where every sign in heaven and earth calls us to a triune ecological holism, God and Humanity and Gaia, unbroken, seamless, One.
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GMO Labeling Post Mortem, October 2016

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I don’t expect to write much going forward about GMO labeling. This is a post mortem, as labelism is dead and well buried, though it still may persist as an undead notion. By now we’re clear it was always the wrong idea and the wrong direction. Only various mistakes kept it in play at all. I myself was supportive in public beyond my stage of ambivalence in mind, and ambivalent in public beyond my stage of opposition in mind. I did this out of a misguided wish for concord, and the misguided belief that rational debate was possible on the subject.
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But it turned out such debate was always impossible, as I could never find anyone who was willing to defend the labelist position with argument and evidence. As for concord, I finally realize that concord centered upon a false idea is merely false concord which accomplishes nothing. (In all this I’m talking about people who embrace error as an article of faith and treat reality-based evidence accordingly.) On the contrary, one must insist first upon the right idea, then seek agreement upon it. Agreement centered upon error is simply error. It’s worthless and worse than worthless.
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Thus to reprise. These ideas predate and put in context the summer’s DARK Act debacle, always predicted by me and a few others. Fighting on an untenable line, refusing to move to more secure ground, they got the worst of all results. But this goes far beyond the DARK Act.
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This is an synthesis of what I’ve seen with my own eyes but doesn’t necessarily apply in toto to any particular rank and file person, though it certainly does apply to various system NGOs and especially to fraudulent corporate labelists from Big Food and Big Organic. Take this as a broadside against the “movement” Leaders and all who follow them.
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1. In my experience labeling advocates give every indication of wanting a label only, and as a rule will say “label then ban” only when ban advocates speak up. It seems very much an afterthought.
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2. As far as the canard that no one has a plan, if I must say so myself I’ve presented the only fully developed and coherent strategy which I’ve seen for how to accomplish the necessary goal of abolishing GMOs and pesticides. Meanwhile I’ve seen nothing but magical thinking from label advocates regarding how labeling is supposed to lead to ending GMOs. At most they offer a poorly drawn analogy with Europe. Of course they have zero idea where it comes to the more important necessity of abolishing pesticides.
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(In fact I don’t believe most labeling advocates when they claim to care about eventual abolition. I think they fantasize about real labels which would tell us everything that’s in a food, and advocating for this makes for great do-gooderism, but from there they’d leave it to the marketplace. If you have money to buy the good stuff, great. If not, tough. So, much like with many who say “let them eat organic”, I suspect many of the labelists of having the standard attitude “I’ve got mine Jack, screw you.”)
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3. Indeed, labeling advocates offer zero reply when you ask how we’re even supposed to get real labeling. Even Vermont’s law was full of loopholes, and GMOs are a very fast-moving target. What about NBTs? What about the fact that the “adventitious presence” which will be allowed before a label has to be applied will keep being raised by the label regulator in the same way they mechanically raise pesticide “tolerances”? These are just two of the things which render effective labeling impossible in practice. But ask label advocates what THEIR plan is to counteract this and you’ll get only crickets.
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4. To the best of my knowledge, I’m also the only writer who has published an analysis and theory for why, after the labeling idea always polls so well at first, people end up voting against it. Needless to say the answer isn’t “because of the GMA’s money”. That’s just begging the same question rephrased – why do so many people believe such obvious lies? The answer goes again to the inadequacy of the labeling idea as framed by these campaigns, a political inadequacy. But invite labeling advocates to respond to this and there’s nothing but crickets.
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5. I guess this inability to reply to questions is why the GMO Free USA Facebook group <a href="“>refused to publish several of my pieces. That’s when the term political monoculturist first occurred to me to describe most labelists.
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Here’s a basic question for everyone: Do you believe the anti-poison movement needs to thrash out all its questions in order to reach the right ideas and goals, or is labeling just a God-given dogma never to be questioned? Labeling of course is an idea which made some sense back in the mid 1990s, but seems to incarnate an extreme rut by now. Does this movement have any ability to learn and develop?
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Related to this: Do you believe the anti-poison cause thrives by driving controversy as hard as it can, or do you agree with Mark Lynas, the Cornell propaganda alliance, Vilsack and the Faber-types that the goal must be compromise and co-existence?
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6. My own position since I published my first series on labeling in 2013 had been: Support the state level movement, but labeling is insufficient and therefore labeling campaigns and/or policy must be seen only as partial steps toward abolition. But preemption seeks the death of the movement, and anyone who wants a preemptive FDA policy is Monsanto’s friend. Labeling, in principle, in practice, and in the act of fighting for it, can be worthwhile only in its state-level form. No one should want the federal government involved at all, and I don’t see how it’s possible that anyone who actually knows the slightest thing about the FDA, or who is the slightest bit sincere about principles like a “right to know”, would regard FDA preemption as anything but anathema.
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7. Thus my final disillusionment with most labeling supporters came when they slobbered all over the Campbell’s scam, and it turned out that almost all of them want a preemptive FDA policy just as long as the shiny dangly word “mandatory” can be put on it. Never mind that the FDA is 100% pro-GMO and would never under any circumstances promulgate anything but a weak, sham policy whose main purpose would be to preempt any better policy. The FDA would of course do nothing but enact the GMA’s proposed fake standards.
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That in turn led me to revisit the labeling idea as such, where I analyzed the many ways in which it’s just a bad idea and a rat trap for movement energies, to the extent those energies really exist as a political, democracy force, and not just as consumerist whining within a technocratic mindset more in tune with Monsanto than with any real vision for a transformed agriculture and food system. Even though most people claim to disparage Scott Faber, there’s a reason he and the likes of him are nevertheless able to function as labeling movement “representatives”. It’s because they are truly representative of most labeling advocates. They represent the technocratic ideology and the basic will toward “compromise” and wanting to believe in “co-existence”.
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Everyone claims to agree that co-existence with GMOs and pesticides is impossible. But people’s actions contradict this. Labeling in principle is part of a co-existence framework.
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8. Would someone please explain the bizarre cult of the FDA among labeling advocates? As best as I can piece it together, they believe there’s two completely different FDAs, the “bad” FDA of substantial equivalence and GMOs-are-GRAS, and the “good” FDA which they want to put in charge of labeling and give preemptive power over states and counties. But in reality there’s only one FDA, and it’s extremely pro-GMO right to its ideological and institutional core. It’s pure lunacy (or treachery) to want ANY kind of FDA policy, including the soft-DARK Merkley version of faux-mandatory federal bills.
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9. As for the canned talking point that “the DARK Act and TPP would prevent bans too”, number one this implies another falsehood. Abolitionists don’t say “don’t bother fighting the DARK Act”. We do point out that evidently labelists intend to keep fighting this same war of attrition over and over again ad nauseum until the thing inevitably passes one of these times. [As it did in summer 2016.] Is that really where people want to remain, perpetually on defense? Again we see what a rut the whole thing has become. Number two, it demonstrates the extremely narrow, legalist, consumerist ideology of labeling.
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When the DARK Act and/or TPP pass, that’s when the real nullification struggle would have to begin. That’s how a real pro-democracy and/or abolition fighter would see it. When the DARK Act passes, who would then be willing to fight it in terms of constitutional defiance and civil disobedience? And who would be willing to fight the TPP? Only those who were real grassroots fighters in the first place. The same grassroots who seem to be so despised by most labelists. On the other hand, the kind of person who’s so exhausted by the labeling campaign that they want to wash their hands of it and hand it over to the FDA is an unlikely candidate ever really to fight for anything.
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10. I have to mention that when I first started learning about GMOs and found that labeling was the near-consensus goal, I was taken aback by the extreme contrast between the dire forecasts about the dangers of pesticides and GMOs, and such a lame proposal as far as what to do about it. It seems hard to believe people really believe all the things they’re saying.
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Do you believe Roundup causes cancer or not? The actions of labeling advocates seem to contradict their words on this.
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The fact is that compromise would be impossible even if anyone on the pro-GMO side, such as Vilsack or the FDA, really wanted to compromise. But they don’t want to, and all their versions of “compromise” are lies. Co-existence is impossible, physically or politically. Pesticides are literally murdering us in real time. The fact is that total abolition is the necessary goal, and anything else, including labeling, must never be viewed “in itself” but only in terms of “does this help or hinder us in the necessary motion toward the abolition goal?”
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There’s no doubt whatsoever that ANY FDA policy which would preempt the states or anything else below the central government level would be a great hindrance. The entire history of grassroots movements proves this. Lynas and Campbell’s fully expect that a preemptive sham-“mandatory” FDA policy would destroy the movement once and for all. Many labeling advocates seem to agree that they want the whole controversy and struggle to just “end”, no matter how.
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So I look again at the position I developed from the start: Abolition is the necessary goal, the state-level labeling movement can help toward this goal, FDA preemption is absolutely wrong and evil in every way. So my only “anti-labeling” action is my opposition to any FDA preemption. But since support for preemption is tantamount to betrayal of everything which labeling advocates themselves claim to want in principle, it’s they who are splitting from the movement, or hijacking it, and seeking some kind of meeting of the ways with the likes of the GMA and Lynas.
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Today I modify this since I recognize that labeling was always the wrong idea in principle, and that it was always a vain hope that activists and advocates would treat the campaigns as abolitionist consciousness-raising events, as opposed to exalting the labeling fantasy for its own sake. Most of all, it was a fantasy on my part to think that any significant proportion of labelists would firmly reject FDA preemption. After all, the kind of person who would reject this would have been unlikely to commit to such a picayune consumerist program in the first place. The real abolitionists, if they’re ever to exist in the West, will have to come from elsewhere.
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So I now reject labelism in principle and would teach anyone to embrace a more holistic, fully ecological philosophy, based in knowledge of history, politics, science, and human psychology, which would compel the one and only idea of abolitionism and the one and only prescription of fighting relentlessly for abolition, with no compromises.
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Of course I respect the decision of anyone who opposes preemption and wants to continue to fight for labeling at the state level. Although it seems like that position is no longer around. I never saw anyone who had fought in Vermont giving their viewpoint on the near-consensus, among both labeling opponents and advocates, that their law represents some kind of loathesome “patchwork” which needs to be purged one way or another. Was I alone in sincerely wanting the Vermont law to go into effect? It seems like I was.
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Well, this whole FDA/Scambell’s/DARK Act debacle is all the more reason to grow out of the entire labeling concept and move on to more practically aggressive and politically smarter ideas and modes of organization.
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May 6, 2016

GMO/Poisoner Summary, May 6th, 2016

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*Dole knew for over a year that its plant had a listeria outbreak and was lethally contaminating its food products. It kept this secret and would have continued to do so if inspectors hadn’t uncovered the poisoning. This is standard corporate practice, and any corporation can always be counted upon to tell any such lie necessary. The entire scientific, regulatory, and media paradigm of modern civilization, completely dependent as it is upon the religious faith that corporations can be trusted to tell the truth about themselves, is a pure lie, and all that follows from this paradigm is nothing but lies.
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The example also proves yet again that the centralized structures of corporate agriculture and food are designed to maximize the incidence and severity of food disease outbreaks. This is in addition to the systematic Poisoner campaign and the systematic campaign to incubate pandemics in shantytowns (generated by corporate agriculture’s mass expulsion of the people from their lands) and CAFOs.
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*Get your Roundup label campaign packs from Global Justice Now. They had their chance to be honest. Now we the people must force them to come clean completely.
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Here’s a real label, stamped directly on the poison, directly by the people.
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*Members of the European Parliament are condemning the European Commission’s “compromise” proposal to re-licence glyphosate for ten years instead of fifteen. No compromise offered on the unlimited poisoning of agricultural zones, public parks, playgrounds, backyards, and so on. By now a ban on park and residential use is the bare minimum among decent human beings, and this is only the first step to be followed shortly by a complete ban on agricultural use.
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*Our upstanding, respectable people aren’t phased by that kind of trivia, but may become upset to learn their fine wines are loaded with the cancer juice. That’s why an ABC news report on California wines loaded with glyphosate residue is being censored by the network. The ABC news page is now “Page Not Found”.
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*Aspiring eugenicists have been trying to synthesize the smallest possible genome, allegedly stripped down to minimum essentials. They sought to strip away all seemingly extraneous sequences leaving only those necessary to the basic self-sustaining functions of the cell. But against all expectations they ended up with a genome one third of whose genes are evidently necessary but whose function can’t be discerned. They’d expected, according to the theory they started out with, a maximum of 5-10% of the genes being of this character. Once again alleged GE “science” is left debunked and confused. My favorite part – the scientific theory didn’t work, “So the team took a different and more labor-intensive tack, replacing the design approach with trial and error.” Just like with the entire genetic engineering endeavor.
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The long run goal is to be able to engineer purely functional (in an economic sense) animals and humans. So they’re experimenting with genetic minimalism – how much “extraneous” stuff can they dispense with and still have a functional organism. Like figuring out the absolute minimum needed to feed slaves to keep them “efficiently” working.
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*Here’s the latest in the long line of studies debunking the Bt “precision” lie, again proving the universal truth of all pesticides from hot pepper to the most virulent synthetic: All indiscriminately harm beneficial insects. This is the intended goal of insecticides, to kill insects as such. The only difference is the degree of potency. Concentrated Bt poison in GMO crops cells is one of the more indiscriminately toxic. We can expect RNAi insecticidal crops to be at lease as imprecise and indiscriminate.
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The study also adds to the already conclusive evidence on how multiple poisons in combination add up to greater lethality than the sum of the individual poisons. But, much like with formulations compared with “pure” primary poisons, synergy effects should be cited only in special circumstances. For everyday combat, it’s best and strongest to emphasize the fact that each of the poisons, including and especially the so-called “active”, primary poison, is lethally toxic to all animals including humans and must be banned. This fact, always coupled with its companion fact that the whole paradigm of pesticide-based agriculture doesn’t work, will be most lethal to the enemy’s endeavor.
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*Here’s the latest result of the GMO cartel’s campaign to eradicate all non-GM seeds: Punjab wants to promote indigenous desi open-pollinated cotton, but the seeds aren’t available.
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Organizations like Navdanya and seed conservationists like Debal Deb have preserved and continue to grow desi varieties, though they don’t have the stock to immediately supply a large demand. But if they were given a big state order, they could quickly do a seed increase.
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*We just saw an example of the economic suppression of non-GM seeds and genetics. Meanwhile the campaign of biological suppression through GM contamination of true crops continues. Canadian organic alfalfa farmers continue to resist the commercial deployment of Roundup Ready alfalfa, with the fight focusing especially on Prince Edward Island. Alfalfa is an insect-pollinated perennial and is therefore prone to rapid cross-pollination and subsequent contamination. This contamination is a primary intended goal of governments and Monsanto in deploying this false poison-based crop. A proximate goal is to render the existing certification structure for organic meat and dairy impossible by wiping out non-GM hay as a feed. From there the only possibilities are to let GMOs into the organic certification, or else let the organic sector die out completely. Monsanto will be happy either way.
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The Canadian government engages in the standard Orwellian lies, claiming to champion “choice” when the conscious goal is to eradicate all choice. We have decades of data on how seed sector concentration and genetic pollution destroy seed choice. Everyone knows this and it’s not possible to be mistaken about it. Any pro-GMO activist who touts “choice” is a willful liar.
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*Here’s a good two-fer, phony climate change concern and skillful use of the old scapegoat-the-farmer. Of course in reality industrial agriculture as such is by far the worst driver of climate change and cannot be reformed, can only be abolished.
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*Is the Obama administration being so aggressive and obnoxious in its pro-corporate thuggery that it’s going to force Europe, against the desire of the EU government and most of the member state governments, to reject the TTIP globalization pact? There’s increasing reason to think the combination of public protest and tyrannical US/corporate behavior may deep-six the vile thing.
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Here we are over two years past the time the US and EU were expecting to have this thing all wrapped up and enacted (even longer for the CETA, the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement), and it’s still in the arduous negotiation stage precisely because the corporations and the US government are so all-at-once totalitarian about it. That’s even though the “harmonization” (Gleichschaltung) provisions are designed to accomplish all the corporations could ever want, just more gradually.
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I even have some optimism that the whole thing will collapse and not be enacted, precisely because the US is being so openly belligerent and totalitarian about it, to the point even of making the EU governments leery. At any rate US brazenness has rendered the European political environment more and more hostile toward these surrender pacts.
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Rejecting the TTIP will be a great boon for Europe. Unfortunately at best this will only partially help the American people if the US corporate government goes ahead with the TPP.
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The enemy’s also going for all-or-nothing as far as the legitimacy of “science”. These globalization pacts include provisions officially enshrining as law the notion that science is to be defined according to corporate imperatives. We the people either will have to accept the steel bars of the law, “science is what the corporations say it is”, or else completely reject the legitimacy of establishment “science” across the board.
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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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April 22, 2016

Earth Day: Poisoner News Summary April 22nd, 2016

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*Earth Day. If a god created this world, this ecology, the beauty of it all, the intricacy and logic of it all, it’s inconceivable this god would have wanted humans to trash it, to defile it, to desecrate it. This, I believe, is the incontrovertible a priori for any meaningful theology or philosophy, whatever one’s personal state of faith. The much abused translation “dominion” in Genesis can mean only stewardship, if it has any meaning at all.
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This perception is reinforced by the fail-safe mechanism God created, the way nature imposes a correction wherever, on account of whatever temporary environmental circumstance, a species runs out of control. From any point of view including that of secular biology, Homo sapiens is certainly out of control. The circumstance enabling this has been the temporary availability of cheaply extractable fossil fuels. When we factor in humanity’s moral character, we must also recognize the rogues of the species, those who seek to poison us all, as evil.
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The stewardship model has been proven unanimously, on every level from the religious to the most nuts-and-bolts secular, to create the best life and greatest happiness for all even as it preserves and enhances the ecology at every level from the local to the global.
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This is the only true religion, the only true philosophy, the only true science. This is the one and only Truth. Do we still dream of the Garden of Eden? But this Earth is the one and only Garden of Eden, because it is humanity’s one and only home. Time’s up, and we must choose.
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*Climate scientists admit they’re “censoring their own research”, because the evidence indicates a current status and prognosis far worse than what they’ve generally been willing to report. Even as it is, what’s already been publicized proves that none of the popular “reforms” can have any effect and simply comprise a form of denialism, the form of putting off real action. If scientists told the truth about how bad things really are, even those willing to pay lip service to caring about the climate crisis would tune out the science completely and become de jure deniers.
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This is because even among those who wring their hands over climate change there’s a near-complete unwillingness to face up to the fact that there is one way and only one way to do anything about this crisis: Emit far less GHGs, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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That makes the hand-wringers and crocodile-criers climate deniers as well.
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*The Chinese government is about to launch the campaign we’ve been predicting for years, its attempt to propagate its own GMO cartel to compete with that of the West. This will complement its longstanding campaign of land-grabbing in Africa and elsewhere. The goals are to ensure China’s own CAFO feed chain and to open a new front in its challenge to US power. ChemChina’s deal with Syngenta intends to co-opt some top-of-the-line Western technical expertise and start splitting the EU’s interest in this intensifying geopolitical struggle.
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China would be better off bolstering its own agricultural resiliency and that of the allies it’s trying to cultivate by fully deploying agroecology for food production. This would make for far greater food security in times of climate chaos, ecological collapse, and geopolitical conflict. Europe still has the chance to do this if it chooses, but EU elites are dead set on collective suicide, judging by their ardent embrace of the TTIP and CETA and their increasingly aggressive attempts to force GMOs on Europe. Similarly, China’s elites are basically the same as Western elites. They too are incapable of thinking in terms other than globalization and commodity agriculture. Deng Xiaoping said, “Black cat, white cat, as long as it catches mice it’s a good cat.” But any cat operating in the oil-dependent industrial monoculture commodity fields won’t be catching mice much longer, as his nine lives are just about used up. Indeed, even by the conventional economic outlook China looks to be trying to get into the GMO market at its peak, as the product has reached market saturation and stalled out around the world. The Western agrochemical/GMO sector is cannibalizing itself, which is what drove Syngenta into the Chinese orbit in the first place, after the Swiss company at first hoped it could maintain a “neutral” independence. It’s not clear what incentives the Chinese will offer the farmers of the world, and what new lies they’ll tell, in order to continue with the GMO paradigm but get the world to switch from the West to the Orient. One thing we can be sure of, the Chinese product won’t work any better than the Western, nor will it force the use of any less poison.
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*One critical battlefront where Monsanto, and the GMO ideal itself, is facing rejection is among Africans who are rejecting Bt cotton. Africans have seen the havoc wrought in India as well as closer to home in South Africa. They know the product is disastrous for farmers. Burkina Faso’s attempt to flout this fact led quickly to one of the typical outcomes: Even when the GM cotton crop isn’t decimated by pests and yields well on paper, the lint is of subpar length and therefore makes for an inferior product which can be sold only at inferior prices. All this is after paying a premium price for the seed. Therefore the government is now planning to phase out the fraudulent GM seeds and replace them completely with non-GM conventional seeds by 2018. This parallels and goes beyond India’s so far more modest program to encourage the use of native, non-GM cotton seeds.
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*Pakistan has had nothing but travails of its own with Bt cotton, and now must cope with the corrupt politics of GM maize. Here too there’s a scandal driven by the climate change minister’s surreptitious and illegal approval of commercial release of Monsanto’s GM maize without prior field trials. This violates the national biosafety law. Under pressure from farmers and scientists the government is halting the sale of the seeds. Leaving aside its usual, long-debunked lies about GMOs being good for farmers, Monsanto openly says the purpose of GMO commercialization is for commodity globalization, and even more for the propaganda of the commodification idea: “Monsanto official Aamir Mirza said…that the promotion of biotechnology will…send strong signals that the country is welcoming investments in research into cutting-edge technologies. ‘This will improve the agriculture sector’s international competitiveness over the long term,’ he remarked.”
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ALL problems of hunger and malnutrition among the poor have been known at least since the 1970s to be directly caused or greatly aggravated by agricultural commodification. Monsanto and its flunkeys like to tell lies about “feeding the world”, but their conscious, intentional goal and action sums up to GMOs Starve the World
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*Monsanto faces mounting problems collecting its tax in Latin America. Brazil and Argentina don’t have the same draconian intellectual property laws as those of the US. Therefore Monsanto has to rely on the farmer’s contractual agreement to pay the Monsanto Tax. This is readily enough collected at the point of sale when farmers formally purchase Roundup Ready or Intacta soybean seed. But how to force farmers who save and replant GM seed (or are just accused of doing so) to pay the tax, in a place where you can’t so easily sue them? Monsanto’s idea has been to make each farmer produce his tax document when he brings in his soybean harvest to the trader. If the farmer can’t produce proof he paid the tax, Monsanto demands that the trader to collect the tax on Monsanto’s behalf, or else refuse to accept the shipment if the farmer refuses to pay. The shipment is assumed to be GM unless the farmer can prove he used only non-GM seeds, but Monsanto sets the bar for this proof so high as to be near impossible to meet. The tax is then remitted to Monsanto. The trader gets nothing for acting as Monsanto’s collection agency.
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It’s not surprising that most traders have objected to this arrangement (that’s our Monsanto, making friends everywhere it goes), and now the Argentine government, which has already disappointed Monsanto many times in failing to meet the company’s demand to tighten seed patent law, is intervening. The government says it will exercise oversight and must approve of any arrangement where Monsanto or its dragooned agents demand a tax from farmers.
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This unfavorable environment for Monsanto’s patent privilege is a major motivation for the company to commercialize the Terminator gene as quickly as is politically possible.
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*Case study in the corporate science paradigm. Where scientists aren’t sufficiently self-policing, authoritarian regimes will deploy varying levels of coercion to enforce the party line in “science”. We see it with US regulators like the USDA and EPA, and we see it now even more aggressively official with the British government.
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These are all manifestations of the total assault on democracy by the corporations, which are totalitarian organizations recognizing zero right for any value to exist other than their own profit prerogatives. In the case of science, part of the whole mythology as elaborated by Karl Popper is that science is an integral part of the “open society”. This means that science, in order to be socially constructive and true to itself, can be undertaken only under conditions of complete transparency and intellectual freedom. Thus true science and democracy go hand in hand, while any kind of secrecy or censorship of science is automatically an assault on democracy as well. (That’s part of mythology because establishment science has never in fact functioned that way, nor have most of its practitioners ever agreed with democratic values.)
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*Lawsuits are part of a general delaying action. Since as a rule those who file lawsuits would be unwilling to engage in more radical forms of action, it’s good that they at least do this. Lawsuits have the primary effect of delaying the Poisoner progress, as the USDA recently complained about the EPA. They can also be excellent occasions for public education and agitation by abolitionists, and we must use these opportunities far more effectively. But like any other reform action condoned by the establishment, they’re insufficient and are no substitute for the necessary work of building and enacting the abolition movement and the food sovereignty way of life.
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*Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the whole Poisoner campaign is how right out in plain sight governments and corporations are intentionally, systematically destroying antibiotics as an effective medical treatment, and no one cares.
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*Tom Philpott softens under the Bill Nye treatment. No surprise there.
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Monsanto’s record is absolutely perfect throughout its history: It sells as much poison as it can and tells every lie imaginable about it. Philpott knows this perfectly well and yet pretends to find these lies believable. He goes so far as to imply that Monsanto can be an honest broker. Once again the rule is proven, that every system propagandist, including the “reformer” types, has his price for becoming a de jure liar. In the case of Nye, Philpott, and the labeling “leaders” who were willing to endorse the secret Vilsack/GMA conclave, the price may be rhetorical, the “quality” of the lie. But make no mistake, all such persons are, in the final analysis, on the Monsanto side.
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*A new study has found that quinone outside inhibitors, a class of fungicide whose use on vegetables and grains in the US has surged exponentially in recent years, affect mouse neural cells in vitro in ways similar to the neural cell effects found in humans suffering from autism, advanced age, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Now, it’s important to note, Zylka told me in an interview, that in vitro research like the kind his team conducted for this study is only the first step in determining whether a chemical poses risk to people. The project identified chemicals that can cause harm to brain cells in a lab setting, but it did not establish that they harm human brains as they’re currently used. Nailing that down will involve careful epidemiological studies, Zylka said: Scientists will have to track populations that have been exposed to the chemicals—say, farm workers—to see if they show a heightened propensity for brain disorders, and they’ll have to test people who eat foods with residues of suspect chemicals to see if those chemicals show up in their bodies at significant levels.

That work remains to be done, Zylka said. “What’s most disturbing to me is that we’ve allowed these chemicals to be widely used, widely found on food and in the environment, without knowing more about their potential effects,” he said.

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Contrary to this nonsense, we know for a fact that all agricultural poisons are severely harmful to humans and other animals. In the hundred year history of poison-based agriculture there has never been an exception among the poisons for which evidence has been compiled at all. So by now, for any rational person, the first step is to regard the case as closed and to abolish all agricultural poisons forthwith. The endless whack-a-mole of testing which is mechanically called for by every lukewarm critic of these poisons is nothing but procrastination, at best. That is, where it’s not a willful delaying tactic.
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Our supposition that the call for “more testing” is a scam is reinforced when we consider the fact, known perfectly well by Philpott and Zylka, that the kind of epidemiological studies they call for here are seldom sought or funded, and when they are carried out their results are dismissed out of hand by regulators like the EPA, FDA, and the German BfR and EU’s EFSA as we saw most recently in the case of their whitewash of glyphosate’s proven carcinogenicity. So epidemiological study is, for official regulatory purposes, unscience. Meanwhile testing people who have ingested residues is never done, and the many preliminary studies which would have to be performed, in order to ascertain the presence of pesticide residues in the food supply in the first place, are also evaded by regulators and can be carried out by independent researchers only in the most sporadic, ad hoc way. (Meanwhile the FDA illegally refuses to regulate pesticides as the food additives they self-evidently are.) So this prescription for “more and better testing” describes a scenario which no one within the establishment will ever enact, and no one outside the establishment would ever have the resources to enact.
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Nor should dissidents want to use our scarce resources this way, since as I said we already know that all these poisons cause cancer, birth defects, and neurodisease, along with a host of other harms. We have vastly more than enough evidence already, compiled over the course of a century. We need better use of the sufficient evidence we have, not the insufficient course of procrastination, filling the wasted time with vain calls for “more and better testing”.
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The political dance between “reformers” and the poison manufacturers is made complete with the corporate retort.
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In an emailed statement, a BASF spokeswoman wrote that cell tissue studies like Zylka’s “have not demonstrated relevance compared with results from studies conducted on [live] animals.” She added, “While the study adds to the debate of some scientific questions, it provides no evidence that the chemicals contribute to the development of some diseases of the central nervous system. This publication has no impact on the established safety of pyraclostrobin when used according to label instructions in agricultural settings.” A Bayer spokesman told me that the company’s scientists are looking into the Zylka study and “don’t have any initial feedback to offer right now.” He added that “our products are rigorously tested and their safety and efficacy is our focus.”

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In fact all establishment scientists and commentators on science flip-flop constantly on whether entire classes of research are valid or not. Thus when BASF contemplates this case, they suddenly discover that in vitro research as such is invalid. Yet like the Stalinists who officially rejected quantum mechanics even as they applied it for the Soviet nuclear program, so BASF constantly uses in vitro research itself, especially in the genetic engineering process. Similarly, in vivo lab studies are generally considered the gold standard in science (a notion which has problems of its own, which I’ll leave aside for now), except where these must suddenly be thrown out because they don’t adequately reflect real world conditions or allegedly have faulty methodology even though the methodology is the same as that of prior studies the corporation itself carried out. This suddenly becomes the corporate position when in vivo studies provide evidence adverse to corporate interests. The most infamous example is the scientific establishment’s defamation of the 2012 Seralini study, which was a perfect example of the classic falsificationist scientific method in action. To this day pro-GMO activists will say with a straight face that the Seralini study, nearly identical to prior Monsanto studies in every way except in its longer duration and the parameters it measured, was a bad study while the near-identical Monsanto studies were good.
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Finally, epidemiological studies which actually do measure things under real world conditions are rejected as a class on the opposite grounds, that they’re not well enough controlled, the moment they provide evidence adverse to a corporate campaign. Like we said, this is invariably the case where it comes to agricultural poisons. This is why regulators, on principle, refuse to recognize the existence of epidemiological science.
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As we can see, contrary to its lies about itself “science” has no stable canons of practice or evidence, but is the same game of doing whatever you have to do to get the “evidence” you want and suppress the evidence which is against you as is standard in every other branch of politics. To continue playing the corporate science game is to condemn oneself to a literally endless round of whack-a-mole. The actual science is unequivocal and overwhelming, and confirms what reason and common sense always knew: Poison is poisonous to us, and the campaign of putting it on our food is insane and evil and must be put to an end with all due speed. But as we also see, the lukewarm have a different agenda which is more in line with that of the corporations. Whether it’s that they lack confidence in reason and real science, or whether they actively support corporate capitalism and are willing to tolerate a certain level of intentionally caused cancer (thus the regulatory concept of “tolerances”), or most likely a combination of this cowardice and this evil, they end up in agreement with the corporate poisoners that no level of evidence will ever be enough to convict poisons of being poisons.
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Self-evidently, this is not the way forward.
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March 18, 2016

GMO News Summary March 18th, 2016

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*Imagine if every American who claimed to believe in property rights, and who claimed to believe that trespassers, vandals, and assailants should be punished, would be serious and actually apply that to real cases like poison drift. Imagine if America really believed in this kind of property right and really thought there was no right to trespass and destroy. Just one of many reasons pesticides could never have gotten started in the first place if this was a rational, moral society.
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*Demand for non-GM conventional maize, soy, and other crops has been growing in recent years. Farmers who can deliver non-contaminated shipments are offered premiums by an increasing number of processors and manufacturers. This demand has been driven almost completely by grassroots political and consumer demand as embodied in the labeling movement and the rising abolition movement. Meanwhile farmers are also being driven away from GMOs by the overall poor and deteriorating performance of increasingly expensive GM crops. The political and consumer trend has been bolstered recently by low commodity prices, which are giving farmers an added incentive to make the switch from GM to non-GM cultivation. They look to the non-GM premium to make up for lost revenues. As a result in 2015 GM plantings in the US were stagnant for soybeans and declined for maize. But figures for both have been above 90% for years, and it’s likely that GMO cultivation has reached market saturation in the US as it has almost everywhere else on Earth. The cultural, scientific, and political movement to abolish GMOs therefore can contemplate the prospect that our main action can be to start driving back the monster, if natural and economic structural limits are already imposing a cordon on the GMO advance.
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*The Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) is dedicated to industrialized commodity cotton production. By no stretch of the imagination is it anti-GMO. Nevertheless it seems free of the religious cultism which is standard among Western regulators and researchers. It looks soberly at GMO technology, assessing it from a “rational” capitalist point of view. (That is, as rational as one can be within the insane framework of commodity agriculture.) Today the CICR is of the opinion that India will lose nothing and be better off if Monsanto were to become the first ever Galtian crybaby to actually follow through on its threat to quit and go home. In this case the tantrum and threat are because the Indian government has once again cut the tax it will allow Monsanto to exact on its seed sales. It’s quite true that India will lose nothing and be better off. But Monsanto probably won’t do us the favor of following through on its hissyfit.
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*A new industry report confirms what Charles Benbrook has been reporting for years, what Brazil’s National Cancer Institute said a year ago, and what we all know is the case, that GMOs greatly increase pesticide use. The report focuses on how GMOs have driven the great leap in glyphosate use in recent decades. The report is unrealistically optimistic about the future prospects for GMOs and glyphosate, however.
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*Thanks to pressure from labeling advocates, the Senate voted very narrowly to reject cloture on the DARK Act. It’ll be back immediately, indeed this was a procedural vote rather than a “final” vote until a new bill comes along. While I agree that the DARK Act must be opposed, this is obviously not sufficient. I note the changed concepts of what’s the basic trend and what’s a positive development: A few years ago the trend was the gradual but progressive growth of the state level labeling movement, and what was good was any progress on this front. Today the trend is an ever more obsessive focus on the pro-Monsanto central government, and what’s good is endlessly fighting off iterations of the hard version of the DARK Act while increasingly swooning over soft-DARK proposals. Axiom: Any version of FDA preemption is philosophically abhorrent and fraudulent as a practical matter, if the goal is really supposed to be a strong labeling policy as a step toward abolition. But where it comes to many labeling advocates, I increasingly doubt either of those is a real goal. Is this war of attrition, this rut, really now the measure of progress? Am I the only one who’s already extremely sick of it?
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March 6, 2016

Prospects and Stagnation

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Regarding opposition to poison-based agriculture a friend asked, “Where’s the outrage?” The elemental outrage which historically has driven the great movements? No, there’s very little of that so far in the US. As far as Roundup and GMOs, lots of people are basically in a consumerist snit, but that’s all. I understand how it seemed to make sense to take up the labeling idea at first, back in the 1990s (along with some other ideas which seemed plausible back then, like “better testing” or the precautionary principle), but shouldn’t we have matured way beyond that by now?
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But not only are people terminally mired in the co-existence, consumerist ideology, but they’re digging in on refusal to even listen to alternative ideas. Thus the GMO Free USA Facebook group has started censoring my posts (i.e., simply refusing to post them; they’ve lately set up a filtering system, evidently to suppress “undesirable” ideas) starting with this piece, which my friend praised for what she saw as its optimism. I myself thought the piece was quite modest and was simply asking whether people intend to keep fighting a war of attrition against the DARK Act forever and ever, and whether they ever intend to move on to a more assertive position. But clearly the labeling idea* is becoming a political monoculture which needs its own version of Roundup against its own version of weeds.
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Well, they want their endless DARK Act two-to-tango, and they’ll have it until the thing finally passes. At that point, according to their own testimony, most of them will pack it in and go home. When I say something like, “If the DARK Act and the TPP are forced upon us, that’s when the REAL fight has to start”, they clearly have zero idea what I’m even talking about.
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So there seems to be precious little of the spirit that got Christianity and Islam going, got the American and French Revolutions going, got capitalism and communism going, got the original abolition movement going, got suffragism and Prohibition and unionism and civil rights going, that got the American Populist movement going. So for someone like me who thinks that kind of movement commitment is what’s needed against this worst onslaught in history, in the US it’s still stagnation times for now. As I posted in January, I think the American Populist movement provides the kind of template we need. But no template can work without the Populist type of moral commitment.
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*I stress that most people want only the “idea” of labeling and couldn’t care less about the real thing. I was surprised to see how joyously most people embraced the Campbell’s ad campaign, which to me was clearly a stale old scam. Obviously I overestimated people’s knowledge of the GMA’s history as well as how sincere they were about effectively strong labeling or about a “right to know” (obviously a democratic and therefore anti-technocratic idea). It turned out that all most “labeling” people want is something they can call “mandatory labeling”, regardless of how weak, fraudulent, and preemptive it is. Just as they have a co-existence/consumerist mentality and not a political one, so they have a technocratic mentality and not a democratic one. The most bizarre, cult-like part is how they clearly believe there’s two different FDAs, the “bad” FDA of substantial equivalence and GMOs-are-GRAS, and the “good” FDA which they want to put preemptively in charge of labeling. But in the reality-based universe there’s only one FDA, and it’s 100% pro-GMO. So self-evidently any labeling it ever presided over would be done in the most Monsanto-friendly way possible. Yet even groups I used to think were firmly against preemption are all wobbling, while the rest sell out as fast as they can. It’s clear what a disastrously wrong turn the whole commitment to labeling as “the” idea has become. But a lot of people are just as committed to this idea as pro-GMO types are to the idea of pesticide-based agriculture, and there’s simply no arguing with such types.
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One of the “anti-GMO” groups someone recently touted to me said explicitly in its group description, “we don’t want members arguing with one another”. Now there’s the spirit that gets real movements going. Historically, real movements haven’t started with ferocious disputation to thrash out the necessary ideas, oh no. The funny part is how Lynas, Campbell’s, the Cornell propaganda bureau and others have explicitly said that they fear controversy and “polarization” most of all. So it’s telling how, both among themselves and in their dealings with the GMA contingent, the labelists are so firm in wanting the same defusing, depolarization, “consensus”, everything designed to put the whole movement on ice. This is actually quite a testament to the raw material among the people: Even with the overwhelming temporal power of the pesticide and GMO cartels and the bona fide religious fanaticism of the scientism/techno-cult, the strong discipline and focus of both of these factions, contrasted with the inept and lukewarm, and often treacherous, “leadership” of the anti-GMO movement in the US (things are often better around the world), even given this seemingly lopsided situation it’s still such a constant uphill and very expensive struggle, financially and politically, for the cartel and the cult. I say this is a great testament to the powerful inertia of the people against the Poisoners. Imagine what a real abolition movement could accomplish. (I suppose those committed to labeling would want to claim credit for hindering the poison cartel’s progress, but the fact is that the progress continues nevertheless in spite of the will of the people, and the people have also voted against labeling each chance they’ve had to vote for it, while county-level bans have had much better success. The evidence is that the poison cartel is mostly resisted inertially on account of its self-evident evil, but as far as taking action people respond to more aggressive, ecological ideas, and not to lukewarm, reductionist, consumerist ideas which really seem to be part of the same system which has gone so badly wrong in the first place. Deep down everyone knows co-existence is impossible.)
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Oh well, all this means it’s time to step back and focus on my book. The necessary abolitionist mindset can only develop organically or else never develop at all. For the moment it’s a slow development, though history proves one can never know when there will suddenly be a sea change. At any rate, I’ll just keep writing and see what happens. And I’ll still say we ought to launch a targeted campaign to ban glyphosate. But I’m a little sick of reminding labelists that their idea doesn’t even lay a finger (with a label or otherwise) on pesticides, a vastly worse evil even than GMOs in themselves.
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March 4, 2016

GMO News Summary March 4th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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