Posts Tagged ‘News Corporation’

ISHTARMUZ’S REBUTTAL TO: UK GM WHEAT WAR: NOT REALLY ABOUT SCIENCE


Ishtarmuz’s Rebuttal toUK GM Wheat War: Not Really About Science

 
In the UK there is a battle brewing over a scientific trial involving genetically modified wheat. Last weekend a protester attempted to vandalize the trial, and a larger civil action is expected on May 27.  The ongoing battle, and its close cousin in the climate wars, tell us something about what can happen to science when it becomes the central battleground over politics and technology. Unfortunately, the scientific community itself has contributed to such tactics.
If this was a fair and open fight on any grounds, then  might have a valid point here. However, when corporations define the law, patent the tools and control the research, then it is not science, but propaganda. 
 

Plant scientists at Rothamsted Research, a complex of buildings and fields in Hertfordshire, UK, that prides itself on being the longest-running agricultural research station in the world, have spent years preparing for their latest experiment — which will attempt to prove the usefulness of a genetically modified (GM) wheat that emits an aphid alarm pheromone, potentially reducing aphid infestation.

Yet instead of looking forward to watching their crop grow, the Rothamsted scientists are nervously counting the days until 27 May, when protesters against GM crops have promised to turn up in force and destroy the experimental plots.

The protest group, it must be acknowledged, has a great name — Take the Flour Back. And it no doubt believes that it has the sympathy of the public. The reputation of GM crops and food in Britain, and in much of mainland Europe, has yet to recover from the battering it took in the late 1990s. In Germany, the routine destruction of crops by protesters has meant that scientists there simply don’t bother to conduct GM experiments any more.

The Rothamsted scientists have also attempted to win over the public, with a media campaign that explains what they are trying to do and why. After the protesters announced their plans to “decontaminate” the research site, the scientists tried to engage with their opponents, and pleaded with them to “reconsider before it is too late, and before years of work to which we have devoted our lives are destroyed forever”. The researchers say that in this case they are the true environmentalists. The modified crop, if it works, would lower the demand for environmentally damaging insecticides.

It would be a mistake to conclude that the protesters are in some way anti-science or fearful that the genetically modified crops might fail to work as advertised (though surely some protesters do have these views). Their main concern is that the crops will perform exactly as advertised, and lead to further gains in agricultural productivity.
Nothing like a straw-man argument.  I know of no protester that would agree here. The precautionary principle is the primary concern. They know that even if it performed, as advertised, that there is no way in principle to prove its safety.  They also know that given history, no one will really try to prove it safe, rather, the safety will ultimately be legislated to protect profit over people. The protesters have little recourse other than direct action.
It is not science that they fear, but the implications of scientific advances for economic and political outcomes. The organization leading the UK protests calls itself Take the Flour Back, and clearly explains its rationale   as follows:

Our current political system chooses to deal with world hunger through the model of “food security”, arguing that there is not enough food to go around and that we need techno-fixes to solve this. This approach ignores the fact that there is a global food surplus – many people just can’t afford to buy food. This problem is being amplified by land grabs- communities that used to grow food for themselves are being forced out of their ancestral homes, often by corporations expanding cash crop production.

The industrial food system throws away (in the journey from farms to traders, food processors and supermarkets), between a third and a half of all the food that it produces – enough to feed the world’s hungry six times over. (2)

Free trade policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund make it much harder for governments to protect small and family farmers from big multinationals. With the expansion of free-market capitalism, agricultural systems in many countries in the global south have become focused on producing cash crops for export to rich western nations. At the same time, their markets have been opened to food imports, including imports from US and EU companies at less than the cost of production. US farmers benefit from billions of dollars in subsidies which make up as much as 40% of US net farm income. This means they can afford to export their crops at well below production cost. (3) This is ruining the livelihoods of small farmers in the global south.

This is not the statement of a group concerned primarily with the potential unanticipated risks of GM crops to the environment or people, but rather, it is the manifesto of a group concerned that GM crops will perform exactly as intended.
This is a total non sequitur. He has ignored the premise, the data and the argument, only to repeat what he already said.  How is it that putting more food in fewer hands, farther from where it is needed, with less diversity and local control doing anything except feeding corporate profit at the expense of people’s food freedom?
Like many issues where science and politics intersect, those opposed to the productivity gains made possible by agricultural innovation have sought to use science as a basis for realizing political ends. A primary strategy in such efforts is typically to argue that the science compels a particular political outcome.  In the case of GM crops, opponents of the technology (mainly in Europe) have argued that the techniques are unproven or risky. However, such tactics have not succeeded  . So the next step beyond waging a political battle over science is now direct action against the technology of concern.
Those tactics have indeed succeeded. They have succeeded for the corporate military industrial congressional educational complex. As free and open access to education and research has been trumped by multinational corporate profits driving the economies of nations, the  search for truth has been reduced to the search for profit at the expense of people.
 
This situation is of course in many respects parallel to the climate debate. Efforts to compel emissions reductions through invocations that science compels certain political outcomes have borne little fruit, sosome activists have taken it upon themselves to directly attack the technologies at the focus of their concern  .

One difference between the climate wars and the GM wars is that some prominent scientists are participating in the direct action against technology (such as James Hansen and IPCC contributor Marc Jaccard). Another important difference is that in the case of GM crops, it is research itself being targeted, and the scientific community objects  .

 

I would agree that the methods used in much of the climate debate are indeed driven by nonscientific corporate influences, but more in the same misguided way as the GMO supporters have used it.  The difference here is that the end results of the climate change supporters are that we end up doing many things that we will have to do anyway.  We need real sustainable solutions to both climate change and food shortages.  The ‘why’ of climate change pales before the fact of it changing or the inadequacy of many of the current climate models. Simply,  no one has been able to effectively debunk the idea that small local sustainable solutions to both climate change and food shortages are potentially the best, and least risky, of alternatives.

One argument invoked by scientists in support of GM technology is that the world needs more food. But the world needs more energy too. In condoning direct attacks on energy technologies, the scientific community may have opened the door to tactics that it does not much like when they are applied closer to home.
 
The Original posted article by    and was posted at 5/23/2012 04:07:00 AM in his blog here  
In regard to Roger Pielke Jr.’s closing point, it must be pointed out that the chemical companies, now biotech companies, are intimately dependent on the oil companies.  When they push bio-fuels made from GMO crops they have made another vicious circle in the idiot cycle.  I seriously doubt they will every seriously show that the second law of thermodynamics can be overcome in this process, no matter how successful the business model.
 The repost of the original article and any quotes or images therein conform to the fair use provisions of local copyright law.
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Ishtarmuz’s: Why Monsanto, An Ex-Chemical Company, Now A BioTech Company, Is Evil #FYW


Why Monsanto, An Ex-Chemical Company, Now A BioTech Company, Is Evil

by Ishtarmuz

The reasoning involved in the nature of the evil of an “ex-chemical company” like Monsanto is not rocket science.  We only have to consider a few basic principles.  Once they are accepted as true, the rest follows.  The first principle is that life processes and systems are complex. They are the most complex systems known.  This makes all developing life sciences, especially those involved with the dysfunction and repair of life processes, as much an art as a science.  Those that would  create a product must also be able to maintain and repair it, not only the product, but also any consequence of its use. So the practice of  ’making’  or modifying of  life must equate to the healing of life in its methods in order for it to be a moral enterprise. Those that would improve life must be able to heal it when things go awry. To confuse a practicing art with an applied science is to engage in fraud and quackery of the most unethical and dangerous sort.

Before the chemical companies like Monsanto became biotechnology companies they only dealt with chemicals that interacted with life processes.  Repeatedly chemical companies like Monsanto produced new chemicals (thousands daily now)  that  they had no way of knowing what the full long term effects would be on living systems.  They were released without sufficient study. I know this because the needed pre-release experiments would have involved the study of such long term high level multivariate interactions that it would have been impossible to do these experiments in principle (though some have theorized it was possible albeit too costly to perform such experiments in practice).  In actual practice the environment itself was the testing ground, and the lawyers and the public relations propagandists delayed the inevitable lawsuits until a profit could be turned, a subsidiary company divested and the inevitable move to another product accomplished.  This is the model set by Monsanto over its hundred year history. Just think asbestos, saccharin, PCBs, DDT,  Agent Orange (dioxin), BGH, aspartamefluoride, mercuryGMOs, monocultureNazis, nuclear waste & News Corporation when you consider Monsanto.  You might add morgellons syndrome and mass bee death to that list, but that seems premature without more evidence. Yet the evidence mounts, for the bees, for the morgellons, and for the cover-up. In some real sense this all appears to be a final Solutia scenario for mankind and an awesome business plan.

Let us not forget the biggest piece to this warped pattern of corporate amorality, that of government contracts and mandates. The growth and cover of these corporate giants was through government contracts. Wars and  rumors  of war provide unlimited funding for research and development and also unlimited cover from equitable prosecution under sovereign immunity. They did it because the government asked them to do it and the  government had to do it because they were at war.  This is the real secret behind the congressional military industrial complex.

This brings us to yet another startling piece of the puzzle.  When you are at war you also have the patriotic duty to work for less under less safe conditions and companies don’t have time to worry about the consequences of this to their workers, let alone the general population.  Pollution standards can be lowered in the name of patriotism with the added benefit that your product can be freely marketed through government propaganda.

It is one thing when these companies are given a hand up by providing materials for war; it is yet another thing when these chemical products are changed to civilian uses, but retain the same standards and agreements as were used for the military at war. This was root of the old style fascism, and its more modern guise of corporatism.

It was bad enough when it was just harmful chemicals disbursed by Monsanto, now permanently lodged in every living thing on earth, that were the product of chemical reactions, but now they want to exponentiate the level of their catastrophic failure to the level of biological reactions.  Monsanto wants you to believe that they are both competent and moral enough to patent life and license its product in combination with the same subsidiary chemicals that they released to the detriment of billions around the globe. If they couldn’t consider the interaction of molecules, in principle, then even the lowest forms of life must still be beyond their reach. When further understanding of epigenetics reveals subtle negative effects, none of the crop scientists will be able to hide behind ignorance, given the warnings of the clear and present danger. So they need hide the facts as long as possible and hope no own notices until they turn a profit. Can competition regulate such abuses? Like Spain during colonial exploration, if you can’t kill the natives, marry them.  The model works so well everyone has copied it.

The truth of this will not be easy to harvest given that it is first mowed, then raked and then key Monsanto figures are baled and placed in the government barn later to be fed to the company herd and their seeds used to replant the Monsanto fields, all using huge lobbying machines. It makes me shudder to consider the human impact and the impact on higher order systems of this agro-political business growth model. Consider such a company having complete control over the world food supply, or having a monopoly on life itself.  Also consider the faux science needed to convince people that GMOs are safe compared with Monsanto’s history of lies. God forbid that the next tool of war becomes food. Maybe war will become obsolete given that corporations can rape and pillage the world with impunity as they brainwash the remaining vestiges of the domesticated (mute) populis. Perhaps this is a bit overstated. I wouldn’t want anyone to dismiss this as just another conspiracy theory. Every aficionado of the subject knows that there is always just one conspiracy and everything ties into it. However, you might want to see how a real conspiracy theory against Monsanto would look by clicking here.

The only morality a corporation like Monsanto has is its profit.  Death is the golden skeleton that is the cost of such companies doing business.  Such is the nature of evil. I am not saying profit is evil, but those that profit from death are manifesting evil incarnate.

The linkage I make of biotech with medicine is no shallow metaphor.  The ethical credo of these companies must have in it a ‘do no harm‘ provision. The researchers in these companies also must follow the tripartite role model of the physician as a clinician, public health expert and scientist. To date all we have seen is Doctor Josef Mengele when it comes to Monsanto and its ilk. The even scarier part of all this that they have formed their own triangle of trade by becoming Biotech companies by way of pharmaceutical companies.  So they get to treat the very illnesses they have created, but no one is going to believe this until the myths of their pseudoscience are debunked.

The governments around the world are considering going after Monsanto based on antitrust laws.  If this effort were real, then they would be going after companies like Monsanto under RICO-like statutes.  By doing so they would not just be forcing them to APPEAR to break up the monopolies by divesting into interlocking directorates, but they would be empowered to place direct government oversight over the corporations continually engaging in illegal and immoral activity.

One of my readers of my original post on this subject had a point. I was painting with too broad a brush and I had no plan or alternative. I just have a hard time believing that any of the Chemical Companies were or are in any way moral. However, since I had only collected history on Monsanto, I rewrote this article as Monsanto specific. Yet, I don’t see them as the only creators of Frankenstein. They are just a major player.

He wrote:

Posted by productionengineer on January 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Now that you’ve defined the problem, two questions emerge: a)What do you propose be done from here forward? and b)What alternative would you have preferred in the past?

You posit that that “chemical companies” produced all sorts of new chemicals without sufficient study, since truly sufficient study would be impossible. Are you suggesting then that none of these developments should have been allowed in the first place? If so, where are you drawing the line between “chemical companies” and “manufacturing companies (non-chemical)”? No, the line is NOT obvious. Polytetrafluoroethylene, computer chips, Gatorade, Cheerios, sewage treatment – which is on the “good” or “bad” side of the line.

Have some companies performed unconscionably? I’d be a fool to deny that. Do blanket statements across all industries do much outside of the talk show circuit? Not really.

My issue here is mostly not that they do damage, the issue is that they lie about it, cover it up and set it up to do it again and again and again. Risk is essential, yes, otherwise we never get anywhere. The problem is that we need to be informed participants in the risk, not guinea pigs.

The other lesson here is that you can be too big. Once you are big enough to control governments, then governments instituted for, by and of the people  must control you. There is little choice here. Either corporations submit to ethical control or we all remain slaves to the corporation.

As for the obvious solutions, well the dirty fucking hippies had it right all along. Small systems with self sustaining technology would work. This is exactly what the giant monopolies are fighting tooth and nail to debunk. Hopefully in the last forty years we have learned enough to not let the bastards grind us down this time. Illegitimi non carborundum or more correctly operor retineo non forensis liberi attero vos.

If you think these ideas are hyperbole and that their exists peer reviewed research that contradicts what I am saying, then you have not read the Bruce Stutz article on why such true peer reviewed research has yet to be done.

For a concise history of Monsanto, check out the idiot cycle and maybe some of you might want to crawl through a hole in the fence and learn how to avoid GMO foods.

You also might like: After Monsanto’s GM Meltdown in the USA or look at the next mad cow disease.

If you think that Monsanto might just be an isolated case, look at its mirror Dupont and how they are working in concert with Monsanto and the government.

If you feel helpless in the face of all this, then consider bolo’bolo or a more artistic approach.

For some more history look here and here and here and here and here.

The Death Merchants
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The World According to Monsanto – Full Documentary
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O Mundo Segundo a Monsanto #ogm #gmo

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1st collector for O Mundo Segundo a Monsanto
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Le Monde Selon Monsanto. #gmo #ogm

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1st collector for Le Monde Selon Monsanto. #gmo #ogm
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You Don’t Fool Mother Nature

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FOX Newscasters Have Been Reduced to Carnival Geeks. Fox is Not News


FOX Newscasters Have Been Reduced to Carnival Geeks. Fox is Not News

Free Speech is only free when it is not backed by front groups supported by makers of products you are shilling. So the suppression of FOX NEWS would not be an abridgment of the right to free speech . Mascarade news designed to sell products is  commercial speech, which is not free at all. If it is proven that you have unfairly undercut competition by misrepresentation, then this may be prosecutable.

In a similar manner news is not news unless it is separate from commentary and stands on its own without the filter of editorial talking points. To give the appearance that your opinion is news would appear also to be a form of commercial speech.  If you promote a millennial point of view garnered only from tainted sources and advertise gold, for example, then this is commercial speech. It has also been said that FOX news only uses incestuous sources.

News also is generally reported without high drama and emotional appeals where possible. Reporting of “grassroots” organizations that are funded by billionaires with ties to FOX and orchestrating these “grassroots” organization’s crowds is being and making the news, but it is not news. Reporting entrapment you have arranged on a group you have done nothing but misrepresent and use their own information against them, is not news. Reporting this “news” with appeals that would make carnies blush is so abhorrent that I would say that FOX newscasters have been reduced to carnival geeks, but the commentators are the real freaks. When FOX backs a movements and a party based on fear, then they can only stand for fear and ballast reporting.  Maybe they used Glenn Beck’s spelling for their slogan? So when they distort, you decide as they report all the news that fit to fake.

Fox is not news, nor is it entertaining. What FOX is, is reality TV gone wild. The cheap faux reality presented at ‘fair and balanced‘ FOX sounds more Orwellian than Orwell these days. All the expert pundits are just hired guns that follow the party line like good whore mongers. None of this is surprising as their conservative backers move more toward a fascism, politely called corporatism.  The favorite media tool of corporatism is projection, accusing their potential opposition of what they are actually doing themselves. It is done preemptively at FOX  lest anyone notice that Rupert Murdoch has no clothes.

Maybe a little history and a bit of smoke might help. Consider  the parallels between Keith Rupert Murdoch and William Randolph Heart. They are astounding.  Take such items as the illegality of hemp and Global Warming.  Hearst championed hemp’s ban for the same reason Murdoch had the two reporters fired that did the report on Monsanto.  That reason is corporatism.  So how is hemp related to global warming?  Monsanto now, like Dupont back in Hearst’s time, and now, have a vested interests in the illegality of hemp and FOX comes up with reasons to discredit anyone that objects. Similarly, Murdoch has a vested interest in global warming denial.  This corporate bias can also be seen by Murdoch’s flip flop on the climate change theme after a corporate deal with a Saudi prince, he selectively had allowed some parts of his “news” organization to champion climate change skepticism, then they did a total turnaround. Obviously Murdoch’s ideals are only based on what he considers best to make a profit. Clearly for his reality, read news, to always have a Right wing bent, his world view must be one of a Reptilian shape shifter. The stories in Murdoch’s media, like Hearst’s media, are as real as they say they are.  Their pseudoscience is firmly backed by the science of profit from human frailty.

Yet this is just the start of the parallels of Murdoch with Hearst and their strange mix of politics with faux news.  They both inherited a struggling newspaper from their father.  They both were leftist before they went right. They both made their name with tabloid journalism.  They both have been noted as ruthless competitors.  They both are warmongers. One can go on, but in the end we can reduce it all to one word: rosebud.

Other than that, why would anyone even consider boycotting Rupert Murdoch?

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