Ban GMOs Now: Dicamba, The Human Revolving Door, Science Denial, and Monsanto is Shoving GMOs down everyone’s throats
Jeff Kirkpatrick – Ban GMOs Now
Why do Monsanto and Bayer want to fall in love with each other? It’s all about the poisons:
“Is Monsanto Hot for Bayer’s Pesticides?” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones; June 1, 2016
Excerpt: “We work to help farmers produce food in a sustainable way,” states Monsanto’s website. “Monsanto uses plant breeding and biotechnology to create seeds that grow into stronger, more resilient crops that require fewer resources.” The company even claims its widely used Roundup Ready crops—genetically modified to withstand the herbicide glyphosate – have allowed farmers to “decrease the overall use of herbicides.”
“But does Monsanto actually want to wean farmers off pesticides? Its business maneuvers suggest otherwise. Last year, the company—by far the globe’s market leader in seed sales but just the fifth-largest pesticide purveyor—made an extended bid to buy rival Syngenta, the world’s biggest pesticide producer. By committing $45 billion to buy what amounted to a vast pesticide portfolio, Monsanto seemed to be distancing itself from old claims that biotech seeds would make industrial agriculture less chemical-dependent. The Syngenta deal ultimately collapsed, but Monsanto’s thirst to bolster its pesticide holdings appears to remain strong, as its current merger talks with German chemical giant Bayer show.” [Citations omitted]
Two of the most evil corporations in the world want to hitch up; this is partly because of the stupid idiot regulators who approved herbicide tolerant crops in the first place. It has resulted in the explosion of superweeds, and now the geniuses at the biotech companies have to discover exciting brand new shiny toxic chemicals to spray on our crops to kill weeds … yeah, we’ve seen how that approach has worked out – create more herbicide tolerant crops with more toxic herbicides and herbicide combinations. What could possibly go wrong?
When this merger takes place, and it very well may, it will prolong and perpetuate the use of toxic chemicals on food, create new and impossible to kill superweeds, but mostly, it will place the food system into the hands of even more powerful sociopathic corporations. That’s really just great.
So, while some anti-GMO groups are fighting for GMO labels and getting General Mills to stop using GMOs in Cheerios, the real issues, the most pressing issues, are going to manifest as a total ecological threat to the planet. This is not to say those issues aren’t important, but when placed in a broader context, their significance begins to pale: the real overall threat to our world is blistering out, like a cyst full of pus that is going to explode on the world. GMOs should be banned. GMOs need to be banned.
Ban GMOs Now.
What is actually happening transcends the right to know by leaps and bounds: the loss of food democracy & food sovereignty, the destruction of the biodiversity of our crops, the reliance on monocultures and industrial agricultural methods supported and perpetuated by GMOs are all a total and absolute threat to people everywhere. Driven by greed, endless, insatiable greed, the biotech sociopathic machine appears unstoppable. The threat is real – the response is weak and inadequate. GMOs should be banned.
The structure of the success behind the biotech machine is based on the Great Lie – ‘GMOs are needed to feed the world.’ This lie is supported by more lies and a lack of transparency; so in this context, exposing science fraud, deceptions, government corruption and fighting for GMO labels are all necessary in order to rip those supporting lies asunder and contribute to the ultimate collapse of a failed enterprise built on a mountain of lies. I recognize that the importance of tearing away at the supporting lies is a valid strategy – but only when it is part of a greater overall strategy. GMOs should be banned.
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: “Those people who are responsible for promoting GM, who are foisting GM crops on the third world – basically – they are committing a heinous crime against humanity.”
We must absolutely be constantly mindful that the global proliferation of GMOs raises serious long-lasting concerns that extend well beyond the right to know. Extreme ecological damage has already occurred and will continue unabated if things persist on the present course. Hundreds of thousands of farmers have encountered debts and unbearable levels of despair that have driven them to suicide. This affects all of us, not just people in countries “over there.” It is essential that we continue to acknowledge this and act on the principle that we are all connected – that this is a global fight, not just a local one.
Moving on, the EU restrictions on certain GMO imports are going to affect farmers in the US. Well, you just know the response by the US is going to be a stronger push for international trade agreements like the TTIP.
Here’$ one major reason why the U$ pressure$ other countrie$ to accept Monsanto’$ lovely product$
US farmers grow GM crops, such as soy, and then the products are exported to other countries. But, in this case (it’s happened before) Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend was “approved” by the FDA/ USDA/ EPA but they have NOT been approved (yet) for import in the European Union. Maybe it has to do with the fact that these little beans (poor things) will be doused with glyphosate based herbicides AND dicamba, an older, very toxic chemical.
Why would Monsanto add dicamba resistance to glyphosate resistant brands? Because they are science deniers. It’s true. First, here’s the article:
“Minnesota farmers warned not to plant Monsanto’s latest Roundup soybeans,” by Tom Meersman, Star Tribune; May 23; 2016
Excerpt: The E.U. has not approved the biotech seeds; the uncertainty could present export problems for U.S. farmers and grain producers.
Across Minnesota, grain buyers and sellers have been warning farmers this spring to be wary about planting Monsanto’s latest biotech soybean.
The product was launched in U.S. and Canadian markets for the first time this year, but it has not been approved yet for sale in the European Union. Traders and others say that uncertainty, if not resolved, will cause price declines, confusion and disruption in international trade.
“We’re making our farmers aware of the situation,” said David Kee, research director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. “We do not encourage the planting of this because of the risk involved.”
The product in question is Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, a genetically modified soybean seed that is resisistant to a pair of herbicides called glyphosate and dicamba.
It was developed because weeds have become resistant to Roundup Ready varieties with traits that used glyphosate alone. [Emphasis added]
Well, there it is. It will probably be only a matter of time before US officials use everything they have to force other countries to accept these poisoned sprayed products. An argument could be said that this pressure is to come to the rescue of American farmers. But – it’s not. It’s to the betterment of Monsanto’s profits, in the end. Farmers get sucked into using these products, perhaps unaware of the pesticide treadmill they are getting on. The real problem is that US agency officials continue to approve products that cause massive ecological damage, potential and real health problems and of course, economic losses as well (who pays for the economic damage in the end? You do, not Monsanto. That’s where your taxes are going).
The problems that are the root of the federal officials approving these products include the revolving door syndrome. Michael Taylor is the poster child of the revolving door. Michael Taylor is a former Monsanto VP and head lobbyist. He began his career as a staff attorney at the FDA in 1976. Then he worked for a decade at King & Spaulding (1981-1991) a law firm which represented Monsanto. He returned to the FDA in 1991 as ‘Deputy Commissioner for Policy’ – new position in the agency (A position for Taylor that was tailor-made, as it were). Taylor was partly responsible for a controversial policy that said milk from rBGH-treated cows did not have to be labeled. He is also one of the loathsome individuals behind the FDA’s 1992 guidance policy on GMOs that erroneously and incorrectly laid the groundwork for the false, unscientific, legally undefined notion of substantial equivalence, which includes not assessing GMOs based on the process that they are created through – which of course leads to hundreds to thousands of mutations in the DNA – so let’s not focus on that little issue (the FDA’s policy was formulated on and still adheres to the Central Dogma, which is an outdated, decades old disproven theory about how genes function; those that attach themselves to this dogma do so with a religious fervor – a faith-based fantasy in that which does not exist).
Then Michael Taylor also worked for the USDA from 1994 to 1996 as Administrator of the Food Safety & Inspection Service. After the USDA, Taylor went back to work for Monsanto as a vice president for public policy between 1996 and 2000. He joined a think tank for a few years (Resources for the Future) and then Obama betrayed the American people by appointing this gung-ho pro-GMO revolving door as Senior Advisor to the FDA Commissioner in 2009. Then in 2010, he was upgraded to another newly created position, ‘Deputy Commissioner for Foods’ (tailor-made for Taylor) where he has been referred to as the Food Czar.
How does all this fit with dicamba? Glad you asked. Monsanto’s man was working at the FDA when Monsanto submitted documents to the FDA in 1993. Imagine what the outcome might have been if Monsanto had not infiltrated the FDA and the government in general.
Monsanto claimed it was unlikely that when their GMOs-to-come which would be sprayed with copious amounts of Roundup would cause weed resistance from glyphosate. “It is highly unlikely that weed resistance to glyphosate will become a problem as a result of commercialization of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans.” (See: Monsanto’s “Petition for Determination of Nonregulated Status: Soybeans with a Roundup Ready Gene – Monsanto# 93-089U,” September 14, 1993 (112 pages – see page 57)
To support its claim, Monsanto provided ‘official’ statements from ‘experts’ that basically said the same thing. It goes without saying that despite statements and concerns expressed by independent scientists about the potential explosive growth for glyphosate resistant weeds*, the FDA ultimately gave everything Monsanto ever wanted, as did the EPA and USDA.
[*] “Once [Roundup Ready technology is] in widespread use, the exchange of herbicide-tolerance genes between the domesticated crops and weedy relatives could ultimately result in the need for more herbicides to control herbicide-resistant weeds.” (See: “Biotechnology’s Bitter Harvest – Herbicide-Tolerant Crops and the threat to Sustainable Agriculture,” by Rebecca Goldburg, Have Rissler, Hope Shand and Chuck Hassebrook, Biotechnology Working Group; March 1990 (70 pages)
Well, what a surprise! Monsanto was wrong! Because: SCIENCE.
“And by 1998 – just two years after Roundup Ready crops first hit fields in the United States – the assertion that weeds somehow couldn’t develop resistance to glyphosate had already crumbled in Australia, where resistant ryegrass had developed in an orchard where glyphosate had been ‘used three times a year for 15 years’ to control weeds, as this 1998 paper from the peer-reviewed journal Weed Science shows. Reckoning directly with the problem of weed resistance would have meant regulations stipulating that farmers not plant Roundup Ready crops years after year on the same line – a requirement that would have cut into Monsanto’s bottom line.” (See: “How NPR Got It Wrong on Monsanto’s Superweeds,” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones; March 14, 2012
And this brings us to: dicamba
In 2011, Tom Philpott reported that the biotech’s approach to solving the problem they created was to use the same technique that caused the problem in the first place.
(Hold on, Einstein. We’ll get to science denial in a bit).
In his article, Tom Philpott wrote mostly about bout 2,4-D – but at the end of his article he stated, “Meanwhile, Monsanto is busily trying to revive yet another nasty old herbicide, called dicamba, rated by Pesticide Action Network as a ‘bad actor’ because it acts as a ‘developmental or reproductive toxin.’ Monsanto claims to have conjured up crops resistant to both Roundup and dicamba, and currently has an application into the USDA for approval of them.” (See: “‘Superweeds’ Revive an Old, Highly Toxic Herbicide,” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones; October 19, 2011).
Then in 2013, Tom Philpott reported that “nearly half of US Farms had superweeds.”
- Nearly half (49 percent) of all US farmers surveyed said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm in 2012, up from 34 percent of farmers in 2011.
• Resistance is still worst in the South. For example, 92 percent of growers in Georgia said they have glyphosate-resistant weeds.
• But the mid-South and Midwest states are catching up. From 2011 to 2012 the acres with resistance almost doubled in Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana.
• It’s spreading at a faster pace each year: Total resistant acres increased by 25 percent in 2011 and 51 percent in 2012.
• And the problem is getting more complicated. More and more farms have at least two resistant species on their farm. In 2010 that was just 12 percent of farms, but two short years later 27 percent had more than one.
See: “Nearly Half of All US Farms Now Have Superweeds,” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones; February 6, 2014
In an earlier post, I talked more at length about superweeds in general, and provided links to the hearings held by Congress on superweeds in 2010. (See: “GMO Information: May 30, 2016 – Ban GMOs Now).
Andrew Kimbrell (executive director of Center for Food Safety) took on the USDA and Monsanto in an article in 2015. The explosive growth of superweeds and the denial of science by Monsanto – ‘Weeds won’t become resistant to glyphosate!’ While promoting this unscientific claim, they stroked the back of their bastard child, the USDA, and (easily) coaxed them to go along with the denial of science, facts and evidence.
Last year, Andrew wrote, “Perhaps no group of science deniers has been more ridiculed than those who deny the science of evolution. What you may not know is that Monsanto and our United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are among them. That’s right: for decades, Monsanto and its enablers inside the USDA have denied the central tenets of evolutionary biology, namely natural selection and adaptation. And this denial of basic science by the company and our government threatens the future viability of American agriculture.”
This very well-written piece provides a little background information on how we got to now:
“Since the early 1980s, Monsanto has endlessly hyped genetically engineered (GE) crops they claim could reduce hunger, reduce pesticide use, and survive droughts. In reality, no such ‘miracle’ crops exist. No significantly greater yielding crops, no more effective drought resistance crops. And as for the claim of less pesticide use, behind this myth lies the ‘dirty little secret’ of agricultural biotechnology. Namely, that GE crops actually add hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides to our fields and crops, and create greater agrochemical residues on our food. Why? Because around 85 percent of all genetically engineered crops in the United States and around the world have been engineered to withstand massive doses of herbicides, mostly Monsanto’s Roundup … Now Monsanto and Dow Chemical have received government approval to market new genetically engineered corn, soy and cotton, that are ‘stacked’ with engineered DNA that make them resistant to Roundup as well as 2,4-D (one of the chief elements of ‘Agent Orange’). Monsanto has also gained approval from the USDA for the same three crops that can tolerate Dicamba. 2,4-D and Dicamba are older, more toxic herbicides than Roundup, and these companies are reverting to them because they have brought us to the point of peak herbicides. They simply don’t have any new ones, similar to the current crisis in antibiotics. But won’t the weeds simply become resistant to these herbicides as well? Not according to the science deniers at Monsanto and Dow Chemical. Despite predictions that their new crops will add hundreds of millions more pounds of these herbicides each year, they say not to worry. They claim – as they did 20 years ago – that natural selection will not happen; that it is extremely unlikely for weeds to survive simultaneous attacks from two or more different herbicides with different methods. Weed scientists have shredded this argument, noting that weeds in the past, through adaption, have done this and will almost certainly do it again. So in a few years we will be overrun with “superweeds” that are virtually indestructible by any known chemical. But by then Monsanto and Dow will have made billions selling their chemicals and can leave the ‘superweed’ agronomic nightmare for others to solve. Nor will they have to deal with the other nightmares that could possibly occur: increased rates of cancer and diseases like Parkinson’s associated with exposure to these herbicides.”
Read the complete article here: “GMO Science Deniers: Monsanto and the USDA,” by Andrew Kimbrell, Huffpost Green; March 20, 2015
This catches the eye: “they say not to worry.”
That’s interesting because they said pretty much the same thing in 1998 about the potential for insects to grow resistance to Bt – used in GM crops to kill worms (for example). Don’t worry, trust us.
Excerpt from “Playing God in the Garden,” by Michael Pollan, New York Times; October 25, 1998:
“Bt, the bacterial toxin produced in [many biotech plants] happens to be the same insecticide organic growers have relied on for decades … organic farmers are up in arms: the widespread use of Bt in biotech crops is likely to lead to insect resistance, thus robbing organic growers of one of their most critical tools; that is, Monsanto’s version of sustainable agriculture may threaten precisely those farmers who pioneered sustainable farming … [I]insect resistance to Bt, a potential form of “biological pollution” … could end the effectiveness of one of the safest insecticides we have — and cripple the organic farmers who depend on it. The theory, which is now accepted by most entomologists, is that Bt crops will add so much of the toxin to the environment that insects will develop resistance to it … Monsanto scientists told me that if all goes well, resistance can be postponed for 30 years. (Some scientists believe it will come in three to five years.) The second response is more troubling. In St. Louis, I met with Jerry Hjelle, Monsanto’s vice president for regulatory affairs. Hjelle told me that resistance should not unduly concern us since “there are a thousand other Bt’s out there” — other insecticidal proteins. “We can handle this problem with new products,” he said. “The critics don’t know what we have in the pipeline.”
And then Hjelle uttered two words that I thought had been expunged from the corporate vocabulary a long time ago: ‘Trust us.’”
“Trust us” – insects won’t become resistance to Bt. They did.
“Don’t worry” – weeds won’t become resistant to dicamba. They will. Because: SCIENCE.
What a bunch of stupid idiots. Not Monsanto – they know exactly what they are doing, which is to make a profit based only on a short-term gain at the expense of everyone else and the environment. The federal regulators had to have a total disregard for science in order to approve these dicamba resistant brands.
Dicamba is used in conjunction with glyphosate in Monsanto’s herbicidal combination. Dicamba & dicamba resistant crops (cotton, soy & corn) do not replace glyphosate use – dicamba is used in addition to glyphosate. And they approved these brands anyway.
You can read much more about dicamba in the following documents submitted by the Center for Food Safety to APHIS (a division of the USDA):
“CFS Science Comments 1 to APHIS – Impact Statement on Monsanto’s Dicamba-Resistant MON 87708 MON 88701 Soybean & Cotton Varieties,” by Bill Freese; October 10, 2014 (65 pages).
“CFS Science Comments 2 to APHIS – Impact Statement on Monsanto’s Dicamba-Resistant MON 87708 MON 88701 Soybean & Cotton Varieties,” by Martha L. Crouch; October 10, 2014 (41 pages).
And their comments to the EPA about dicamba:
CFS comments to the EPA “Notice of Receipt of Application on Dicamba – Dicamba-Resistant MON 88701 Cotton,” January 18, 2013 (99 pages).
Then there’s this:
“Penn State Researchers: Dicamba Herbicide Damages Non-Target Plants and Pollinators,” by Sustainable Pulse; December 4, 2015
Excerpt: “The scientists found that exposure to drift-level doses of herbicide reduced flowering in both plant species. In addition, herbicide-damaged common boneset experienced significantly reduced visitation by insect species, including honeybees (pollinators) and syrphid flies (natural enemies).”
According to David Mortensen, professor of weed and applied plant ecology, Penn State, “This will lead to higher levels of non-target damage to susceptible crop plants and native, wild vegetation,” he said. “For susceptible crop varieties, this sort of damage could reduce yield. For non-crop plant species, this drift-induced damage could significantly decrease the pollinator and natural enemy communities that these plants can support.”
“USDA Says ‘Yes’ to Pesticide Drift, Approves Dicamba-Tolerant Crops,” by Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch; January 15, 2015
Excerpt: “Once again, the USDA has neglected to look at the full range of impacts associated with these GMO herbicide-tolerant crops. Instead the agency has opted for a short-term solution to superweeds that have become resistant to herbicides because of previous approvals of GMOs, thereby perpetuating and escalating chemical use.
“The USDA’s Environmental Impact Statement predicted that dicamba use will increase 88-fold and 14-fold for soybeans and cotton, respectively, compared to current levels. Dicamba-tolerant crops will allow for wider windows of spraying throughout the season at unprecedented levels. Now that dicamba will be used in larger quantities, Monsanto has petitioned the EPA to increase the tolerance level of dicamba on cottonseed 150-fold. Higher levels of dicamba in the environment and our food pose unacceptable risks to human health and a wide variety of flora and fauna.”
Dangers of Dicamba – YouTube (1:46) published by FixFoodOrg on December 3, 2012
All of this brings us back to the original article. Some farmers may already be going growing these lovely products, but they won’t find much of an international market for them, at least for now. But this may not be good in the long-run, because it will encourage US officials to employ ‘clever’ means of pressure to force them into countries that do not want them, as is the American tradition. First, they shoved them down the throats of Americans, without transparency, without informed consent, and then they forced them into countries whose people do not want them and fight against them.
“TTIP could open EU to ‘new biotech’ GMO seeds and foods,” by Corporate Europe Observatory & Inf’OGM, The Ecologist; July 7, 2015
Excerpt: “One of the most contentious issues is whether TTIP will weaken Europe’s rules over genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a long-time target for US exporters who claim these rules hamper their profits. Meanwhile, the biotech industry is pushing for the products of the ‘next generation’ biotech crops to escape the EU’s legislation on GMOs and therefore to go unregulated. Is there a link between this new push, and TTIP? Emails obtained via a Freedom of Information request show this might indeed be the case. Responding to public concerns, the European Commission has fervently denied any claims that EU food safety standards, or other standards for that matter, would be lowered as a result of TTIP.”
“The Intertwining Worlds of Monsanto, Huxley and Orwell,” by Paul Barbot, Truthout, November 24, 2015
Excerpt: “[The DARK Act & the TTIP] can and should be taken as Monsanto’s tacit admission that since they couldn’t make us love their GMOs, they now plan on shoving them down our throats… Monsanto and their GMOs represent the force that is currently menacing our food freedom – which is but one of the many freedoms we have that are currently under attack – and we do not have long before that force coalesces and descends upon us. It would be easy to succumb to the seeming inevitability of Monsanto’s narrative, but that is yet another illusion. The ability to change that narrative lies with us. We must move beyond the passivity and complacency that has allowed Monsanto to be in a position it should have never acquired in the first place; especially given their disastrous legacy. It’s time to toss aside our apathetic ways and emerge ready to do whatever we can, however we can do it. It is our duty! … We have a choice to make: do we want live in Monsanto’s world, or do we want to live in a world of our own devising?”
I want to close today’s post with something I found by chance – a perspective on GMOs from a religious perspective. Sikhism is a major religion of India and the fifth-largest faith in the world. This is from the Dr. Surjit Kaur at the Institute of Sikh Studies:
Excerpt: The core issue behind the ethics of genetic engineering is that is it right to change the nature of life on earth to suit man’s desires better? Are we superior to animals and the rest of the creation? Are we answerable to no one?
Genetic Engineering is Intrinsically Wrong: The concerns about genetic engineering can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. The extrinsic concerns about genetic engineering refer to the problems/disadvantages that might/will result from genetic engineering. According to theologians, we need not really assess the risks involved and the benefits of genetic engineering. We evaluate the benefits and risks only if we feel that genetic engineering is right intrinsically. From a theological point of view, genetic engineering is intrinsically wrong. Genetic engineering is unnatural. Anything that is going against the laws of nature is questionable and immoral … Genetic engineers are gambling with their unproven introductions. In their gamble they may cause disastrous changes… Being part of the complex web man may use other organism. However, man is not permitted to exploit, tamper with nature beyond his basic requirements …
As citizens, we must take responsibility for the future. We are at a time in our world’s history where we can no longer afford to violate the laws of nature in our haste for progress. We must not only acknowledge, but also honor the intimate relationship we share with everything in the universe. There is an order in the universe, a seamless web that nourishes and connects us all from the tiniest seed, to the beating of our hearts, to the stars in the galaxies. Every time we act without reference to this underlying intelligence of natural law, we harm ourselves, we harm each other, and we harm our planet. If we align ourselves and our society with the nourishing power of nature, we will create a civilization that upholds the integrity and dignity of life for all of us. We need to come forward and make a decision as a society to embrace technologies that support all of life, technologies that not only uphold and promote our collective growth, but also do not damage anyone or anything in this process. It’s all too big and happening too fast. It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face. As George Wald, Nobel prize winning biologist and Harvard Professor says, “Our morality up to now was to go ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Reconstructing nature was not a part of the bargain but now going ahead in this direction may not only be unwise but dangerous. Potentially it could breed new animals, plants, diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics.”
“Sikh Perspective on Modern Scientific Technology,” by Dr. Surjit Kaur, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh; 2010
सत्यमेव जयते – Satyameva Jayate
(Truth Ultimately Triumphs)
Re-posting is encouraged, provided the URL of the original is posted with attribution to the original author and all links are preserved to the referenced articles, reports, etc. on their respective websites.
Copyright © Jeff Kirkpatrick 2016 Ban GMOs Now All rights reserved.