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Which side are you on?

divideandconquermeme

Destroy the “One Ring” of Corporate Greed

awakupedia

 

I stand with Standing Rock because I recognize they are at the front line in the war to save the biosphere from greedy   corporations. People need to learn the truth about who really has the power today, and why the truth is hidden.  That is why I’m building AWAKEupedia, to build a collection of  IMPORTANT LINKS WORTH SHARING. #ILWS is a hashtag people can use to spread awareness about any issue, including DAPL.

It is important to understand that solving any of the life-or-death problems we face requires us to ACT to take our power back. Americans will not enjoy democracy again until they dismantle the corrupt two party system controlled by Oligarchs. If you are sick seeing no progress while greedy billionaires continue raping the planet to death, consider sharing and discussing these ideas with your friends and family:

  1. Giving the Senate to democrats means Bernie Sanders becomes chair of the Budget Committee.
  2. If you think climate change is a big deal, even Ron Paul thinks you should vote for the Green party
  3. Don’t buy the narrative of ‘inevitability’ the media promotes. It is a lie.
  4. Don’t get important information from corporate media sources, they spew propaganda.
  5. Don’t lose sleep about who ends up in the white house this time around, the secret government is real.
  6. The way to take democracy back is to by-pass the whole corrupt political system using ANTI-CORRUPTION ballot initiatives, starting at the municipal and state level.
  7. The way to save the biosphere is to establish ANTI-ECOCIDE laws at the local, federal and international level.

 

 

Before the Flood Needs a Sequel

earthrisekillingmemeI just watched Before the Flood on National Geographic, hoping that the filmmakers dug deep enough to get to the root of the problem. Although the film is a strong call to action, I was disappointed that it didn’t follow the story far enough to locate and identify the source of political inaction in America.  The sad truth is that corruption is so extensive, and the political institutions so compromised that voting will not fix this problem unless and until anti-corruption ballot initiatives are passed in every state and eventually in Washington to get fossil fuel money out of the political process.

One of the saddest moments of the film was scientists blaming themselves for failing to inform the public, but that failure cannot be laid at their feet. The fourth estate – the news media – has failed spectacularly, an there is little hope for improvement now that corporate ownership is more concentrated than ever. The mainstream media frames issues and shapes public opinion. Algorithms on social media and Google are manipulated to promote the same narrow view of what is possible. Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” exposed the Propaganda Model but having accused the media of complicity, that understanding of power was  never allowed to bubble to the surface of public consciousness in America. It is time to wake up and connect the dots between political corruption, corporate malfeasance, and media complicity. We need to lay the blame where it properly belongs. As Utah Phillips said:

The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and the people killing it have names and addresses.

This is no time for blind optimism, but fear of the future won’t help either. The time has come to get angry at the crimes fossil fuel companies commit, especially in North Dakota. We need to recognize that what is ‘legal‘ and what is ‘right’ may be very different, in a world where corporations have been allowed to write laws that members of congress often don’t even read.

Before the Flood is a great documentary, but like the Paris Accords, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. I strongly recommend that in his next film, DiCaprio focus on the obstructionist fossil fuel corporations, even if they threaten to sue. If we’re too afraid to step on the toes of the oil giants, we cannot hope to stop them from destroying the biosphere. They have too much power and they are not going to give it up voluntarily. The world would be a better place if the biggest multinationals were broken up into smaller units.

The next film I want to see will focus on the current DOJ investigation of the horrifying fact that EXXON KNEW about man-made climate change in 1981 and spent decades hiding the truth and lying about it. A crime of that magnitude should result in prison for perpetrators and the company should be liquidated.  Ecocide should be recognized as an International Crime Against Humanity under the Rome Statute and people of all nations should demand that their governments ratify the treaty. We need to fight to take back control of our governments and hold the fossil fuel giants to account. We can all begin by standing with Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Climate Crisis Solution: Reclaim Democracy

earthrisekillingmemesmall

I just watched the trailer for “Before the Flood” and spotted a serious error made by one of the talking heads interviewed in Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest documentary. The interviewee says:

“Politicians will do what the people want them to do. Once the American people are convinced, the politicians will fall in line very quickly.”

This fundamental error is the reason climate change is still getting worse. Gilens and Page wrote a paper that demonstrated in 2014 that although politicians respond well to the wishes of billionaires, the average voter has “little or no independent influence” on public policy. This is a difficult fact to accept, as is the reason people have not been shouting louder about the climate crisis.

Ten years ago Al Gore tried to convince us of “The Inconvenient Truth” (2006) that climate change was the most pressing issue of our time. Gore was correct, but his ideas were attacked and marginalized by organized right-wingers. The documentary “Merchants of Doubt” (2015), based on a book of the same name, unmasks the climate deniers, but fails to appreciate the role the corporate media plays in controlling the narrative. For that you have to go back to “Manufacturing Consent” (1992), to learn how the Propaganda Model works. The consolidation of media ownership is part of an even larger problem described in “The Corporation” (2003) which makes the case that if  a corporation was a person, they would be considered a psycho.

This is the fundamental root problem of climate change. The biosphere is not under threat because you ate a hamburger this week (although it would be better if you didn’t). The problem is that the greed of billionaires is out of control. The climate scientists are not experts in the politics of power. The mainstream media produces propaganda instead of journalism. Corporations are abusing eminent domain not for public good, but for private profit because the Supreme Court condoned their behaviour. Politicians on both sides of the party divide are beholden to their major corporate donors. The average voter is learning that, worse than being ignored by  elected representatives, even if their vote is accepted, it may not even be counted at all. Once we finally realize that the root cause of climate change is a lack of democracy, the way forward becomes clear.

When a critical mass of people wakes up, our peace officers will stop acting like rent-a-cops doing dirty deeds for greedy billionaires. Anti-corruption laws, driven by grassroots action and ballot initiatives, can take government out of the hands of corporations and Wall Street banks, and restore it to the people. Electoral reform can break the corrupt two-party system and ensure that paper ballots are used to audit electronic voting machines. The debate system can be opened up so smaller parties are not unfairly marginalized. When the people take back their power they can stop greedy corporations from destroying the biosphere and solve all kinds of problems.

Every problem has a solution, most have several and you don’t have to pick just one. If you want to be part of the solution, share these ideas with your friends, family, co-workers, clients, classmates and neighbours. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

 

 

Important Links Worth Sharing #ILWS

Everybody wants to save the world, and we all have our own gifts to offer. I have more time than most to do research. As a university student, I also have access to academic and scientific journals that the public may find hidden behind a paywall.  I want to build a searchable database to collect the best information I can find from the most credible sources. When evaluating credibility it is important to understand the complex relationships and revolving door between academia, government regulators and the corporations who profit from the research they fund. The public has been lied to for so long that people who speak the truth sometimes sound ‘crazy’ but it is important to evaluate the EVIDENCE instead of buying common assumptions. For people who are ready to wake up and look at things from different angles, I’m developing a searchable database – AWAKEupedia – to help people research issues ignored on the evening news. Meanwhile, here is a ‘starter set’ of links to help you with your own research. This is a work in constant progress, so these will evolve over time. I welcome your suggestions for additions/improvements in the comments.

AMERICA IS NOT A DEMOCRACY:

Corruption is Legal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig

The Princeton study:  https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

Politicians admit it: https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/politicians-admitting-obvious-fact-money-affects-vote/

Income Inequality chart:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

What people want:   http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf

Important Documentary “The Corporation”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

Very important documentary (also on Netflix):  https://vimeo.com/ondemand/requiemfortheamerican

Warning from a Billionaire:  https://www.ted.com/talks/nick_hanauer_beware_fellow_plutocrats_the_pitchforks_are_coming?language=en

How they get away with it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RPKH6BVcoM

What they’re getting away with;  http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/11/17/fixed-fortunes-biggest-corporate-political-interests-spend-billions-get-trillions/

Obama’s cabinet;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QhPaCu0NzY&feature=youtu.be

Lobbying facts: https://represent.us/action/5-facts-lobbyists/

and finally, HERE is a brilliant solution to the problem:

 

PIPELINE LINKS:

Pipeline Spill Stats map/video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rxqUXqPzog

Great lakes threat;  http://www.ecowatch.com/first-ever-footage-of-aging-tar-sands-pipelines-beneath-great-lakes-1881801621.html

Funny #NoDAPL video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9TR9G5bd7w

Abuse of Eminent Domain threatens EVERY American homeowner:    https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/03/12/the-devastation-caused-eminent-domain-abuse/yWsy0MNEZ91TM94PYQIh0L/story.html

wikipedia on supreme court decision; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Sioux_Nation_of_Indians

 

CORPORATE MEDIA FAILURE:

Great conversation about the failure of the fourth estate:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnqfYKdC1_8

“Manufacturing Consent”:

Chomsky explains the ‘propaganda model’  in less than 7 minutes  (I know his voice is as exciting as listening to paint dry, but that last sentence really ties it up and puts a bow on top): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RPKH6BVoM

Military/NFL propaganda: http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/the-super-bowl-promotes-war/

 

VOTING ISSUES:

Ryan stumps for Sanders (funny) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbsR4rKEyiI

Florida’s Implausible Primary Results:  http://www.hollerbackfilm.com/blog/wass-can

Strip & flip: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/is_the_2016_election_already_being_stripped_and_flipped_20160404

Whistleblower video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEzY2tnwExs

DNC primary:  http://hubpages.com/politics/Election-Fraud-Report-Seeks-to-Decertify-Primary-Results-for-Hillary

Gerrymandering;  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/01/this-is-the-best-explanation-of-gerrymandering-you-will-ever-see/

State corruption rankings; https://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/11/09/18822/how-does-your-state-rank-integrity

Better voting system:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-to-end_auditable_voting_systems

Electoral Reform; why first-past-the-post is unfair:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo&feature=youtu.be&list=PLrWOPUJBrn62lagQRxaMcsOPi4bhXttP_

 

“DEEP STATE” (why Obama promises were not kept) :

Vote all you want, the secret government won’t change; https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/18/vote-all-you-want-the-secret-government-won-change/jVSkXrENQlu8vNcBfMn9sL/story.html

https://theintercept.com/2016/10/27/when-cia-and-nsa-workers-blow-the-whistle-congress-plays-deaf/

Police State:  https://theintercept.com/2016/10/12/do-not-resist-the-police-militarization-documentary-everyone-should-see/

Shadow Government: http://www.salon.com/2016/01/05/controlled_by_shadow_government_mike_lofgren_reveals_how_top_u_s_officials_are_at_the_mercy_of_the_deep_state/

Foreign policy; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Ron Paul; http://anonhq.com/ron-paul-vote-want-secret-government-wont-change/

Double Government: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-double-government-…/5411785

Glennon Article: http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/…/2014/01/Glennon-Final.pdf

War is a racket:  https://archive.org/stream/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket_djvu.txt

Inverted totalitarianism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism

 

“TRADE” AGREEMENTS:

ISDS;  http://www.citizen.org/investorcases

TPP dirtiest deal:

TPP rules: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhJ_2Nx-e9Q&feature=youtu.be

TPP, TTIP & TISA:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw7P0RGZQxQ

Essential documentary The Corporation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

Universal Basic Income:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqESogRgrYw

 

ECOCIDE is a Crime Against Humanity:

WHAT IS ECOCIDE

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecocide

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/apr/09/ecocide-crime-genocide-un-environmental-damage

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2010/may/04/top-10-ecocides

https://www.endecocide.org/examples/

Water crisis documentaries; http://www.watercache.com/blog/2011/10/must-see-water-documentaries-provide-insight-into-future-water-crisis/

 

CORPORATE CRIMES:

(Thanks for some excellent links, Shane Alg)

– Exxon knew about the catastrophic effects of anthropomorphic CLIMATE CHANGE by the 1980’s, buried the knowledge and lied about it. See pg 13 of this document: http://insideclimatenews.org/sites/default/files/documents/AQ-9%20Task%20Force%20Meeting%20%281980%29.pdf

– Merchants of Doubt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ii9zGFDtc

– Lead in Flint’s water:  http://www.detroitnews.com/…/epa-stayed…/78719620/

– Chromium 6 (toxin) may be in your water:
https://www.theguardian.com/…/chromium-6-erin…

-Valeant raises price on lead poisoning drug 2700% after Flints criminal disaster
https://www.statnews.com/…/valeant-drug-prices-lead…/

-Pesticides driving bees to extinction
https://independentaustralia.net/…/epa-confirms…

-Dupont knowingly poisons our water, spreading cancer
http://www.nytimes.com/…/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts…

-Hydraulic fracturing turns Oklahoma into the earthquake nightmare
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/induced/

-Unprecedented gas leak in California town makes neighborhood uninhabitable
http://m.csmonitor.com/…/Huge-gas-leak-undermines…

-Neighborhood explodes in flames, killing eight, due to poorly maintained gas lines
http://www.mercurynews.com/…/pge-found-guilty-on-six…/

-Oil companies allowed to inject toxic waste into California aquifers
https://www.propublica.org/…/ca-halts-injection…

– Koch Brothers poison a town:  http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-whistle-blower-accuses-the-kochs-of-poisoning-an-arkansas-town

– Cheney Loophole:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-grandia/how-cheneys-loophole-is-f_b_502924.html

– More reasons Cheney should be in prison:  http://wakeup-world.com/2015/03/17/revealed-fracking-used-to-inject-nuclear-waste-underground-for-decades/

– Prison slavery: https://news.vice.com/article/prisoners-all-over-the-us-are-on-strike-for-an-end-to-prison-slavery

– Fluoride & cancer?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClqK7XvfLg0

– Fluoride as a neurotoxin; https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/

See my previous blog posts for links on genetically modified organisms.

 

I put this together quickly and will probably keep modifying it to make improvements.

Please let me know in the comments if any links are broken and need fixing or if you have good links to share.

Please consider the great value of sharing good information with your circles of friends to help raise public consciousness around important issues.

Thanks for participating in the ‘boss fight’ to save the biosphere!

 

Personhood for the Planet

 

Earth_Western_Hemisphere

When I learned that the micro-organisms that populate the human skin and gut outnumber human cells by about 10 to 1, something clicked. This microbiome is essential to maintain the health of the host organism. We need them and they need us.

If we don’t maintain the health of our gracious host we won’t have an environment that is capable of sustaining our lives. If humans perish from the earth, we would be only one of millions of species to have done so, but humans have produced enough nuclear weapons to turn this planet into a dead rock.

Without life, Earth would be a barren rock spinning uselessly through space. Even if you don’t buy the Gaia hypothesis that the planet has its own consciousness, if we can conceive of a corporation as a “person” we can surely comprehend that the planet, with all its complex networks of flora and fauna, is a living organism. Who has a stronger right to exist: you, or an e-coli bacterium in your colon?

If murder is considered a heinous crime, how much worse is ecocide? Why isn’t this forbidden by law yet, as a crime against humanity? Could it be that pernicious institutions like patriarchy and capitalism are getting in the way? We need a revolution in the way we think about this planet and the roles we are playing.

Once you wake up yourself, will you see how important it is to spread these ideas?

earthrise

Some Problems GMOs Won’t Solve, and Some that it Will.

The latest article widely shared by the ‘anti-label’ community seeks to simplify the debate and steer it away from the real issue. The one key issue that GMO labels will absolutely address is transparency. There is a reason food producers are obliged to list ingredients and nutrition information on packaging. The consumer needs this information in order to make informed choices, if that is what they wish. Of course, there are plenty of shoppers who look at price tags and ignore ingredients, and they will likely continue to do so. The principle of “Informed Consent” means that withholding information is wrong, even if you believe on the available (however limited) evidence that there is probably no harm in long-term human consumption of a diet high in genetically engineered foods.

The safety issue is a red herring. The pro-GMO lobby often try to trip people up by saying there is no proof of harm when in truth, the types of research that would answer questions of safety with respect to long-term human consumption have not been undertaken. Nor does anyone expect that sort of study to be undertaken by the GMO promoters, as they have nothing to gain by it, but everything to lose in a simple cost/benefit analysis. With respect to the four arguments raised by Nathanael Johnson in Grist;

1. Too much technology in my food

The author correctly raises questions about the process of mutagenesis, in which chemicals or radiation is used to trigger mutations in the target organism. Changes to the genome that emerge from this process are unpredictable and may affect any part of the genome, so why isn’t mutagenesis among the genetic engineering processes that we demand labels for? Good question, and I thank Kevin Folta at the University of Florida who first brought this issue to my attention.

In my opinion, telling us whether or not our food should be labelled is not the job of science. The role of scientists should properly be to help inform policymakers and the public of the differences between various types of genetic engineering and to be clear about what existing research does and does not tell us about the possible repercussions with respect to human health. When considering a hundred billion cows that ate GMO feed for 90-120 days and were still healthy at the end of that period, just before they were slaughtered for food, we cannot draw the conclusion that feeding RoundupReady or BT corn and soy to human children year after year will have no affect on their health. Thus recent headlines asserting that the “GMO Debate is Over” were demonstrably false, and Forbes and/or Jon Entine should have changed that article’s title accordingly. Even if labels don’t reduce the amount of ‘technology’ in the food supply they are essential to uphold the principle of “informed consent” that underlies existing labelling laws.

2. Pesticides

I’m not wading into the whole complex pesticide issue except to say this. I think it would be awesome to know what chemicals are applied to the food in the produce aisle and/or what chemical residues remain on/in the food and in what concentrations. A girl can dream. Even though problems associated with pesticide use won’t be solved by labels, labels are still a good idea.

3. Corporate Control

The premise that this problem won’t be solved by labels is not a valid argument against labeling. The problem of corporate control of food is somewhat overshadowed by corporate control of everything else on this planet including our post-democratic governments. People who came out in droves to protest inaction on climate change are starting to catch on that the solution involves taking back control of the government and regulatory agencies from the corporations that successfully bought them. The revolving door between regulatory agencies and industry needs to be policed to curtail corruption. Regulatory capture has accelerated the capitalist processes of deregulation that have been gathering steam since the 80’s and this trend needs to be reversed. Even though they won’t solve the problem of corporate control, labels are still a good idea.

4. Patents

I can’t think of any impact food labels will have on any issues around patents.  If I’m missing something, I’m sure somebody will tell me in the comments, but once again, no matter what you think of patents on GE technology, indicating the use of such technology in the food we buy is still a good idea.

The conclusion Nathanael Johnson reaches is this:

I don’t buy the idea that if we throw lots of information — in the form of labels — on our products, we’ll be able to shop our way out of our problems. Rather than banking on this tenuous market solution, we could be addressing these issues directly.

This is true. Fortunately we are not forced into an either/or situation. The idea that “every problem has a solution” is a truism, but it may be more helpful to notice that most problems have several possible solutions and that we don’t have to pick just one. Labels can’t solve all the problems, but they are still a really good idea.

GMO Apologist Funding and the End of Democracy

I’ve been poking around for information on how the money flows from the GMO Lobby to the relatively small cadre of apologists who defend them. When clicking through links about genetic engineering (GE), the same names keep popping up. If you follow the pro-GMO money it tends to lead back to the very corporations who stand to rake in massive profits by keeping people ignorant about what goes into their food supply.

taylor

As a starting point, let’s look at Kellogg’s funding of a recent study suggesting that 100 billion cows were healthy right before they were slaughtered for food after ingesting GE feed for only 90-120 days. The study came out of the University of California at Davis, which gets lots of research funding  from ‘industry partners’ .

When I started clicking links to the Kellogg Foundation I found some rather odd data. The branding on their website is all about helping children. Nothing in the mission statement about the quality of cow feed. So I searched their grants page for UC Davis and found a number of awards adding up to over six million dollars, only a pittance of which went to grants that had anything to do with children. I fail to see how grants to livestock feed studies mesh with the stated mission of the Kellogg fund.

psychopaths

This sort of inconsistency leads to accusations of corruption and money laundering akin to what the Grocery Manufacturers Association did during GMO labeling campaigns in California and Washington state. Kellogg’s funnelled money into both of those campaigns due to concerns that GMO labeling will eat further into their profits, down 16% in the 2nd quarter. This setback was attributed to changes in eating habits rather than the boycott of Kellogs products to protest their opposition to labeling their GE foods.

trickle

I’m not attacking the scientists involved in pro-GE studies. They probably believe that they’re doing good work for the benefit of mankind. Noam Chomsky explained in Manufacturing Consent how the systemic filters ensure that the people who get ahead in the media are the ones whose outlook meshes with that of their corporate masters. There are similar filters operating in academia.

foxguard

Let’s turn our attention to the cozy group of GMO cheerleaders who jumped on that feeding study like a duck on a junebug and started sharing the shit out of it. I first found it on a Facebook page and followed the links to an article in Forbes by Jon Entine. He’s head of an outfit called the Genetic Literacy Project. Sourcewatch follows the funding through front groups and networked organizations that are funded by right-wing think tanks and ultimately the Koch Brothers, who also support anti-labeling laws.

When I started sharing my views on Twitter, I got into a lengthy exchange with Kevin Folta at the University of Florida. I didn’t find any links to Kellogg’s there, but I did stumble onto some fascinating reports on how the Koch Brothers bought a department and tried to buy the presidency of another of Florida’s state universities. Of the 12 institutions in Florida’s state system, UFlorida has the largest endowment and enrollment and also appears on the list of recipients of Koch brothers’ largesse. Unfortunately, a lack of transparency makes it impossible to determine how much Koch influence might be exerted at UF.  Regardless, it is clear that Folta has solid connections to the Genetic Literacy Project and other GMO cheerleaders who present at the same conferences.

occupytea

Why should you care who funds whom? It’s not just that a handful of corporations are trying to get a stranglehold on the world’s food supply. You should care that YOU DON’T LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY ANYMORE. Let that sink in. This is not just my opinion. Princeton academics have documented this fundamental shift to oligarchy. Predictably, this story received almost no coverage in the mainstream mediaChris Hedges  describes what has happened as a corporate coup d’etat. The same kind of stealth tactics that Big Ag pursues have also been used with great success by Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Tobacco and Wall Street took it to a whole new level.  Naomi Klein‘s new book, does a great job of explaining how capitalism is destroying the biosphere.

let that sink in

If the corporations have already won, as Hedges and a great deal of evidence suggests, what are the people to do?  Citizens in the U.S. and Canada will have to take back democracy from the ground up, starting at the municipal level. (Take a look at what they’re doing in Seattle if you need some inspiration.) In every election at the provincial/state or federal level the number one issue we need to demand accountability on in Canada is ELECTORAL REFORM. In the U.S., campaign finance needs reform to address the corruption and legal bribery that has quietly robbed the people of their power.

people

Expect the bullshit machine try to scare you with all manner of reasons to keep the status quo. Don’t drink their kool-aid. An estimated 400,000 people who hit the streets of New York on September 21st to demand action on climate change were just the tip of the iceberg.  As more North Americans realize their country has been stolen by the .001%, I predict we will see even larger crowds in the street. The police state cannot prevail against a populist uprising.

permit

Billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer points out that when economic inequality reaches the record levels we are seeing, the result tends to be an uprising or a police state. Then Ferguson happened and showed America the police state had already arrived. Peace is a good thing. Nobody wants a violent revolution, but maintaining the status quo is not an acceptable option to anyone who values their civil rights or the biosphere we depend on for survival. If you don’t get off your arse and demand your democracy back, you will condemn your children to live as serfs on a poisoned planet, who think they are ‘free’ because the media told them so.

feudalism

ps; If you found this enlightening, please consider sharing it with others.

GMO Cheerleaders

fresh green foliage I don’t pretend to be a professional journalist. I am just a mom and curious student who is trying to help the public understand how they have been deceived. This is important because the entrenched systems that keep this constant stream of misinformation and disinformation flowing are a threat to public health and have effectively dismantled democracy. Concerned citizens who want genetically engineered (GE) foods labeled as such are not needlessly frightened about some imaginary threat. They want to vote with their dollars in the absence of credible evidence that GMOs are safe for:

a) long-term human consumption,

b) long-term animal consumption,

c) the non-GE species at risk of contamination via unwanted pollination,

d) the micro-organisms that are necessary for healthy soil (via glyphosate), and

e) crucial pollinator species at risk from pesticide use and monoculture farming.

My last blog post took apart a piece of nonsense Jon Entine contributed to Forbes just as everyone was focused on the largest climate justice mobilization in human history. Every time I see someone else share it on social media I call attention to its glaring error. The same article was used by its author as the basis for a talk at the National Academy of Sciences in which Entine tries, and fails, to pass himself off as an objective observer. Jon Entine points to two recent scientific publications in an attempt to end what he calls the “faux-debate” over the safety of GE foods. The first, by Snell, et al has already been trounced, and the other so-called 100-billion-cow study by a researcher at UC Davis, says nothing about whether GE food is safe for long-term human consumption.  In a nutshell, cows that eat GE feed for 90-120 days before they go to the slaughterhouse do not indicate that it is safe to feed our children an increasing variety of GE foods year after year.

The GMO cheerleaders keep trying to find a study that will be convincing enough that we will all stop wondering about the questions that have not yet been answered. Entine even stoops to the same name-calling that labelling proponents are often accused of, by comparing them with ‘new earth’ Creationists. He calls for co-ordination between regulatory agencies  and to reducing the length of the approval process from years to months. The latter suggestion clearly prioritizes corporate profits over public health.

The National Research Council has been charged with producing a report on genetically engineered crops in 2016. The are also inviting the public to submit comments and documentation. I have no doubt that the GMO industry will try their darndest to steer the results in the direction they want, using any and every means at their disposal.  The same playbook that was used by Big Tobacco has been adopted by Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Media and Big Ag because it works.  The more we understand about how it works, the better equipped we will be to identify and counter its abuses.

I’ve been gathering data to illuminate the machinery that has been trying to drive public opinion where Monsanto and like-minded corporations want it to go.  I noticed some rather odd contradictions with respect to funding of genetic engineering’s chief apologists. In my next post we’ll explore the flow of money into specific scientific research from the corporations who benefit from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The GMO Lobby Loves Lazy Journalists

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I found a facebook post today claiming that a “Study of 100 Billion Animals Finds GMOs Safe.

First of all, I consider the source.  Here’s what the “I fucking love science” page says about itself:

We’re here for the science – the funny side of science. Quotes, jokes, memes and anything your admin finds awesome and strange.  If you take yourself seriously, you’re on the wrong page.

That tells me I need to dig deeper, so I go read the article and click on the source that the writer cited, which purported to be an academic study, but instead I found an article in Forbes, which used to be a credible business magazine for the one percent.  The headline confidently proclaimed  “The Debate About GMOs Safety is Over, Thanks to a New Trillion-Meal Study” but nothing could be further from the truth.  The article was written by Jon Entine, whose bio says:

I’m executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project (www.GeneticLiteracyProject.org), an independent NGO, and Senior Fellow at the World Food Center’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at the University of California-Davis.

That sounds harmless enough, but a quick look at his wiki says he’s also the author of “Crop Chemophobia: Will Precaution Kill the Green Revolution?” and is connected to the American Enterprise Institute – a right wing think-tank.  Alright, so I’m sensing there might be a wee bit of bias here, but lets give him the benefit of the doubt by looking at his evidence for the alleged safety of GMOs.  Here’s a quote:

Writing in the Journal of Animal Science, in the most comprehensive study of GMOs and food ever conducted, University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam and research assistant Amy E. Young reviewed 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed. [NOTE: article is behind a paywall until October 1.]

That bit about the paywall would discourage people from seeking it out, but when I read the abstract, it looked very similar to another article published last year by the lead author in the new article.  You can read the entire earlier article here.

The study Entine refers to is a review article in a scholarly journal, not original peer-reviewed research.  For those of you unfamiliar with academic jargon, that means instead of solid evidence, we’re looking at someone’s interpretation/opinion of other scientists’ work. Entine gives some quotes clearly cherry-picked to support his opinion that GMOs are safe, but for the sake of balance, here are some other direct quotations from Van Eenennaam’s 2013 article:

From the Abstract:

Requiring long-term and target animal feeding studies would sharply increase regulatory compliance costs and prolong the regulatory process associated with the commercialization of GE crops.

From the conclusion:

Regulatory frameworks should formally evaluate the reasonable and unique risks and benefits associated with the use of both GE plants and animals in agricultural systems, and weigh them against those associated with existing systems, and the opportunity costs associated with regulatory inaction.

From the Acknowledgements:

Preparation of this manuscript was supported by funds from the W.K. Kellogg endowment to the UC Davis Department of Animal Science.

Yes, folks, the same Kelloggs who donated an undisclosed amount to fight against the implementation of  labelling laws that would allow people to know whether they’re eating and feeding their children a product that has never been proven safe for human consumption.

Here’s the entire text of the Abstract (summary) of the new article:

Globally, food-producing animals consume 70 to 90% of genetically engineered (GE) crop biomass. This review briefly summarizes the scientific literature on performance and health of animals consuming feed containing GE ingredients and composition of products derived from them. It also discusses the field experience of feeding GE feed sources to commercial livestock populations and summarizes the suppliers of GE and non-GE animal feed in global trade. Numerous experimental studies have consistently revealed that the performance and health of GE-fed animals are comparable with those fed isogenic non-GE crop lines. United States animal agriculture produces over 9 billion food-producing animals annually, and more than 95% of these animals consume feed containing GE ingredients. Data on livestock productivity and health were collated from publicly available sources from 1983, before the introduction of GE crops in 1996, and subsequently through 2011, a period with high levels of predominately GE animal feed. These field data sets representing over 100 billion animals following the introduction of GE crops did not reveal unfavorable or perturbed trends in livestock health and productivity. No study has revealed any differences in the nutritional profile of animal products derived from GE-fed animals. Because DNA and protein are normal components of the diet that are digested, there are no detectable or reliably quantifiable traces of GE components in milk, meat, and eggs following consumption of GE feed. Globally, countries that are cultivating GE corn and soy are the major livestock feed exporters. Asynchronous regulatory approvals (i.e., cultivation approvals of GE varieties in exporting countries occurring before food and feed approvals in importing countries) have resulted in trade disruptions. This is likely to be increasingly problematic in the future as there are a large number of “second generation” GE crops with altered output traits for improved livestock feed in the development and regulatory pipeline. Additionally, advanced techniques to affect targeted genome modifications are emerging, and it is not clear whether these will be encompassed by the current GE process-based trigger for regulatory oversight. There is a pressing need for international harmonization of both regulatory frameworks for GE crops and governance of advanced breeding techniques to prevent widespread disruptions in international trade of livestock feedstuffs in the future.

Let me translate to plain English and summarize what those journal articles actually said to me. “Let’s not bother to do a proper assessment of risk to human health because it’s just so darn expensive.”

Forbes says GMOs are safe.

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Here’s the problem. Feedlot cattle are fed grain and other concentrates for usually 90-120 days. There are many reasons that feedlot beef isn’t the healthiest or most ethical choice, but that’s not the issue. After 90-120 days, feedlot cattle are sent to the slaughterhouse. How likely is it that they would manifest illness that soon as a result of genetically engineered feed?  It may be impossible to determine whether eating GMO-fed beef has a negative impact on human health but, again, that’s not the question that concerns me.

Genetically modified corn is already in foods that are produced for direct human consumption and we don’t send our children to the slaughterhouse after three months. They keep eating these products year after year.  There are no long-term feeding studies on human health. The producers are not doing them and the government isn’t telling them to. We cannot choose between GMO and non-GMO foods unless they are labelled. The Grocery Manufacturers Association is fighting tooth and nail to prevent citizen-driven initiatives to label GMO products.  I have the right to know what I’m feeding my child.  My child’s right to safe food trumps Kelloggs’ right to huge profits.  A billion cows sent to the slaughterhouse after three months of GMO feed have absolutely nothing to tell us about how genetically modified corn and soy products affect the health of humans who have been eating them, unwittingly, for years.

But wait, there’s more!  I looked up the author of the article, Alison Louise Van Eenennaam and found biographical data and a C.V. submitted to the FDA that indicate she was hired by Monsanto in 1998.  This isn’t the first time scientists have been called out for hidden connections to corporate interests.

Others have written extensively on how huge corporations use their money to influence not just politicians, through lobbyists and political donations, but also to corrupt the practice of scholarly research and scientific inquiry. Whenever you read some mainstream media article telling you not to worry about some issue that you’re hearing other people voice concerns about, consider the following questions:

Who is the author? What else has s/he written? Who pays him/her? What do this person’s professional connections tell you about his/her point of view?

Who is the publisher? What corporation owns the publication and what are their other corporate affiliations?  Who are the major advertisers?

What about scholarly articles? Can you access it directly online?  Does the source material cited really say what is stated in the article? What does the sections on conflicts and acknowledgements say about sources of funding or professional affiliations?  Can you find a C.V. that tells you about the author’s previous employers?

Read critically. Seek the truth. Don’t take any so-called expert’s word for it. Lets use the internet to expose the Matrix of lies that surrounds us before greedy corporations destroy the biosphere.

Finally, if you want to gain a better understanding of how the “Matrix” of lies is constructed, I recommend reading the following books:

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, and

Understanding Power: The Indespensible Chomsky

 

References;

Alison L Van Eenennaam. (2014). GMOs in animal agriculture: time to consider both costs and benefits in regulatory evaluations. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 2013, 4:37 http://www.jasbsci.com/content/4/1/37