You can go through life with a thousand epigrams or deep quotes that you might come back to over two, four, six decades. Then, the disrupters pop up, those techno fascists, the tinkers and culture blasters.
These sociopaths who get the limelight then become part of a new set of epigrams, but not grand ones, but totally emblematic of a new normal of Triple Speak, Capitalism Porn, and the Stiff Arm to the Coders and their Masters.
It’s sad, really. Here, quality ones of very different and varied origins:
Timothy 6:10 “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Pierre Joseph-Proudhon: “Property is Theft.”
Karl Marx: “Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is only ours when we have it – when it exists for us as capital.”
“It is capitalism, not Marxism, that trades in futures.”
― Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right
We don’t think you fight fire with fire best; we think you fight fire with water best. We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism. We’re stood up and said we’re not going to fight reactionary pigs and reactionary state’s attorneys like this and reactionary state’s attorneys like Hanrahan with any other reactions on our part. We’re going to fight their reactons with all of us people getting together and having an international proletarian revolution.
― Fred Hampton (source: “Fred Hampton Speech Transcript on Revolution and Racism” )
One might wake up after two decades of capitalist slumber and feel like Rip Van Winkle while observing how deep the slide into those circles of capitalist hell we have all ended up. Exhumed from the grave all the felons, high and midddling, and then see that the world is still valorizing . . . Kissinger, Albright, Bush, Trump, Biden, Obama, et al. Shocks to the system every nano second. Capitalism with a gun, with a drug, with a bank.
Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly. (Marshall McLuhan rocketed from an unknown academic to rockstar with the publication of Understanding Media: The Extensions of Manin 1964.)
Concentrated power — information age, and now, it’s even so much worse, 60 years later.
Get these people’s aims and goals. These are the powerful, work with the powerful, are armies unto themselves, and they take no prisoners. We are all Luddites if we resist their machinations, their totalitarianism in skinny jeans, on the spectrum, vegan and all.
I’ll let the guy’s words flow here, longish. Monsters, really:
Marc Andreessen (“The Internet King on why the Internet is a force for good, on media conformity, the inevitable triumph of the WEIRD, Crypto, ‘Retards,’ etc. — Source) breaks down Reality Privilege:
Your question is a great example of what I call Reality Privilege. This is a paraphrase of a concept articulated by Beau Cronin: “Consider the possibility that a visceral defense of the physical, and an accompanying dismissal of the virtual as inferior or escapist, is a result of superuser privileges.” A small percent of people live in a real-world environment that is rich, even overflowing, with glorious substance, beautiful settings, plentiful stimulation, and many fascinating people to talk to, and to work with, and to date. These are also *all* of the people who get to ask probing questions like yours. Everyone else, the vast majority of humanity, lacks Reality Privilege—their online world is, or will be, immeasurably richer and more fulfilling than most of the physical and social environment around them in the quote-unquote real world.
The Reality Privileged, of course, call this conclusion dystopian, and demand that we prioritize improvements in reality over improvements in virtuality. To which I say: reality has had 5,000 years to get good, and is clearly still woefully lacking for most people; I don’t think we should wait another 5,000 years to see if it eventually closes the gap. We should build—and we are building—online worlds that make life and work and love wonderful for everyone, no matter what level of reality deprivation they find themselves in.
Here’s a thought experiment for the counterfactual. Suppose we had all just spent the last 15 months of COVID lockdowns *without* the Internet, without the virtual world. As bad as the lockdowns have been for people’s well-being—and they’ve been bad—how much worse would they have been without the Internet? I think the answer is clear: profoundly, terribly worse. (Of course, pandemic lockdowns are not the norm—for that, we’ll have to wait for the climate lockdowns.)
Is this an easy target? Am I just poking fun at culture, the new masters of the metaverse? Are we speaking two very “man who fell to earth” languages? Or, is this fellow above, misanthrope on a very pathetic scale? We know he’s got hundreds of millions, and he is the guru, and governments and the Titans of Media all have his ear.
Oh, I have old people whispering how they feel for today’s kids, how they feel for the young adults who are stuck in this bubble inside a bubble. I hear them while they have grand machinations of flipping a home into a bank account and some smaller home. Too expensive in Pacific Northwest or California? Then, sell sell sell, and end up in Appalachia. Lewisburg. Get a home and two acres for $250K, and bank the rest, and be damned, the rest of the world.
Me-myself-I, that’s the reptilian brain angle these Titans of the Screen/Black Mirror in the Hand have going for them (not a great term, really, repitilian, but you get the picture — food, sex, water, fight or flight, flash, rest, run, jump, gobble, hump).
Get these stats, mom and pop, uncle and aunt, cuz:
Every minute. American adults spend over 11 hours interacting with digital media every day. Daily media consumption on mobile has grown 6x from 45 minutes in 2011 to 4 hours and 12 minutes in 2021.
The “entire world is a stage” is played out minute by minute, in Ukraine by the Zionist Comic Nazi-loving Jew (not-not), or the charades of Biden and the gang (media). Now? Every man, woman, child is an island — connected to the WWW — unto him-her-them SELF:
This is it, while the crocodile tears are spewing for the poor Ukrainians, and the trillion$ soon for guns, nukes, these idiots try a Jon Leibowitz Stewart thing: White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on Saturday night. The dinner was shunned by Trump and canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But then, they all are misanthropes, and again, the optics, man, the optics of the USA decaying while Biden shits his pants: “I’m really excited to be here with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have,” Biden joked to the Washington, DC crowd, referring to his own sub-40% polling and to surveys showing just 36% of Americans trust the mass media.
This is insane, of course, on many levels. It is the inside joke, and the giant overt joke. This is the spokesperson for the free world, and these are the minutes they spend in their spare time. All puppets, all wind-up dolls, and the media, they are the lever pullers. Behind the media? Oh, man, you don’t need a recap on who the monster men (a few women, too) are?
Okay, now down the other rabbit hole: Go to Alison McDowell’s work (Wrench in the Gears (dot) com) recently in Salt Lake City, following the LDS/Mormons capitalization of transhumanism, blockchain, social impact investing, cyber everything, internet of bodies, brains, babies. Slide show/stack here, Ignorance is Bliss?
Check out 36 videos looking into this dispicable system of mind-matter-money control: Transhumanism, CIA Enslavement, Faith and Technology, Digital Education. YouTube.
I have those discussions now, with former students, who want to know from me, what I think of Zoom Doom Rooms, or where I think education, both K12 and higher (sic), is going. Of course, the language we use is not always in synch, since I think the systems of education were flawed from the beginning, and that capitalism and fascism as it is delineated by GloboCap, set people up to accept lies, and the systems of oppression are about getting people to learn how to lie to themselves.
I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic — it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
― John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
I talked recently with a teacher who knew me, and wondered where I was, in the substitute teacher stable. I informed her that this county, the school district, has banned me for pushing high school students to think about their own lives tied to stories like Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm, two books the teacher of record was having me, the substitute of record, work with. Amazing, I was frog marched out of the classroom and school, and there was zero recourse, no audience to be gained, and alas, I couldn’t defend myself: this is how one system of oppression works.
This fourth grade teacher went on and on about how oppressive it is to be that elementary grade teacher in this district, and how the higher ups, the school board, they have scorn for the teachers, the paraeducators, the staff.
Hell, I was teaching a community education class, and it took me more than a month and a half to be paid by the community college. This is the new normal, but not so new. This is the mentality whichruns the world. And, more and more people want to be their own boss, but their options are limited — really, a cinnamon roll shop, beads, candles, more deep fried oysters?
Capitalism is lovely, so creative, open, available for smart small and tiny entrepeneurs. Wrong!
Disdain, just like the fellow announcing that Reality Privilege is dead. The world of games, the world of on-line shopping, dating, hunting, driving, hiking, that is it for the world from here on in. Get on the phone, six hours a day, at least. Plug in.
Zoom Zelensky from Britain or Poland. Watch Sean Penn or Pelosi fly into some staged area, then, long-live the ZioLenksy Nazi, and then, more dialing for dollars. Stage left, masks on, start themusic, do the edits, cut cut cut, and then let the lies fly.
“A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.”
We see this today as newspapers transition to a digital world and how the medium—the internet—remakes the papers to fit its own standards. Not only have newspapers moved from physical to virtual but now they are hyperlinked, chunked, and embedded within noise. If he were alive (and healthy) McLuhan would argue these changes impact the way we understand the content.
McLuhan foresaw how all mass media would eventually be used for commercialization and consumerism:
“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.”
And, finally, reality is reality, all those down-home chemicals, cancers, catastrophies. A new outfit with the Environmental Working Group, The New Lede. PFAS, Monsanto, other pesticides, all covered by investigative journalists. You can attempt to “virtual reality” away the reality world. These are freaks! However, a hero like Carey Gillam has spent more than 25 years reporting on corporate America. She is the managing editor at The New Lede. Watch her over at RFK Jr’s site!
Reality for Us, the Unprivileged.
For a visitor to this rural part of eastern Nebraska, the crisp air, blue skies and stretch of seemingly endless farm fields appear as unspoiled landscape. For the people who live here, however, there is no denying that they are immersed in an environmental catastrophe researchers fear may impact the area for generations to come.
The signs of a silent poisoning are everywhere: A farmhouse has been abandoned by its owners after their young children experienced health problems; a pond once filled with fish and frogs is now barren of all life; university researchers are collecting blood and urine from residents to analyze them for contaminants; and a local family now drinks water only from plastic bottles because tests show chemical contamination of their drinking well. — Source, Carey Gillam
No matter how many hours you might be connected to a gamefied world, virtual and augemented, the chemicals will still bore their toxins into your cells until no amount of AI-VR-AR can save you!
Listen to these monsters . . .
And then, four hours learning about this global brain mentality. Good work by Wrench In the Gears:
And how many people are willing to go down these blockchain, decentralized technologies, social impact and reality priviledge and digital ID and crypo-funding? The Church of LDS is into Transhumanism. Keep your eye close on these folk, synthetic biology eugenics freaks.
The world’s 85 richest individuals possess as much wealth as the 3.5 billion souls who compose the poorer half of the world’s population, or so it was announced in a report by Oxfam International. The assertion sounds implausible to me. I think the 85 richest individuals, who together are worth many hundreds of billions of dollars, must have far more wealth than the poorest half of our global population.
These people do not want a free and open media, or valient press, or any real scrutiny of their holdings. And, not so ironic, — the censoring of the worldwide net, and the deeper censorship/editing out/cancelling in mainstream and left-stream “media” is more rapid than anything Fahrenheit 451 could have imagined. These people write the book on scrubbing, back end theft, surveillance capitalism.
There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.
— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, page 48
Peter Thiel speaks at the World Economic Forum in 2013, Source: Mirko Ries Courtesy for the World Economic Forum
Oh, that monster, Thiel — A Florida jury said Gawker would have to pay $140 million for publishing an excerpt of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape. For filmmaker, Brian Knappenberger, he stated he wanted to make make a documentary about it. But once it came out that Hogan’s case was secretly bankrolled by venture capitalist Peter Thiel …
So, there you have it — nobody outside the realm of mainstream stupidity and group think can really speak. Slap you baby — A strategic lawsuit against public participation, a SLAPP suit, or intimidation lawsuit is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.
Loose lips sinks ships —
And this is huge, these interloping and interlinked topics, as the world burns, and the technofascists fiddle with algorithms, data centers, satellites in the air, supporting the MIC, and, alas, supporting the Big Pharma “experiment.” You have rampant killings all over the world, the murdering of Palestinians, the cabal of NATO pukes trying to encircle Russia and China, and, daily, the reality is that leftists (they aren’t left, really) scurry around like those human-like transgenic bred mice and ferrets used in the coronavirus gain of function Mengele experiments.
You (me) hit the sack at midnight, and then wake up at 5 am, with more of the good news, bad news: disaster capitalism eroding away the brains of people, including the fake leftists. Even the real leftists have bought into the mass-chemical-jab mentality. Imagine that.
But no matter what topic I deal with here at Dissident Voice, all of what I have to critique or unravel goes through the galactical strainer of the elite, the dirty dozen, and the dirty 199:
Developing this list of 199 directors of the largest money management firms in the world, Phillips argues, is an important step toward understanding how capitalism works globally today. These global power elite directors make the decisions regarding the investment of trillions of dollars. Supposedly in competition, the concentrated wealth they share requires them to cooperate for their greater good by identifying investment opportunities and shared risk agreements, and working collectively for political arrangements that create advantages for their profit-generating system as a whole.
Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.
So what is the global elite’s purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled ‘terrorists’ – around the world. The real purpose of ‘the war on terror’ is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of ‘national interests’. Source.
Any real look at lockdowns, at the censorship, at the worst of the worst at the top ruling the 80 percent of us, well, it has to go through this investment and rentier group tied closely to the military industrial complex.
Any cogent, deep discussion about what is really going on with corona mRNA delivery loads, or how the satellites in space (50,000) to prop up the internet of things, internet of bodies with 5G and 6G tied into, well, who woulda thunk — gene therapy drugs, boosters, vaccines (sic), Covid-19/20/29 pills. Forget about just the electro sensitivity of many people who actually get sick because of all those EMFs floating around, zapping, and with 4 G to 5 G, the rate of frequencies is exponential for 5 G. In fact, 4G runs on its own frequency outputs/inputs, and 5G is its own set of applications and delivery systems. Try Googling this, and you get article after article pooh-poohing the very idea of EMFs affecting people. It is not surprising. The mass delusional media in the hands of the capitalists.
That in itself is terrible. The media, so-called enlightened press, laughs and laughs:
The BioInitiative 2012 Report has been prepared by 29 authors from ten countries, ten holding medical degrees (MDs), 21 PhDs, and three MsC, MA or MPHs. Among the authors are three former presidents of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and five full members of BEMS.
Then, those satellites, part of the Military Intel Complex. What’s that going to do to biological systems, that space web of beams back and forth, inside and outside the human and nonhuman cells?
“If you don’t take action now, then you will be as responsible as those who have not taken care of climate change,” says Kai-Uwe Schrogl, chief strategy officer for the European Space Agency (ESA).
A new and lucrative standard in global connectivity is the impetus for these sprawling swarms of spacecraft. Blanketing our planet in satellites to beam high-speed Internet to any location on Earth around the clock could banish the days of struggling with spotty Wi-Fi and cellular connections, while also transporting the estimated three billion people who are currently offline into the digital age. If these companies are successful, the entire world could be suddenly interlinked as never before, with the Internet becoming truly omnipresent for essentially every human on the planet.
Achieving this goal requires some heavy lifting, in its most literal sense. U.S.-based SpaceX plans to launch at least 12,000 satellites, with the possibility of lofting another 30,000, based on recent filings from the company. U.K.-based OneWeb hopes to orbit about 650 satellites, possibly increasing to almost 2,000 in the future, and U.S.-based Amazon is planning for more than 3,000 satellites in its Project Kuiper constellation. Other companies and nations, including China, also have their eye on developing similar constellations, with rough estimates suggesting there could be more than 50,000 satellites in total added to Earth orbit in the coming decades. (Source)
War — Space. War — Data. War — Digital Prisons. War — Economics. War — Medical Controls. War — Pathogens. War — Food. War — Water. War — Freedom of Movement. War — Freedom of Speech. The gulag is the digital dashboard.
Taibbi: Have you self-censored because of all this, and if so, in what way?
C.J. Hopkins: Does it sound like it? No, I think experiencing the roll-out of the “New Normal” for over a year, compiling stories of police goon squads raiding families in their homes because their neighbors reported them for “having friends over to dinner,” arresting old ladies for “strolling in the park without permission,” witnessing the media demonize Holocaust survivors as “anti-Semites” for protesting the Covid-19 restrictions, reading ex-colleagues demanding that the government set up internment camps for those who refuse to be “vaccinated,” and all the rest of it, has only made me more outspoken, and, unfortunately, less funny.
Now, in this sound bite age, as most end up scrolling screens to the moon into larger and larger trash heaps of capitalist trash/consumerism/if-it-bleeds-it-leads/scams/worthless celebrity updates/empty calorie political analyses, still, it is possible to wade through the highly edited and choregraphed morass of algorithmic scrubbing to find decent voices in the wilderness questioning things through a process of critical thinking, contemplating contradictory theses in one act of thinking, staving off the knee-jerk tendency to believe the “experts” and follow the bandwagon and just never questioning this or that authority.
To be human and humane is to doubt all the things coming out of the mouths of the so-called authorities, the so-deemed experts, the technical whizzes, think tanks, corporations, government agencies, politicians, and anyone with a small or huge stake in raking in profits over ethical treatment of consumers, citizens, land, air, soil, water.
Sacred cows, deep-seated allegiances, and many times the warped and wrong mass collective consciousness a society and culture permeates the society with.
Mark Crispin Miller, author and longtime New York University professor, has unconventional views. Even work he’s done that’s won mainstream praise is unconventional, upon close examination. If you came of political age during the Iraq war years, you probably remember him for The Bush Dyslexicon, a witty, challenging book that took a deep dive into the speech patterns of George W. Bush.
Unwrapping the thought processes behind famed “Bushisms” like “The question is, how many hands have I shaked?”, Miller found a metaphor for the broad illogic under American society. However, that book’s central idea — that “we Americans have been tricked out of our democracy by a vast and very smart conspiracy of stupid talkers” — was too rich for some mainstream commentators.
Crispin Miller argued that when people like Donald Rumsfeld told us that “victory” in Iraq may not come “in a month or a year or even five years,” that in fact even fighting forever might be a “victory, in my view,” the joke was not that this message was garbled by Bush, but rather that it was conveyed clearly by “producers, anchors, editors, journalists, and pundits,” who were “fatally dyslexic in doping out the very spectacle it presents to us.” Presenting madness as sanity required a brokenness of mind that just happened to come of the president’s mouth as laugh lines.
Crispin Miller’s recent troubles stem from being a skeptic about mask use. He points out that until 2020, studies were unenthusiastic about their benefits in stopping the transition of respiratory illness, and even the CDC only recently changed its mind on the issue. When he broached the subject in class, a student responded critically on Twitter:
Criticizing Crispin Miller for sending links to a site that in turn linked to The Charlie Kirk Show, Zero Hedge, Technocracy News, Global Research, “and more,” the student went on to tag the University leadership and wrote, “I hope they take immediate steps to relieve him of these duties.”
Crispin Miller’s department responded by promising, “We have made this a priority and are discussing next steps.” This in turn led to a now-standard cancelation ritual. A denunciation letter from academic colleagues asked the school to complete a review of Miller’s “intimidating tactics, abuses of authority, aggression and microaggressions, and explicit hate speech, none of which are excused by academic freedom and First Amendment protections.”
Here is this guy, and I don’t believe some of Crispin Miller’s take on the world, but he was teaching a class on PROPAGANDA for Christ’s sake.
Gleichschaltung was the Nazi term for streamlining. It’s when they made all the cultural institutions, they Nazified them all. Of course, there was stuff you couldn’t read. It would be a crime to read it or even bring it up, and it’s kind of like that now.
Again, how can real leftists not doubt the mainstream corporate narrative coming from the news, the newspapers, the stenographers, the CDC, the NIH, the lot of them? So, all other topics the leftists might doubt coming from the mouths of the controllers and their Eichmann White Papers and Think Tanks — what started the war on Vietnam, how Exxon et al created climate change skeptics (scientists) while planning for global heating, what both major parties say about almost anything, all of it — those are kosher, but to question the Covid-19 narrative and the jabs and the lack of response to human health before, during and now soon after (corona capitalism), that is the work of Trumpies, QAnon, tinfoil mad hatters?
“From Harvard to the Big House”:
Below is a takedown of that article, and the good news is a much more nuanced and honest look at the origins of COVID-19, the Wuhan Strain of coronavirus is just a click away.
Furthermore, a hypothetical generation of SARS-CoV-2 by cell culture or animal passage would have required prior isolation of a progenitor virus with very high genetic similarity, which has not been described.
This means nothing. There is no open-source shared database of viruses. No one has any idea what viruses are in China’s BSL-4 lab, where they’ve been collecting these viruses for years. As mentioned, one of our persons-of-interest was the very first person to isolate a coronavirus from a bat that uses the ACE2 receptor. He also worked at UNC in Baric’s lab making the hyper-virulent bat coronavirus in 2015. It should also be noted that several years prior to tinkering directly with bat coronavirus spike-proteins, Baric orchestrated research that involved isolating a coronavirus from civets and then passing it through mammalian ACE2 receptor cells that were grown in the lab from kidney and brain samples – serial passage through host cell lines instead of entire hosts, which imparted a strong affinity for ACE2, and presumably created an airborne strain of coronavirus. And if cells derived from kidneys and brains were used for the serial passage development of COVID-19, that might help explain its affinity for attacking the kidneys and brains of its human hosts. Source.
Sure, the obvious questions about interlinked topics — the so-called militarization of space; 5g and 6g internet of things/bodies, and the SARS-CoV2/Covid-19 — should never go unasked, and should always be pursued.
It’s sort of the Hypocritic Oath of thinkers, writers, journalists, and investigators — travel the path less traveled, doubt the mainstream, question anyone with skin in the game when it comes to profits tied to, well, any topic on planet earth.
As over 2.8 million people have died globally from Covid-19 in the past year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires has surged.
The planet’s 2,365 billionaires have seen their wealth increase $4 trillion, or 54 percent, during the pandemic year. Their combined wealth rose from $8.04 trillion to $12.39 trillion between March 18, 2020 and March 18, 2021. Source. Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at progressive Public Citizen advocacy group, said Pfizer’s rising profits showed the need for governments to take action to save lives. “Pfizer is cashing in on the crisis …” Zain Rizvi stated. Source.
Big Pharma revenues and profits have skyrocketed. In 2017, the U.S. consumers spent $333.4 billion on prescription drugs (Source). There are profits and then there are just plain old price gouging, full-scale rip-offs, and manufactured scarcity and managed perceived and created obsolescence.
In a minute, the obvious questions tied to the three huge topics listed above, but first, the question is front and center: Why the hell would any free-thinking, democracy-loving, First Amendment-wielding, so called open society believer who “honors” (sic) diversity censor and platform and dishonor any robust level of debate on every subject from here to kingdom come?
Dr. Francis Boyle: All these BSL-4 labs are by United States, Europe, Russia, China, Israel are all there to research, develop, test biological warfare agents. There’s really no legitimate scientific reason to have BSL-4 labs. That figure I gave $100 billion, that was about 2015 I believe. I had crunched the numbers and came up with that figure the United States since 9/11.
To give you an idea that’s as much in constant dollars as the US spent to develop the Manhattan Project and the atom bomb. So it’s clearly all weapons related. We have well over 13,000 alleged life science scientists involved in research developed testing biological weapons here in the United States. Actually this goes back it even precedes 9/11 2001.
So, we leftists and communists should believe the CDC, NIH, WHO, White House Covid-19 handlers, state governors, and the drug and military drug and virus makers, but then, not include in our way of thinking looking at what a guy like Boyle (above) has to say. And, yep, the hero exposing all manner of crimes by USA and Military Industrial Complex, dying a slow, steady death:
We know why governments might want no questions about its role in bombing civilians and children. We understand how an Exxon might not want any questions about its role in not just polluting some “backwater place,” but also propping up despotic hit squads. Lots of reasons why domineering parents might not want children to question said parents’ truthfulness and actual knowledge about things.
The evidence (large piles to the moon) and groups (many) working to expose these crimes against humanity/nature (militarizing space; the SARS-CoV2/Covid-19 origins/lockdowns/forced inoculations/lack of dynamic treatments; and the rush for 5G and 6G to be set up by “telecoms, who are, in fact, setting it up for the entire foundation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is mounting.
The 4th industrial revolution will be just as criminally violent as the previous three but it will involve applying old techniques — religion and drugs — to subject at least 20-30 per cent of the world population. This is to be eased by the viral and climate crusades designed to prepare the pious masses to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the alpine conclave. The rest of us are just industrial waste, green indeed, like Soylent green.
While at the same time, the burning of the books, so to speak, is being stoked by fewer and fewer overlords of the media and tech platforms with what is again an obvious endgame: more money from the middle and lower economic strata being moved into their coffers. To do this, there has to be fear, a global pandemic (sic) and harsh lockdowns, and a savior in the wings ready to come to the rescue: Digital Dionysus.
Work from home, prostate check on Zoom, school on electronic blackboards with one teacher for a thousand students. Food ordered by smart phone and delivered by self-driving car or funky flying drone.
A great reset, a transformation, and it isn’t about destroying capitalism, but putting capitalism on electronic and AI steroids:
Now those same families, again including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rothschilds in the person of Lynn de Rothschild’s “Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican,” are moving to create the next generation in their pursuit of global domination. It’s being called the Great Reset. It requires global government, a plank significantly endorsed by the Jesuit Pope Francis. Its PR man, Klaus Schwab, is a self-admitted protégé of Rockefeller insider Henry Kissinger, from their days 50 years ago at Harvard.
Behind the seductive rhetoric of the Powers That Be on creating a “sustainable” world, lies an agenda of raw eugenics, depopulation on a scale never before tried. It is not human, in fact, some call it “transhuman.”
— (Source: “After COVID, Davos Moves to The ‘Great Reset’” )
Controlling water, food, travel, thought, dreams, hopes, fears, and one’s own body has to be done through a very simple but wide complex of actors throwing the gauntlet down on people.
It makes sense that anyone questioning what a mask is/does, what a coronavirus is/was might also want to question what a messenger RNA experimental microbiome programmer does to billions of people inoculated with this chemical. Adverse reactions and death, now, or shortly thereafter the jabs, and, well, in the coming years, what sort of immune, respiratory and blood/heart maladies are on the horizon? It makes sense that more and more people want more and more diverse thinkers and commentators looking into the profits going to drug companies (after taxpayers have paid almost a trillion dollars for the research and the drugs themselves). It makes sense that real journalists would want to talk to a battalion of doctors, researchers, scientists who question the rollout of untested Covid-19shots, question the actual PCR test determining all those fancy numbers of tested positives plastered all over the internet in interactive colorful maps, and question the lack of real treatment for this coronavirus.
The researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) have collaborated with American researchers, however, conducted gain–of-function experiments utilizing gene-splicing techniques. See, for example, a 2015 paper published in Nature, “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence” authored by researchers mostly from the University of North Carolina (UNC), but also by collaborators from Harvard, Switzerland, and Wuhan. Dr. Zhengli-Li Shi is the second-to-last author.
Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone.
That is to say, these scientists bioengineered a chimera, a Frankenvirus, from the old 2002-2003 SARS virus but with spikes from a different bat coronavirus. The Frankenvirus seems to be a pretty tough customer:
Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Our work suggests a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.
That is, it’s hard to kill, it’s hard to immunize against, and it reproduces like gangbusters – meaning that if it got loose, it might cause a … wait for it … a pandemic. Source.
Military and Bioweapons
On a second rail is the huge outlay of money and time and energy for the military in general, but for the advances in space/satellite/moon-based weapons. This arms race is not only perverse, but emblematic of rampant theft by the millions of people involved in the Military Industrial Complex, from decal maker to put on one of those satellites or satellite-seeking rockets, to the super scientist who has developed even more compact mini nuclear generators for each little payload orbiting earth.
You’d think real journalists would follow the money, and follow the studies and concerns raised about electromagnetic frequencies bombarding the planet, from the bedroom to the bee hive.
It is a virus, really, this totalitarian and crypto-fascist movement the billionaires with their tech monopolies and overlord apps shutting people down, taking them off these platforms, which is actually demonstrating an incredibly hateful bent against those who might doubt. They’d have Albert Einstein in the docks for questioning on the e fascist bent.
The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one … I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two thirds of the people of the Earth would be killed.
—The Einstein Reader, Albert Einstein (page 169)
All of them — Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter — would red-flag Einstein today if he were alive, on many of the things he stated. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Imagine his Twitter account being shut down:
The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.
– Martin Luther King to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) board on March 30, 1967
So, in a time of Covid-19, star wars and mega-constellation, and 5G and 6G, any pushback against the system will get you labeled as a “denier” — a person of interest in the surveillance state. No jab, no job? No compliancy, no life.
This is the way, man –Charlie Mullins, chief executive of big London plumbing firm Pimlico Plumbers, recently announced plans to impose a “no-jab, no-job” policy for current and future workers. All employees would be contractually required to prove they had received the COVID 19 vaccine, without which they would not be offered any work by Pimlico.
Plumbing boss Charlie Mullins has been prominently demanding right to jab his workers. Yui Mok/PA
Imagine, now, the insipid stupidity of Q-Anon and Trump supporters in Texas, but then also the insipid stupidity of the centrists and progressives, pushing one narrative that the jab is good, seal of approval, from Good Housekeeping, Underwriters Laboratory, and the Five Eyes. Soon to be Six Eyes, with Japan jockeying to join —
United States and allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said encryption should not come at the expense of the public’s safety. Tech companies should include mechanisms in the design of their encrypted products and services whereby governments, acting with appropriate legal authority, can obtain access to data in a readable and usable format.
In an upending of logic, even the lefty sites see the virus warriors (sic) as unquestionable, as the purest of the pure. This mentality is what gets us back to square one, no? Who in Christ’s sake trusts those major Big Pharma to do anything right? With $300 million a year on advertising, more hundreds of million$ for lobbying and payoffs, with a football stadium full of Ivy League lawyers, and two stadiums full of accountants and hedge fund impresarios, well, now, we believe, right? The messenger is the message, in these genetically screwed up shots.
The fear and lockdown and isolation and fake news on a nanosecond by nanosecond cycle, all the trash, all the distracting muck of this team, that actor, this millionaire, that politician, this singer and that athlete, and this and that human stain who gets air time and digital ink, and so we have it, now, US Patriot Act 3.0, total surveillance, all eyes on bank accounts, school records, health records, driving records, social media posts, police records, housing records, purchase records, travel records, and, shoot, that passport is on the phone, man, the digital apps all connected, all there to incentivize this behavior, discourage that behavior, massage this way, and get you in-line: food line, rent line, cable channel line, clinic line, school line, mortuary line.
The connection of Big Pharma with Big Edu with the US military, there is no better a series to read than Whitney Webb and Diego:
Oh, and just months ago, New York Magazine ran this — “The Lab-Leak Hypothesis For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …?” by Nicholson Baker
But then, hitting further, calling the pandemic the plandemic? That gets you one, two and three strikes you are out on YouTube.
Then this stuff — Medical Doctor and Director of Diagnostics Laboratory Presents Cures for COVID and Exposes Dangers of COVID “Vaccines”. Shoot, no discussion about therapeutic treatments for this SARS-CoV2 “thing” can be platformed, and doctors and scientists can lose their credentials.
Who knows if this Word Press digital writing form Dissident Voice uses will also scrub out articles against the new narrative(s) sealed and approved by Big Brother.
Here, a cheap product — beautiful man. We are the 99 percenters?
Results of clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom have shown that a nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS, SaNOtize) is both a safe and effective antiviral treatment to prevent COVID-19 transmission and symptom duration, as well as reduce symptom severity and damage in those already infected, according to the study authors.
During the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial, the investigators assessed 79 patients with confirmed COVID-19 who were given the spray early following diagnosis. The results following treatment demonstrated that the spray significantly reduced the level of SARS-CoV-2, even in patients with high viral loads, according to the study.
“NONS destroys the virus, blocks entry into and halts viral replication within the nasal cavity, which rapidly reduces viral load. This is significant because viral load has been linked to infectivity and poor outcomes,” said Chris Miller, PhD, RT, chief science officer and co-founder of SaNOtize, in a press release. “There is currently a lack of an antiviral therapy that is effective against COVID-19 and its variants, can prevent or shorten the course of the disease, reduce damage, lower the severity of COVID-19, and can be made widely and readily available to the public.”
In the first 24 hours following treatment with the spray, investigators observed that the average viral log reduction was 1.362, which is a decline of approximately 95%. After 72 hours following treatment, the viral load decreased by more than 99%. Source.
Nah, this small Vancouver, BC company, with eight employees, can’t get shit on a national level, because, well, those mRNA’s are in the pipeline. Go back up this article to the 199 controlling the world, including the lockdowns, the digital gulags, transhuman (sic) plans, 5G and 6G internet of the human genome, and, well, war, whether terrestrial, marine, atmosphere, and stratospheric and lunar, dudes.
The new left, old left, the greenie weenie left, the global investor left, and even old revolutionary left will not go there, will not look at the holistic ways to prevent global deaths. Like I have stated before, end tobacco now, end vaping now, and, whoops, how many deaths stopped today, this year, in the decade, for 21st century (1 billion will have died)? All new opioids banned? Yep, you will be slapped with Opposition Defiance Disorder young with any of these ideas, these skeptical looks at the multiple narratives that come crashing into your heads. My ODD had gotten more rarified as I have aged, like an aging wine does. Any lag time in getting the jab? Duly recorded in your record. Any refusal to get the jab, duly noted and quickly the crime is the refusal, on your record.
I Don’t Need No Fucking PhD’s and MD’s to tell Me!
Fucking A, you betcha, Bartleby The Scrivener by Herman Melville. I prefer not to. Initially, Bartleby has incredible output of high-quality work, but then one day, when he’s asked to proofread a document, Bartleby answers with his soon to be perpetual response to every request: “I would prefer not to.”
To the consternation of narrator, Bartleby performs fewer and fewer tasks and eventually none. He ends up spending long periods of time staring out one of the office’s windows at a brick wall. The coworkers are pissed off. When the business owner (narrator) stops by this office one Sunday morning, he discovers that Bartleby is living there.
Dobbs (Bogart) : “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”
Gold Hat (Alfonso Bedoya): “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”
— John Huston directing B. Traven’s The Treasure of Sierra Madre
In the book, real language:
GoldHat: Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and chinga tu madre!”
Try leveling those rejoinders to your local sheriff, local school board president, or your local incompetent governor. These people are lunatics. Masks, masks, masks. Can you imagine, all the scrutiny of the drug makers over all manner of “drugs” for all manner of “ailments.” Payola, and lies, disease, death, injuries. I wrote about this earlier. It’s the Mask, Stupid: Beware The Covid-Pfizer Jumping Virus!
I do not have to repeat all the maleficence and felonies J & J and Pfizer have perpetrated. But now, everything is copasetic?
The Bug is DARPA’s Baby
Another aside — I’m not going to let a good personal narrative link go unused. Really. So, my own time in US military, well, that’s a whole other socialist fighting that dirt-bag mercenary industry. I also ended up working with military as a college teacher. Some got close to me.
Forced vaccinations for various things, including anthrax vaccine. Experimental. Vaccinations for sand fleas and malaria mosquitos. Experimental. Many of these students were forced to take multiple jabs. The Department of Defense (DOD) wanted to administer pyridostigmine and botulinum toxoid vaccine to protect soldiers from a possible toxic nerve gas or botulism attack by Iraqi forces. The Nuremberg Code, informed consent. Read, CJ Annas’ Informed Consent to Human Experimentation: The Subject’s Dilemma. (Ballinger 1977).
Here, in 1942, all military personnel received typhoid, smallpox, and tetanus vaccines, and soldiers who refused vaccination were subject to court-martials—a military “legal” principle originating in World War I and continuing to this day. No jab, Yes, you go to the brig. During World War II, a yellow fever vaccine had not yet been licensed for civilian use in the United States and as history tells us, an FDA-approved vaccine would not be available until 1953. This yellow fever vaccine used in 1942 contained human serum, and despite earlier published reports of “homologous serum” jaundice occurring after its use, the masters of the universe pushed forward with their perceived/concocted urgency of a biological weapon threat. Unfortunately, many lots were contaminated by the hepatitis B virus.
An epidemic of unexplained hepatitis began in March 1942, and yellow fever vaccination was halted on April 15, 1942. Approximately 51,000 military personnel with symptomatic hepatitis were hospitalized, and subsequent serologic investigation of veterans concluded that approximately 330,000 persons had been infected. (Source).
My college friend, and my preacher for one of my weddings, Shannon, he was the proverbial Guinea pig in the US Army. Malarial and other vaccines. He got an extra $200 a month for his body, and he signed the contract, man — upon the death of you, your body belongs to Uncle Sam. Get your things in order. Tell your family. Make copies of this contract and give it to your kids, your spouse, your priest.
Shannon learned genetics, and while we both were getting graduate degrees to be English teachers at the college level, he did have an uncanny knowledge of pigeons.
Shannon (R.I.P.) did work at Fort Detrick. Worked at Plum Island. Worked with geneticists and virologists. But in the end, he was beaten up by parachuting the constant military mindset. It was Ike Eisenhauer who signed into law, ARPA, the precursor to DARPA: 1958.
Here, a talk, given to Google in Cambridge (oh, Google, what a shit hole). She’s not an anti-capitalist, but her research is good, even on Operation Paperclip, so, here we go: Journalist Annie Jacobsen discusses her book, The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency.
Or, try the same author out for size in another venue — Join Annie Jacobsen as she discusses her new book, First Platoon on P&P Live! On biometrics, and again, she is interviewed by a military guy. “An urgent investigation into warfare, good, and evil in the age of biometrics, the technology that would allow the government to identify anyone, anywhere, at any time.”
Here, a quick look at the insanity of DARPA, 63 years ago:
SHORTLY after arriving at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in April 1958, the new chief scientist presented a plan to the agency’s director. Four months later, nine ships set off for the (mostly) uninhabited Gough Island deep in the South Atlantic, carrying 4500 personnel and three small nuclear weapons to launch into the magnetosphere.
This was Project Argus. The idea had germinated in the panic after the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite. In light of these surprising new capabilities, the US had a problem: how could it protect the country from an incoming nuclear warhead?
Armed with some wild physics, Nicholas Christofilos hatched an equally wild plan: turn the upper atmosphere into a force field across the US that would fry the electronics of incoming missiles. How? Explode nuclear weapons in Earth’s magnetosphere to create a long-lived radiation belt that would degrade the missiles.
The first atomic detonation set off a luminous fireball, triggering a staggering blue-green aurora that captivated its audience. But beyond the pretty lights, it was a failure. The bombs did indeed produce many high-energy electrons, but it turned out that Earth’s magnetic field wasn’t strong enough to keep the electron shield from decaying.
Now, Sharon Weinberger is not a real hard hitter, failing to look deeper into DARPA, and the evolution of that agency which has infected every aspect of computing, science, virus research, medicine, social manipulation, and any number of Frankenstein projects. Deadly. Really deadly, as in coronavirus deadly. We’ll get to that.
Good synopsis by Whitney Webb, another writer banned from the unsocial-precrime networks:
Part 1 of this two-part series on Facebook and the US national-security state explores the social media network’s origins and the timing and nature of its rise as it relates to a controversial military program that was shut down the same day that Facebook launched. The program, known as LifeLog, was one of several controversial post-9/11 surveillance programs pursued by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that threatened to destroy privacy and civil liberties in the United States while also seeking to harvest data for producing “humanized” artificial intelligence (AI).
As this report will show, Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley giant whose origins coincide closely with this same series of DARPA initiatives and whose current activities are providing both the engine and the fuel for a hi-tech war on domestic dissent.
This is DARPA (the big letter “d” for “defense” — read, “offensive” — added in 1990, ARPA to DARPA!) at its best: turn the upper atmosphere into a “force field” across the US in hopes of frying incoming missiles’ electronics. These are America’s best and brightest — detonate nukes in Earth’s magnetosphere to generate a radiation belt that would disable missiles.
Oh, the fireball and blue-green aurora captivated its audience. The bomb blasts did generate high-energy electrons, but Earth’s magnetic field wasn’t strong enough to keep the electron shield from decaying.
And, the gift that keeps on giving with DARPA, et al — Gough Island had few Homo Sapiens living on it, but 50 years later, residents of nearby islands confronted their governments about the vicious mice that now roam the island (50 per cent heavier than wild mice anywhere in the world). Bye-bye wild bird populations.
This is madness, the legacy of atomic bomb testing and colonial history coming back to haunt France in the form of a radioactive Sahara dust cloud. These Sahara Desert clouds headed north over Spain, France, the UK, and Ireland. Those golden-tinged evening skies to some parts of Europe also delivered a spike in radiation. The mainstream media reports “slight,” again, the wasted media and their slight risk assessments of anything tied to the corporate bottom line. Heard the slight risk assessment before? Lead in water, mercury in fish, PFAS in blood, tobacco in lungs, plastics in your shit, Covid-19 jab in your arm?
Atomic isotopes, caused by French nuclear tests in Algeria in the early 1960s, are considered by these foolish French, 50 years later, as “beautiful blood orange sunsets.”
Take a Deep Breath, Stand Up, and Look at the Smart Phone
Oh, how many takes on the 5 G and 6 G transformation can the human take?
Why is 5G important for the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)? Intelligent connectivity, enabled by 5G, will be the catalyst for the socio-economic growth that the 4IR could bring (Source)
Alison McDowell is a mother and an independent researcher based in Philadelphia, PA. She blogs at the intersection of race, finance, nature, and technology at wrenchinthegears.com. Her activism began fighting to slow the privatization of public education in her city. These efforts eventually led her to an examination of globalized poverty management, euphemistically known as social impact investing. This new form of capitalism – biocapitalism or stakeholder capitalism – aims to turn humans into data commodities. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has been planned out by Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum, seeks to replace human labor with artificial intelligence and robotics, a problem has arisen as to how life can be made profitable for transnational global capital interests once the poor have no buying power and are drowning in debt. The solution? Human capital bond markets, but first everyone must be tagged and trackable for “impact.” That’s where biometric Covid health passports come in. (Source)
Citing this large body of research, more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The appeal makes the following assertions:
“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”
The scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals. (Source)
And, you throw caution into the wind, and the precautionary principle, be damned. And, do no harm? This is not how capitalism runs. Where there is profit and hoarding of profits and using the global population for exploitation, all things coming out of those warehouses of “innovation” must be questioned.
We have what is called, “the latest cellular technology,” 5G, and we know it will deploy millimeter waves for the first time, in addition to microwaves that have been in use for all those so called cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. 5G will require cell antennas every 300 to 600 feet, which exposes many people to millimeter wave radiation. This branded 5G also utilizes experimental technologies like “active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive multiple inputs and outputs, known as massive MIMO.”
All of these challenge us to measure exposure levels. Millimeter waves are absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and also in the surface layers of the cornea. Additionally, short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system.
The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility). Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. Meanwhile, we are seeing increases in certain types of head and neck tumors in tumor registries, which may be at least partially attributable to the proliferation of cell phone radiation. These increases are consistent with results from case-control studies of tumor risk in heavy cell phone users. (Source)
There are people studying EMF’s, and people who are electro sensitive. This is real stuff.
There is the appeal: The 5G Appeal where scientists and doctors call for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G. “5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields RF-EMF, that has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.”
1. 7 effects have each been repeatedly reported following Wi-Fi & other EMF exposures
2. Established Wi-Fi effects, include apoptosis, oxidant. stress & testis/sperm dysfunction; Neuropsychic; DNA impact; hormone change; Ca2+ rise
3. Wi-Fi is thought to act via voltage-gated calcium channel activation
4. One claim of no Wi-Fi effects was found to be deeply flawed
Or, “How the Telecommunications Industry 5G Strategy Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Replace Human Intelligence: The End of Mankind as We Know It” by Martin L. Pall, June 8, 2019
Oxford philosopher and cofounder of the World Transhumanist Association, Nick Boström, has written recently on transhumanism’s desire to make good the “half‐baked” project that is human nature. Here it is, and with AI, Digital Webs, 5G and 6G technology, and 30,000 satellites in space, the entire project of Covid-19 mRNA is just a precursor of things.
Of course, this paper above sees the world through IoNT (Internet of Nano Things) eyes:
Hence, nanotechnology and the IoNT hold the potential to completely revolutionize healthcare in the 21st Century, creating a system that will enable early disease detection and diagnosis followed by accurate, on-time and effective treatment with significantly reduced healthcare costs. This paper presents the roles of nanotechnology and IoNT in medicine and healthcare, and attempts to gain an insight of nanoscale solutions and approaches, highlighting benefits and discussing potential risks and concerns.
Despite concerns regarding nanotoxicity, privacy and security issues, it is anticipated that nanotechnology and IoNT will show their full potential in medicine and healthcare in the years to come.
Oh, man, these nets, the world wide net, the mega constellation net, the nano tech net, the trans-human world of command and control of our bodies net, and the nanoparticle net. Then, we have Patent 060606, Gates/Microsoft. And all those microchip insertions in vaccination believers were laughed out of the classrooms.
Bill Gates will use your microchipped body to mine cryptocurrency – Biohack
The patent, filed under international patent number WO-2020-060606 and titled ‘Cryptocurrency System Using Body Data Activity’, leverages human body activity as proof-of-work.
This proof-of-work is achieved when a user performs given tasks, or even online activities such as viewing ads and using search engines.
“Instead of massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems, data generated based on the body activity of the user can be a proof-of-work, and therefore, a user can solve the computationally difficult problem unconsciously,” the patent reads.
Despite the patent being published on March 26 by the World Intellectual Property Organization, some titans of the cryptocurrency industry are already on board, and cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, founded by Britain’s youngest self-made billionaire Ben Delo, has donated $2.5 million dollars to the Gates Foundation.
As to how body activity and biometrics will be communicated to servers and cryptocurrency hardware, the patent explains that “a sensor communicatively coupled to or comprised in the device of the user may sense body activity of the user.” The patent then gives examples of sensors that can be used to this end – such as “fMRI scanners, electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) sensors, heart rate monitors, thermal sensors, optical sensors, Radio Frequency sensors, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, or any other sensor or scanner.”
They are all working together, Musk, et al and Neuralink ramping up a brain implant as one of body-invasive augmentations of interest for Super Soldiers. The United States through DARPA has made public some of its cyborg and bionic projects: from synthetic telepathy to exoskeletons to bionic limbs. Israel and Denmark have also been conducting intense research into cybernetic enhancements, and both countries ran a collaborative program for years, seeking to augment their soldiers with AI-powered brain implants.
Does it sound far-fetched? Shoot. “Well, golly,” as Gomer Pyle says.
They Have the Medium and the Message and the Messianic Zeal
It’s tough to stop writing this oddly weird piece: a triumvirate — that is, no longer just Covid-19’s origins and the deeper implications of jabs, boosters, lockdown, remote living; the Star Wars; the 5G rush. I alluded to the Word Press, being hijacked by Big Brother techies, stopping even two-bit articles by me, a three-bit human in the eyes of capitalists, to even posit anything tied to what the master-race of the world — billionaires and techie Eichmann’s — are doing in their murder/hitman plans.
This is breaking now, May 14, 2021:
Controlling the internet
Day two of the conference focused more on the coronavirus and the threat to democracies posed by fake news and disinformation online. In one panel titled “Regulating Social Media and Protecting the Public From Harm,” participants discussed how the U.S. and Europe could come together to formulate a united approach to controlling digital communications. The discussion was particularly notable because panelists included Michael Chertoff, co-author of the PATRIOT Act, which stripped Americans citizens of a wide range of rights under the guise of national security and fighting terrorism. Also on the panel were two British conservative members of parliament, an advisor to the executive vice president of digital affairs for the European Commission, and a member of Facebook’s oversight board, the body that regulates what the platform’s 2.6 billion people see in their news feeds. These individuals are so influential that their opinions and decisions could well affect virtually the entire world.
Together, they agreed that more cooperation between big tech and big government was necessary in order to reduce the amount of false information and harmful content online. This in itself is little new: in 2018 Facebook announced that it had partnered with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab to help regulate and curate its newsfeeds, effectively giving up partial control to the NATO-aligned organization. It also hired a former NATO press officer as its intelligence chief earlier this year. — “Alliance of Democracies Summit: The Glass House Where the Power Elite Gather to Throw Stones: The lineup of presidents, generals and CEOs makes it clear that what was stated is effectively the collective view of the world’s elite and a window into their thinking and the debates they are having. What they decide will affect all of us, whether we realize it or not” by Alan Macleod
Game over? Curating? Regulating? Controlling? This is who these people are, and anyone working in the real world, any writer who ends up on Dissident Voice, any of us, we have zero concept of how these people are wired, how they group think, what the hive is like because we are always sitting afar from their power circles. The message is handled, and they have these “former correspondents” of CNN & ABC News (See above photo, Jeanne Meserve) getting huge wads of cash to curate the Star Chamber meeting just reported on at Mint Press. Those secret courts, the other Star Chambers.
They all tie together. Read again — “2018 Facebook announced that it had partnered with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab to help regulate and curate its newsfeeds, effectively giving up partial control to the NATO-aligned organization”.
This is not a free society, and, well, heck, or, well, golly, we still get trickles of stories, FOIA stuff, but in the end, that’s controlled opposition of a very deep state kind of mass psychosis. Oh heck, why not end with Operation Paperclip as the origins of DARPA, viruses, and, the worldwide net!
Author Annie Jacobsen presents a fascinating topic from her new book, Operation Paperclip, and takes questions from the audience. This event was recorded February 26, 2014 at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C.
And the only net I want to see is a bubble net. Humpback whale here at the end. But imagine, lefties loving the smart phone, the prostate nano-probe, the instantaneous downloaded papers on Marx, the fun stuff with Podcasting. Oh, the price we pay, the price we pay. Ignorance. This system, Mega Constellation, is now what? Okay with you lefties?
Below — the real net, the real bubble net, a la marine mammals, cetaceans, dolphins and whales! Oh yeah, the Navy’s sonar blasts, “grounding” (and killing) these amazing mammals. That’s the frequency, man! What about those 50,000 satellites roaming the heavens?
This is the price we pay, man, and if any lefty thinks star link and mega constellation are about junk downloads and Klingon interactive war games, then they are colonized viruses themselves. Game over.
And Musk is just an extension of MIC and those 199 mentioned above, and the Group of 30:
Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.
So what is the global elite’s purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled ‘terrorists’ – around the world. The real purpose of ‘the war on terror’ is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of ‘national interests’. Source.
As my friend and loyal reader, Joe the Farmer from Merced (67 years old) says:
So if you make $46,800.00 a year and have absolutely no bills and save every penny you make from your salary in 21,000 years you could be a billionaire also and join the group of thirty and kill people and destroy the earth for profit and shave your head and sit around with pricks like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos figuring out how to make life miserable for everyone and everything.
Oh, those scientists, aren’t they just so glorious, so amazing and ethical:
And, not to be outdone by these Mengele monsters, and their theragripper, and even with all those laurels from Johns Hopkins or what have you, there once was a Sunshine Project, started 22 years ago, and now, dead three years counting. In St. Clair’s piece Friday, May 14, he allude to it, and has the wrong link, which is not a terrible thing when it comes to St. Clair’s lengthy writing in his Roaming Charges column he mostly does weekly on Fridays.
He talks about Agent Green, and I was certainly getting my head bashed against Bush and Clinton and the war criminals, tied to a lot of the USA’s destruction of South America and Mesoamerica with those chemicals, and others, including paraquat and diquat. Again, lefties just could not absorb all the information, all the infamy, all the corrupted and putrid people in USA politics on all sides of the manure pile. The media and all sides of the “pro-scientist” line just can’t wrap their heads around the possibility that scientists in any realm of Big Pharma, Big Mining, Big Medicine, Big Anything might be bought and sold and, well, liars! Paraquat: A controversial chemical’s second act
And, so, 2021, we are to believe these bioweapons best and the brightest, uh? So, coronaviruses have been studied, messed with, genetically changed, spliced and diced, by, who, the valiant ones in labs, at universities. And, lo and behold, what, then, an accident? A leak? An escape?
Why the virulence? Why the respiratory virus still mucking about in summer? Why the pukes who got jabbed get Covid-19? Come on, lefties, grow a pair — brains and backbone.
Agent Green — You go to that corporate and CIAfixedWikipedia, and here’s what you get:
Agent Green is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. military in its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. The name comes from the green stripe painted on the barrels to identify the contents. Largely inspired by the British use of herbicides and defoliants during the Malayan Emergency, it was one of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides”. Agent Green was only used between 1962 and 1964, during the early “testing” stages of the spraying program.
Agent Green was mixed with Agent Pink and used for crop destruction. A total of 20,000 gallons of Agent Green were procured.
Agent Green’s only active ingredient was 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), one of the common phenoxy herbicides of the era. Even prior to Operation Ranch Hand (1962-1971) it was known that a dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD), is produced as a side product of the manufacture of 2,4,5-T, and was thus present in any of the herbicides that used it. Because Agent Green’s only active ingredient was 2,4,5-T, along with the similar Agent Pink, and earlier-produced batches of 2,4,5-T having higher TCDD-levels, it contained many times the average level of dioxin found in Agent Orange.
During much of the fighting in the Vietnam War, chemical agents were used by the United States to defoliate the landscape. Although many different chemical agents were used, the most well known today is “Agent Orange,” one of the “Rainbow Herbicides”
Oh, those Rainbow Herbicides —
So, again, where are those Rainbow Warriors? Out of business:
Feb 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The Sunshine Project, a nonprofit group that has monitored biological weapons developments and helped expose safety breaches at several US biodefense research facilities, announced on Feb 1 that it had ceased operations.
Edward Hammond, the project’s director, who worked at the group’s US office in Austin, Tex., said he shuttered the organization for financial reasons, according to a news report yesterday in Nature. “At some point you come to realize that if you don’t have buy-in from the people whose business it is to fund peace and security nongovernmental organizations, then you have to recognize reality,” he told Nature.
Established in 1999, the Sunshine Project investigated and reported on a number of biological and chemical weapons topics, including biological methods used to eradicate illicit crops such as opium and marijuana.
However, in the past few years the bulk of the Sunshine Project’s work focused on biodefense research in the United States, which rapidly expanded after the Sep 11 terrorist attacks. Much of the increase in biodefense research has been funded by Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion program passed in 2004 to speed the development of drugs and vaccines to combat the effects of biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiologic agents.
The Sunshine Project had said it supported closer federal oversight of US biodefense labs, including legal reforms, mandatory accident reporting, and increased transparency
Hammond said he was surprised that the surge in biodefense work didn’t spur more support for monitoring efforts such as his, according to a Feb 8 report in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “One would have expected that with the billions of dollars being poured into biodefense research, there would be something of a better operating environment for NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] like this,” he told the Chronicle.
The Sunshine Project used freedom-of-information requests to expose accidents and safety violations at labs that conduct biodefense work. The group monitored laboratories by pressing universities to share minutes from institutional biosafety committees.
In June 2007, the group’s revelations that some lab workers at Texas A&M University were infected with the category B bioterrorism agents Brucella and Coxiella burnetti prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to suspend the university’s work on select agents and toxins.
Three months later the Sunshine Project reported on biosafety lapses at three University of Texas labs in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. A few weeks later the group charged that University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers worked on Ebola virus genetic material in a lab that lacked the required security measures.
Last October, Hammond testified at a US House of Representatives committee hearing on problems at the nation’s biodefense labs. He said the Sunshine Project’s goal was to bring more transparency and compliance to biosafety lab operations.
Hammond told legislators that the nation could do needed biodefense research more safely with one-fifth of the current biodefense lab capacity. “Our system can’t absorb all of the labs coming online,” he said.
Richard H. Ebright, professor of microbiology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., told the Chronicle that the Sunshine Project’s monitoring of biodefense research was sometimes more aggressive than the federal government’s and credited the group for accomplishing a lot with a small budget.
“The end of their operations would create a vacuum. We’ll go back to silence,” Ebright said.
January 8, 2018 – Last month, the U.S. government lifted a three-year moratorium on funding risky research to genetically alter deadly viruses in ways that could make them even more lethal. Epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of Harvard Chan School thinks the move could create an accidental pandemic.
Reinstate the global moratorium on “gain-of-function” research is on Change.org, which is again a flyswatter for a missile holding drone.
Shoot, more reading — And I know, I know, lefties just can’t get their arms around it, when these best and brightest scientists and MDs and all those highly educated and principled BIPOC working on viruses — offensive and defensive tools for, hmm … interesting propositions around depopulating, repopulating, chronic illnesses tsunami, indentured servantry to the masters.
Eric Clapton is pissed off after his two jabs. Frozen hands and feet for weeks. He shared a letter with his friend, Italian architect, lecturer, film producer, Robin Monotti. Here, listen to his discussion on biopolitics and biosecurity implications of COVID19 and “The Great Reset.” Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben discusses this too. Clapton states it’s been propaganda pushing the safety of the jab.
Monotti refers to Umberto Eco’s “Ur-Fascism” (Eternal Fascism) on how fascism or totalitarianism is not a thing of the past, but an evil that is present in every generation and which must be identified, recognized, and fought back against. He examines whether there are such underlying themes and dangers hidden within the Davos crowd’s “Great Reset”.
Note to readers: This is an analysis and personal inculcation of my own narrative tied to one specific topic — Lincoln County’s aerial spray (toxics, weedicides/herbicides) ban which was overturned and is now being presented to a judge for revalidation. Too many times people come to me thinking I am a news writer, or mainstream journalist. I was one of those, years ago, for years, and I am not that person now. “I don’t need no stinking Press badge, cabrón.” I can lead the reader down some curvy and out of the way places in my style of writing. Call it rant, diatribe, polemical, what have you . . . or just bad prose. It doesn’t matter to me anymore because I am not following the Associated Press rule book/style guide. I am no longer subscribing to the small-town newspaper tenets, or all those other big-town so-called “journalism 101 keeping it objective” crap. Unfortunately, I have to keep reminding readers of this fact.
And, I have been engaged in so many local battles, either in them as a member of this or that group or committee, or as a writer, or as a faculty member with students from various colleges in tow. In reality, under capitalism, as each nanosecond ticks off, things are really getting ugly. Predictable, sure, for anyone who has drilled superficially or deeply into this perverse system of profits over all other things. Still, though, I am beyond journalism 101, which in some sense really never existed in a real world . . . or, for most cases, newspaper journalism was always about “fabricated balance,” and showing two sides (how absurd is that, two sides!) to an issue. AND, my experience is the more intelligent and deeply holistic and systems thinking voices are never heard . . . or allowed into the journalism story.
I’ve written extensively about this, and while some call me Gonzo 3.0, nevertheless, I have to caveat my work regularly such as I have now. Be forewarned — this is not Journalism 101, which for all intents and purposes has failed, failed, failed. There is no so-called liberal media! It’s conservative, neoliberal, neocon, commercial, tied to empire and the bs of exceptionalism.
Waldport — I was driving back from Portland, hitting the scenic route, Highway 34, the so-called Alsea Highway. Two lane winding road. Farms and a river and homes on the slow-running river and no real towns except for Alsea. My wife was driving, fast, and I was a passenger looking hard at the surroundings.
On a sunny day, with this spring verdant overlay, a nice drive. It’s a green drive, with lots of leafing trees and conifers in the low-slung Coast Range. Of course, everything in the driver’s viewshed has been messed with more than a 100 years ago onward into this decade. Third growth tree plantations, clear-cuts, huge swaths of rye grass fields. A lot of dilapidated homes, cabins on the river and newer McMansions out there, with two RVs and four car garages and brand new out buildings.
Lots of clear-cuts, up to the road in some places. On one level, everything seems green and natural, but most of what a driver gets to see are second and third growth tree stands, AKA fiber/lumber plantations. There is a uniformity in the trees that are 50 years old. All the same size. All bunched up together.
No old growth in these here parts. When on runs into a really old Doug fir, people take selfies with it, sing to it, do prayers:
I know a few people who live out here, people who came to the area in the 1960s and ’70s. They are old now. On property that seems way out in the forest to some folk, but all are connected with paved roads, cement bridges spanning creeks, and with electricity and Wi-Fi. It’s an idyllic life in some regards, but for years (before this state’s draconian lockdowns) Highway 34 has been used as a byway for RV, pull trailers, Subaru’s with surfboards strapped to their roofs.
The destination is the coast. Small towns like Newport or Yachats. Plenty of beach. Tons of Air B&B’s and hotels.
The area indeed is an odd mix of retirees, out of towners, tourists, lumber and fish folk, people connected to the Oregon State Aquarium and the Hatfield Marines Sciences Center associated with Oregon State University. Like a lot of things and towns in North America, these places are worn out, rinky-dink, prime examples of those who have and the haves not.
It’s conservative with many centrist democrats tied to the hospital, Hatfield, many of the retired, and most from the community college. The rest of the population (to generalize) is stuck in a time warp, always impressing upon me about the good old days.
Those were the days when timber was king, and when there were beach house rentals, not this huge influx of STR’s (short term rentals) run by Portland-based Airbnb outfits like Vacasa.
Boom or bust, quasi back to the land, McDonald’s and Taco Bell drive-throughs, a Walmart, and a coast that depends big time on those crazy, congesting, demanding, beach swarming tourists.
Food, surprisingly, is not king here, as there are fewer and fewer unique mom and pop type eateries. Either a few high end resort restaurants, or small Mexican restaurants.
The drive from Corvallis down Highway 34 toward the coast is easy when the traffic is light. Otherwise, cussing galore as people from Portland and Corvallis, Salem and Eugene flood over to the cooler Pacific.
One small business, Deb’s Café, would have been on our list for a bite to eat, but the huge “Timber Unity” sign out front is a turn-off. I don’t want to have to pay for food from a mom and pop that visually supports anything as part of their advertising scheme: not Raytheon, Dow, Democrats, Republicans, the country Turkey or the Armenian people. To blatantly put up that Timber Unity logo sign is a sign of some sort of hard right, mean politics within, redneck politics worn on Deb’s sleeves (if there is a Deb there to begin with). Timber Unity signs are plastered all over homes and large yards and businesses in this neck of the woods. Unity my ass:
While the group has been hailed by state and national Republicans, and includes at least one former Oregon GOP lawmaker among its leaders, its participants have had no qualms associating with violent extremists and far-right groups. Several senior members have been photographed alongside members of neofascist or militia groups, and when pressed, its leadership has failed to disavow such ties. Its rallies have prominently featured messages backing QAnon, the sprawling internet conspiracy theory that posits a cabal of liberal elites are running a pedophile ring, and that has spurred real-world violence.
“While Timber Unity has sought to downplay these links, an investigation of its social media channels has found extensive ties between its leaders and Far Right figures, as well as the use of racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and violent rhetoric by its supporters,” explained Spencer Sunshine, a sociologist who researches right-wing extremists, in a report he compiled for Oregon environmental groups. “The organization already has a history of and association with groups who have either made violent political threats or have supported violent actions.” — “The Oregon GOP’s Favorite Anti-Environment Group Is Awash in Racism and Violent Threats”
Left-wing/Right-wing — The American Bird
Right-wing groups. The Trump years. That’s all I have to go by since I’ve been here short-term — December 2018. Pro-cops/pigs, pro-military grunt, pro-timber, pro-all-red-white-blue.
Coming from Portland, supporting more than just a few days of protesting cops and such in downtown PDX, I know small towns from way back. Small towns supporting Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. Towns supporting Reagan. I’m old enough to know those Nixon years, and those small towns. From city council members, to police chiefs, and librarians, small towns and the conservative bent.
It was always more than support — called a traitor, threatened with violence, and handcuffed by pigs for non-violent protesting. Pre-Trump. Oh, Occupy Seattle, those Obama years. I’ve always been a traitor when speaking with Republicans, and I am now speaking with Democrats.
Yet here I am, in a poor rural country, with a mix of interesting people, divergent, many hopeless, a few lucky ones with retirement and health, hopeful. But hopeful in primarily a kind of transcendental mediation way. As a parenthetical, the idea impressed upon me is there are many people living in this area with college degrees and even graduate degrees since we are relatively close to Eugene and Corvallis, where the state land grant colleges are located. Retired professionals. And artists. This for many people infers a level of enlightenment and sophistication and wokeness not normally seen in other rural environs.
That’s debatable for me, since I subscribe to Chris Hedges “death of the liberal class”.
In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue.
We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.
― Chris Hedges, The Death of the Liberal Class
I easily segue from one massive war crime after massive war crime — the American War Against Vietnam — to a small rural county in Oregon, and for the reader, this may seem disjointed. So goes the world of corporate wrongs, along with their various hitmen and hitwomen serving as financial thieves and legal Mafia. Because with lawyers, any company can literally get away with murder. And in the process, the murderer (collective, corporate, governmental) can blame the victims.
We are fighting that “timber unity” and the unchecked growth model, the clear-cut model of business, the boom or bust economics of real estate and out-of-state money dragging down the local economies. We are fighting chemical sprays.
The idea of blaming the victims isn’t new. If the economy goes bust, then blame the tree huggers and spotted owl kooks. Blame anyone or any group that is concerned about public health, safety and well-being. The judicial system is out of sync with the people, but in many ways, in sync wonderfully with the destroyers, the extractors, the people with paid-for experts and those with PhDs and MDs and what have you who will be the voice for corporations, giving both barrels for anyone who might question the bottom line — profits at any cost.
Here’s a living example of this legal system in the employ of the corporation. Chevron, no less:
Steven Donziger won a multibillion-dollar judgment against Chevron in Ecuador. The company sued him in New York, and now he’s under house arrest. — Sharon Lerner, The Intercept
Again, shifting to Lincoln County, Oregon, we are tied to the big case in France — for sure, again, one single woman up against lawyers, their assistants, and the thugs and chemists for Dow. We are talking massive poisoning, massive murdering, war profiteering, empires of subjugation, the entire shooting match in Indochina. Death and history, and empire and corporations. The War Machine which is in a sense the machine that drives a lot of things in the USA, including lobbying (sic) groups like Timber Unity:
ÉVRY, France — Almost six decades after the U.S. military began dropping a toxic herbicide known as Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, a French courtroom in a Parisian suburb has become the unlikely setting for a faceoff between a woman who says she was a victim and some of the world’s largest chemical and pharmaceutical corporations that supplied the substance.
The landmark case has pitched Tran To Nga, a 79-year-old, against 14 companies. A ruling is expected on Monday.
If the court in Évry sides with the companies, including American multinational Dow, it would crush hopes for what activists have seen as a “historic trial” and a unique chance for accountability. But if the court rules in Tran’s favor, she would be the first Vietnamese civilian to win such a case. — Source
PARIS — A French court on Monday threw out a lawsuit brought by a French-Vietnamese woman against more than a dozen multinationals that produced and sold toxic herbicide Agent Orange, used by American troops during the war in Vietnam.
The landmark case, filed in 2014, has pitched Tran To Nga, a 79-year-old who says she was a victim of Agent Orange, against 14 firms, including U.S. multinational companies Dow Chemical and Monsanto, now owned by German giant Bayer.
This is the murderous gift that keeps on giving, and leave it to the French, a French court, to throw out this righteous case. Oh the French in Haiti, in Viet Nam. The irony of it is Tran’s children and grandchildren have been diseased because of the exposure to Agent Orange. One child died because of the dioxin disease(s). How many millions of Vietnamese were exposed to this sprayed on poison? Deaths? Disabilities? Chronic illnesses?
The other irony is that US veterans have successfully sued those chemical monsters and have gotten service connected disabilities from this massive poisoning, again, it is we the taxpayer, paying for those “injuries.” The chemical Eichmanns are equal to the military Eichmanns. Bomb them back to the Stone age, uh?
Thibault Camus / AP file
Leave it to the Associated Press to call her “communist” when she was exposed to the gas:
The former journalist has described in a book how she breathed some Agent Orange in 1966, when she was a member of the Vietnamese Communists, or Viet Cong, that fought against South Vietnam and the United States.
“Because of that, I lost one child due to heart defects. I have two other daughters who were born with malformations. And my grandchildren, too,” she told The Associated Press.
According to some probably low ball estimates, U.S. warplanes dropped 19 million gallons of Agent Orange — it was dubbed that because it was stored in drums with orange bands. I’ve seen a few old empties in Vietnam. Between the early 1960s and early 1970s, this ecocide was deployed to defoliate jungles and destroy Viet Cong crops. Murder babies, you know, with calorie constriction. Like the American colony did to Native Americans.
Millions of Vietnamese were sprayed.
At least 3,851 of the 5,958 known fixed-wing missions had targeted flight paths directly over South Vietnamese hamlets. We calculated that at least 2.1 million but perhaps as many as 4.8 million people in 3,181 hamlets were sprayed. Population estimates for an additional 1,430 sprayed hamlets are unavailable. Few systematic data exist on population exposures through residual contamination of soils or consumption of herbicidal chemicals taken up in the food chain, although “hot spots” are known. Source.
It’s clear how the laws are written to protect the poisoners, the murderers. William Bourdon, one of her lawyers, stated on Twitter that the court was “applying an obsolete definition of the immunity of jurisdiction principle which contradicted modern principles of international and national law.”
Even this lawyer was shocked the French court had backed the companies’ defense spiel that stated they were acting on “orders” when responding to U.S. government requisitions for the poison. Again, rule of law for the corporations, and these groups of company lawyers cited contractual law and purchase agreements not tying them to the claims. No damages to the Vietnamese people!
Dow Chemical and Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) were the two largest producers of Agent Orange for the U.S. military and were named in the suit, along with 18 other companies to include Diamond Shamrock, Uniroyal, Thompson Chemicals, Hercules, Ansul Co., Riverdale Chemical Co., Uniroyal, Occidental Petroleum Co., N.A. Phillips, and Hooker Chemical Co.
The military — the USA, in fact, all the Big Little Man Eichmann’s and taxpayers and those in the media, in universities, etc. — is a party to millions of individual war crimes, but this was a crime against people, against their food supply. The spraying occurred right after I was born in 1957, in the early 1960s, as the US Defense Advanced Project Research Agency (DARPA), a US Department of Defense agency, was heavily involved in bioweapons and surveillance and other nefarious illegal weapons, including toxins and all sorts of diseases, like the one we think came from an innocent tick, but, in fact, Lyme’s disease is from Plum Island, US military biowarfare lab.
These new offensive technologies are part of the USA’s legacy of crimes against humanity — experimenting various combinations and concentrations of chemical herbicides for use in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was created when developers combined two of the most potent herbicides, 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) and 2,4- Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).
DARPA mixed up many combinations of herbicides to destroy Vietnam, including Agent Purple, Agent Pink, Agent Green, Agent White, Agent Blue, and Agent Orange, all named for the band of colored tape on their containers. Four years after my birth (’57), in 1961, the US began spraying those herbicides on Vietnam’s crops and jungles, part of a lovely mission titled Operation Ranch Hand.
Small Town, Big Politics
So back in my neck of the woods, Waldport, Oregon in Lincoln County, I have a jarring perspective because this small town is isolated, and alas, yes, it is backwards, and the retrograde thinkers are in the hundreds and hundreds. Yet, there are slivers of hope, where smart people for many reasons, ended up here, and in the country at large. Some of those smart people are fed-up with the lies, the birth defects, the diseases, the entire flimflam game that is capitalism — whether it is health insurance scams, lemon automobiles or poisons peddled as “green chemistry for better farming/living/family rearing.”
I’ve been lucky enough to feature two of the people fighting the aerial spray ban reversal — Maria Kraus and Carol Van Strum:
Both pieces ended up in Dissident Voice: here and here. I even did a review of that documentary, The People VS Agent Orange, which highlights Tran To Nga‘s fight in France — “Eternal Impunity of Capitalism’s Crimes“. Here’s one passage from that story I wrote:
Dr. James Clary was with the Air Force in Vietnam, which ran the program. He was ordered to dump the computer and erase all memory. Instead, he printed out a stack of documents two feet high – missions, sorties, coordinates, dates, gallons dropped throughout all of Southeast Asia and Laos.
“We had the information coming from Dow that there were real problems for people associated with this chemical. It was all locked up for 35 years.”
Playing down all the negative effects of this chemical was part of the Dow plan. Dioxin was the byproduct in the brew. Dow told the US government they were having difficulty producing the volume of the chemical the US wanted. The government told them to not worry about safety standards and quality control, and that a fast production process which produced more of the dioxin would not matter, since the crops and forest were being sprayed, and if people got in contact with it, the idea coming from both industrialists at Dow and those in government and the military was, “Hey, so what, this is a war . . . these are the effing Vietnamese.”
However, a former military man like Clary never saw it that way. He reiterated that 20 million gallons of it was dumped on Southeast Asia. The Ranch Hand program stopped in 1971, but then the chemicals were enlisted by the US on forest land – clear cuts that were sprayed to denude the razed land of any opportunistic weeds and shrubs. The money has to be made, and the stockpiled product has to go! Sell it to the state forestry department and timber outfits.
Both Carol and Maria, along with others, are working to convince a judge to stop aerial spraying of herbicides by timber companies on private land they own, huge portions of the state, in fact, abutting communities, river and creek systems, property owners’ homes, etc. This coming June 1, a group of local activists — citizens, home owners, those with a few acres of “property” — face down the judge in the case that ended a two year temporary stay on aerial spraying of chemicals so closely linked to the Agent Orange formula, that herbicide which is a brother of another mother (Agent Orange).
The people who wrote an ordinance banning the aerial spraying of pesticides in western Oregon last year  aren’t professional environmental advocates. Their group, Lincoln County Community Rights, has no letterhead, business cards, or paid staff. Its handful of core members includes the owner of a small business that installs solar panels, a semi-retired Spanish translator, an organic farmer who raises llamas, and a self-described caretaker and Navajo-trained weaver.
And yet this decidedly homespun group of part-time, volunteer, novice activists managed a rare feat: They didn’t just stop the spraying of pesticides that had been released from airplanes and helicopters in this rural county for decades. They also scared the hell out of the companies that make them, according to internal documents from CropLife America, the national pesticide trade group. Although some of the world’s biggest companies poured money into a stealth campaign to stop the ordinance, and even though the Lincoln activists had no experience running political campaigns, the locals still won. — Source
This above was also written by Lerner of The Intercept. The article’s headline — “How a Ragtag Group of Oregon Locals Took on the Biggest Chemical Companies in the World . . . and Won” — speaks to a common “liberal” form of journalism which seems to harken all these amazing hopeful signs of American democracy (sic) at work, with all the elements of (almost) patronizing the “locals” who in the headline writer’s eyes, are a “ragtag” bunch. It’s always nice to have a Karen Silkwood (Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site in Oklahoma, which made plutonium pellets) or Lois Gibbs (she discovered that her 5-year-old son’s elementary school in Niagara Falls, New York, was built on a toxic waste dump; Love Canal) highlighted in these stories.
For the Intercept, having these activists in Lincoln County working to stop aerial spraying is a David vs Goliath environmental script ready for Netflix prominence. The group, Lincoln County Community Rights (I’ll get to Spokane in a sec), worked hard to get the gumption and impetus going for this to end up on the ballot. But in USA, you can vote for no added two or three mile runway for an airport, but that goes out the window for the greater good — they call it the greater good for the community or public, but it is all about greater good of the pocket book. This is typical in societies, all part of the rapaciousness of industrialized and now digitized societies. “You hate noisy new airport runways? Get some earplugs.”
I’m just reading how Zoom-Google Hangouts will be the way of the future for doctors visits (and school, college, work, court, and more). Imagine, articles just before the planned-demic (SARS-CoV2) on how poorly western medicine is doing with diagnostics, with integrated medicine, with hands on medicine, without a compassionate treat-the-whole-person modality. It’s just more of the more bad. These court cases are on Zoom, and now evictions across the country are Zoomed, but with no time for individuals making a statement to the judge, to the court. Many eviction hearings are lumped together on Zoom. Dozens at a time, which is against certain inalienable rights in the constitution.
Give the bastards an inch, and they will take a mile.
Laws against protesting. Real murderous laws allowing drivers to run down and murder protestors.
I remember the anti-Monsanto protest in Portland. At the Lloyd Center. We did make it to the roads, and while much of the protest was “permitted” in the sense the organizers got all the paperwork done for an announced, planned peaceful event, there was no telling how many people would break off.
Impede traffic at the giant mall? Shoot, how many states are passing “run over them if you feel triggered, in danger.” Passing those right to run over pedestrians, AKA terrorists, ordinances is big on Republican governors’ list of important things to do. Stand your ground is now “pedal to the metal” laws — get the riffraff out of the way.
Protesting the pesticides in a small town like Toledo, OR, might be an invitation to the Timber Unity folk and the people coming out of the woodwork who love their open carry permits, love taunting peaceful protestors. And the local pigs, well, they are in the same camp — any protestation against “industry” or the capitalist way, well, that is clear and present danger to the public, the community, to their own fascist leanings.
When I was there with my 16-year-old daughter, I did look for exit paths in case the pissed off automobile drivers behind us decided to go “postal.”
Just having a bumper sticker in many parts of Oregon declaring anti-spraying could get you good, let alone a bumper sticker against Timber Unity (there are none). Having a bumper sticker calling Monsanto a poisoner, that too, a rock through the windshield. I have had rocks thrown two car windows, two trucks “keyed,” and a motorcycle kicked over for some sort of advocacy bumper sticker I plastered on.
Bans by any other Name — Attacking the Corporations’ Bottom Line
Beyond Pesticides is an advocacy group looking at the devastating effects of pesticides on community health — the avian, aquatic, terrestrial and human communities. As an organization, they function as a great clearing house of information on the various poisons used in industrial capitalism’s gift to the world: factory farming. The Lincoln County aerial spray ban may have passed in May 2017 with 64 yeah votes over the nay ones, of the total 14,000 votes cast, but it was one of more than 200 local measures that do some form of “restricting” of pesticides (weedicides, fungicides, fumigants, herbicides, rodenticides, and the like). Many communities have passed protective measures that surpass basic limits set by the feds, the EPA. Some have banned glyphosate (Roundup). The first community ban or restriction was passed in 1970 in Maine.
Nationwide, 71 communities from across the political spectrum have passed either rights-of-nature or community-rights statutes, said Craig Kauffman, a professor of political science at the University of Oregon, whose research focuses on legal and political arguments for the rights of nature.
Part of the motivation behind the campaign is to put ecosystems on an equal footing with corporations, which already have personhood rights under federal law. “Where we often see these campaigns is in rural communities that don’t want outside corporations coming in and destroying the ecosystems and watersheds,” Kauffman told me. With the twin pressures of climate change and biodiversity loss mounting, people are looking for new ways to fight back on the local level, he said.
— Carl Segerstrom, “Can a campaign for nature and community rights stop aerial spraying in Oregon?”
So, this upcoming June 1, the case will be made to reverse this judge’s action, which she declared in September of 2019: Judge Sheryl Bachart ruled that the county ordinance was pre-empted by an Oregon law that allows, with basic state-approved restrictions, aerial spraying of pesticides on forests and prohibits local governments from making any ordinance, rule or regulation governing pesticide sale or use. “Where local enactments are found incompatible with state law in an area of substantive policy and explicit preemption, state law will displace the local law,” she wrote.
Lincoln County, Oregon, voters approved the “Freedom from Aerial Sprayed Pesticides” ordinance. That was May 2017. It was a first-in-the-state law recognizing residents’ rights to clean air, water, and soil, their right to local community self-governance, and the Rights of Nature to exist, flourish, and evolve.
Soon after, the timber industry lawyered up — sued the county to overturn the ordinance, stating this Oregon county (or any county) had no right or authority to pass it (this sort of community rights legal codes) in the first place, and that this ordinance/law “adversely affected” them. This is a tactic used in Capitalism, whichever form you want to qualify your pro/quasi-pro capitalism with: predatory, usury, parasitic, disaster, casino, zombie — which has put a stranglehold on communities who vote to not allow some industry into town. Suing for imagined future losses (out of thin air profits), these Mafia corporations wrote the playbook on predatory capitalism. They time and time again, bring in an army of legal vultures to do battle with cash-strapped counties and municipalities threatening them with years of expensive litigation if a city or county prohibits their siting and industrial processes in that locality.
You don’t need to go back too far in history to see how industry works —
Hmm, many in my league just wrote about the 107th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre, simply, a mass killing by a militia, anti-striker thugs during this period called the Colorado Coalfield War. This is the score — soldiers from the Colorado National Guard and then private guards/mercenaries in the employ of Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) attacked peaceful Occupiers: a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families. That was April 20, 1914, in Ludlow, and while 21 people, including miners’ wives and children, were murdered, the infamous John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a part-owner of CF&I, got away with it, with just a “talking to” during a US congressional hearing.
They Have the Big Ticket Lawyers
The right to your own labor, to strike, to refuse an illegal or dangerous order. The right to tell your supervisor things are smelly in Denmark. The right to expose malfeasance and shoddy manufacturing and death-creating products. The right to question the killer ingredients in chicken McNuggets?
It’s shoot to kill now, if as a citizen, you want to photograph clearcutting plots, animal factory farms, fracking facilities, even fields of GMO Franken-Corn.
When a community declares it is against war, against nukes, anything, the long arm of government and corporations comes in upper-cutting hard. Worse, though, is the longer arm of the mob, the herd, the bandwagoneers. Propaganda is a valuable tool of fascists and Madison Avenue, of governments and of right-wing movements. And let it be clear there is no real left left when that person announces his or her Democratic Party allegiances. Shifting the center to the right has been witnessed by yours truly my entire lifetime as a journalist — it is embarrassing how so-called weekly alternative newspapers are as right-wing as Mitt Romney. Let alone the massive experiment on the populous for this continual shifting baseline disorder. One day a few months ago, Big Pharma was despised in poll after poll. Now, Big Pharma wins the Nobel Prize collectively. Imagine the billions Pitzer has paid out in lawsuits, single ones and class action. Imagine that, and now imagine the profit hoarders, the mercenary capitalists, making billions on this jab-jab-jab jabberwocky.
Imagine the thugs the thugs hire to do their bidding, their dirty work. Imagine the Sisyphus of it all now, now that not just companies like Comcast, but their competitors, too, and entire countries, use app’s to send in faked and false comments to politicians. Imagine that, Sisyphus. The new normal is citizens scrounge up people to push a bill like the aerial spray moratorium, and then, imagine, those great software engineers and former military agents setting up companies that set loose false statements, push propaganda to a new level.
This article is being algorithm spun and any and all parties mentioned herein will be putting me on another watch list, or black list, but since I am just Don Quixote, I’m small potatoes, maybe even insane in their eyes.
I know I am on some FBI lists since some of the groups I was associated with have been surveilled by the Felonious Bureau of Inhumanity.
Try the Google search tool on “Dow” or “Agent Orange” or on “Timber Unity.” You’ll get more and more accolades, fewer and fewer critical hits. The rich have their Google tools and worldwide web cast far and wide.
It’s like this: You can lose your job as a pig/cop for calling an African American the racist term, n—–, but you keep your job if you put a bullet to the back of the head of that came black man while in uniform.
How does this all relate?
Again, communities taking control of their boundaries, their health, safety and welfare? Communities defunding the police. Communities putting the brakes on growth, on building and construction trades, on projects that impede healthy traffic loads. Communities demanding smoke stacks not release toxic chemicals. Imagine that, in Newport, where the largest users of our freshwater system — a brewery and the shrimp industry. You think there is pushback on those two outfits?
Who will sit on the water board? Who will be at the table when more scrutiny hits the beer and shrimp industry?
Then the Chamber of Commerce, and then the Rotarians, and then all manner of people saying, “We need jobs, we need infrastructure, we need corporation x and company y in town. Putting all these limits on their growth, on their profits, on their business model, is antithetical to capitalism. They know best. They hire the best engineers, the best economists, the best communicators, the best scientists. You do-gooders know nothing about running a business, keeping the lights on, building employment bases, providing a culture to a community. You are against all growth.”
Growth is that timber industry buying up more and more parcels of land, and, in fact, insurance companies and other investment portfolio “holders” own (sic) this land. In fact, you can own your 100 acres, but if you got snookered thirty years ago by needing some shekels to keep going, you ended up working with shifty insurance and timber companies to “grant them the right to come in and sustainably log said designated acreage in 30 or 40 years . . . here’s how much big money we will give you up front to keep those beautiful trees growing big and healthy and keeping that air clean and all those streamlets pure.”
This is reality, man. People in their 60s or 70s who came out here in the 1970s, now have seen their property cut down vis-à-vis those three- to five-decades old contracts.
Now there are some things in the world we can’t change — gravity, entropy, the speed of light, the first and second Laws of Thermodynamics, and our biological nature that requires clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy and biodiversity for our health and wellbeing. Protecting the biosphere should be our highest priority or else we sicken and die. Other things, like capitalism, free enterprise, the economy, currency, the market, are not forces of nature, we invented them. They are not immutable and we can change them. It makes no sense to elevate economics above the biosphere, for example.
–– Canadian scientist and TV series producer David Suzuki in his acceptance speech for Right Livelihood Award
The model of forestry is to use it all as a commodity, to manage it (control and destroy it), to turn real ecologies into tree plantations. Some people call these places out here, deserts:
It’s a no-brainer trees also provide shade for maintaining water temperature. To carry the analogy to the end point, we see fallen leaves, limbs and branches support food webs by providing food and habitat for insects that are food for fish, Hayduk states. Clean, cool water with more food equals bigger fish.
Nuances like growing alders on the flood plain or marsh plain encourages other species of trees to grow on the decaying fallen alder.
Looking at the ecosystem from a centuries-versus-a-few-decades perspective is important in understanding what Evan and others of his ilk are attempting. “Big conifers that fall help with grade control. Water tables rise. Conifers in the riparian areas can grow from 100 to 200 years before they fall into the creek.”
This concept of a “messy” stream refugia as being the most healthful for all species is anathema to the way most humans have thought about rivers. Scientists like Hayduk know fish get through any of the hurdles a natural stream environment presents them — even with huge logs and entire trees with root balls integrated into the water flow.
Laws only on Hold
The Lincoln County law held for over two years, preventing aerial application of pesticides. This got under the skin of the coalition of people and businesses in that so-called Timber Unity outfit.
The rule of law, of course, supports every aspect of predatory and disaster capitalism.
That judge in September of 2019 wrote: “Oregon does not recognize an independent right of local community self-government that is fundamental, inherent, inalienable, and constitutional.”
This is a battle line fought in many communities.
“Though this decision will be appealed on the grounds of denying the exercise of the right of local self-government, it also serves as positive energy to move the amendment forward so ultimately people, not corporations, decide the fate of their communities,” said Nancy Ward, coordinator for the Oregon Community Rights Network.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted Lincoln County Community Rights in drafting the law and representing them as an intervenor in the case. CELDF also sought to represent the Siletz River watershed’s interests in the case. The judge denied intervention.
Appeals were filed by Lincoln County Community Rights and the Siletz River watershed. They have their proverbial day in court June 1, 2021. This is from their May 8 press release:
Lincoln County Community Rights, the non-profit organization that placed Measure 21-177 on the ballot, filed an appeal against invalidation of the measure. The Siletz River Ecosystem also appealed the trial court decision to deny it intervention in the case. Oral arguments will be heard virtually Tuesday, June 1, 2021 in the morning session.
Speaking on behalf of the Siletz River Ecosystem, Carol Van Strum notes that ”securing rights of the river to exist, thrive and be protected from poisoning by aerial spraying is part of a global movement of tribal and other entities to grant natural systems standing to defend themselves in our courts.”
What is at stake is whether state government exists to protect people’s rights to save themselves and their environment from poisoning, or to protect industry’s right to poison people and their world for profit.
There have been more than the immediate effects on residents exposed to these chemicals: severe headaches, rashes, respiratory problems, and nosebleeds. Pets, livestock and wild animals exposed to spraying have died. Doctors and other medical professionals have been stating for years that long-term exposure to chemicals like glyphosate, 2,4-D and atrazine (just a few of the major ones used by the logging industry) can injure the liver and kidneys. The number of stillborn and miscarriages and babies with intellectual, learning and developmental disabilities is high in areas where these chemicals are sprayed.
Yet, the reality is Capitalism is all about “might makes right,” and as is true of any of the x, y, z you-name-it industries, in Oregon, the logging and chemical industries hold the Damocles sword (in the form of political influence) over the heads of all Oregonians. As is true every time, when these x, y, z you-name-it industries’ actions put people at risk, and ecosystems, one might believe there is a moral imperative for legislative and regulatory bodies to have a legal righteous imperative to intervene. The very idea of keeping industry spraying and industry land holdings secret should strike anyone believing in a democracy as both wrong and harmful to the public’s interest. Oregonians should have a right to determine which chemicals are verboten, but also, there has to be a set systems of do no harm, at any cost to the capitalist interests.
Solutions like having no-spray buffers from chemical drift speak to the inability of Oregon and other governments to hold them accountable. The Community Rights organization is in this to make sure state agencies work to protect our health by protecting wildlife, water, and not just private property.
Shielding politically influential industries from accountability is the name of the game, but community bill of rights movements have been proposed (and defeated in court, and the ballot box) to do exactly that — penetrate the obfuscation in order to hold them accountable and to derive their own agency to decide what a community deems safe.
The fact is we have let capitalism frame all debates, so, if there are movements to, say, stop animal cruelty in the agricultural arena, those movements should be part of the public interest, backed by government scientists and planners in concert with real science.
We can read a headline in the pro-farmer-rancher, Capital Press, “Anti-animal ag initiative raises alarm among Oregon farm groups … protections for livestock producers under the state’s animal cruelty laws,” but that entity, so-called journalism, will never access or refer to studies going back 20 years on the enormous amounts of cruelty the factory farming does to animals.
The same sort of mumbo-jumbo is leveled at people like Maria and Carol and the entire movement to put a stop to poisons in the air, water, soil. The fact a community group has to set forth an initiative process to get a spray ban even on the ballot box, up against the compliant media, the huge coffers of money to spend on propaganda by the timber and chemical industries, is not democracy at work.
For me, the history (my personal one) of a community bill of rights comes from a body of work tied to a community’s right to set the standards for human and ecological health, as well as the standards for labor and health and welfare. My own background includes 10 solid years in Spokane, and I was part of the push for the Envision Spokane, Community Bill of Rights, which bestowed legal rights on the Spokane River, granted residents the right to block development in their neighborhoods and given employees workplace protections. The kicker was to restrict any corporation’s “rights” that might be conflicting with the measure — conflicting with the community’s guidelines and values.
It took a coalition of business groups and governmental entities to sue, and the Washington Supreme Court “gave a victory to local business groups after unanimously ruling that Envision Spokane’s sweeping Community Bill of Rights ballot measure was outside of the initiative process and should not go before voters.”
Note the verbiage in the quotation marks. Very telling how business groups (backed by big bucks, and out-of-state bucks) is stated as a “coalition”, as opposed to being correctly labeled as a lobbying entity, special interest group, an anti-voter league. The media and press are spokespersons for the business community. Rocking the boat (taking a stand, or looking at community and nature bills of rights with a deeper analysis) is not part of the DNA of most co-opted media/Press entities.
At least High Country News gave LCCR a better shot at their story than other sources:
Anti-spray activists are appealing — and going after the pre-emption law itself. They say that the state and federal government shouldn’t be able to prevent locals from seeking greater protections for community and environmental health. It’s a new twist on long-running efforts by rural Westerners to gain more power. Traditionally, rural counties in Oregon and across the West have sought to undo state and federal environmental protections and open up land for logging and other industries. Now, Lincoln County residents want the power to create additional environmental protections, which they believe are necessary to end corporate political dominance and protect their health.
Murder, Broken Bodies, Poisons — A Tale of Too Many Counties
Just read some of the stuff here on the chemical industry, the state regulators, and more. Carol Van Strum, in her book, A Bitter Fog, and also when one talks with her, demonstrates the sacrifice of her activism — she lost four children in a fire at their cabin/house during the heated battle she was having with the chemical companies and forest service. She stated to me that the fire chief felt the fire was suspicious. Carol is clear that something wasn’t right that evening when she went to a neighbor’s with freshly baked bread and returned to her four children’s lifeless bodies from the fire.
From my piece on Carol: This is an idyllic life until the four children are sprayed. Then the court battles, the scientific investigations (and backtracking and cover-ups) of the real effects of these herbicides. We are talking about neighbors throughout the area, up to a mile away from each other, collectively having multiple miscarriages, children born with genetic defects, adults suffering cancers and other ailments.
The dedication in her non-fiction book is emblematic of the struggle Carol has undergone: “For my children, Daphne, Alexey, Jarvis and Benjamin Van Strum.”
I asked her what gives her hope. “The death of our children left me with what they loved — this farm, this dirt, these trees, this river, these birds, fish, newts, deer, and fishers — to protect and hold dear. These became my anchor to windward, keeping me from just drifting away with every wind that blows.”
Even that tragic story isn’t simple — there is evidence the four children, old enough to babysit each other, perished in a house while Carol was next door at a neighbor’s house. The fire marshal indicated it was suspicious, potentially the result of arson. Carol has her suspects.
This article was to be a precursor to the Lincoln Community Rights court case this June 1. However, for me, this is more than that, much deeper to, as we are all running into the gauntlet of US “rule of law.” The game is rigged, and you can ask anyone, not just public citizen Ralph Nader.
Describing the United States as an “advanced Third World country,” longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calls for a new mass movement to challenge the power corporations have in Washington. “It is not too extreme to call our system of government now ‘American Fascism.’ It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism,” Nader says.
I end this long article with my interview of Maria Kraus and Debra Fant, two of the Lincoln County Community Rights activists:
Paul Haeder: What personal stake do you have in this fight to ban aerial spraying?
Maria Kraus: Personal stake? Every person aware of what is going on with our ecosystems, how they are unraveling due to ravenous extraction from them and toxic spraying on them to increase profits derived from extraction, has a stake in the effort to save the planet from becoming uninhabitable. This is a fight that is everyone’s fight, in which the personal examples of deadly illnesses, malformations, pain, hunger, and misery, together with the sight of degraded ecosystems, streams drying up, vanishing wildlife species are what should make this a universal fight.
Debra Fant: As a person who lives in coastal forest and appreciates clean cold water to drink for myself, my family, my community, I am highly motivated to end use of toxic chemical combinations from industrial tree farms in our watersheds.
PH: Fiftieth Anniversary of Silent Spring. Ironically with your case being heard next month. Any comments about this fact with reference to that below, here –
MK: Rachel Carson’s voice was the first to sound out publicly about the danger of using chemicals, DDT in her experience, not only to people, but to the environment. She held that chemicals should be studied for their effects on living organisms, soil, water, and air before being released into the environment.0
In other words, she insisted on the Precautionary Principle, according to which, chemical substances are not considered safe for use until proven to be so. However, industry, which dominates government here and in many other countries, believes that “business is business”, and that the profit motive has priority in all business decisions. Accordingly, the world has been freely experimenting with thousands of chemicals regardless of their possible effects on all forms of life and on the environment. The din of profit-making silenced Rachel Carson’s voice. Not only did use of chemicals proliferate during the many decades since Silent Spring was published, but chemicals used for war, such as Agent Orange in Vietnam, which were banned while the war was still going on due to the harm they caused to people exposed to it, started being used as herbicides in the US afterwards. There was a massive surplus of them and that could not be wasted. A market had to be found for them. Meantime, production of some chemicals has been banned only to make room for reformulations of their ingredients in new chemical products launched by the thousands into the market, with only a fraction going through testing. The EPA, created under the Nixon administration, has functioned, in Nixon’s own words, as a “buffer between industry and the public”, to make people believe they are being protected rather than to actually protect them.
Industry tests its own products, and regulations are written to stop only the most extreme and obvious harms, ensuring that they remain effective for the purposes that industry produces them, and, with that, harmful to every living organism that comes into contact with them. The evolution of chemical use is glaring proof that government, in the US especially, is of, by, and for profit-driven industry, not for the health, safety, and welfare of the people and the places where they live.
DF: Biocides – “any substance that can kill living organisms,” came out of chemical warfare after WWI and became chemical warfare in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The US Congress stopped the military use of Agent Orange four years before the war ended because of the harms to people, land, water, wildlife, and food crops. Why then was it sprayed on timber lands of our county and elsewhere in Oregon? It not only killed plant material but created deformed farm animals, aborted elk and deer fetus’ with defects, and babies born without brains. These experiments on living people and communities confirmed toxicity of forever chemicals that do not degrade or disappear The US Government agencies and industry collaborated for profits, corruption rampant in safety testing protocols, and so called scientific results suppressed or simply changed to support the lies that these chemicals are “safe” when label instructions are followed. Rachel Carson warned us and spoke clearly the dangers yet industry and regulatory agencies were motivated by greed, dazzled by man-made innovations without the wisdom to question destructive practices. If this is an intelligence test, I fear the human family is flunking.
PH: So Carson took up her cudgels. Her book is not a mathematical theorem. It is a carefully researched, precisely reasoned, and elegantly written argument for what she passionately believed to be the public good. It is a product of her social conscience, but not the diatribe that her critics complained about. She did not call for a ban on all pesticides, but mostly for the long-lasting chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT whose movement through the environment cannot be contained and whose residues, being fat soluble, are stored in animal tissues and recycled through food chains.
“It is not my contention that chemical insecticides should never be used,” she wrote. “I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals indiscriminately into the hands of persons largely or wholly ignorant of their potential for harm… I contend, furthermore, that we have allowed these chemicals to be used with little or no advance investigation of their effects on soil, water, wildlife, or man himself.” See Yale e360 source.
PH: Science should be “science” always in quotation marks since many in the “scientific” community (sic) adhere to a belief that chemicals have been tested extensively, and that there are no scientific connections to harms done on animals and humans at the level of dilution, say, an aerial application of said herbicides are used. Comment on this.
MK: The question is what “tested extensively” means. When does “extensively” become enough? Many of the chemicals used, in the concentrations they are used, don’t show their effects until many years after exposure, and some only in future generations.
Industry, of course, will not wait that long before launching chemicals into the market.
Once that happens, and time passes, it is hard to trace harmful effects to the chemical that caused them. In the race to justify its profitable products, the chemical industry is eager to find reasons to market them, not to refrain from doing so. Having the freedom granted to it by government, it conducts its own testing, and conveniently does so in search for the answers it needs to launch its products. The EPA accepts those results. What industry does to get chemical products approved for marketing has little to do with science, and much more with fooling the public to accept what they say. How much or for how long were flame retardants tested, or formaldehyde, before they were released for their various commercial applications?
We all know that growing food with poisons is madness, and that growing it on poisoned soil is madness too. We also know that forests have grown for millions of years without poisons, and that a mature or old-growth forest is healthier than a planted industrial one.
DF: The people of Oregon who sued the Forest Service to stop their spraying of Agent Orange in the 1970’s won their case and caused 1/2 of AO, 2,4,5, T to be de-registered. They also won a case proving that a contracted firm named IBT that EPA hired to do live animal studies of toxic chemicals used fraudulent practices and did not follow scientifically sound protocols to determine safety for the chemicals. Evidence of collusion between EPA and industry changing study results showed up in their own documents and communications which are part of the digitized “Poison Papers” online. That’s not scientific research, that is corruption.
PH: Yes, the rights of nature, yes, that’s where I come from, a deep green ecology. But for you both, how to frame that concept of a river having rights or land having rights to the average mis-educated and mis-directed citizen you might run into at a grocery store or public meeting?
MK: The argument we frequently use is that corporations are considered to be persons and have rights, and yet corporations are just a bunch of documents authorizing certain activities. Supposedly they speak through money.
Fundamental to the idea of Nature having rights is the fact that we are part of Nature and that all life is interconnected and depends on that interconnection. If we hurt one creature in the web of life, we hurt all the others that depend on it one way or another. We know that the absence or presence of wolves in an area can change the landscape of that area. If the wolves are no longer there, species that wolves predate on will multiply and eat vegetation that was abundant before. That vegetation will fail to provide nourishment, or shade, or shelter, to another species, which will not survive in that area, and so on. If starfish die, like they have in certain areas of the West Coast, sea urchins multiply exceedingly and eat all the sea grass, which is one of the main carbon sinks in the ocean. Westward winds over the Sahara Desert blow across the Atlantic Ocean and fertilize the Amazon Forest.
We all depend on Nature, and our need to protect it from human greed, crucial to its survival and that of all life, is best translated into recognition of Nature’s right to exist, flourish, and renew itself, a right which needs to be protected by laws, as perhaps the fastest way to get people to understand that transgressions against Nature have to stop. As we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just because we exist, a right that is not up for discussion (although it has and continues to be violated), the right of Nature to be itself is not up for discussion. We have treated Nature as property. That has gotten us into the predicament we are in now, being as we are in danger of losing it as a source of life. This is still a concept that is difficult for people to grasp, but more and more people are coming to terms with it.
DF: Legal rights and the ability for a harmed river or a blasted mountain to be represented in a court of law are only needed where human beings have no limit to their willingness to harm balanced ecosystems whether for extracting fossil fuels, metals, board feet of lumber, or clean drinking water. When humans lose the ability to value clean air or fertile soil in a non-monetary way, there is no end to extraction no matter the cost to wildlife, oceans, humans, and nature’s resilience. Legal rights may be the only way of keeping intact what is needed for life on this planet!
People who relate to the Earth as our Mother, a forest as our grandparents, a river as our sister are not likely to defile or poison those ones who are family. When we all live with that value, knowing when what we have is “enough” and caring for clean water more than we care about money, we won’t need legal rights for nature to exist, thrive, and persist.
PH: Construction and finance rule the world, and here in Oregon, and in the world, there is a reported lumber shortage, and now a doubling of the prices of lumber. All sorts of reasons tied to lockdowns, SARS-CoV2 and more. Anticipate the push back from the timber industry which will cite that jobs are at stake and their own scientific studies showing aerial spraying is safer and more efficient and more expeditious than crews going out on the land hand spraying.
MK: We have had that kind of pushback from the timber industry all along, going on four years now. What has changed is the number of lawsuits filed for illness caused by the use of certain herbicides (mainly glyphosate) against the chemical industry, which have resulted in billions in fines for Bayer/Monsanto. In addition, many scientific publications and presentations by environmentally aware economists, foresters, and others (see Ernie Niemi, John Talberth, Chuck Willer) have raised awareness of the harm done to the soil by aerial pesticide spraying (and other forms of spraying), such as the death of micro-organisms; acceleration of global warming and climate change provoked by clear-cutting, drying up of streams in industrial forests, which carry only 50% of the water carried by streams running through mature and old growth forests, dying of fish and other water life due to increased temperature of the water in industrial forests, decreased capacity of industrial forests to store carbon because trees are not allowed to grow to a size that permits more storage, being cut down at 30-35 years of age instead of 80-100, and chemicals reaching streams and rivers due to drift or percolation in the soil. The discussion is evolving from aerial pesticide spraying to use of any herbicides and pesticides as more and more information on their harm comes to light.
The timber industry will continue to use its old arguments unless and until the law changes, and, together with that, also building materials. Our argument centers around preemption laws, which forbid local communities from protecting their health, safety and well-being, together with that of Nature, on which all life, including ours, depends, from the ravages of the timber and chemical industry through local democracy (people’s initiatives) such as our Measure 21-177. It focuses on the fundamental duty of government to protect the people from harm, and its use of preemption laws to instead protect the right of industry to profit from activities that constantly threaten and undermine the people’s and Nature’s wellbeing. Such laws turn the people in whom constitutionally all power is inherent to the guinea pigs of industry, making them the constant subject of chemical experimentation which they quietly oversee, like silent gigantic parasites sucking on the people’s and Nature’s lives while government looks on.
DF: Toxic chemicals are not required for re-growth of trees in this temperate rain forest. it is a fallacy made up by industry who wanted a market for their chemicals just as they made up those stories for food production.
Industry has been cutting at unsustainable levels for decades and finding loopholes in the law to clear cut far more than is wise. It’s time to keep standing natural forests who work daily to absorb C02 and release oxygen, hold moisture and fertility in the soil, protect the effectiveness of watersheds’ abilities to provide clean drinking water, provide habitat and food for wildlife, cold water for fish survival. It’s time to transition to growing hemp and bamboo that are fast growing fiber crops that can be processed locally for new building materials like “hemp-crete” and provide jobs for our people.
PH: This is coming down to a legal issue, where the concepts of precautionary principles and do no harm and holding polluters and chemical companies accountable to carry out all necessary objective studies of all their chemicals before being allowed to get approval for use might be powerful to me, a deep green ecosocialist, but we live in a country where herd immunity toward understanding/respecting/caring about the whole of nature and immunity to arguments about long-term health and safety concerns are the ruling orders of the day. We are expected to believe mainstream scientists about things like vaccine safety or the approval of what, now, (scientists) have given the green light to a million tons of radioactive water being dumped from Fukushima, so why not agree with the scientists who are in the employ of DOW, Monsanto and OSU forestry program?
MK: Our fight is to change how the government works and, ultimately, to bring down capitalism and its perverted and suicidal values. Can we win? Do we have enough time left to win, as the abolitionists and suffragists did? Probably not. We can either submit to the status quo or die fighting. Everyone has that choice.
DF: Because it’s BULL SHIT!
PH: What lessons learned for both of you as you go into this hearing, going on four years since you all activated?
MK: Everything I have written here I have learned through working on the aerial spray ban, from working with a group of people who are committed to putting their efforts into improving the world we live in, to seeing the importance of working for others, of contributing to one’s community. From the harms being inflicted on our environment to how government really works, especially here, but also in varying degrees in many other countries; from working as a team, to admiring the dedication of others and the varying forms in which it is expressed, and also appreciating the different talents that people doing the work bring to it. One of the main lessons has been to arrive at an understanding of how capitalism works, how disastrous its emphasis on profit is for the planet.
DF: I’ve learned that you can learn how to do almost anything that is unfamiliar or unknown, that commitment and truth telling are powerful and attractive forces to draw people together, that person power of volunteers can take on powerful corporate interests and make local law to protect safety and well-being, and it’s not all about the MONEY! Industry’s own public opinion polls late in the campaign showed that a majority of voters in this county did NOT want aerial spraying of pesticides and that included families who were a part of timber industry services. Would have loved to watch the Timber guys when they learned that poll results!
Two plus years without aerial spraying of toxins was a huge relief to all of us who live downstream. Listening to a spraying helicopter within a mile of my home after that was traumatic and made me cry for the streams getting poisoned, any life forms remaining on the steep slopes, for the ignorance of those who believe the spin and lies told about toxic chemicals being “safe.”
PH: In your own words, respond to: “Our argument is that the local government exists to protect public health and safety and should be immune from pre-emption laws that prevent them from doing so,” said Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin. “State preemption is a weapon of corporate special interests, which can more easily control state legislatures rather than deal with counties and local governments that are closer to the people.”
MK: I believe that preemption can be used for different purposes, and can be necessary (such as preemption of racism, violence, slavery, etc.) It is being used to protect corporate interests at the expense of public health and safety. That is the use we object to. Local governments should be able to enact more stringent laws than the state to protect the people’s and Nature’s health, safety and wellbeing (ceiling preemption, which prohibits more stringent protections of safety and health than the state has imposed, is what we are fighting). In that sense local governments should be able to complement the state government, because they are closer to the people. Preemption interferes with that closeness.
DF: Amen. Who cares more for finding solutions to local problems than the people who live there? Who will value and care for the land on which we live, work, play any more than we will?
End Note — Calling an Eichmann a Little Eichmann
Ward Churchill was vilified, dragged through the racist media mud, and afforded no due process and no 1st Amendment rights. Every time I open up the laptop and put fingers to illuminated keyboard, I feel the wrath of the overlords and Mafia thugs at the back of my neck. An Eichmann or a Little Eichmann are men and women who keep the trains running, the chemical spigots open, the bad science running, and the ruling class stashing their profits into every imaginable unethical and illegal tax shelter and “it takes money to make more money” scheme imaginable.
I see Little and Big Eichmanns in the vast military industrial complex, and the chemical-mining-extraction complex. This “complex” we call MIC is vastly more than just military industrial complex because our wars, our saber rattling, our sanctions, our dirty dealing, or incursions into other cultures on many levels is the Complex that props up and promulgates the wars: wars against nature, wars against people, wars against cultures, wars against diversity, wars against thought. There are millions of Eichmanns in the drug, medical, prison, education, law, finance, banking, real estate, AI complex. Herbicides is one small part of the Eichmann Show. But again, the vastness of the crime — from scientists, salespersons, governments, agencies, universities, state bureaucracies, media, press — is illustrative of capitalism on steroids: profits at any cost; secrecy; off-loading the harms to the people; welfare for the rich/corporations; unfair economies of scale; monopolies; a cabal of lawyers/judges/politicians working for them and against the people. Eichmanns big and small.
It is obvious that the University (U of Colorado) would never have begun its investigation of Ward Churchill were it not for his “little Eichmanns” comment, which he made as a citizen, not as a scholar or as a representative of the University. It is also obvious that dismissing Churchill from his position as a professor at the University violated his First Amendment rights. Most U.S. citizens will agree that what keeps America vital are the freedoms enjoyed by its citizens, foremost of which is speech. Without free speech, the U.S. is just another totalitarian state. This is why citizens must jealously guard the rights of their fellow citizens to express opinions, even opinions with which they disagree or that anger them. If Churchill is not allowed to speak freely, none of us are.
It was Churchill’s essay of September 12, 2001, that drew attention to him — an essay that called victims of the attack on the World Trade Center “little Eichmanns.” For four years the essay, titled “Some People Push Back,” went unnoticed, but in 2005 it caught the attention of faculty and administrators at Hamilton College in New York, and from there it went viral, becoming the topic of nonstop media commentary that lasted for months. Source
I supported Ward when he came to Eastern Washington University in Cheney (Spokane), and I supported him before that, and afterward. How many times have I used the Little Eichmanns rejoinder, uh? Death to me a thousand times over! That was 16 years ago when the radical violent Zionists and Israel Firsters went after him. Now? It’s as if all those chickens have come back in droves to roost, and they are taking a huge salmonella shit on us all. If you think you are radical and voted for Harris-Biden, you are in that muck, shit. The liberal project, the neoliberal bent, the neocon drive, the emptiness of cancel culture, all of that, it’s come to haunt the liberals. For socialist communists like myself, those chickens are just another version of “Whitey On the Moon“.
“Some People Push Back” On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
By Ward Churchill
When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X famously – and quite charitably, all things considered – replied that it was merely a case of “chickens coming home to roost.”
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens – along with some half-million dead Iraqi children – came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well.
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)
Definition: An ecological bridge between land and sea … the wrack line.
I’ve been looking at the unimagined biological and genetic effects on planet earth caused by “better living through chemistry” capitalist mentality. While Rachel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring, catalogued just one aspect of the plethora of physiological effects on animal life, in 2021 we can confidently state there is so much evidence of all the pollutants, toxins, spewing gasses, pesticides, hormone disruptors, radioactive isotopes, forever chemicals, nanoparticles, fungicides, heavy metals and waste pits conspiring to completely disrupt all manner of life.
In that process of contemplating this yesterday, while railing against local older folk who will for Year Two have a Zoom Earth Day (April 22) instead of celebrating this day utilizing our amazing atmosphere and beachside waysides to bring people together, I walked the wrack line.
This is that “line” of organic material that ends up on beaches when tides go back out. It is a biologically important micro-ecosystem of seaweeds, crustaceans, shells, decaying birds and fish and mammals. This wrack line is studied by marine biologists. It provides an amazing supply of food and building components for living crustaceans.
Homo Sapiens pick through the wrack line for treasures like polished agates, whole shells, burled drift wood, and seeds from afar. These wrack lines, unfortunately, are now clogged with that deadline by-product of “better living with chemistry,” plastics. There’s other rubbish, for sure, from the by-products and by-processes of consumerism and industrialism.
There are hidden ones, like radioactive isotopes and impossible to pronounce elements added to the periodic table of elements since I was a high school student in 1973.
The wrack line is also symbolic, allegorical, since if we look deeply at all those industrial processes and all the other processes tied to a Military-Medical-Pharma-Fossil Fuel-Mining-Big Ag-AI-Surveillance-Retail-Media Complex, the fallout of negative chemical influences on humankinds and all flora and fauna are worth a billion lifetimes worth of investigations. This system is run on untold new polymers, additives, lubricants, surfactants, stabilizers, metals, organic compounds, forever chemicals, volatile organic compounds, PFAs, PCBs, resins, and other dandies as part of the sloughing off, combusting, off-gassing, leaching, reactive synergistic war on plant life, animal life, genetic life.
This is far from hyperbole, though in essay form the reader might pause and doubt some of my veracity, but the fact is that any process in this system of consumerism and capitalism ruling the land by the rich who are not held to account with highly regulated precautionary principles and do no harm ethos WILL spoil life in some form or fashion.
For an on-line newsletter like Hormones Matter (where I’ve written a few pieces a few years ago) there are synergies being studied tied to hormones, entwined to biological processes at the cellular and genetic levels within the humanscape. These trillions of cells, these highly complex and fragile human systems of biology are studied with a fair mind, kind heart and open dialogue to help people mitigate, survive or reverse many of the ailments covered, all somehow tied to epigenetics and physiological deregulation and autoimmune discombobulating, to put it brutally simplistic.
The wrack line for those readers/chronic illness sufferers tapping into sources like Hormones Matter is composed of all those people struggling with their ailments and diseases, under a system of Western Patriarch and Machismo Arrogant Medicine. The wrack line in a larger sense is that proverbial line in the sand for communities far and wide attempting to provide safe water, safe food, safe products, safe air, safe housing in order to congregate as a community of caring, supporting and holistic healing.
The concept of holism, community-engagement and community-directed support for health, safety and prosperity is truly built into Homo sapiens DNA, yet under capitalism and rampant consumerism and this highly dog-eat-dog wrecked Darwinism, it has been perverted, subverted, derailed and forcefully forgotten. Memory holed. Orwellian in it’s scope — Organic Food is Poison, Disease is Health, Community is Dangerous.
Imagine the starvation in places like Yemen, and in dozens of other countries because of the strategic playbook moves of predatory, disruptive, and destabilizing capitalism. Starvation because of failed governments after wars and proxy wars. Failed crops because of soil degradation, negative weather patterns, and criminal ill distribution of wealth.
The number of countries that are forced to use the so-called green technologies Rachel Carson alluded to in her 1962 book is more than 150. GMOs, high fertilizer and pesticide inputs. Massive factory farming, concentrated feeding operations. Round-up Ready crops and sprays are just the tip of the iceberg. The economies of scale have created lakes of blood, waste, urine. The amount of pig waste that gets untreated is equal to four humans per pig.
And this stuff is collected near waterways, rivers, streams, and enters the water table and into croplands. These ponds are emptied with gizmos that spray the liquid poisons into the air, onto vast miles of cropland. Atomized death.
So even before the products get to the table, wrapped in plastic, sped along vast fossil fuel spewing supply lines, and before the hormone disrupting, and antibiotic-laced flesh gets cooked in millions of ovens, the seed of disease has already been planted throughout the land. These places of sacrifice, so-called sacrifice zones in a form of disaster capitalism, are also termed forms of environmental racism.
This system of genetically engineered transgenic foodstuffs, and this system of chemicals beyond chemicals sprays on crops, well, that is the modern food system.
The results are firmly planted in research paper, journal article, white paper, and on-the-ground ground truthing. I’ve seen in my 38 years teaching, each year, more and more nervous ticks, attention deficits, learning deficits, food allergies, mental acuity challenge, physical ailments, chronic illnesses in my students, pre-teen all the way up to adults.
Asthma, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, brain fog, emotional discombobulating regular bouts, and more. I’ve even had the “luck” to teach active military at an academy and on several military bases/posts. The amount of destroyed immune systems, as well as the toll on hearing, sight, thinking and the body, well, it’s no wonder so many utilize the socialized system of health called the Veterans Administration. I have had people show me reports of the negative effects of the forced vaccinations and medical treatments soldiers in or out of war time have been burdened with. Lots of reports of service connected disabilities, and we are not just talking tinnitus or a back injury. We are talking more than just Agent Orange. We have a suite of illnesses and diseases tied to service at or around Camp Lejuene. There is a documentary titled, Semper Fi, which I have reviewed and screened to homeless veterans at a 24 hour facility I worked in as a social worker run by that poverty pimping place of ill repute, Salvation (starvation) Army. That camp/base was a dumping ground for chemicals used to propel internal combustion machines, and to clean those machines – dumped into the water.
The result of that human forced wrack line – miscarriages, Parkinson’s, tumors, cancers, and any number of diseases. This list below for Camp Lejeune conditions is very similar to other workplace “injuries”:
Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes.
It’s a small and incomplete list, and of course, the tally doesn’t include all the learning disabilities, all the attention deficits, all the allergies, all the other cancers that offspring might develop over time.
I haven’t touched upon all the genetic mutations in animals, frogs with extra legs “growing” out of their heads, or butterflies dying by the billions, or bird eggs thinning and thinning.
This is the way of our system – wrack lines from the chemical companies are equally on my mind when I walk these beaches and contemplate the billions of gallons of contaminated water from Fukushima about to be released intentionally.
The food of capitalism is industrialized, ramped up to unimaginable scales that require energy inputs, fossil fuel inputs, and massive clear-cutting and bulldozing of natural ecosystems. From industrialize coffee plantations in Vietnam, to miles of monocrop organic (sic) strawberries in California, to confined animal feeding operation to oil slicked sea.
A society that warns pregnant women to not drink the well water in those eight states that produce most of the soy, corn, chicken, beef, pig, and eggs for this country, well, if the wrack line is not absolutely warped and demonstrably upside down, then I find it difficult to give a more simple, pure example of this sickness.
Don’t drink the water or you may have a miscarriage, or you might give birth to a diseased baby? If that isn’t truth in advertisement, then I don’t know what is.
Imagine the exponentially worse conditions in Mexico, in other countries, without as robust a phalanx of groups fighting against and exposing this crime against humanity.
But the irony is there are more water defenders, crop defenders, community defenders in many Latin American countries, than in this country, per capita. There is a reason we have organizations that expose the murders of environmentalists throughout the world for attempting to hold accountable and stop so many US and transnational/global corporations in the business of creating their own wrack lines – oil, mining, cattle, swine, commodity crops, corn, sugar, and a suite of other capitalistic systems of oppressive business models and pollution creators..
Just the short elevator speech on Atrazine, the most widely used pesticide in our crop systems in the USA. Imagine, this is acceptable risk, allowable negative effects of this poison: “Large numbers of chemicals that are included in pesticides cause toxicity and as a result loss of neurons occurs through necrosis or by apoptosis. Such neuronal loss is irretrievable, and may result in a global encephalopathy. This is known as neuropathies.” Just go to the research site, Beyond Pesticides.
Here, some facts about Monsanto’s Roundup:
Although glyphosate should be associated with a low toxicity recent studies related to the potential toxicity of this herbicide have pointed out more evidence of the health risks .In this sense, in 2015, the herbicide glyphosate was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. A growing body of literature points to possible, adverse environmental, ecological, and human health consequences following exposure to glyphosate and/or AMPA (its primary metabolite aminomethyl-phosphonic acid), both alone and in combination with ingestion of genetically engineered proteins.
Environmental studies encompass possible glyphosate impacts on soil microbial communities and earthworms, monarch butterflies, crustaceans, and honeybees. Studies assessing possible risks to vertebrates and humans include evidence of rising residue levels in soybeans, cancer risk, and risk of a variety of other potential adverse impacts on development, the liver or kidney, or metabolic processes.
— Impact of Glyphosate on Human Health: Risks and “Needs” of its Use by Maria Drumond Chequer Farah and André Leiliane Coelho.
The fact is just Genetically Modified soybeans grown in the U.S.A., Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay — accounting for 86.6% of the 11.6 billion bushels of soybeans produced globally in 2014, and nearly all global trade in soybeans and soybean-based animal feeds — have been a plague on ecosystems — terrestrial, avian, aquatic we call Mother Nature — as well as a plague on humans, children, adults and the unborn.
Indeed, more and more independent researchers are looking at Roundup as a source of dozens of ailments, from gut diseases to attention disorders. Imagine the “null” use of the precautionary principle just with this one weed killer! Multiple the number of other poisons and toxins entering the food-stream by hundreds.
Refer to the first part of this series related to the spraying of chemicals closely formulated from the precursor, Agent Orange (a mixture of equal parts of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D with some dioxins thrown in) — including Roundup and 2,4-dimethylheptane.
Plastic in Your Poop
The work of artist Chris Jordan on plastics and just on the consumer waste in our capitalist consumer society is amazing. His documentary, Albatross, stays with me as I walk the wrack lines on the Central Oregon Coast. I’ve walked wrack lines all over the world, and been in places where plastic bags and single-use plastic containers and bottles have destroyed ecosystems, on beaches, in harbors and along river ways. Here, on the coast, we get all manner of bits and pieces and larger trash, mostly plastics, on those wrack lines. Microplastics, well, the schools here in this county where I substituted I had the opportunity to talk about plastic bag bans, the effects of plastics on marine life, and the inevitable class giggle topic of plastic in our poop. The reality is that every person on planet earth has microplastics in their feces. We talked about plastics in everything they eat, the packaging, the clothing, in bottled water, and the soil. I showed parts of Albatross. That bit of relevant education, from a well-traveled substitute, got me banned from the school system for showing these documentaries, “for upsetting the students (customers).” For me this is yet another symbolic wrack line in my life, one of the washed up and failed education system that I might allude to in part three of this series.
As a diver, as an environmentalist, as a deep green sustainability proponent, and as a journalist and teacher and someone with a load of urban and regional planning under my belts, the reality for me is we have been at war with nature, with ourselves. Plastic is yet another symbolic manufactured element that is emblematic of our capitalism gone wild. Plastics are the thing of fossil fuels, and heavy natural gas consumption. Those fancy polymers are more than just a physical eyesore in the form of Pepsi bottles and single serving ketchup packets. This stuff is entering the blood-brain barrier, and is causing untold havoc on the human biological ecosystem. Delayed or premature puberty. Diabetes. Gut ailments. The reality is we do not know all the possible negative health outcomes of microplastics alone, as opposed to microplastics mixing with all those nanoparticles and the other chemicals coming into play in the human physiology.
Last year, I viewed on line a Remote Operated Vehicle filming the deepest part of the globe, the Mariana Trench, with ghostly images of single use plastic shopping bags floating by. It wasn’t a surprise, since I have been a scuba diver for more than 45 years. That revelation was, however, yet another cut in the 10,000 cuts of spiritual and intellectual death people like me have to steel himself from.
So, things may go better with Killer Coke, in the minds of marketers and consumers, but the reality is that if we take one thing out of the complicated web of processes and products, separate one intended or unintended consequence of the revolutions we label industrial and post industrial (Fourth Industrial Revolution is a digital one, so research that through writers like Cory Morningstar, Whitney Webb and Alison McDowell), we see that Minute Maid/Coca-Cola’s heavy use of sugar and HFCS, and their anti-labor union work in tropical countries where their oranges and other citrus crops are under armed guard, behind concertina wires and CCTV security system bring with them huge intended and unintended consequences: negative impacts to ecosystems – nature, culture, economy, communities, human health.
Again, John Muir a hundred years ago, stated it clearly —
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
— My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, page 110.
Now, let’s reverse this adage by stating it this way – When you put in anything by itself from industrialized processes, we find it hitches onto one thing or many things in the Universe of the biological universe.”
So, those deadly Bic lighters and all those bits and pieces of plastics washing up on shore into wrack lines, or clogging rivers and wetlands and deltas, well, we can see the effects on a meta and micro scale.
Akin to global biogeochemical cycles, plastics now spiral around the globe with distinct atmospheric, oceanic, cryospheric, and terrestrial residence times. Though advancements have been made in the manufacture of biodegradable polymers, our data suggest that extant nonbiodegradable polymers will continue to cycle through the earth’s systems. Due to limited observations and understanding of the source processes, there remain large uncertainties in the transport, deposition, and source attribution of microplastics. Thus, we prioritize future research directions for understanding the plastic cycle.
So, microplastics in poop just is the funny side of things for elementary and junior high school students. The reality is microplastics are found in the liver, lungs, spleens and other organs of humans. BPA, also known as bisphenol A, is a chemical in the production of plastics. It’s a reproductive, developmental and systemic toxicant in animal studies.
It would be naïve to believe there is plastic everywhere but just not in us, said Rolf Halden at Arizona State University. We are now providing a research platform that will allow us and others to look for what is invisible – these particles too small for the naked eye to see. The risk [to health] really resides in the small particles.
This bioaccumulation in tissues, that is, in the animals we eat, like tuna or salmon, is also part of the bioaccumulation of plastic particles in the food we eat, air we breathe, water we drink. With the Covid-19 hysteria, plastic masks, plastic everything, is now in the waste stream. As one Wall Street guru stated, “Plastics, that’s what you should invest in . . . the goofy plastic shopping bag bans is making MORE money for the plastics industry . . . more heavy plastic bags are being purchased to make up the difference.”
Disaster capitalism, and shock doctrine, which writer Naomi Klein has written about extensively, is tied to that old saw that the GDP goes up when Walmart of Amazon delivers more things to places and communities under some sort of disaster. When hurricanes and tornados hit, companies far and wide make money. Wars in the Middle East, well, the list of corporations that make money on the entire effort of war and warring, it’s huge. The disease maintenance of USA’s private for profit medical systems, whether it’s a for-profit United Health Care, or for-profit nonprofit religious hospital, makes people money. Lots of it. Poverty and disease and war are profitable circumstances for a large swath of American businesses.
The public pays for the diseases and illnesses and loss of time with family, lost wages, lost communities. We pay for the birth defects in our newborns, and we pay for the multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s in our older people. The externalities of capitalism are the various issues Hormones Matter covers when looking at diseases. The convenience of plastic bottles and pipes in our homes is the cancers of the future. Those plastics in the belly of whales, birds and albacore are the bioaccumulated toxins in our daily meals. We don’t need to study the great Pacific plastic gyre to understand how plastics break down, unseen, or subsurface. We will at some point have more plastic particles in the oceans than all the organic biomass. These are not the fictions of Ursula La Guinn or Margaret Atwood.
Weathering and Weather Proofing
This is descriptive of how to keep that house from getting peeling paint, curling roof tiles, mossed over eaves, and worn down carpets and floors. It sounds benign, too, when we look at the studies around weathering for African-Americans. For youth, we utilize ACEs — Adverse Childhood Experiences for outcomes here in Oregon as social services practitioners.
10 ACEs, as identified by the CDC-Kaiser study: Abuse. Physical. Emotional. Sexual. Neglect. Physical. Emotional. Household Dysfunction. Mental Illness.
These are what a child’s circumstances could be no fault of their own. Poverty, parent(s) with substance abuse issues, with mental health issues, with spousal abuse in the home. Of course, the more direct of these 10 on the developing child will create probable outcomes, possible lifetime issues. Pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps is an inane concept for youth presented with one or many of these areas of ACEs. Yes, poverty hurts, but if the family has sets of resilient measures and safety nets, then the negative future effects on the child with that one ACE could be actually negligible or even self-empowering.
But now that other overarching set of circumstances tied to the idea of weathering:
Repeated exposure to socioeconomic adversity, political marginalization, racism, and perpetual discrimination can harm health. This weathering has created a slew of medical issues for African Americans, especially, but other minorities like Latinx. However, the fabric of a racist society with all the heavy hand of Jim Crow and The New Jim Crow is q quilt of many death by a thousand cuts for Blacks. Quality of life diminished, but also life expectancy cut too.
In her later work, Dr. Arline Geronimus and other scientists who embraced the weathering hypothesis extended it to apply to Black adults in general, not just Black women.
For instance, a 2006 paper by Dr. Geronimus and colleagues set out to test the hypothesis that Black adults “experience early health deterioration as a consequence of the cumulative impact of repeated experience with social or economic adversity and political marginalization.”
In the NPR interview, Dr. Geronimus explained the notion of weathering using a metaphor that is in equal measure disheartening, troubling, and alarmingly true.
Referring to the activist Erica Garner, who died of complications from a heart attack at the age of 27, Dr. Geronimus said that the feelings of stress leading to such an early death are like playing a game of Jenga.
Paraphrasing the activist’s sister, she said: “They pull out one piece at a time, at a time, and another piece and another piece, until you sort of collapse. […] I thought that Jenga metaphor was very apt because you start losing pieces of your health and well-being, but you still try to go on as long as you can.”
— Medical News Today
Another feature and term is the allostatic load — the repeated exposure of societal and economic stress creates a physiological response, and weathering. These are biomarkers such as cortisol levels, sympathetic nerve activity, blood pressure reactivity, cytokine production, waist-to-hip ratio, and glycated hemoglobin levels.
I’ve seen this up close and personal first-hand when I started teaching in El Paso, at community colleges and universities. I saw this in the faces and body blows and prevalence of diabetes and heart disease and asthma in the parents of my students. Many of the parents were from poverty and from racist communities in Texas. These parents were categorized as non-white Hispanics. Many were farm laborers, migrant workers. Many were cooks and maids and construction laborers.
This relationship I had with my students and their families and my friends, as well, was parlayed into more observations in Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Belize. The more pressures on people, on indigenous poor people, the more rapid the decline. In most cases. For Black Americans, this is a triple whammy since there are a few examples of Blacks overcoming the poverty and the heavy toll of hard work and constant Diaspora. But just because there is an Orpah or Vice President Kamala Harris, doesn’t mean anything to the Black or Latinx in constant struggle to work their bodies hard, sometimes three jobs a person, to get out of institutionalized and systemic poverty.
My friends in the Army and Air Force, African American friends, still paying the toll of a life before military service and even racism while in the armed services. This weathering is both descriptive of a general biological and mental toll on people always on the move, always going from paycheck to paycheck, always one step ahead of the repo man or forced eviction from the county sheriff.
So many of my Black colleagues in social services have told me that “this office, this job, this nonprofit, well, it’s like the old South — this is not my house.” The toll on my colleagues with the overt and covert racism was huge. Just going out into a rural area of Oregon to serve foster children clients for a Black woman was more than just nerve-racking. Seeing confederate flags in yards populated with snarling pit bulls with 2nd amendment stickers on pick-up trucks with bumper stickers stating, “This vehicle is protected by Smith and Wesson,” caused great emotional harm. I was asked many times to accompany my fellow social workers on these calls.
This higher level of sickness and weathering and death at an earlier age is not just a matter of economic circumstances. No matter how hard people in the USA want to hem and haw, “racial disparities in poverty suggested to the researchers that living in a ‘race-conscious society’ and the efforts required to cope is what causes weathering.
This leads to other factors tied to weathering in a more geographically determined way — environmental racism. The father of environmental justice is in fact Dr. Robert Bullard, an African American professor of urban planning at Texas Southern University.
His website states it succinctly what this environmental injustice/racism is:
America is segregated and so is pollution. Race and class still matter and map closely with pollution, unequal protection, and vulnerability. Today, zip code is still the most potent predictor of an individual’s health and well-being. Individuals who physically live on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ are subjected to elevated environmental health threats and more than their fair share of preventable diseases. Still, too many people and communities have the ‘wrong complexion for protection.’ Reducing environmental, health, economic and racial disparities is a major priority of the Environmental Justice Movement.
Weathering then takes on another component — polluting industries and agricultural practices end up on the wrong side of the tracks. Exposure to massive amounts of chemicals goes right into the lap of migrant farmers and field hands. Those plastics refineries are in the low rent district of a town or city. The burden of air contamination and dirty water (think lead and Flint, Michigan) is placed more heavily on people of color.
Yet as we now know, chemicals and carcinogens are an equal opportunity killer when it comes to our food system as it is sold in grocery stores. More than 80 percent of the wheat products — bread, pasta, crackers, cereal — have Roundup in them from field spraying close to wheat harvest. We all are in one giant rotating mass experiment. The weathering of the human psyche kills us earlier, but the weathering creates by poor nutrition, poor choices, polluted choices, that is now flowing out from the Black community into many more communities.
You Are What You Eat, Drink, Read, See, Say, Dream, Do, Hope for, Plan, Listen to, Care About
This is a thread to my teaching and my own life — you are what you do, or what you do not do. Replace the subheading above with the negative, and that also explains a person’s heart, hearth, health and hopes.
I used to have my college students go over the implications and deep multiplicity of concepts and research topics tied to photographer Peter Menzel’s and writer Faith D’Aluisio’s travels around the world and their documenting the foundational human behavior of what we eat. Their project, “Hungry Planet,” depicts everything that an average family consumes in a given week—and what it costs.
Their book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats in 2005, showcases meals in 24 countries.
Germany: The Sturm Family of Hamburg. Food Expenditure for One Week: € 253.29 ($325.81 USD). Favorite foods: salads, shrimp, buttered vegetables, sweet rice with cinnamon and sugar, pasta.1
Vietnam, The Rice Farmer
Name: Nguyen Van Theo
Age: 51; Height: 5′ 4″; Weight: 110 pounds
Caloric value of food this day: 2500 calories
BREAKFAST: Rice noodles, 2.7 oz. (dry weight), boiled and eaten with fish sauce, 1.5 tbsp.
LUNCH: Pork loin cooked with bean sprouts and green onion, 3.6 oz. Pork back cooked with pickled mustard greens, 3 oz. White rice, 1.4 lb.
DINNER: Pork back seasoned with fish sauce and caramel sugar, 1.6 oz. Eggs, from his chickens, fried with green onion, 2.6 oz. Spinach and spinach water broth, 5.2 oz. White rice, 1.4 lb. Homemade ruou thuoc (strong rice wine with herbs), 1.9 fl. oz.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY: Green tea, 7.8 fl. oz. Tobacco, 0.5 oz. Boiled rainwater, 1.6 qt.
“In this food portrait, a pile of last year’s rice straw lies in the background. It is used as fuel to boil water in the family’s small kitchen. Cisterns collect rainwater for drinking and cooking.”
Those so-called food deserts, the neighborhoods where there are more 7-11’s, gun shops, liquor stores, PayDay loan outfits and fast-food joints than anything else, including a place to purchase green groceries and a place to learn how to cook them, that’s another project of weathering the body to fit the capitalist quick dirty buck schemes. Imagine food disparagement bills, so-called Cheeseburger bills, that prohibit media from attacking bad food and fast-food for negative health outcomes. Imagine that scenario, and it isn’t in a Brave New World, but it has been an un-brave old world of protecting polluters, whether it’s coal ash and smelters spewing in the air, or if it’s bad food, nutritional empty food, salty-greasy-sugary foods pushed down the throats of toddlers by school systems. Weathering also caused by subsidies for the big eight — soy, wheat, pork, dairy, corn, beef, poultry, canola — but nothing for the organic vegetable and fruit farmers. A decent sized organic apple costs as much as a cheeseburger, Coke and fries.
Yes, I worked in Vietnam, and yes, the mother’s milk in 1996 had 15 times the EPA’s allowable PCBs in it, thanks to the gift that keeps on giving — soil laden with those carcinogens and dioxins from Agent Orange. The places I went to were just getting snarled in dirty motorcycle traffic and more and more cars. The lifestyle became more supercharged, more consumer focused, and alas, beautiful trees would be cut down to accommodate larger and larger lorries and semi-trucks.
In the hinterland, where I also spent time with scientists from Hanoi and from the UK and Canada, I did engage with robust and personal conversations with Vietnamese, sometimes ethnic Vietnamese, in their homes, as they shared meager but tasty meals, sharing bongs of tobacco, and yes, the rice wines. Not to idealize the rural and agrarian and sometimes subsistence lives, I still know for a fact from my other travels into Latin America, there is a multitude of negative prices to pay — Faustian bargains galore — for adopting Western consumerism, lifestyles and diets. Obviously, a refrigerator is life-saving, for sure, and a fan, another lifesaver. But the rolled cigarette smoke in the air and lungs, as well as the black soot and persistent aromatic particles are more carcinogen and COPD gifts that come in a delayed package.
Weathering. Sort of the reverse weathering, far different than the weathering of Black men and women in the USA. But still, a good way to look at things broadly. That consumption of everything, from books to movies, from beer to beets, from burgers to briskets, all of it has a short-term and long-term effect on everything, inside the person’s body, all the way through the economic and environmental/cultural webs.
The Air We Breathe at Home
This sort of polemic can really never end, for in fact, there are literally entire human lifetimes of work which could easily be put into book form to the 10th or 100th power. The simplest things like soil and water are easily seen as what should be help sacrosanct, but inevitably, we see that the systems in place through industrial ag or industrial harvesting, anything on an industrial level, including such amazing practices as mountain top removal for coal, or fracked subsurface geology for bitumen, or cyanide slurry sprayed on rocks to get at gold.
Necessity, for capitalists, is the mother of invention. And the “necessary” thing (necessity to be gotten at is, of course, profits.
I remember my mother, who grew up in Canada, Powell River, the largest pulp mill in the world at the time placed there, producing megatons an hour of paper, newsprint, tissue. The town is on Indian territory, but I never knew it as a kid visiting there. What I remembered was the heavy weight of the air, that burn rotten egg smell, the sulfuric acid like sing at the back of the throat. Then the quaint town was hit with ash showers several times a day. I recall free car wash stations in several parts of town to keep the old Ford’s paint from really peeling.
Many townspeople were hit with lung diseases, eventually COPD and emphysema in their 30s or 40s. My mom was constantly having bronchitis in both lungs. Other youth also had the same problems. The giant company of course rattled off plausible deniability, citing poor genes, poor lungs, poor diets, you name it.
I could see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, and hear it, all those blasts of pollutants coming from the cookers and bleachers and peroxide vats. The proof was in the back of the throat and in the hacking up of green stuff, but again, jobs, a union, a company town ethos.
I had to really reach middle age to understand that British Columbian town, and the pre-white man history: These were Coast Salish people of the Tla’amin Nation. The gold fever created a spot for gold prospectors coming from Vancouver Island to make their way on the Fraser River for that boom or bust quick fortune.
This is leading up to that air we breathe, the stuff my daughter and stepdaughter breathe in their respective schools they attend. We are talking about dust collected and analyzed from a university revealing again, more invisible-to-the-eye gifts that keep on giving: Study.
Cell-based assays are an emerging method to quantify the total activation or suppression of hormone receptors by complex environmental mixtures of hormone-disrupting chemicals. Compared with traditional targeted laboratory approaches that measure each chemical in a mixture individually, cell-based assays of dust are inexpensive, rapid, and statistically simple to model. Hormonal activities in assays of dust also reflect the combined effects from co-exposures of all hormone-disrupting chemicals in the sample, including unmeasurable chemicals and unknown regrettable substitutes. The assays account for any mixture effects, such as when a chemical’s effect is triggered, enhanced, or reduced in the presence of another chemical.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), organophosphate esters (OPEs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are hormone-disrupting chemicals that migrate from building materials into air and dust.
We aimed to quantify the hormonal activities of 46 dust samples and identify chemicals driving the observed activities.
We evaluated associations between hormonal activities of extracted dust in five cell-based luciferase reporter assays and dust concentrations of 42 measured PFAS, OPEs, and PBDEs, transformed as either raw or potency-weighted concentrations based on Tox21 high-throughput screening data.
All dust samples were hormonally active, showing antagonistic activity toward peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPARγ2) (100%; 46 of 46 samples), thyroid hormone receptor (TRβ) (89%; 41 samples), and androgen receptor (AR) (87%; 40 samples); agonist activity on estrogen receptor (ERα) (96%; 44 samples); and binding competition with thyroxine (T4) on serum transporter transthyretin (TTR) (98%; 45 samples). Effects were observed with as little as 4μg of extracted dust.
This is a scientific research study of 46 dust samples from 21 buildings on a US university campus. It’s the old flame retardant sloughing off issue. Imagine, there is no evidence that flame retardants applied to all manner of things prevents fires. But we know that more than 90 percent of Americans have the retardant in their/our blood, and we know the health effects include infertility, diabetes, obesity, abnormal fetal growth, and cancers.
This study helps explain how these PFAS and flame retardants enter the body. For the initiated, PFAS first gained press as compounds in Teflon. They are utilized as part of a coating for carpets, furniture, and clothing. Even inside electronics you’ll find these PFAS. And much-much more:
Right off the bat, when baby comes out of mother’s womb, she is exposed to hundreds of chemicals, including PFAS and another species of flame retardants found in the dust — polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. These PBDEs may have been phased out in eight years ago — after they were implicated in health issues such as infertility and thyroid dysfunction. But they are still around, in all sorts of products. Recycled plastics contain them as well. Swaddled babies wrapped in PFAS and other materials coated and sprayed with organophosphate esters.
The price of capitalism and better living/dying with chemistry is a sick and sickening society: again, just these family of chemicals cause through some very sophisticated and synergistic processes amazingly harmful things such as “impaired fetal development, obesity, decreased vaccine response, preeclampsia, testicular cancer, immune dysfunction, kidney cancer, and elevated cholesterol levels.”
The resolution sets unachievable goals. We do not yet have the technology needed to reach “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” in 10 years. That’s why many wind and solar companies don’t support it. There is no clean substitute for jet fuel. Electric vehicles are growing quickly, yet are still in their infancy. Manufacturing industries such as steel and chemicals, which account for almost as much carbon emissions as transportation, are even harder to decarbonize.
Amid this technological innovation, we need to ensure that energy is not only clean but also affordable. Millions of Americans struggle with “energy poverty.” Too often, low-income Americans must choose between paying for medicine and having their heat shut off. …
If climate change policy becomes synonymous in the U.S. psyche with higher utility bills, rising taxes and lost jobs, we will have missed our shot.
The problem may be that a transition to 100% renewables is the wrong target. Reversing climate change need not mean emptying our pockets and tightening our belts. It is possible to sequester carbon and restore our collapsing ecosystem using the financial resources we already have, and it can be done while at the same time improving the quality of our food, water, air and general health.
The Larger Problem – and the Solution – Is in the Soil
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest environmental polluters are not big fossil fuel companies. They are big agribusiness and factory farming, with six powerful food industry giants – Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Dean Foods, Dow AgroSciences, Tyson and Monsanto (now merged with Bayer) – playing a major role. Oil-dependent farming, industrial livestock operations, the clearing of carbon-storing fields and forests, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and the combustion of fuel to process and distribute food are estimated to be responsible for as much as one-half of human-caused pollution. Climate change, while partly a consequence of the excessive relocation of carbon and other elements from the earth into the atmosphere, is more fundamentally just one symptom of overall ecosystem distress from centuries of over-tilling, over-grazing, over-burning, over-hunting, over-fishing and deforestation.
The story we do hear, as Judith Schwartz observes in The Guardian, is: “Climate change is global warming caused by too much CO2 in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels. We stop climate change by making the transition to renewable energy.” Schwartz does not discount this part of the story but points to several problems with it:
One is the uncomfortable fact that even if, by some miracle, we could immediately cut emissions to zero, due to inertia in the system it would take more than a century for CO2 levels to drop to 350 parts per million, which is considered the safe threshold. Plus, here’s what we don’t talk about when we talk about climate: we can all go solar and drive electric cars and still have the problems – the unprecedented heat waves, the wacky weather – that we now associate with CO2-driven climate change.
But that hasn’t stopped investors, who see the climate crisis as simply another profit opportunity. According to a study by Morgan Stanley analysts reported in Forbes in October, halting global warming and reducing net carbon emissions to zero would take an investment of $50 trillion over the next three decades, including $14 trillion for renewables; $11 trillion to build the factories, batteries and infrastructure necessary for a widespread switch to electric vehicles; $2.5 trillion for carbon capture and storage; $20 trillion to provide clean hydrogen fuel for power, cars and other industries, and $2.7 trillion for biofuels. The article goes on to highlight the investment opportunities presented by these challenges by recommending various big companies expected to lead the transition, including Exxon, Chevron, BP, General Electric, Shell and similar corporate giants – many of them the very companies blamed by Green New Deal advocates for the crisis.
A Truly Green New Deal
There is a much cheaper and faster way to sequester carbon from the atmosphere that doesn’t rely on these corporate giants to transition us to 100% renewables. Additionally, it can be done while at the same time reducing the chronic diseases that impose an even heavier cost on citizens and governments. Our most powerful partner is nature itself, which over hundreds of millions of years has evolved the most efficient carbon sequestration system on the planet. As David Perry writes on the World Economic Forum website:
This solution leverages a natural process that every plant undergoes, powered by a source that is always available, costs little to nothing to run and does not cause further pollution. This power source is the sun, and the process is photosynthesis.
A plant takes carbon dioxide out of the air and, with the help of sunlight and water, converts it to sugars. Every bit of that plant – stems, leaves, roots – is made from carbon that was once in our atmosphere. Some of this carbon goes into the soil as roots. The roots, then, release sugars to feed soil microbes. These microbes perform their own chemical processes to convert carbon into even more stable forms.
Perry observes that before farmland was cultivated, it had soil carbon levels of from 3% to 7%. Today, those levels are roughly 1% carbon. If every acre of farmland globally were returned to a soil carbon level of just 3%, 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide would be removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil – equal to the amount of carbon that has been drawn into the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. The size of the potential solution matches the size of the problem.
So how can we increase the carbon content of soil? Through “regenerative” farming practices, says Perry, including planting cover crops, no-till farming, rotating crops, reducing chemicals and fertilizers, and managed grazing (combining trees, forage plants and livestock together as an integrated system, a technique called “silvopasture”). These practices have been demonstrated to drive carbon into the soil and keep it there, resulting in carbon-enriched soils that are healthier and more resilient to extreme weather conditions and show improved water permeability, preventing the rainwater runoff that contributes to rising sea levels and rising temperatures. Evaporation from degraded, exposed soil has been shown to cause 1,600% more heat annually than all the world’s powerhouses combined. Regenerative farming methods also produce increased microbial diversity, higher yields, reduced input requirements, more nutritious harvests and increased farm profits.
These highly favorable results were confirmed by Paul Hawken and his team in the project that was the subject of his best-selling 2016 book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. The project involved evaluating the 100 most promising solutions to the environmental crisis for cost and effectiveness. The results surprised the researchers themselves. The best-performing sector was not “Transport” or “Materials” or “Buildings and Cities” or even “Electricity Generation.” It was the sector called “Food,” including how we grow our food, market it and use it. Of the top 30 solutions, 12 were various forms of regenerative agriculture, including silvopasture, tropical staple trees, conservation agriculture, tree intercropping, managed grazing, farmland restoration and multistrata agroforestry.
[I]implementing these practices requires an economic flexibility most farmers don’t have, and which is almost impossible to achieve within a government-backed system designed to preserve a large-scale, corporate-farming monoculture based around commodity crops like corn and soybeans, which often cost smaller farmers more money to grow than they can make selling.
Farmers are locked into a system that is destroying their farmlands and the planet, because a handful of giant agribusinesses have captured Congress and the regulators. One proposed solution is to transfer the $20 billion in subsidies that now go mainly to Big Ag into a fund to compensate small farmers who transition to regenerative practices. We also need to enforce the antitrust laws and break up the biggest agribusinesses, something for which legislation is now pending in Congress.
At the grassroots level, we can vote with our pocketbooks by demanding truly nutritious foods. New technology is in development that can help with this grassroots approach by validating how nutrient-dense our foods really are. One such device, developed by Dan Kittredge and team, is a hand-held consumer spectrometer called a Bionutrient Meter, which tests nutrient density at point of purchase. The goal is to bring transparency to the marketplace, empowering consumers to choose their foods based on demonstrated nutrient quality, providing economic incentives to growers and grocers to drive regenerative practices across the system. Other new technology measures nutrient density in the soil, allowing farmers to be compensated in proportion to their verified success in carbon sequestration and soil regeneration.
Granted, $20 billion is unlikely to be enough to finance the critically needed transition from destructive to regenerative agriculture, but Congress can supplement this fund by tapping the deep pocket of the central bank. In the last decade, the Fed has demonstrated that its pool of financial liquidity is potentially limitless, but the chief beneficiaries of its largess have been big banks and their wealthy clients. We need a form of quantitative easing that actually serves the local productive economy. That might require modifying the Federal Reserve Act, but Congress has modified it before. The only real limit on new money creation is consumer price inflation, and there is room for a great deal more money to be pumped into the productive local economy before that ceiling is hit than is circulating in it now. For a detailed analysis of this issue, see my earlier articles here and here and latest book, “Banking on the People.”
The bottom line is that saving the planet from environmental destruction is not only achievable, but that by focusing on regenerative agriculture and tapping up the central bank for funding, the climate crisis can be addressed without raising taxes and while restoring our collective health.
Campaigner and environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to Bayer Crop Science shareholders and Chairman of the Board Werner Wenning. She has also sent them a 13,000-word report. Mason is appealing to shareholders to put human health and nature ahead of profit and to stop funding Bayer. In her report, she sets out why shareholders should take this course of action.
Mason outlines how the gradual onset of the global extinction of many species is largely the result of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture. For instance, she argues that Monsanto’s (now Bayer) glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide and Bayer’s clothianidin are largely responsible for the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and that the use of glyphosate and neonicotinoid insecticides are wiping out wildlife species across the globe. Mason also argues that the science behind (chemical-dependent) GMOs is fraudulent and that the devastating effects of pesticides on human health can no longer be ignored.
She begins by addressing some of her concerns directly to Werner Wenning and Bayer shareholders. The following is a slightly edited (for clarity) version Mason’s letter to Wenning (and shareholders) and sets the scene for what is in her report.
Dear Mr Wenning,
I have taken the liberty of writing an Open Letter to Bayer Crop Science Shareholders for your next meeting. I apologise because I can’t find the email address of Paul Singer, Founder of Elliott Management Corporation but could you please pass it on. I understand that Elliott disclosed in June that it has a $1.3 billion stake in Bayer and Paul Singer was anxious for a settlement (glyphosate litigation cases in the US).
US District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco suggested a high-profile mediator, Ken Feinberg to lead settlement talks over the herbicide litigation. Has he resolved anything?
I understand that the Monsanto lobbyist organisation Genetic Literacy Project (Founding Director Jon Entine) has suggested that you might take the European Union to Court if they ban glyphosate in 2022. Liam Condon for Bayer Crop Science said: If we feel a scientific process, an established regulatory pathway, is being completely ignored, then of course we’ve got to look at all our options.
As you must be aware, Cancer Research UK protects the agrochemical industry: the CRUK website claims “there is little evidence that pesticides cause cancer.”
Michael Pragnell former Chairman of Cancer Research UK (2010-2017), founder of Syngenta and former Chairman of CropLife International, was awarded a CBE in 2017 for services to cancer research. CropLife International was founded in 2001. As of 2015, CropLife International´s member list included the following eight companies: BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC Corp, Monsanto, Sumitomo and Syngenta. Many of these corporations make their own formulated glyphosate. CRUK said that there was little evidence that pesticides caused cancer. CRUK, the CMO England and PHE, linked cancer to alcohol, obesity and smoking. They blamed the people for ‘lifestyle choices’.
But I have warned Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Under-Secretary of State for Defra, that when the British people wake up to the fact that pesticides are responsible for their reduced life expectancy (and the fact that they spend the last 16-20 years or so in poor health), Defra may be taken to court for re-registering Roundup when they knew it not only caused cancer but a host of other problems that have been outlined in my document.
The 2019 UK State of Nature revealed shocking declines in the natural world 04/10/2019.
Jon Snow, in the Channel 4 Report ‘Extinction Britain: Wildlife survey shows shocking declines in animals’, noted that 14% of UK wildlife faces extinction. Jon Snow has finally told the truth: “We all thought it was climate change. Now we are told we are actually poisoning the land with our agriculture.”
Most UK farmers who manage ‘75% of UK land’ are drowning their crops in pesticides and lobbied to continue this.
The National Farmers’ Union, the Crop Protection Association and the Agricultural Industries Confederation combined to lobby the EU not to restrict the 320+ pesticides available to them.
Global Chemicals Outlook II – From Legacies to Innovative Solutions: Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development March 2019.
Mandated by the UN Environment Assembly in 2016, this agenda seeks to alert policymakers and other stakeholders to the critical role of the sound management of chemicals and waste in sustainable development. It takes stock of global trends as well as progress made and gaps in achieving the global goal to minimize the adverse impacts from chemicals and waste by 2020.
However, there is Continued growth in the pesticide/crop protection industry.
“Pesticides include herbicides, insecticides, termiticides, nematicides, rodenticides and fungicides. These products are largely used for crop protection in agriculture. Today the industry is valued at over US dollars 50 billion and there are around 600 active ingredients. Herbicides account for approximately 80 per cent of all pesticide use (Phillips McDougal 2018).”
Top 10 products used on major crops in the United States by volume, 1968 – 2016 (Phillips McDougal 2018, p. 4).
No 1 Glyphosate (an herbicide, an antibiotic, a fungicide, an antiprotozoal, an organic phosphonate, a growth regulator, a toxicant, a virulence enhancer and is persistent in the soil. It chelates (captures) and washes out the following minerals: boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, nickel and zinc. (Monsanto/Bayer),
No 2 metolaclor, an organochlorine, selective herbicide
No 3 pyraclostrobin, a fungicide (Sigma-Aldrich)
No 4 mesotrione, a herbicide (Syngenta)
No 5 thiamethoxam, a systemic neonicotinoid insecticide (Syngenta)
No 6 acetochlor, a herbicide (Monsanto and Zeneca)
No 7 azoxystrobin, a fungicide (Syngenta)
No 8 atrazine, an herbicide and endocrine-disrupting chemical (Syngenta)
No 9 abamectin, an insecticide, an acaricide
No 10 clothianidin, a long acting systemic neonicotinoid insecticide (Bayer)
Bayer Crop Science shareholders, please read the attached document
Do you really want to put your money into two corporations that lied about the safety of their products for more than 40 years and continue to produce BIOCIDES for agriculture; chemicals that are weapons of war and kill all life?
Bayer Crop Science, the former IG Farben, a private chemical company allied with the Nazis in WW2, built a factory and a concentration camp at Auschwitz. IG Farben was probably the most well-known corporate participant in the Holocaust, and the company’s history sheds a chilling light on how genocide became tied in with economics and business.
Rosemary Mason 09/10/2019
Key points for Bayer shareholders to consider
The following lists just some of the key bullet points from Mason’s report. A wide range of peer-reviewed studies are listed in support of the claims made. Readers are strongly urged to access it in full via the acadameia.edu site.
Monsanto and pesticide regulators claim that Roundup only affects plants, fungi and bacteria because they have the shikimate pathway which is absent in humans and animals. Their assertion displays considerable ignorance of human physiology. Alternatively, it is deliberately fraudulent. Humans and animals have trillions of bacteria in their gut: the gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome is the collective genome of organisms inhabiting our body. Obesity is associated with low bacterial richness in the gut. Glyphosate, the controversial main ingredient in Monsanto‘s Roundup and other herbicides, disrupts the shikimate pathway within these gut bacteria, without which we cannot survive. Glyphosate is a strong chelator of essential minerals. In addition, it kills off beneficial gut bacteria and allows toxic bacteria such as Clostridium difficile to flourish. Two key problems caused by glyphosate residues in our diet are nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals and essential amino-acids, and systemic toxicity.
The richness of the human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers: we are facing a global metabolic health crisis provoked by an obesity epidemic. Britain and the US are in the midst of a barely reported public health crisis.They are experiencing not merely a slowdown in life expectancy, which in many other rich countries is continuing to lengthen, but the start of an alarming increase in death rates across all our populations, men and women alike. We are needlessly allowing our people to die early.
There is a gradual onset of the global extinction of trees and crops. Moreover, the fungicidal action of Roundup is destroying the means by which trees communicate. It would be irresponsible to release genetically engineered trees into the environment.
Glyphosateis being connected to Lake Erie’s troubling algae blooms, which has fouled drinking water and suffocated and killed marine life in recent years. Roundup and clothianidin are largely responsible for the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef because the APVMA did not read the instructions.
Massive kills of wildlife during flooding now make sense with glyphosate and clothianidin having been found to be toxic to aquatic invertebrates, biocides and immune suppressants.
Emerging pathogens are wiping out wildlife species across the globe partly due to immune suppression by glyphosate and neonicotinoid insecticides.
The science behind GMOs is fraudulent. US Attorney Steven Druker says that governments and leading scientific institutions have systematically misrepresented the facts about GMOs.
In the UK, each year there are steady increases in the numbers of new cancers and increases in deaths from the same cancers, with no treatments making any difference to the numbers.
Roundup/glyphosate causes birth defects at low doses.
Neurotransmitter changes in the brain derive from exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides.
The global legacy of aspartame, Monsanto’s neurotoxic sweetener: Erik Millstone has just analysed EFSA Panel decisions on Aspartame and finds they are biased towards industry (2019 paper).
All of Rosemary Mason’s reports and open letters to officials can be accessed here.
It’s a modest apartment in Newport where I sit with Susan Swift to go over “quite the life” as any listener might say about this feisty, spiritual and articulate, world-traveling woman.
The hitching post Susan and I tie our respective philosophical steeds on is “philosophy” and “fate,” although we could have brought in a whole team of other steeds to pull the conversation toward all spiritual directions.
“I know what is mine to do,” the 73-year-old Swift states early on in our talk. Since her life here on the coast — Five Rivers first — not only started in 1972 as a search for environmental justice, she also fell into a what would be a life-long walkabout as a student of karma, Dharma and the meaning of interconnected “souls.”
Before the Central Coast mountains, Waldport, Seal Rock and Newport, Susan was living the Southern California lifestyle in Compton.
The Alsea basin seems worlds away from her birthplace of Inglewood. Quickly, though, she and her husband and a whole slew of residents became embroiled in cloak and dagger drama, rising to the level of the US Forest Service spraying chemicals on their land, Dow Chemical and their lawyers attempting to wear down citizens’ groups, bugged telephones, and various sundry nefarious things unfolding in a seemingly isolated rural community.
One of Susan’s cohorts has already been featured in my column Deep Dive — Carol Van Strum. For more information on those battles with toxics, bad science and broken promises by officials breaking the rule of protecting public health, safety and welfare, read Oregon Coast TODAY, “A Real-Life Toxic Avenger.”
Sometimes a young life lived produces an amazingly detailed and complex life, for sure. However, in the end, when a journalist runs into a person like Swift, with seven-plus decades under her belt, a series of floodgates open up.
Toxins, Dirty Water, Building Family
Sure, Citizens Against Toxic Sprays is a big part of her foundation, 45 years ago when she was living in the woods, in a teepee and a small shack with Calvin Parker, husband number two (one of three, but who’s counting), and her son Joe Lund from a previous marriage.
C.A.T.S. was created with the organizing skills of Susan and others in the rural community, propelled by fear — the debilitating, permanent and deadly harm being perpetrated by officials and for-profit companies upon adults, children, pets, penned animals, wildlife and drinking water through herbicide spraying.
There’s plenty of newspaper copy and radio clips on Susan’s life out here, her singing, putting on events for the legal battle against the chemical companies and their spraying ways; her work on the Lincoln County Planning Commission and other issues tied to public health. She’s been featured in a November 23, 1980 article in Salem’s Statesman Journal.
What anchors much of what I see while talking with Susan (and in reporting on the people of this area) is best captured in one short passage from that article about Susan written by Kristine Rosemary with the Statesman Journal:
Now, to make any sense of the art of diplomacy as practiced in the hidden rural valleys and insulated towns of the Oregon Coast Range, you must consider this: It is a place of overlapping generations of emigrants, each with its own notions of how to live with the land. Rain and shards of Chinese-looking mists blow into those hollows in a thrashing wind. And writhing vines of domestic blackberry gone feral make a slow triumph of thorns. The children of homesteaders who came to farm these fertile valleys were joined 50 years after, by a second wave of urban exiles.
An emblematic quote and a microcosm of what this Oregon Coast now faces with population influxes, lack of affordable housing, more pollution to contend with, climate change and shifting economic, cultural and generational baselines. What is left out even in this Statesman Journal’s prescient description is what’s not included so many times in countless articles — who was here first.
The Siuslaw and Kuitsh people began settling the coast more than 9,000 years ago. They have probably lived in the same locations for hundreds of generations.
Who knows if that paper mill, hotel or housing development was built on an ancient significant site? Or on top of sacred burial grounds, or over summer root-picking fields or a shaman’s spiritual place?
Coast as Healing Center
Susan Swift, RN, formerly known as Mrs. Parker, Swedish massage therapist, is keenly aware of Native American history as her daughter, Autumn Rayne, is part Cheyenne. What has been germinated from those early days in Five Rivers, then in Waldport, and then to the Valley and even Portland, is a determined septuagenarian who has lived on a wildlife refuge in India, ended up in Egypt on a spiritual journey and has met the Dali Lama.
There are stories layered onto life lessons, like shoots on an old fig tree. Her past, Susan says, is her journey forward. She’s helped Mo and her husband (of the Oregon Coast’s famed seafood and chowder restaurants, Mo’s) get through the last days of their lives as their in-home certified care taker. She’s played guitar and sang with husband number three — musician and instrument maker, and she’s chased elephants out of her garden of succulents.
Iterations of her life include head of the Lincoln County Planning Commission, nursing school, working at a mental health unit in Portland, and now writing, which she’s recently pursued in a memoir workshop at the senior center.
The coast is the healing breath she takes with her wherever she ventures. Susan believes she has past lives (that we all do) to account for and to make amends with, as well as to understand in order to carry forth on a pathway to enlightenment. Ironically, Susan Swift says her gift of energy empathy and nursing came at a young age: “I first learned my hands could take away pain when I was 10 years old.”
Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.
— Thích Nh?t H?nh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist
Do what you love because the universe will support you. Speak and say what you want.
Be specific. Then get out of the way and let the universe take care of the details.
— Susan Swift, July 8, 2019
She laughs because her prayers for a partner were answered, but she wasn’t specific enough — “I didn’t mention that partner should be on the same continent.” That spiritual partner was living in India.
She went to India for a workshop with 45 people from 15 countries. That’s where she met this tall, dark handsome Reiki master. “He was raised Muslim, and I was raised Christian, and we came to the same spiritual place, looking for the same spiritual answers.” That was in 2005. She returned to the USA and had a spiritual awakening with him over the years — sharing emails, letters, phone calls.
“In 2010, I retired, closed up the Vancouver house, put everything I owned into my son’s house in Covington, Washington.” She spent a total of four years in India, on a wildlife refuge: Mudamalli Wildlife Refuge in Tamil Nadu. Her partner was Nijamudeen. Susan was “totally embraced by this huge Muslim family.”
Her travails get complicated as Susan courses back and forth through her own chronological history and these many points of enlightenment in her 73 years. She has a thousand stories floating around her cranium. I fill pages and pages of notes.
How she got to India, with her healing touch on a dog that had been attacked by a black panther, covers all levels of spiritual and geographical ground. She went to Egypt in 2003 on a prayer for peace journey with 250 people from 25 nations. She talks excitedly about going down the Nile and to a resort on the Red Sea. She talks about the guides and hotel charges playing the song, “Imagine” by John Lennon, wherever they went since the tour’s theme was taken from the songwriter’s famous piece.
The trip was part of a far-reaching international push to get George W. Bush and his administration to hold off on a violent attack on Iraq, to instead follow international players’ plans to get Saddam Hussein to agree to step down with loads of money.
“I told an Egyptian woman that this was my first use of a passport as an American, and I was ashamed and told her I couldn’t handle it. She held me and told me calmly: ‘America is the world’s great hope for democracy and freedoms. We understand that your president was appointed by the court and wasn’t elected by the people of your country.’”
The Enlightened Being is Really Inside Our “self”
Now rewind to 1982, and Susan Parker is headed for Seaside, to catch a talk by the Dali Llama concerning China’s latest offer to return Tibet to China. “It was quite an entourage. I was at the greeting line. Oh my gosh, there I was telling the Dali Llama I was so honored and most joyful about his visit, with my sandalwood mala in my hand. He leaned in and bonked third eyes with me.”
A life is not always marked out with milestones set forth in an organized and clear path, but for the sake of brevity, it might be wise to follow our Central Coast resident using a timeline to get through some of her dynamic, compelling life chapters.
She grew up in a working-class family in Compton, and as stated earlier, she knew she had healing hands as a youngster placing them on her mom’s two ruptured spinal discs. The young Susan wanted to be outside playing baseball, “but my hands seemed to know what to do with the muscle spasms the size of my fists.”
Those healing hands more than five decades later would take care of a large tumor on Nami (Namaste), the Basenji dog in India she adopted, and used her healing words to help Gemmee, who has his shoulder gashed after it had outrun a black panther. “Nami never barked, just commented about everything in this yodeling song.”
Back to the Land on the Lam
Back to how she ended up in Five Rivers — she was with Calvin Parker, a Northern Montana Cheyenne she met in Pasadena. He was a sergeant in the US Army, about to be sent to Vietnam. He ended up AWOL, and the couple moved to Five Rivers where his sister was living in an old school house.
They lived in a 15-by-30, cold-water shack heated by a wood-burning-stove. “During this time, I was dreaming of a dark-haired, light-eyed girl.” (which eventually was their daughter, Autumn Rayne)
Susan ended up taking minutes for the local school committee. She found an old mimeograph machine and put together the Five Rivers Run-off Community Newsletter, stuffing flyers into mailboxes. That’s when she took notice of the herbicides issue popping up in editorials inside the Newport News Times.
“I hadn’t gone to school at that point, but I created a health form survey, passing it out door to door, all the way from Highway 34 to the mill. So many miscarriages, tumors and cancers were reported.” That was 1974, and Susan Swift shakes her head as she tells me that a scientist from OSU still advocates there is nothing wrong with 2,4,5-T.
This community of mostly women fighting the forest service and prevailing conservative strains of science worked together to build their adopted family on many levels. Susan laughs again recalling she was living in a teepee with two kids before getting her first place in Waldport. She was a single mom with a three- and 11-year-old. “They were exposed to musicians and artists coming and going all the time.” Joseph Lund graduated from Waldport High in 1985, and did the first video yearbook for the school.
She became an EMT-in-training for the Waldport Ambulance, graduating as the first woman to drive the ambulance. She ended working at a spa in Yachats. In 1978 she was lecturing at Lane Community College teaching different classes on the health effects of herbicide exposure, chemical releases in forestry and the dioxin molecule, diagramming it on the board, showing students how it worked.
She moved into her first house in Seal Rock, and put out her first shingle, “Susan Parker, LMT,” above a Waldport barbershop. The place became a center for healing. Transpersonal healing, encounters with lives, and more would begin to charge her life and encompass her interests.
“No matter what you believe, doing things out of compassion for others is as healing as we can get.”
She moved to Newport in the 1980s, at this point managing the Ocean Food Co-op. She was one of the spearheads to create an Oceana board of directors, hire a paid bookkeeper and charge a $10 yearly fee.
She met Husband Number Three at an open mic session at a local bar and eatery in Waldport. He was a guitarist and “amazingly gifted instrument maker.”
“I bought a guitar for twenty-five dollars cash and twenty-five in food stamps. I taught myself guitar and sang the songs I wanted to sing . . . positive ones. That’s when he said, ‘I like your voice.’” The marriage lasted one and a half years, but they are still friends.
With a belief in past lives, Susan takes many things both in stride and contextualized through transpersonal psychology, but she also has both feet in the waters of transglobal spirituality and multiple contexts for enlightenment and “godliness.”
Healing & Being in the Right Place Spiritually
Fate, she calls it, or her life’s proscribed journey points. She even ended up getting the finances for nursing school after working hard to take care of Mo (Mohava Niemi) who she was with until Mo died in 1992, as well as taking care of Mo’s spouse, Dutch Niemi, until he too passed on.
Dutch (he was a Finnish fisherman) had always wanted to send a child in need to college, but instead after Susan’s healing ways and hearing all the people taking care of his medical needs tell Susan she was a born natural for RN school, Dutch came through. “Dutch said he wanted to help me. That $9,000 helped me pay off bills and made it possible to go to nursing school.”
She worked for Dutch on weekends while she was at Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis. That healing and spiritual medical caretaking continued after nursing school graduation. She worked for a Portland neurosurgeon for three years, and she worked with the Oregon State Mental Hospital Portland campus as the lead nurse for six.
Her first nursing job was at Corvallis Manor, but she also took her caring hands and gifted spirit of empathy to a group home for developmentally disabled adults, Portland’s Eliot House.
“I treated every patient as a precious soul.”
While there was a 20-year absence from Lincoln County between 1994 and 2014, the draw to this area has been strong. She has joined up with Lincoln County Community Rights which just celebrated the two-year anniversary of its successful effort to ban aerial spraying in Lincoln County.
She’s done some driving for Yaquina Cab, shuttling people to and from the hospital. In this interview, Susan and I gravitate back to her story and her natural gifts — her abilities to organize and to start things, and her deep well of beliefs around alternative healing, energy fields on the body, and reincarnation.
These are book-level ideas, sculpted around a life still in the making, but one lived complexly and with mindfulness: with the added hues and tones of adventure, unique healing and death and dying situations painted in. One can hope she will see the light and eventually put down in writing a life well-lived, one where young and old might learn new (or old) meditative and mediation practices.
In our vapid celebrity culture, which is obsessed with putting the limelight on the rich, famous, or infamous, an authentic woman’s gritty and universal story should be compelling, to say the least.
“We have a choice everyday how we think. What you focus on, expands. We can choose how to go through this life. We need to just get out of our own way and begin living.”
In his first speech to parliament as British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:
Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.
Johnson reads from a well-rehearsed script. The ‘GM will feed the world mantra’ is pure industry spin. There is already enough food being produced to feed the global population yet around 830 million are classed as hungry. Feeding the world effectively, sustainably and equitably involves addressing the in-built injustices of the global food system.
The never-ending push to force GM on the public under the guise of saving humanity is a diversion that leaves intact the root causes of world hunger and undernutrition: neoliberal deregulation and privatisation policies, unfair WTO rules, poverty, land rights issues, World Bank/IMF geopolitical lending strategies and the transformation of food secure regions into food deficit ones, etc.
Even in regions where productivity in agriculture lags behind or concerns exist about climate change, numerous high-level reports have recommended that (non-GMO) agroecological practices should be encouraged to enhance biodiversity and deal with food and climate crises.
However, pro-Brexiteer Conservative politicians talk of the essential need for Britain and the world to adopt GM is little more than an attempt to justify a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington that will effectively incorporate the UK into the US’s regulatory food regime. The type of ‘liberation’ Johnson really means is the UK adopting unassessed GM crops and food and a gutting of food safety and environmental standards.
It is no secret that various Conservative-led administrations have wanted to break free from the EU regulatory framework on GM for some time. Back in 2014, Genewatch exposed collusion between the government and transnational corporations to force GM into Britain above the heads of the public. This is despite numerous surveys over the years showing that most of the British public remain sceptical of GM, do not see a need for it or reject the technology outright.
Rosemary Mason writes to Jonathan Jones
It would be reasonable to ask why GMOs are even on the market in the first place given that, in his book Altered Genes, Twisted Truths (2015), US lawyer Steven Druker set out in detail how GM could well be based on the greatest scientific fraud of our age. This is something environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason points out in a recent open letter to Dr Jonathan Jones, Head of the Sainsbury Laboratory in the UK, and his colleague, fellow US-based plant scientist Jeffrey Dangl.
In April, Jones received the go-ahead from the British government to carry out field tests on GM potatoes in fields in Suffolk and Cambridge. He was given permission to proceed despite Druker’s findings and Caius Rommens, former GMO potato scientist with Monsanto, raising serious concerns about genetic engineering.
In a new report by Mason, which she has sent with her letter to Jones, Rommens is quoted as saying:
We also assumed that theoretical knowledge was all we needed to succeed, and that a single genetic change would always have one intentional effect only. We were supposed to understand DNA and to make valuable modifications, but the fact of the matter was that we knew as little about DNA as the average American knows about the Sanskrit version of the Bhagavad Gita. We just knew enough to be dangerous, especially when combined with our bias and narrowmindedness.
If that was the state of knowledge (or lack of it) at Monsanto, then what of glyphosate-based Roundup, the company’s weedicide widely used in conjunction with GM crops? We already know from the ‘Monsanto Papers’ that ghost writing, cover-ups and duplicity seemed to be the order of the day as the company sought at all costs to protect its multi-billion-dollar money-spinner from being taken off the market.
If genetically engineered ‘Roundup ready’ crops – are introduced to fields in Britain, the use of glyphosate could accelerate even further. In her various reports over the years, Mason has shown the massive increase in the use of the weedicide in farming and the correlation with a huge spike in various diseases and conditions in the UK.
Mason wants to make it clear to Jones that when plant physiologists like him say that that glyphosate/Roundup only affects plants, fungi and bacteria and doesn’t affect humans, they are wrong.
She says to Jones:
You claimed, together with Monsanto and global pesticide regulators, that Roundup only affects plants, fungi and bacteria because they had the shikimate pathway which is absent in humans and animals. But humans and animals have trillions of bacteria in their gut: the gut microbiome, the collective genome of organisms inhabiting our body.
Mason states that obesity is associated with low diversity of bacteria in the microbiome and glyphosate destroys most of the beneficial bacteria and leaves the toxic bacteria behind. In effect, she argues, Roundup (and other biocides) are a major cause of gross obesity, neuropsychiatric disorders and other chronic diseases including cancers, which are all on the rise.
Her report refers to numerous studies, including a paper in Nature to argue that obesity is associated with low bacterial richness in the gut (Chatelier, E.L. et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers: Nature, 2013). Mason also draws attention to a multi-author study (Wang, Y. et al, “The Gut-Microglia Connection: Implications for Central Nervous System Diseases: Frontiers in Immunology,” 2018) which postulates the microbiome has relevance for both gastrointestinal and brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s diseaseand even demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system.
Glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway within these gut bacteria, without which we cannot survive. Glyphosate is a strong chelator of essential minerals, such as cobalt, zinc, manganese, calcium, molybdenum and sulphate… Two key problems caused by glyphosate residues in our diet are nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals and essential amino-acids, and systemic toxicity.
Mason refers to Dr Don Huber, an expert on glyphosate and a senior US plant scientist, who explains that Roundup, as a mineral chelator, probably causes cancer. Some years ago, Huber wrote to the US Secretary of Agriculture about a pathogen new to science that could significantly impact the health of plants, animals and probably human beings. He argued it is widespread, very serious and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready soybeans and corn – suggesting a link with Roundup.
Rosemary Mason’s 20-plus page report is wide raging in scope and refers to various published peer-reviewed papers to support her arguments (it can be read in full on the academia.edu site). Aside from the effects of (the widespread prevalence of) glyphosate and other agrochemicals on human health – especially and disturbingly the exposure and impacts on children and child development – she discusses the environmental costs, including pesticide run off into seas and oceans, the ongoing destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, algae blooms and the fungicidal action of Roundup which is destroying the means by which trees communicate and look after each other.
In relation to sanctioning the continued use of glyphosate in Europe, Mason notes that it was totally unacceptable, possibly negligent or even criminal, for the European Union to have allowed a group of plant scientists on the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) – whose knowledge of human physiology was so lacking that they did not recognise that glyphosate has effects on humans – to make decisions that affect human health.
PAFF’s role was pivotal in the decision to re-licence the use of glyphosate in the EU in 2017. Although a list of its members is not made public, as a phytopharmaceuticals committee involved in the authorisation of pesticides, Mason presumes plant physiologists were amply represented and held sway.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that in the UK between May 2010 and the end of 2013, the Department of Health had 130 meetings with representatives of the agrochemicals/GM sector.
If Mason’s letter to Jones tells us anything, it is that the British public need to think long and hard about whose interests are really being served when Boris Johnson and others in high office extol the ‘virtues’ of GM agriculture and its associated chemical inputs.
Many lobbyists talk a lot about critics of genetic engineering technology denying choice to farmers. They say that farmers should have access to a range of tools and technologies to maximise choice and options. At the same time, somewhat ironically, they decry organic agriculture and proven agroecological approaches, presumably because these practices have no need for the proprietary inputs of the global agrochemical/agritech corporations they are in bed with. And presumably because agroecology represents liberation from the tyranny of these profiteering, environment-damaging global conglomerates.
It is fine to talk about ‘choice’ but we do not want to end up offering a false choice (rolling out technologies that have little value and only serve to benefit those who control the technology), to unleash an innovation that has an adverse impact on others or to manipulate a situation whereby only one option is available because other options have been deliberately removed. And we would certainly not wish to roll out a technology that traps farmers on a treadmill that they find difficult to get off.
Surely, a responsible approach for rolling out important (potentially transformative) technologies would have to consider associated risks, including social, economic and health impacts.
Take the impact of the Green Revolution in India, for instance. Sold on the promise that hybrid seeds and associated chemical inputs would enhance food security on the basis of higher productivity, agriculture was transformed, especially in Punjab. But to gain access to seeds and chemicals many farmers had to take out loans and debt became (and remains) a constant worry. Many became impoverished and social relations within rural communities were radically altered: previously, farmers would save and exchange seeds but now they became dependent on unscrupulous money lenders, banks and seed manufacturers and suppliers. Vandana Shiva in The Violence of the Green Revolution (1989) describes the social marginalisation and violence that accompanied the process.
On a macro level, the Green Revolution conveniently became tied to an international (neo-colonial) system of trade based on chemical-dependent agro-export mono-cropping linked to loans, sovereign debt repayment and World Bank/IMF structural adjustment (privatisation/deregulation) directives. Many countries in the Global South were deliberately turned into food deficit regions, dependent on (US) agricultural imports and strings-attached aid.
The process led to the massive displacement of the peasantry and, according to the academics Eric Holt-Giménez et al, (Food rebellions: Crisis and the hunger for Justice, 2009), the consolidation of the global agri-food oligopolies and a shift in the global flow of food: developing countries produced a billion-dollar yearly surplus in the 1970s; they were importing $11 billion a year by 2004.
And it’s not as though the Green Revolution delivered on its promises. In India, it merely led to more wheat in the diet, while food productivity per capita showed no increased or even actually decreased (see ‘New Histories of the Green Revolution‘ by Glenn Stone). And, as described by Bhaskar Save in his open letter (2006) to officials, it had dire consequences for diets, the environment, farming, health and rural communities.
The ethics of the Green Revolution – at least it was rolled out with little consideration for these impacts – leave much to be desired.
As the push to drive GM crops into India’s fields continues (the second coming of the green revolution – the gene revolution), we should therefore take heed. To date, the track record of GMOs is unimpressive, but the adverse effects on many smallholder farmers are already apparent (see ‘Hybrid Bt cotton: a stranglehold on subsistence farmers in India’ by A P Gutierrez).
Aside from looking at the consequences of technology roll outs, we should, when discussing choice, also account for the procedures and decisions that were made which resulted in technologies coming to market in the first place.
Steven Druker, in his book Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, argues that the decision to commercialise GM seeds and food in the US amounted to a subversion of processes put in place to serve the public interest. The result has been a technology roll out which could result (is resulting) in fundamental changes to the genetic core of the world’s food. This decision ultimately benefited Monsanto’s bottom line and helped the US gain further leverage over global agriculture.
We must therefore put glib talk of the denial of technology by critics to one side if we are to engage in a proper discussion of choice. Any such discussion would account for the nature of the global food system and the dynamics and policies that shape it. This would include looking at how global corporations have captured the policy agenda for agriculture, including key national and international policy-making bodies, and the role of the WTO and World Bank.
Choice is also about the options that could be made available, but which have been closed off or are not even considered. In Ethiopia, for example, agroecology has been scaled up across the entire Tigray region, partly due to enlightened political leaders and the commitment of key institutions.
However, in places where global agribusiness/agritech corporations have leveraged themselves into strategic positions, their interests prevail. From the false narrative that industrial agriculture is necessary to feed the world to providing lavish research grants and the capture of important policy-making institutions, these firms have secured a thick legitimacy within policymakers’ mindsets and mainstream discourse. As a result, agroecological approaches are marginalised and receive scant attention and support.
Monsanto had a leading role in drafting the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to create seed monopolies. The global food processing industry wrote the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Whether it involves Codex or the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture aimed at restructuring (destroying) Indian agriculture, the powerful agribusiness/food lobby has secured privileged access to policy makers and sets the policy agenda.
From the World Bank’s ‘enabling the business of agriculture’ to the Gates Foundation’s role in opening up African agriculture to global food and agribusiness oligopolies, democratic procedures at sovereign state levels are being bypassed to impose seed monopolies and proprietary inputs on farmers and to incorporate them into a global supply chain dominated by powerful corporations.
We have the destruction of indigenous farming in Africa as well as the ongoing dismantling of Indian agriculture and the deliberate impoverishment of Indian farmers at the behest of transnational agribusiness. Where is the democratic ‘choice’? It has been usurped by corporate-driven Word Bank bondage (India is its biggest debtor in the bank’s history) and by a trade deal with the US that sacrificed Indian farmers for the sake of developing its nuclear sector.
Similarly, ‘aid’ packages for Ukraine – on the back of a US-supported coup – are contingent on Western corporations taking over strategic aspects of the economy. And agribusiness interests are at the forefront. Something which neoliberal apologists are silent on as they propagandise about choice, and democracy.
Ukraine’s agriculture sector is being opened up to Monsanto/Bayer. Iraq’s seed laws were changed to facilitate the entry of Monsanto. India’s edible oils sector was undermined to facilitate the entry of Cargill. And Bayer’s hand is possibly behind the ongoing strategy to commercialise GM mustard in India. Whether on the back of militarism, secretive trade deals or strings-attached loans, global food and agribusiness conglomerates secure their interests and have scant regard for choice or democracy.
The ongoing aim is to displace localised, indigenous methods of food production and allow transnational companies to take over, tying farmers and regions to a system of globalised production and supply chains dominated by large agribusiness and retail interests. Global corporations with the backing of their host states, are taking over food and agriculture nation by nation.
Many government officials, the media and opinion leaders take this process as a given. They also accept that (corrupt) profit-driven transnational corporations have a legitimate claim to be owners and custodians of natural assets (the ‘commons’). There is the premise that water, seeds, food, soil and agriculture should be handed over to these conglomerates to milk for profit, under the pretence these entities are somehow serving the needs of humanity.
Ripping land from peasants and displacing highly diverse and productive smallholder agriculture, rolling out very profitable but damaging technologies, externalising the huge social, environmental and health costs of the prevailing neoliberal food system and entire nations being subjected to the policies outlined above: how is any of it serving the needs of humanity?
It is not. Food is becoming denutrified, unhealthy and poisoned with chemicals and diets are becoming less diverse. There is a loss of plant and insect diversity, which threatens food security, soils are being degraded, water tables polluted and depleted and millions of smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production, are being pushed into debt in places like India and squeezed off their land and out of farming.
It is time to place natural assets under local ownership and to develop them in the public interest according to agroecological principles. This involves looking beyond the industrial yield-output paradigm and adopting a systems approach to food and agriculture that accounts for local food security and sovereignty, cropping patterns to ensure diverse nutrition production per acre, water table stability and good soil structure. It also involves pushing back against the large corporations that hold sway over the global food system and more generally challenging the leverage that private capital has over all our lives.
That’s how you ensure liberation from tyranny and support genuine choice.
Why did the European Food Safety Authority claim that glyphosate was not ecotoxic? This is the question environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason poses in her new 23-page report which can be accessed in full here. In places, the report reads like a compilation of peer-reviewed studies and official reports that have documented the adverse impacts of chemicals used in modern agriculture.
Only a brief outline of Mason’s report is possible here. Readers are urged to consult the document to grasp more detailed insight into the issues she discusses as well as the evidence cited in support of her arguments and claims.
Mason argues that the European Commission has consistently bowed to the demands of the pesticide lobby. In turn, she notes the fraudulent nature of the assessment of glyphosate which led to its relicensing in Europe and thus the continued use of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. This ongoing support for the pesticide lobby flies in the face of so much evidence pointing to the detrimental effects of Roundup and other agrochemicals on the environment, living organisms, soil, water and human health.
These chemicals have become integral to an increasingly globalised process of agro-industrialisation. Mason discusses the nature of modern farming by referring to the endless corn fields of Iowa. One hundred years ago, these fields were home to 300 species of plants, 60 mammals, 300 birds and thousands of insects. Now, there is almost literally nothing – except corn – in what amounts to a biological desert. The birds, bees and insects have gone.
It’s a type of farming where so much toxic agrochemicals are used that they have ended up in soils and sediment, ditches and drains, precipitation, rivers and streams and even in seas, lakes, ponds, wetlands and groundwater. A type of agriculture that is responsible for undermining essential biodiversity, human health and diverse, nutritious diets.
The report takes us further afield, to the Great Barrier Reef to discuss the destruction of coral by Monsanto’s Roundup and Bayer’s insecticide clothianidin. It is interesting that the pesticide industry and the media tend to blame global warming for the degradation of the reef. Although there have been efforts to grow new corals, Mason states that pesticide run off from farmland means that corals will continue to be destroyed.
She touches on the role of agrochemicals in relation to the decline of the Monarch butterfly and the now well-documented ecological Armageddon due to the dramatic plunge in insect numbers: insects which are vital to soil health and the food web. Numerous studies and reports are presented as well as warnings from scientists and whistleblowers like Henk Tennekes and Evaggelos Vallianatos about the impacts of toxic chemicals in food and agriculture.
Indeed, since the late 1990s, Mason notes that various scientists have written in increasingly desperate tones about biodiversity loss and the impact on humanity as well as the emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health.
Mason also reveals insight into her own struggles with a local authority in Wales over the destruction of her nature reserve due to the council’s spraying of Roundup in the vicinity. Despite numerous open letters and e-mails to UK and European agencies documenting the impacts of this herbicide (some of this correspondence is contained in the report, with responses), her evidence has been ignored and it remains ‘business as usual’.
That’s because global agrochemical conglomerates exert huge political influence at state and international levels. For instance, back in 2017, the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food was heavily critical of these companies and accused them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”. The authors noted the catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society in general.
At the time, one of the report’s authors, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, said:
The power of the corporations over governments and over the scientific community is extremely important. If you want to deal with pesticides, you have to deal with the companies…
Her co-author, Baskut Tuncak, the UN’s special rapporteur on toxics, added:
While scientific research confirms the adverse effects of pesticides, proving a definitive link between exposure and human diseases or conditions or harm to the ecosystem presents a considerable challenge. This challenge has been exacerbated by a systematic denial, fuelled by the pesticide and agro-industry, of the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals, and aggressive, unethical marketing tactics.
In noting the severity of the issue and the driving forces that perpetuate and profit from the chemical-intensive corporatised global food regime, Mason quotes Vandana Shiva:
The ecological crisis, the agrarian crisis, the food crisis, the health and nutrition crisis, the crisis of democracy and sovereignty are not separate crises. They are one. And they are connected through food. The web of life is a food web. When it is ruptured by chemicals and poisons that come from war, and rules of ‘free trade’ that is a war declared by corporations against the earth and humanity, biodiversity is wiped out, farmers are killed through debt, and people die either because of hunger or because of cancer, diabetes, heart problems, hypertension and other environment and food related chronic diseases. Everyone is paying a very high price for corporate greed and dictatorship and collusion of corporate states to spread the toxic empire of corporations in the name of ‘reforms’.
Pesticides include herbicides, insecticides, termiticides, nematicides, rodenticides and fungicides. Today, the pesticide industry is valued at over $50 billion and there are around 600 active ingredients. Herbicides account for approximately 80 per cent of all pesticide use.
Of course, Vandana Shiva’s main focus is on India and the ongoing undermining of its indigenous agriculture by foreign corporations. The potential market for herbicide growth alone in India is huge: sales have probably now reached over $800 million per year in that country, with scope for even greater expansion. And have no doubt the global agrochemical industry has made India a priority, with a push to break traditional weeding practices (‘double-lining’ ox ploughing), seemingly with the intention on nudging farmers towards taking up herbicide-tolerant seeds.
Little wonder too that we currently see industry-connected lobbyists (masquerading as objective scientists or independent ‘science communicators’) residing abroad and encouraging farmers in India to plant these illegal GM seeds in what appears to be an orchestrated campaign. Numerous high-level reports have stated that GM is unsuitable for India. Having lost the debate, the GM/agrochemical lobby has now resorted to a tactic of illegal cultivation.
While touting the supposed virtues of GM agriculture, these lobbyists also spend much of their time promoting the merits of its godparent, the Green Revolution, in an attempt to justify the roll-out of GM seeds and associated herbicides. But emerging academic research indicates that the Green Revolution in India did next to nothing in terms of increasing productivity, despite the well-perpetuated myth that it saved lives and helped avert famine. In fact, in Punjab, the cradle of the Green Revolution in India, this ‘green dream’ has turned into a toxic environmental and human health nightmare.
If we want to look at the causes of hunger and malnutrition, we must first address the deleterious impacts of the water-guzzling, chemical-dependent Green Revolution, so eloquently described by Bhaskar Save in his open letter to officials in 2006 and extremely pertinent given India’s current water emergency; the global capitalist food regime and its undermining of regional food security and food sovereignty; the lack of income to purchase sufficient food; and various other issues, including an erosion of land rights, debt, poverty and food distribution problems.
No amount of genetic engineering or chemicals can address these issues. And no amount of industry-inspired spin can divert attention from the root causes of malnutrition and hunger and genuine (agroecological) solutions.