UPDATE: On Friday, Florida police reported degenerate rapper XXXTentacion was shot in the head from the front seat of his vehicle during a “possible robbery.” The following is a rerun of our Sept. 19, 2017, article in which we predicted XXX wouldn’t be long for this world. Will this be a lesson for aspiring degenerates? Somehow we doubt it, as a cult of death seems to be developing around this character.
XXXTentacion (also known as X) is a 19-year-old untermensch gangsta rapper who doesn’t look long for this world. He is a small, multi-racial with black-and-yellow hair and face tattoos. The New Nationalist (TNN) sees him as a product of the hyper-tolerant, degenerate, violent and pervasive untermensch culture destroying America.
What brought X to our attention was the following music video released Sept. 12. It shows the murderous execution by hanging of a white child combined with a litany of alleged white racial offenses — including several hoaxes. (see: The Bizarre Case of the Philandro Castile Police Shooting). The hanging itself looks almost too real. A small black child and passive audience observes the on-stage hanging.
Despite protests from some quarters, Youtube — the same thought police that will shut down and demonetize far less controversial videos at the drop of a hat — left this one online. The video, called “Look at Me,” presently has 11.4 million views from X’s untermensch fans. These reprobates have up-voted the video by 546,000 to 91,000 down-votes. The general tone of many of the comments suggests hanging white children is quite alright, even cool. Earlier in the video, X is shown disrupting a classroom using a dildo as a weapon, which prompted one untermensch to chortle:
I love x but are we just gonna ignore the fact that he took over a classroom using a dildo?
In a prior era, X (and his fans) would have been institutionalized for severe mental illness or jailed for inciting violence. Instead, he has packed an incredible amount of insane behavior into his short but financially lucrative life. Par the course, I predict his destiny will be a bullet or a shank from “a brutha.”
When X is not fantasizing about hanging white children, he is beating the crap out of his girlfriend. Around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2016, X — whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy — allegedly “punched and kicked” his pregnant then-girlfriend, according to an arrest report.
“Victim’s eyes [were] punched to where both eyes became shut and victim could not see,” the report states. The official charges against him: aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness tampering.
Despite the battery charges, X was released from jail this past March after nearly six months, after pleading no contest to separate, earlier charges of armed home invasion robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm. For this, he was sentenced to time served and is currently serving six years probation. Apparently making child-hanging rap videos is not a violation of his probation.
All this criminal notoriety — plus a ringing endorsement from leading gangsta rapper A$AP Rocky, who called X the “hardest nigga in Florida” –has boosted total SoundCloud followers from less than 20,000 to above 500,000. He currently has over 400 million plays on SoundCloud.
With the new-found popularity, X announced his first nationwide tour on April 28. The tour, titled “The Revenge Tour,” booked 26 performances and was widely publicized due to numerous controversies, which included the rapper being assaulted. In San Diego, X was involved in an altercation on stage that led to him being knocked unconscious and an audience member stabbed. In what appears to be staged fakery in another show, Onfroy was thrown into a barricade by security. The tour, needless to say, was cut short.
On Sept. 2, a free XXXTentacion concert was cancelled due to a “crowd that reportedly approached 1,000” that gathered outside a 725-capacity venue. The show’s promoters, the aptly named Dope Entertainment, announced the cancellation on Twitter, explaining that the fire department had deemed it “a safety hazard.” Police arrived on the scene to break up the large brawling crowd of people, who were flooding the streets and chanting, “We want X!”
As a younger lad, X developed an interest in “music” in school choir. Alas, he was kicked out of the ensemble shortly after joining due to an attack on another student. Onfroy was expelled from middle school after a series of physical altercations. Next stop, at age 16, was a year in a juvenile detention center for gun possession charges.
While XXXTentacion’s child-hanging video goes viral with little protest, other pea-brained untermensch have concocted yet another inversion scam of the lowest order – see below. And once again, we see self-hating whites. Sadly, the untermensch question (UQ) is color blind. As Joseph Goebbels put it, “Untermensch exist as a leveling agent in all peoples.” I suggest, without hyperbole, that we are in or approaching a Defcon 1 emergency.
North Carolina is the second largest pork producer in the U.S. and home to more than 2,500 pig CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations).1 The estimated 9 million pigs living in the state produce copious amounts of waste — up to 10 times the amount of an average human2 — for which there is no easy, nor environmentally friendly, disposal solution. Whereas a small farm can use the waste produced by its animals as fertilizer, the massive amounts of waste produced on CAFOs becomes a toxic liability.
Nonetheless, it’s typically stored in “lagoons,” where the waste can leach into groundwater and wells, run off into waterways and cause all sort of environmental problems. The liquefied waste from the lagoons is then sprayed onto nearby fields. North Carolina alone has an estimated 4,500 active lagoons and 1,700 inactive lagoons,3 and tests have revealed they contain far higher levels of pollutants than the industrial farms are reporting.
North Carolina CAFOs Not Reporting True Levels of Toxic Pollutants in Waste Lagoons
Inspectors with North Carolina’s department of environmental quality (DEQ) tested 55 waste lagoons at 35 CAFOs, which revealed vastly different levels of pollutants than were reported by the CAFOs’ own tests just one month prior.
In a letter to one CAFO, the DEQ stated, “The results show a significant difference in the PAN [peroxyacetyl nitrate] concentrations as well as other macro and micro nutrients that put into question the validity of the March 17th sampling results. It is unlikely that a lagoon make-up will change significantly in a month without a significant operations event occurring like a lagoon sludge clean out.”4
Among the disparities were levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and heavy metals, including zinc and copper. In one case, zinc levels were more than 100,000 percent higher in the DEQ’s tests compared to what the CAFOs reported.
Speaking to The Guardian, Devon Hall, co-founder of Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH), an anti-hog-CAFO group, said, “This manipulation of data is an insult to the community members suffering from the industry’s continued use of the lagoon and spray field system … We demand real enforcement. The response to this slap in the face should be more than a slap on the wrist.”5
North Carolina regulators have since launched an investigation into the underreporting of toxins, including “additional evaluation of historic data” at the CAFOs. Curiously, in their certified letter to one of the CAFOs where discrepancies were reported, the DEQ also apologized for the “short notice” provided by their staff regarding the collection of samples.6
Unfortunately, even as CAFOs have polluted waterways and endangered residents’ health, they’ve been allowed to flourish in the state, despite it being a hurricane-prone area.
Waste stored in open-air lagoons may be breached by floodwaters from hurricanes. This has occurred in North Carolina repeatedly: in 1996 following Hurricane Fran; in 1998 following Hurricane Bonnie; in 1999 following Hurricane Floyd; and in 2016 following Hurricane Matthew. In 1997, following manure spills that proved to be disastrous, North Carolina implemented a ban on the construction of new CAFOs, but the ban expired in 1997 (and loopholes allowed some CAFOs to be built even during the ban).7
Pig Fecal Matter Regularly Spattered on Neighbors’ Homes
CAFOs throughout the U.S. have been battling a slew of lawsuits from neighbors whose lives have been ruined by the industrial farming facilities. In North Carolina alone, The Guardian reported, pig farms “produce around 10bn [billion] gallons of feces a year, which is more than the volume of waste flushed down toilets by the human population of Germany.”8
Says Elsie Herring, who lives in eastern North Carolina next to a field regularly sprayed with CAFO pig manure, “You stand outside and it feels like it’s raining but then you realize it isn’t rain. It’s animal waste. It takes your breath away. You start gagging, coughing, your pulse increases. All you can do is run for cover.”9 In April 2018, a federal jury ruled in the favor of North Carolina residents who live near the Kinlaw hog farm, a 14,000-animal facility, in Bladen County.
They were awarded a collective $750,000 in compensation plus another $50 million in damages as part of a nuisance lawsuit against Murphy Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer. The suit claimed the operations and manure lagoons were harming residents’ health and lowering property values. According to one of the attorneys on the case, Michael Kaeske, bacteria from swine digestive systems were found coating the exterior surfaces of all 10 of the plaintiffs’ homes.10 The lawsuit stated:11
“Specifically, these homes have tested positive for the DNA fingerprint of pig intestinal bacteria on their surfaces — they literally have pig feces on their walls. Which means that what the families have been saying for so many years, is true — they have been assaulted by the particles of a foul, disgusting and germ-ridden odor. Which the multinational company refuses to correct even as it receives the economic benefits of record exports and profits.”
The favorable verdict gave hope to the many other communities rallying against the damages caused by industrial agriculture, particularly since Smithfield and other meat producers wield incredible lobbying power, making nuisance lawsuits historically difficult to win. Unfortunately, about a week after the ruling, a federal judge called upon a North Carolina law that limits punitive damages to no more than three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.
As a result, damages in the suit were reduced to $3.25 million, which means the plaintiffs, who were set to receive $5 million in compensatory damages, will each receive $325,000 instead — hardly enough to compensate them for the damages and allow them to relocate. Murphy Brown is also appealing the Kinlaw case, and only time will tell whether the company will ultimately be held responsible. This suit is only the first of 26 nuisance lawsuits filed against Murphy Brown; the next went on trial in June 2018.12
Duplin County, North Carolina, Has 38 Pigs Per Person
Certain areas of North Carolina are so densely populated with pig CAFOs that pigs in the areas outnumber people. CAFOs, with their environmental hazards and noxious odors, are also often disproportionately placed in areas with larger African-American, Latino and Native American populations.
Such is the case in Duplin County, which has 2.3 million pigs in CAFOs (along with 16.2 million poultry). With a human population numbering around 60,000, this works out to 38 pigs for each person.13 A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill revealed, in fact, that pig CAFOs are much more likely to affect African-American, Latinos and native Americans, noting:14
“The proportions of Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians living within 3 miles of an industrial hog operation are 1.54, 1.39 and 2.18 times higher, respectively, than the proportion of non-Hispanic Whites. In census blocks with 80 or more percent people of color, the proportion of the population living within 3 miles of an industrial hog operation is 2.14 times higher than in blocks with no people of color. This excess increases to 3.30 times higher with adjustment for rurality.”
Previous research has also revealed that pig CAFOs in North Carolina are far less likely to appear in white communities, especially those low in poverty. “This spatial pattern is generally recognized as environmental racism,” the researchers wrote.15
What Makes Pig CAFOs Such Bad Neighbors?
CAFOs pose environmental hazards in a number of ways, starting with water pollution. The excess of nutrients that runs off or leaches from CAFO waste lagoons lead to algae overgrowth in waterways, depleting the water of oxygen and killing fish and other marine life in expansive dead zones.
This, combined with the excess fertilizers applied to monocrops like corn and soy, which are also used for CAFO animal feed, sends a steady stream of nitrogen and phosphorus to both surface and groundwater, spreading potentially disease-causing organisms and unsustainable amounts of nutrients along the way.
The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest recorded dead zone in the world, beginning at the Mississippi River delta and spanning more than 8,700 square miles — and industrial agricultural pollution is primarily to blame. Drinking water can also be affected.
In North Carolina, the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers, which provide drinking water for 40 percent of the state’s residents, have been named among the most endangered rivers in the U.S. because of the many CAFOs in the rivers’ floodplains.16 Air quality is also an issue. Ammonia, which is formed when microbes digest nitrogen in manure, has a pungent odor and can lead to chemical burns, cough and chronic lung disease. Other toxic compounds commonly released by CAFOs include:17
Hydrogen sulfide, which has a rotten egg odor and can cause inflammation of eye and respiratory tract membranes, loss of olfactory neurons and even death
Methane, an odorless but highly flammable greenhouse gas
Particulate matter, including particles from feed, bedding, dry manure, soil, animal dander and feathers, which can cause chronic bronchitis and respiratory symptoms, declines in lung function and organic dust toxic syndrome, a severe flu-like illness
Beyond pollution, CAFOs pose serious threats of spreading diseases to humans. For instance, a pig virus, the porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV), first identified in Hong Kong in 2012, has recently been shown to have the potential to leap to humans. The sometimes-fatal virus causes diarrhea and vomiting in pigs, and researchers revealed it has the potential to be transmitted between species, including to humans.18
“We’re very concerned about emerging coronaviruses and worry about the harm they can do to animals and their potential to jump to humans,” senior study author Linda Saif, an investigator in Ohio State’s Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), said in a press release.19Antibiotic-resistant disease can also be spread via CAFOs.
In 2015, research published in Clinical Infectious Diseases revealed that current workers at pig farms are six times more likely to carry multidrug-resistant MRSA than those without exposure to CAFO pigs.20 Aerosolized MRSA has even been detected in the air inside and downwind of a pig CAFO, as well as in animal feed.21 Needless to say, living near a CAFO has turned many people’s “American dream” into a nightmare.
What’s the Best Way to Fight Back Against CAFOs?
People in rural communities often feel helpless against the giant multinational corporations ruining their lives. It’s a good sign that some residents have been awarded damages for their CAFO-caused hardships, but the amounts are unlikely to prompt change within the industry. And, ultimately, this is what’s needed to stop the environmental destruction that’s occurring at the hands of CAFOs.
The solution lies in changing agricultural practices from industrial to regenerative. Choosing grass fed products like grass fed beef and bison over those raised in CAFOs is a solution that we can all take part in. Look for pastured pork, free-range poultry and other animal products raised naturally in concert with the environment and actively avoid those raised on CAFOs.
The vast majority of animal products sold in U.S. grocery stores come from CAFOs, which is why sourcing your food from a small local farmer, farmers market or food co-op is one of the best decisions you can make — not only for your own health but for that of the environment and the people forced to live near CAFOs. Ultimately, if a sizeable minority of people begin to boycott CAFO products, they may be forced to change their ways.
Genetically engineered (GE) Golden Rice has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), making the U.S. the fourth country to give the GE food the green light, after Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Golden Rice is genetically engineered to contain extra genes that produce a precursor to vitamin A, beta-carotene.
The rice, which has been making headlines for nearly two decades, was widely touted as a solution to vitamin A deficiency, which affects 250 million preschool-aged children worldwide.1 As the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, it’s estimated that up to 500,000 children become blind each year due to vitamin A deficiency, and half of them die within a year of losing their sight.2
A form of rice that could potentially alleviate this devastating micronutrient deficiency, especially in low-income countries in Africa and South-East Asia does, indeed, sound like a panacea. However, despite its recent FDA approval, there remain many doubts surrounding Golden Rice, including its usefulness, practicality and effectiveness for its intended purpose: relieving vitamin A deficiency.
FDA Says Golden Rice Is Safe, but Can’t Make a Nutrient Claim
The FDA based their decision to approve Golden Rice on data supplied by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the current makers of Golden Rice, who they have also tasked with ensuring the product’s safety in the future: “It is IRRI’s continuing responsibility to ensure that foods marketed by the firm are safe, wholesome, and in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.”3
While IRRI does not intend to grow or market Golden Rice in the U.S. at this time, it sought approval because it’s expected that the product may be imported into the U.S., perhaps in other food products intended for animals or people.
While accepting IRRI’s conclusion that Golden Rice is safe, they noted that its beta-carotene content is “too low to warrant a nutrient content claim.” Health Canada similarly wrote that even if all rice and rice products in the country were replaced with Golden Rice, it would result in only a very small (0.8 percent to 8 percent) increase in beta-carotene intake daily.4
The FDA’s approval could influence other countries considering the GE rice, as Futurism reported, “The U.S. is part of an international body that forms recommendations about food safety that other countries can adopt if they lack their own version of the FDA.”5
Notably, IRRI is awaiting approval in the Philippines and Bangladesh, where the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) are currently working on developing high-yielding local rice varieties with the beta-carotene producing Golden Rice trait.6
The GR2E Golden Rice is the first to receive regulatory approval for use in food. The first Golden Rice (GR1) failed, as it contained too little beta-carotene to even make a dent in vitamin A deficiency.7 The next version (GR2) was developed by biotech giant Syngenta, and the latest version, GR2E, contains three added genes.
“Two specify enzymes in the ?-carotene biosynthesis pathway, and are taken from bacteria and maize,” Independent Science News reported. “The third specifies a (nonantibiotic) selectable marker protein used in the modification process.”8
However, there are concerns that even the GR2E rice may contain only negligible quantities of beta-carotene. The FDA reported that the beta-carotene contained only 0.50 to 2.35 ug/g of beta-carotene, compared to say, the 111 ug/g found in spinach, although sometimes higher levels have been reported. As noted by Independent Science News:9
“FDA notes the mean value of beta-carotene for GR2E is 1.26ug/g. This is, paradoxically, less beta-carotene than the 1.6ug/g measured for the original iteration of Golden Rice … Greenpeace once calculated that such low levels would necessitate a person to eat 3.75 kg of Golden Rice per day to receive an adequate amount of beta-carotene.”
What’s more, research has shown that whatever beta-carotene content there is in Golden Rice at harvest will rapidly degrade in storage. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that after three weeks of storage Golden Rice retained only 60 percent of its beta-carotene and this dropped to 13 percent after 10 weeks.10,11
Problems With Golden Rice Have Been Apparent From the Start
There are fundamental flaws that make Golden Rice highly questionable, starting with its intended population’s ability to convert the beta-carotene to vitamin A. A 2009 study found Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A, because it “is effectively converted to vitamin A” in healthy adult volunteers,12 but those who could theoretically be helped by the additional beta-carotene in Golden Rice are, for the most part, not healthy adults, nor would they have regular access to key nutrients needed to absorb vitamin A, like fat.
Some experts also argue that seeking to replace one micronutrient at a time is not the best strategy to bring health to malnourished people, who need access to all essential nutrients found in whole foods. Further, if you did want to replace one nutrient at a time, including vitamin A, inexpensive vitamin A supplements are widely available and can be dispensed to the people who need them far more easily than Golden Rice.
In fact, they’re already being used, with promising results, according to WHO, which notes, “For deficient children, the periodic supply of high-dose vitamin A in swift, simple, low-cost, high-benefit interventions has … produced remarkable results, reducing mortality by 23 percent overall and by up to 50 percent for acute measles sufferers.”13
IRRI is currently working on developing GE rice varieties that contain additional iron and zinc, along with beta-carotene, but so far Golden Rice has also been plagued by growing problems, making the crop highly unattractive to farmers. For instance, Indian researchers looking to create a form of Golden Rice that could be grown in India introduced the engineered DNA to a high-yielding variety called Swarna.
The resulting “GR2-R1” crop was “dwarf with pale green leaves and drastically reduced panicle [flower cluster] size, grain number and yield as compared to the recurrent parent, Swarna.”14 Yields of the GE “Golden Rice Swarma” were just one-third that of the non-GE variety, and root and shoot defects were apparent. “The plants also flowered later, were half the height and half as fertile,” The Cornucopia Institute reported.”15
Is Golden Rice Safe?
Speaking to The Cornucopia Institute, Jonathan Latham, executive director of the Bioscience Resource Project, said Golden Rice transgenes caused “metabolic meltdown” in native rice plants and exemplify to perfection the classic criticisms of genetic engineering that “introduced DNA will disrupt native gene sequences and, second, that unpredictable disruption of normal metabolism may result from introducing new functions.”16
Indeed, it’s possible that GE Golden Rice could contaminate non-GE rice and non-GE rice imports. And although the FDA went along with IRRI’s safety assessments of Golden Rice, Independent Science News points out that the “biosafety of Golden Rice GR2E is contested”:17
“Testbiotech and other researchers have pointed out that key human safety and efficacy studies are lacking, especially for target populations … Specific health concerns include unintended nutritional effects of carotenoid biosynthesis or its degradation products and because certain components of the carotenoid pathway can be toxic.”
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, consumer group GE-Free New Zealand said there was a “total absence of data” regarding the safety of GE rice and considered taking legal action against Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the Minister for Food Safety over the approval of Golden Rice.18 Greenpeace further noted “next to nothing is known about how this GE rice interacts with the environment.”19
WHO’s Plan to Fight Vitamin A Deficiency Doesn’t Include GE Rice
While IRRI continues to seek approval worldwide for Golden Rice, WHO has already implemented a campaign featuring a variety of non-GMO methods for combating vitamin A deficiency. This includes:20
Promoting breastfeeding as the best way to protect babies from vitamin A deficiency, since breastmilk is a natural source of vitamin A
Fortifying foods with vitamin A in certain areas, such as Guatemala, has helped to maintain vitamin A status for high-risk groups and needy families
Promoting home gardens for rural families, including in Africa and Southeast Asia. According to WHO, “[G]rowing fruits and vegetables in home gardens complements dietary diversification and fortification and contributes to better lifelong health.”
Even IRRI states that Golden Rice is only intended to be a “complementary, food-based solution to existing nutritional interventions, such as diet diversification and oral supplementation.” It only provides, even according to IRRI data, 30 to 50 percent of the average requirement of vitamin A for women and children.21 In short, it can’t solve vitamin A deficiency on its own, even under the best circumstances, so why create a GE food for this purpose?
It’s ironic, too, because beta-carotene-rich foods already exist in nature, and they naturally contain other essential nutrients as well. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is among those that have dumped millions of dollars toward the development of Golden Rice, which stands to make the biotech industry even richer, especially if it paves the way for the approval of even more GE crops globally.
Instead of devoting millions to Golden Rice, which is questionable in its safety and may not even work to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, why not work to improve access to real sources of beta-carotene and other nutrients, including animal products like eggs, cheese and meat, and vegetables such as dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes?
Perhaps it’s revealing that the Philippines has yet to approve Golden Rice, with some residents preferring to solve vitamin A deficiency without GMOs. Cris Panerio, a member of a Philippines farmers’ network that oppose the approval, said in a media release:22
“We … question why the International Rice Research Institute is seeking safety approval from Canada, Australia, and the U.S. while farmers and consumers in Asia who plant and eat rice as a staple are left in the dark … Promoting readily available, diverse, and safe Vitamin A food sources from sustainable and ecological farming is the long term solution to combat malnutrition, ensure food security and health, not genetically modified crops like Golden Rice.”
May 29, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approved (with conditions) the merger of Monsanto and Bayer.1,2 The decision came on the heels of the European Union’s (EU) approval in March. Bayer’s takeover of Monsanto — the largest all-cash buyout on record3,4,5 — means just three companies now dominate the global seed and pesticide market.6
In addition to the Bayer-Monsanto merger, the DOJ has also approved the merger of Dow and DuPont, and the Federal Trade Commission recently approved ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta. Together, these three merged behemoths — Bayer, ChemChina and DowDuPont — will control 61 percent of the global seed market.
The same trio, plus BASF, will also control 70 percent of the pesticide market.7 Of these, Bayer will hold the largest share — about a quarter of the seed and pesticide markets combined. In 2011, Monsanto had 26 percent of the global seed market and Bayer had 3 percent. Bayer sold 17 percent of the total agrochemicals; Monsanto had 7 percent of the chemical market.8
As a condition of the DOJ’s approval, Bayer will sell some of its assets to BASF, including its soybean, cottonseed and glufosinate weed killer businesses, which overlap with Monsanto’s and were antitrust sticking points. So, the first week of June marked the end of the Monsanto name,9 but that doesn’t mean the company, its products and everything associated with either, are going away. As noted by Forbes,10 “its history, products and culture will linger. Bayer can’t change Monsanto’s history.”
Bayer Will Face Same Resistance as Monsanto
According to a Bayer June 4 statement,11 Monsanto’s product line will keep their original brand names in the Bayer portfolio, but the Monsanto name is being retired. The merged entity will retain the Bayer name. Cultural integration is predicted to be a challenge for the new, now much larger Bayer. Bayer also has a shadowy past of its own that is in need of rehabilitation.
“Yes, Bayer introduced the world to Aspirin and Phenobarbital. But it also trademarked Heroin and, when it was IG Farben during World War II, used concentration camp prisoners as slave laborers and drug testers with disastrous results,” Forbes writes,12 adding: “Even with that context, there are two special challenges to onboarding leaders from Monsanto into Bayer:
1) Monsanto’s history as a private company and 2) the “toxicity” of the Monsanto brand earned by its manufacture and marketing of DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, recombinant bovine growth hormones, genetically modified crops and seed patenting model and enforcement …
There’s every reason to expect Monsanto’s people to be more results-oriented and less caring, more hierarchical and more driven by authority than Bayer’s people. These are non-trivial cultural hurdles to overcome.”
Adrian Bebb, a Friends of the Earth Europe food and farming campaigner commented on the merger, telling The Guardian:13
“Bayer will become Monsanto in all but name unless it takes drastic measures to distance itself from the U.S. chemical giant’s controversial past. If it continues to peddle dangerous pesticides and unwanted GMOs then it will quickly find itself dealing with the same global resistance that Monsanto did.”
What Kind of Food System Do You Want?
“The merger of corporate giants Monsanto and Bayer begs a vital question — what kind of agriculture do we really want?” John Vidal writes in a recent op-ed for The Guardian.14 As the world’s now largest seed and pesticide company, Bayer will have a direct impact on a majority of farmers in the U.S., EU and Great Britain.
Needless to say, the company will also wield tremendous power over what ends up on the plates of consumers. “It will be able to influence what and how most of the world’s food is grown, affecting the price and the method it is grown by,” Vidal writes. In stark contrast to Bayer and other biotech companies, which sells patented seeds at a premium and disallows seed sharing, Debal Deb, an Indian plant researcher, focuses on cultivating as wide a variety of crops as possible, and gives the seeds away for free.
Deb currently grows 1,340 different varieties of traditional Indian rice on donated land in West Bengal. Seeds from these crops are then distributed to more than 7,000 farmers across the country, with one condition: They must grow them and give some of the resulting seed away to others. As described by Vidal:
“This seed-sharing of ‘landraces,’ or local varieties, is not philanthropy but the extension of an age-old system of mutualized farming that has provided social stability and dietary diversity for millions of people. By continually selecting, crossbreeding and then exchanging their seed, farmers have developed varieties for their aroma, taste, color, medicinal properties and resistance to pests, drought and flood.”
A Return to Agricultural Roots Can Save Us
This inherent wisdom of these ancient practices cannot be underestimated or overstated. While multinationals like Bayer want you to believe they are the saviors of mankind and that without them we would all starve, the converse is actually true. While monoculture has only been around for a few decades, ramifications of the dramatic loss of diversity is already apparent. The entire ecosystem suffers and, as a result, healthy crops are more difficult to grow and sustain.
Multinational seed companies insist consolidation is the best way to ensure the continual development of successful seed varieties, but what we really need is an explosion of diversity — that’s how the best seeds are brought to the fore. Best of all, no genetic tinkering in the lab is necessary. There’s absolutely no need to swap genes between animal- and plant kingdoms to “improve” on nature.
Rather than spawning innovation, consolidation actually promotes lower quality products as there’s less incentive for innovation when there’s less competition. Less competition also has a tendency to drive prices skyward.
As just one example, the price of a bag of seed corn has risen from $80 to $300 over the past decade alone — a price hike attributed to the consolidation of seed companies and reduced competition. The good news is farmers around the world are starting to pay attention to these facts, and are pushing back. As noted by Vidal:
“Nearly 10 million of the poorest farmers now use the system of rice intensification, which has been proven to increase rice, wheat, potato and other yields dramatically by stimulating the roots of crops. Agro-forestry techniques that grow trees and shrubs among crops is proving more productive, as is land restoration. Farmers’ groups in India and across Latin America are developing their own seed companies in order to avoid the new corporate monopolies.”
Your Support Is Needed Now
In response to the Monsanto-Bayer merger, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has launched a boycott against Bayer, highlighting the fact that ditching the Monsanto name is not going to get them off the hook. You can follow the campaign and get the latest news updates on Facebook.15
OCA also needs your financial support to step up the campaign against Monsanto-Bayer through public education, litigation, funding of U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) and funding the new comprehensive Ramazzini Institute study on the hazards of glyphosate. You’ll learn more about these action items in the section below.
By making a donation today, you are supporting all of this crucially important work. OCA is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, and charitable donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Please consider making a donation today. You can make an electronic payment by clicking the donate now button below, or mail a check to:
Organic Consumers Association
6771 South Silver Hill Drive
Finland, MN 55603
While Bayer defends the safety of Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, just as vigorously as Monsanto has in the past, mounting independent research suggests it may be one of the most hazardous farming chemicals out there. Together with the nonprofit organization Beyond Pesticides, OCA filed a lawsuit16 against Monsanto on behalf of the general public in April 2017, charging Monsanto with deceptive labeling, marketing and sale of Roundup.
According to the complaint, Monsanto “actively advertises and promotes its Roundup products as targeting an enzyme ‘found in plants but not in people or pets.’ These claims are false, misleading and deceptive.” The fact of the matter is the enzyme glyphosate targets is indeed found in both animals and humans, as it is found in our gut bacteria. Studies also suggest glyphosate may be carcinogenic, and may affect the cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems in both animals and humans.
“No reasonable consumer seeing these representations would expect that Roundup targets a bacterial enzyme that is found in humans and animals and that affects their immune health,” the complaint states, adding “Monsanto affirmatively states that the enzyme targeted by glyphosate is not found in people and pets, and fails to disclose to consumers the material information that the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, and the shikimate pathway it’s designed to inhibit, are found in people and pets.”
Monsanto filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but on March 31, 2018, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly denied the motion,17 ruling18 that enough evidence had been presented to support the allegation that Monsanto’s labeling is misleading consumers. This is a significant “win” and, with your help, OCA will continue to keep the pressure on through that legal channel.
Help OCA Support Global Glyphosate Study
OCA is also sponsoring a global glyphosate study by the world-renowned Ramazzini Institute in Italy. Stage 1 will investigate the chemical’s carcinogenicity and chronic toxicity potential.
Already, the pilot phase19 has revealed that daily ingestion of glyphosate at the acceptable daily dietary exposure level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alters sexual development in rats, produces changes in the intestinal microbiome, and exhibits genotoxic effects. In response to the results, OCA director Ronnie Cummins said:20
“For years, the U.S. EPA has dismissed consumer concerns about glyphosate-based weed killers in their drinking water and their food, claiming that exposure to the chemical at low levels is harmless. This new pilot study confirms what many responsible scientists have been saying all along: There is no such thing as ‘safe’ levels when it comes to glyphosate, especially when it comes to children.
In fact, the EPA established what it calls ‘safe’ levels without having any scientific evidence to back up its claim because, until now, there have been no comprehensive publicly available peer-reviewed studies of the potential health impact of glyphosate exposure at or lower than the EPA’s guidelines.
Your Donation Will Also Support USRTK and Regeneration International
In addition to the continued financial support provided to the Ramazzini Institute’s glyphosate study, OCA is also dedicated to continue its support of the USRTK’s work21 — a nonprofit organization that has proven exceptionally capable of pursuing and extricating the truth by making full use of freedom of information act (FOIA) requests and other legal means.
For example, internal emails obtained via FOIA requests filed by USRTK correspondent and director of research Carey Gillam, revealed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found glyphosate residues in all foods sampled to date. In a June 5, 2018 update, OCA writes:22
“It’s the FDA’s job to conduct residue testing on food. It’s the responsibility of the EPA to regulate pesticide residues on food. It stands to reason then that the two taxpayer-funded agencies would communicate closely with each other on any food testing involving glyphosate or any other pesticide. That’s why USRTK has filed a series of FOIA requests with both agencies …
The FDA has produced at least some of the documents requested by USRTK. But the EPA … has failed to produce documents requested in a July 2016 FOIA request, and also had failed to respond to a February 2017 request for related industry communications.
That failure led Gillam and USRTK to sue the EPA last month.23 If the public already knows that FDA tests found glyphosate, and USRTK already has related FDA documents, why bother suing the EPA for that agency’s related communications?
‘When you use FOIA, it’s like getting pieces of a puzzle,’ said Gillam, explaining that the FDA and other federal agencies routinely redact, or black out, large sections of the documents they turn over. ‘To put that puzzle together, to get the whole picture, often requires requesting records from multiple sources. We still may not get everything, as it seems the agencies are increasingly embracing secrecy, but it’s our responsibility to try to get to the truth.'”
In addition to exposing the dark side of chemical agriculture, OCA will also continue to promote the alternative through its sister organization Regeneration International,24 which provides educational services and resources about regenerative farming practices and techniques.
Regeneration International also provides farmer training through its partnership with Via Organica and its teaching farm, the Main Street Project’s regenerative poultry project, described in “Changing the World — One Chicken at a Time.” None of these projects can proceed without your support, however. So, please, consider making a generous donation to OCA today.
SPUTNIK — Daily Mail commentator Robert Hardman’s attempt to attack Russia by calling the 2018 World Cup a “tawdry circus” and comparing it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics has backfired spectacularly, with the journalist attacked in The Daily Mail’s own comments section and on Twitter.
Commenting on Thursday’s World Cup kickoff ceremony, Hardman wrote that this “sleaziest global sporting event since the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” radiated “all the magic of root canal treatment” and marked “a perversion of justice [from] the very moment FIFA awarded it to Russia back in 2010.”
Listing off a series of charges against Russia by Western politicians and media, the commentator accused Moscow of invading neighbors, bearing the blame for the war in Syria, and “state-sponsored terrorism on the streets of Britain.” Hardman went on to find fault with the ceremony’s technical side, from singer Robbie Williams’ unexpected middle finger gesture during his performance, to the event’s lighting, to the length of President Putin’s opening speech.
Voicing concern over the lack of public criticism over the “the most politically sensitive World Cup of all time,” Hardman summed up by urging English footballer Harry Kane not to shake the Russian president’s hand in the event that England wins the World Cup. […]
Israel is poised to demolish Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank – an act that could be a war crime. But Britain could save it
By David Zonsheine | 14 June 2018
THE GUARDIAN — Israel is intent on destroying the homes of the 173 Palestinians who live in the small shepherding community of Khan al-Ahmar, along with the school that serves 150 children from the area. Last month, Israel’s high court of justice removed the last obstacle to this barbaric act of demolishing an entire community in order to forcibly transfer its residents and take over their land. Israel has announced that the land from which these Palestinians will be evicted will serve to expand the nearby settlement of Kfar Adumim.
Now, emboldened by Donald Trump’s overt disdain for human rights – or basic human decency for that matter – and bolstered by the Israeli idea that the European Union is too weak to act decisively, the authorities have stepped up their efforts and issued demolition orders for all the structures in Khan al-Ahmar. Justice Noam Sohlberg, who wrote the ruling that rejected the petition against the execution of these orders, noted the “undisputed” premise that “construction in the Khan al-Ahmar compound, both the school and the dwellings, is unlawful”. He went on to argue that the court should not interfere in the state’s “law enforcement” actions. […]