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fwiw if seeds are sterile, they're not exactly going to cross-pollinate by definition

The only possibility would be test plots or fields grown for seed were within range of normal plots, and that's still pretty unlikely. Then again, Monsanto is aggressive enough they might try to sue you for sterilizing your field, lol.

I still think terminator traits are dumb, but... I dunno, I'm not going to post about it while at work since I work for a M0nsanto c0mpetitor.

w/no hesitation (mh), Monday, 31 January 2011 21:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

For what its worth, Monsanto floated the idea of terminator seeds and then rapidly backed down after the public uproar. In a number of big markets (India, Brazil) they're outlawed.

Generally, I prefer organic (particularly on foods like berries and bell-peppers that are very liberally doused with pesticides). But I find some GMOs fine. I don't have much of a problem with adding genes for better nutrition, drought resistance or glyphosate (Roundup's generic name) tolerance, the latter just an enzyme and like all the others it gets digested. Other, more persistent herbicides were (and remain) way more damaging. I am wary of the Bt toxin gene. Organic vegetables are often dusted with Bacillus thuringiensis, but at least you have the option of washing off their Bt toxin before it does things like:

Once activated, the endotoxin binds to the gut epithelium and causes cell lysis by the formation of cation-selective channels, which leads to death. (to insects)

-So, I'm a bit ambivalent on the technology. Where it reduces the use of persistent organic pollutants its potentially a good thing, especially in the developing world.
-Consumers definitely have the right to be informed. Give the GMO plants brand names (rather than Agrisure 3000GT quad stack etc.) and label the corn cobs or potatos as fruit presently are.
-Where I have a huge, huge problem with Monsanto (and to a lesser extent, Syngenta and Dow) is their monopolistic dominance of seed distribution through buyouts in nations with poorly enforced anti-trust law, and intimidation of farmers who choose traditional practices like seed-cleaning and saving. This is especially a problem in developing nations. There are a lot of local NGO's doing great work opposing Monsanto overreach and supporting seed-saving (an endangered practice in the U.S.).

great disorder under heaven: the situation is excellent (Sanpaku), Monday, 31 January 2011 21:42 (4 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for your take on that Sanpaku. I was unfairly rude to u on the oil spill thread (i.e. apologies) but I agree w/most of yr perspective on this... especially the critical seed-saving aspect. I live in an activist bubble but from my skewed POV ppl have been ragging on Monsanto nonstop for the last ten years.

The only possibility would be test plots or fields grown for seed were within range of normal plots, and that's still pretty unlikely.

This has happened a lot, actually - in one case Monsanto sued the farmer whose crops were contaminated for "stealing" their patented genetics.

Thanks for starting this thread Milton!

sleeve, Monday, 31 January 2011 21:59 (4 years ago) Permalink

the awl had a great (and extremely depressing) article recently that touched on monsanto's presence in haiti after the earthquake:

based god fillets with olive oil, cook for an additional 6 minutes (donna rouge), Monday, 31 January 2011 22:11 (4 years ago) Permalink

we're all gonna die

bamcquern, Monday, 31 January 2011 22:24 (4 years ago) Permalink

pretty much

sleeve, Monday, 31 January 2011 22:25 (4 years ago) Permalink

fwiw if seeds are sterile, they're not exactly going to cross-pollinate by definition

But the POLLEN is what cross-pollinates, ie sterile crops cross-pollinate with non-Monsanto crops, turning them into sterile Monsanto crops, which are then legally owned by Monsanto, even though the farmer never planted Monsanto crops

the most cuddlesome bug that ever was borned (James Morrison), Monday, 31 January 2011 22:56 (4 years ago) Permalink

once these things are deregulated, bees & wind will carry them. & Monsanto is already legendary for suing farmers who've never purchased Monsanto seeds for growing their own saved seeds that had become contaminated by their patented, genetically modified seeds. they have patented a food variant that kills off the non-patented version of itself.

glad to hear a word from Sanpaku or anywhere that they've backed down from Terminator seeds - I've been searching for evidence that it was or was not in these seeds, and couldn't find anything either way. that was one of those examples of corporate greed trumping human welfare that was almost beyond imagination.

There's an online pdf paper called 'What Is Wrong with Round Up Ready Alfalfa' that makes a good point: countryside weed variants of Alfalfa that are pesticide resistant are likely to spread everywhere.

Milton Parker, Monday, 31 January 2011 23:20 (4 years ago) Permalink


It kind of dances around the issue, but the point of the technology is it's seed-based and not pollen-based. In other words, you could "protect" patented technology with it because it won't propagate.

afaik Monsanto isn't the only company who's been able to create these genomics in a lab, but it's not a commercially viable thing so no one has any plans to use it.

w/no hesitation (mh), Monday, 31 January 2011 23:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

I really wish I had time to argue on this thread!

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 00:13 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure anyone's arguing since we're all pretty much dissing and defining here

w/no hesitation (mh), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 00:26 (4 years ago) Permalink

I would start the argument.

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 00:29 (4 years ago) Permalink

Monsanto fills me with disgust (probably literally sometimes, if i'm eating shitty food).
the farmer sleeve references is a canadian - percy schmeiser - he fought for years and finally won a relatively small settlement -

obliquity of the ecliptic (rrrobyn), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 02:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

the lefts demonization of gm foods is p unthinking and anti-science imo but w/e monsanto is terrible

Lamp, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 02:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

i agree - there's good food science, incl gm in some instances that i've read about, but montanto-style industrialization of food is cheap and dirty and sociopathically profit-driven

obliquity of the ecliptic (rrrobyn), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 02:40 (4 years ago) Permalink

as a teenage reader of lol adbusters i remember monsanto being one of their biggest boogeymen but i have some ~issues~ w/ a lot of the rhetoric around 'industrialzed agriculture' & how & who determines what food is the most 'natural'. its a tough, weird issue in that i think ppl (myself certainly included) get caught up in signifiers & sorta culture debates, which ends up sidelining some of the broader policy stuff

it was p lol tho to read atul gawande give the dept. of agriculture as a model for reorganizing the health care system

Lamp, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 03:35 (4 years ago) Permalink

a lot of the rhetoric around 'industrialzed agriculture' & how & who determines what food is the most 'natural'

there was an essay i remember reading in one of those alt-collections from the 90s (i think) - either Apocalypse Culture or Amok Journal or something like that - about how the invention of agriculture ruined human society. does anyone else know of this?

sarahel, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 03:54 (4 years ago) Permalink

i'm guessing it was written by this dude

based god fillets with olive oil, cook for an additional 6 minutes (donna rouge), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

I'm curious to know what my dad would think of this thread. He comes from a family that has traditionally been and, for the most part, still is mostly farmers. He's always been a big supporter of small farmers and getting involved in causes to support local farmers. He also spend the majority of my childhood selling Monsanto products to many of the same farmers. He doesn't do that anymore, but it would be interesting to hear his thoughts. My knee-jerk reaction, knowing as little about this as I do, is to obviously hate on Monsanto. But I also know that without them, my family might not as regularly had food on the table when I was growing up.

one pretty obvious guy in the obvious (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 1 February 2011 04:23 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

looks like three slam dunks for Monsanto in a single month

a little more on Monsanto & Haiti. apparently the seeds Monsanto donated last year were Terminator seeds.

I appreciated Sanpaku's post upthread about how they backed down on Terminator after the uproar & how they're now illegal in India & Brazil, but they are illegal there now only in response to this:

Diminished yields, health problems and weakened prospects to buy the next season's seeds in consequence of and combined with that binding contract with Monsanto have driven many rural farmers to poverty, and subsequently led to a rash of farmer suicides in rural India. Since 1997, more than 182,936 Indian farmers have committed suicide, according to a recent study by the National Crime Records Bureau. "As seed saving is prevented by patents as well as by the engineering of seeds with non-renewable traits, seed has to be bought for every planting season by poor peasants. A free resource available on farms became a commodity which farmers were forced to buy every year. This increases poverty and leads to indebtedness. As debts increase and become unpayable, farmers are compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide," Indian author Vandana Shiva noted in her 2004 article "The Suicide Economy Of Corporate Globalisation."

I don't mean to sound like a Luddite, really don't, so I'm all for Jeff or the other posters working for GMO companies starting more of a pushback instead of me just compiling the tired old arguments. Would simply love to hear conversation on this subject in more places in general, really.

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 23:19 (4 years ago) Permalink

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 20:12 (4 years ago) Permalink

good, thanks

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 20:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer, has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years, travelling extensively in Europe, India, Canada and the USA.

In this short documentary he investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA ten years after their introduction. He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM

john. a resident of chicago., Sunday, 13 November 2011 16:14 (3 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

As a teaser, I quote here the first two sentences:

"Chinese researchers have found small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to proteins in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood."

It goes on from there, obv.

Aimless, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:32 (3 years ago) Permalink

One response to that article:

Jeff, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:58 (3 years ago) Permalink

I sympathize with that scientist's frustration with the bad analogies and the way it blows an unsubstantiated fear into what reads like a factual headline. It's fear-mongering and not completely rational.

So, nothing has been proven by this article in terms of danger. But her metaphor that this study is simply 'opening a door' for other people to follow up on doesn't rest well either -- the entire reason why most of the article isn't devoted to the study, but to underlining Monsanto's reliance on substantial equivalence to evade FDA testing, is to suggest that this open door complicates the entire concept of 'substantial equivalence'? I admittedly don't understand all the science, and I appreciate you sending these linked rebuttals -- anti-Monsanto sentiment is too often just sentimental horror at the idea of food being tampered with, but one can find plenty of reasons not to trust them

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 03:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

Honestly, as much as I'd like to, it's really hard to defend many of the actions of Monsanto. They have made some great breakthroughs in ag science, but like many people have mentioned, the dubious business practices certainly have tainted that. I know there are many well meaning scientists that work for them, that are true interested in the betterment of agriculture, but don't agree with the business practices. It sucks that Monsanto is the biggest game in town and are the only ones with the massive amount of money to throw at R&D. And they are the only ones with enough money to deal with all the regulation of the R&D of genetically engineered plants. Some argue that deregulation is the best way to combat this, because the little guys just can't deal with it (I know wacky idea, and not one I entirely agree with).

You're right with your last point about the anti-Monsanto sentiment and it's that sentiment that drives me nutso. People treat food as sacred and think that the alteration of it seems intrinsically wrong.

Jeff, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:53 (3 years ago) Permalink

well -- I am certainly up for this research being done. but if there's anything should be treated as sacred, it is food. the scientists I talk to usually understand the depth of what they're doing, and the managers who risk-assess QA of their work under profit constraints usually don't

i.e. I usually trust the scientists; I don't trust this company

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 21:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

as much as I'd like to

why would you like to defend Monsanto

locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

fwiw I'm not against the intersection of science and food (my grandfather was this guy but Monsanto's motives as a corporation are 100% suspect

locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:07 (3 years ago) Permalink

this is probably known to most people reading the thread, but even if you ignore GMOs entirely, Monsanto is just a terrible, terrible, terrible monster:

-* Headquartered near St. Louis, Missouri, the Monsanto Chemical Company was founded in 1901. Monsanto became a leading manufacturer of sulfuric acid and other industrial chemicals in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Monsanto began producing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs, widely used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants, are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders.
  • The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which has the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state. By 1982, nearby Times Beach, Missouri, was found to be so thoroughly contaminated with dioxin, a by-product of PCB manufacturing, that the government ordered it evacuated. Dioxins are endocrine and immune system disruptors, cause congenital birth defects, reproductive and developmental problems, and increase the incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in laboratory animals.
  • By the 1940s, Monsanto had begun focusing on plastics and synthetic fabrics like polystyrene (still widely used in food packaging and other consumer products), which is ranked fifth in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.
  • During World War II, Monsanto played a significant role in the Manhattan Project to develop the atom bomb.
  • Following the war, Monsanto championed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture, and began manufacturing the herbicide 2,4,5-T, which contains dioxin. -* Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.
  • The herbicide “Agent Orange,” used by U.S. military forces as a defoliant during the Vietnam War, was a mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D and had very high concentrations of dioxin. U.S. Vietnam War veterans have suffered from a host of debilitating symptoms attributable to Agent Orange exposure, and since the end of the war an estimated 500,000 Vietnamese children have been born with deformities.
  • In the 1970s, Monsanto began manufacturing the herbicide Roundup, which has been marketed as a safe, general-purpose herbicide for widespread commercial and consumer use, even though its key ingredient, glyphosate, is a highly toxic poison for animals and humans. In 1997, The New York State Attorney General took Monsanto to court and Monsanto was subsequently forced to stop claiming that Roundup is “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly.”
  • Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things, mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to report health data to EPA, and chemical spills and improper chemical deposition. In 1995, Monsanto ranked fifth among U.S. corporations in EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, having discharged 37 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, land, water and underground.
  • Since the inception of Plan Colombia in 2000, the US has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in funding aerial sprayings of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides in Colombia. The Roundup is often applied in concentrations 26 times higher than what is recommended for agricultural use. Additionally, it contains at least one surfactant, Cosmo-Flux 411f, whose ingredients are a trade secret, has never been approved for use in the US, and which quadruples the biological action of the herbicide.
  • Not surprisingly, numerous human health impacts have been recorded in the areas affected by the sprayings, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin problems, and even death, especially in children. Additionally, fish and animals will show up dead in the hours and days subsequent to the herbicide sprayings.
  • In the 1980s and early 1990s, Monsanto was behind the aggressive promotion of synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone, approved by the FDA for commercial sale in 1994, despite strong concerns about its safety. Since then, Monsanto has sued small dairy companies that advertised their products as free of the artificial hormone, most recently bringing a lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy in Maine.
  • In August, 2003, Monsanto and its former chemical subsidiary, Solutia, Inc. (now owned by Pharmacia Corp.), agreed to pay $600 million to settle claims brought by more than 20,000 residents of Anniston, AL, over the severe contamination of ground and water by tons of PCBs dumped in the area from the 1930s until the 1970s. Court documents revealed that Monsanto was aware of the contamination decades earlier.

your pain is probably equal (Z S), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:07 (3 years ago) Permalink

Their business model wrt gm plants is incredibly sleazy, too, regardless of the ecological effects

Do you know what the secret of comity is? (Michael White), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

why would you like to defend Monsanto

― locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:03 PM (21 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

yeah i had this exact question....

tyga mother (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

For fun and profit.

Jeff, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

Monsanto sucks in a lot of ways but the "tinkering with nature" hysteria is really tiresome. Most of the (non-GMO) plants and animals we eat have already been aberrations to "nature" for hundreds or thousands of years thanks to selective breeding.

Oh shit, that's my bone! (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:56 (3 years ago) Permalink

Even if I didn't mind tampering with my food, Monsanto would be the last entity I'd want touching it.

*tera, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:56 (3 years ago) Permalink


puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:58 (3 years ago) Permalink

Some argue that deregulation is the best way to combat this, because the little guys just can't deal with it (I know wacky idea, and not one I entirely agree with).

Monsanto doesn't think it's a wacky idea!

Milton Parker, Thursday, 12 January 2012 00:27 (3 years ago) Permalink

Not only was it exposed that the U.S. is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto with military-style trade wars, but that many U.S. diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto.

In 2007 it was requested that specific nations inside the European Union be punished for not supporting the expansion of Monsanto's GMO crops. The request for such measures to be taken was made by Craig Stapleton, the United States ambassador to France and partner to George W. Bush. Despite mounting evidence linking Monsanto's GM corn to organ damage and environmental devastation, the ambassador plainly calls for 'target retaliation' against those not supporting the GM crop. In the leaked documents, Stapleton states:

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices."

Milton Parker, Monday, 23 January 2012 19:49 (3 years ago) Permalink

I know it's not the main problem being addressed in this article, but I've seen the organ damage study referenced a lot. Just to refute that, here is one scientist's take on the problems with the study and conclusions reached:

Trade wars, government corrupt, environmental devastation, sure, I wouldn't put it past them. But organ damage from GMO corn, not likely.

Jeff, Monday, 23 January 2012 20:43 (3 years ago) Permalink

Not that this is a totally reassuring thought, but if there was a food product introduced into the mainstream food supply -- one that, in fact, was found in almost EVERYTHING we eat -- and it caused organ failure, wouldn't you see a sudden and alarming rise in organ failure?

frogBaSeball (Hurting 2), Monday, 23 January 2012 20:45 (3 years ago) Permalink



though the last three paragraphs are hardly reassuring

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

there was an essay i remember reading in one of those alt-collections from the 90s (i think) - either Apocalypse Culture or Amok Journal or something like that - about how the invention of agriculture ruined human society. does anyone else know of this?

this was prob Jared Diamond?

i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

it's a common anti-civ talking point, see Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan, Chellis Glendinning, etc. Diamond would fit in there as well.

sleeve, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

I mean he wrote a lil piece that had exactly that as its thesis.

i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:35 (3 years ago) Permalink


i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm sure this guy is an evil tool head but it's hard to defend raw milk. Seriously.

Jeff, Sunday, 5 February 2012 23:11 (3 years ago) Permalink

Satisfying one's intellectual curiosity is a personal gratification. That is to say, it has selfish elements in it. When the average scientist is on the trail of an exciting new discovery, that feeling of excitement is very compelling. The idea that somewhere down the road this discovery may be put to horrific uses is unlikely to deter that scientist from going forward. The ability to live a life of intellectual excitement pursuing his field is strongly motivating to the average scientist. You cannot deny that.

As for global warming, that is a red herring. Argument by analogy where the analogy is weak.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

why don't you just say "science scares me so I wish people would proceed slower with this" since that's what your arguments boil down to; it's not even an indefensible position to take

relentless technosexuality (DJP), Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

balls, you are talking trash

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

why don't you just say

Reduce argument to a walking erection joke has been done, dan.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

so has the ad hominem attack

relentless technosexuality (DJP), Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

are you referring to "dumbest argument"?

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Satisfying one's intellectual curiosity is a personal gratification

"why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" - ronald reagan

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

at least the right is more honest that they don't believe science, are scared and confused by what they do believe, and don't really give a fuck about the environment or whether poor ppl die anyway

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

Lefty science denialism is the worst.

Jeff, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

now genetic modification and personal gratification -- i thing i see where this is going.

s.clover, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah but you can't deny that scientists deliberately became scientists and enjoy science and - brace yrself - even paid to do science (some, though not as many as some think, may even find their jobs exciting. they get off on that excitement. they live for it. they come to need it. and eventually, they'll do anything for it.), so of course when you ask one of them about something they're gonna give you some science answer which of course we have no method of testing or verifying. you can't deny this.

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

To be clearer, the anti-global warming argument is that scientists are fabricating data in order to perpetuate their jobs in a bogus scientific field, and pretending a threat exists in order to add urgency to our need to employ them, so they can save us from this non-existant threat. And those who originated this argument and pay to propagate it clearly profit from the burning of fossil fuels.

By contrast, I am not arguing that anything the scientists are saying is bogus, but rather that the knowlege they are finding, the techniques they create and the claims they publish are all obviously otm. So, to say this is anti-science is incorrect. But just as chemistry PhDs work for chemical companies and mathematics PhDs now work for Wall Street banks, genetic engineers work for Monsanto and other agribusinesses.

The argument is not over whether the science is correct or the scientists are corrupting their data, but an entirely different argument over how to put this new knowlege into the world, and how to do it in such a way that unforeseen consequences are kept to a minimum. I say that profit-driven corporations are not trustworthy enough to make these decisions without oversight.

I say that balls equating this with the anti-global warming argument is superficial and tendentitous, and he is just skating on the thin ice of "lol anti-science" to make his analogy work. If he wants to get into it, let him develop his argument beyond "lol". Otherwise, I get to call bullshit.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

feel free druid

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

The distinction of the scientific method is that it establishes factual knowlege, based on testable hypotheses, repeatable experiments with measurable results, full disclosure of findings, peer review and eventual consnsus among experts in the field. It works just fine, thank you. But scientists who work for Monsanto are not the ones who decide how Monsanto will profit from their work. Those decisions are made by marketers, lawyers, and managers.

Fuck it, if you all want to insist that I am frightened and confused when faced by omg genuine science then feel free. I've made my points. Misunderstand and distort them however you wish. I'm done clarifying. It's your sandbox now.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 17:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

i will say that the one geneticist i know does work from time to time for monsanto and last year we were all 'how can you be a scientist and vote republican?'. boy has he been laughing it up the past few weeks. gmos are pretty heavy regulated (and the 'monsanto protection act' doesn't change this fwiw) but if you want to actually make an argument for more regulation feel fee, i'm down (feel free to be consistent in applying it to raw milk and homeopathy while you're at it). if you want to actually make an argument against monoculture or about reforming our intellectual property laws (there are even pro-science arguments to be made here though that might make some uncomfortable, the warm loving embrace of mother nature and all that), i'm down. but if you want to make an argument against agriculture that feeds more ppl and reduces negative enviromental impact though and your argument is 'someone somewhere will make money off it, possibly even lawyers' i'm gonna lol, esp if you cloud it w/ vague worry of 'unforseen consequences'. if the 'unforseen consequences' don't have anything to do w/ science (or professional self serving scientists w/ their lies and their extremely exciting lives) let me assure you that regulating gmos out of existence won't actually lead to the overthrow of capitalism. it won't even lead to the overthrow of big agriculture.

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 18:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

You have just provided arguments against about half a dozen things I never argued for. I see though that you had the integrity to make your ascription of these positions to me provisional.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 18:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah i'm waiting for you to make an actual argument, any argument beyond 'i dunno guys, i getting bad vibes about this'. anytime you're ready.

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

aimless tbf your concern appears to be rooted completely in your distrust of big ag; we can all sympathize, but the science isn't on your side. watch that video that was posted in the other thread, if you haven't. it's probably a good intro for well meaning enviros

k3vin k., Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aimless balls

Woody Ellen (Matt P), Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

distrust of big ag is fine, I just don't get why we should disproportionately distrust this one particular kind of big ag

--808 542137 (Hurting 2), Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

i mean

Aimless balls beef

Woody Ellen (Matt P), Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:22 (2 years ago) Permalink


My argument: when the public demands strong safeguards to regulate the introduction of genetically modified plants and animals into generalized use they are not being anti-science, but rather are recognizing the potential for abuses or harms which are inherent in the capitalist system. When they are sceptical of corporate-financed research into questions of safety, their scepticism is justified by past experience (see the pharmaceutical industry). When they perceive that the stakes are even greater with gmo organisms than with drugs, because food is grown under far less contained and controlled circumstances than the manufacture of drugs and food is consumed by everyone while drugs are consumed by only a fraction of the population, they have a rational point. When they are wary of the potential for industry capture of regulatory agencies producing weak or negligent oversight of industry, they are not imagining this potential. When they maintain a public clamor over these potential dangers, they are using the one political power they have to counteract the many institutional forces which tend to favor profit over safety. And when opponents say that all this amounts to luddite fear and ignorance, they are using scorn and ridicule in place of addressing the legitimacy of these concerns.

If any of those statements is the equivalent of saying gmo foods ought to be banned because omg frankenfood, then you can kick me in the crotch. If you would like to argue against the rationality of any of these, then quote it directly and state why it is misguided or wrong.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Or was I supposed to be defending a completely different set of positions that you find it more convenient to dismiss?

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

when exactly is when there

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink


balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

This is like talking to a weight/fortune machine.

Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

i was thinking sarah palin on my end but, again, feel free to clarify

balls, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink


Aimless, Thursday, 4 April 2013 19:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Here are some more bad vibes

There is still no explanation provided by the authorities as to the cause of death of Gloeckner’s cows. The biotech industry claims that Bt toxins are quickly digested in the stomach and are only effective in insect target species. However, a recent study has found the toxin in the blood of over 80 % of women and their unborn children tested in Canada [5]. Because naturally existing Bt toxins from the soil bacterium have been used for a long time, long-term toxicology and health risk assessments on Bt proteins in GM crops were not done. However, there are important differences between the naturally produced toxins that can be washed off the crops, as opposed to genetically modified toxins that are part and parcel of the GM crop. Independent studies have shown that basing health assessments on flawed scientific assumptions is not only arrogant, but foolish.

Scientific studies dating from the 1990s have identified Bt toxins as potent immunogens, with Cry1Ac inducing immune responses in mice similar to the cholera toxin [6]. Farm workers dealing with Bt cotton have consistently reported allergic responses requiring hospitalisation in some cases (see [7] More Illnesses Linked to Bt Crops, SiS 30). Binding of Cry1Ac to the intestine of mice has been shown, with concomitant diarrhoea symptoms [8]. A meta-analysis of 3 month feeding studies in laboratory animals found that Bt maize led to changes in blood protein levels indicative of abnormal liver metabolism (see [9] GM Feed Toxic, Meta-Analysis Confirms, SiS 52). A recent study finds Cry1Ab toxic to human kidney cells, causing cell death at low doses (see [10] Bt Toxin Kills Human Kidney Cells, SiS 52).

Milton Parker, Sunday, 5 May 2013 18:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

almost every claim that author makes is causally specious. i'd like to read an article that's published somewhere a little more reputable than ""

'scuse me while i make the sky cum (k3vin k.), Sunday, 5 May 2013 18:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

i should say "seem", because i'm not reading the other websites the author linked to

'scuse me while i make the sky cum (k3vin k.), Sunday, 5 May 2013 19:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

ok i read that paper. the authors essentially say that the evidence monsanto provided to regulators is really flawed, due either to low standards required by regulating bodies or by deliberately misleading research methods employed by the investigators. to be honest i'm not familiar with the statistical methods they used to interpret the data they were given (methods they had to use since the sample sizes were so small), but their conclusion essentially is that the results are troubling; they call for additional research with longer follow-up, and they m/l echo that nature editorial by saying the research should be more independent. i agree w/ that, and monsanto is awful. the evidence that GM food is harmful is still very weak, though

'scuse me while i make the sky cum (k3vin k.), Sunday, 5 May 2013 23:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

the evidence that GM food is harmful is still very weak, though

I agree with you, but this paper suggests that the only reason why that is so is probably because no one has yet done the research. and while the minimal research that has been done is far from definitive, it is already far from encouraging -- the only mammals which were tested before market were rats, which developed kidney & liver problems within 3-5 months -- not long enough to prove causation, but that's been the extent of the testing. there's that, and there's the Bt toxins showing up in blood tests instead of being filtered by our livers as advertised:

there was no popular vote to allow this into 87% of our corn supply, and therefore most of what we use to feed our animal livestock, which we then eat. when it comes to the wisdom of splicing a protein that causes an insect's stomach to explode into our own food chain, I would think the burden of proof would be on those arguing for, not those against -- and what this paper is telling us is that the burden has really not been met

Milton Parker, Monday, 6 May 2013 01:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

the wikipedia post on these issues links to rebuttals on both of the studies I mention:

I understand why some have become allergic to anti-GMO activism, especially now that it's reached peak level facebook .jpg dissemination, and I'm pro-GMO research in the abstract. I've certainly got more to read about this, and I appreciate the conversation.

Milton Parker, Monday, 6 May 2013 01:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Harking back to my points made upthread, if a corporation holds a patent on a GMO, it is in the interest of that corporation to protect that patent from anything which may tend to lessen its eventual profitability. Hence, if a corporation is required to provide studies and data upon the safety of introducing a GMO into the general environment, it is in the interests of that corporation to provide the very least data acceptable to regulators and to present it in the most favorable possible light.

A market-oriented conservative might argue that the true interest of the corporation is to do due diligence and avoid the liability of introducing a harmful product, but this overlooks the obvious fact that few of their customers will have the financial means or the sophistication to supplement the corporation's original faulty research with better research of greater depth and breadth, and that most government regulatory agencies or research universities can be co-opted through political influence or money. Therefore, if the product makes big profits, those same profits can be used to subvert the system and protect the corporation from liability.

Aimless, Monday, 6 May 2013 05:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Monday, 6 May 2013 12:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Some critics have emphasized that no adverse effects have been reported on either farm animals or in the human population of the USA who have consumed an unknown mixture GMO crop derived food. Such claims are scientifically unsound for the following reasons. First, it is important to note that there have been neither epidemiological studies of the human population nor monitoring of farm animals in an attempt to correlate any ill-health observed with the consumption of a given GM crop. Second, it should be recalled that farm animals are not reared to live for the entire duration of their natural lifespan, and thus usually do not live long enough to develop long-term chronic diseases, which contrasts with the rats in our life-long experiment. If any studies in lactating cows are conducted, biological analyses performed are far less complete than those done in regulatory tests using rodents including in our study. Third, as there is no labeling of GMO food and feed in the USA, the amount consumed is unknown, and no “control group” exists. Thus, without a clear traceability or labeling, no epidemiological survey can be performed.

This is from Séralini's 'Answers to critics: Why there is a long term toxicity due to a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize and to a Roundup herbicide'

The journal that published the study has responded to critics by inventing a new position on their board for an ex-Monsanto employee. The comments on this article are concerning:

A peer-reviewed study on Bt mammal toxicity pulled after publication:

Milton Parker, Monday, 20 May 2013 19:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

someone on FB posted this "simple list of companies to avoid"

so all I have to do is make sure my money never ever ends up in the hands of people who drink soft drinks... got it.

crüt, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 18:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Also, be absolutely sure that your money never ends up in the hands of Hershey's Nestle!

how's life, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 19:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

Wheat in Chicago fell, headed for the biggest monthly loss since February, after Japan suspended imports from the U.S., where the government discovered an unapproved, genetically modified strain growing in an Oregon field.

Japan, the biggest buyer of U.S. wheat behind Mexico, suspended imports of western-white wheat and feed wheat from the U.S., said Hiromi Iwahama, the director for grain trade and operation at the agriculture ministry. Scientists said the rogue wheat in Oregon was a strain tested from 1998 to 2005 by Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s top seedmaker. Japan also canceled a purchase of 24,926 metric tons of white wheat.

Milton Parker, Friday, 31 May 2013 20:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

gree hee hee

ttyih boi (crüt), Friday, 31 May 2013 20:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

This is front page news in Oregon, it is a big deal.

Flat Of NAGLs (sleeve), Friday, 31 May 2013 21:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

huh, i never knew Oregon was a wheat producer

lipitor retriever (brownie), Friday, 31 May 2013 22:48 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Now the proud owners of Blackwater aka Xe Services (and now Academi?)

the Spanish Porky's (Shakey Mo Collier), Sunday, 21 July 2013 23:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

wait really? googling it there's much noise on this subject but everyone's source seems to be this three-year-old scahill article about monsanto being one of blackwater's clients. it's got this hilariously scary bit

One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the "intel arm" of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.

which i hadn't known (although note "sought to"), but it doesn't say monsanto bought the company. the two highest results for "monsanto blackwater" are articles called, respectively, "Yes, Monsanto Actually DID Buy the BLACKWATER Mercenary Group!" and "No, Monsanto actually DIDN'T buy Blackwater." the former does not fill me w confidence:

Xe (now Academi) has, indeed, been purchased, and while there’s no way of DOCUMENTING who the new owners really are, the logical conclusion would be that Monsanto, who had been employing them prior to the sale are the new owners.

idk if that's the logical conclusion. still, plenty to get high and contemplate for doomy thrills in biotech giants buddying up to mercenary crusader giants even without outright purchase.

"""""""""""""stalin""""""""""" (difficult listening hour), Monday, 22 July 2013 00:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

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