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Archive for December, 2018

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Caius Rommen was the scientist who invented the GMO potato. GMO stands for genetically modified organism. The GMO potato has been modified to include insecticides and herbicides in them. This way when a bug bites into the potato plant, or worse yet, an underground bug bites into a budding potato, the insecticide inside the potato forces the bug’s stomach to grow until it explodes.

Likewise, a herbicide has been genetically implanted into GMO potatoes. This kills weeds to within three feet of each potato plant.

Quite naturally, you eat the herbicide and the insecticide when you eat the GMO potato. Somehow, at the time of its development, Caius Rommen thought the GMO potato was good for human consumption and health.

Rommens was director of research at Simplot Plant Sciences from 2000 to 2013 where he led development of the company’s genetically engineered Innate potato. But over time, Rommens started to have serious doubts about his work and worried about potential health risks from eating the GMO potatoes, which are now sold in 4,000 supermarkets in the United States.

Rommens wrote the book, Pandora’s Potatoes, which is about how his enthusiasm for genetic engineering turned into doubt and fear as he realized the hazards the technology can create.

In a recent interview with EcoWatch, Rommens told his story.

“I left my position as team leader at Monsanto,” he said, “to start an independent biotech effort at Simplot. During the 12 years I worked there, I designed a genetically modified potato that I believed was resistant to bruise and late blight, and that could be used to produce French fries that were less colored and less carcinogenic than normal fries.”

In his book, Rommens writes that he silenced genes called RNAi. In his interview, Rommens said, “Silencing is not gene-specific. Any gene with a similar structure to the silencing construct may be silenced as well. It is even possible that the silencing that takes place inside the GM potatoes affects the genes of animals eating these GM potatoes. I am most concerned about bees that don’t eat GM potatoes but may use GM potato pollen to feed their larvae. Based on my assessment of the literature, it appears that the silencing constructs are active in pollen.”

Rommens also wrote that silencing the PPO (polyphenol oxidase, a gene responsible for browning in potatoes) gene increases toxins that accumulate in the GMO potatoes. He admits these toxins are harmful to human health.

Rommens said, “Ex-colleagues of mine had shown that PPO-silencing increases the levels of alpha-aminoadipate by about six-fold. Alpha-aminoadipate is a neurotoxin, and it can also react with sugars to produce advanced glycoxidation products implicated in a variety of diseases.

(A Monsanto GM corn variety, LY038, was found to have high concentrations of alpha-aminoadipate, and an application for its approval in Europe in 2009 was withdrawn after regulators raised safety questions.)

He went on. “Similarly, ex-colleagues had shown that the damaged and bruised tissues of potatoes may accumulate high levels of tyramine, another toxin. Such damaged tissues are normally identified and trimmed, but they are concealed, or partially concealed, and much of it is not trimmed in GM potatoes. Therefore, it seems important that Simplot should determine the full spectrum of possible tyramine levels in their GM potatoes.

Another potential toxin is chaconine-malonyl. There is little known about this compound, but ex-colleagues had shown that it is increased by almost 200 percent upon PPO-silencing. This should probably be investigated.”

Rommens also says the potatoes create additional pathogens, infections and the range in levels of toxins such as alpha-aminoadipate and tyramine.

“It is my experience,” Rommens said, “that genetic engineers are biased and narrow-minded. They may not be able to critically assess their own creations.” Of course, when you are making a ton of money producing toxic garbage for human consumption, it is difficult to think of your product as toxic garbage.

When asked, “What is your perspective on genetic engineering now after your work with the GMO potato and misgivings about it?”

“My concern,” Rommens said, “about genetic engineering is that the absence of unintentional effects can never be guaranteed. It may take dozens of years before these effects reveal themselves, and we should be extremely cautious applying the technology.”

Because GMO food products are loaded with insecticides and herbicides, they reduce the labor necessary to grow the food, making them less expensive to produce, and providing the corporate producers with higher profit margins. And that is why they are on the market.

Bayer owns Monsanto, and along with Syngenta, BSAF, Dupont, and Dow Chemical, these corporations are the big six of the GMO poisons. They are so called because they dominate the agricultural input market, that is, they own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotechnology industries.

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When Donald Trump became US president, he set about to undo three things former President Obama had succeeded in doing. That is because many billionaire Republican donors were opposed to Trump, most notably Charles and David Koch, who are heavily invested in the energy industry. Trump did not want enemies inside his own party, and he had plenty of them when he was first elected.

Quite naturally, the Paris Climate Agreement had to go since it is an attack on the oil industry, which primarily, though not exclusively, supports Republicans. Ending world oil dependency and thereby reversing course on global warming means terminating the industry or greatly reducing it. as well as ending or significantly reducing corporate oil profits, share prices, and dividends. In effect, the Paris Climate Agreement is an attack on the billionaires of the Republican Party. That is precisely why Trump pulled the US out of the accord, regardless of the false excuses that came out of his mouth.

Trump had to get rid of the Iranian nuclear deal since it allowed Iranian oil back on the world market during Obama’s presidency. This placed downward pressure on the profits, dividends and share prices of the fossil fuel corporations because the increased supply put downward pressure on the prices of all sorts of things we pay for, such as oil and gasoline. The best way for Trump to get oil and gasoline prices moving upward again was simply pulling the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Since the USA pulled out, notice the price we pay for gasoline has risen.

By pulling the US out of the nuclear deal using lies and distortions, Trump knowingly and deliberately was redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via higher oil and gasoline prices. But, the billionaires behind the Republican Party were happier with Trump because of it.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B) bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26.5 billion back in 2010. It was his biggest acquisition ever. The railroad is the largest transporter of crude oil in the United States. If the Keystone pipeline is completed, it will compete directly with Buffett’s railroad. The pipeline will transport oil from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The Republican Koch brothers are heavily invested with the Tar Sands.

Koch Industries is a major player in the Canadian oil market. The Washington Post identified the company in April 2014 as the largest foreign leaseholder of acres of Canadian oil sands.

According to EcoWatch in 2018, “A leaked memorandum published by The Intercept and Documented Investigations shows that a Koch Industries’ donors network, known as the Seminar Network, has taken credit for Donald Trump approving the permits for both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines during the first months of his presidency.” (Click here for the original story.)

Needless to say, Warren Buffett is a big supporter of the Democratic Party and the Koch’s basically control the Republican Party. Buffett’s loss is the Democratic Party’s loss while it is the Koch brothers and Republican Party’s gain.

These political games are being played pitting billionaires against the 99 percent (as well as other billionaires), and the US corporate news media wants to keep you ignorant of these facts.

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On Saturday, December 1, 2018, riots continued in France against political corruption. 224 people were arrested and 110 injured for what amounts to protesting against secret deals between politicians and the rich that call for the government to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Your US corporate news media does not want you to know this.

The French government under President Emmanuel Macron reduced taxes on the rich and their corporations while raising taxes on the 99 percent. Macron claimed taxes were raised on petrol, diesel, and other items needed by the 99 percent in order to combat carbon emissions that cause global warming. That, of course, is a complete load of bullshit, but this part of the deal is being reported by the US corporate propaganda machines, known as the corporate news media, but not the other part about taxes being reduced on the rich.

Notice President Macron did not raise tax rates on beef production or offer to end subsidies to this industry to combat carbon emissions. There are more than 200,000 cattle farmers in France, producing 1.5 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent (CWE) a year, making it Europe’s leading beef producer and the seventh largest in the world. Studies show the beef is among the biggest producers of carbon emissions in the world.

According to a report in the Guardian, “Agriculture is a significant driver of global warming and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock…Remove the artificial support given to the livestock industry and rising prices will…” curb red meat production. “In that way you are having less government intervention in people’s diet and not more.”  (Click here for the Guardian story.)

However, reducing subsidies to French corporate beef manufacturers would be the same as raising taxes on rich shareholders, bondholders, and CEOs, as well as the 99 percent. However, reducing subsidies to the rich was never in the political equation and was likely crafted behind closed doors.

Working people cannot buy secret deals with corrupt politicians. This is simply a fact of life. To get politicians to alter the views created by secret deals to say, redistribute income from the working class to the rich, such as Macron has done, working folks need to take to the streets to voice their displeasure with corrupted politicians and political systems.

Macron has devised a nice scam to enrich his buddies, except the working class of Paris is not buying the lies as readily as US citizens permanently inhale the lies of their politicians and corporate news media, while treating the lies as gospel.

The French president’s corruption seems to have united many on the grassroots right and left in France. BFM TV reported that France’s intelligence services had identified 80 to 120 extreme-right sympathizers at the heart of the violence, while other media claimed tags and logos at the scene suggested extreme leftwing and anarchist organizations were involved.

Macron has done the impossible. He has united more and more citizens on both sides of the political equation with his corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

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On November 26, 2018, General Motors announced it was laying off 14,000 employees and shutting four factories in the US, one in Canada, one in South Korea, and two in undisclosed areas. Quite naturally, the US corporate news media announced GM was doing this to reduce sedan production because they were not all that profitable. Actually, GM cut 14,000 workers because of its falling share price.

GM had earned tens of billions of dollars the last few years. In 2016, after taxes, the automaker earned a global net income of $9.43 billion, a 2.6% decline from the $9.68 billion it earned in 2015. As recently as October 31 of 2018, barely two months ago, GM announced “third-quarter 2018 earnings results reflecting profitability in all core operating segments. Strong results in North America were driven by all-new full-size trucks, and crossovers. GM China equity income and GM Financial EBT were third-quarter records.” Click here for the source of information.

What the corporate news media is not reporting is that GM is opening new factories in Mexico, where it will produce the Blazer. GM also continues to invest heavily in China. So, US jobs are being exported once again. (Click here for more information.)

In the US, this means most of, if not all, 3,600 factory workers will be out of a job, though some workers could be transferred to other plants. At its operations in Oshawa, Canada, GM employs currently about 2,500 hourly workers and 300 salaried workers; and they’ll be gone. The US and Canada’s losses will be Mexico’s and the wealthy’s gain.

Shutting the eight factories will cost three-plus billion dollars. General Motors has to borrow the money because it has spent $13.9 billion in cash on share buybacks over the past four years while earning record profits now and then. Despite the buybacks, the price of GM shares has fallen quite a bit.

GM’s share price was over $47 in October 2017. Then the share price began to fall in spite of the billions of dollars of share buybacks with the Trump tax cuts, which should have jacked up its share price since buying $13.9 billion worth of GM shares took quite a bit of them off the market. Yet the price continued to plummet until barely above $30 in October 2018.

Notice GM did not use the billions of dollars it saved with the Trump tax cuts to purchase new plant and equipment or to upgrade its US facilities, although it is creating new jobs in Mexico and China with the tax cuts. Instead, the tax money went to prop up its share price, but to no avail. In the end, in order to attract rich investors into buying GM shares, the automaker had to lay off thousands of employees and export jobs to Mexico. The Trump tax cuts, which were focused on corporations and the rich, quite naturally, as expected, were middle-class job killers.

Since GM announced its reductions of employees, its share price has gone up to 37.95 as of November 30th, 2018. The rich are getting richer by producing nothing since the old wages and benefits earned by those GM employees who worked for a living and are now out of jobs are going straight into the pockets of the affluent via higher share prices, rising dividends, and surging corporate earnings.

That is not what the corporate news media wants you to know.

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