Genetically Modified Seeds: Conceived as a Weapon
By Larry Romanoff
Posted April 5, 2020
If we were to ask about the origin of GM seeds, how the idea was conceived and developed, who did the research and who provided the funding, how would we reply? We might reasonably suggest that perhaps the concept originated in the Biology or Agricultural Department of some university, or that a government lab doing research on food supplies might have conceived and pursued the idea. Or, we might suggest a private company in the agricultural field was looking for more productive varieties of grains and stumbled on this process.
We might suggest all those answers, but in each case we would be wrong. GM seed was conceived, promoted, researched and funded by the US Department of Defense – the American War Department. GM seed was never meant as a way to feed the hungry, but was instead conceived and developed as a weapon or, more precisely, as a weapons-delivery system. Genetically-Modified seed was never intended to support human life, but to eliminate it. More…
Genetically modified food is in many of the products purchased. In the US, 93% of all soy is genetically modified, 90% of all canola is genetically modified, and 89% of all corn is genetically modified.
If genetically modified food is so good for you, why did Monsanto fight so hard against labeling? The next time you go shopping, ask yourself, what is in my food?
The Propaganda of Terror and Fear: A Lesson from Recent History
by Dr. Piers Robinson
(Co-Director Organisation for Propaganda Studies)
Posted April 4, 2020
The ongoing and unfolding reactions to the Corona Virus look set to have wide-ranging and long-lasting effect on politics, society and economics. The drive to close down all activities is extraordinary as are the measures being promoted to isolate people from each other.
The New York Times called for America to be put on a war footing in order to deal with Corona whilst former Army General Stanley McChrystal has been invoking his 9/11 experience in order to prescribe lessons for today’s leaders.
At the same time, political actors are fully aware that these conditions of fear and panic provide a critical opportunity that can be exploited in order to pursue political, economic and societal objectives. It is very likely, however, that the dangers posed by the potential exploitation of Corona for broader political, economic and societal objectives latter far outweigh the immediate threat to life and health from the virus. A lesson from recent history is instructive here. More…
Governments are taking drastic actions and assuming vast new powers as the viral pandemic progresses.
Consider what happened to your freedoms and rights after 9-11 and the 2008 economic crisis: the grossly misnamed Patriot Act, the wars without end, the constant and expanding surveillance of citizens, secret courts, the taxpayer paid for bailouts of criminal banks, and other examples. We need to remain vigilant to make sure this is not repeated. The consequences of not remaining vigilant will be far greater than the consequences of the virus itself.
The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Is a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Washington Cronies
by Yves Smith
Posted April 4, 2020
The financial crisis was such a successful exercise in looting the public purse that our oligarchs are at it again, this time via the “stimulus” bill.
When historians look back on our current government’s response to a public health emergency and resultant economic depression, there won’t be many paeans to profiles in courage. It may seem impressive that Congress has approved legislation worth $2 trillion to help sustain the American economy, but it’s no New Deal. Rather it’s a massive economic slush fund that does its utmost to preserve the old ways of doing things under the guise of masquerading as a response to a public health emergency. In reality, the relief provisions are barely adequate.
Bloomberg has also confirmed that the NY Fed has outsourced picking the lucky recipients for this slushy cornucopia to a private contractor, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager (Goldman Sachs apparently has done enough of “God’s work” this time). The more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same. More…
How to Turn Your Yard Into an Ecological Oasis
By Tyler Wells Lynch
Posted April 4, 2020
For years, Toni Genberg assumed a healthy garden was a healthy habitat. That’s how she approached the landscaping around her home in northern Virginia. On trips to the local gardening center, she would privilege aesthetics, buying whatever looked pretty, “which was typically ornamental or invasive plants,” she says. Then, in 2014, Genberg attended a talk by Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware. “I learned I was actually starving our wildlife,” she says.
The problem, Tallamy explained, is with the picky diets of plant-eating insects. Most of these bugs—roughly 90%—eat and reproduce on only certain native plant species, specifically those with whom they share an evolutionary history. Without these carefully tuned adaptations of specific plants, insect populations suffer. And because bugs themselves are a key food source for birds, rodents, amphibians, and other critters, that dependence on natives—and the consequences of not having them—works its way up the food chain. Over time, landscapes that consist mainly of invasive or nonnative plants could become dead zones. More…
The Biometric Threat
by Jayati Ghosh
Posted April 3, 2020
As with so many other convenient technologies, the world is underestimating the risks associated with biometric identification systems. India has learned about those risks the hard way – and should serve as a cautionary tale to the governments and corporations seeking to expand the use of these technologies.
If a fingerprint or iris scan is even slightly tilted or otherwise wrongly positioned, it may not match future verification scans. Moreover, bodies can change over time – for example, daily manual labor may alter fingerprints – creating discrepancies with the recorded data. And that does not even cover the most basic of mistakes, like misspelling names or addresses.
If honest mistakes can do that much harm, imagine the damage that can be caused by outright fraud. Police in Gujarat, India, recently found more than 1,100 casts of beneficiary fingerprints made on a silicone-like material, which were used for illicit withdrawals of food rations from the public distribution system. Because we leave fingerprints on everything we touch, we are all vulnerable to such replication.And manual replication is just the tip of the iceberg. More…
Amazon fires New York worker who led strike over coronavirus concerns
by Kenya Evelyn
Posted April 2, 2020
An Amazon worker who led a walkout at a New York City facility on Monday has been fired.
Chris Smalls, an assistant manager and organizer, learned of his termination as dozens of workers protested against the company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s a shame on them,” Smalls told Vice News on Tuesday. “To fire someone after five years for sticking up for people and trying to give them a voice.”
Strikers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island demanded Amazon temporarily shut down the large facility for cleaning, after reports of multiple employees testing positive for Covid-19. More…
Jeff Bezos, “the richest man in modern history” accumulates more and more wealth by the minute while ignoring the safety of his workers, and then fires someone who called him out on that.
What can be done to curb the strangle hold that corporations have over “our” elected government. Perhaps it is time to install sunset clauses on all corporations, like it was done when the concept of a corporation first started.
The USA’s Doll House: A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions
by Edward Curtin
Posted April 2, 2020
While truth-tellers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning sit inside jail cells and Edward Snowden lives in exile in Russia, the American people hole up in an illusionary dwelling constructed to reduce them to children afraid of the truth. Or is it the dark?
This is not new; it has been so for a very long time, but it has become a more sophisticated haunted doll’s house, an electronic one with many bells and whistles and images that move faster than the eye can see. We now inhabit a digital technological nightmare controlled by government and corporate forces intent on dominating every aspect of people’s lives.
This is true despite the valiant efforts of dissidents to use the technology for human liberation. The old wooden doll houses, where you needed small fingers to rearrange the furniture, now only need thumbs that can click you into your cell’s fantasy world. So many dwell there in the fabricated reality otherwise known as propaganda. The result is mass hallucination. More…
We Are Living in the Golden Age for White Collar Crime
by Michael Hobbes
Posted April 1, 2020
Over the last two years, nearly every institution of American life has taken on the unmistakable stench of moral rot. Corporate behemoths like Boeing and Wells Fargo have traded blue-chip credibility for white-collar callousness. Elite universities are selling admission spots to the highest Hollywood bidder. Silicon Valley unicorns have revealed themselves as long cons (Theranos), venture-capital cremation devices (Uber, WeWork) or straightforward comic book supervillains (Facebook). Every week unearths a cabinet-level political scandal that would have defined any other presidency. From the blackouts in California to the bloated bonuses on Wall Street to the entire biography of Jeffrey Epstein, it is impossible to look around the country and not get the feeling that elites are slowly looting it.
And why wouldn’t they? The criminal justice system has given up all pretense that the crimes of the wealthy are worth taking seriously. In January 2019, white-collar prosecutions fell to their lowest level since researchers started tracking them in 1998. Even within the dwindling number of prosecutions, most are cases against low-level con artists and small-fry financial schemes. More…
We wish that this story was an April Fools Day joke, but unfortunately it is not.
The Superorganism That Created the Pandemic
By Gaia Vince
Posted April 1, 2020
Humans do not operate within their ecosystems in the same way as other species, even other top-level predators. We don’t have an ecological niche, but rather we dominate and alter the local—and now, global—ecosystem cumulatively to suit our lifestyles and improve our survival, including though habitat loss, introduction of invasive species, climate change, industrial-scale hunting, burning, planting, infrastructure replacement, and countless other modifications.
We also don’t interact with each other in the same way as other species. We operate in large networks of unrelated individuals, treating each other as other species treat family. Just as genetic information is passed down through generations of families, humans also pass a whole suite of cultural information through societies and down the generations, including knowledge, behaviors, tools, languages, and values. More…