The United States of Monsanto

It is no longer enough for the seed and chemical company Monsanto to use its rivers of cash to own and operate the United States Congress (in the language of corporations, there is no word for “enough”); it is now using the US Department of State as its global sales force. The objective, apparently, is to replace every plant grown for food on the planet with a genetically mutilated plant sold by Monsanto. With the help of the United States government, the project is well along.
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Come, Apocalypse: Now It’s Peak Coffee

(Photo by Stepheye/Flickr)

Wait a minute. I have accustomed myself to the prospects that, approaching and after the Fall, I will have to give up gasoline, electricity, lettuce in the winter, thermostats, my cell phone, 20-minute showers and even — sob! — the Internet. I can handle that. I can stay home, tend my solar panels, grow my own food and cut wood for heat until I’m too hot and tired to take a shower. But Peak Coffee? It’s too much. Continue reading

Heading for the Last Roundup

Dumping chemicals on genetically mutilated plants, once the leading edge of industrial agriculture, may soon be its last ditch..

Of all the destructive scams perpetrated by industrial agriculture. none has been more profitable, or more destructive, than the massive Roundup round-robin perpetrated by Monsanto for 40 years. Now the scam appears to be falling apart. This is a story with the global reach of the housing bubble, all the inventive greed of the sub-prime mortgage stampede, and the tender mercies toward fellow humans of a Bernie Madoff, that now appears to be heading toward a Wall-Street-style meltdown. Continue reading

Genetic Defects Increasingly Apparent

I have taken a certain amount of flack for presuming to argue, in Brace for Impact, that genetic engineering has not been a success, that it indeed cannot be a success, and presents terrifying dangers to the web of life and to human well- being. So it is gratifying to have the New York Times confirm many of my arguments.

In the book I argued that the mis-named practice of genetic “engineering” has nothing to do with precise manipulation of genes, but is in fact a crap shoot in which scientists create new viruses and loose them on cells to see what happens. Once in a while, in the manner of a roomful of monkeys at keyboards, something meaningful results, such as a tomato with a fish gene that allows it to tolerate cold. For this we risk the escape into the world of a mutant organism of unknown capabilities.

Millions of dollars in advertising, bought by corporations that enjoy billions in revenues and research grants because of their genetic ambitions and pretenses, convince us that someone, somewhere, sometime soon, is or will be enjoying the fruits of this ultra-modern technology. Yet there is no objective evidence that this is so. Continue reading

Scientists Find Murder Gene

Scientists at the Universal Genome Center, in Burbank, California, say they have identified the human gene that causes people to commit murder.

The discovery capped a three-year, $30-million-dollar research project involving as many as three people poring over the 20,000 genes catalogued in the Human Genome Project (most of them labelled as, and I’m using the technical term of art here, “junk” genes). “Oddly enough,” said Dr. Oscar Able, co-director of the study, “We found it in the Ms.”

As might have been expected, the gene was in the Y chromosome associated with male characteristics. Another oddity, according to Dr. Able, was that the gene was closely associated with another that causes men to name their sons after John Wayne.

The discovery could lead to a cure for murder, according to Dr. Calvin Cain, co-director, who spoke at a separate news conference because he doesn’t get along with his colleague. “We are seeking fundng now,” said Dr. Cain, for a mammoth research project to develop a murder vaccine. “We think we already have a genetic treatment for murder, but it can only be applied after the fact. We think it is effective, but it has some unfortunate side effects.”

When pressed for details about the side effects, Dr. Cain demurred on the grounds that the subjects given the medicine had all died too fast for doctors to determine what was killing them. As a result of these complications, future testing will be limited to people who are within seven days of their execution date, with all appeals denied. “If you are in that group,” said Dr. Cain, “call your doctor and ask if this trial is right for you.”

Dr. Cain said he expected to bring to market a perfected medicine and a preventive vaccine, “within this eon.”

The announcement drew immediate reaction from NORMAL-C, the National Organization for the Restoration of the Murder Lifestyle Choice. “It’s what we been saying all along,” said president John Wayne Johnson from his death-row cell in Texas, “Murder ain’t a choice. Nobody in his right mind would choose to be a murderer. You’re born a murderer. People don’t kill people, genes kill people.”

Later, NORMAL-C issued a news release demanding, on the basis of the new research, that all murder convictions be overturned and the voting rights of convicted murderers be restored, pending the inevitable appeals. “Hey,” said John W. Johnson, “you people elected Bush, twice. How much worse could it get?”