Wall Street Journal Versus Germany, Science and Common Sense


Germans, who invented environmentalism in the early 1800’s are simply recognizing the current evidence: Roundup causes cancer.

Wall Street Journal spins this for their cronies, changing the subject from Roundup to GMO seeds, as if there were a difference. It also says the regulatory rubber-stamping of destructive agribusiness practices proves “good science”, and the export of monopoly agribusiness practices reflects “free-markets” and “free-trade”.

NOTE: post originally appeared on WSJ.com August 27, 2015

Berlin threatens a U.S.-Europe trade pact by rejecting GMO food.

So much for Europe’s efforts to put the junk science surrounding genetically modified (GMO) food to rest. Berlin last week signaled it will prohibit cultivation of GMO crops in Germany, even if the crops have been approved by EU scientific bodies and despite an attempt by Brussels to legalize them.

Berlin is using an opt-out option granted by the EU to member states in April. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker moved to keep GMO foods generally legal in the EU, but he bowed to green pressure to allow individual states to prohibit EU-approved GMOs in response to concerns that “are usually not based on science but on other considerations.” That means politically driven consumer opposition or agricultural protectionism.

Sure enough, neither environmentalists nor German politicians have come up with a justification for Berlin’s looming ban other than, well, because. Supporters cheer the move as an expression of “food democracy” in a country where opposition to GMOs is widespread and the government faced intense pressure to ban them.

Since a scientific basis for such a ban doesn’t exist, organizations such as Friends of the Earth Germany now resort to promoting “organic” food as an alternative to GMO crops that they say increase pesticide use and endanger human health. As a Friends of the Earth director told the website Common Dreams, Berlin’s ban promotes “sustainable, resilient organic food production that doesn’t perpetuate the overuse of toxic herbicides.”

Back in reality, EU scientific and food-safety authorities have repeatedly cleared various GMO crops for human and animal consumption. The process often takes months to complete, and in 95% of cases EU regulators ask producers for more evidence before greenlighting GMOs, so it’s hardly a rubber stamp.

This would merely be so much environmental backwardness, except that the opt-out rule makes negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with America that much more difficult. Once concluded, the U.S.-Europe trade pact would generate an estimated €120 billion in European gross domestic product, but American agricultural producers might rightly be wary of a GMO regulatory patchwork across the Continent. If Europeans miss out on the jobs, growth and cheaper products that come with free trade, they’ll have the green lobby to blame.

The Rest of the Story:

When the agrochemical companies acquired the seed companies, something prohibited by antitrust law, their promise was that if the rules were relaxed, drought-resistant cereals and insect-resistant fruit would result from the capital and research strength of the acquiring agrochemical giants. This was bait and switch: GMO research has turned out to be mostly a driver for agrochemical poison sales.

Glyphosate (Roundup) was invented as an industrial de-scalent which removed rust and minerals from steam vessels. It was later discovered to be toxic to plants. Eventually, Monsanto acquired the patents and developed it as a broad-based herbicide, and, patented it as an antibiotic.

Today most crops grown from GMO seeds require the application of Roundup at least twice while being grown, and often a third time as a desiccant to cause defoliation which makes seed harvesting more “efficient”. Most of our food, and other crops like cotton, are now being grown with the integrated use of Roundup and other deadly poisons. The latest addition is 2, 4-D, a primary component of Agent Orange which was responsible for 2 million birth defects in Vietnam. 60,000 Americans Vets get disability payments and 70,000 more have claims pending from exposure to this chemical, the use of which EPA-FDA has approved without testing.

There is abundant, mounting evidence on the residual effects of glysophate in food, soil and water, including that Roundup causes cancer. That is why the Europeans don’t want it.It is dishonest to maintain that GMOs are wholesome while disregarding the poisoning of croplands and consumers by the chemicals required to grow GMO crops. As when the tobacco companies and the media that ran their ads insisted smoking was safe long after they knew better, Wall Street Journal says that GMO food is harmless, averting its eyes from the health hazards of chemicals associated with GMOs.

And, the Journal also ignores the social and economic damage being done to farmers and ranchers by the agribusiness monopolies, and the harm done to the Third World by dumping subsidized GMO feed at prices below their cost of production, thereby undermining pastoral and agrarian communities.

As a subsidiary of a media giant, the Journal defends corporate concentrations. The neocons – former liberals now camouflaged in pinstripes – dignify their anti-free market and anti-scientific actions with rhetoric laced with empirically hollow “free market” and “scientific” buzzwords. Like all statists from the so-called left or the right, they like and trust “Big”. So, if the monopolies, or their government counterparts like FDA or EPA say GMOs are safe, they sincerely believe it must be true.

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