Published on August 1, 2009 By Artysim In Blogging

Who's your favorite evil corporation? You know, that company that is so slimy, so insipid, you actually love to hate them? We've all got at least one.

Sit back and think about it for a minute. Is it a utility provider? How about an insurance company? (those are real easy to hate) the possibilities are varied and endless.

What kills me is there's a lot of truly nasty companies out there that are also very profitable, have great P.R and 90% of folks either don't know or have completely forgotten about their past crimes. 

Today, I'd like to focus on one evil corporation and give you fine folks here a little refresher on all the things they've done over the years. Today, we shine the spotlight on (drumroll please).......

Monsanto!

For anyone not familiar, this company is an absolute giant in the agriculture business. You know roundup? They make that. They came up with Bovine Growth Hormone, that wonderful substance that makes cows produce 20% more milk. They make lot's of stuff, as they've been around for quite some time. They also helped make Agent Orange in Vietnam. Do you know what PCB's are? Polychlorinated Bi-phenyls. They used to make that too, and for decades they knew how toxic it was and lied through their teeth about it.

Now, if you're one of those naysayers that believe that human activity can't have any adverse affect on the planet, go out and google "PCB" This stuff is extremely toxic and it sticks around a looooong time. In fact, in just the last century PCB's have been spread across the entire planet through wind and water circulation and they're here to stay. In humans PCB's can cause all kinds of nastyness from organ failure to cancer to (in the case of a pregnant woman being exposed) children born with extremely diminished mental abilities. In the case of animals and fish, well it usually just kills them outright if the dosage is large enough. Not the kind of chemicals you want in the creek your children will play in, right?

Monsanto bought the company that started making PCB's in the 1930's and shortly thereafter they knew full well just how dangerous and deadly this stuff was. Did they stop making it? Nope. Did they tell anyone about their findings? Nope. Profits were just too damned good! In fact, in Anniston, Alabama Monsanto dumped this stuff completely unfiltered into the local water tables for 40 years all the while telling people that their operations were safe and that nothing was out of sorts. They also did this in Sauget, Illinois for decades.

The results speak for themselves- residents in both communities had much higher rates of all kinds of health problems than anywhere else in the country. Included in the category of "strange health problems" also includes children, teenagers and young adults mysteriously passing away from all kinds of ailments not normally seen in people their age.

Anyways, it's a long, sad story. If you're interested, get the goods on it here: http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecrets/anniston/1.asp

And this is just one example. What's important to remember, is that this company knew full well that what they were doing was killing people and ruining lives. And they kept on doing it, and vehemently denying it, right up until the government finally stepped in in the 70's and banned production of PCB's.

What was the catalyst for the government to do so? In 1966 a Swedish chemist sounded the alarm bell, while Monsanto publicly stated that his findings were flawed. They lied through their teeth in an attempt to continue making their profits, even though they had known for decades.

So, that's all in the past right?

-wrong!!!- Monsanto is still up to all kinds of dirty tricks today.

If you'll remember Roundup used to be marketed as "biodegradable" but now it no longer says that on the container. Why? Because they lied about that too. While they pumped out cute commercials of Rex the family dog digging up a roundup-sprayed plant to get at the bone he buried underneath (implying that the herbicide degrades to a completely benign state shortly after spraying) independent tests verified that in some cases more than 30 days after spraying over 98% of the chemical was still in it's original form. Biodegradable my ass!

Now Monstanto's healthy profits depended on Roundup because it's one of their biggest money-makers, so anytime anyone publicly question's it's effects the Monsanto spin-team screams bloody murder and pulls out all of their scientific studies (all done by scientists on their payroll, just like all the studies they produced in the 60's to show that PCB's weren't harmful) to show that Roundup is harmless.

But lot's of tests have been done over the years by scientists not on Monsanto's payroll and like much of the products out there, once you get past the smoke and mirrors of the advertisements and media-spin, there's a very simple truth.

The reason why Roundup works so well is that it's made of up some really toxic, really nasty shit. That's why it's so incredibly effective.

It also kills all kinds of insects and even earthworms in some cases, that are beneficial to the ecosystem.

It drastically interrupts nitrogen fixation of the soil by killing the bacteria responsible for doing that- this is a BAD thing. 

It's incredibly toxic to humans- drinking about 3/4 of a cup will kill an average joe in a short time. And keep in mind that this is NOT biodegradable stuff, as some tests have found it takes up to 140 days or more for 50% decomposition. Residues of the toxins responsible for the magic of roundup have been found on carrots, lettuce and barley more than a year after they were sprayed. Yummy!

Now, I don't know about you, but if there's a product out there that can easily kill a human through ingestion and we're spraying this stuff on the crops we're going to eat (Monsanto's also produced genetically tailored plants that resist roundup) isn't there something just a little fishy about that?

This ties into the next point- Monsanto has another huge moneymaker, genetically modified crops. Now they might be truly evil, but they are also truly genius. One has to give credit where it is due, and these folks are on the cutting-edge of genetic research. They mix and match genes, taking DNA from hardy bacteria and mixing it into plant cells to make them more resistant. They've succeeded in creating "terminator" seeds that allow for only one crop harvest and then the farmer has to go and buy new seeds the following year (talk about messing with nature to ensure profits)

The beauty of it is that using their genetically modified organisms requires signing an End-User agreement that legally denies you from finding out the truth about their product.

Wha?

That's right, not a typo. If you're a farmer and you buy Monsanto seed, you sign a legal document that says that you will not, under any circumstances, allow their product to be tested by any nerdy-scientist folk. What does this accomplish? It means that the only official scientific studies carried out on Monsanto's new products can only be carried out by scientists on the company payroll. Independent scientists, cannot legally obtain a sample of the product and publish the results of their testing.

Oh sure, the EPA and the FDA are also in the picture, but government has NEVER gotten in bed with industry in the past have they? Surely not!

Of course, technically speaking an independent scientist could probably obtain some seeds very easily. But as soon as he'd publish his results, Monsanto, who has VERY deep pockets, would be taking him to court since he either

a) didn't legally obtain their product or

violated the end user agreement if he did buy their product

Ingenius isn't it? So why would a company do such a thing? Naturally the argument has always been that they are simply protecting their competitive interests, just like Coca-Cola supposedly has a recipe that only 2 people on the whole planet know. Just like KFC has a super-secret blend of 11 herbs and spices (newsflash people- it's just black pepper and breading!) and so forth.

Always keep in mind the source. This is a company that has been caught red-handed lying through it's teeth several times over the years. The kind of lies that kill people and ruin entire ecosystems on a near-permanent basis.

Our PCB's are perfectly safe! They helped us win the war you know! (was their line for decades)

Roundup is biodegradable and perfectly harmless! Spray once in your backyard and your kids can romp around with Rex the puppy the next day! (Was the cheery message they conveyed)

Now the new lie is:

Our line of genetically modified seeds are paving the way for a greener, sustainable future! (Just don't ever seriously question how we've done it or any possible repercussions Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain)

As the old saying goes:

"Fool me once, shame on you.... fool me twice.... well... we can't get fooled again!"

-George Bush Jr.

So in closing, who's your evil corporation of the day?


Comments (Page 1)
on Aug 02, 2009

The stuff on roundup is well, not entirely correct.  The active chemical, glycosphate, is entirely non-toxic to humans.  It blocks an enzyme in the shihomate (spelling off, sorry) biochemical pathway which leads to a subset of amino acids.  In human terms they are regared as 'essential amino acids' as it is essential that they are in our diet as we just do not have that biochemical pathway. 

The chemical blocks a pathway that we just do not have anyway, it simply can not affect us. 

There are other chemical in round-up as well but of little to no human toxicty.

on Aug 02, 2009

The active chemical, glycosphate, is entirely non-toxic to humans.

...

There are other chemical in round-up as well but of little to no human toxicty.



So, when can we expect to see the YouTube video of you drinking a cup of RoundUp?

 

on Aug 02, 2009

Basmas-

You're absolutely right about glyphosate, by itself it's not obviously harmful to humans. However, there have been tests done that indicate it can interfere with the enzymes that produce testosterone and estrogen. There have also been other tests done that indicate it could be a disruptor of the endocrine system. And yes, of course there are other chemicals in Roundup- much of the controversy comes from this-

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9464316

which puts forth the position that Roundup caused genetic problems in mice and that they didn't believe that it was due to glyphosate specifically but another substance in roundup or an unanticipated side effect of the combination of various substances.

Of more alarm is that while Roundup may not have much of an immediately obvious affect on humans, it's pretty nasty to fish and aquatic species. And run off from large agricultural plots into rivers and local water tables has always been a significant issue, even more so compounded with the amount of herbicides that could be in that run-off.

What I do know is that the European Union has classified Roundup as dangerous for the environment and toxic for aquatic organisms. There are also two documented cases in which laboratories hired by Monsanto to perform tests on the effects of glyphosate were caught red-handed falsifying their results, and this was found to be a routine occurrence.

-but-...... Let's be real here. I am not a chemist, nor am I a biologist. Everything I've posted about can be found online by any joe-schmoe (that's me!) and regurgitated after 5 minutes of searching online. Admittedly, the finer details of what Roundup does or does not do on a chemical or biological basis are entirely over my head. What's important to remember here is that Monsanto has a past of compulsive lying.

They lied about Roundup being biodegradable.... they knew full well that it takes so long to degrade appreciably that the term "biodegradable" was not truthful. But it took a law suit from the New York Attorney General filed in 1996 AND Monsanto kept the case tied up in court for over 11 years. In 2007 they were convicted of false advertising.

And let's not forget the whole 40 years of pumping PCB's into water tables unfiltered thing. If it were up to me, Monsanto should have had it's charter revoked for that alone, it's board of directors going to prison, and the massive profits the company accrued over decades of criminal negligence going towards restitution of it's victims and R&D for pure science (just my two cents)

In short, Monsanto is indeed one very evil company!

on Aug 02, 2009

You forgot to mention that they ruin farmers with their terminator seeds in thirdworld countries and make them entirely dependable on them.

It is a crying shame that crops and cattle have been industrialized so much that it is almost a perversion of nature. It is unethical and immoral, but good business. Greed is never a positive motivator, no matter what neolibertarian economists say. A social component has to keep that in check to make things sustainable for the benefit of everybody, not just some large companies. This is not communist, either, it's common sense. I don't get why people are paranoid about the government having too much control but don't mind at all if a business corporation with only its own interests manages to monopolize one of the most important things for our survival - argriculture.

on Aug 03, 2009

I'll get to the round-up thing later but no farmer in any part of the world has ever been forced to buy terminator seeds. 

Famers the world over have bought terminator seeds because they chose to. 

If the third world farmers want to have seeds that they can collect and use next year then they can buy them; monsato has not, nor can not, stop the supply of these seeds.

Most farmers buy seeds every year as in the main they use cross-bred seeds to take advantage of a genetic phenomon called hybrid vicor.  The seeds makers cross breed two line and the first generation is stronger than both parents, due to the mix of genes, and this benfit is reduced with each generation.

On mass seeds require carefull storage if you want them to germinate the next year anyway, something that most farmers do not have.

 

on Aug 03, 2009

Power to the people!

on Aug 03, 2009

And this is one of many reasons why I just don't trust corporations...

on Aug 04, 2009

It is a crying shame that crops and cattle have been industrialized so much that it is almost a perversion of nature. It is unethical and immoral, but good business. Greed is never a positive motivator, no matter what neolibertarian economists say. A social component has to keep that in check to make things sustainable for the benefit of everybody, not just some large companies. This is not communist, either, it's common sense. I don't get why people are paranoid about the government having too much control but don't mind at all if a business corporation with only its own interests manages to monopolize one of the most important things for our survival - argriculture.

The problem here is that you have a combination of greed and bad laws. Faulty watchgroups like the FDA and EPA, ridiculous laws preventing anyone from publishing their findings about a crop because of an EULA? etc.

if people got their heads out of their asses and voted some people into office that will clean up the FDA than things will get better. Or maybe if more upstanding people went into politics.

Why are people afraid of big government? if the government was less pervasive and perverse we could have independant researchers publishing documents about those things.

The FDA needs to be dissolved, not given more power to abuse.

on Aug 04, 2009

if people got their heads out of their asses and voted some people into office that will clean up the FDA than things will get better. Or maybe if more upstanding people went into politics.

 

Agreed.

 

Why are people afraid of big government? if the government was less pervasive and perverse we could have independant researchers publishing documents about those things.

 

I can agree with the second sentence here. Seems like politics is wrapped up in science way too much.

 

The FDA needs to be dissolved, not given more power to abuse

 

No thanks, I like my food and drugs pure. Not so keen on the whole finding heads in food or drugs that kill you. I do agree though on the point of needing an overhaul. (Oh, btw, I don't buy the idea of the market replacing it...*points at article*)

 

Be well, ~Alderic

on Aug 04, 2009

Social market economy (like in Germany) has the government as a component to ensure a fair competition because the economy is there fore the people and not the other way around. Uninhibited greed and bad laws are supposed to be kept in check that way and it works mostly.. unless you have too many regulations of what is considered fair like the EU does by labeling and defining everything. But it is still a better way to do things than saying that the market regulates itself. It doesn't because greed is not for nothing one of the seven deadly sins. Greed alone is never positive, no matter what sort of spin you put on it.

I am not really sure how things work in Europe parallel to the FDA. Brussel is a sort of enigma to most with its bureaucray and administration and special committees for all sorts of things. It may not be less corrupt than the FDA and its lobbyists are.

on Aug 04, 2009

No thanks, I like my food and drugs pure. Not so keen on the whole finding heads in food or drugs that kill you. I do agree though on the point of needing an overhaul. (Oh, btw, I don't buy the idea of the market replacing it...*points at article*)

Sorry, I misspoke, it needs to be dissolved and reformed into a less corrupt organization... as in, fire everyone and start over. We definitely NEED oversight, but it needs to be good oversight.

on Aug 04, 2009

 It doesn't because greed is not for nothing one of the seven deadly sins. Greed alone is never positive, no matter what sort of spin you put on it.

Why do you assume greed is the ONLY component of self regulating markets? in a self regulating market consumer education, morals, and intellect battle greed. In a government regulated one, government beurocracy protects the greedy from the moral people.

on Aug 05, 2009

 

in a self regulating market consumer education, morals, and intellect battle greed
Maybe in your utopia. Tell me, who educates the consumers? The companies that want them to buy their products? Which morals - that is totally vague, and intellect?! Whose intellect did you refer to here?  Everybody wants to make money and morals seem always to be  among the first casualties. I read several posts here on JU from people that believe that greed is the only motivator and very positive. 

You need to combine both, a free selfregulated market and an oversight to make sure that it stays in the limits of what is best for the society and the country. Check out Ordoliberalism - theoretic principle underlying the social market economy.

on Aug 05, 2009

 

Sorry, I misspoke, it needs to be dissolved and reformed into a less corrupt organization... as in, fire everyone and start over. We definitely NEED oversight, but it needs to be good oversight.

 

Ahuh, you "misspoke" just like a politician does. Just admit it, you said what you said.

 

Be well, ~Alderic.

 

 

on Aug 05, 2009

Why do you assume greed is the ONLY component of self regulating markets? in a self regulating market consumer education, morals, and intellect battle greed. In a government regulated one, government beurocracy protects the greedy from the moral people.

Nice argument. Please provide real-world examples. I've got a few for you-

Self-regulated markets-

ENRON- they were only able to do what they did (lie, cheat, steal, and ruin lives) because they had folks in the government that were sympathetic to their cries for deregulation. Once said deregulation occurred, they lied, cheated and stole as much as they could until a few folks in the press...and a few employees with a troubled conscience.... blew the whistle, by which point the damage was done.

Banking Meltdown- The shenanigans that occurred in the banking industry happened because several laws passed in the 30's (to prevent another great depression) were repealed in the late 90's, all in the name of self-regulated markets. Also, many of the key individuals in the SEC and Fed Reserve were either in bed with the banks or asleep at the wheel and mostly oblivious to what was going on. There was one fellow in the SEC that was on to Bernard Madoff's scam years before it was officially discovered, they passed this information up the chain internally, as they were supposed to but it was either dropped or suppressed by upper levels of management. Again leading back to the regulatory folks either in bed with the industry they were supposed to regulate or asleep at the wheel.

Tobacco Industry-

If you'll remember back in the 90's all the major tobacco producers screamed to high heaven that there was nothing wrong with their products, they were not carcinogenic and that all the tests done that proved that there is a direct link between smoking and cancer were "junk science" They used this line again and again and were forced, kicking and screaming, to finally admit that yes, smoking does cause cancer, reduce your lifespan and all other sorts of ailments. Had it not been for regulation, do you seriously thing the tobacco producers wouldn't have voluntarily gone

"hey guys, sorry, the products we make and depend on for our revenue and profits are bad for your health and can kill you, kthanx!"

A regulated market is just like any other system in life- it needs rules. Just like the traffic system, there need to be rules of the road enforced by an impartial third party (the police)

What would life be like if the roads were completely "de-regulated" and it were left up to all drivers to just kinda sort things out on their own? (No traffic lights, no stop signs, no yield signs, no cops looking for speeders or drunk drivers etc)

 

 

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