Mommy, What’s an Endocrine Disruptor?

It was Trade-Related

I first heard the term Endocrine Disruptor three years ago while researching the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) also known as the EU – US trade agreement.

US firms wanted to dismantle EU safety standards and make big money selling toxic food and chemicals to 500 million EU citizens.

The agreement has since been torpedoed by the Trump administration — but its legacy lives on.

The Case against Sugar

In the Case against Sugar, Science Journalist Gary Taubes talks about Endocrine Disruptors, Empty Calories and the link between the rise in diabetes and obesity and the adoption of a western diet.

Endocrine Disruptors increase your family’s cancer risk and can be found in practically everything from plastic wrapping to Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Glyphosate pesticide of which traces can be found in supermarket fruit, vegetables, and processed foods.

In 2016 Germany opposed the renewal of Roundup’s 5 year EU licence — at the behest of their coalition partners, the centre left SPD:

But as there isn’t a fully fledged government in Berlin right now, Chancellor Merkel’s acting Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt was able to vote to renew the EU licence behind Merkel and SPD Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks’ back.

Despite being politically toxic only 18 months ago it somehow sneaked through and so the enormous German resistance to TTIP & pesticides finally came to nothing.

Monsanto’s Roundup Glyphosate is an organophosphate.

It shouldn’t feel that weird to see Germany voting to kill people — when it comes to chemical weapons, they wrote the book.

But that’s not to say no-one else tried :

Better Living Through Chemistry

Du Pont’s Slogan “Better Living Through Chemistry” was co-opted by DJ Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim whose fans popped countless chemicals including MDMA, Cocaine, Ketamine and Ecstasy. .


Bayer

German mega-corporation Bayer are in the middle of buying up US-owned Monsanto.

This transatlantic merger is proving that the renewal of the EU Roundup licence is just TTIP by other means.

And Bayer have form.

They invented Aspirin, and Heroin.

Under the IG Farben label they made Zyglon B, the gas used by the Nazis in the Gas Chambers.

Zyglon B was originally just another pesticide — invented by Fritz Haber’s research group at the IG Farben-owned Degecsh pest control  company.

Fritz Haber was German, originally of Jewish background, and won the 1918 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his invention of the Haber-Bosch process which was used for both fertilisers and chemical weapons.

Haber is known as the father of chemical weapons.

His first wife Clara Immerwahr was the daughter of a well to do chemist who operated a beet sugar factory on his estate.

Immerwahr was the first woman in Germany to obtain a PhD in Chemistry. She contributed to Haber’s work but was a pacifist and woman’s rights activist.

She committed suicide in 1915 apparently upset about the role her husband played in overseeing the killing of thousands of soldiers in Belgium in the first known use of chemical weapons as a weapon of mass destruction.

Many of Monsanto and Bayer’s pesticide products double up as chemical weapons.

The following excerpt is from the early 2000s:

In the 1930s, chemists working for the German company Bayer discovered the highly poisonous properties of organophosphate compounds. By then, Bayer had already merged with BASF, Hoechst and other companies to form
the huge chemical conglomerate I.G. Farben; today Bayer is poised to become the worlds largest manufacturer of herbicides and pesticides and a leading source of genetically engineered seed varietieswith its recent takeover of the biotech giant Aventis CropScience. (Aventis is the company responsible for the Starlink variety of insecticidal GE corn, which was never approved for human consumption and thus forced the recall of some 300 name-brand processed food products during 2000-01.) As all of German industry became absorbed into the growing Nazi war machine, Bayers organophosphate compounds were developed simultaneously
as agricultural pesticides and as nerve gases for military use.

Agriculture — War by Other Means
Back in 1998, the Economist didn’t hide it’s enthusiasm for Better Living Through Chemistry.

France & Italy

France and Italy oppose the Roundup licence renewal and both plan to ban the pesticide :

One Man’s Profit is Another Woman’s Diabetes

According to vegan journalist Jill Ettinger, in her 2012 article From BPA to Glyphosate: What Are the Risks of Endocrine Disruptors?  Endocrine Disruptors are everywhere including the air we breathe.

The EU is still trying to limit its citizens’ exposure to Endocrine Disruptors but given the enormous food and agriculture industry lobby, the path has been rocky.

EU plan to Regulate Endocrine Disruptors

Some progress was reported last week, but it’s far too early to celebrate.

Just a few weeks ago, in October, the European Parliament voted against the European Commission’s steps to regulate Endocrine Disruptors.

So, unlike with Roundup, at EU level, the Endocrine Disruptor situation may be moving in the right direction.

Dire Beets 

Theresa May was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes in 2014. Sweet tooth?

David ‘Sugar Man’ Davis 

Brexit Secretary David Davis spent 17 years working at Tate & Lyle whose UK sugar processing operations have since been sold to the American ASR Group. 

ASR backed Brexit – for good reason!

Davis himself was in the SAS and has degrees in Computing, Molecular Science and Business from Warwick, London Business School, and Harvard.

But he’s not taking Brexit, British interests or information management very seriously:

All this talk of chemistry, the military, and the clown like approach to information management reminds me of another international laughing stock from way back in 2003: Ali Hassan Al-Majid aka Chemical Ali

Sweet Home Alabama

According to the Times, Tate & Lyle switched out of its historic sugar operation in 2010 and now focuses on developing new products including sweeteners, many of which are made in Alabama and delivered to Mexico to go into soft drinks.

Tate & Lyle diversified into biomaterials in 2007. They currently specialise in plastics, biofuel and processed foods.

It looks as though, as usual, they are using the same chemicals for both purposes. All of which seem to have an endocrine disruption / metabolic disorder inducing aspect.

Maybe David Davis’s old firm has had a hand in giving Theresa May type 1 diabetes, a metabolic disorder that can be brought on by poor diet.

The chemicals mentioned in their wikipedia entry include:

1,3-Propanediol features mainly in bioprocess engineering, which includes the manufacturing of products such as agriculture, food, feed, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, chemicals, and polymers and paper from biological materials & treatment of waste water.

Polylactic acid (PLA) is used in many products including nappies, replacement hips, 3D printers, tea bags, and e-cigarettes.

From where I stand Polylactic acid  has something of the endocrine disruptor about it.

Diabetes is the most common endocrine / metabolic disorder.

This whole Brexit thing is starting to look like a game of Endocrinopoly.

Capital Without Borders

Brooke Harrington’s excellent 2016 book, Capital Without Borders, about the world of Trust and Estate Professionals reminds us that there is more to Brexit than pesticides and sugar.

Brooke Harrington is currently being targeted by the Danish Home Office for sharing her academic work with Danish Policy Makers. Unfair and Surreal.

Heretical Finance

We read her book as part of the Heretical Finance Book Club in April. A real eye-opener.

This was last year’s selection. 2018’s will be out soon.

If you’ve got this far, you could probably do with some Parliament / Funkadelic.

Free your Mind and your Ass will follow!

Mummy, what’s a #BreitbartBrexit?

We in the middle of a #BreitbartBrexit:

CETA+++

David Davis is championing CETA+++ which means Britain copying the Canada-EU trade agreement — plus services.

The Alt-Right-ish Spectator updated us  yesterday:

According to Sun Columnist James Forsyth, the EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said the UK must accept either Norway or Canada style arrangements.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer wants UK to be Norway-style ‘rule takers’ except for free movement which will become ‘easy’ movement.

What is Easy Movement?

Emmanuel Macron’s wants to reform the rules around ‘posted workers’.

Did Starmer get his ideas from Macron?

Why aren’t these ideas being discussed here like in France?

Balanced reports on economic migration are sadly few and far between.

We generally only hear these topics mentioned by Nigel Farage on Question Time or in the tabloid press.

Bannon

I stumbled across this exposé of Bannon  on the Spectator website.

It came out in October so things have moved on a bit since then.

This is his November New York Times interview.

Sadly no  mention of Buzzfeed’s October story that documented how Bannon courted the Nazi Alt-Right via Milo Yiannopolous,

Or his  soft spot for Italian Fascist Julius Evola:

en.wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org

Net Neutrality

If Bannon is so interested in helping the poor – what’s he saying about Net Neutrality?

Bannon  made big money from 90s hit TV show Seinfeld.  Who would have thought Seinfeld would be instrumental in funding the Alt-Right / Neo-Nazi revolution.

Maybe Bannon sees Net Neutrality as a way of destroying his Alt-Right competitors.

StreamPunks

In StreamPunks, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer says middle aged white guys (like Bannon)  used to decide everything we saw on TV.

There is even a quote from the scene in Seinfeld where they try to pitch the show, which is about nothing,  to the head of NBC.

“Why am I watching it?” asks the studio exec.

“Because it’s on TV!” says George.

Bored with deciding what’s on our TVs, Bannon has taken it upon himself to decide who is in the White House.

His recent speech to Black Americans for a Better Future was a masterclass in rhetoric from a man whose Breitbart website is a favourite among neo-Nazi white nationalists.

This Buzzfeed piece  points out that Black Americans for a Better Future is mainly funded by wealthy white donors.

As pointed out in this blog, the Alt-Right’s favourite UK politician is Jacob Rees Mogg whose mission, like Bannon’s, is the Deconstruction of the Administrative State i.e. Deregulate Everything.

I wish I could round off with something comforting you can do to stop this madness. Suddenly fascism is fashionable.

 

Accidence & Incidents: Aurobindo, Koestler, Oakeshott

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

FT political leader writer, Sebastian Payne recently referred to the Conservative Party’s pre-eminent post-war philosopher — Michael Oakeshott.

So why do Tories love him?

1. Oakeshott was a philosopher — not a neo-liberal economist.

2. Unlike Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman, or even Arthur Seldon, Oakeshott was a bona fide English Gentleman.

3. He wasn’t actually that interested in politics.

Oakeshott was appointed Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics in 1968 – at a time when Daniel Cohn Bendit (Nous sommes tous les Juifs Allemands / We are all German Jews) was over from Paris attempting to foment revolution at the London University.

By simply not being a leftist, unlike his predecessor Harold Laski, Oakeshott did more to foster the LSE neo-liberal counter insurgency than many realise.

Oakeshott was very good friends with Oliver Letwin’s mother Shirley Letwin who wrote the Anatomy of Thatcherism shortly before passing away in 1993.

A lot of these relationships are outlined in the wonderful Thinking the Unthinkable by Richard Cockett.

Thatcher once said “Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.”

Given that Oliver Letwin has since discovered Behavioural Economics, as outlined in a previous post, it is telling that he chose to name his new book on the Conservative Party — Hearts and Minds.

Nudging people into loving deregulation hasn’t gone quite according to plan. In a way Letwin was hoist by his own petard. He wrote a paper called Drift to Union in 1988 in which he pointed out the risk of a Ever Closer Union and a European Superstate. But nevertheless he believed it would have been better to remain in the customs union whilst arguing for reforms.

He talks about the morning of Brexit as reminiscent of passages by Nadezhda Krupskaya on the morning of the Russian Revolution. A coup d’état had taken place with the ‘arch-Machiavelli’ David Davis being one of the major players.

Was all this madness just to suit the ambition of a bunch of Tory psychopaths?

A Guide to the Classics

Oakeshott wrote a book in the 30’s about how to pick the winner at the Epsom Derby.

Applying conservative principles to the world of horse-racing Oakeshott translated his way of thinking to something everyone could relate to — dealing with uncertainty.

In some fields this could be termed rationality, empiricism or even heuristics.

Oakeshott’s principles included checking a horse’s breeding and form and not just betting on a horse because of its name.

“Airborne”

Despite Oakeshott’s advice I couldn’t help but notice — at the top left of an early edition — a horse going by the name of ‘Airborne’.

Airborne, for a couple of years, was also my nickname for Daily Mail Columnist Peter Oborne.

And it just so happens that Oborne wrote the foreword to the June 2017 reissue of Oakeshott’s Guide to the Classics — the only reason I picked it up in the first place.

Merely co-incidence? Of course — but fun all the same.

It turns out that Airborne was a surprise winner. Nobody had heard of it but lots of people bet on it because of the airborne division in the war.

Oakeshott never claimed to make you rich, merely to help you think about how to think.

The Routes of Co-Incidence

Psychogeography

Several years ago I met a cousin of the great Indian teacher and Spiritual Guide Krishnamurthi. He (the cousin) was friends with my mother. I understand both were devotees of the late Sathya Sai Baba.

Krishnamurthi (for that was also the cousin’s name) told me all about Sri Aurobindo and the Upanishads.

For a mix of Oakeshottian and non-Oakeshottian reasons I decided to follow these leads, albeit at a leisurely pace.

The Krishnamurthi who I had  spent time with was an eloquent inspiring man.

I soon discovered that I had (briefly) attended the same school as Aurobindo in London — St Paul’s.

I call my reasoning partly Oakeshottian because of the  breeding component.

Not racial necessarily — but I did also find out that Aurobindo was Bengali.

Turns out most Bangladeshis may be Dravidian — not unlike yours truly — a Tamil from Sri Lanka (via Paddington).

Aurobindo would have been a Hindu – like the Bengalis I came across at St Paul’s

They were all very high caste. Or so it appeared.

From Death to Death will go the man
who discriminates between,
What is seen in the unseen world
and unseen in the seen

This is my re-edit of a line in the Upanishads that I found highly useful.

As a Hindu, once I die, I don’t want to come back.