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!

Who’s Regulating the post-Brexit Conversation?

For in the hand of Yahweh there is a cup, full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours it out. Indeed the wicked of the earth drink and drink it to its very dregs.

Subliminal

A friend and I recently agreed that Naomi Klein’s latest book No is not Enough appeals less to Brits than North Americans.

We have other things going on like Corbyn and Brexit.

Media Hype

I like how the American media are so upfront. They openly discuss their administration’s white nationalism and deregulatory stance on health insurance, tax, guns, & net neutrality.

Here in the UK our deregulation is not so much spoon-fed as subliminal.

Just like with shadow banking, we know it’s naughty, we know it’s happening, but we act as though everything’s above board.

Too much Red Tape, Mate

The Brexit vote of June 2016 was sold as the perfect opportunity to take back control of our borders, recover sovereignty and cut Red Tape.

Click the image below for the original Sun article.

But exactly which regulations we’ll be cutting remains to be seen.

After all we’ll still need to retain the right to trade with Europe.

We’ll also need to keep our rights at work, protect our food, and look after the environment.

Countries will only trade with us if they trust our regulatory standards.

How will that happen if we become a totally unregulated space?

As Tax Justice Campaigner Richard Murphy puts it:

“We need rules. Try playing football without any rules. It doesn’t work.”

Captured Media

The lack of clarity from our journalists and politicians may be part of the problem.

Academics like Daniela Gabor, Prem Sikka, David Graeber, Vickie Cooper, David Whyte, Steve Tombs, and commentators like Frances Coppola, Ann Pettifor, Nicholas Wilson, and Ian Fraser are all reliable.

But few out and out hacks are prepared to rock the boat by asking difficult questions.

Even fewer politicians make meaningful commitments, give straight answers, or admit mistakes.

We don’t need no Education

In the midst of all this emerged Nigel Farage.

While the left and right were playing musical chairs in the centre, a gaping chasm opened up everywhere else.

All anyone had to do to occupy the space was point out the contradictions in the system.

Engineering of Consent

So in a strange social experiment the British public briefly entered an age of demagoguery. One that can’t be undone.

Where Thatcher, Blair and even Cameron got their voters mildly excited, unelected Mr Farage got the nation to  say “No” to the Establishment and  replace it with — the Establishment!

Post-coup nerves

The only problem with all this was that nobody ever thought that the Brexiteers could win. The Brexiteers themselves had no idea what they’d do once they won their coup.

As Hannah Arendt said of the British Empire:

It has often been said that the British acquired their empire in a fit of absent-mindedness, as consequence of automatic trends, yielding to what seemed possible and what was tempting, rather than as a result of deliberate policy. If this is true, then the road to hell may just as well be paved with no intentions as with the proverbial good ones.

Attention Hacker

In the following clip Nigel Farage strategically attacks ‘diversity’ before claiming that English is no longer spoken in many parts of the UK.


He’s our very own Donald Trump. The influence he’s projected over global politics is staggering.

Waistline Firecracker

By relentlessly attacking every MP in sight whilst having never been more than an MEP in Brussels, Farage has become the ultimate spectactor.

Like Lear’s Fool and Donald Trump, Farage has been able to speak populist truth to power without following any of the rules by which normal politicians are bound.

Deregulatory Fork

But just like Trump, he’s a vicious corporatist.

Earlier this year after asking if Trump’s an anarchist,  I asked anthropologist  David Graeber to distinguish between corporatists like Farage and fascists like Marine Le Pen.

It was Auntie wot won it

Before the referendum I asked the BBC how frequently Farage had appeared on Newsnight, Question Time, and The Today Programme — they refused.

I assume someone like Rupert Murdoch was supporting him.

In the wake of the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry James Harding moved to manage BBC News after having edited Murdoch’s Times for six years.

Maybe he was leaned on by Murdoch to include Farage on the BBC’s radio and televised debates.

Despite being a fully paid up member of the Metropolitan Elite and presumably a Remainer, Harding knows which way his bread’s buttered.

Amusing ourselves to death

Though humouring his old boss would have been logical, what started out as a joke led to a constitutional crisis.

By attacking the EU and political correctness in the way that he has, Farage has managed to overturn forty years of food, employment, financial and environmental standards.

Farage is currently employed by Rupert Murdoch in the US and by LBC talk radio in the UK.

What happened

Neo-liberal economics was underpinned by a belief in the idea of infinite growth. But the rapid growth of the ‘left behinds’ who under Thatcher had been written off as the acceptable rate of unemployment led to a growing divide.

They had no way out of a life of austerity.

At the same time came the rise of the Metropolitan Elite with their skinny lattés and Polish plumbers

Et Voila!

Plenty of newspapers also told their readers to vote for Brexit.

They weren’t all convinced by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove.

The Sun, the Mail, the Express, the Sunday Times, and the Telegraph are all still fervent Brexiteers.

Brexit Bill

But according to those Brexiteers who aren’t in the Cabinet, the Government are making a hash of Brexit.

The potential benefits of a Brexit deal are fast disappearing as the Government commits to paying more and more money to the EU.

What next?

  1. Who is going to stand up for UK regulation?
  2. How will a balance be struck between protecting UK business, UK citizens and non-citizens?