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!

“Good that UK Completely Caved-In…” says Citigroup’s Global Chief Economist, Willem Buiter — But in Reality US using Brexit to Colonise EU via Ireland

Purported UK Cave-In (08/12/17)

Brexit Jihad designed to weaken the EU & UK at all costs

Why would the City of London Corporation (The UK’s Foremost Financial Services Lobbyists) or the European Commission care about EU or UK citizens?

German Chemical firm Bayer are buying US-firm Monsanto and so Germany just voted through the 5 year renewal of Monsanto’s controversial Round-Up weed killer licence at EU-Wide Level.

They had previously abstained. This time their vote swung it for the potentially carcinogenic pesticide.

Ireland are a tax haven favoured by the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook.

This 2011 post by David Malone explains what Germany really think of Ireland.

Ireland are also home to lots of Monsanto lobbying.

US are using Brexit & Ireland to colonise Europe as they’d originally planned via TTIP.

First Baghdad then Athens then London

French Economist Patrick Artus predicted way back in 2002 that Britain would surely have adopted the Euro by now.

He clearly never read the Sun.

The likes of Buiter can claim the ‘Cave-In’ as a victory for the EU or his type of disaster capitalism, but he fundamentally misunderstands.

Brexit is an opportunity for far greater disruption via regulatory arbitrage. Collateral damage will be borne by those whose shoulders are least broad.

Amusing Ourselves to Death — Brexit Jihadi in Sheep’s Clothing Jacob Rees Mogg  on Marr Show (3/12/17)

We need to deliver the benefits of leaving to the poorest in our nation because otherwise they will feel deeply let down. That includes dealing with freedom of movement and that includes getting free trade deals so that we can learn the cost of food clothing and footwear.

This from an Alt-Right man who consistently voted to cut disability benefit and whose father William edited the Times for several years and said of Murdoch in his memoirs: “Looking back, he has been an excellent proprietor for the Times, but also for Fleet Street.”

Lord William Rees-Mogg wrote the following book, quoting a famous Rothschild on when best to invest in the stock market.

Not so different to Death of Britain by that other famous ex-Rothschild Brexiteer — Jihadi John (Redwood):

Brits often sold secrets to Moscow during the Cold War. Redwood’s loyalty clearly lies elsewhere. He’s undermining Britain for his 30 pieces of silver. In days gone such behaviour could get you hanged.

Speaking in Codes – When you mean Deregulation, just say Ireland

Rees Mogg wants to maintain the integrity of Northern Ireland in UK and to have no hard border. This means he wants to recolonise the Irish by forcing them to accept the UK’s regulatory regime.

And if they don’t then Brexiteers can treat them just like they did the ‘Remoaners’.

Rees Mogg & Bannon Alliance

Marr should have asked Rees Mogg about Bannon’s stated aim to deconstruct the Administrative state.

This seems entirely consistent with Blood on The Streets and the Death of Britain.

Rees Mogg on Bannon

Rees Mogg suggests speaking to Alt-Right Breitbart owner Steve Bannon is just like talking to Barrack Obama’s “left-wing” former UK ambassadors.

Presumably Jihadi Joseph views fellow Tory austerity architects David Cameron, George Osborne & Oliver Letwin as a bunch of wayward Crypto-Marxists.

Just as energy firms trade with ISIS, Jihadis like Rees-Mogg get on well with comrades like Bannon.

Sympathy for the Devil

On the other hand, here’s Bannon explaining his Economic Nationalism to a US Black Republican meeting last week — a captivating speech.

Easy Rider

If you’re disappointed the BBC presenter didn’t do more to challenge Mogg, let’s not forget that till April this year, the Deputy Chair of the BBC Trust was Sir Roger Carr who, as well as Chairing BAE Systems, is a senior adviser at the world’s largest Private Equity firm aka Asset Strippers — KKR.

BAE Systems | International BAE Systems | International

Trump’s People

Although Bannon talks about helping the working man in America, the fact is he was outnumbered by the buyout people.

Fake News

Toward the end of the interview when asked about Trump retweeting Britain First, Rees Mogg says that Twitter is a trivial medium.

Conveniently ignoring the fact that this was the main medium via which the Brexit and the US election campaigns were fought and is the main arena for Fake News which is how Rees Mogg now maintains power.

What was Mogg saying pre-cave-in on Tuesday when DUP had just scuppered the deal?

What was Arch-Remainer Roland Rudd’s reaction to Friday’s deal?

Trump’s favourite Russian Agent — Aaron Banks’ reaction to Rudd

Not going anywhere

The Real Deal

The US, UK & EU have always been run for the benefit of the same people — the Rich. Therefore the 2016 Trump & Brexit votes, though referred to as populism, are no different.

Under Brexit the US will export more to Europe by going through UK.

UK employment rights will take a hit and the Investor Protections that they tried to implement under TTIP will be granted under the US/UK trade agreement.

Europe’s regulatory system will be eroded despite the best wishes of their increasingly feeble politicians as the place doubles up as an old people’s home that markets itself as a gap year destination for the global middle class.

United States of Europe

Schulz, Freedom of Movement, & Social Dumping

More Schulz

www.politico.eu

Bloomberg Books of 2017

Torturing Saudi PR Machine Schmoozes Trump & New York Times

Trump meets Saudis and all hell breaks loose

The Saudi Ritz Carlton’s CEO had this to say about the effect of Trump’s Muslim ban:

 

Interesting how the Saudis manage to get the New York Times on side.

 

When Putin tortures rival billionaires we call him out.

But when Saudi Arabia do it ..

 

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?

 

 

 

 

Post Charlottesville Democrat Victory in Virginia

Virginia Acceptance Speech

No outright mention of Charlottesville — but still a big speech in Virginia.

The comments section is split with some calling it an Obama speech.

Any reference to White Nationalism, Healing Wounds, or Affordable Care Act interpreted as outright Communism.

All subtext in the USA!

And why is the Virginia drawl so similar to the Texan?

LA Times reaction

Daily Beast on the Charlottesville Shadow

 

The Judge’s Mum, The Law, & Client Earth

Trump’s appointment Neil Gorsuch is the son of Reagan’s EPA Head Anne Gorsuch.

She did her best to destroy it.

 

 

But apparently her gutting of the EPA led to major developments in the field of environmental law.

I’ve been reading about some of this in Lawyers James Thornton and Martin Goodman’s new book, Client Earth.

Whereas Thornton and Goodman say their Client is the Earth, Gorsuch proudly states his client is … The Law.

Encore une fois, industry, via dead letters, attempts to short change the planet.

Trump Era White Collar Crime: Who’s Chasing Who?

What is going on with Wall Street White Collar Crime in the Trump era?

Hedge Fund Managers Never Die

Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote an excellent article in The New Yorker this January.

Her book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, is all about the way the US New York District Attorney tried to bring down Hedge Fund Manager Steve Cohen.

This from CSPAN yesterday:

You’re Fired!

It turns out that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who attempted to jail Steve Cohen,  has since been fired by Donald Trump.

Reaction

Bharara’s own performance as a prosecutor has prompted mixed reactions.

From praise:

To mixed:

And outright hostile:

 

This hedge fund ethics and compliance executive was also jailed by Bharara.

 

 

Reading List

For more on Preet Bharara in the New Yorker:

TV Show

The TV Show Billions is loosely based on the Hedge Fund Insider Trading Battles that creator Andrew Ross Sorkin has covered while working as a New York Times journalist, CNBC Squawk Box host and successful author.

 

This is how the show’s creators responded to Bharara’s sacking:

So what do you think is really going on?

Is Mr Trump really ‘draining the swamp’ — or just feeding the crocodiles?

 

 

Dance to the Muzak – Bannon and Trump read the Crowd

According to Dale Purves what we hear is often determined by our Darwinian programming which filters out sounds that don’t help us reproduce.

Purves points to the McGurk Effect:

How does this apply to modern politics?

As mentioned in a previous post Lord Ashcroft has released Hopes and Fears based on polling he did in the US 2016 Presidential election.

In it he publishes a graph of how voters from different points in the political spectrum responded to controversial questions such as whether Barack Obama was born outside the USA or if Hillary Clinton is ‘culpable for murder’.

Here are some of the results:

Given the McGurk Effect, it’s not hard to see how easily clickbait, fake news and filter bubbles feed off our predictable irrationality and confirmation bias.

This cognitive perfect storm creates  blindspots in society that allow vast chunks of the population to ditch their own interests and plump for Trump.

The current US President once said he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and he wouldn’t lose a single vote.

By reading the crowd and making the right noises, Trump has been able to say and do anything and still win.

The McGurk Effect doesn’t just apply to Trump’s high visibility and invincibility but also to the powerlessness of his voters.

Steve Bannon now supposedly runs America on behalf of the American People but very little about him is known. Bannon may have helped Trump tap into voters’ fears and anxieties but will he help deliver a better economy in time for re-election in 2020?

In an age of populism and demagoguery Bannon and Trump have somehow ended up delivering for Goldman Sachs — the ultimate con.

Trump, May, & Farage deliver the anti-establishment messages but it’s Steve Bannon, Rupert Murdoch and Goldman Sachs who really benefit.

Trump hands keys to Goldman Sachs

Bins financial regulation & consumer protection

But there is some hope, Government Sachs are facing some resistance outside their offices.

It was said that US authorities under Obama were worried that European banks would behave badly if TTIP had gone through.

These new arrangements have restored their licence to misbehave.