Saturday, February 13, 2016

Elites Know Economy in Deep Trouble, ISIS Will Attack US, Election Update


1bGreg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
The economy is in deep trouble and elites know it.  I think it’s so dire that it’s safe to say the trouble coming is going to be unlike anything we have seen.  It will be Biblical in nature.  The headlines this week were touting plunging markets and spiking gold prices.  You know people are nervous when Drudge Report has a main headline that talks about gold demand.  Anybody with two neurons touching knows the economy is in trouble, and the Fed is totally out of options.
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, says ISIS is the “pre-eminent terrorist threat” around the world, and their top target is the U.S.  He also said at a hearing on Capitol Hill, this past week, that ISIS would be directly involved in the attacks and not just inspire lone wolves.  In that same hearing in Washington, Clapper said that North Korea has about 10 nukes, but could have as many as 100 by the year 2020.
In the election update, the Republican field is beginning to narrow.  Of course, Trump and Sanders were the big winners, but, once again, Hillary took a beating.  That said, Clinton and Sanders ended up with about the same amount of New Hampshire delegates.  It seems the so-called Super Delegates can vote for the loser.  Seems like a rip-off to Sanders to me.  Clinton was way ahead of the national polls, and now it appears they are tied.  By the way, the State Department has issued a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation over its charity work while Ms. Clinton was running the State Department.  Hillary Clinton is now tied to at least four investigations at the federal level, and, yes, the FBI probe into Ms. Clinton is criminal.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Are Americans Too Insouciant To Survive?

By Paul Craig Roberts and originally published at paulcraigroberts.org
When one looks at the deplorable state of the world, one cannot help but wonder at the insouciance of the American people. Where are they? Do they exist or are they a myth? Have they been put to sleep by an evil demon? Are they so lost in The Matrix that they cannot get out?
Ever since Clinton’s second term the US has been consistently acting internationally and domestically as a criminal, disregarding its own laws, international laws, the sovereignty of other countries, and the US Constitution. A worse criminal government has never existed. Yet, Americans remain subservient to the criminals that they have placed in power over themselves.
According to polls, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders are splitting the Democratic vote 50-50 as preferred Democratic presidential candidate. This is extraordinary.
Hillary Clinton represents the interests of Wall Street and the mega-banks, the Israel Lobby, and the interests of the military/security complex. These interests are totally opposed to the interests of the American people.
In his book, What’s the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank raised the question of why Americans vote against their own interests? Why do Americans go to the voting both and do themselves in?
Whether you agree with Thomas Frank’s answer or not, Americans do, on a regular basis, harm themselves by voting for people who are agents of vested interests diametrically opposed to the interests of American citizens.
How is it possible, if Democrats are informed people, that half of them prefer Hillary Clinton? Between February 2001 and May 2015 Bill and Hilary collected $153 million in speaking fees. The fees averaged $210,795 per speech. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/02/06/no-artful-smear-clintons-paid-153-million-speaking-fees-analysis-shows
I can remember when Bill and Hillary were in public office when their speeches were free. No one wanted to listen to them when the speeches were free. Clearly, Bill is being paid off for his past services to the powerful interest groups that control the United States, and Hillary is being paid off for her future service to the same groups.
How then is it possible that half of Democrats would prefer Hillary? Is it because she is a woman and women want a woman president more than they want their civil liberties, peace, and employment for themselves, their spouses and their children?
Or is it because, given the pressitute character of the American media, the people haven’t a clue?
If you vote for Hillary, you are voting for someone who has been paid off to the tune of $153 million by powerful vested interests who have no concern whatsoever for your interests. In addition, Hillary has the necessary campaign funds from the powerful interest groups for her presidential nomination campaign. As if this isn’t damning enough, Hugh Wharton writes that the National Democratic Committee is in league with Hillary to steal, if necessary, the nomination from Sanders and the voters. http://usuncut.com/news/the-dnc-superdelegates-just-screwed-over-bernie-sanders-and-spit-in-the-faces-of-voters/
In contrast, the interest groups who rule America are not contributing to Sanders.
Therefore, the choice of Sanders is obvious, but 50% of Democrats are too braindead to see it.
Although Hillary is a substantial threat to America, the threat of nuclear war is much greater, and the Democratic Obama regime in the hands of neoconservatives has just greatly amplified the threat of nuclear war.
The United States government, or perhaps we should say the exploiter and deceiver of the American people, has announced a three-fold increase in its military presence on Russia’s borders. The excuse for this great boost in the profits and power of the US military-security complex is “Russian aggression.”
But there is no sign of this aggression. So Washington and its servile presstitutes in the Western media make it up. They proclaim a lie.
“Russia invaded Ukraine” proclaims the propaganda. No mention is made of Washington’s coup in Ukraine that overthrew a democratically elected government and began a war against the Russian populations of eastern and southern Ukraine, former provinces of Russia added to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Soviet leaders. In the presstitute media, no mention is made of Washington’s intention of seizing Russia’s only warm water port in Crimea on the Black Sea. http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/02/us-control-over-crimea-aim-of-coup-in.html
Having created a nonexistant Russian invasion in place of the real US coup in Ukraine in the minds of the indoctrinated Americans, Washington now claims that Russia is going to invade the Baltics and Poland. Nothing could be further from the truth, but this lie from the Obama regime now determines that the US military presence on Russia’s borders will increase three-fold.
The escalation of the US/NATO threat on Russia’s borders forces a Russian response. Considering that the Russophobic governments in Poland and the Baltic States have unstable judgement, military buildups bring risks of miscalculations.
There is a limit to the level of threat that the Russian government can tolerate. The impotent Obama is in the firm grip of the neoconservatives and the military-security complex. The neoconservatives are motivated by their ideology of American world hegemony. The military-security complex is motivated by power and profit. These motives bring the United States and its vassals into conflict with Russia’s (and China’s) sovereign existence.
Within the councils of American foreign policy there is not sufficient weight to counter the neoconservative drive to war with Russia and China. In conventional war, the US is not a military match for the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance. Therefore, the war would be nuclear. The power of hydrogen bombs is immensely more powerful that the atomic bombs that the US dropped on Japan. Nuclear war means the end of life on earth.
Americans can know that democracy has failed them, because there is no check on the neoconservatives’ ability to foment war with Russia and China.
The neocons control the press, and the press portrays Russia as “an existential threat to the United States.” Once this fiction is drilled into the brains of Americans, it is child’s play for propagandists to create endless fears that deplete taxpayers of income in order to create profits for the military-security complex by relaunching the Cold War and an armaments race.
That is what is currently going on. The inability of Americans to realize that they are being taken into a conflict that benefits only the profits and power of the military-security complex and the ideology of a small group of crazies demonstrates the impotence of American democracy.
Universities and think tanks are replete with ambitious people who, chasing grants and influence, fuel the Russophobic hysteria. For example, on February 9 the Washington Post published an article by Michael Ignatieff, the Edward R. Murrow professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and Leon Wieseltier, the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. The article is a complete misrepresentation of the facts in Syria and called for US measures that would result in military conflict with Russia. It was irresponsible for the Washington Post to publish the article, but the decision is consistent with the Post’s presstitute nature.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-era-of-us-abdication-on-syria-must-end/2016/02/09/55226716-ce96-11e5-88cd-753e80cd29ad_story.html
The propaganda line maintained by the US government, the neoconservatives, the military/security complex, the presstitutes, and fiction-writers such as Ignatieff and Wieseltier is that Russia is not bombing the Islamic State jihadists who are attempting to overthrow the Syrian government in order to establish a jihadist state that would threaten the Middle East, Iran, and Russia herself. The official line is that the Russians are bombing the democratic “rebels” who are trying to overthrow
an alleged “brutal Syrian dictator.” The conflict that the US government started by sending ISIS to Syria to overthrow the Syrian government is blamed on the Russian and Syrian governments.
Ignatieff and Wieseltier say that the US has put its “moral standing” at risk by permitting the Russians to bomb and to starve innocent women and children, as if the US had any moral standing after destroying seven countries so far in the 21st century, producing millions of dead and displaced persons, many of whom are now overrunning Europe as refugees from Washington’s wars.
The recently retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn, has said that the Obama regime made a “willful decision” to support ISIS and use ISIS against the Assad government in Syria. That the violence in Syria originated in a US/ISIS conspiracy against Syria is ignored by Ignatieff and Wieseltier. Instead, they blame Russia despite the fact that it is Russia’s air support for the Syrian Army that has rolled back ISIS.
Where were Ignatieff and Wieseltier when Washington and its vassals destroyed Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, much of Pakistan, overthrew the first democratically elected government in Egypt, overthrew the government in Ukraine and started a war against the Russian population, and supplied Israel with the weapons and money to steal Palestine from the Palestinians? Where were they when Clinton destroyed Yugoslavia and Serbia? Where are they when ISIS murders Syrians and eats the livers of its executed victims?
It would be interesting to know who financed the professorship in Edward R. Murrow’s name and the fellowship in Isiah Berlin’s name and how these positions came to be staffed with their current occupants.
Reagan and Gorbachev brought the Cold War to an end. The George H.W. Bush administration supported the end of the Cold War and gave further guarantees to Russia. But Clinton attacked Serbia, a Russian ally and broke the agreement that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe to Russia’s border. When the neoconservatives’ plans to invade Syria and to attack Iran were frustrated by Russian diplomacy, the neocons turned on Russia with fury.
In 1961 President Eisenhower warned the American people of the threat posed by the military-security complex. That was 55 years ago. This complex is so strong today that it is able to divert massive taxpayer resources to its coffers while the living standard and economic prospects of the American people decline.
The military/security complex requires an enemy. When the Cold War ended, the “Muslim Threat” was created. This “threat” has now been superseded by the “Russian Threat,” which is much more useful in keeping Europe in line and in scaring people with prospective invasions and nuclear attacks that are far beyond the power and reach of jihadists.
Superpower America required a more dangerous enemy than a few lightly armed jihadists, so the “Russian threat” was created. To drive home the threat, Russia and her president are constantly demonized. The conclusion is unavoidable that the insouciant American people are being prepared for war.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Liberty Activists And ISIS Will Soon Be Treated As Identical Threats





By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
Many of us saw it coming a long time ago — increasing confrontation between liberty proponents and the corrupt federal establishment leading to increasing calls by political elites and bureaucrats to apply to American citizens the terrorism countermeasures designed for foreign combatants. It was only a matter of time and timing.
My stance has always been that the elites would wait until there was ample social and political distraction; a fog of fear allowing them to move more aggressively against anti-globalists. We are not quite there yet, but the ground is clearly being prepared.
Economic uncertainty looms large over our fiscal structure today, more so even than in 2008. Global instability is rampant, with Europe at the forefront as mass migrations of “refugees” invade wholesale. At best, most of them intend to leach off of the EU’s already failing socialist welfare structure while refusing to integrate or respect western social principles. At worst, a percentage of these migrants are members of ISIS with the goals of infiltration, disruption and coordinated destruction.
With similar immigration and transplantation measures being applied to the U.S. on a smaller scale (for now) the ISIS plague will inevitably hit our shores in a manner that will undoubtedly strike panic in the masses. I believe 2016 will be dubbed the “year of the terrorist,” and ISIS will not be the only “terrorists” in the spotlight.
While scanning the pages of mainstream propaganda machines like Reuters, I came across this little gem of an article, which outlines plans by the U.S. Justice Department to apply existing enemy combatant laws used against ISIS terrorists and their supporters to “domestic extremists,” specifically mentioning the Bundy takeover of the federal refuge in Burns, Oregon as an example.
“Extremist groups motivated by a range of U.S.-born philosophies present a “clear and present danger,” John Carlin, the Justice Department’s chief of national security, told Reuters in an interview. “Based on recent reports and the cases we are seeing, it seems like we’re in a heightened environment.”
“Clear and present danger” is a vital phrase implemented in this statement from Carlin and he used it quite deliberately. It refers to something called the “clear and present danger doctrine or test,” a doctrine rarely used except during times of mass panic, such as during WWI and WWII. The doctrine applies specifically to the removal of 1st Amendment rights of free speech during moments of “distress.”
What does this mean, exactly? “Clear and present danger” is a legal mechanism by which the government claims the right not only to prosecute or destroy enemies of the state, but also anyone who publicly supports those same enemies through speech or writing.
Recently, the prospect of allowing the Federal Communications Commission to target and shut down websites related to ISIS has been fielded by congressional representatives. Many people have warned against this as setting a dangerous precedent by which the government could be given free license to censor and silence ANY websites they deem “harmful” to the public good, even those not tied to ISIS in any way.
Of course, overt hatred of Islamic extremism amongst conservatives is at Defcon 1 right now, and with good reason. Unfortunately, this may lead constitutional conservatives, the most stalwart proponents of free speech, to mistakenly set the stage for the erasure of free speech rights all in the name of stopping ISIS activity. The greatest proponents of constitutional liberties could very well become the greatest enemies of constitutional liberties if they fall for the ploy set up by the establishment.
The Reuters article outlines the future implications quite plainly:
The U.S. State Department designates international terrorist organizations to which it is illegal to provide “material support.” No domestic groups have that designation, helping to create a disparity in charges faced by international extremist suspects compared to domestic ones.
It has been applied in 58 of the government’s 79 Islamic State cases since 2014 against defendants who engaged in a wide range of activity, from traveling to Syria to fight alongside Islamic State to raising money for a friend who wished to do so.
Prosecutors can bring “material support” terrorism charges against defendants who aren’t linked to groups on the State Department’s list, but they have only done so twice against non-jihadist suspects since the law was enacted in 1994. The law, which prohibits supporting people who have been deemed to be terrorists by their actions, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.”
The Justice Department goes on to explain that they are “exploring” options to make “material support” charges more applicable to “domestic extremists.”
So what constitutes “material support?” Well, as mentioned earlier, John Carlin just told us. His use of the phrase “clear and present danger” denotes that 1st Amendment speech will be restricted, ostensibly because some speech will be labeled “material support” of terrorist organizations. The liberty movement, likely in the near future, is about to be outwardly defined by the establishment as a terrorist movement, and those who support it through speech will be designated as material supporters of said terrorism.
To be utterly clear, this could apply to any and everyone who promotes anti-government sentiments online, and will likely be aimed more prominently at liberty analysts and journalists. The argument for this move is rather humorous in my view — bureaucrats and others complain that it is “not fair” that Islamic terrorists are being treated more harshly than “white rural domestic extremists” and that material support laws should be enforced against everyone equally.
Yes, that’s right, the 1st Amendment is under threat because the Justice Department does not want to appear “racist.” At least, that is their public excuse…
I'm not sure whether it is depressing or hilariously ironic that the U.S. government (along with many other governments) is preparing the groundwork for prosecution of liberty activists for material support of terrorism when it is the government that has been proven time and again to be by far the most generous material supporter of terrorist organizations.
Will this all take place in a vacuum? Of course not. Something terrible is brewing. Another Oklahoma City-stye bombing, perhaps. Or a standoff gone horribly awry. The standoff in Oregon continues without Ammon Bundy and is about to get worse in the next week according to my information (you will see what I mean). The point is, the narrative is being finalized in preparation for whatever trigger events may be in store, and that narrative closely associates ISIS with liberty activists as being in the same category.
“As law enforcement experts confront domestic militia groups, “sovereign citizens” who do not recognize government authority, and other anti-government extremists, they also face a heightened threat from Islamic extremists like the couple who carried out the Dec. 2 shootings in San Bernardino, California.”
This is why I have consistently argued against giving any extra-judicial powers to our already bloated federal system. I am a staunch opponent of Islamic immigration and terrorism, but some people are so desperate to fight one monster that they are willing to give unlimited powers to another monster thinking it will give their minds ease. These people are fools, and they are putting the rest of us at risk.
If you want to fight ISIS, then fight them yourself. Do not give the same government that helpedcreate ISIS and then deliberately transplanted them to Europe and the U.S. even more legal authority over our lives to supposedly “stop” ISIS. This would be absurd.
In the meantime, I would point out that regardless of how the federal government wishes to label us, the liberty movement could not be more different from the Islamic State:
1) We don’t enjoy covert funding and training from the government at large as ISIS does. (Though according to leftists, we all take our marching orders from the Koch Brothers).
2) Most of us were born in this country and are rather attached to it.
3) ISIS fights to dismantle traditional Western values. We fight to restore traditional Western values, and we will not only fight ISIS but also cultural Marxists and collectivists who share the same disdain for liberty.
4) Many of us are far better trained than ISIS goons, so if anything, we are a more severe threat to the enemies of free society. (We actually look down our sights when we shoot rather than hiding behind cars with the rifle over our head and squatting like a constipated dog. We can also operate their AK-47s better than they can).
5) We are as opposed to Sharia Law as we are to martial law. In fact, we see them as essentially the same unacceptable circumstance.
6) We don’t cannibalize our enemies. (Who would want to take a bite out of Henry Kissinger’s spleen?)
7) We might look down on the insane ramblings of today’s feminists, but at least we would not stone them, enforce female circumcision, then rape them, then throw acid in their faces, then slap a hijab on them and take away their driver’s licenses. So maybe, just maybe, we toxic masculine conservative barbarians aren’t as bad as they seem to think we are.
8) We understand that black pajamas are not the best camouflage, but ISIS may have better fashion sense than we do.
9) Our beards are all-American. Their beards are just plain creepy.
10) They fight to be martyred. We fight to win.
When all is said and done, who is the greater threat to you and your freedoms? A psychotic theocrat that has taken his religion so far into the forbidden zone that any evil, no matter how heinous, is justified through the circular logic of zealotry? The criminal government that funded that psycho, trained him, slapped a rocket launcher in his hands and then gave him a free plane ride to your favorite shopping mall? Or, some weirdo that stores lots of food and gas masks in his basement and every once in a while talks to you about 9/11? Come on, think about it…

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Radiation Alert: L.A. Gas Well Spewing LETHAL LEVELS Of Breathable Nuclear Material: “Fukushima Class Disaster”



By Mac Slavo and originally published at shtfplan.com
In a breaking development that has been completely ignored by mainstream news sources, the leaking natural gas well near Los Angeles, California is now reportedly spewing lethal levels of radioactive material, according to a report from Steve Quayle and a group with expertise in nuclear material.

A leaking natural gas well outside Los Angeles is spewing so much naturally-occurring Uranium and Radon, that “breathable” radiation levels have hit “lethal levels” according to a Nuclear Expert group.

Hal Turner of Super Station 95 reports that the well is releasing 1.91 Curies (Ci) of radiation per hour.

This rogue well is spewing huge amounts of natural gas and about 1.91 curies an hour of natural radioactive material in the natural gas… 1.91 curies an hour is about 45.9 curies per day… It’s a really, really big leak.
A curie is a unit of measure in the U.S. to describe very large radioactive releases.

The French utilize a unit of measure called a Becquerel to measure radiation levels. A single Becquerel measures the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.
To put things into perspective, Turner explains that a single Curie is equivalent to about 37 Billion Becquerels (Bq) of radiation:

A Becquerel is a much more human sized unit of measure… it’s one radioactive burst of energy per second… One Curie is 37 billion Becquerels per second.
That’s 1.7 trillion Becquerels per day coming out of that natural gas well.
This is a real Fukushima class disaster and it’s happening right here in the USA.

In 80 days of fumes at a pace of 1,115 tons per day coming out of that ground… could carry with it 301.2 terra-Becquerels of natural radioactivity…This converts to a resperable… a breathable emanation of 12 million Sieverts (Sv)… 2.4 million times the lethal dose by inhalation.
Full audio report via Hal Turner (begins at approximately 49:00 minutes)

In short, the leak is massive and researchers at UC Davis have indicated that they have never encountered as much methane in the air as they have over suburban Los Angeles in recent months.

While resident complaints of feeling ill, vomiting and nausea have been chalked off by officials as the result of breathing in the natural gas, it is quite possible and increasingly likely that what they are experiencing is actually radiation poisoning.

According to one report, the radiation levels in the Chernobyl control room following the 1986 disaster reached about 300 Sv per hour. That was enough to provide a lethal dose to anyone in the room within 1-2 minutes.

While the Los Angeles leak is widespread with radiation disbursing across the city, the fact remains that millions of Sieverts of radiation have been released and will continue to be released until such time that the well is permanently sealed.

The following map shows the spread of methane over the Los Angeles area and researchers from Eco Watch report that elevated levels of natural gas have been detected as far as 10 miles from the leak:

LA-leak

For those living in the area, be warned: you are inhaling deadly radiation. And while the dose is not immediately lethal, prolonged inhalation and exposure may lead to a spike in cancer-related disease and deaths over coming years.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Increasingly Fragile Upper-Middle Class

Many of these apparently high incomes are completely absorbed by high-cost upper middle class expenses.
By Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at charleshughsmith.blogspot.com
Since the top 10% takes home 50% of all household income, it follows that this top slice has most of the discretionary cash, i.e. net income left after taxes, servicing debt and paying for essentials such as food, utilities and housing.
It also follows that the discretionary spending of the top 10% is supporting much of the economy that is dependent on discretionary spending: tourism, eating out, personal trainers, etc.
The top 10% includes the thin slice of Financial Oligarchy (top .01%) and the top 1%. This skews the income and wealth of the top 10%. But if we set aside the top 1%, the next 10% still earns the lion's share of household income.
The top .1% can prop up Maserati sales and buy $5 million vacation homes, but there simply aren't enough super-wealthy to support the U.S. economy. As for the top 1%, they can prop up the local Porsche dealership and pay dock fees at the yacht club, but there aren't enough of them to support the entire economy, either: around 1.5 million qualify as top 1%.
So that leaves the upper-middle class, the roughly 12 million households that earn a disproportionate share of household income, with the task of spending enough discretionary cash to prop up an economy that depends heavily on consumer spending.
Many of these upper-middle class households are far more financially fragile than their substantial incomes suggest. The vast majority of these high-income households depend on two earners, each making substantial salaries, bonuses and benefits such as 401K retirement contributions.
Many of these apparently high incomes are completely absorbed by high-cost upper middle class expenses. $250,000 a year may look like a lot until you throw in a couple of kids attending private prep schools or college, healthcare costs that aren't covered by insurance, an enormous mortgage and sky-high property taxes.
The upper-middle class includes many people with wealth, but it also includes many people who have saved very little, and what they do have is in IRAs and 401Ks trapped in the stock market. Their slide to insolvency can be very quick once one high-earner loses their job and can't find another equally lucrative position in a few months.
Many of these people are vulnerable to a downturn because they own/operate small businesses in discretionary spending sectors--the ones that will get creamed as people cut discretionary spending. Others are sandwiched between kids in college and elderly parents, and their seemingly big incomes are fully allotted to essentials and the generations they are sandwiched between.
One job loss will crumble the entire house of cards. As local government revenues start crumbling along with corporate profits, many high-cost jobs in both thr public and private sectors will suddenly be vulnerable as managers are forced to seek the largest possible savings from job cuts.
The upper-middle class that's supported the "recovery" with massive discretionary spending is far more vulnerable to implosion/insolvency than is generally appreciated.

Monday, February 8, 2016

GMO 'Synthetic Forests' Enormous Risks


By Dr. Mercola and originally published at mercola.com
If the biotech industry has its way, 184 million acres of native forests around the world will be bulldozed down and replaced with plantations of genetically engineered (GE) trees.
On these proposed GE tree plantations, there are essentially no other plants, insects, birds, or wildlife — just rows upon rows of cloned Frankentrees growing at accelerated rates on a crust of dead, lifeless soil above dwindling groundwater reserves.
Trees are being genetically engineered with unnatural characteristics, such as the ability to kill insects, tolerate colder temperatures, resist toxic chemicals, and grow faster — but these "advantages" come at an unacceptable price.
"Synthetic Forests" is a documentary exposing the truth about GE trees. In this short but hard-hitting film, leading scientists discuss the devastating and irreversible impacts of allowing GE trees into our global ecosystem.

Why Genetically Engineer Trees?

Industry wants to market designer trees with a variety of traits that will increase their income-generating capacity — at least over the short-term. Trees have varying degrees of commercial value, depending on their characteristics, as well as how quickly they can be harvested.
For example, some trees like the fast-growing Eucalyptus are being engineered to grow even faster.
In collusion with the paper industry, trees are being engineered to have lower lignin, as this natural polymer must be removed from wood pulp before the pulp can be made into paper, which is an expensive part of the process.
The problem is, lignin is what gives trees their structural integrity — it's what allows trees to stand strong in wind and other harsh weather conditions, and to withstand diseases and damage from insect and animal browsing.
Low-lignin trees are weaker and less able to withstand these environmental stresses and do not optimally nourish important fungi once they are put back into the soil. Dead low-lignin trees also decompose faster, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere more quickly, which contributes to climate change.
The best thing for trees is to stop using them for paper. Paper doesn't need to be made from wood pulp, because far more Earth-friendly materials exist, such as agricultural wastes, recycled material, hemp, tobacco, and even banana leaves.
Fruit trees are also being genetically altered so they can be marketed as "disease resistant."
However, despite these marketing claims, many GE trees and other plants are actually weaker and more susceptible to disease than their natural counterparts and end up needing massive amounts of chemicals to remain viable, usually in the form of herbicides and pesticides.
Not only that, contamination of wild and organic fruit trees by GE genes has been devastating to nearby wild groves. For example, cross-contamination by GE papaya plantations has crushed Hawaii's wild, organic papaya industry.1

Expert Says Genetic Engineering Is Based on 'Lousy Science'

The problem with genetic engineering has to do with the fact that GE plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance), as contrasted with natural reproduction, which involves vertical gene transfer.
Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.
By contrast, horizontal gene transfer involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results due to the wake of mutations it generates.
Proponents of genetic engineering assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance. But according to award-winning scientist and geneticist David Suzuki, Ph.D. this assumption is flawed in just about every possible way and is "just lousy science."
Genes don't function in a vacuum — they act in the context of the entire genome. Whole sets of genes are turned on and off in order to arrive at a particular organism, and the entire orchestration is an activated genome.
When you change a genome, nature can respond in unpredictable ways. It's a dangerous mistake to assume a gene's traits are expressed properly, regardless of where they're inserted. The safety of genetic engineering is only a hypothesis, and in science, hypotheses often end up being wrong.

The Spread of Seed and Pollen Is Uncontrollable

Genetically engineered trees are vastly different from other annual GE crops like corn and soybeans because trees can live for decades and even centuries in the wild. Once GE trees escape the confines of their plantation, they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate.
Many tree species, such as pines and poplars, can spread their pollen and seeds over great distances. Pollen can blow hundreds or even thousands of miles, dusting native trees with GE pollen.
Consequently, the risks, regulation, and assessment needs of GE trees may be even greater than those of more seasonal crops like GE corn and soy. Disrupting forest ecosystems endangers the health of the entire planet.
Native forests have been called the "lungs of the Earth," supporting food and wildlife habitats everywhere. Forests absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, filter water and release it back into the atmosphere, as well as building the soil.
With GE trees, contamination of native forests is both inevitable and irreversible. Many tree species regularly interbreed with similar species, and some are highly invasive, including Eucalyptus — a "bully" that's spread out of control across California.
Once wild tree species are contaminated, GE trees could take over vast geographical areas, and there's no do-over — you can recall a dangerous drug, but you can't recall a dangerous tree until it is too late.

GE Trees May Be the 'Greatest Threat to Forests Since the Chain Saw'

Genetically engineered trees threaten native forests, which are already endangered by mining, agriculture, pollution and other factors. When you lose a forest, you don't just lose trees — you destroy an entire web of life.
Critical biodiversity is lost.
We don't even know the extent of what we're losing, as many species of plants, animals and insects have yet to be studied. This biodiversity may hold undiscovered cures for cancer and other diseases. Loss of native forests also has negative effects on indigenous communities and world climate.
The health effects of GE seeds and pollen introduce additional concerns. Birds eat the seeds, and we have no idea how they'll be affected. People inhale the pollen — how will our immune systems react? No one knows because it hasn't been studied. Entire Filipino villages have been stricken with a mysterious illness thought related to Bt-corn pollen, but an official investigation was never done.2
In addition to that, as noted in the film, only about 1 percent of sprayed herbicides and pesticides hit their target — the rest ends up in our food and water. Like GE food crops, GE trees are heavily reliant upon these chemicals. One half million pounds of toxic chemicals already rain down on the U.S. each year in rainwater — much of which is atrazine. Arial spraying of atrazine is used almost exclusively in forestry.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) advises physicians to warn patients about the potential health dangers of eating GMO food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
GE trees can only add to these risks. A list of the dangers of GE trees is summarized in the table below, which is by no means comprehensive, but it will at least give you a feel for the seriousness of this issue.
Loss of native forest ecosystems, loss of diversityGround water contaminationIncreased fire danger (high oil Eucalyptus trees are like torches for wildfire)
Increased herbicide and pesticide useExcessive water use (GE Eucalyptus plantations have massive water requirements)Deforestation (monoculture plantations are NOT forests)
Damaged soils and decreased carbon sequestrationAir pollution from burning wood pellets; burning wood produces super fine particulates that can bypass your body's defensesNegative effects on indigenous people
Unknown health effects from inhaled GMO pollenAdverse health effects from aerial application of toxic chemicalsContamination of native gene pool
Loss of land, livelihood and export marketsThousands of mutations are typically createdBad science with unpredictable consequences

Is ArborGen the Next Monsanto?

The majority of research and development on GE trees has come from a company called ArborGen, the industrial "love child" from a tryst between Monsanto, International Paper, Westvaco, and Fletcher Forests.3 ArborGen is the largest US corporate proponent for GE trees and is hoping to follow Monsanto's blueprint for commercializing GE crops. If GE trees are approved by the USDA, ArborGen is projected to grow 2,000 percent by 2017.4
A scientist from the Center for Food Safety recently exposed a secret letter from the USDA to ArborGen, dated August 2014. In it, the USDA made the unprecedented decision to allow ArborGen to pursue unregulated commercial cultivation of a loblolly pine genetically engineered for altered wood composition. The trees could be planted anywhere in the U.S. without public knowledge or access to information about them.
Loblolly pines are native across 14 states throughout the southeastern US and are grown in plantations around the world. Their pollen is known to travel for hundreds of miles. Groups from around the world are rising in protest, as this is the first GE tree to be legalized without any government or public oversight or risk assessment.
According to ecologist/biologist Rachel Smolker, Ph.D., of Biofuelwatch:5
"If these GE loblolly pines are released on a large scale in the U.S., there will be no way to stop them from cross contaminating native loblolly pines. This is deliberate, irreversible and completely irresponsible contamination of the environment with unknown and possibly devastating consequences.
Forest ecosystems are barely understood, and the introduction of trees with genes for modified wood characteristics could have all manner of negative impacts on soils, fungi, insects, wildlife, songbirds, and public health. And all this for short term commercial profit."
In addition to loblolly pines, ArborGen is also seeking USDA approval for Eucalyptus trees engineered for cold tolerance. If granted, ArborGen plans to sell hundreds of millions of seedlings to be planted every year across the southeastern US, from Texas to South Carolina. They are also promoting development of a GE American Chestnut tree that's resistant to blight, as well as many others.

The Global Campaign to STOP GE Trees

Genetically engineered tree plantations threaten to spoil native forests, displace local farmers and destroy sustainable economies. Pollen and seeds from GE trees are impossible to control, with potentially grim ecological consequences.
Self-sufficient communities will be forced to leave their land, adding to the growth of city slums.
Despite knowledge of these probable outcomes, the biotech industry, with the full backing of the U.S. government, is pushing GE trees forward with ever-increasing zeal.
Fortunately, there is some good news on the horizon. Organizations from all over the world, and all angles of interest, have banded together to form a global network opposing GE trees. The Campaign to STOP GE Trees includes more than 200 organizations in 49 countries. If you care about this issue, please visit their website and sign their petition to the USDA. But don't stop there! Following are several more things you can do to help preserve our native forests:
  • Refrain from buying paper products made from trees/wood pulp; instead, buy recycled paper (toilet paper, tissue paper, writing paper, computer paper); Greenpeace and NRDC have handy downloadable guides for buying recycled, Earth-friendly paper products
  • Reuse and recycle the paper products you do use
  • Eliminate your need for toilet paper altogether by installing in a bidet
  • Say no to napkins, especially when you're handed a stack of them; use cleaning cloths instead of paper towels
  • Cut back on printing; ask yourself if you really need to print a document; use both sides of a paper before tossing it; use old receipts for notes; reuse wrapping paper, or make your own from newsprint or magazines
  • Opt out of the yellow pages
  • Boycott the new GE apples ("Arctic apples") and GE potatoes, which just passed FDA inspection.6 For more information on GE apples, read "Genetically Engineered Apples: Any Way You Slice It, a Rotten Idea."7 Choose only produce that you know is organic, preferably grown near you. The Center for Food Safety has a free Shopping Guide to Avoiding GE Foods.
For further information, please visit: