consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

[UPDATE: Cahoots, capture of a federal agency by those it is tasked in our U.S. of A. to regulate] Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant. It is an organophosphorus compound, specifically a phosphonate. It is used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops. It was discovered to be an herbicide by Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970.

The last organophosphate compound getting much news is VX, used to kill a Korean named Kim who was half brother of another Korean named Kim, with the live one denying responsibility for the death of the other.

Now this from N.Y. Times about Glyphosate, the headlined organophosphate a/k/a "Roundup:"

It is Monsanto’s flagship product, and industry-funded research has long found it to be relatively safe. A case in federal court in San Francisco has challenged that conclusion, building on the findings of an international panel that claimed Roundup’s main ingredient might cause cancer.

The court documents included Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators. The records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The documents also revealed that there was some disagreement within the E.P.A. over its own safety assessment.
Continue reading the main story

The files were unsealed by Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over litigation brought by people who claim to have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate. The litigation was touched off by a determination made nearly two years ago by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen, citing research linking it to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Court records show that Monsanto was tipped off to the determination by a deputy division director at the E.P.A., Jess Rowland, months beforehand. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication. Monsanto executives, in their internal email traffic, also said Mr. Rowland had promised to beat back an effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct its own review.

Dan Jenkins, a Monsanto executive, said in an email in 2015 that Mr. Rowland, referring to the other agency’s potential review, had told him, “If I can kill this, I should get a medal.”

Well, what do you suppose the perps have to say?

In a statement, Monsanto said, “Glyphosate is not a carcinogen.”

It added: “The allegation that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans is inconsistent with decades of comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world. The plaintiffs have submitted isolated documents that are taken out of context.”

The E.P.A. had no immediate comment, and Mr. Rowland could not be reached immediately.

Monsanto also rebutted suggestions that the disclosures highlighted concerns that the academic research it underwrites is compromised.

What do emails obtained in discovery say?

In one email unsealed Tuesday, William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, told other company officials that they could ghostwrite research on glyphosate by hiring academics to put their names on papers that were actually written by Monsanto. “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,” Mr. Heydens wrote, citing a previous instance in which he said the company had done this.

Asked about the exchange, Monsanto said in a second statement that its “scientists did not ghostwrite the paper” that was referred to or previous work, adding that a paper that eventually appeared “underwent the journal’s rigorous peer review process before it was published.”

David Kirkland, one of the scientists mentioned in the email, said in an interview, “I would not publish a document that had been written by someone else.” He added, “We had no interaction with Monsanto at all during the process of reviewing the data and writing the papers.”

The disclosures are the latest to raise concerns about the integrity of academic research financed by agrochemical companies.

My cash cow does not produce bad milk. Write that up, get Dr. Whoever to sign off; and find my golf bag; I have a tee time with some EPA folks ...

Well, that last idea, it's not in the report, and its likely nobody said that. Not in so few words.

It's just, the cap fits.

Now, in closing, a personal weakness makes me again repeat a sidebar theme: Debbie indirectly saying, by implication and not expressly, "Roundup the grassroots."

Those "diverse COMMITTED Democrats" Debbie spoke of, might that collective have some overlap with the 447 big wigs who convened and said, "Tom Perez," akin to times ago, "Give us Barabbas."

Well, admittedly - not quite that bad.

But, baaaaaaad for sure. Baaad to the bone.

Stow those superdelegates. They are days old fish. Inner party. Ellison was run through the same meat grinder.

Well, then there was the elector count; for the big dance. Not as if it was a surprise worth saying, "Won the popular vote count." That would be like Lombardi in the old days saying, "Got more total yardage on the ground, in the air, but Trump got more points."

Cahoots, capture of a federal agency by those it is tasked in our U.S. of A. to regulate Leaving grotesque politics within one of the two dominant political parties in our U.S. of A. to resume learning yet again that the business of our U.S. of A. is business -i.e. - back to the headline: Amid current bandying about of the term "fake news" we also see those with a money stake at risk quick on allegation of "junk science." That term, though used in a host of ways, generally can be taken as good science but science we do not like. Evolution to the fundies. Climate science to the Kochs. That level of judgment.

Take these following screenshots with a grain of salt; they are from a plaintiff's lawfirm suing Monsanto over Roundup. However, read together, they are a hoot. Screen captures below are most recent on top; each referring back to the succeeding item in the thumbnail parade.

Other links related to Roundup and cancer - in litigation - EcoWatch, Reuters, HuffPo here, here and here, and FarmIndustryNews on the Monsanto-Bayer merger plan. With those for starters, readers can follow links and/or find keywords in the texts for further websearch.

It surely is not our EPA at its best. And it spans Obama years back to Bush years and Clinton years, and Reagan years (where it likely started). Bipartisanship atop, while in the trenches there festered an ongoing bedding down between Monsanto and regulators of a kind that repulses and enrages. Or not. A final judgment is quite distant in the future given the glacial rate of big-ticket litigation, with settlement always a likelihood short of a trial. But, Monsanto is on the hot seat, and finding sympathy for that requires others than here. Money ruled/rules/will rule. Which is too common a problem.

In closing, back to Debbie and RoundUp the grassroots; besides killing back all but GMO seeded stuff, (is Tom Perez a GMO political product) the carcinogenic dimension of discussion raises a thought - a cancer on the body politic. To me, that's John Roberts and that's Citizens United. Others can disagree.

Last, expect the Trump position being he does not want weeds on the fairways of his multiple golf courses; as his bottom line core belief. Others do the spraying, not Donald nor Jarad.

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