Mourning the Bees; or, Monsanto’s Evil Plan to Control the World’s Food Supply

See this article: Russia suggests that war may be necessary to stop Monsanto

Here’s the plan, from Monsanto’s point of view:

1. Develop GM feeds that don’t need pollinators.

Everyone was expected to buy these; marketed as plants that don’t attract insects. Who wants insects? Nasty creepy, crawly, flyie things. But everyone didn’t rush out to buy their limited range of crops.

First of all, there are more people growing things than just a few bushels of megafarmers. Secondly, they failed to take into account that a handful of varieties doesn’t cover the sheer breadth of the tastes and requirements of people passionate about food. Everyone has an opinion about food.

2. Kill pollinators
Develop pesticides which allow people to completely “protect” their crops from insects, by killing them. Ensure that this is an extremely effective product, and that it also kills pollinators. (Note: not just bees).

This was always going to be a more successful route. People (farmers) hate the pests that eat and damage crops. Roundup is a guaranteed sale every time. So now they’re killing off the pollinators cleverly, by getting the farmers to do it.

3. Sell $billions in GM seeds as plants are no longer able to pollinate naturally. (Only on the wind, perhaps, randomly).

Without pollinators, the only plants available to us will be those that have been created by Monsanto et al.

4. Take over the world. With a limited selection of seeds, Monsanto is preparing to take over the world’s food supply.

It’s a logical enough progression. What happens then? They will have the power to starve countries to death, literally. What else could they do? Change the properties of the food to elicit certain effects in the population?

The true reason for Monsanto’s desire to carry this out is unclear. Is it only about money? Money seems like such an old, worn out idea. It’s not about ‘rich’, it’s about ‘power’. Corporate Fascism to the core.

The U.K. Minister for the Environment recently voted against an EU ban on pesticides containing neonicotinoids. Fortunately enough countries with sense voted for the ban and it goes into place in December 2013. We can see whose side our government is on.

UPDATE: And see this recent article from Westword

Appleby Fair 2013; or Gypsy Week in Eden

Appleby Fair is back again*, for the 328th time (that’s a guess; it’s been going since 1685). According to the Daily Mail, it’s a convergence of ‘around 40,000 travellers from around the world’. Yet another good reason why not to read the Daily Mail. Because that’s what it isn’t. It’s a convergence of around 10,000 travellers and gypsies, and 30,000 ‘visitors’. Both of those are big numbers, but there’s a big difference between 10 and 40.

Why does it matter how many travellers there are? That’s a question with a massive, many tiered answer, but the short of it is: due to a lack of trust between the gypsy community and the local ones here, there is a distinct atmosphere present. The towns and villages hold their collective breath, waiting to see if something ‘happens’ this time. There’s a sense of anticipation, but not in a good way. A bit like a car driver inching their way past an accident in total gridlock, pretending not to look but snatching a good few hungry glances at the mangled wreckage.

From the other camp, there’s something different. Like when someone you know pretends they haven’t seen you. It’s that feeling they give off when they do that. Of innocent, studious not-seeing. That’s what every gypsy camp feels like as you pass.

It isn’t very ethical to promote fear and insecurity in a local population. I really don’t like The Daily Mail.

I looked to The Guardian for a more sensible view, but was disappointed there, too. Its ‘In Pictures’ column shows a series of excellent photos of this year’s horse fair, with a pass-the-sick-bucketing commentary attached to each image. Oh puleeease. They tried to romanticise the travellers, but anyone who has ever been to the fair must know that beyond the sillhouette of a gypsy camp, campfire ablaze, there’s little romance of any kind.

For example, my friend and I visited the fair yesterday, and on stopping for a rest on the way back up the hill to the car, were propositioned by a couple of travellers looking for a one night stand. On hearing from my friend how enormous and hard my fella (Himself) is, the younger guy didn’t miss a beat. “Why don’t you try someone a lot smaller, can get into every place, like even through the back door?” Big charming, broken-mouthed grin.


Sure, it was funny, but there really was nothing romantic about the conversation.

Gypsies are, by popular definition, outcasts. Dragged up by their bootstrings, they’re expected to succeed on their wits and success at sales. The chavvy training clothes (men and boys), fluorescent pink lipstick and tight tank tops (girls under 30, regardless of dress size), crew cuts with patterns cut into the sides … all reminiscent of an underclass. You see similar (though slightly less outrageous) outfits on inner city housing estates.

The majority doesn’t have sufficient access to money or education; many don’t bother with healthcare, other than in an emergency. What makes gypsies different – and more vulnerable – from well established housing estate populations, is they don’t even have the pleasure of looking around them at school, or work, and thinking that most of the people around them are in the same boat.

The gypsy culture is different, though many – likely the majority and estimated to be at least 50% – do live in houses; they don’t get to experience a sense of cultural solidarity unless they live in a permanent camp, or at massive meetings, like Appleby Horse Fair.

They’re unfairly tarnished with a derogatory image; as a group, their main crime is having a different culture living amongst a majority culture.

There’s always a criminal element amongst any group of people. Hell, what the townsfolk forget at times like these is that they have their own criminal elements who are prepared to take advantage of the gypsy presence. Crime levels go up, but who’s to say that it’s the visitors and not the locals?

What really gets my goat is that whenever someone writes about gypsies, or tries to portray them to a mass audience, they are moulded into the image that person wants them to fit. Romantic, scary, criminal, these are views, not the culture itself.

Here’s a blog, Romagraphic by someone who is clearly an educated Romani. It lends a little perspective.

And I’ve used the term gypsy throughout because I love the word. The romantic image of the toughened nomads travelling the world resides in my head from a childhood filled by Enid Blyton books. Even though I know it’s not romantic. I checked it out, and it would appear that it is shortened versions of the word which are considered racist, but the word gypsy is politically correct enough. Hopefully.

*actually, it was last week, but it’s taken me a week to write this post

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Jaffa Cakes vs Jaffa Cake Bars

Observe the Jaffa Cake. Dry, staleish sponge under a sharply orange sticky jelly, and everything topped with dark chocolate. Apart from tasting good, there are some textural pleasures to be had from these. (The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who take their food apart, and those who don’t). jaffa cakes

The chocolate is just the right thickness; shelling the cake of its chocolate is easy and with minimal stick (I hate sticky).

The exposed jelly is tangy and dense enough to be peeled off the cake and eaten alone. One bite or two?

The dry sponge is stiff enough to hold its own, not too sweet; it’s only a vehicle for the chocolate orange toppings, but it offsets them just nicely, balances them out.

Now, check out the Jaffa Cakes Cake Bar. jaffa cake barIt’s rectangular because it’s a bar. It’s a cake bar because instead of the undersweet dry sponge vehicle, there’s a seriously over processed slab of sickly cake supporting the act. The type that turns to sludge in your mouth.

The chocolate is the same darkness as the originals, and they’ve cleverly made it the perfect shelling thickness again.

The orange jelly is no longer a jelly. It’s still got the same great flavour, really strong orange like you never get in anything any more. It looks like a jelly, sitting there nakedly bereft of chocolate, but when its surface is scraped or penetrated in any way, its true paste nature is made known. Sticky paste.

Why would they do this? Why? I’d rather buy a snack pack of 5 jaffa cakes than have another pack of these things.