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Thursday, October 23, 2014

YES on 92! Great op-Ed on the Disinformation Campaign of Anti-M92 "Letter to Physicians."

The corporate-owned phood lobby is spending huge sums and getting increasingly hysterical about Measure 92 forcing them to give Oregonians truthful, accurate information about what's in our food.  If there was ever a measure that should unite all Oregonians on the YES side, Measure 92 is it.

As the battle heats up over this multi-million ballot measure, the proponent insists we do have the right to know what's in our food. 

OPINION -- Last week, physicians throughout Oregon received a letter from former Oregon Medical Association (OMA) leaders urging recipients to vote against Measure 92, which would require labeling for genetically engineered foods (GMO's). It was paid for by the No on 92 campaign.

In the first paragraph, the letter says "we know that facts matter, and facts should drive public policy."

Yes, they should. That's why it's so unfortunate that this letter is rife with half-truths, misrepresentations, and simply wrong statements.

Let's take a closer look at some of the sound bites and then go deeper, where the real story can be found:

Letter: "Measure 92 is a complex and costly food labeling scheme that would only exist in Oregon . . ."

The facts: Measure 92 was carefully crafted by a team of food experts and attorneys, including several from the Center for Food Safety, who have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on genetically engineered food issues. Its hallmark is consistency with current federal labeling laws and efforts in other states.

Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have already passed GMO labeling bills, although Connecticut and Maine don't go into effect until neighboring states do. In all, 24 states have introduced similar legislation. Although there can be minor differences state-to-state, the major provisions in Measure 92 are the same as most others.

Costly? The official estimate from the Oregon Secretary of State is that start-up costs for rule-making would be $550,000 - $600,000, a one-time cost of 15 cents for each Oregonian.

Letter: "Measure 92 would create huge new costs and complicated red tape for farmers . . ."

The facts: Out of about 220 agricultural products in Oregon, only four include genetically engineered varieties. The vast majority of Oregon farmers don't grow GMO crops and wouldn't be affected at all. For the few that do, all they have to do is inform their processors that their crops are genetically engineered, which costs nothing, or, if they're selling directly to grocery stores, mark their food containers as genetically engineered, which costs virtually nothing. The initiative also specifically protects farmers from lawsuits for inadvertent GMO contamination. That wheat farmer on TV saying it would cost farmers "millions?" There aren't any Oregon wheat farmers affected by Measure 92 because genetically engineered wheat has never been approved for commercial sale-it doesn't exist.

Letter: "Measure 92's flawed labeling requirements . . . conflict with existing, reliable nationwide standards,"(referring to) "products labeled 'organic' or non-GMO."

The facts: Measure 92 merely supplements national organic and non-GMO labeling with GMO labeling.

Oregon Tilth, the main organic certifying agency; Organically Grown Company, the main organic wholesaler; the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and the Organic Consumers Association ALL officially endorse Measure 92.  

Would they support the initiative if it actually conflicted with national organic standards? Of course not.

Letter: "The American Medical Association states, 'there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.'"

The Facts: This quote is actually accurate, although it omits that the AMA ". . . supports mandatory FDA pre-market systemic safety assessments of these (genetically engineered) foods as a preventive measure to ensure the health of the public." ( The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't have mandatory safety testing. Instead, we have voluntary testing which is solely performed by the same corporations, like Monsanto and Dow Chemical, developing the genetically engineered crops. This is arguably the most serious conflict of interest in our entire food regulatory system. 

(Note: Regarding the supposed safety, benefits, etc. of genetically engineered crops, I highly recommend to get the other side of the story – with complete, peer-reviewed scientific citations.)

The letter also omits health organizations that support GMO food labeling: American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and many more. In all, there are 20 health organizations formally endorsing Measure 92 (  There are zero opposed to it. (OMA had posted on its website that it had no position on the initiative. Marketing and Communications Director Ken Cole said the letter's authors "don't reflect the views of the current leadership.")

I worked 21 years for the American Cancer Society, the last five (1993-1998) as executive vice president of the Oregon chapter. In all our battles with the tobacco companies, I'll never forget the false and misleading statements they made, especially in TV ads and direct mail. I can say with certainty that the current campaign ads paid for by Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Coke, Pepsi, Kraft, etc. are even more deceptive.

Two final suggestions: Watch the Yes on 92's 30-second TV ad ( featuring Dr. Ray Seidler, former EPA scientist.

Then vote YES on Measure 92. No matter where you stand on health, environmental, religious and corporate influence questions of genetic engineering, you really do have the right to know what's in your food.  

Rick North is the former executive vice president of the Oregon American Cancer Society and former project director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility's Campaign for Safe Food. He retired in 2011 to address undue corporate influence on our elections, government and most aspects of our lives.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

YES on 92!: corporate phood lobby threats, Science magazine cowardice, truthful ad refused

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Yes on 92

This month, our friends at Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps are running a full page advertorial (PDF) by company president David Bronner about the skyrocketing use of pesticides on GMO crops. The full-page ad will appear in The New Yorker, Scientific American, Harpers, Harvard, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, and Thrive

But one place you won't be seeing the ad is in Science magazine. Why? A Science magazine representative stated: "This has gone up the ladder quite far and our CEO along with the board have come back saying that we cannot accept the ad. We're concerned about backlash from our members and potentially getting into a battle with the GMO industry."


We've known for some time that journalists covering genetic engineering are all too happy to write pro-GMO puff pieces that give cover to the chemical industry while ignoring the damage that pesticide tolerance is doing to our health and the environment – but this is a new low.

Add your name: Tell Science to stop carrying water for the chemical industry and run David Bronner's ad about GMOs!

It's outrageous! Instead of allowing their readers to see valuable information about the impact that genetically engineered crops – and the massive doses of toxic pesticide that come with them – Science continues to provide cover to big chemical companies at the expense of consumers and our environment.

Add your name to help us fight back:

Tell Science magazine: Stop doing the chemical industry's bidding and run David Bronner's ad!

Thank you,

Oregon Label GMOs 2014

Paid for by Yes on Measure 92: We Have the Right to Know What's in our Food
Yes on 92
PO Box 12628
Portland OR 97212 United States


Monday, October 20, 2014

M 90: the most Orwellian Doublethink Measure Ever

Blair is dead-on in his analysis of 90.  The underhandedness of their campaign (placing arguments in the opposition side of the voter's pamphlet) perfectly symbolizes their whole goal: to pull a fast one on Oregon, closing off the general election to all but the corporate-cash-heavy candidates in the guise of "opening" the primary. It's a reversal that Orwell could have used as a prime example of doublethink in "1984" (along with War is Peace).

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

From: Blair Bobier <>
Date: October 20, 2014 at 11:54:45 PDT
To: Blair Bobier <>
Subject: M 90 is Dangerous and Deceptive

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Many of you know that I have been working to democratize Oregon's elections for about 25 years.  At present, I am working entirely as a volunteer to defeat Measure 90, a "top two" election system, which will radically change Oregon's elections--and not in a good way.

The election systems used in Oregon and most of the U.S. are antiquated and lag far behind the systems used by most of the world's democracies.  They do need to be changed--which is why I do the work I do.  About the only way to make our elections worse is to implement a top two system.

The supporters of Measure 90, which include some of the richest men in America, want you to focus on the so-called "open primary" where all candidates from all parties run against each other.  That, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, what those billionaires are not telling you is that your "choices" for voting will be severely restricted in the November election.  Only two candidates for each race will be on the November ballot.  They could be two Republicans or two Democrats.  Independent candidates and Greens and Libertarians will disappear from statewide races.  In effect, elections will be over in May before anyone is paying attention. 

"Top Two' has been used in California and Washington.  The results have been disastrous.  Voter turnout has dropped to its lowest levels ever and the promises of ending gridlock have never materialized.

Three quarters of the funding for Measure 90 has come from two billionaires.  One of them is John Arnold, a Texas-based Enron profiteer who pocketed an $8 million bonus the day before Enron went bankrupt.

There are those who say "we have to do something about our elections, we might as well do this."  To me, that's like saying "we have to do something about global warming and nuclear power doesn't release greenhouse gasses."  Either way, if we take what is viewed as the quickest and easiest path, we'll wind up with toxic waste for years to come.

I urge you to Vote No on 90.

Please forward this e-mail to all of your Oregon contacts and consider posting information from this message on Facebook

Thanks for reading this.

If you want more information, I've written a couple of op-eds recently about Measure 90:

This is something I wrote a couple of years ago about an alternative to Top Two:

One of the many articles detailing the follies of Measure 90 backer, John Arnold:

General information on Measure 90:

No on 90!: Don't Get Fooled: Vote No on 90

There's a growing trend across the country. Laws proposed in the name of "election reform"… that actually limit voter participation and decrease voter turnout.
Now, special interest groups have their eyes set on Oregon with Measure 90.
Don't get fooled. Say No to Measure 90, which would dramatically change our election and limit voter choice in Oregon

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Oh boy! A parking meeting!!

If we have hundreds of millions to blow on a giant unneeded bridge,
then we certainly can afford to take real care and spend real money
to help sustain downtown.
Got an invitation to a parking meeting next week from Jim Vu, a nice guy who has become a landlord downtown and who works at a local (very) bank:

Hello Downtown Business Owners,

I would like to invite all of you to a downtown parking meeting.  The details are as follows:

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Whitlock's, 455 Court St NE
5:30PM to 6:30PM
Guests:  Mayor Anna Peterson, City Manager Linda Norris, and City Councilor Chuck Bennett

Agenda - Working towards a parking solution beyond February 2015.

Please RSVP to me so that we will have adequate seating for those in attendance
Caused me to review past parking articles posted here at LOVESalem:

I think a number of those old posts hold up pretty well.

Parking is a lot harder than many people seem to think; easy to get wrong, tough to get right, and experience from different places and times (gained during different economic conditions) is not necessarily as transportable as cars are.  Cities, especially in their downtowns, are unique places, and are actually complex eco-systems.

They aren't just malls without roofs.

If we take a big-picture view and use this friction as an opportunity to generate sparks for real, system wide improvements, maybe it will be for the best. Here's hoping.

ALEC Resorts to Religious Hate to Raise Cash

ALEC Resorts to Religious Hate to Raise Cash
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem ( welcomes all who would be pleased to earn the ire of corrupt Koch-Brother-owned tools like ALEC. 

Although UUCS, like all UU congregations, is nonpartisan and never involves itself with candidate races, the congregation is proud to count among its members many socially conscious folks who work tirelessly on a huge range of issues to make Salem, Oregon, the U.S. and the Earth a better place.
ALEC Resorts to Religious Hate to Raise Cash

Something truly curious happened yesterday.  In a fundraising effort, ALEC railed against the Unitarian Universalist Church as a bunch of professional activists trampling on their "freedom."

At first glance, this is truly curious.  If you're a member of any of the mainline Christian denominations in the Midwest under attack by religious fundamentalists, it's all too familiar. Stripped of the usurped trappings of true Christianity, these individuals endeavor to turn the love of Christ, the very basis of our faith, into justification for them to deny the humanity of those who disagree with them. They appeal to the same baser instincts that motivate those Muslims drawn into the orbit of the Islamic State.

They alone are the chosen few.  Chosen by God to condemn, and cleanse, the Earth of those who would dispute their warped interpretation of the Christian faith. At best the impulse is deeply irritating, at worst we've seen what's been happening in Iraq.

Why would ALEC impune the character of an entire religious denomination?  Because, anyone who gets the dog whistle knows that these fundamentalists believe that Unitarian Universalists (UU) are anti-Christian:

According to John Ankerberg, president and founder of The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, UU followers have varying ideas about God. They "believe anything or nothing: one is free to be atheist, pantheist, polytheist, agnostic, deist, theist or even Satanist," Ankerberg writes in his website post on UU theology at

"Basically, it is spiritual humanism," explained Craig Branch, director of the Apologetics Resource Ministry, in an interview with The Christian Post. "All roads lead to God."


Therefore, UUs deny Christianity by default, at least in the orthodox understanding, Miller told CP.

"They are anti-Christian. Everything we believe in, they don't," he stated.

Branch agreed. "Any religion like orthodox Christianity that says there is one is essentially false [to a UU believer]," he said.


Willingly drawing upon this religious hate in order to raise cash is a sign of desperation. Earlier this year, ALEC had to sublet their swank offices in the District, and move their operations out to Crystal City. Their spooked, and they know that in the wake of the exodus from the group kicked off by the role of Stand Your Ground in the Trayvon Martin case, that appealing to cultural warriors such as those above is a solid way to bring in cash that won't flinch when the next PR crisis hits.  The problem for them is that when dog whistles like this get called out, it will further alienate the corporations which have been their principle source of support. Why not ask an ALEC funder close to you?

(Click on image to open interactive map)

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Great Illustration: why Salem's crippled, part-time transit system is a justice issue

Although piece below is from Portland, the writer's misery is daily life for plenty of people in Salem, who are prisoners of debt because we have built a city that systematically punishes the poor and forces them further into debt just to get around.

Comfortable people with jobs and credit cards can weather the mishaps; for poor people, the lack of a seven-day, all-day transit system that supports full participation in work, education and the chores of daily life is a hugely regressive tax.

Joseph Rose's Sunday Drive: My terribly, horribly, unbelievably expensive week of commuting in Portland
Shared via my feedly reader

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

IAI Academy Now Offers Free Courses: From "The Meaning of Life" to "A Brief Guide to Everything" | Open Culture

IAI Academy Now Offers Free Courses: From "The Meaning of Life" to "A Brief Guide to Everything" | Open Culture

IAI Academy Now Offers Free Courses: From "The Meaning of Life" to "A Brief Guide to Everything"

in Online Courses | October 17th, 2014 1 Comment

iai academy

This month, The Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI), an organization committed to fostering "a progressive and vibrant intellectual culture in the UK," launched IAI Academy — a new online educational platform that features courses in philosophy, science and politics. The initial lineup includes 12 courses covering everything from theoretical physics, the meaning of life, the future of feminism, the often vexed relationship between science and religion, and more.

IAI Academy offers its courses for free. But, like other course providers, they charge a nominal fee (right now about $25) if you would like a Verified Certificate when you've successfully completed a course. Here's the initial lineup:

  • A Brief Guide to Everything – Web Video – John Ellis, King's College London, CBE 
  • The Meaning of Life – Web Video – Steve Fuller, University of Warwick
  • New Adventures in Spacetime – Web Video – Eleanor Knox, King's College London
  • Minds, Morality and Agency – Web Video – Mark Rowlands, University of Miami
  • Nine Myths About Schizophrenia – Web Video – Richard Bentall, University of Liverpool
  • The History of Fear – Web Video – Frank Furedi, University of Kent
  • Physics: What We Still Don't Know – Web Video – David Tong, Cambridge
  • Science vs. Religion – Web Video – Mark Vernon, Journalist/Philosopher
  • Sexuality and Power – Web Video – Veronique Mottier, University of Lausanne
  • The Infinite Quest – Web Video – Peter Cameron, Queen Mary University of London.
  • End of Equality – Web Video – Beatrix Campbell – Writer/Activist
  • Rethinking Feminism – Web Video – Finn Mackay – Feminist Activist & Researcher

For more evergreen courses that you can download and enjoy whenever you want, don't miss our collection, 1000 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

For MOOCs being provided in real-time, see our list of MOOCs from Great Universities.

Related Content:

Take First-Class Philosophy Courses Anywhere with Free Oxford Podcasts

Download 100 Free Philosophy Courses and Start Living the Examined Life

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The names of evil: No on 92 Coalition Donors

Just as with Measure 90, we are going to see whether a flood of corporate wealth can overcome people power with the power of money and absolute amoral shamelessness.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Great Salem blogger, the Upright Cyclist, on Cycling and Introversion [feedly]

I guess I'm not an upright cyclist, since the primary bike at LOVESalem HQ is a recumbent bike. 

But I sure enjoy the insights from The Upright Cyclist.

It is one of several high-quality blogs ostensibly about biking in Salem but really about the struggle for the soul of Salem and the rearguard fight to keep carhead thinking from its Final Solution, complete full spectrum dominance over all aspects of public planning and space by cars.

This "autoist" thinking, to use the term preferred at the Breakfast on Bikes blog,, is not only wildly expensive and shortsighted, and it is not just a hazard to our health as living beings with bodies, it is also a hazard to our health as citizens in a democracy, because carhead is about privileging the already privileged and using money to comfort the already comfortable.
Cycling and Introversion
// The Upright Cyclist

A great deal is being written about introversion and extraversion (not "extroversion," as some seem intent on calling it) in today's common culture. I suppose it is somewhat predictable that all sorts of labels and generalizations are being made about this rather complex topic, and I don't want this little essay to fall into that error. However, I have been thinking a good deal lately about the way I experience utility cycling so differently from my time behind that "other wheel" in my car, and how it always changes and challenges me to be on my bike more than in my automobile.

The change aspect has to do with the way cycling around town relaxes and focuses my mind and body. When I drive, I often do so because I need to cover a fair amount of mileage in a short amount of time. This allows me to get more done in a given day. In itself, this isn't a bad thing. . . . (More at link)

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."