Category Archives: Current

Bridges to 2020 (video)

As a member of the Art Presence Art Center, I had the opportunity to show my collection of monotypes and paintings, Bridges to 2020, at the Medford Library. The show has been held over through the end of July 2015! Below is a video with my comments on the paintings. I’ll post an edited version soon but wanted to get this one out there for people to see. I hope you will find it inspiring, and will come to the Medford Library to see the collection in person before the end of the month!

OP/ED “GMOs ARE IMMORAL AND ILL-ADVISED JANUARY 17, 2014

January 17, 2014 Opinion/Editorial: GMOs are Immoral and Ill-Advised

The whole system that allows private corporations to genetically modify seeds, to own them as “intellectual property” and have eliminated the requirement that their products be studied by regulatory agencies is SHOCKING, DANGEROUS and IMMORAL. I believe this overreach of GMO companies is not based on true science since patents were approved by insiders’ agreement based on the idea of “substantial equivalents”, not on testing or independent review. These actions can be interpreted as “playing God” and deeper study and investigation is essential. In addition to voting Yes on Measure 15-119 in May, I believe citizens might seek a “cease and desist” order, an injunction or a “moratorium” on GMO seeds – no more growing, no new patents, no more products until consumers and those monitoring the legality, morality, health, and environmental repercussions of GMOs, sprays, chemicals and questionable toxic soup involved in their “recipe” are proven safe, prudent and sound.. The precautionary principle applies – DO NO HARM!

In addition, the distinctions between medical engineering of individual human genes and what is being done to our seeds and food need to be made clear. Highly regulated medical genetics are not the same thing as the numerous safety threats presented by worldwide and substantially unregulated methods involving trans-species genetic modifications – ie. cutting and splicing microbial, plant virus, and antibiotic resistant genes genes into seeds that grow foods, as well as creating pest-resistant genetics systems that people, pets and livestock are ingesting/eating. It is unfair and untrue when GMO profiteers compare GMO seeds and food to medical genetics, and use that erroneous idea to perpetuate the myths that “GMOs are safe and “no big deal”. In medical applications of genetic engineering, genes are contained within a single human to solve one, often life threatening, genetic problem. The gene is typically a “normal” human gene, not genes from a foreign microbial species as is done with our food.

What Syngenta, Monsanto and the Chem/Ag industry have done is create a MONOPOLY on seeds by modifying and “owning approximately 80%* of the world’s seeds. They have created a danger to the economy as well as risking the future of open pollinated, natural seeds. Their actions have placed a very real potential of limited or widespread famine on the horizon because there is a GMO universal monoculture with very limited genetic diversity. If a serious plant disease comes, then all the crops will likely be susceptible. Based on one fact alone -that huge numbers of farmers can no long save and replant their own seeds – it seems frighteningly likely that the GMO/Chemical agricultural system could collapse in a very short period of time.

If you are questioning the moral, ethical or spiritual integrity of GMOs, please join a Chamber of Commons discussion group to brainstorm the best ways to address the issues and how to talk about and approach “what God/ Goddess/ Mother Nature/ Higher Consciousness intends”. This is a delicate subject so a careful handling is in order and can be managed most thoughtfully with all those who want to explore it. Members of the spiritual, ecumenical, theological, philosophical, and psychological communities, and all those concerned, are invited to send comments to championsofthecommons@gmail.com and be included in an upcoming discussion salon on this topic.

Catie Faryl www.catiefaryl.net Chamber of Commons, P.O. Box 33, Ashland, Oregon , champions of the commons on Facebook

*seed patents – a 2012 report states nearly 75% of global seed patent ownership by just 10 corporations (lead by Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont), up from just 37% in 1995.

The vegetable seed market concentration is higher, with the top 4 companies controlling over 70% of global market in 2007 and the top 8 firms controlling 94%, again led by the 3 above.

Source: A profile of corporate power in seeds, agrochemicals and Biotech, Hope Shand, 2012.

JEFFERSON, D.C. – A DISTRICT OF RESOURCE AND COMMON SENSE

 JEFFERSON, D.C. – A DISTRICT OF RESOURCE AND COMMON SENSE

State of Jefferson (which is roughly delineated by Redding to the south, Roseburg to the north, the eastern California and Oregon borders to the east, and the Pacific Ocean of Northern California and Southern Oregon to the west) makes more sense now than any other time in the past.

Because our region has the remaining untouched and protected Old Growth Forests, vast watershed, huge resource reserves, gold mining and other features that need to be stewarded for the good of our Country, it seems the very best place to incubate a new economy and new beliefs and hopes for economic revival that works in concert with and with respect for Nature and natural systems.

As Washington D.C. is the location for politics and government, our region, South Jefferson, would become the center for stewardship of natural resources with focus on creating jobs that are in concert with nature and projects that reclaim the commons and  prevent further exploitation and waste of America’s natural resources.  Counties in Northern California, in particular Del Norte and Siskiyou, are well ahead of us in petitioning County Commissioners to consider a secession movement.  In South Jefferson, a District of “Common Sense” seems a practical approach, whether that is simply declared as a working concept and method of raising awareness in Salem of the issues in rural Southern Oregon, or as a real movement to make it so,  Jefferson, D.C. has a responsibility to our citizens to advocate for stewardship and reasonable preservation of community rights, property rights and creation of jobs that protect our region, care for our farms and forests and embrace Jefferson, D.C. as a beacon of hope and new leadership to secure a good future for America.

 

 

 

 

GMOs and the unscientific “Substantial Equivalents” policy

Dear Brian,
Thank you for directing attention to the “Substantial Equivalent” policy matter.  To me, it is at the crux of the problems.  It is so ironic to have GMO proponents continually dog our efforts to de-escalate from the dangerous Chem/Ag/GMOs cycle and systems by making demands for our “science” on why we think things need to change.  These multi-national corporations, who were granted the ability to own genetic material, have made sure few unbiased studies can be completed AND their real position is “we managed to convince policy makers over two decades ago that our products were safe simply by “calling it good” – ie Substantial Equivalents.
Yesterday I got some printmaking studio time and did a painting of that title “Substantial Equivalents”.  It visually conjectures the issue using an ear of natural corn and an ear of gmo corn along side a picture of a woman standing next to a blow-up doll!  This is what I think about their “substantial equivalents” !!!!   It is crude but true – a blow up doll is not a woman, and gmo foods are not whole, natural foods!  The slogan “GMO: Goddess Mightily Offended” can be taken as a warning that many people see through the rhetoric and lies of the GMO food industry and those who shop, cook and prepare foods are seeking products that are untainted and free of disturbing questions about their nutritional value, their contribution to environmental degradation, and their long term health effects, especially for the region’s and planet’s children.  We who oppose GMO and its ilk are gearing up to play hardball – no more Ms. Nice Guy!  For too long we have suffered the scientific speculation and misrepresentations, as history has proven what “science” tells us is “safe”  ten or twenty years later is discovered to be patently untrue! (X-Rays, DDT, smoking, etc). The most compelling arguments for banning gmos are in how far across the line “science” has gone to achieve uniformity, monoculture, power and profit through unnatural and unloving means.  Our natural seeds and systems are a better future and can feed the world just fine, given the generosity to work out political and distribution issues and move forward in peace without intervention from aggressive, corporate and governmental forces bent on “playing God”.
The comments and responses to your article are all focusing on the arguments and details of the “science”. My hope is that left-brainers will put on their collective intellectual thinking caps and get down to the LEGALITY, HUMANITY, MORALITY AND INTEGRITY of these issues.  The real argument should be “how do to we reverse the “substantial equivalent” platform?  It is surprising to me that anti-trust and class action suits have not been launched at undoing this pernicious and nonsensical standard.  As the world hurtles forward on this very weak and bad premise of accelerating the production of trans-species food and seed modification, and further pollutes the planet with the toxic soup of chemicals to foster a system inferior to what nature has already evolved for us, I see human folly of the highest order with devastating future consequences.
When people of good sense finally open their eyes to the tragedy of gmo and all that it represents, I hope it is not too late.  You ask great and powerful questions about the absence of outcry from the farming and food industries here in Southern Oregon.
The March against Monsanto in Medford organizing group, Families for Food Freedom, and the Chamber of Commons will be working hard to get the information out and catalyze action on May 25th (March gathering at 11 am at Vogel Plaza, Central Ave. and West Main in Medford, Oregon).  Also since GMO Free Jackson County has a list of 400 food-related supporters, perhaps its time to send them a detailed overview of exactly how bad GMO is.  Your compilation video of key points from over two dozen documentaries is filled with compelling and well-documented information.  Can copies of that be sent out or posted on line so viewers can get the intense version offered in a manageable crash course in the dangers and documented downside to health, environment and the economy that your work provided to those working on defeating GMOs in our region?
Catie Faryl    www.catiefaryl.net
Chamber of Commons
championsofthecommons@gmail.com and championsofthecommons  on facebook
(541) 535-1854
From: Realtidbits Comment Reply <realtidbits@realtidbits.com> To: bcomnes@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, May 6, 2013 5:42 PM Subject: Re: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | MailTribune.com

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | MailTribune.com

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130506/OPINION/305060301/-1/OPINION03

(2 Previous Replies)      Latest Reply
BrianComnes Let’s put it this way , isn’t the science that really counts the one that is in control of the release of GMOs into the market place? That is what controls what we grow and eat. All the rest is mere quibbling and strutting by advocates of either “side”.  So can ANYBODY explain to me the science that underscores the current doctrine that governs the release of GMO food in the U.S.  known as substantial equivalence (SE)?  Go ahead, convince me..make me less skeptical. The policy of substantial equivalence  is merely a  trade and commerce policy from 1992 from the OECD, an international  trade association. It was promulgated by then VP Dan Quayle and made USDA/FDA policy by none other than Mike Taylor (a revolving door Monsanto exec who is still with us today) and its sole motivation was to “reduce regulations” or provide “regulatory relief” and get US biotech products to market quicker.  Scientists within FDA and USDA at the time put up a stink, but they were ignored by the Monsanto folks who had captured the agency at a policy level.. As a result the USDA set up policies that only producer-funded short term studies were required and if Monsanto says it safe, then it safe because it is substantially equivalent. – some science there    (Hey a healthy cow and one with BSE-mad cow are substantially equivalent, are they both safe?)
Now combine that policy with the fact that GMOs are proprietary trade secrets and independent scientists can not get access to the materials or only with censoring nondisclosure restrictions.  What that leads to is perverted science because there are no independent verifiable studies of which PG  Economics or other PR firms are shining examples .”For a decade,” protested Scientific American editors in 2009, GMO companies “have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research,” so “it is impossible to verify that  genetically modified crops perform as advertised.”
As for the pesticide usage data, WSU’s Benbrook 20 year study,  recently updated, pretty much put to bed the earlier Barfoot/Brooks (PG Economics) study which people like the Farm Bureau insist “proves” their point of view.
And finally are over 110 farms in the Rogue Valley so clueless about their own future that they would sign a written statement supporting a GMO crop ban? Seems unlikely. How many GMO growers are there here? All I meet are Farm Bureau lobbyists and one guy who grows some GMO corn in JOSPEHINE County. And those 300 restaurants, businesses  and organizations including three Granges, are they clueless too?

collecting data on impact of more gmos in oregon

A subcommittee of GMO Free Jackson and Josephine Counties are working on compiling a list of organic organizations and businesses across the State of Oregon in order to help Representative Peter Buckley work with legislators on upcoming House Bills that can either positively or negatively impact Oregon’s “green brand”.  If you received this email bcc I already have your contact info but would appreciate you forwarding this to others who may be in other Oregon counties, or if there is something you think I might not have, please call me at (541) 535-1854 or send me an email at championsofthecommons@gmail.com  Also please check the two sites below and see if you’ve been included.  This data can also be important when in organizing to defeat GMOs on a national level.
Here’s a good reference source, though rather incomplete for Jackson County.  At least it is organized by State, so legislators should be able to get an idea of at least part of what is happening in each Oregon County. If your business isn’t listed, please consider adding it on their site.   http://www.farmerspal.com       Please check this website and if your business is not on their considering entering it.   I posted it on Champions of the Commons facebook page, since I am having difficulty getting shared posts to get on the general GMO Free Jackson County facebook page.  I posted it also on the GMO Free closed group, but many can not get on there.   Another site, which has National listings, that Gary Fowler found is
http://www.localharvest.org/organic-farms/list.jsp  This seems quite comprehensive, and gives farms, csa’s, markets, ranchers, and more categories to find by zip code.  There is even a search feature for beekeepers and other organic products.
Do anyone have an opinion about including biofuels and other value added products that are not food? What about health and healing businesses? what about home gardeners and seed savers?

TIME TO REFRAME THE GMO ISSUE – NATURAL FOODS WERE & ARE THE BEST STANDARD

REFRAMING THE GMO ISSUE: The task ahead is to correctly REFRAME the issue by pointing out that up until the use of DDT and other fossil fuel directives following WWII, all food was “organic”. The word “organic” has allowed the ‘powers that be’ to put those doing correct agriculture with time-tested, planet friendly methods on the defense. We have had to defend what actually is the healthy and natural growing systems that pre-existed for millennia prior to the advent of multi-national corporations selling a mix of chemical products and questionable promotions to farmers in America. Now we have come to a place in time where this truth must be told. They may have more money and a “well-oiled machine” but the Truth is more powerful. So let’s start reminding people that it wasn’t long ago when all food was NATURAL which is exactly what we need to return to. A transition time back to whole systems would eventually mean that the cost of food would come down as healthy and natural will again be the STANDARD. GMO and CHEM/AG is the aberration and that must be exposed.