The Portland Alliance: June 2014

“Our Food, Our Choice:
We have the right to know what’s in our food.”

Vol. XXXIV, Number 6    June 2014

Our Food, Our Choice:
We have the right to know
what’s in
our food.

Last year over 400 cities around the world participated
in this day of action bringing hundreds of thousands of
people into the streets to March Against Monsanto.
We hope to double that this year.  

Why We March:

Protect bees and monarchs against GMO pesticides.
• Protect our food supply and clean water.
• Support local farms and farmers.
• Protect our environment.
• Promote organic solutions.
• Expose cronyism:  big business & government.
• Bring accountability to those responsible for the corruption.

The US Post Office Is Not Broke!

post1The Postal Service is NOT broke. Indeed, in those four years of loudly deplored “losses,” the service actually produced a $700 psot2million operational profit
(despite the worst economy
since the Great Depression).

post3FACT: The U.S. Postal Service is funded entirely by revenues from postage.

“The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”
no more cutsCongress must stop micromanaging the
Postal Service and
allow critically important reforms, modernization, streamlining operations,
and new sources of revenue.

We don’t need to bail them out; we need to let this U.S. institution save itself.

post4The USPS nets profits every year. The financial problem it faces comes from a 2006 Congressional mandate that requires the agency to “pre-pay” into a fund that covers health care costs for future retired employees. Under the mandate, the USPS is required to make an annual $5.5 billion payment over ten years, through 2016.These “prepayments” are largely responsible for the USPS’s financial losses over the past four years and the threat of shutdown that looms ahead – take the retirement fund out of the equation, and the postal service would have actually netted $1 billion in profits over this period.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the USPS’s financial situation is good. Revenue has been declining for years.

2. The postal service doesn’t rely on taxpayer funds.

Until 1971, mail delivery was handled by the Post Office Department, a Cabinet department in the federal government. Postal worker strikes prompted President Nixon to pass the Postal Reorganization Act in 1971, transforming it into the semi-independent agency we now know as the United States Postal Service. The USPS in its current form runs like a business, relies on postage for revenue and, for the most part, has not used taxpayer money since 1982, when postage stamps became “products” instead of forms of taxation. Taxpayer money is only used in some cases to pay for mailing voter materials to disabled and overseas Americans.

USPS spokespersons have been adamant in emphasizing that they are not requesting taxpayer funds from the federal government to make this year’s payment. Rather, they say, the USPS is asking Congress to authorize access to an estimated $7 billion that they overpaid into the future retiree pension fund in previous years.

3. Junk mail sustains the system.

Although the USPS does manage to turn a profit based on operations alone, it’s a widely known fact that mail volume has dipped over the past decade. As Americans by and large correspond and pay bills online, first-class mail and, as a result, postal revenue have gone into a decline. From 2006 to 2010, mail volume decreased by a hefty 20 percent.

But although the days of custom stationery, handwritten letters and scented envelopes may be long gone, the USPS has been increasingly reliant on junk mail — advertisements, catalogs and other unsolicited mailbox “gifts” — to keep the service afloat. BusinessWeek notes that revenue from junk mail increased by 7.1 percent in the last quarter of 2010 – although volume has not increased since. Donahoe has also expressed optimism that junk mail volume and revenue will increase as the economy improves. But the lower cost of direct mailings means that more junk mail is needed to circulate in the system to make up for the accelerating loss of first-class mail.

4. The proposed cuts are big.

In his testimony last week, Donahoe presented a number of measures that he argues would halt the USPS’s rapid financial decline, including the elimination of the annual pre-fund payment requirement, stopping Saturday mail delivery and terminating a “no-layoff” clause in a contract with unionized postal workers. According to Donahoe, cutting service down to five days a week instead of six, a proposal that has been kicked around for years, would save about $3 billion a year. Donahoe has also urged Congress to allow him to shut down standalone post offices, moving them into convenience stores and supermarkets instead.

Of course, these proposals have been met with resistance, not least by postal workers who stand to lose their jobs, as well as direct mailers, the creators of the junk mail that sustains the system, who argue that Saturday deliveries are crucial times for sending advertisements while recipients have their minds on weekend shopping. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) has also argued that ending Saturday delivery could drive mail-order pharmacies and other businesses away from the USPS, further accelerating its losses.

“America’s postal service is a true public service, a grassroots people’s asset that has even more potential than we’re presently tapping to serve the democratic ideal of the common good. Why the hell would we let an elite of small-minded profiteers, ranting ideologues and their political hirelings drop-kick this jewel through the goal posts of corporate greed? This is not a fight merely to save 32,000 post offices and the middle-class jobs they provide — but to advance the BIG IDEA of America itself, the bold, historic notion that “yes, we can” create a society in which we’re all in it together.”

Jim Hightower

Emma Goldman, a woman ahead of her time…

“The most violent element in society is ignorance. ”
― Emma GoldmanEmma Goldman


“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.” 
 Emma Goldman
On a cold December morning in 1919, just after midnight, Emma Goldman, her comrade Alexander Berkman, and more than 200 other foreign-born radicals were roused from their Ellis Island dormitory beds to begin their journey out of the United States for good.

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” 
 Emma Goldman

goldman_imgConvicted of obstructing the draft during World War I, Goldman’s expatriation came 34 years after she had first set foot in America, a young, brilliant, Russian immigrant. For more than three decades, she taunted mainstream America with her outspoken attacks on government, big business and war.

“The most violent element in society is ignorance. ” 

 Emma Goldman

visions4Goldman’s passionate espousal of radical causes made her the target of persecution. Her sympathy for Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President McKinley, brought down upon her the hatred of the authorities and the public at large. Feared as a sponsor of anarchy and revolution, she was vilified in the press as “Red Emma,” “Queen of the Anarchists,” and “the most dangerous woman in America.”

“Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.” 

 Emma Goldman

Why can’t Portland Oregon cops obey the law?

“All we ask is that the officers protect and serve. The way too many PDX police officers have been behaving, a significant proportion of people in Portland hesitate to call the police out of fears about the safety of family, friends and neighbors. This is not acceptable.”

Why can’t we get police to obey the law in Oregon?Image

Woman, 25, shot and killed by police after Salem traffic stop – what happened?

Off Duty Portland Cop Kills Man at Front Door / DA Refuses Grand Jury on August Shooting; Oregon Area Cops Continue to Shoot

mike3We only have one Portland shooting incident to report on for this four-month period: off-duty Sgt. Gregory Stewart (#32025) shot and killed Jeffrey Dean Turpin, 42, outside Stewart’s Scappoose home on October 5. Sadly, another person in psychological crisis needed help and instead ended up dead at the hands of law enforcement. Sadder still, six Scappoose police officers and two St. Helens officers had been following Turpin around for 40 minutes, talking to him and keeping him from shooting himself with his own gun. When Turpin made the mistake of pounding on a random door that had a Portland policeman behind it, he ended up dead.

educsPDX Police Updates: Child abuse? Incredible stupidity?
9-year-old led away in handcuffs by Portland police prompts outrage, push for policy changes

Two uniformed Portland police officers showed up at the home of a 9-year-old girl last May, questioned her on the front porch about a fight at a youth club six days earlier, then handcuffed her as she stood in a blue-and-white bathing suit.

No New Leads on Fatal Shooting
by Oregon State Trooper
Thursday killing was the second by an Oregon State Trooper during traffic stops last week
– and the fourth this year.
Lisa Loving Of The Skanner News
September 05, 2013
Witnesses to Silva Death
say Police Are
Covering Up the Truth!
Latino Rebels Portal:
more information:

A Multnomah County jury ruled that the city of Portland must pay a 27-year-old man nearly $306,000 after police used a stun gun and pepper spray on him, punched him and dog-piled on top of him before they unlawfully
arrested him for criminally trespassing on a downtown sidewalk.

2010-April, 2014

heartlessCompiled by Portland Copwatch.

Last updated December 18, 2015


Michael Gregory Johnson, 51, male, European American      11/6/15      Shooting death

David James Ellis, 55, male, European American      7/5/15      Shooting

Alan Lee Bellew, 29, male, European American      6/28/15      Shooting Death

Michael Shawn Harrison, 47, male, European American      5/17/15      Shooting

Christopher Ryan Healy, 36, male, European American, houseless       3/22/15      Shooting Death

Ryan Matthew Sudlow, 31, male, European American      2/17/15      Shooting (no hits)

Denorris Laron McClendon, 27, male, African American      9/1/14      Shooting

Nicholas Glendon Davis, 23, male, European American, houseless       6/12/14      Shooting death

Paul Alan Ropp, 20, male, European American      4/16/14      Shooting (hits unknown)**

Kelly Vern Swoboda, 49, male, European American      3/12/14      Shooting death


Santiago A. Cisneros III, 32, male, Latino
3/4/13      Shooting death
Merle Mikal Hatch, 50, male, European-American
2/17/13      Shooting death


Joshua Stephen Baker, 27, male
9/29/12      Shooting

Michael Anthony Tate, Jr, 25, male
8/21/12      Shooting (no hits)      PPR 57

Billy Wayne Simms, 28, male, European American
7/28/12      Shooting death      PPR 57
Name withheld (Juvenile), 17, male, African American
7/17/12      Shooting      PPR 57
Jonah Aaron Potter, 31, male, European Am
3/26/12     Shooting      PPR 56

Adalberto Flores-Haro, 31, male, Latino
3/13/12     Shooting (Washington County/PPB Gang Team present)      PPR 56

Bradley Lee Morgan, 21, male, European-American
1/25/12     Shooting death      PPR 56


Darris Eugene Johnson, 26, male, African American
7/9/11     Death in custody      PPR 54
William Kyle Monroe, 20, male, European American
6/30/11      Shooting (live rounds in less lethal gun)      PPR 54
Ralph Clyde Turner, 61, male, European American, mental health issues      3/6/11      Shooting (no hits)      PPR 53
Thomas Higginbotham, 67, male, European American, homeless, mental health issues     1/2/11     Shooting death     PPR 53
Kevin Charles Moffett, 31, male, African-American (alleged target) 1/1/11      Shooting (no hits)     PPR 53


Marcus Lagozzino, 34, male, European American, mental health crisis      12/27/10      Shooting      PPR 53
Darryel Dwayne Ferguson, 45, male, European-American      12/17/10      Shooting death      PPR 52
Craig Boehler, 46, male, European American
11/23/10      Shooting (with death by smoke inhalation)     PPR 52
Keaton Dupree Otis, 25, African-American, male
5/12/10      Shooting death      PPR 51
Jack Dale Collins, 58, European-American, male
3/22/10      Shooting death      PPR 50
Aaron Marcell Campbell, 25, African-American, male
1/29/10      Shooting death      PPR 50
Back to top
occupyUS Police Have Killed Over 5,000 Civilians Since 9/11

Statistically speaking,
Americans should be more fearful
of the local cops than “terrorists.”

PDX Police have effectively been granted a license to kill at will… with no accountability. This remains dangerous and we need to demand changes from the mayor, PDX City Council members, and the dysfunctional PDX Police bureau.

“The murders of Aaron Campbell, Keaton Otis, and James Chasse, Jr. have never been resolved. None of the officers who broke the law and violated Police Department Procedures have been charged, tried,or prosecuted for these crimes.

We, the citizens of Portland, Oregon, have paid millions for crimes committed by PDX police officers, yet none of these officers have been disciplined.

They continue to “serve” in spite of their crimes, loose cannons. The shootings of James Jahar Perez and Kendra James may have been forgotten by some, but we have yet to see any sort of accountability or justice.

This must change. We deserve an explanation from our mayor, council and more responsible leadership in our Police Bureau.

All we ask is that officers protect, serve and obey the law. Currently, significant percentages of people in Portland hesitate to call the police out of fear for family, friends and neighbors. This is not acceptable.

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Standing up and fighting back

“We need independent, intelligent leaders with courage, vision, and values. “

bush-torture-again-8001Standing up and fighting back

Most of us rejected the false duopoly advocated by mainstream media years ago. There are two primary problems responsible for all that ails America:  these are the corporate Democrats and Republicans: they endorse wars of choice, capital punishment, wiretapping innocents, unprovoked aggression, assassination, and rendering Americans for torture, rape and murder.

We fight back by swallowing our fear and resisting oppression with courage. We must walk, talk, rally, march, and occupy whatever places and positions necessary if we hope to end corporate wars of aggression, secure the peace, and restore human rights, justice and freedom.
Only fools or those who got fooled voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016, so our job is to Organize, Educate, Activate and MOVE THE MONEY.

Creative writers and artists have been delivering this message for years, but now the American people need to turn their backs on the corporate welfare parties and walk the talk. We need real debates among all candidates regardless of party. Real candidates will blow the corporate cons out of the water.  This is why the war-profiteers do not want to debate issues.

We need independent, intelligent leaders with courage, vision, and values.  And we need to look to 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th parties who are not bought and paid for by the Fortune 500.occupy

If you are tired of wage theft, slave labor and working poverty…  abandon the corporate cons and war profiteers who have brought us twenty seven unnecessary wars, joblessness, and recession while sacrificing the peace to please munitions contractors.  This is a time when we must stand firm.

In upcoming elections, we write letters, provide options, explore solutions, and discover effective tactics required to take back the nation.

The Cons on both sides of the corporate aisle are not on your side.

Republicans work for the corporate elite and brag about it.
Democrats work for the corporate elite and lie about it.

revoluiton1And the American people are too often led like sheep into the corporate fold… or respond like lemmings… dashing over the brink of ‘lesser evils” into endless wars for the corporate bottom line. We can do better


wareconomyYou can vote for someone who represents you instead of being forced to choose between corporate cons and profiteers. Currently, 75% of the American people support a third party. So the time is ripe. We are the 95% and if we insist, the debates can be opened up and truths can be told. .

camus“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
Albert Camus

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Together we make a difference.

Thanks for all you do.

Join the Revolution!

John Stewart: Funnyman, Newsman… or both.

“What the Mainstream Media Can Learn From Jon Stewart:
No, not to be funny and snarky, but to be bold and to do a better job of cutting through the fog.”

no more cutsSometimes John Stewart delivers more news in 17 minutes than you will
hear on mainstream
media news in six or
ten months.

“What the Mainstream Media Can Learn
From Jon Stewart

headlessNo, not to be funny and snarky, but to be bold and to do a better job of cutting through the fog

By Rachel Smolkin

When Hub Brown’s students first told him they loved “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and sometimes even relied on it for news, he was, as any responsible journalism professor would be, appalled.

Now he’s a “Daily Show” convert.

Picture by KaryLee in Bryce Canyon

“There are days when I watch ‘The Daily Show,’ and I kind of chuckle. There are days when I laugh out loud. There are days when I stand up and point to the TV and say, ‘You’re damn right!'” says Brown, chair of the communications department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and an associate professor of broadcast journalism.

Codoleezza Rice: On Record as war criminal.

Rice sanctioned the use of torture and has continued to defend it even after a top aide warned that she and her colleagues were violating the law.

iraqigirlRutgers U. Should Not Honor Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice decided on Saturday not to give the May 18 address, according to “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time,” she said.

peace-justiceThe Rutgers University Board of Governors had invited Condoleezza Rice to speak at the 2014 commencement and to receive an honorary doctor-of-laws degree. No one is denying her right to speak, but many Rutgers faculty members and students are appalled by the board’s decision to grant Rice the university’s highest honor.

torture-4In response to that decision, my colleagues and I are planning a teach-in, to be held on May 6. We want to give our students a firmer grasp of their own recent history, in which Rice played a major role in the most troubling events.

endtortureThe choice to celebrate Condoleezza Rice is dismaying for several reasons. One is procedural. Contrary to previous practice, faculty members were involved only minimally in choosing the commencement speaker, and members of the Rutgers community at large were not consulted. The selection committee apparently proceeded on its own and in secret.

rainy4The most important reasons for opposing the board’s choice are substantive. As national-security adviser to President George W. Bush, Rice knowingly fightbackcollaborated in the Bush administration’s campaign of distortions and untruths that sold the invasion of Iraq to the American people. In promoting the false claim that Saddam Hussein was determined to acquire nuclear weapons, she told the nation that in the search for weapons of mass destruction, “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

peacedovemiddleYet even as she made that pronouncement, experts in the administration’s own Energy Department were refuting the argument that the aluminum tubes Iraq had purchased were meant to be used in centrifuges for nuclear-weapons production. Nor did subsequent U.N. inspections reveal any evidence of a nuclear-weapons program in Iraq. Like her colleagues, Rice knowingly misrepresented the debate to justify an invasion, which had calamitous consequences for thousands of American soldiers and the Iraqi population.

But the gravest charge that can be brought against Rice is simple: There is no question that while she was national-security adviser and later secretary of state in the Bush administration, Rice condoned, facilitated, and sought to justify torture.

tortureThis statement depends on specific evidence, which one can only assume the Rutgers board did not know about when it made its offer. She “conveyed the authorization,” in her own words, for “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees in July 2002. The phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques” is a euphemism for torture, which included forcing detainees to maintain painful bodily positions, depriving them of sleep and food, and slamming their heads against a wall. It also included waterboarding.

abughraibRice approved those practices even before the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel had produced the “torture memos” that were designed to protect administration officials from future prosecution—“get-out-of-jail free cards,” in the words of Jack Goldsmith, who was head of the office during 2003-4. Well into 2005, Rice continued to join the other principals on the National Security Council in approving torture.rainy-day-reading

But in February 2006, Rice’s aide Philip Zelikow warned the administration that the techniques it was using could be considered “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” and were therefore prohibited under U. S. law “even if there is a compelling state interest asserted to justify them.” He later concluded that the Bush interrogation techniques constituted “a felony war crime.”

bush-torture-again-8001…And the troubling fact remains: In public, Rice persisted in temporizing about torture. In 2008, testifying before Congress, she claimed that she could not remember the details of the White House position on CIA interrogation techniques. A few days later, at Stanford University, she shifted her stance, telling students that “if it was authorized by the president, then it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.” This was a version of Richard Nixon’s infamous assertion: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” It also recalls the bureaucratic functionary’s classic defense that he was “just following orders” in carrying out war crimes.

torture3As recently as April 2013, in a video meant to accompany the opening of the Bush Library, in Dallas, Rice defended the administration’s torture program, making the dubious claim that it kept us safe in the years following 9/11—a claim that even the CIA refused to make in a report issued in 2004.

torture1Let us not be distracted by the falsely conceived question: “Does it work?” Torture is not a legitimate topic for tactical debate. Nor is it a partisan political matter. It is a legal and moral matter. Cruel and inhumane punishment is not only an offense against the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. It is also an offense against fundamental standards of human decency.

100_5216Rice sanctioned the use of torture and has continued to defend it even after a top aide warned that she and her colleagues were violating the law.

To invite her to address the Rutgers graduating class, and then to award her a doctor-of-laws degree, is a travesty of all the ideals the university embodies. Our students deserve better. Most of all, they deserve the truth.

Jackson Lears is a professor of history at Rutgers University.