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Out for signatures: A California ballot initiative by Cheriel Jensen that sounds as though it were written by Mike Adams

Last week, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla approved a ballot initiative to collect signatures that would, if passed, reverse school vaccine mandates, ban GMOs, and demonize chemicals. It sounds like something Mike Adams would have written. Fortunately, 365,880 signatures of registered voters are needed, which makes it unlikely that this will pass.

Back in 2015, California passed a bill that no one (least of all I) would ever have thought possible. I’m referring to SB 277, which banned all nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Of course, the law wasn’t perfect. For example, it allowed any doctor to write a letter in support of a medical exemption, leading the way to the sale of medical exemptions by antivaccine doctors like “Dr. Bob” Sears and a whole underground of health care providers who are either antivaccine or antivaccine-sympathetic and willing to write such letters. However, it has worked in decreasing the number of students with nonmedical “personal belief exemptions” to school vaccine mandates.

Unfortunately, I just learned of a ballot initiative in a story published by Ars Technica that, if passed, would reverse not only that progress but a whole lot more. Indeed, the initiative, which was recently cleared by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla so that its proponents can begin collecting petition signatures, is basically a crank wet dream. It’s called the California Clean Environment. It failed to make it on the ballot in 2016, but, much like a serial killer at the end of a 1980s slasher flick, even though it looked dead, it came back to life for a sequel.

Here’s what I mean:

The initiative would eliminate vaccination requirements for schools and daycares, banish genetically modified organisms, and prohibit basic water treatments with fluoride and chlorine. The initiative would ban more than 300 chemicals, including fire retardants, and it would order the removal of smart meters. These, the initiative claims, are “neither smart nor meters but intermittent samplers, not accurate, not accountable, [that] emit and receive unnecessary radiation.”

The initiative, dubbed the “California Clean Environment” initiative, will create an elected, three-person board to oversee the sweeping regulations and approve new chemicals. Violations under the initiative would be considered up to felony crimes punishable by fines and prison sentences.

As justification for extensive regulation, the initiative claims that GMOs and unspecified contaminants in the environment, food, and vaccines are causing cancers, autism, Parkinson’s, and a slew of other diseases.

The official ballot summary of the last version of the initiative read:

Prohibits genetically engineered plants and animals and over 300 listed substances from being introduced or released into the environment. Creates a new state entity to regulate environmental activities, modify or stop projects having pollution and radiation impacts, and test and approve substances before they are introduced into the environment. Prohibits treatment of water with fluoride or chlorine. Eliminates vaccination as a prerequisite for attendance at schools and daycare facilities. Provides criminal and civil liability for violations, with no statute of limitations.

This initiative sounds as though it were written by Mike Adams, but it was written by someone named Cheriel Jensen, who has taken to the press yet again to promote it:

“We are trying to restore people’s ability to fight for themselves and decide what they should do,” said the initiative’s proponent Cheriel Jensen. “These companies that make the chemicals have taken our right to refuse those chemicals away.”

Jensen said she was inspired to write the initiative after she became sickened by pesticides at the county government building where she worked. She believes chemicals used in foods, vaccines and in the environment are to blame for prevalence of cancer, autism and a host of other diseases.

Because of course she does. Never mind pesky things like the scientific evicence that shows that vaccines don’t cause autism (even in monkeys), are not loaded full of deadly “toxins“, do not cause sudden infant death syndrome, and are safe and effective and that there is no “autism epidemic“. Never mind the evidence that decreased vaccine uptake leads to outbreaks and epidemics. Never mind all the scientific evidence that GMOs are safe, such that the “science” claiming to show dangers from GMOs is pretty much always bad science poorly done by advocates.

If you read the ballot initiative as received by the initiative coordinator at the California Attorney General’s office, you’ll see that it reads like a crank fantasy:

We the people of California have inalienable right to clean: water, air, watersheds, forests, land, crops, seeds, food, the ocean, roadsides, neighborhoods, creatures of the environment, our bodies and our children’s bodies.

We have the right to organic food uncontaminated or genetically altered. We have the right to grow organic gardens uncontaminated by toxic pesticide, herbicide, fungicide or other toxins applied directly, from drift or applied from aircraft.

Genetically engineered flora and fauna of the environment, or flora and fauna fed genetically engineered life forms have not been objectively tested according to the criteria of SECTION e. to prove short or long term safety, cannot prove they will not genetically forever alter parts of the surrounding environment, or as food alter the genetics of human or animal intestines, and thus are not allowed in California.

No food genetically altered? Does Jensen not know that pretty much all organisms used for food have to some degree or other been genetically altered? Selective breeding and plant hybridization have introduced some pretty amazing changes into food crops over the years. No one can (or should) argue that people don’t have the right to clean air, water, food, and the like, but this initiative is based on pure pseudoscience to attain that. For instance, look at the justification:

Cancer was a relatively rare disease a century ago. Now more than one in three people are projected to encounter cancer. Average life spans are recently reported shrinking by 5 years. Autism, almost unheard of in 1975, now alarmingly impacts more than one in 50 children, the rate rapidly accelerating. Cancer, autism, Parkinson’s, kidney or liver failure, nerve damage and many other adverse, increasing medical conditions are known to be linked to toxic exposures, GMOs, and/or radiation. Tests now document pervasive, multi-chemical contamination in people, even newborns. Allergies and chemical sensitivities severely impact growing numbers.

No, cancer was not that rare a century ago, although its apparent increase over the last century could have a lot to do with the increased life expectancy of the population. Most cancers are diseases of aging. (Breast cancer, for instance, has a median age at diagnosis of 61, which means that half the women diagnosed with it are over 61.) Consequently, if more people reach a ripe old age there will be an increase in the amount of cancer. Also, in actuality, the age-adjusted incidence of cancer has been declining for nearly 20 years, and the age-adjusted mortality from cancer has been declining for nearly 30 years. Jensen parrots a common misconception about cancer that is widely embraced by those hostile to scientific medicine and/or who embrace alternative medicine. Also, there is almost certainly no “autism epidemic,” as she describes. Rather, widened diagnostic criteria, more screening, and more awareness have lead to a large increase in autism diagnoses over the last 30 years. This is not the same thing as a large increase in the prevalence of autism. Another process known as diagnostic substitution has led to many children who previously would have been diagnosed with mental retardation or some other neurodevelopmental disorders.

To protect Californians against the scourge of vaccines, “chemicals,” GMOs, fluoride, Jensen proposes:

We, Californians, have the right in our person and families to live, as free as possible, from toxic chemical or toxic process-caused cancer, paralysis, structural or functional birth defects, autism spectrum disorder, diminished intelligence, gut cell genetic alteration, seizures; pregnancy complications, developmental complications, cellular structural damage; structural and functional nerve damage, demyelination, brain tumors, Guillain-Barre syndrome, ALS; fluorosis, brittle bones; joint damage; altered thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, cortisone, sperm counts, pineal gland calcification, early or delayed puberty, extra heavy or lengthy menstrual bleeding, reproductive system damage, or other harmful hormone related impacts; Parkinson’s; Alzheimer’s; eye damage such as reduced vision, dry eyes, twitching eye lids, red eyes, watery eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness; hearing damage; intestinal bacteria die-off or alteration; chemical bums, rash, eczema, abnormal hair loss, photosensitivity, inflammation, spontaneous nose bleeding, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura; breathing difficulty, asthma, voice volume or frequency losses, repeated coughing, choking, rhinitis, chemical sensitivity, allergy, anaphylaxis, immune system deregulation, lupus, fibromyalgia; pancreas, kidney, spleen or liver damage, diabetes; interference with sleep, inability to concentrate; pain, headache, racing heart; body retention of the toxic substance or its’ breakdown products; invasion of living cell wall structures by nanoparticles; or changes to the body’s genetic material, or other adverse conditions

I’ll give her credit. She’s a completist. I’m having a hard time thinking of a condition attributed to the evil chemicals, GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, and pollution not listed above. She uses such claims as a rationale to ban:

  1. Fracking.
  2. Soil sequestering carbon.
  3. Genetically engineered food, environmental flora, fauna and vaccine ingredients.
  4. New nuclear power plants.
  5. Smart meters

And then to require:

Emissions and reception of radio frequencies in the one millimeter to one meter range shall be investigated for health effects and interference with AM and FM radio. Within 3 years, limits on frequencies, power, pulse at certain modulations, cycling and distances to sensitive receptors, shall be scientifically established by CCEA. Set limits shall protect newborns, children and sensitive individuals from sleep disturbance, cancer, ability to concentrate, autism, blood/brain barrier leakage, and hyperactivity.

As I’ve discussed before many times, radio waves from cell phones, wifi, radio, and the like are not dangerous and do not cause the problems claimed.

I know what some will say, particularly my Californian friends: You don’t know enough about this. Cheriel Jensen is just a crank. She’s a retired urban planner who is resident of the affluent Santa Clara County town of Saratoga and has a history of environmental activism. For instance, in 2015 she sued Santa Clara County to stop it from spraying pesticides to combat mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus and lost. In 2017 she sued the count again to prevent it from passing a tax to generate money for public transit and road repairs because she thought that an extension of the BART light rail system would disturb an aquifer. In any case, it appears unlikely that she will be able to gather the 365,880 signatures from registered California voters by August 8. After all, she failed last time two year ago, and this is a daunting challenge.

Still, I thihk it’s worth discussing this proposed ballot initiative even if it is a long shot that it will ever make it to the ballot. The reason is that, were this initiative to make it to the ballot, I believe that it would have enough of a chance of passing to be worried about. No, I don’t think it would be favored to pass, but I don’t believe that its rejection would be such a slam dunk as we would like to think, either. There are enough people in California (and, to be honest, everywhere in this country these days) sufficiently ignorant of science and vulnerable to false appeals to nature that I no longer have faith that reason will prevail in most cases.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

94 replies on “Out for signatures: A California ballot initiative by Cheriel Jensen that sounds as though it were written by Mike Adams”

“The initiative would eliminate vaccination requirements for schools and daycares, banish genetically modified organisms, and prohibit basic water treatments with fluoride and chlorine.” Also known as: let us return to the “Stone Age” and regress as a society!

Shouldn’t there be some minimum requirement of not lying your ass off for a ballot initiative? Or are these false claims protected speech somehow? I’m thinking of Brexit and how people voted based upon a mountain of lies perpetuated by party in power.

Shouldn’t there be some minimum requirement of not lying your ass off for a ballot initiative?

Given what now resides in the White House, I’d say that the US has been, uh, rather lax about minimum requirements for even the single most important job in the world (whereas a lowly electrician or plumber is supposed to have credentials to prove at least some degree of professional knowledge, if I’m not mistaken).

Apparently, the more important and far-reaching consequences something would have, the less one has to conform to basic standards of knowledge, truth or even sanity. I guess it’s “The Land of Opportunity”, Barnum style.

Apparently, the more important and far-reaching consequences something would have, the less one has to conform to basic standards of knowledge, truth or even sanity. I guess it’s “The Land of Opportunity”, Barnum style.

Sadly you are right but I think the phenomenon pre-dates the current administration’s liberty with the truth. Ryan Carroll points out the example of California’s prop 8 years ago. Perhaps I’m idealistic but it just seems to me that a ballot initiative or ballot should have factual information so voters or signatories can make an informed decision. A bit of an aside, how do things work with a mandate (if this was to become one) that requires funding as this does?

In Ireland we have a Referendum Commission who’s job it is to provide a leaflet to every household, and TV ads (tv ads by political parties and interest groups are illegal, except for each party getting a kind of infomercial at actual election time) that ‘t get into the debate or take sides but they lay out the purely factual basis of what happens if you vote yes, the purely factual basis of what happens if you vote no, without value judgements etc.

It’s by no means perfect but it does help keep the debate fact based, it was impossible to do with European treaties because so many different things change but with simpler proposals it works well.

Hopefully, if this passes, the first chemical to be approved will be a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and trace gases so we can all continue to breathe. Second would be a reasonably pure chemical solution of hydrogen and oxygen so we can all remain well hydrated. One of my favorite 100% natural chemicals is far and away petroleum! It is so versatile! It can be converted into thousands of useful things. And don’t forget, it is composed of plants and animals that died millions of years ago that technically were 100% organic. No synthetic fertilizers nor pesticides.

Science Mom, if you genuinely believe that the voters in the UK were persuaded to vote in favor of Brexit by a “mountain of lies perpetuated by a party in power” I guess you have very little respect for those voters. Go to Sargon of Akkad’s Twitter feed and debate it with him. He is a fair minded old fashioned liberal who will sincerely debate whatever points you wish to make, if, that is, you don’t spew ad hominems at him.

Not a straw man. You did say, “people voted based upon a mountain of lies perpetuated by party in power.” You directly stated that the voters voted as they did because their votes were based upon a mountain of lies.

Re: Brexit. Yes. Yes they were. A bloody mountain of lies by the chronically self-interested, and that arsehole Farage.

This is not the place to debate Brexit, but you are making blanket statements and indulging in ad hominems, not reasoned arguments. Go engage in a debate with the advocates of Brexit if you genuinely have something to say, other than cursing someone you don’t like.

I am also sorry, David, but I wasn’t advocating him as a source, that’s a straw man. I was advocating debating with him about Brexit. If you care about Brexit, David, which I doubt, try it. Go to the source by watching at least part of at least one of his videos instead of posting links to someone else’s opinions of him. Of course you don’t have the time to waste entertaining his points of view when you can write him off in advance by unquestioningly accepting the authority of Rational Wiki.

I’ve seen some of Sargon’s videos on several topics. I didn’t need RationalWiki to know he’s a conspiracy mongering loon. And, yes, recommending “debating” Sargon on Brexit IS recommending him as a source.

Finally, this blog post is not about Brexit. I would prefer that it not be threadjacked over an argument about Brexit and will intervene if I become sufficiently annoyed.

Brexit showed that referendums are ok for simple things but they are totally unsuited to complex matters. Brexit should be a lesson that the popular will is often confused and uninformed not sacred, which is why politicos are meant to provide LEADERSHIP. We use them in Ireland for constitutional amendments, and you would think that what is usually a single line change would be easy enough, but no , the referendum ALWAYS ends up being about something other than what’s on the ballot (just like Brexit), the same-sex marriage thing became about adoption (there had never been a ban on LGBT people adopting why would there be, but that’s not what people thought), but the European treaties are the real fun ones, because it’s a complex treaty people can claim just about anything is hidden away in there.

There is a reason we have elected representatives, because the public are not focusing on policy full time, because policy is so complex you need someone doing it as a full time job to grasp it. Even then, ministers/cabinet secretaries only provide the general strategic direction the actual technical work is done in agencies by experts, to ask Joe Public to make these decisions is crazy. Brexit is a great example because it shows what a bad idea referendums can be on complex matters. There was a now famous TV political show clip after Brexit, a few months ago, where the audience participates, that shows a great example of this:

Leaving the EU is complex because there are so many programs (like the European Health Insurance Card which provides free emergency care when you are in any other EU state) affected, so the choice they have is to join the EEA (like Norway) or do the “canada option” (free trade treaty) or “hard brexit”. All have their own pros and cons. When the panel were discussing soft v hard brexit EEA v Canada option this guy exploded in frustration and said “I voted to leave the EU there was nothing on the ballot about soft or hard brexit why can’t we just get on with it!!!!”……that says it all…there was nothing on the ballot because the technical details are meant to be done by the govt, you were meant to consider all these details BEFORE deciding if you wanted to leave as well (but they didn’t) so you have this guy saying “lets just get on with it” but getting on with it MEANS choosing one of those options and he just could not grasp that, it literally did not compute. People have this idea of the public will being sacred and while I love democracy, this is why we have professional politicos, because average joe does not understand policy in this detail.

A quick look at the Prop8 claims in 2008 will reveal flat out lies as well, and woo-meisters have this scatter-gun tactic where they spew out so many of them it’s impossible to counter them all, especially when they do it in 30 second ads. I suppose this would not have special interest backing so hopefully could not afford ads, but that won’t stop them going on radio or TV to spew lies on it, and anyone who’s done one of those segments knows you get very limited time to reply. It’s very hard to describe why GMO is not inherently bad verbally within a tight time slot, it’s much easier to read it in detail, but that’s exactly what they count on, that people won’t read any detail.

People today have this notion that research is the same as glancing over the first few google results that come up, at a stretch some might read wikipedia but rarely the whole article. This is what were up against. Editing genes seems inherently sinister to people who don’t know that the bannanas and strawberries they eat did not grow like that in the while naturally without tampering. My sister is a PA for a medical consultant (European version of an attending) and she was worried about the mercury in vaccines. You also should not underestimate the power of the pharma shill gambit because it’s common knowledge in the US (and even more common knowledge outside…) that American politics is all about the money and the donors, it’s very rare someone is on TV arguing purely on the merits of something they are usually a puppet for some PAC or shady group like the Koch Brothers. So they’ll assume the same with any science advocates. It’s an uphill struggle.

It seemed to me that Farage with his racist crap was as surprised as anyone that Brexit won. He dropped out of things pretty quickly after that, no?

Michael he did, a huge runner, and Boris (the Uk’s Trump) withdrew from the presidential race. See there are many who don’t like the EU in the UK (they’ll simultaneously decry that it’s turning all federal on one hand then complain the presidents not directly elected) but there is also a cadre who know full well leaving is a bad idea, and fixing the bad stuff from the inside is the best approach, but they’d decided it would be a “remain” vote but a narrow one, and they’d be leaders of the reactionary chest beating xenophobic nationalist set after, ironically just as Trump expected to win and get his TV show turning voters into cash, and in both cases they actually won and now have to implement an agenda that is not possible to implement in reality.

Trump dealt with this by abandoning all his campaign rhetoric about “covering everyone” with healthcare, being anti-globalist, and anti-financial elites and pro jobs and decided to do the polar opposite. These guys just ran off the stage, and they’re still hiding, Boris had a big speech yesterday and still, mere weeks before the rest of us vote on extending UKs membership for 2 years while they make their minds up, we sill don’t know if it’s Norway/EEA type Brexit, Canada or hard brexit they want, they won’t say so they’re not associated with each models inevitable downsides. The reason they won’t say is that way they can say, when it does not work out “ahh you didn’t do it RIGHT Brexit was fine but you didn’t DO IT RIGHT you’re not a TRUE scotsman” just like they didn’t do communism/central economic planning right or Europe and the US were not REALLY neoliberal when they deregulated the banks. If this actually did work and they ended up with green swimming pools these woo-meisters would say the same “no no we meant the EVIL stuff you do with chlorine this is a plot by big monsanto to blacken us”

“Go to Sargon of Akkad’s Twitter feed and debate it with him. He is a fair minded old fashioned liberal who will sincerely debate whatever points you wish to make, if, that is, you don’t spew ad hominems at him.”

Wahaaaahaaahaaaaahaaaaahaaaaahaaaahaaah gasp
Well we know where you stand then.

EdwardBe, it appears as if you’ve been caught up in the collectivist world of groupthink a little bit. Not to worry, it happens. Now, back to critical thinking, Yes? Ok, Notice you didn’t say oxygen nitrogen and aluminum barium. Right? Nobody expressed concern with hydrogen and oxygen, but hydrogen and oxygen plus fluoride is a concern. Fluoride is highly toxic and the excuse for adding it to drinking water is completely bogus. Chlorine is bullshit too. Ozone is better. The biggest concern however , is the state taking authority over people’s kids. Thst should bother everyone. What’s next? Please do some real research on vaccines.

Fluoride is highly toxic and the excuse for adding it to drinking water is completely bogus.

Interesting that the incidence of dental caries has gone way down since fluoridation of water was introduced.

Please do some real research on vaccines.

TRANSLATION: Please read nonsense, distortions and lies on antivaxx websites instead of from proper scientists and experts in the field.

No, no, the chlorine removes the pathogens from the bullshit that’s in the water.

Glad to see they aren’t banning irony meters alongside smart meters (as if these folks have enough brain power to consider how much gasoline smart meters save by not having meter readers driving all over CA every month).

If you have enough money to hire the signature collectors, you can get almost any initiative onto a ballot. It’s in the millions of dollars range and here’s to hoping there are no deep pocket backers of this abominable initiative. Then again, most of the woo peddlers who would support this are greedy gits unlikely to pitch in unless there’s a profit in there for them.

I for one will be working tirelessly with our Chemical Overlords to keep this initiative from ever reaching the ballot. We will have to relentlessly drown out voices for the Truth, like Gwen Olsen, who heads the Gwen Olsen Foundation for Health Sovereignty (and fights Rx abuse, vaccination, water fluoridation and chemtrails):

“Will you be the voice in the wilderness that calls out to reason? Or, will you be one of the minions of deceit, afraid to rock the boat and make waves that might contradict your superior’s narrative?”

Aside from being a fine name for a rock band, “Minions of Deceit” nicely summarizes one of my hobbies.

GMOs are safe to eat, but Monsanto does a lot of other bad sh!t. Stick to the science on the GMOs w/o defending the corporation as a whole. Joking about vaccine overlords is funny, because the pharmas absolutely don’t shill for vaccines. Joking about Monsanto is not funny.

Pharmaceutical companies do bad shit too, but we joke about being accused of being “pharma shills” all the time. I see no difference, and I find joking about being a “Monsanto shill” to be hilarious, especially because I don’t write about GMOs very often.

I wonder if she even considered the fact that her efforts, in the unlikely case they’re successful, would impose more barriers to access to food for those less wealthy than her, increase their dental bills, and harm them in other ways.

It’s nice to be from privilege.

I am not a fan of popular referenda as implemented by California and many other states, and this initiative is one of the reasons why. On the scale of California, 300k signatures isn’t that much; as noted above, one deep-pocketed backer is usually enough to ensure that the required number of signatures can be obtained. And California has a history of passing some rather pernicious popular initiatives, of which Proposition 13 (which among other things has the effect of favoring long-term owners, such as corporations, over people who have recently bought property) is one of the most infamous. I suspect that Padilla had no choice but to allow the initiative to advance to the signature collection phase, since requirements at that stage are minimal.

Like Orac, I hope this initiative fails at the signature-gathering stage, because I have no confidence that it would be voted down at the ballot box.

I’m not from California, so perhaps that colors my opinion, but since I get my drinking water from Lake Erie, the thought of outlawing the use of chlorine is a bit frightening. Chlorine is added to the water for disinfection and again to prevent bacteria build up. When water leaves the treatment plant it is tested to be sure it is safe.

In addition to chlorine, many, many other chemicals are added to ensure safe drinking water. Without them, very few cities would have any water at all.

I think that there are too many banned substances/ treatments for this to get very far ( although**):
remember that the recent attempt to ban GMOs failed in CA.
California is the land of golden sunshine and profit- fruit, vegetables, WINE, beer, cheese. How could these industries survive if so much is banned- just GMOs and pesticides alone affecting agriculture There are lumber and fishing. And manufacturing of course. Think of hot tubs without chlorine.( joke)

More seriously, too many industries would be affected to not take action.
I also imagine that most people are smart enough to see how many aspects of their lives would be changed. Most of the issues listed are, shall we say niche concerns. Fluoride? And radio frequencies?

I believe that SB 277 passed in Sacramento and was supported by a majority of voters

** I’ll never forget walking into a Carl’s jr and seeing the sign on the door ( Prop 65) about substances which may cause cancer-
It’s funny if you go to a woo website like and look at a product, say dried vegetable matter, there’ll be a warning “for California residents” to click on saying that the product may cause cancer
-btw- that chicken at Carl’s hasn’t harmed me yet..

It’s worth noting that Prop 65 requires only a small notice somewhere on the premises, and Carl’s Jr. puts the big signs on the doors as part of their ‘politically incorrect food’ marketing campaign. And it’s not the chicken, it’s the french fries that lead to the warning.

I actually bought some dried kelp (for Korean cooking, specifically for making broth for soups and stews, along with dried anchovies) from Amazon, and it has a sticker on it – I think because of Prop 65, but I’m not sure – that says it could contain trace amounts of lead, cadmium, and so on. Now I am scared to use it. I used chicken stock for the sundubu jjigae I made the other night.


blockquote>Not a straw man. You did say, “people voted based upon a mountain of lies perpetuated by party in power.” You directly stated that the voters voted as they did because their votes were based upon a mountain of lies.
I’m sorry that you don’t understand what words mean. Then again, how brilliant do you have to be to recommend Sargon of Akkad as any kind of valid authority of Brexit.

I see I’m not the only one.

Since we’ve been admonished by our evil overseer to not dirty his wonderful blog with a Brexit debate, I won’t get into it, I would point out (given that it’s on topic) that thinking the voters were given false or misleading (or I’d argue in this debate incomplete) information does not mean you think the voters are idiots . Though all you need do is work in politics for a few years, canvass 2-3 streets before you have to resist that impression growing on you, you must remind yourself uninformed and stupid are not one in the same, it’s actually a very dangerous trap those of us involved in politics can fall into. Matt Taibbi who covered the Hill in US politics early in his career pointed this out. Due to marveling at how uninformed many average voters are you can fall into the trap of condescending to them and thinking they’re just morons, when most (and sadly, it is most) are just frighteningly uninformed. They can feel that condescension coming off you (it’s one of the reasons many double down on their original votes even if they regret it privately) and it does you no favors in getting them on your side. It also leads to a gap between the political class and the average voter which is why we have the situation we have now with fascists getting into power in Hungry, Poland, Turkey, the US, Phillipines.

A lot of peoples involvement in politics is confined to the internet, but when you get out into the real world you get a much broader cross section of society (the loudest voices online are not reflective of society) it is genuinely scary how uninformed many people are even of really really basic things, things they could find the correct info on with a 6 second google search (much as I don’t think google = “research” it can get you as much accurate as inaccurate info). Putting complex scientific information in the hands of voters who on average don’t even understand the very basics of science is not wise. It’s not even confined to the physical sciences. My degree was social science and while you can’t get the kind of yea/nea black and white results in social research you do with physics or medicine there are still most of the same research standards (and pitfalls). Just an easy example for how little people understand science/collecting information on a really basic level. We have Free Travel smart cards for those who are disabled or pensioners over 66. It’s a frequent complaint by people that this program (which costs 0.5% of the state budget) will “bankrupt the state” (nobody bothers to actually look up what it costs before they say this), another one is “everyone bloody has one of these passes”, when I have pointed out to some people that it’s 24% of passengers total who have them they aggressively shake their head and reply “I saw way more than that I see way more than that all the time”.

I just read Jensen’s Facebook page. She is completely looney tunes. The problem is, Orac is right…there are enough voters like her in my state that have a complete aversion to science to give this abomination a shot at the ballot. Just post “Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide” on your page and see how many likes it gets. I did and was horrified.

To be fair, many of those likes could have been from those who appreciate the humor. It depends on who you have for friends.

I think it unlikely that a ballot measure that essentially forbids smart phones and wifi along with vaccines has any chance of getting through. Does this woman practice what she preaches? One truly wonders if she goes to bed when the sun goes down and drinks from the rain barrel out back when she gets thirsty while making her children’s clothing out of burlap sack cloth. Must be really hard living the life she lives, but I doubt she’s willing to take anti-anxiety medication. If she wants any of her measures to ever get through, she really ought to constrain her focus enough that she doesn’t risk alienating potential allies… by being so broad, I think she more or less shoots herself in the foot.

Somebody feel like telling her that oxygen is corrosive and carcinogenic and should be outlawed?

Organic foods are grown with toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other toxins, applied directly, and from drift, and applied from aircraft.
Whether the organic pesticides are actually a better choice is not an easy question, but I sure wouldn’t recommend feeding them to your cat.

Thank you for saying this! So many people think “organic” means “no pesticides”. (I used to think this too.) But no, plenty of pesticides. So it’s not any better for the farm workers, it’s not more nutritious, and it costs more, so why again would I buy grocery store organic?

Or shame the less affluent for not buying organic. That’s what really sets me off, personally.

JP: I had a friend who was on a tight budget ask me with great concern about if she should be buying organic fruit for her kid, because someone had told her that [insert terrible thing] would happen if he ate conventional produce, but he was also eating like a pound of blueberries a day. What the heck kind of position is that for a parent, to either have to deny your kid the nutritious food they love, or feed them poison?

I told her to only bother for berries, and just wash everything well and the important thing was that he was getting fruit and no, he wasn’t going to grow another eye or something.

What I wanted to do was find whoever had frightened her with those stories and shake them until their teeth rattled. B

“Won’t someone please think of the Vibrio cholerae?”

Jensen has. Her list of consequences of exposure to the Toxins includes “invasion of living cell wall structures by nanoparticles”. If she can just get certain bacteria like V. cholerae, fungi and plants (having cell walls) to vote for her ballot measure, it’ll pass with ease.

“-btw- that chicken at Carl’s hasn’t harmed me yet..”

Don’t be so sure, Denice – according to a new study*, a class of chemicals used in fast-food packaging causes increased weight gain in women through a possible endocrine-disrupting mechanism. I hope the California initiative people never hear about this, or one of their big selling points will be how we could eat Wendy’s triple cheeseburgers every day with impunity, if it wasn’t for chemicals in the wrapper making us fat. 🙁

Oh California. A state of such extremes. I’ll be passing this along ot my friends and family there as a heads-up to not get suckered into accidentally signing any initiatives. And when it inevitably comes up, my new pat answer to “Ban GMOs!” is “So we should end the supply of insulin? What about all those diabetics who depend on insulin made in GMO bacteria? Should they just die?” It’s actually gotten people to stop and think for a second.

I know someone has already mentioned chlorine, but seriously… no chlorine? I mean, enjoy your giardia, lady.

Giardia, cholera, typhoid, E. coli, assorted other fecal coliforms… the list goes on! Oh, and all the algae, that’s totally something you want in your drinking water, a nice layer of scum.

To quote the noted philosopher Bugs Bunny ” What a maroon!”

but seriously… no chlorine?

Hell, I didn’t want to show up at urgent care for the second time in as many weeks, so, without Hibiclens to hand, I just used diluted bleach. Same cat. I don’t blame it for being pissed off.

The proposed California initiative as it applies to GMOs would evidently ban any research or development in California of the new class of antibiotics, which are being produced in genetically modified bacteria.

“Having identified a sequence containing the calcium-dependence gene, the researchers cloned it and injected it into a microbe that can be cultured. Soon enough, those microbes were making malacidins. When applied to cuts in the skin of MRSA-infected rats, the previously unknown molecule successfully sterilized the wounds. The bacterium didn’t show signs of resistance, even after three weeks of exposure.”

So, passage of the initiative would not only tend to make people sicker (through reduced vaccination and lack of water chlorination), but there’d be fewer options with which to treat them.


Fiscal impact: It is the opinion of the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance that the measure would result in a substantial net change in state and local finances.

And not for the better.

For all the claims of science, Orac cannot explain one basic fact:
Why do 75% of autism patients test positive for folate receptor alpha antibodies (FRAA) which preferentially bind to folate receptor proteins in cow’s milk?

Cerebral folate receptor autoantibodies in autism spectrum disorder

A milk-free diet downregulates folate receptor autoimmunity in cerebral folate deficiency syndrome


A quick look at the first study sited says it was non blinded and non placebo controlled so while it may be an interesting place to start i would not hang my hat on the results surviving a more rigorous regimen.

The second has a very small subject size and again lacked blinding so as for the first study, it may indicate something interesting but hardly a slam dunk.

As to your claim of 75% of autism patients testing positive for folate receptor alpha antibodies, this is simply not supported by the studies you site, you cannot take the results of a small un-blinded, non random trial and expand that to a whole population.


“In this study, serum FRA concentrations were measured in 93 children with ASD and a high prevalence (75.3%) of FRAs was found.”

It is an observation of the characteristics of the study population. There is nothing to blind or placebo control.
The authors not only demonstrated a mechanism of autism, they show how to fix it, below:

Folinic acid improves verbal communication in children with autism and language impairment: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial

Details of vaccines causing autism:

Epidemiological studies that ignore mechanism of disease causation are flawed and mechanistic evidence demonstrates that vaccines cause autism


Your blog is only evidence of your opinions.

The authors weren’t even sure if their subjects were characteristic of ASD subjects in general because there were twice as many males as average in the group and they were in a clinic being treated for a specific problem.

And your repeated speculations about possible mechanisms for vaccines causing autism are contrary to large scale epidemiological studies by multiple researchers in different countries such as those used by Taylor et al which shows that vaccines do not cause autism and may even have a slight protective effect.

“large scale epidemiological studies”

If you read my article, you will see why these studies are broken. “Large scale” does not make them right.

Why don’t you tell us exactly what causes autism?

I didn’t see any discussion of specific flaws in any of the studies that Taylor used, just more of your speculations about possible mechanisms of harm.
Those studies do have limitations, which their authors acknowledge, But combining them into a meta-analysis gives enough unvaccinated subjects to estimate their rate of autism. And it is not significantly different from that in the vaccinated subjects. So, it is very unlikely that vaccination causes autism.

A range of conditions are collectively defined as an autistic spectrum disorder, which can be caused by different things. Fetal rubella syndrome, which can be prevented by vaccination, causes brain damage in newborn infants who are later diagnosed with an ASD.

Chris has repeatedly linked to a site describing research showing genetic links to over half of all ASD cases.

And videos of children later diagnosed as autistic show characteristic eye movements as early as 3-6 months, which is before most vaccines are administered. It is more consistent with a difference in brain development during pregnancy. And, it doesn’t allow much time for these damage mechanisms you perseveration about to take effect.

Before you look for the mechanism causing a connection, you first need to show that there is a connection. And a huge body of research shows there is no connection between vaccines and autism.

“characteristic eye movements as early as 3-6 months”

You still don’t seem to have read my article because this is all covered. I wrote there at least 5 mechanisms. A pregnant woman who is making cow’s milk contaminated vaccine-induced FRAA can explain the above cases. There are also other vaccine-induced maternal autism related antibodies.

As I point out, the first step in FRAA development is IgE mediated allergy to the FR protein. Like most diseases, allergy has a genetic component. So I am certainly not disputing that some patients will have predisposition to allergy/autism. However, you need the environmental trigger – a cow’s milk contaminated vaccine for example, to cause FRAA in this susceptible person. You clean up the vaccine and even susceptible people will be safe.

“Before you look for the mechanism causing a connection, you first need to show that there is a connection.”

No. If you don’t hypothesize a mechanism, it is impossible to have the relevant controls. Without relevant controls, the study results are useless. You won’t find connections that exist. I provide examples in my article.

“gives enough unvaccinated subjects to estimate their rate of autism. And it is not significantly different from that in the vaccinated subjects.”

That is useless as I point out in my article. Maternal antibody status is uncontrolled.

As Taylor et al. admit, their analysis is not a true vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study.

So unvaccinated may mean, unvaccinated with say MMR for example. So the patient received other vaccines which could have caused ASD.

A true prospective vaccinated vs unvaccinated study would be highly unethical because it would subject hundreds or thousands of babies to the risks of deadly diseases. This has been explained many times in this blog and elsewhere. Taylor was merely acknowledging a known limitation of his methodology.

But you were quite happy on another thread to quote the results of a study using similar methodology which showed a 1 in 100,000 risk of narcolepsy in the Finnish flu vaccine (not used in the U.S.). Although you completely missed that the proteins causing the problem in some individuals. And researchers are following up on that result, which may help make future vaccines safer.

But you keep looking for causal mechanisms for an effect that has been shown not to exist.

If you wish to pursue that style of research, why not try looking for something truly useful like identifying the ingredients in the experimental serum give to Steve Rogers?

“A true prospective vaccinated vs unvaccinated study would be highly unethical”

That is called circular reasoning. You cannot prove the safety without such a study.

You cannot make assumptions about safety to make claims about it being unethical.

It will be unethical only if the vaccines were safe which is still unproven without a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study.

Nature, science and the truth don’t care about ethics.

“Taylor was merely acknowledging a known limitation of his methodology.”

Taylor et al. want to have their cake and eat it too. You cannot have limitation of methodology and go around making tall claims such as “Vaccines are not associated with autism”.

“an effect that has been shown not to exist.”

Epidemiological studies like the ones Taylor et al. are based on can prove nothing.
They have shown nothing. This is scientific fraud.


Proven with MECHANISTIC evidence. Not epidemiological games, torturing numbers to get any result you want.

Mechanistic insights into influenza vaccine-associated narcolepsy

Ahmed and Steinman were studying the mechanism by which the flu vaccine caused narcolepsy and reducing the amount of NP protein in the produced vaccines may help make them safer.

But the original evidence for the problem came from epidemiological results like those used by a Taylor.

To say that an epidemiological study is a good method when it shows a problem you can complain about and bad when it doesn’t show the problem you think is there is truly circular reasoning.

The narcolepsy epidemiological studies were between vaccinated and unvaccinated. Narcolepsy also turned out to be a simpler problem as only one generation was involved (no maternal antibody related confounding).

If they had performed the studies using other equally NP protein contaminated vaccines as control ( Taylor et al. style), you will now still be vigorously arguing with me that vaccines don’t cause narcolepsy. And Ahmed/Steinman would never have found the root cause.

So yes, good epidemiological studies are of course possible, but they are rare in the vaccine safety business.

Sweden has 98% childhood vaccination coverage in a population of 10 million. So there is no way that they found 2 million completely unvaccinated individuals.

They simply searched the records for people who did or did not receive the flu vaccine and followed up on health records to look for problems.

And the only problem they seem to have found is narcolepsy. So manufacturers should avoid the protein that triggers that problem.

But otherwise it shows vaccines are extremely safe.

Also it uses the same methodology as the cohort studies referenced by Taylor.

They got lucky that there was not another equally NP contaminated flu vaccine. Otherwise they will still be chasing their tails like Taylor et al.

Real science should not DEPEND on getting lucky. You have to hypothesize mechanisms and CONTROL for them.

“reducing the amount of NP protein in the produced vaccines may help make them safer.”

Once they found this problem of non-target protein contaminated vaccines causing autoimmunity, one would logically expect the entire vaccine fleet to be “grounded”, and researchers would be scrambling to determine the safety of ALL such non-target proteins. But NOTHING of that sort happened. So vaccine safety remains an oxymoron.

“Anyone not shocked by quantum mechanics has not yet understood it.” -Niels Bohr
Anyone not shocked by vaccine safety problems has not yet understood it.

Vinu, so what are you selling? Goat milk? Soy milk? Child-sized wheelchairs for the kids born with spina bifida because you hate folate?

As to why the “vaccinated vs unvaccinated” study is unethical, well, if your unvaccinated arm is substantially smaller at the end of the study because they contracted VPD and died, well, that’s going to mess up your statistics.

A true prospective vaccinated vs unvaccinated study would be highly unethical because it would subject hundreds or thousands of babies to the risks of deadly diseases.

You are greatly underestimating the required sample size.

Vinu, so what are you selling?

Himself. It’s like when cases of Natty Ice are deeply discounted — I’d pay that much not to drink it. Bear in mind that this asshole was pretending to be a medical student over at Medscape.


I was speaking figuratively, not trying to estimate an actual number of participants.

But, yes, you would probably need to have millions of testees to detect adverse effects at the 1 in 100,000 probability such as we pick up in post marketing surveillance.

Why do 75% of autism patients test positive for folate receptor alpha antibodies (FRAA)

“They” don’t, dipshit. Do you think this is a routine clinical test? Oh, wait, you don’t think. As for your reply further down, self-citations are less than worthless coming from you; they’re frank blog spam.

Yeah, I know it probably won’t get enough signatures. And yeah, most people just vote “no” because there are so many nonsense initiatives in California.

But it could get there. Crazier things have happened in elections.

As I was saying at Novella’s blog: what would we do? What could we do if it got on? This is so scattershot that there’s no natural target with a checkbook, like there was on the GMO labeling bill (that was very close in the end on the ballot). We have no real “science and sanity” coalition with money to combat this sort of stuff.

Just run this through your head about what a campaign against it would have to look like. We have no real mechanism for this.

I don’t think we have to worry too much about this initiative succeeding. There are simply too many potential impacts that will be negative for the average person. The initiative will ban mobile phone towers in most locations leaving large swathes of California without mobile phone coverage. Banning chloridation of water will be vigorously fought by public health, water industries etc. Not least of its problems is that it will cost $billions to implement that will have to come from Californian taxpayers. This will be its major pitfall.

This initiative should be seen as an opportunity to point out the stupidity involved in most of these ideas.

I know that, and I said so in the first 2 sentences. That is not what I’m saying.

But think about if it did play out–that’s what I want people to run with as a thought exercise. We know some people voted for certain outcomes lately, totally not assuming they would come true (Brexit, Trump). There are loons supporting a guy who claims to be taking his own rocket up to prove flat earth. I could totally some some 4chan-driven lark that managed to vomit this upwards.

We are unprepared for a joke of a bill like this to get out of hand. I’m still reeling from effin naturopaths getting licensed in my state–I didn’t even see it coming and they finagled it. We have no real organization to stop political-level nonsense.

what a campaign against it would have to look like

I have been thinking about since this post went live (for me, Tuesday late night).

We’d need to run if-this-passes-how-would-it-affect-your-life campaign, including things pointing out as Chris noted no cell phone coverage, plus specifics on how the banned 300 chemicals would impact individuals and jobs. There needs to be some “Did they think this through before submitting it for the ballot?” moments.

We’d need to call it all out as the scare-mongering it is.

The downside of that of course is feeding into crank magnet conspiracy theory.

We have no real mechanism for this.

Agreed. Who pays for a campaign whose main message is “wow, this idea is just foolish”?

We’d need to run if-this-passes-how-would-it-affect-your-life campaign, including things pointing out as Chris noted no cell phone coverage

Don’t forget those darn police and fire radios:

“Emissions and reception of radio frequencies in the one millimeter to one meter range shall be investigated for health effects and interference with AM and FM radio. Within 3 years, limits on frequencies, power, pulse at certain modulations, cycling and distances to sensitive receptors, shall be scientifically established by CCEA.”

That’s the VHF/UHF boundary.

I was responding to what would happen if this got on the ballot. Yes as we have seen with Brexit and Trump there are large numbers of people who will vote against their best interests, but both of those cases are a bit special. In both cases, the vote was more about identity politics and sticking one to the ‘liberal elite’ than anything else. This proposal has none of those shades.

I don’t think there will need to be an organised campaign against this measure. Groups with influence will come out naturally against their particular bit, because it will inconvenience them hugely – even if they agree with other proposals. If I had to pick one aspect to use in a campaign against this measure, it would be the massive cost to the voters.

This is so scattershot that there’s no natural target with a checkbook…

There’s at least one – PG&E. They invested a metric butt-ton of money in smart meters, and replacing them would cost 2 or 3 more in initial cost plus labor over the next few years. I think Silicon Valley would join in (they don’t want wired networking to come back, but Belden Wire &Cable might), and between the two, you’d have wall to wall, 24 hour ads against, and that doesn’t count the mega-farms that grow fruits and nuts.

It seemed to me that Farage with his racist crap was as surprised as anyone that Brexit won. He dropped out of things pretty quickly after that, no?

If only. He’s a darling of the BBC and other news outlets and featured near-daily.

Ryan Carroll answered you and he is also right. Farage is still highly publicised but he’s trying to back away from the worst of his leave campaign, even making weasly words that there should be a second referendum. All the while still cosying up to heinous right-wing racist groups.

“As I was saying at Novella’s blog: what would we do? What could we do if it got on? This is so scattershot that there’s no natural target with a checkbook, like there was on the GMO labeling bill (that was very close in the end on the ballot). We have no real “science and sanity” coalition with money to combat this sort of stuff.”

I’d expect health agencies, local government entities, businesses, physicians, scientists, genuine skeptics and ordinary rational people to rally against the initiative, aided of course by a massive infusion of $hillBucks from our corporate overlords, ultimately winning the day.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the initiative make the ballot (there are enough Caloonifornians just in nutty Facebook groups to supply the necessary signatures and spread the word), but I’d expect it to be soundly defeated at the polls.

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