Sunday, August 30, 2009

In Honor of Senator Edward Kennedy

I would like to take a moment to honor and express gratitude for the positive difference that Senator Edward Kennedy made by acknowledging a glimpse into his record. Much of the below I wasn't even aware of. I am deeply appreciative and honor the work accomplished by Senator Kennedy which made a real difference in creating a more just and caring nation. I also would like to acknowledge my deep respect for anyone who has sought to turn their inner demons into blessing. This is not an easy path to walk... May we each find our own ways, no matter how small, to increasingly work toward a world which works for all beings. May we each connect more and more with inner peace and see that peace reflected and rippled out across our beautiful Mother Earth...
Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * *

Sen. Edward Kennedy's Career Timeline
by The Associated Press
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 2:30 AM

Edward M. Kennedy is elected to the United States Senate.

Senator Kennedy makes his maiden speech to the Senate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed on July 2, 1964, and outlawed segregation in public accommodations. He also strongly supported the Economic Opportunity Act, a key bill in President Johnson's war on poverty, which was signed on August 20, 1964.

The first major bill that Senator Kennedy managed on the Senate floor was the Immigration Act of 1965. It was enacted and stood as a major turning point in immigration and civil rights policy because it eliminated discriminatory immigration quotas which favored European immigration, but restricted immigration from other parts of the world. Senator Kennedy also won passage of a bill establishing The National Teacher Corps, which awarded scholarships to college students who agreed to teach for at least two years in economically-distressed rural and urban areas after graduation, a program which continues today. He was also a strong and vocal supporter of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to end discrimination against minorities in voting.

Senator Kennedy passed legislation creating the national community health center program. He joined a health center in Columbia Point in Dorchester, Massachusetts, with a center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi as the start of a national program that now includes more that 1200 health centers nationally serving more than 20 million low income patients.

Senator Kennedy was a strong supporter of the school reforms in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the first comprehensive federal aid for public schools. He also made his first speech that openly questioned the Vietnam War.

Senator Kennedy was a strong supporter of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the third major civil rights legislation of the decade after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As a result of Senator Kennedy's championing of bilingual education, the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 was passed by Congress. The Act required schools to offer bilingual education programs, the first time Congress had endorsed funding for bilingual education. Senator Kennedy was also a leading supporter of President Johnson's Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.

Senator Kennedy gives his first speech calling for national health insurance for all Americans. His amendment creating a minimum tax -- the so-called "Alternative Minimum Tax" -- becomes law, setting a limit on the amount of taxation for middle-income Americans.

Senator Kennedy amended the Voting Rights Act to lower the voting age to 18, laying the basis for a constitutional amendment moving the voting age from 21 to age 18. He was also a leader in enacting the Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect workers on jobs and the Older American Community Service Employment Act. To ease the high cost of home heating, Senator Kennedy actively worked to create a fuel assistance program for low-income persons now known as the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program or "LIHEAP". He was also responsible for legislation laying the basis for the "War on Cancer" by quadrupling funds for cancer research and prevention. When President Nixon attempted to pocket veto Senator Kennedy's Family Protection of Medicine Act, the Senate won a court decision invalidating the pocket veto and enacting the law.

Senator Kennedy becomes Chairman of the Senate Health Subcommittee. He held a series of field hearings around the country on national health insurance, and is a leader in passing the National Cancer Act to expand research on all aspects of cancer. Inspired by the civil rights movement in the United States and because of his growing concern over British policy in Northern Ireland, Senator Kennedy joins Senator Ribicoff in introducing a Senate Resolution calling for immediate withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland and the unification of Ireland, beginning his long involvement with Northern Ireland.

Senator Kennedy champions the Meals on Wheels Act, which offers nutritional meals to homebound senior citizens and the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program, known as WIC, which offers food, nutrition counseling, and health services to low-income women, infants, and children. Kennedy was also a key supporter of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which protects women from discrimination in educational institutions and increases opportunities for women to participate in college sports.

Senator Kennedy continues to improve legal services and emergency health services for the poor, and improve educational opportunities for persons with disabilities. After the revelation of several life-threatening research projects with human subjects, many of whom were Americans who were minorities, institutionalized or incarcerated, Senator Kennedy's Health Subcommittee held 11 days of hearings into the ethical implications of human experimentation. These hearings resulted in strengthened regulation of human experimentation and the establishment of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. In addition, Senator Kennedy and Senator Hugh Scott sponsor legislation for public financing of Senate and House elections. The bill is approved by the Senate but not the House.

After the CIA-backed military coup that toppled democratic government in Chile and brought General Pinochet to power, Senator Kennedy leads the fight to cut off U.S. military aid to Chile. His amendment to the foreign aid bill marked the first time that Congress had ended military aid to another nation. Kennedy and Wilbur Mills, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced comprehensive legislation providing national health insurance.

Senator Kennedy was an original cosponsor of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which later became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and requires a free and appropriate public education for children with disabilities in every state.


* * *

I hope for an America where the power of faith will always burn brightly, but where no modern inquisition of any kind will ever light the fires of fear, coercion, or angry division... I hope for an America where we can all contend freely and vigorously, but where we will treasure and guard those standards of civility which alone make this nation safe for both democracy and diversity.
~ Senator Edward M. Kennedy, 2008

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Political Economy of Media

Robert McChesney is an amazing man and someone I have the utmost respect and appreciation for. I had the great honor of seeing him speak several months ago at the University of Portland and walked away from that event with even greater awareness and passion that our corporate owned media system must change. This is about his latest book... Peace & hope ~ Molly

* * *

The Political Economy of Media:
Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas
by Robert W. McChesney

Praise for McChesney’s The Problem of the Media:

“As Chomsky is to linguistics, Ben & Jerry’s to ice cream, and Elvis to shaking one’s hips, McChesney is to media analysis. He is the King: there is no one more definitive.”—Danny Schechter, founder of

“McChesney’s work has been of extraordinary importance. It should be read with care and concern by people who care about freedom and basic rights.”— Noam Chomsky

“Robert McChesney follows in the great tradition of Upton Sinclair, George Seldes, I.F. Stone, and Ben Bagdikian in exposing the ruthless hold of corporate power on the nations media.”— Howard Zinn

"As with all his prior works, this new volume demonstrates McChesney’s signal strengths as America’s leading critic and historian of the media: unrivaled erudition across several disciplines; a bracing theoretical lucidity; and – not least – a blunt and lively style, enlivened by a killer sense of humor. This book, in short, is a must-read not just for all admirers of McChesney’s work, but for everyone concerned about the global sway of the commercial media, and keen to put a stop to it at last."— Mark Crispin Miller, professor of media studies at NYU and author of Fooled Again

More than any other work, The Political Economy of Media demonstrates the incompatibility of the corporate media system with a viable democratic public sphere, and the corrupt policymaking process that brings the system into existence. Among the most acclaimed communication scholars in the world, Robert W. McChesney has brought together all the major themes of his two decades of research. Rich in detail, evidence, and thoughtful arguments, The Political Economy of Media provides a comprehensive critique of the degradation of journalism, the hyper-commercialization of culture, the Internet, and the emergence of the contemporary media reform movement. The Political Economy of Media is mandatory reading for anyone wishing to understand and change media, and the political economy, in the world today.

Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Communication Revolution, The Problem of the Media, and Rich Media, Poor Democracy.


* * *

“It's clear that there is a highly corrupt relationship between some journalists and those in positions of power, ... This indictment shows the corrupt nature of the press system and its linkage to power.”

"They've got to be held accountable; our broadcasting system has to be made accountable; and unless it is, it's going to be very hard to change anything else for the better in this country."

"You know, a left-winger, the barrier to success if you're on the left in commercial radio is a mile and a half higher than it is if you're on the right."

"Hightower's (Jim Hightower) problem, among other things, is that advertisers would be a lot less interested in his show than in Limbaugh's, even if they have similar ratings, because of what Hightower is saying."

"So the system we have in radio and television today is the direct result of government policies that have been made in our name, in the name of the people, on our behalf, but without our informed consent."

“As the mainstream media has become increasingly dependent on advertising revenues for support, it has become an anti-democratic force in society.”

~ Quotes by Robert McChesney

Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care Rally Featuring Wendell Potter

There will be a health care rally 9/28/09 at Terry Schrunk Plaza (at SW 3rd and Madison at 10am) for any of you who may not be aware and may want to go. One thing that is very exciting is that Wendell Potter will be the featured speaker. I have seen him interviewed on Bill Moyers Journal and also heard him interviewed on radio and read a lot also about this man's story and what he is doing today to work toward a more caring world. As a former 20 year executive in the health care industry, he is very powerful! I so admire this man's courage, experience, and his commitment to shining light on both misinformation and truths regarding the multi-trillion dollar insurance industry. Wendell Potter is truly trying to walk his amends in the way he lives his life today for his many years of participation in an industry that has cost so many lives, so much suffering, and is now succeeding in convincing millions of Americans to be screaming in protest against their own and every one else's best interests. Bless him. Hopefully you can make it or watch Wendell Potter on the Journal: Thank you for also considering sharing this information with others. Envisioning a more caring world for all... Molly

* * *

Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year. Under these conditions, Potter says, "You don't think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you're going to meet Wall Street's expectations."
~ from Bill Moyers Journal transcript, 7/10/09

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Mean Streak in the US Mainstream

by Mary Dejevsky
Published on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 by The Independent/UK

The US tolerates more inequality, deprivation and
suffering than is acceptable here

When we Europeans – the British included – contemplate the battles President Obama must fight to reform the US health system, our first response tends to be disbelief. How can it be that so obvious a social good as universal health insurance, so humane a solution to common vulnerability, is not sewn deep into the fabric of the United States? How can one of the biggest, richest and most advanced countries in the world tolerate a situation where, at any one time, one in six of the population has to pay for their treatment item by item, or resort to hospital casualty wards?

The second response, as automatic as the first, is to blame heartless and ignorant Republicans. To Europeans, a universal health system is so basic to a civilised society that only the loony right could possibly oppose it: the people who cling to their guns, picket abortion clinics (when they are not trying to shoot the abortionists) and block funding for birth control in the third world. All right, we are saying to ourselves, there are Americans who think like this, but they are out on an ideological limb.

If only this were true. The reason why Obama is finding health reform such a struggle – even though it was central to his election platform – is not because an extreme wing of the Republican Party, mobilised by media shock-jocks, is foaming at the mouth, or because Republicans have more money than Democrats to buy lobbying and advertising power. Nor is it only because so many influential groups, from insurance companies through doctors, have lucrative interests to defend – although this is a big part of it.

It is because very many Americans simply do not agree that it is a good idea. And they include not only mainstream Republicans, but Democrats, too. Indeed, Obama's chief problem in seeking to extend health cover to most Americans is not Republican opposition: he thrashed John McCain to win his presidential mandate; he has majorities in both Houses of Congress. If Democrats were solidly behind reform, victory would already be his.

The unpalatable fact for Europeans who incline to think that Americans are just like us is that Democrats are not solidly behind Obama on this issue. Even many in the party's mainstream must be wooed, cajoled and even – yes – frightened, if they are ever going to agree to change the status quo. Universal healthcare is an article of faith in the US only at what mainstream America would regard as the bleeding- heart liberal end of the spectrum.

* * *

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.
Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.
We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
~ Maya Angelou

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction,
is the first and only object of good government.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Genuine politics -- even politics worthy of the name -- the only politics I am
willing to devote myself to -- is simply a matter of serving those around us:
serving the community and serving those who will come after us. Its
deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed
through action, to and for the whole.
~ Vaclav Havel

This Isn’t Reform, It’s Robbery

by Chris Hedges
Published on Monday, August 24, 2009 by

Percentage change since 2002 in average premiums paid to
large US health-insurance companies: +87%

Percentage change in the profits of
the top ten insurance companies: +428%

Chances that an American bankrupted by medical bills
has health insurance: 7 in 10

—Harper’s Index, September 2009

Capitalists, as my friend Father Michael Doyle says, should never be allowed near a health care system. They hold sick children hostage as they force parents to bankrupt themselves in the desperate scramble to pay for medical care. The sick do not have a choice. Medical care is not a consumable good. We can choose to buy a used car or a new car, shop at a boutique or a thrift store, but there is no choice between illness and health. And any debate about health care must acknowledge that the for-profit health care industry is the problem and must be destroyed. This is an industry that hires doctors and analysts to deny care to patients in order to increase profits. It is an industry that causes half of all bankruptcies. And the 20,000 Americans who died last year because they did not receive adequate care condemn these corporations as complicit in murder.

The current health care debate in Congress has nothing to do with death panels or public options or socialized medicine. The real debate, the only one that counts, is how much money our blood-sucking insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit health services are going to be able to siphon off from new health care legislation. The proposed plans rattling around Congress all ensure that the profits for these corporations will increase and the misery for ordinary Americans will be compounded. The corporate state, enabled by both Democrats and Republicans, is yet again cannibalizing the Treasury. It is yet again pushing Americans, especially the poor and the working class, into levels of despair and rage that will continue to fuel the violent, proto-fascist movements leaping up around the edges of American society. And the traditional watchdogs—those in public office, the press and citizens groups—are as useless as the perfumed fops of another era who busied their days with court intrigue at Versailles. Canada never looked so good.

The Democrats are collaborating with lobbyists for the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry and for-profit health care providers to craft the current health care reform legislation. “Corporate and industry players are inside the tent this time,” says David Merritt, project director at Newt Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation, “so there is a vacuum on the outside.” And these lobbyists have already killed a viable public option and made sure nothing in the bills will impede their growing profits and capacity for abuse.

* * *

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
~ Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr

All the President’s Zombies

Published on Monday, August 24, 2009 by The New York Times

The debate over the “public option” in health care has been dismaying in many ways. Perhaps the most depressing aspect for progressives, however, has been the extent to which opponents of greater choice in health care have gained traction — in Congress, if not with the broader public — simply by repeating, over and over again, that the public option would be, horrors, a government program.

Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good.

Call me naïve, but I actually hoped that the failure of Reaganism in practice would kill it. It turns out, however, to be a zombie doctrine: even though it should be dead, it keeps on coming.

Let’s talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over.

First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the “magic of the marketplace” were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn’t happen.

To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third its growth over the previous 27 years.


* * *

We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals.
We know now that it is bad economics.
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which
you really stop to look fear in the face.
You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
~ Erich Fromm

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hanging Buddhist Monastery in China

Thank you to my friend Keith for sharing this one.
How beautiful, amazing, wondrous...

Hanging Buddhist Monastery

* * *

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issue of how our lives fit into the greater cosmic scheme of things. This is true even when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. We encounter spiritual issues every time we wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world. An idea or practice is "spiritual" when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life.
~ Robert C. Fuller

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Extraordinary Video: We Are All One

Thank you to my friend Diana who shared this extraordinary video with me.
The website is called We Are All One. They state:

Our purpose
We want to change the global markets to protect the future of our beautiful world. Every single person should make aware choices to contribute to help
our environment.

We want to encourage everyone!
Spread the understanding that everyone has an individual power to make a difference, we are the consumers in this world, what we don't buy, doesn't sell.

Take action!
Please help us carry this message to various media, including the major TV networks. This is the lesson we all must learn and pass on to our children. We are privileged to put your compassion into action.

Please watch this amazing and important video here:

Please pass this on. Thank you so much. Peace ~ Molly

* * *

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

A significant portion of the earth's population will soon recognize,
if they already haven't done so, that humanity is now faced
with a stark choice: Evolve or die.
~ Eckhart Tolle

What would happen if we consciously created human societies that are based on core values of our wisdom teachers? What would happen if we healed our human relations, clearing our nations and our hearts of violence, hatred, and the illusion of separation? What would happen if we replaced the love of money and the love of violence with a different set of values - and then ACTED on those values? HOW WOULD SUCH A SOCIETY OPERATE?
~ Sharif Abdullah, from Seven Seeds for a New Society

Friday, August 21, 2009

Documentary: Money Driven Medicine

The below is taken from California Newsreel: Film and Video For Social Change Since 1968. This is the third incredibly powerful documentary by this film maker. I am deeply appreciative. This documentary also powerfully highlights what the corporate driven media neglects. May we all be increasingly informed, conscious, and called to care for all beings... Peace ~ Molly

Money-Driven Medicine provides the essential introduction Americans need if they are to become knowledgeable participants in healthcare reform.

Produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) and based on Maggie Mahar's acclaimed book, Money Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much, the film offers a behind-the-scenes look at the $2.6 trillion U.S. healthcare system, how it went so terribly wrong and what it will take to fix it.

Effective Care, or Just Expensive Care?
The U.S. spends twice as much per person on healthcare as the average developed nation, one-sixth of our GDP, yet our outcomes often are worse. The problem is that much of that spending is wasteful – and provides no benefit to the patient. The reason? The U.S. is the only developed nation that has chosen to turn medicine into a largely unregulated, for-profit enterprise.

In Money-Driven Medicine, Dr. Donald Berwick, president of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, explains: “We get more care, but not better care.” If you look at how we manage chronic diseases, he points out, our outcomes are not as good. We focus resources on the high-tech, exorbitantly expensive “rescue care” that patients need after they become terribly sick – and pay far less for the preventive and primary care more likely to keep people out of the hospital in the first place. Emergency rooms overflow while primary care physicians are becoming an endangered species. Medical students explain that the compensation system is driving them away from primary care, and into high-paying specialties.

Medical ethicist Larry Churchill doesn’t mince words: “The current medical care system is not designed to meet the health needs of the population. It is designed to protect the interests of insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, and to a certain extent organized medicine. It is designed to turn a profit. It is designed to meet the needs of the people in power.

”These businesses comprise the “medical-industrial complex.” They’ve gradually wrested power from doctors, turning medical care into just another commodity and patients into profit centers. More:

Watch Nightline's feature (8/11/09) on Money-Driven Medicine

Watch other on-line clips of Money-Driven Medicine:
Not the Best, Only the Most Expensive
Patients for Sale
Questioning Healthcare

Money Driven Medicine Website:

* * *

"One of the strongest documentaries I have seen in years and could not be more timely. The more people who see and talk about it, the more likely we are to get serious and true health care reform."
- Bill Moyers

“Few Americans appreciate how the health care system is gamed against physicians’ professional commitment to focus only on their patients’ best interests. This outstanding film helps us all understand why reform is essential.”
- Elliott S. Fisher, MD, Director Dartmouth Center for Health Policy Research
Principal Investigator, Dartmouth Atlas Project

"In the midst of all the hollering comes a calm, quiet new documentary that offers another diagnosis of what’s ailing the American health care system. What makes Money-Driven Medicine so compelling is how the film listens to patients, and even more, to doctors."
- Terry Moran, NIGHTLINE

Those "Death Panels" Really Do Exist

by Karl Frisch
MediaMatters For America

At this point, if anyone still believes that progressive proposals for health insurance reform contain ominous "death panels" designed to kill their grandparents, I have a bridge to sell them in Arizona. Fear not, my conservative friends: The bridge connects a tea bag manufacturing plant with a militia training camp stuck in the 1990s, so you should feel right at home.

The "death panel" smear goes something like this: President Obama and his comrades in Congress are hell-bent on instituting mandatory end-of-life counseling sessions for American seniors as part of their socialist takeover of the health insurance industry. They will choose who gets to live and who will die. You know, just like Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did in Germany.

To date, the media have debunked the "kill granny" lie more than 40 times. The nonpartisan says the claim of mandatory counseling on ending seniors' lives is "a misrepresentation." ABC's chief medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, said "the idea about death panels" is "not at all legitimate." has called "death panel" claims "a ridiculous falsehood." When the Associated Press conducted a fact check of the bogus charge, it reported, "No 'death panel in health care bill.' "

After former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed that "Obama's 'death panel' " could decide the fate of her parents or her son who has Down syndrome, conservative radio host Larry Elder aptly called her comments "over the top."

Having been called on the carpet repeatedly for their "death panel" claims, other media conservatives like ABC's John Stossel and Fox News' Glenn Beck have taken a new approach. Many now claim that while proposals for health insurance reform may not actually force seniors into end-of-life counseling, they will result in "de facto death panels" via the government's rationing of care. Seriously.

dubious right-wing spin surrounding health insurance reform is a bit like that bad cough that just won't go away -- persistent and annoying.

Despite the coverage allotted to debunking the right-wing "death panel" smear, the bigger picture remains intact. Americans face real death panels from their own health insurance providers. Rather than simply debunking the right's false talking point, the media should have gone one step further and pointed out that health insurance companies make life-and-death decisions every day when they decide what they are willing and not willing to cover.

Largely lost in the media discussion surrounding health insurance reform is the reality of the status quo -- you know, why we need reform in the first place.

Back in June, the evening news broadcasts on ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS ignored a congressional hearing on insurance companies' practice of investigating the medical histories of people who become ill and submit claims for expensive treatments, and then rejecting those claims on the grounds that those individuals had pre-existing conditions. The goal is quite simple. Find something -- anything -- and cancel or deny coverage for needed, potentially life-saving treatment. Why save a life when you can save a buck?
Robin Beaton, a former policyholder, testified in the hearing that she had been subject to this very practice. A retired registered nurse, Beaton's dermatologist had mistakenly indicated that she may have been suffering from a pre-cancerous skin condition. Soon after, she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. A few days before her scheduled double mastectomy, Blue Cross launched an investigation into her health records going back five years, convinced she was hiding a serious pre-existing condition.

Many Americans have stories just like Beaton's. Congress ultimately
concluded that three major American insurance companies rescinded 19,776 policies for over $300 million in savings over five years, a number that Wendell Potter, a former senior executive at CIGNA health insurance company, said "significantly undercounts the total number of rescissions" by the companies.


* * *

America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.
~ Walter Cronkite

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Didn't Get Mad When...

I heard this read this morning on the radio (KPOJ's morning show with Carl and Christine). Wow. I went on line and found it several places. Like Carl and Christine did, I am leaving the parts off that I found on line that include any name calling and swearing. It is also not clear who the original author is. In addition, I am deeply aware that, sadly, the below is a partial list, leaving off significant things such as suspending Habeas Corpus, fixing the science to deny Global Warming, the destruction of the environment through passage of acts like "Healthy Forests" and "Clean Skies" Initiatives, harming rather than helping schools through No Child Left Behind, etc., etc., etc. I am posting this, not to point fingers at an "Other", but rather to shine a light on where priorities, awareness, and energy have been or not been. The time has come, I believe urgently, to join hands and support one another in growing in consciousness and heart-centered action that is focused in some way on creating a world that works for all. Our planet needs human beings who are courageous enough to be informed and who truly care about what we learn. May we each increasingly recognize, own, heal, and transform all that keeps us from living with greater compassion and lovingkindness. May we grow in our capacity to be effective agents of precisely those changes which are most needed in the world...
Peace ~ Molly

* * *

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a president.
You didn’t get mad when Cheney let energy company officials dictate energy policy.
You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative was outed.
You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act was passed.
You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country posing no threat to us.
You didn’t get mad when we spent more than $600 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn’t get mad when $10 billion-plus disappeared in Iraq.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the Abu Ghraib photos.
You didn’t get mad when you learned we torture people.
You didn’t get mad when the government illegally wiretapped Americans.
You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit a trillion dollars.
You finally got mad when… when… wait for it… when the government decided that sick Americans deserve the right to see a doctor. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you. But helping other Americans? No way! ....

* * *

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.

When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.

~ HH the Dalai Lama
The Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sharif Abdullah's New Book + Coming Events in Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and California

Warmest Greetings.

I am so excited about my friend Sharif Abdullah's new book and events! Please consider purchasing Sharif's book and/or seeing Sharif in person if you are in the areas he will be speaking. Please also consider spreading the word! I have great respect, appreciation, and affection for Sharif and the work he does in the world, which is truly invaluable and so deeply needed. Like Creating a World That Works for All, Sharif's latest book, Seven Seeds for a New Society, is an incredible gift we all deserve to receive and pass on to others. I am copying the below information from Sharif's Newsletter. May we each strengthen the peacemaker within and the ways in which we can work together to create a world that works for all.
Tag, we are all it! Peace & blessings ~ Molly

* * *

Coming Events for August and September, 2009:

15 August, 2009 -- Vancouver, WA: IONS Community Meeting:

For those who are in the Greater Portland area, please come to this event! Sharif will be presenting from the new book, Seven Seeds for a New Society. We have created and we support a way of being, an “operating system”, based on exclusivity and adversarial relationships – a “Breaker” operating system. That entire system has become toxic to our planet and our own lives. Now, for our sake, the sake of our evolving humanity and for our planet, we must create a new “relational” operating system. This talk will describe how we can become real agents of change. You don’t have to be a member of IONS to attend.

Please see organizer Dottie Koontz’ info:
Sharif Abdullah who was our presenter a couple of years ago, has written a new book and is coming to talk about it. Sharif is the founder of the Commonway Institute and has worked in the US and many countries around the world helping to create a world that works for all. He has an affiliation with the Institute of Noetic Sciences as one of the "changemakers". He has written a study program that has been used all over the country to learn "Engaging the Other". He has written some brilliant material on how "enemies" see the world and has compiled a People's Constitution from hundreds of interviews with Sri Lankans of all ethnic backgrounds. I hope you will come and participate in this program. We gather at 6:30pm for connection and munchies. Circle begins at 7pm.

Dottie Koontz 360-397-4472 -- 15917 NE Union Rd #14, Ridgefield, WA 98642 19

August, 2009 – Portland, OR:

Commonway Community Gathering at Koru House:

Please join us for a presentation and informal discussion of my newest book, Seven Seeds for a New Society. Sharif will talk about the basic concepts in the book, as well as what led me to write it at this time. We all know the ills of our society… we get bombarded with alarmist information, from the Left and the Right. What we lack is a coherent vision and strategy to attain that vision. Seven Seeds is the catalyst for that vision!

What are the “Seven Seeds”?

SEED #1: The Offering We need a new perspective on seeing our challenges and a vision of our future.

SEED #2: Seeing the Problem We have created a toxic way of living on this planet. The default option is that we don’t make it. But, there is another way. Our problems are driving us to “Plan B”, a new way of looking at humanity.

SEED #3: The Solution Humanity is evolving to a new way of being. There are many books and many teachers who advocate a transformation of human consciousness. We are taking the next step: advocating the evolution of humanity, for the purpose of saving ourselves, all beings, and the Earth. For some of us, it will be the “end of the world”. For others, the beginning.

SEED #4: Principles and Values Our current society is dominated by one primary value: money. Religions that are based on exclusivity have failed to supply the way to a 21st Century that works for all. We must transform to a society based on our universal spiritual/moral principles and values. Our prime value must be enhancing the Web of Life.

SEED #5: The Relational Operating System ROS is based on inclusivity, abundance and relationships with all beings. Our current operating system is based on fear, adversarial relationships, exclusivity, scarcity and greed. We need a change.

SEED #6: The Relational Agents We are conscious supporters of a relational operating system. We are moving away from behaviors that support and reinforce the fear-based, adversarial, exclusivist, scarcity-based operating system. We can end the Breaker system by becoming conscious, and behaving accordingly.

SEED #7: Next Steps for Humanity We are unleashing a centuries-long vision of a world that works for all beings. With this long-range vision, we can then see the steps we must take to co-create our future.

Date: Wednesday 19 August, 2009

Place: Koru House, 1704 SE 22nd Ave, Portland OR Time: 7:30 to 9:30 SHARP (come at 7:00 for tea and fellowship)

Cost: Come prepared to buy the book!

16-19 September, 2009 – Greater Detroit, MI Area:

Multiple activities centering around “International Peace Day” If you are near the Detroit area, please mark your calendars for “International Peace Day” activities during the week of 16-19 September, with various school visits, evening workshops and seminars, culminating in my keynote address at the “Peace Day” multicultural program on 19 September.

For information on the Michigan events, please contact Rev. Matthew E. Long (248) 891-4365

25-30 September, 2009 – Bay Area, CA:

Multiple activities, centering around SF State presentation: “Reinventing the World” For those who are in the Bay Area: I will be there at the end of September, helping to kick off Kenn Burrows month-long “Reinventing the World” discussion speakers. (Other speakers include friends Bruce Lipton, David Korten, Tom Greco and Joanna Macy.)

For more information, contact: Kenn Burrows -- Institute for Holistic Health Studies, San Francisco State University <>. Stay tuned for other activities in the Bay Area! (If you want Sharif to present to your group or organization, please contact Sharif at 503-281-1667.)

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For more information on Sharif, please see his website at

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Creating a society that works for all is a sacred act. Every spiritual, religious and wisdom tradition leads us to the same conclusion: working for others is the highest form of spirituality. Our true values lie beyond empty posturing, political sloganeering and campaign rhetoric. We are stronger than our fears and better than our limitations.

~ Sharif Abdullah

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Endless War: The Suicide of the United States

I have met Dahr Jamail and have read and listened to him for several years now.
Here is a human being with amazing courage, integrity, and commitment to
soldiers and our country, to peace and truth, and to very courageously
working toward a more informed and peaceful world. I am deeply grateful
for the depth and truth that Dahr Jamail brings to journalism. Peace ~ Molly

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by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t Perspective

"We hear war called murder. It is not: it is suicide."
- Ramsay MacDonald, British prime minister 1931-1935

Sergio Kochergin, back home from his second deployment in Iraq, held a gun in his mouth, trying to muster the courage to pull the trigger. Untreated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and accompanying nightmares and insomnia, heavy substance abuse, and several failed attempts at self-medication had taken their toll on him. He was in an apartment he shared with a friend in Texarkana, Texas, after having spent the past few months with his parents, where he "was drinking too much and causing too much trouble, breaking things, flipping out every day, and cursing at them."

The decision to end his life came in early 2007, from a desperate need for relief and to avoid deployment back to Iraq. Although Kochergin's contract had expired, it would have taken more than six months for him to be medically discharged from the military, a period during which he was sure to be redeployed.

A year later, describing his aborted attempt to me, Kochergin said, "I had a .40-caliber in my mouth for a long time, trying to figure out the right thing to do. Should I put an end to this suffering or should I allow it to continue to torment me? Fortunately, I fell asleep and woke up the next morning. My roommate came in and fucking flipped out on me and took the gun away to his parents' house. I stepped out, and with a deep breath of air I was like, 'Man, this is way too good to just throw away.' After that, I decided I had to do something. That's when it sunk in that there's no point running away. I must start dealing with it and do something and that kind of pushed me up."

At the time we met, Kochergin had seized the moment of hope that came his way and managed to find a constructive route out of his suffering and possible redeployment. Thousands of others never get or grab that chance.

On July 26, the Colorado Springs Gazette ran a story headlined "Casualties of War, Part I: The hell of war comes home." The article highlighted what is happening to soldiers upon their return from the occupation of Iraq. It begins:

Before the murders started, Anthony Marquez's mom dialed his sergeant at Fort Carson to warn that her son was poised to kill.

It was February 2006, and the 21-year-old soldier had not been the same since being wounded and coming home from Iraq eight months before. He had violent outbursts and thrashing nightmares. He was devouring pain pills and drinking too much. He always packed a gun.

"It was a dangerous combination. I told them he was a walking time bomb," said his mother, Teresa Hernandez.

His sergeant told her there was nothing he could do. Then, she said, he started taunting her son, saying things like, "Your mommy called. She says you are going crazy."

Eight months later, the time bomb exploded when her son used a stun gun to repeatedly shock a small-time drug dealer in Widefield over an ounce of marijuana, then shot him through the heart.

Marquez was the first infantry soldier in his brigade to murder someone after returning from Iraq. But he wasn't the last.

Marquez, like many others in his brigade, returned home scarred from war, suffering the ravages of PTSD. He, like his fellow soldiers, began to murder civilians and each other, drive around and shoot at people, beat their former girlfriends to death, rape, kidnap, brawl, deal drugs, stab people, commit suicide, and self-medicate via alcohol and drugs.

From 2007 to 2008, the murder rate for his brigade, the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, was 114 times that of Colorado Springs.

Soldiers are returning from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed mentally, spiritually, and psychologically, to a general population that is, mostly, willfully ignorant of the occupations and the soldiers participating in them. Troops face a Department of Veterans Affairs that is either unwilling or unable to help them with their physical and psychological wounds, and they are left to fend for themselves. It is a perfect storm of denial, neglect, violence, rage, suffering, and death.

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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." -- Hermann Goering (quote verified at

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
~ Eleanor Roosevelt