Sunday, November 07, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Orwellian Midterm Madness

How foolish?  How foolish.

Many emotions, but the deepest is sadness.  I am sad to see so many foolishly vote against their own best interests.

They have fallen for the concept of "grass roots" and "independence/freedom".

It is Orwellian, because the movement they call "grass roots" was completely manipulated and financed by the lobbyists and public relations end of the very industries that are most damaging our economy and health.

It is Orwellian, because those who believe they are standing up for Independence and Freedom are the ones most manipulated into the behaviors that serve the great corporations, leaving them only with the Freedom to suffer from the bullying of corporations which demand the right to honor profit over safety.

It is Orwellian, because the majority voted (if we believe the vote count) to benefit the few over themselves.

It is Orwellian, because people have fallen for the false equivalent of Fox News v MSNBC -- as if bullying rudeness is equivalent to the presentation of evidence.

It is true that the evidence does sometimes cause some to become outraged, rightfully so, but that outrage then makes it easier for those who are paid to distract attention away from the evidence to discredit the information -- no matter how strong the evidence is. 

That is why Keith Olbermann announced on Monday, the day before the election, that he is suspending his infamous daily segment, "Worst Person in the World" -- because his understandable outrage, in this Orwellian world, is labelled "liberal bombast", discrediting his solid work as a journalist bringing important information to an audience desperate to cut through the gutless reporting of the mainstream media.

It is MADNESS for the majority, who are frightened because of the economy and the wars, to vote to protect those who have created the economy and the wars, blaming those who were stuck trying to clean up the mess left by the previous set of liars.

And it is MADNESS that the Supreme Court has given corporations the right to take over elections.

It is MADNESS to call that usurpation of the priorities of humanity "grass roots".

If we are to survive -- and even thrive -- we must PAY ATTENTION. 

We must see past the Orwellian language, we must cure the Madness with the healing light of Truth, and we must prioritize humanity over greed.

It's that simple.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Response to "Is that HATRED in Your Pocket... Or Are You Just MAD to See Me?", at Confessions of a Valet Boy

Dear Mr. Valet Boy,

Once, a few decades ago, you, Mr. Hampton, and I shared the same spot in the space/time continuum for a while. At that time, I'm pretty sure I was the most naive of the three of us. It was Los Angeles, it was theatre, and statistically, it was clearly populated with people who were gay.

We can, all three of us, think of many individuals we knew, I'm sure, who were gay. But was anyone "out"? Hardly. I thought I was in love with three of them, no wait -- four, oh hell, probably even more. Yep, it took years for me to understand consciously the joy of being friends with gay men, and all the extraordinarily wonderful qualities these friends had (once I got over their disinterest in going farther with me), that absolutely drew me to them. Fortunately, I can now say that some of those friendships have lasted decades.

And then there were the women. Yep, many of them were trickier to identify -- but what I did see, often, was simply young women who courageously opened doors, who refused to be told they couldn't take a drafting class instead of sewing, who wore slacks under their graduation robes, who engaged ferociously in life because they weren't defined by male approval.

They certainly wouldn’t have let the high school chemistry teacher get away with making sure the few girls in his class failed, with constant reminders that we didn’t belong there, denying assistance, and pop-testing (me) on material he knew I’d missed, taking me, an outstanding math student, down -- from a B+ to a final grade of D-, one point above complete failure – ultimately directing me away from a university education, a degree, and undoubtedly a life of greater financial security. But that bullying teacher was satisfied; his world of dominance was maintained, for a time. Until more of these women stood up.

Damn right. A lot of the strength of the Women’s Movement came from women like these – lesbians –  who weren’t waiting for permission to be heard.

Yet, we also – all three of us – knew individuals who were gay before it could easily be acknowledged, who needed to arm themselves (or punish themselves) for their differences – with masks of intense makeup, liquor, pills, destructive relationships, even suicide – because they lived in a world in which they couldn’t be honest, not even with their close friends. And all of this. . . affected all of us.

For we are a community of interconnected beings. And we all have an affect on each other.

When a person fails to thrive, we all lose out.

And, boy oh boy, girl oh girl, have we, the population of this world, lost out by allowing the arrogance of heterosexuality define. . . ANYTHING!!!

Right now, we know, without a doubt, that we are missing out on one voice, the voice of a violin, soaring, blazing into our souls - the sound that Tyler Clementi was bringing to the world - one that would have changed those who heard, one that would have led others to also bring their voices into the fray.

It is no minor loss – the passing of a violinist!  You see, perhaps the most effective teacher who ever lived was a simple Japanese man who heard a violin, sought one out to see if he could recreate what he had heard, found his voice, and believed that all children could do the same.  Dr. Shinichi Suzuki thus taught teachers who went on to teach many teachers, who have taught hundreds of thousands, making the violin, and in time, many instruments, Voices of Peace – for this one Japanese man, maturing in Germany, knew the importance of consciously raising children with "Noble Hearts" (inspired by great music and diligent study), Nurtured by Love -- he knew these children would grow up to achieve better things than war.

So, what could Tyler Clementi have brought to the human community?

And what about those we don’t even know about? Those whose talents and offerings were squashed before they could be expressed, cut short before they’d found their stride, dropped before they’d dared to speak.

There is a powerful teaching which has as one of its tenants, “Above all else I am determined to see things differently.” (Note: This is actually also a healthier explanation of the “turn the other cheek” metaphor – seeking another angle to see from -- rather than offering up greater victimhood.)

That is what I believe – that where there is a problem, the solution is in SEEING THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

So, if that is true, then wouldn’t those who see things differently be our greatest healers?

Therefore, in allowing the arrogance of heterosexuality to bully down/away the ‘others’ – have we spent centuries de-voicing our greatest hope?

Is this the foolish downfall of humanity? In our unwillingness to embrace what is different than the majority, in our actions and words being tied to our own fears of being rejected the way we reject others – we, as a community of people living on this earth - do not thrive.

We know that is true.

And it only changes as we speak up and declare our dedication to an inclusive, whole community, one in which we actively see differently – and so we nurture, listen, respect, and continue to speak boldly of what this brings us.

That is how we thrive.

And that is how we honor those whose voices have been silenced.

Thank you, Valet Boy, for picking up the luggage and making me walk alongside you and Roger.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Mama, will I ever have breast cancer?" Thirteen years later.

March 4, 1997

As I was sitting cross legged in the warm tub this morning,
my five year old daughter,
who has been missing a lot of time with me of late --
as I have been focusing on treatments, and needing space --
asked me,
“Mama, will I ever have breast cancer?”

I cannot tell her no.
Suddenly, the new truth is:
“It runs in the family,”
this albatross of potential carcinoma
hanging from our necks,
down our chests.

But I do not wish to plant the mental seed
of genetic fallibility
and inevitability.

So I tell her that she can do things differently
than Mama did.

For years I knew that vitamins worked,
that drinking didn’t;
that exercise did,
that coffee didn’t;
that forgiveness did,
that resentment didn’t.

But I was ambiguous in my desire to thrive,
perhaps getting more out of the suffering martyr role
than I dared get out of life as a celebration.

I started to change this rather late in life,
but as I did, the door opened for her to arrive,
and inspire me.

Now that I am surgically altered,
not so much cured as having the sick parts removed,
I must still face
and embrace
doing what works.

Living it,
and thus walking it with my daughter,
so we can change the family “run.”

The other side of the lesson to share
will be in the proof
that this has not been a tragedy.

An action has been taken which is smart,
and leaves us counting what we’ve gained
rather than lost,
blessing all that lies ahead
because of our opportunity now
to choose
to limit the loss
to a breast
(a simple pound of flesh),
to gain a life
that is long and well lived.

                                                                                                        
* * * * * * *


September 10, 2010

Thirteen years later, I know much more.
About Aspartame, and Rumsfeld’s slick slide past science to approval.
About depleted uranium, and the silencing of the United Nations.
About plastic, and fish, and the air at Ground Zero.

Even as the celebrities gather on my TV screen to raise money

for “Stand Up to Cancer”, I wonder if they get it.
Stand up? What’s that mean?
Some vague macho courage? More treatment choices?

Or, could we really dare to Stand Up --
For Life, over Profit –
and stop the corporate polluters that trash our DNA,
and buy off scientists, regulators, and legislators
to hide liability and prolong the spending?

Oh, my beautiful daughter, be Alive – every day.
Be present, be careful, be joyous.
Ask questions.  Seek truth.  Act on your compassion.
Eat simply and diversely.
Don’t wait for Godot.

That way, regardless of what mutations occur, you thrive.
And because you thrive, others do, as well.
That’s what I’ve learned.

And that’s my answer to your question,
Thirteen years later.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bill Maher's Beautiful Bluntness



See Bill Maher's article at Huffington Post by clicking on my title above.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

From Reuters: FACTBOX - US HEALTHCARE BILL WOULD PROVIDE IMMEDIATE BENEFITS

IN THE FIRST YEAR:
*Insurance companies will be barred from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated and annual limits are to be restricted.
*Insurers will be barred from excluding children for coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
*Young adults will be able to stay on their parents' health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.
*Uninsured adults with a pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain health coverage through a new program that will expire once new insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014.
*A temporary reinsurance program is created to help companies maintain health coverage for early retirees between the ages of 55 and 64. This also expires in 2014.
*Medicare drug beneficiaries who fall into the "doughnut hole" coverage gap will get a $250 rebate. The bill eventually closes that gap which currently begins after $2,700 is spent on drugs. Coverage starts again after $6,154 is spent.
*A tax credit becomes available for some small businesses to help provide coverage for workers.
*A 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps goes into effect on July 1.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2011:
*Medicare provides 10 percent bonus payments to primary care physicians and general surgeons.
*Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get a free annual wellness visit and personalized prevention plan service. New health plans will be required to cover preventive services with little or no cost to patients.
*A new program under the Medicaid plan for the poor goes into effect in October that allows states to offer home and community based care for the disabled that might otherwise require institutional care.
*Payments to insurers offering Medicare Advantage services are frozen at 2010 levels. These payments are to be gradually reduced to bring them more in line with traditional Medicare.
*Employers are required to disclose the value of health benefits on employees' W-2 tax forms.
*An annual fee is imposed on pharmaceutical companies according to market share. The fee does not apply to companies with sales of $5 million or less.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2012:
*Physician payment reforms are implemented in Medicare to enhance primary care services and encourage doctors to form "accountable care organizations" to improve quality and efficiency of care.
*An incentive program is established in Medicare for acute care hospitals to improve quality outcomes.
*The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the government programs, begin tracking hospital readmission rates and puts in place financial incentives to reduce preventable readmissions.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2013:
*A national pilot program is established for Medicare on payment bundling to encourage doctors, hospitals and other care providers to better coordinate patient care.
*The threshold for claiming medical expenses on itemized tax returns is raised to 10 percent from 7.5 percent of income. The threshold remains at 7.5 percent for the elderly through 2016.
*The Medicare payroll tax is raised to 2.35 percent from 1.45 percent for individuals earning more than $200,000 and married couples with incomes over $250,000. The tax is imposed on some investment income for that income group.
*A 2.9 percent excise tax in imposed on the sale of medical devices. Anything generally purchased at the retail level by the public is excluded from the tax.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2014:
*State health insurance exchanges for small businesses and individuals open.
*Most people will be required to obtain health insurance coverage or pay a fine if they don't. Healthcare tax credits become available to help people with incomes up to 400 percent of poverty purchase coverage on the exchange.
*Health plans no longer can exclude people from coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
*Employers with 50 or more workers who do not offer coverage face a fine of $2,000 for each employee if any worker receives subsidized insurance on the exchange. The first 30 employees aren't counted for the fine.
*Health insurance companies begin paying a fee based on their market share.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2015:
*Medicare creates a physician payment program aimed at rewarding quality of care rather than volume of services.

WHAT HAPPENS IN 2018:
*An excise tax on high cost employer-provided plans is imposed. The first $27,500 of a family plan and $10,200 for individual coverage is exempt from the tax. Higher levels are set for plans covering retirees and people in high risk professions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

CHUTZPAH!

In celebration of the real EQUINOX, in which the Light begins to overcome the Darkness, I present the moment of greatest Chutzpah, as expressed by the most frustrated Congressman Anthony Weiner, and shared by Rachel Maddow on February 24, 2010.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Diane Rehm Show, with Guest, Michael Moore

First, thank you, Diane, for having Michael Moore on. He certainly has lead the way on both our prime issues of the day, health care and the banking industry, though he rarely has been heard on such mainstream media.

Second, for Michael, do you have any information on the involvement of George Bush's cousin, George Herbert Walker, former Global Head of Investment Management at Lehman Brothers, and his brother, Jeb Bush, Investment Consultant at Lehman Brothers, in the fraudulent accounting and collapse of the company, and what they walked away with?

I must add:

I look at the Wall Street leadership and the debacle they’ve caused for all of us with both sadness and anger...

But what else could be expected when the American people accepted 8 years with a President who made his first big chunk of money when he dumped all his stock in Harken Oil before the other stockholders could see the updated accounting report from Arthur Andersen

And a Vice President who dumped the bulk of his stock in Haliburton before the stockholders could see the damaging asbestos liabilities he’d brought to the company when he arranged for the purchase of Dresser Industries

And neither of these two men were ever held criminally responsible for these deeds, because of their connections. Thus, they lead the way in demonstrating the wealth that could be made by condoned fraud.

Meanwhile, they claimed a moral righteousness when their henchmen jailed that uppity Martha Stewart, for her supposed dishonesty with the Wall Street Boys.

Shame, shame.

Michael, thank you for your years of courageous patriotism.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh, no! Not ME!!!



Actually, this is a copy of the video I created by going to this website, and allowing it to use my Facebook info, to create this personalized attack. You, too, can do the same.

After all, if you seek to know the truth, if you don't like be lied to, if you have a compassionate outlook on life, if you prioritize people over corporations, then, you, too, are a part of those this psuedo-Mormon (as convenient) heartless propagandist attacks. It is a badge of honor to be so attacked.

In some ways. But as the video states, he's not just ridiculous, he's dangerous.

Because he broadcasts widely and loudly, and too many people believe he's telling the truth. Because they just don't have time to study what's really going on in the world of politics and power and media.

When I first posted this on Facebook, two of my daughters called my husband to find out why Glenn Beck was attacking me and if I was okay...

After you laugh, think about it. Which side is he really working for, and shouldn't people be better informed, especially in these times.

So, do your part, and spread the word. Or video.

Monday, March 08, 2010

More on Birth Defects in Fallujah

Posted on Mark Crispin Miller's News from the Underground, in response to CBS and BBC reports on March 5, 2010 on a marked increase in birth defects in Fallujah:

From Barbara Bellows-Terranova:


In the reporting on the rise in birth defects in Fallujah, both by CBS and the BBC, a “spokesman for the US military”, Michael Kilpatrick is quoted as saying “No studies to date have indicated environmental issues resulting in specific health issues”.

But he is also the same person who in January 2001 was brought out to defend the US military’s use of depleted uranium in the weaponry used in the NATO “peacekeeping mission” in Kosovo and Bosnia, in the midst of furor in Europe over the sudden increase in leukemia and other cancers in soldiers from European partner nations who had served in these operations. (http://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2001/s010110b.htm).

By this time, complaints from Saddam Hussein about the increase in birth defects in Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War, where depleted uranium was first used in U.S. weaponry (with Dick Cheney as Secretary of Defense), had already been ignored.

But our European partners could not be so easily put aside. In response, the United Nations called for the World Health Organization to investigate, to see if there was any connection between the weapons, which left vaporized particles of DU in the atmosphere, where they were taken into the body by inhalation, digestion and exposed and open wounds, and health consequences.

The report was completed and handed over in November 2001, but was suppressed under pressure http://www.robedwards.com/2004/02/who_suppressed_.html. It was eventually leaked by its primary author, Dr. Keith Baverstock, in February 2004.

See my own article regarding this information with all the linked evidence here: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Honor-Vets-by-Learning-Abo-by-Barbara-Bellows-Te-081111-169.html

It’s time to get to the truth about the horrendous damage that’s being done by the weapons used by the U.S. military.

Barbara Bellows-TerraNova

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Words of Howard Zinn

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Friday, January 29, 2010

NPR Balancing Historical Truth with Petty Slurs

I have been an NPR listener, and almost always a local station member, since 1974, but I was deeply disappointed yesterday afternoon to hear the coverage on All Things Considered of the legacy of the historian Howard Zinn, who passed away this week.

I have heard Professor Zinn speak many times, and was particularly moved a few years ago by a broadcast of "Voices of a People's History of the United States" - a presentation of readings by well-respected actors of writings or teachings of historical figures, from Zinn's companion book to his A People's History of the United States.

That is what makes a great historian -- the willingness to search for the less told stories, so that we get a deeper insight to history. Otherwise, the easy "history" that is passed forward is the one that is written by those in power -- the "winners".

There was a time that public broadcasting could be trusted to bring the same quality to journalism that we need in our historians - the willingness to look deeper and give us greater insight.

But the story on Howard Zinn, "Historian Howard Zinn Remembered" would have been more accurately titled, "Historian Howard Zinn Denegrated" because NPR brought in an extremist conservative pundit, David Horowitz, to make unusually rude remarks about Zinn, particularly in a segment that should have been honoring the professor. Mind you, Horowitz didn't even present a logical reason for his position of complete disdain for the Professor, who was not merely an intellectual, but was a long time civil rights and peace activist, courageous and caring. Horowitz did not provide a logical retort to the information Zinn has highlighted and/or taught. It was a cowardly slur, not logical criticism -- just mean-spirited grumbling from a petty hack.

Your "Comments" section provides the opportunity to "Report Abuse". Well, I'm reporting it. NPR, once a noble public radio broadcaster, has shown that it has become a dark, fearful character, willing to sell out to the bullies, to throw one of the Best under the wheels, undoubtedly in the name of "balanced" reporting.

Shame on you. There is no need to balance the truth.

Is NPR still intimidated by Kenneth Tomlinson, or whoever else has taken that role?

Your audience, and Howard Zinn, deserve an apology. And NPR deserves some quiet time with "The Voices of A People's History of the United States". You can find it at Democracy Now. Maybe then it will remember what kind journalism it was created to provide.