Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blogs and Journalism

   I read, a lot, online, and from news sources and printed media. I enjoy the 'outside views' and the 'insider information'. As a hobby, I 'people watch', in my vocation I listen to people. All theses allow me to see a bigger picture than what my own eyes can observe, and allows me to understand, a little better, than where my own thoughts can lead me to understand about my world. I am a creature of curiosity, a student of questions and a philosopher of life that takes me many directions. However, I can and do make mistakes in my observations based on the information I observe. Sometimes we do not always see the same things, sometimes we miss a detail or two, and sometimes, we only see what we want.
   I tend to forget sometimes that there are resounding differences between Blogs and Journalism. Blogs are for the most part personal writings and observations of others who wish to share their visions, opinions and interpretations based on emotions, information and personal experiences. While these Bloggers do tend to do some if not extensive research into and for these Blogs, these are not non-bias reports. Journalism, from what I was taught in High School, is reporting of facts and information in a non-bias base to educate or inform the general public of events and ideas. There is usually much research involved, and references are given to ensure that this information could be cross-checked and continually researched for further developments and later date fact checking allowing for a historical record of information. Although much alike, the two are very different.
   In today's information age and society of internet access, we tend to blur the lines between 'good reporting' and 'open source informational blogs'. We find good information in both, and select lines of information to follow, yet we forget about news and tend to follow opinion, and in doing so, we also find sources that we disagree with and feel the need to 'comment' on either source; blog or news journal source. Yes, I agree and point out frequently myself, that today's "News Journalism" is not so non-bias and many are all but blogs for the producers side of the 'story'. Case in point would obviously be anything from a FOX News outlet. But all of today's media, at least the mainstream media (ABC, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, USA Today, ect,ect) has fallen prey to corporate owned and or backed entities that would like nothing less than to control how and what we think and do so by editing and displaying only what they want us to see, hear and understand what the 'news' is. This is not something new, it is an old tried and true, time tested maneuver of 'those in power' controlling the masses 'under them' into a sense of submission and domination. It actively allows confusion and easy discrediting any opposing view or information due to it's elevation of 'True' source or 'authority'. Basically, everything and anything else is misinformed, uninformed or 'treasonous' information and 'upstarts' of 'discontent'.
   Enter today's bloggers! Free individuals, without direct oversight from the 'people in power' and what news we find! We see so much more of the 'behind the scenes', the little revealed maneuvers of politics and government, the 'other side of the story' and 'the rest of the story' as told to us by those who either took the time to research these things or have strong opinions of these things or both. Yeah! Go us! But readers beware! Not all Bloggers are equal, not all Bloggers are accurate, and not all Bloggers are trying to inform you or even to fool you. again, KNOW THY SOURCE should be a mainstay in any and all of your sources about any and all you are researching and following. Bloggers, although are a good thing to have to keep a lot of information and misinformation in check, they too can be sources of misinformation fed by the same lines as the biased news and lost journalists. (Mind you that not all of today's journalists are bias and work to purposely misinform, many are edited so overtly that what they submitted for print and what was printed read like two different stories.)
   We like to find sources that we agree with and disagree with. We like to post commentary on both sources, in support and in defense or 'correcting them'. This is allowed on most blog and news sites, and is freely open, regarding a few comment or posting rules so that we 'play nice' and offer some sort of respect. I dig that, it follows our American (USA) Constitutional right of free speech, and allows the site owners to remain in control of their sites.   I question a lot, sometimes too much I think, and sometime not enough I find. I look to the information source, and a lot of times dig even deeper when things don't seem to add up. Call me a 'news skeptic', but it allows me to find out many related things about what I am searching for or researching into. Direct information and indirect supporting information sometimes can be and is manipulated by the authors of it to lead you in one direction or another. That should always be looked into and suspect of misinformation.
Ah, here I go lecturing about how to research...
   For the most part, I follow this advise and opinion of mine about news and blogs, and even research as deep and the information allows. Sometimes I get caught up in a story or event, and forget to go much further than the source that lead me to either support it or 'attack it'. Now I for one almost never directly attack the person who wrote an article or blog, but I will attack it's source, and I rarely personally 'attack' an individual without facts and evidence that supports my information or opinion. And no, I will never slander another blogger, even in my own blogs. We all make mistakes, we are all subject to misinformation and misleading evidence. That is our own bias, opinions and sources. We sometimes fail to see that 'bigger picture'.
   We also are subject to 'pissing people off' by our blogs, and our commentary posting. That too is normal and seen daily if you cruise through news sites, blogs and forums online. We are , no matter how logical or civil we believe ourselves, are subject to emotion, and therefore emotional responses. Now it comes to the matter or subject of ethical action. No, no lecture from me on this. Just information....
    Online forums, social groups, personal blogs and pages (mostly hosted on social media sites) have those pesky and welcome 'comment' sections. These are mostly open to any and all who might find themselves there, and are likely to use the 'comment' to say their piece. These are public, semi-public, and searchable by anyone. Use your best judgement, but don't be offended or surprised that someone, at sometime or another, is going to offend you, 'attack' you or your ideas and opinions, or just plain decides that they don't like you. In today's world, 'stalking', 'trolling', flameing' and 'blocking' and 'deleting' have so much more in definition and application on line. We are all subject to them.
    Well, besides this day's BLOG entry, I have no NEWS. I am not a Journalist for any network or media company. I freelance write now and again and I freely blog my opinions and share information. If I upset you, not my intention. If I made you think, then I have done my job.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Message to the Nations Government by it's People

This movement of meaning, our occupation of our Nations Public places, and the messages that we bring,
are not weakend by Police eviction, not quieted by Government officials and not broken by coroprate banks.
We are given strength and resolve by witnessing the force and oppression against us.
We are feed by the reduced and restricted servings of our Constitutional Rights.
We are encouraged to continue on by the unlawful demands of those who would defeat us.

For every peaceful occupation disrupted
For every peaceful assembly disturbed
For every individual harrassed
We are shown and acknowledged in our Power.

This country, our Nation, the United States of America
was founded upon the freedom of government dictation,
the restriction of freedom, under the belief that we, not the wealty,
not the corporate machine, but we, The People, would govern ourselves
by representation, equal and freely choses and held accountable to the populace.

We arre calling for such accountability
We are demanding our government secured Rights
We are exercising our Freedom.

The Power of this Nation was born on the backs of citizens like us
The Soventry of this Nation was secured by its People
And the future of this Nation is our, the citizens, to decide

We are standing together, more powerful each time we are attacked.
We are speaking out, louder each time we are detained.
We grow more numerous, more determined, and more focused every day

We are the 99%,
and we want our Nation back!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Occupiers Views of this Nation

   I know that I have only been aware of this countries political arena, side shows and grandstand events, for a measly 30+ odd years (the first 10 years or so, nothing beyond family and immediate friends counted in my life, therefore I do not count them) yet I have noticed the drastic turns and devastating twists that has occurred in the last 20 years. These twists and turns have taken the American citizenry and made it all but criminal to be not just a citizen, but a citizen with a voice, and a demand of one's Rights coupled with the education and knowledge of said Rights and an understanding of Civil Laws or the Constitution.
I fondly remember, while in school, taking classes such as Social Studies and Civics, which gave to me an understanding of not only what Laws were and how they actually work, from inception to enforcement, but also just what Government was and how it worked. We studied all three branches of our 'great democracy' and how it was designed to allow for checks and balances and how it was made to keep the People in power through representation and accountability of Government. Later in life, I got involved in Civil Liberties, a bit of Activism, and regularly exercised my civil rights of free speech, peaceful protesting, free press, and free exercise of religion. Much I did learn by actually actively exercising my civil rights, and first and foremost, I learned that Government officials do not like it when we stand up for ourselves and not only question 'what is going on', but demand from them corrective actions and more specifically, accountability of and by them for current government or National circumstances.
I was aware of the events and decisions, of certain government officials, without citizen voice or consent, that began placing certain Laws that began chocking our Civil Rights put into place by the US Constitution and supposedly protected by our US Government. I observed as our Civil Rights were slowly limited in action-ability and restricted or regulated by 'government officials', as if we needed permission to use them, and only by their regulation and conditions. I Grew even more concerned as our Civil Rights and our Social benefits, be them of Social Security, Medicare/ Medicaid, Retirement, Military benefits and retirement, all which are initially invested in by the recipient, which includes unemployment benefits, put into place to assure our citizens and help stabilize our economy and posterity as well as reward those who have invested into the government by service and income. What alarmed me most, however, is when the government began alluding to these Civil Rights and Social benefits as 'Entitlements' and tried to sway 'public opinion' to see these 'Entitlements' as a bad thing and that these people are not just undesirable in asking for these 'entitlements', but are almost underhandedly destroying the Nation by demanding these 'entitlements'.
Now, I am not so naive to believe that the American Citizen has no blame in the current situations and National position of our country, however I am not so ignorant on how this Nation got to this point in our history. I do recall, I do remember. What the current established and seated government has seemed to forgotten, is that we little citizens, with all our demands and selfish claims upon this country, all have a memory that reminds us of what we are 'entitled to' by the governmental writ best known to us by the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution. It is my belief and understanding to what was taught to me by my schools and my freedom to explore and question my government, that this Nation was born of the People, by the People, and for the People, and was not to the Corporations, the rich, nor foreign interests or banks, which, by the way, now claims possession of these rights and accuses the citizenry of unlawful and illegal action by demanding that these rights and benefits be returned to them and that the active government officials be held accountable for allowing the Nation to be victim of said entities that are NOT individuals by definition but have Civil Rights by Law! ???
How did we become so far removed from our Civil Rights? How did all these limitations and restrictions come into play? The shortest explanation would be ; 'apathy'. Also it could be; 'ignorance'. Mostly it is complacency, passive submission, and dis-interest for 'fear of getting into trouble' for speaking out. How soon we forgot that the Laws were designed, originally, to protect the people from the dictation of a corrupt government. And slowly, yet purposely, these Laws, these Civil Rights, were chocked, limited and restricted, by the seated government and the directing or controlling forces behind these decisions. Yes, there is something beyond our own Government, with the power and a voice louder and more influential than the Citizens of this Nation that has taken the control and concerns of the citizens out of the Government as it stands today. In less than 3 generations, we lost our Government to; financial institutions (both US and foreign), multinational corporations, foreign business and governments, corrupt government officials and to GREED.
Somehow, Corporations have become the focus of civil liberties and not the Citizens. Business's are given tax cuts, tax breaks, economic stimulus and free money, all without much of regulation nor requirement of responsibility nor a duty to be held accountable for. Yet citizen are demanding 'entitlements', 'freeloading off the Government'. I can care less of the 'wealth dispersement' issue that seems to be taking center-stage here lately, I am most concerned with the 'revolving and circulating' economic health of the Nation, and it is almost dead. Soon, it will not matter how much money we have, it will be worthless if we cannot get get our government to 'take control back' from these master puppeteers!
In the meantime, I encourage you to exercise your rights, get strong within them. Educate yourself in the Laws that govern our Government. Question everything, and do not just accept demands that limit, regulate, restrict and deny your Civil Rights and liberties. Stand up to corruption. Demand accountability of these Bankers, these government officials, and yes even the US Supreme Courts. You do not have to be a politician to be an active citizen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Once again I will state the obvious...

I woke this morning from dreams of conversations half heard and arguments stirred on by vague opinions. It disturbed me mostly due to it's stark reality of what I have witnessed in the past during actual gatherings of people who are to be said 'of liked minds'. As I awoke, what was on my mind, and slipped from my lips was this;" It is rude to discuss religion or politics in mixed company, simply because you don't know who your'e going to piss off!"

I made my morning coffee and decided to do some reading and research on the current going's on of the Pagan world, and true to form, there is a lot of hub bub going on. We Pagans are so diverse, we can't seem to even agree within our own 'traditions' for the most part, and there is good reason for it. (I'll get to this later.) And when we do agree, it is usually to do so while, or because, we are attacking another religion or Pagan tradition, and these mini-truse's seem to last only as long as we focus on our subject(s). Then it occurred to me, that this is generally accepted as not only the norm, but approved of by the majority of Pagans. It still didn't shock me, it stirred me on!

The phrase I am so used to hearing is;"Self - proclaimed Witches or Pagans". I truly believe that this is supposed to be an insult or a belittling of one's belief. Guess what? It is a statement of FACT! Here is my take on it...
I am a 'self-proclaimed' Druid, and I am a 'self-proclaimed Wiccan Priest'. Almost all of us Pagans are 'self-proclaimed' something or other within our beliefs. Some, or maybe most of the more vocal, are not only 'self-proclaimed', but are also 'papered' by some recognized organization or another within those boundaries of that belief system, AND licensed by a 'legal' entity such as a State or by Federal recognition of the government. Still, we are 'self-proclaimed'. I proclaimed to the world my belief. I state that I am a practitioner, Priest, and believer of my faith and religion. So the title is true; 'Self-Proclaimed'.

Like many others, I took the time to honor my religion by studying under various mentors and training systems to better understand the philosophies, histories and symbolism of my religion. I researched every aspect of my belief through science, literature, and mysticism known to me or taught to me by others. My mentors went to great pains to teach me their understandings so that I was exposed to other concepts of belief. Even before I became a 'legally recognized clergy memebr' of my religion, I was publicly recognized and personally proclaimed as not only a practitioner, but as a honorable Priest of my faith. Not the faith nor belief of my mentors, but my faith.
"Let no man dictate your religion, it rests between you and your creator."
This was the truest statement I have ever heard. It has never left my understanding, nor has been removed from my teachings. Yes, I teach what was taught to me, discovered by me, and interpreted and understood by me. However, my students are taught to 'think for themselvs' and encouraged to learn from ALL sources of information, for and against, literal and scientific, historical and myth, about the religions and cultures that birthed them to us. Ours is NOT the Old Way, it is our belief that is Old, our practice is New.
Yes, we carry many of the 'old sciences' along with us, so that the Old Way, like Herb lore, is not lost to the new science of pharmacology. We continue to follow the 'old' teachings of astrology, and we hold to the psychology and metaphysical understandings of practices long debunked by 'modern' science. Bit these are only a part of our belief. Mighth as well accuse us of 'idolatry' and 'false deity' worship! That too is true! It is because it is OUR RELIGIOUS BELIEF(S).

I do not always agree with others in my religious belief, and rightly so. You and I see things from 'single points of perspective'. We can either agree, disagree or compromise in those individual points of view. And as a group we tend to rationalize the majority or most accepted concepts as the 'truth' or approved view. Yet, we remain true to ourselves and our Gods in our belief. Pagans, today, seem to think that; a) we should all be able to get along, or b) that we are within our rights to act barbaric and uncivilized in our disagreements. Both concepts are of course backed by statements of historic or mythological record of 'right and propper' action.
I absolutely HATE followers! If you or anyone you know within the Pagan community are followers of some Priest/Priestess, then you are not thinkers. Everyone in any Pagan religion, or ANY religion for that matter, needs no Priest, Revrend, or Minister/Clergy, to commune with Nature or the Gods.
Here is a clue, of all the Pagan cultures that I have studied in my 25 years, only a hand-full EVER fought over a religious point or practice!The 'great religious wars' didn't even come about until the Judao-Christian faith and the Muslim faith locked horns. In Egypt, there was several minor militant-religious wars, but that was about the time of the Hebrew captivity. There is plenty of research available on this, please feel free to study up on it.

Secondly, Pagans are not as 'fluffy' as some would believe, and rightly so due to the religious teachings of their faith(s). Although I try my best to diffuse conflict and avoid physical confrontation, I am a warrior, and have no qualms when defending myself, or my belief. I am Celt! Descendant of a culture that conquered most of the known world, including Egypt and Rome! Yes, they also fell, as all Great Nations do. But the blood remembers. ( Ask any Native American!)

As a Pagan, we do not have to 'get along' on things we do not agree on. However in this country, the USA that is, we had best decide to defend one another's rights to believe in our faith(s) and honor that if nothing else. Why? Because the religious movement in america had not lessened, only grown more secretive and selective in its activities. Our government had again allowed for 'questioning' of our 'guarenteed' rights as set by the Constitution, and in so doing are opening up an opportunity for those faiths that are organized and are co-supportive, to be able to help rewrite these amendments and secure those freedoms and rights away from us. don't think it can happen? Look to the first breaking of the Catholic Church, they didn't think that either!

So, get over yourselves! Quit accusing each other of 'self-proclaimed' this or that. (BTW: most books out there on the market not only approve on 'self dedication and solitary study/practice, they teach one how to accomplish it.) Doing so only weakens us as Pagans and adds not only ammunition to non-Pagan assultants, but injures our honor, our Rights and faith(s).
Follow YOUR religion, hold to Your beliefs and remain true to YOUR Faith, and quit trying to interpret mine and tell me how wrong I am or anyone else is because you have found something different. It is our differences that not only make us unique, but strengthens us in our understanding of our religion. It is our similarities that allow us to communicate and celebrate our history, our ancestors and our Gods together.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Season is come...How to support your community and Nation

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide
Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --merchandise that
has been produced at the expense of American labor. This Year can be different. This year Americans
can give the gift of genuineconcern for other Americans. There is no longer
an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.
 Yes there is!
It's time to think outside the box. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon
or barber?Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement. Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small,
American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing
of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen?
 Perhaps that grateful giftceiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer,
 or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants --
 all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.

This isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting
your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their
doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day or some other personal service. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and
knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Locally crafted soaps, coffee, art works or books form local authors are another idea.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theater.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
How about local bakeries that make specialty breads and  cakes?
Honestly do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those
kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
Or how about taking that money you were going to spend on each other and "Donate It" to that
Fund Raiser they are having in your neighborhood for that child who is fighting Cancer (or whatever the fight for their life is) ! You don't have to send money overseas in order to help somebody, there are plenty of people needing help right here in America !!
You see,
Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Lets take Christmas back to Caring !! Christmas is about caring about each other, and encouraging Americans to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
These are only a few ideas. Be creative, go

The following is some commentary on this blog post that I placed on another forum;
I prefer to care about the entire world not just Americans.
 "I agree, but one step at a time...we need to focus on healing our own state of affairs to

truly be effective in helping other countries...This post isn't saying hault all humanitarian aid

 to nations in need. Simply buy local to help a neighbor, a friend, pretty much any local ma
 n pa' shop so more of them don't close down because Walmart (i.e.) has the latest in crap

 toys made in China that will probably be re-called anyways due to high levels of lead. We

 need to support local economies and stand on our own two feet as a nation instead of

 relying/suckling on the teat of some other country that provides the US with (more often

 than not) useless, cheaply made yet expensive foreign goods

 If we begin to focus on our local and then National economy, we help out our country and citizens, US companies not Multinational corporations, and help stimulate our economy, which by improving circulation of our currency, strengthens it in the world market, and then we can look to imports. WE MUST once again become a Nation of PRODUCERS, not just CONSUMERS. 100 years ago, we produced over 80% of our consumption, now we import over 70% of those consumer goods, yet export raw materials to other countries so that we may buy good from them. This is a cycle we have to end!

Shopping at Walmart helps American and Chinese employees receive paychecks.
 ---- has a point... If we wait until our country/state/city is perfect before helping another country... it'll never happen
  Perfection is not attainable; this is America, NOT Utopia. Sarcasm aside, if we constantly look outside our country
 to help; when are we going to focus on our country, and who is going to do it? We have to begin, and soon. And since this is a
 composite problem, then there are multiple solutions that can be applied. And since the current government has no clue on how to fix it, then we
 must stand up and try to do our best at resolving what we can, when we can, and how we can. Focusing on our local economy, local business and then to
state and national economic flows, we can do a lot. Multinational companies and mega corporations do supply many jobs, I agree, but
most of the revenue does not recycle into the local economies, but goes out of country. Wal-Mart, although a US owned and 'operated
' company, service and sells many things, yet it's bulk consists of international and or foreign products. Yes they are cheaper to buy, and
 I do on occasion shop there, but that revenue looses a lot as far as stimulating the US economy. We need a long term solution of
 economic flow, not a stimulus that actually costs us more 6 months down the road, nor a stimulus that we spend on foreign national
products essentially sending that money out of country. Again, this is just a small part of our current National troubles, but one we, as
citizens, can do something about. Much like moving our money from multinational banks to local credit unions, if we support our local or
 at least National business and their products and services, we support our Nation, not China, Japan, or wherever.
I support the world economy... I don't understand why people are so insistent on this "buy American" crap. Seriously, we don't have the resources or workforce to make everything in America that we use here. And it's not like America doesn't make money off foreign imports. Ever hear of tariffs? We probably make more money off merchandise that is made in China than we would if we make the same item in America. Plus, we can buy it for half the cost!
  The difference is, the tariffs do not constitute but a 8% income of the cost/money leaving the country. The difference is, 50 years ago we were PRODUCING over 80% of our consumer goods, and now import over 75% of these same goods. The difference is, we are supporting foreign national companies by buying their goods and keeping them employed as we have a growing unemployment situation due to the outsourcing to these countries. The difference is that we no longer have a growing economy that can keep up with, nor able to catch up with, our currently growing population of our Nation yet are supplying more benefits to not only foreign national corporations but also to illegal aliens in country than to the growing mass of population of unemployed and underemployed citizens. The difference my friend, is that our country has slipped down the ladder of education levels, economic growth, civil support and limits to our freedoms compared to other world countries. These, again, are just a part of the issues that we need to address.