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Politics

Yesterday was Election Day here in the U.S., not a Presidential year, but there were LOADS of local elections held nationwide. Gubernatorial races, State House & Senate races, Mayoral races, as well a plethora of other small governmental committee, board and Judicial races. These types of election years don’t usually garner lots of media coverage, but this year? These – normally viewed by the general population as “minor” elections – have brought about some startlingly positive results (In my oh so very liberal opinion).

I woke up this morning to find that several local area GOP incumbents have been ousted by a Democrat. While NYS as a whole is viewed as a “Blue State”, the county in which I reside is generally VERY “Red” (Right-wingers everywhere, y’all!), so this was some pretty exciting news!

This, coupled with the news of key Dem wins elsewhere:

  •  Ralph Northam (D, VA) and Phil Murphy (D, NJ) each won Gubernatorial races against the current GOP Lt. Governors of their respective states.
  • Philadelphia, PA elected liberal Democrat Larry Krasner as their new District Attorney who has promised to end mass incarceration and the death penalty. (Go, Larry!!)
  • The cherry on top: In Virginia, yes Virginia, Danica Roem (D) defeated Del. Robert Marshall (R) in VA’s 13th district becoming the first openly Transgender candidate to the state House of Delegates – she will also be the first Transgender candidate to be elected and seated on ANY state legislature! (You go, girl!)

Now that I’ve rambled on about elections you’re probably bored to tears, but hear’s where this all got goofy with pop-culture wisdom in my little Pixie brain. As I read the news of these remarkable victories across the nation I started to hear George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” in my head. Confused?? Don’t be! Lemme ‘splain.

This wonderfully deep song by the late and exquisitely talented crooner is about him reclaiming his identity and reveling in the joy that he felt in finding and being his true self. In my mind, that is what’s happening with these elections. We are reclaiming our national identity as one of diversity, one that helps its citizenry, one that looks out for the health of future generations and our planet.

Freedom! is the battle cry of the Democrat, the Liberal, as well as the Republican who is sick of having their party’s ideals distorted and eclipsed by an overwhelmingly self-serving demagogue.

I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I stopped the show
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone I forgot to be”

Life is about “Give and take”, you cannot keep taking from We the People and expect we won’t fight back. Our country was built on the ideas of lifting people up to be able to fulfill their dreams, not tax them into obscurity and use them as virtual slave labor to help the rich get richer. So, let’s keep this up people. The utterly important Congressional Mid-Term elections are next year. It’s time to stop our nation’s descent into the past. Keep fighting the good fight, and we have a real chance at moving ahead to a brighter future.

Freedom!
Freedom! (oh freedom)
Freedom! (my freedom)
You’ve gotta give for what you take
Freedom! (hold on to my freedom)
Freedom!
Freedom! (my freedom)
You’ve gotta give for what you take”

So, sit back, relax, and listen to the awesomeness that was the lovely George Michael.

Do NOT, however, sit on your laurels…continue to resist.

The title of this post is by no means original…but it is a phrase that I have not been able to get out of my head for the past 10 days.

So much has happened in the world, and in my personal life to keep this phrase pounding in my brain. It all started with the sudden death of a classmate from High School. 39 is so young for someone so vibrant to leave This Life… perhaps he had more important business on another plane, but he will be missed here.

The next morning we all learned of the devastation in Japan…and that has been an ongoing saga ever since. It seems that they got the destruction trifecta: 8.9 Earthquake, Tsunami & a Nuclear Crisis. Any one of these would be enough to leave the country scrambling, but all three is still difficult to fathom for those of us who aren’t actually there. I feel the pain though, an entire nation crying out…my heart hurts for them.

If you’re looking for ways to help, there are many options, but there are two that are near and dear to my heart.

1.) Sacred Mists Shoppe: Light a Sacred Flame – 100% of profits of the sale of this candle go to the Red Cross

2.) Isle of Enchantments: Sunrise Heart Pendant for Japan – $5 from each Sunrise Heart pendant sold goes to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami Fund.

As if these events weren’t enough, I learned that my Dad is going to have to have his thumb amputated due to cancer…A close friend had to deal with the death of his beloved Aunt, and we just discovered that my husband’s Dad not only has to have his gall bladder out, but they have found tumors on his kidney & liver.

And now, we’re bombing Libya

So with all of this misery, pain and destruction in the world, what are we to do?? Sieze the Day.

If you are not living your dream, it is time to start. If you’ve always wanted to do This, That or The Other, do it. Try new things. Help the less fortunate. Use your imagination to change the world…Imagine Peace.

We don’t know how long we are here for, we need to pay attention and embrace Life!

Ferris Bueller said it best: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.

So I say to you: Don’t miss it. Seize the Day…and make your life extraordinary.

 

YuleLog

As we  get closer and closer to Yule, I have found my thoughts drifting to those  who are serving in the Military. Programs for sponsering a Servicemember abound…but there are few that are specifically geared towards those of the Pagan Persuasion.

I did come accross a few while looking for information to post to the Political Pagans Board at Sacred Mists that are certainly worth a mention here as well.

The first is Operation Circle Care, a program through Circle Sanctuary that sends care packages containing Pagan books/magazines/CDs/etc to active duty Pagan & Wiccan Soldiers who are stationed in war zones.

The beauty of this program? It is not restricted to the Yule Season, it is carried out year round. 🙂

(For more information, click the Operation Circle Care Link above.)

Another option is brought to you by the folks at PagansUnited.org

Pagans United Member, SPC Keith Roberts, has volunteered to distribute care packages to Pagan soldiers stationed in Iraq.

Care Packages can be sent to the following address for distribution:

SPC Keith Roberts
HHOC STB G2 OPS
Camp Liberty
APO AE 09342

So, what should you send??? Below are some suggestions for items needed for both Spiritual and Everyday use.

Spiritual Items:

  • Alter Cloths
  • Pagan/Wiccan Books
  • Pagan CDs
  • Candles (tea lights & small spell candles)
  • Crystals (ones with properties for protection & healing would be appropriate)
  • Wands
  • Witch’s Calendars/Datebooks
  • Protective Herbs
  • Amulets/Pendants
  • Small God/Goddess figures

Everyday Items:

  • AT&T Phone Cards
  • Foot Powder
  • Newly Released DVDs & CDs
  • Deoderant
  • Razers & Shaving Cream
  • Baby Wipes (they use them when without water)
  • Coffee, Tea, Hot Cocoa
  • AA Batteries
  • Snacks (Cookies, not-so-melty candy, granola bars, chips, nuts, etc.)
  • Blank Note Cards, Stationary, Pens
  • Avon Skin So Soft
  • Chewing Gum
  • Powdered Sports Drinks (like Gatorade)

Do NOT Send:

  • Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
  • Firearms (apparently some have tried *slaps forehead*)
  • Any matter depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or non authorized political materials.
  • Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith. (Items listed above, for the personal use, are permissible.)
  • Pork or pork by-products.
  • Liquor of any kind

I also stumbled upon is Operation Yule Log for Our Pagan Troops. This program, organized by Rev. Kay J. Ahl & Peter Barrington, is looking for people to hand craft small Yule Logs to be used by active duty Pagans in Iraq.  Instuctions for how to craft a Yule log and where to send it can be found in the Press Release (click link above to read full details).

I realize it may be getting cutting it pretty close, but even if you cannot do it this year, it’s a marvelous idea to keep in mind for future Yuletide Giving.

If you do not have the time or money to put together a care package, please consider sending cards and letters to Brighten the Spirits of our Pagan Brethren who are putting their lives on the line to Serve & Protect our freedoms, as well as those of the citizens of the countries in which they are stationed.

For a list of Wiccans & Pagans serving in the Military check out this Witchvox page:  Witches, Pagans & Heathans in the Military.

Whether you choose to send a package, or write letters, it’s good to know when you should send them by. The US Postal Service has released a chart with recommended ship by dates for this year, as well as other useful information. Find this info here: Sending Military Mail in Time for the Holidays.

Wishing you and all those who Serve a very Blessed Yule.

Velma, My own HAPPY pet :)

 HR 3501 was just brought to my attention by a fellow student of The Sacred Mists. The Humanity and Pets Partnered through the Years Act (aka: HAPPY ACT) would change the tax code to allow pet owners to get a tax deduction for pet care expenses. The proposed credit would be for up to $3500 for pet care expenses, including Veterinary care.

The Bill, proposed by U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), acknowledges the importance of pets in our lives. It points out two very important factors:

  1. According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63 percent of United States households own a pet. 
  2. The Human-Animal Bond has been shown to have positive effects upon people’s emotional and physical well-being.

This recognizes that pets are, according to most of us, actually part of the family. I found it interesting that 63% of American households own a pet, yet only 46% have children (See USA Today Article: Number of households with kids hits new low ).

During these trying economic times, this Bill would most certainly be a blessing to multitudes of pet owners.  It could allow owners to take care of their pets, but it could also reduce the likelihood that owners would have to give up their pets to a shelter, abandon them…or worse…

Let me be clear, this would be a tax Deduction NOT a tax Credit. For those who may not know the difference, a Credit is a dollar for dollar refund (the taxpayer could conceivably receive $3500 even if they paid NO taxes into the system), while a deduction only reduces taxable income up to $3500 (reducing the tax bill by whatever their tax rate is).

In September Mr. McCotter sent a letter to members of Congress looking for co-sponsers:

“Dear Colleague

According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63% of United States households own a pet. Indeed, the human-animal bond has been shown to have a positive effect upon people’s emotional and physical well being. In families with children, pets help to create a nurturing environment and provide ample educational opportunities. For people in later stages of life, pets offer important companionship. No matter the age of the owner, pets have been shown to reduce stress, safeguard against depression, improve social skills, and even ease loss.

In light of this, please join me in becoming a cosponsor to H.R. 3501, the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act. If enacted, H.R. 3501 would amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to allow an annual tax deduction of up to $3500 for qualified pet care expenses. Specifically, “qualified pet care expenses” would be defined as funds spent in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a legally owned, domesticated animal.” (See Huffington Post Article: House GOPer Seeks Co-Sponsors For Pet Health Care Tax Benefit ).

While a vast majority of website polls I have seen show large percentages of Americans are in favor of the Bill, so far, it seems only one member has joined his cause, Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN).  It also doesn’t seem to be moving through Congress very quickly. It was introduced in July 2009, and has been referred to the Senate Ways & Means commitee…and there it sits. Now, I realize that there are ‘bigger fish to fry’ at the moment (Healthcar reform among the biggest, at the moment), it would be nice if our representatives could get something done to help lessen our tax burden in the interim.

If you are in support of this Bill, I urge you to contact your local Represetatives and ask them to Co-Sponser it.

To find contact information for your Elected Officials go to: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

 Timeline: Iran’s election

(Compiled from two articles on World News Australia – they site AFP as their source)

**The info regarding Neda was written by myself – (AP articles & Wikipedia is where I read her story)

Key events involving Iran since the June 12 presidential election:
Friday, June 12

– More than 46 million eligible voters invited to choose between four candidates, with incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s last prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi the favourites. Soon after the voting ended Mousavi announces he has won the election.

Saturday, June 13

– Ahmadinejad calls the result “a great victory” and says the vote was “completely free.” Mousavi complains of “numerous and blatant irregularities.”– Mousavi supporters take to the streets of Tehran, clashing with baton-wielding police in the worst violence since widespread student protests in 1999.

– Some Internet and mobile phone services disrupted, leading to accusations of media censorship.

Sunday, June 14

 

– Ahmadinejad addresses a huge victory rally in Tehran.– Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says he has asked the Guardians Council, which supervises elections, to probe allegations of rigging and calls on Mousavi to pursue any complaints via legal and peaceful means.

– Leading Western nations express concern about the election outcome.

 Monday, June 15

– Mousavi appears in public for the first time since the election at a mass rally in Tehran that gathers hundreds of thousands of people.

– The Guardians Council says it will investigate complaints of irregularities lodged by Mousavi as well as Mohsen Rezai and Mehdi Karroubi, the other two presidential candidates.

– Relatives of people arrested in the protests demonstrate outside a Tehran court.

– UN chief Ban Ki-moon calls for the will of the Iranian people to be “fully respected.”

Tuesday, June 16

 

– State television says the rival camps staged more mass rallies in the capital.

– Iran announces restrictions on foreign media, including banning them from covering “unauthorised” rallies.

– Organisers of the pro-regime rally blamed “enemies, particularly the US, Britain, and Israel” for “interfering in Iran’s internal affairs, plotting against the government and giving media support to enemy groups, rioters and social and political hooligans.”

– Ahmadinejad attends an international security conference in Russia, where he says “the age of empires has ended.”

– US President Barack Obama says he has “deep concerns” over the election but will not meddle in Iranian affairs, and the White House says Obama remains “committed to direct engagement” with Iran, despite the violence.

– The foreign ministry summons EU envoys to protest at reaction to the vote.

– Unrest reported in other cities including Mashhad, Isfahan and Shiraz.
– Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says there should be a partial recount if required.

Wednesday, June 17

 – Two more prominent supporters of Mousavi are arrested.– Foreign ministry accuses some foreign media of becoming the “mouthpiece of rioters.”– Revolutionary Guards threaten Iran’s online media with legal action if their sites publish material that creates “tension.”

– Tens of thousands of Mousavi supporters defy a ban on opposition gatherings and take part in a “silent” protest rally, marching through central Tehran. State television broadcast brief footage of the rally.

– A dozen Iranian journalists and bloggers have been arrested and others are in hiding after authorities took steps to restrict the media, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

Thursday, June 18

– The three defeated candidates in the election have cited 646 violations in the June 12 poll, electoral watchdog the Guardians Council said.– Iran’s top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts, hailed the mass turnout in the June 12 presidential election but stayed silent on the disputed results.

Friday, June 19

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs Ahmadinejad victory, warns of bloodshed if protests don’t stop.

 
Saturday, June 20
– Police fire tear gas, water cannon on Tehran protesters.

– Shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini attacked. Suicide bomber killed, three wounded: state media.

**The death of 26 yr old Neda Agha-Soltan drew international attention when she was shot and killed by the Basij during election protests. This poignant event was captured on video by witnesses and was then broadcast over the internet. The video, wich is heart-wrenching to view, quickly became a rallying point for the reformist movement. Her name, Neda, means  Voice, Calling or Divine Message in Persian.  This has led to her being referred to as the Voice of Iran. (The Basij is a paramilitary volunteer militia founded by the order of the Ayatollah Khomeini in November 1979. The Basij are subordinate to, and receive their orders from, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei)

Sunday, June 21

– Ten killed, over 100 wounded in clashes Saturday: state television.
– Ahmadinejad accuses Washington, London of “interference”.

– BBC correspondent ordered to leave Iran.

– Mousavi urges supporters to continue demos.

Monday, June 22

– At least 457 people arrested Saturday: state radio.
– Guardians Council admits vote discrepancies in 50 districts.

– Britain withdraws families of Tehran embassy staff.

– Tehran protesters defy warning by elite Revolutionary Guards and take to streets. Riot police break up demo with tear gas, arrest 50-60: witnesses.

Tuesday, June 2

– Guardians Council rules out vote annulment.
– Khamenei extends by five days a Wednesday deadline to examine vote complaints.

– Iran and Britain expel diplomats in tit-for-tat move as Khamenei brands Britain “most evil” of Iran’s enemies.

– US President Barack Obama says US “outraged” by crackdown on protesters.

Wednesday, June 24

Khamenei says regime will not back down on results.
Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli says rioters funded by the CIA and exiled opposition group People’s Mujahedeen of Iran.

Defeated conservative candidate Mohsen Rezai withdraws complaint about results.

Authorities arrest 25 staff at Mousavi’s newspaper: colleague.

Riot police and volunteer militia deter protesters from gathering near parliament in Tehran: witnesses

Ways To Help & Support Those in Iran:

 
  •  Join Facebook Group: 100 Million Facebook members for Democracy in Iran or Face book Fan Page: IRAN
  • “Green” your profile pics/pages and Blogs: Green is the official color of  the Iran movement, changing the color of your profile pages, blogs and avatars to gree helps to show your support!        

(This may seem trivial, but Iranians have said every bit of support matters and helps them to keep going) 

 – To change your Avatar on Twitter, go to: http://helpiranelection.com  A single click there will change your Twitter avatar to have a green overlay — the official color of the movement — and will post this Tweet on your behalf: ” Show support for #iranelection green overlay to your Twitter avatar with 1-click http://helpiranelection.com/”.

You can always alter your pics before upload by using the photo editor in photobucket as well.

  •  Google: Your City “Solidarity” “Iran” – This is a good way to find events in your area that are being set up to show support
  •  Help conceal Iranian activists who are on Twitter from the secret police by changing your location to Tehran, Iran and your timezone to Tehran.

Magickal Help:

As Wiccans, my Brothers & Sisters at Sacred Mists  & I have come up with some ways we can support them in a “Witchy” way 😉 .

  • Take a moment each day and stand outside facing the direction of Iran…Focus  & stream your Intentions & Energy in that direction for at least 1 minute
  • Light a candle on your alter, or even create an alter specifically for the Iran struggle
  • If you are a Reiki practitioner, you could send daily Reiki to the Region
  • Use your Magickal Creativity and craft spells to help those in need
  • If you have others that you gather with, be it your coven, or just some like-minded friends, plan to gather and perform a special ritual.

This is an important time in the World’s History…and is grossly important for those in the thick of the fight. These may all seem like rather simple things to do, but I think they are better than doing nothing at all.

If I find or think of any other things we as a Global Community can do, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

Blessings & Love to you and all who Inhabit the Earth…