Tariff

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

Sticky word that, almost evokes a sense of alarm. Here comes the Tariff, run. Its an old word, used I would say since Cain charged Abel a fee for the salads. But, its not really a word to strike fear and dread (as some would have) amongst the “common folk”, fear and dread of what. Face it, high finance has been controlling the import/export exchange for centuries and the people have done nothing to change that, or could if they tried. The way inter-state foreign businesses are ran, is a wheeler-dealer world of intrigue and “James Bondian” secrecy. To wit some in the government seem hell bent on placating the world at the expense of the American working people. Why? Good question, one I am unable to answer, or even attempt to understand.

Tariffs, as mentioned above are not new. Nor, is the U. S. the first or only country applying them to their commerce. The World Trade Organization (WTO) seems to be the regulator of such agreements or at least from what I can glean, at least the percent allowed watch dog. But check it out yourself, at the site, they even have a data base downloadable or so they say. WTO.Org  then search tariff. You may be amazed at what you find….Read More

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FAIRY CHANGELINGS

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

It was firmly believed, at one time, in Wales, that the Fairies exchanged their own weakly or deformed offspring for the strong children of mortals.  The child supposed to have been left by the Fairies in the cradle, or elsewhere, was commonly called a changeling.  This faith was not confined to Wales; it was as common in Ireland, Scotland, and England, as it was in Wales.  Thus, in Spenser’s “Faery Queen”, reference is made in the following words to this popular error:–

And her base Elfin brood there for thee left; such, men do changelings call, so chang’d by Faeries theft.

“Faery Queen”, Bk. I, c. 10.

The same superstition is thus alluded to by Shakespeare: A lovely boy, stol’n from an Indian king, She never had so sweet a changeling.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Act II., Sc. 1.

And again, in another of his plays, the Fairy practice of exchanging children is mentioned:       O, that it could be prov’d, That some night-tripping Fairy had exchanged In cradle-clothes our children, where they lay,  And call’d mine, Percy, his Plantagenet: Then would I have his Harry, and he mine.

“Henry IV”., Pt. 1., Act I, Sc. 1.

In Scotland and other countries the Fairies were credited with stealing unbaptized infants, and leaving in their stead poor, sickly, noisy, thin, babies.  But to return to Wales, a poet in “Y Brython”, vol. iii, p. 103, thus sings: Llawer plentyn teg aeth ganddynt, Pan y cym’rynt helynt hir; Oddi ar anwyl dda rieni, I drigfanau difri dir.

Many a lovely child they’ve taken, when long and bitter was the pain; from their parents, loving, dear, To the Fairies’ dread domain….Read More

 

European Bonfire Festivals

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

European custom of kindling bonfires on certain days of the year, dancing round them and leaping over them. Effigies are sometimes burnt in the fires.

All over Europe the peasants have been accustomed from time immemorial to kindle bonfires on certain days of the year, and to dance round or leap over them. Customs of this kind can be traced back on historical evidence to the Middle Ages, and their analogy to similar customs observed in antiquity goes with strong internal evidence to prove that their origin must be sought in a period long prior to the spread of Christianity. Indeed the earliest proof of their observance in Northern Europe is furnished by the attempts made by Christian synods in the eighth century to put them down as heathenish rites. Not uncommonly effigies are burned in these fires, or a pretence is made of burning a living person in them; and there are grounds for believing that anciently human beings were actually burned on these occasions. A general survey of the customs in question will bring out the traces of human sacrifice, and will serve at the same time to throw light on their meaning.

Seasons of the year at which the bonfires are lit

The seasons of the year when these bonfires are most commonly lit are spring and midsummer; but in some places they are kindled also at the end of autumn or during the course of the winter, particularly on Hallow E’en (the thirty-first of October), Christmas Day, and the Eve of Twelfth Day. We shall consider them in the order in which they occur in the calendar year……Read More

BALDER ODINSEN (Norse)

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

How Balder, the good and beautiful god, was done to death by a stroke of the mistletoe

A deity whose life might in a sense be said to be neither in heaven nor on earth but between the two, was the Norse Balder, the good and beautiful god, the son of the great god Odin, and himself the wisest, mildest, best beloved of all the immortals. The story of his death, as it is told in the younger or prose “Edda”, runs thus. Once on a time Balder dreamed heavy dreams which seemed to forebode his death.

Thereupon the gods held a council and resolved to make him secure against every danger. So the goddess Frigg took an oath from fire and water, iron and all metals, stones and earth, from trees, sicknesses and poisons, and from all four-footed beasts, birds, and creeping things, that they would not hurt Balder. When this was done Balder was deemed invulnerable; so the gods amused themselves by setting him in their midst, while some shot at him, others hewed at him, and others threw stones at him. But whatever they did, nothing could hurt him; and at this they were all glad. Only Loki, the mischief-maker, was displeased, and he went in the guise of an old woman to Frigg, who told him that the weapons of the gods could not wound Balder, since she had made them all swear not to hurt him. Then Loki asked, “Have all things sworn to spare Balder?” She answered, “East of Walhalla grows a plant called mistletoe; it seemed to me too young to swear.” So Loki went and pulled the mistletoe and took it to the assembly of the gods. There he found the blind god Hother standing at the outside of the circle. Loki asked him, “Why do you not shoot at Balder?” Hother answered, “Because I do not see where he stands; besides I have no weapon.” Then said Loki, “Do like the rest and shew Balder honour, as they all do. I will shew you where he stands, and do you shoot at him with this twig.” Hother took the mistletoe and threw it at Balder, as Loki directed him….Read More

A man who spent twelve months and a day with the Fairies

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

A story in its main features similar to that recorded in the “Cambrian Magazine” was related to me by my friend, the Rev. R. Jones, Rector of Llanycil.  I do not think Mr. Jones gave me the locality where the occurrence is said to have taken place; at least, if he did so, I took no note of it.  The story is as follows:–

A young man, a farm labourer, and his sweetheart were sauntering along one evening in an unfrequented part of the mountain, when there appeared suddenly before them two Fairies, who proceeded to make a circle.  This being done, a large company of Fairies accompanied by musicians appeared, and commenced dancing over the ring; their motions and music were entrancing, and the man, an expert dancer, by some irresistible power was obliged to throw himself into the midst of the dancers and join them in their gambols.  The woman looked on enjoying the sight for several hours, expecting every minute that her lover would give up the dance and join her, but no, on and on went the dance, round and round went her lover, until at last daylight appeared, and then suddenly the music ceased and the Fairy band vanished; and with them her lover.  In great dismay, the young woman shouted the name of her sweetheart, but all in vain, he came not to her.  The sun had now risen, and, almost broken-hearted, she returned home and related the events of the previous night.  She was advised to consult a man who was an adept in the black art….Read More

The Son of Llech y Derwydd and the Fairies

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

The next Fairy tale that I shall give akin to the preceding stories is to be found in “Y Brython”, vol. iii., pp. 459-60.  The writer of the tale was the Rev. Benjamin Williams, whose bardic name was Gwynionydd.  I do not know the source whence Mr. Williams derived the story, but most likely he obtained it from some aged person who firmly believed that the tale was a true record of what actually occurred.  In the “Brython” the tale is called: “Y Tylwyth Teg a Mab Llech y Derwydd,” and this title I will retain, merely translating it.  The introduction, however, I will not give, as it does not directly bear on the subject now under consideration.

The son of Llech y Derwydd was the only son of his parents and heir to the farm.  He was very dear to his father and mother, yea, he was as the very light of their eyes.  The son and the head servant man were bosom friends, they were like two brothers, or rather twins.  As they were such close friends the farmer’s wife was in the habit of clothing them exactly alike.  The two friends fell in love with two young handsome women who were highly respected in the neighbor-hood.  This event gave the old people great satisfaction, and ere long the two couples were joined in holy wedlock, and great was the merry-making on the occasion.  The servant man obtained a convenient place to live in on the grounds of Llech y Derwydd.  About six months after the marriage of the son, he and the servant man went out to hunt.  The servant penetrated to a ravine filled with brushwood to look for game, and presently returned to his friend, but by the time he came back the son was nowhere to be seen.  He continued awhile looking about for his absent friend, shouting and whistling to attract his attention, but there was no answer to his calls…..Read More

A Bryneglwys Man inveigled by the Fairies

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

 

The following tale I received from the mouth of Mr. Richard Jones, Ty’n-y-wern, Bryneglwys, near Corwen.  Mr. Jones has stored up in his memory many tales of olden times, and he even thinks that he has himself seen a Fairy.  Standing by his farm, he pointed out to me on the opposite side of the valley a Fairy ring still green, where once, he said, the Fairies held their nightly revels.  The scene of the tale which Mr. Jones related is wild, and a few years ago it was much more so than at present. At the time that the event is said to have taken place the mountain was unenclosed, and there was not much travelling in those days, and consequently the Fairies could, undisturbed, enjoy their dances.  But to proceed with the tale.

Two waggoners were sent from Bryneglwys for coals to the works over the hill beyond Minera.  On their way they came upon a company of Fairies dancing with all their might.  The men stopped to witness their movements, and the Fairies invited them to join in the dance….Read More

Antonia: Daughter of Marcus Antonii

THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE

Antonia was the daughter of the emperor’s sister Octavia and of Mark Antony, the famous triumvir whose name remains forever linked in story with that of Cleopatra. This daughter of Antony was certainly the noblest and the gentlest of all the women who appear in the lugubrious and tragic history of the family of the Caesars. Serious, modest, and even-tempered, she was likewise endowed with beauty and virtue, and she brought into the family and into its struggles a spirit of concord, serenity of mind, and sweet reasonableness, though they could not always prevail against the violent passions and clashing interests of those about her. As long as Drusus lived, Drusus and Antonia had been for the Romans the model of the devoted pair of lovers, and their tender affection had become proverbial; yet the Roman multitude, always given to admiring the descendants of the great families, was even more deeply impressed by the beauty, the virtue, the sweetness, the modesty, and the reserve of Antonia. After the death of Drusus, she did not wish to marry again, even though……Read More

The Witches Daily Divination Journal for Monday, March 12 (Part 2)

The Witches Daily Divination Journal for Monday, March 12

(Part 2)

Tarot Card of the Day

Four of Wands


This suit, most often called “Wands” and sometimes called “Rods” or “Staves,” represents initiative, ambition, drive and desire. This is the suit of enterprise and risk-taking.

A Four in this suit is the teamwork card, often symbolized by two couples who have come together to create something profitable and enduring. Quite likely, they will create a gift for the future — a business, hospital, theater or university. They represent the founding families of the future community that will grow around their inspiration. Teamwork is the key.

It takes time to build a grand vision; and other people of ambition and talent must be attracted to it for it to fulfill its potential. What we see here is the start-up group, the founding visionaries committing their energies to designing the blueprints and laying the groundwork. This partnership is the prototype for society or any grouping where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Tarot.com is a Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2018

This Week’s Tarot Card Is the World Reversed!

Read your weekly Tarot readings for March 12,  2018


This month’s cards encourage us to explore personal balance further, making sure our actions match the values we have claimed for living life. Self-examination is a constant necessity if we are to keep one side of the scale from tipping too far, throwing us off balance and off course. The cards pulled this month talk a lot about patterns and points of view. They suggest that an attitude of acceptance and patience encourages growth and keeps us discovering more of what life has to offer.

The World (reversed)

This card shows the four element symbols of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water in balance, creating space in the center for the fifth element, Aether. We saw this quincunx arrangement in our theme card, Justice, as well. It suggests the importance of giving equal attention to all vital parts of life. Additionally, to the alchemists it served as a symbol of the whole consisting of more than the sum of its parts, which is an apt illustration of the kind of achievement experienced in the World card. The brackets enclosing the quincunx show this set of knowledge fused as one, denoting the end of one cycle through the ongoing quest for self-knowledge. When the World appears reversed in a reading, as it is in our spread, it can signify stagnation and a lack of completion. It suggests that balance is not being achieved, which might simply be a natural progression from our work with the Seven of Cups last week. Prioritizing items in a list (last week’s exercise) means that focus may be given temporarily to one thing at the expense of others. This is natural and will sort itself out with time, but we may want to take a more active approach to encouraging that alignment. This month’s theme of Justice is very cerebral, and it might be helpful to take occasional breaks from all the time spent in our heads.

Exercise for The World: Head-Heart-Body-Spirit

If you are feeling stagnated or overly focused on one aspect of existence, take a few minutes to examine where attention is being placed. Spend some time in any underrepresented realms.

In your journal, make a list of ways you are currently caring for yourself in the following categories:
MENTAL
EMOTIONAL
PHYSICAL
SPIRITUAL

Is anything lacking? If so, how can you reconnect with that aspect of yourself?

 

Tarot.com is a Part of the Daily Insight Group ©2018

 

Your Crowley Thoth Tarot Card for Today

Lust



While similar to classic Tarot’s Strength card, Lust goes a step further by suggesting we should enjoy the pleasures of exercising our strengths, sating our passions, and embracing that which allows one to express the majesty of their unique self. The lust this card indicates is not purely sexual, but at its most basic this lust is a primal desire to experience life to the fullest degree possible while taming our more beastly side. Lust implies that we not fight with our base instincts, but rather that we accept and manage and nourish them as an essential aspect of maintaining a balanced, complete self.

 

 

Your Weekly Influences for March 12

 

Tarot Influence

The Hanged Man Reversed

The reversed Hanged Man represents a preoccupation with the worldly and wasted energy. This is the card of false prophecy and time wasted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astrological Influence

Taurus

With The Bull comes strength, loyalty and determination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Influence

Fire Reversed

Fire reversed denotes calamity that may be on a catastrophic level. Prepare to deal with changes you do not want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Green Man

Where the Green Man appears the mystery and untamed energy of nature abounds. The Green Man indicates the presence of choices and powers that have not been muted by civilization. The Green Man represents the antithesis of technology and industrialization. He offers primal energies veiled in mystery and derived from the spirit of nature in its purest form.

As a daily card, The Green Man indicates you are in a place where you will be well served by exploring your place in the natural world. At the moment the wisdom that will serve you best cannot be found in books or on talk shows or extracted from today’s headlines. What’s called for is an affirmation of your place in the natural world.

 

Psychic Tip of the Day

March 12

UNCOVERED
You are confronted by a misunderstanding that you might have used to your advantage. Someone is not as forgiving this time. Are you discovering a new set of facts?

Witches Rune for the Day

 

The Blank Rune

Meaning: This is a rune of difficulty and negative influences will rule your life for a time, but as all difficulties are a learning experience it will lead to improved personal perspective and progress on your life’s path. Always consult the surrounding runes with this stone. If it lies with a positive stone, it indicates that the pain of this experience will lead to a beneficial change in circumstances.

 

 

Your Daily Elder Futhark Rune for Today

Save

 

Your Animal Spirit Guide for Today

 

Crack the Cookie

 

The Wisdom of Buddha

When one has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and appreciates them, one is free of fear.

 

Your Earth Sky News for March 12: The science of fake news gets a boost

Scientists call for studies of fake news. Plus a word about so-called “chemtrails.”

A big and hopeful thing happened at the end of last week in the area of fake news. On March 9, 2018, the largest-yet study of fake news was published in Science. Accompanying it was a second article in Science, in which scientists called for:

… interdisciplinary research to reduce the spread of fake news and to address the underlying pathologies it has revealed.

The large study is titled The Spread of True and False News OnlineSoroush Vosoughi of MIT was its lead author, working with co-authors Deb Roy and Sinan Aral. All of these researchers work in MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines; that is, they’re trained to study and ultimately understand what most of us find unfathomable, the spread of information online. They found that:

Falsehood also diffused faster than the truth. The degree of novelty and the emotional reactions of recipients may be responsible for the differences observed.

They explained their study in its abstract:

We investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. The data comprise ~126,000 stories tweeted by ~3 million people more than 4.5 million times. We classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information. We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information. Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust. Contrary to conventional wisdom, robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.

Meanwhile, in the second Science article – titled The Science of Fake News – David M. J. Lazer and 15 other social scientists and legal scholars called for more interdisciplinary study of fake news. More studies, and studies between disciplines, will be an important early step in understanding fake news, in helping people to learn to recognize it, and, hopefully, in helping to reduce it. Lazer is a professor of political science and computer and information science, and is co-director of Northeastern University’s NULab. He and his colleagues write that:

Internet platforms have become the most important enablers and primary conduits of fake news. It is inexpensive to create a website that has the trappings of a professional news organization. It has also been easy to monetize content through online ads and social media dissemination. The internet not only provides a medium for publishing fake news but offers tools to actively promote dissemination.

The group points out that, on the internet today, websites can operate relativity cheaply in contrast to in the past, where information had to be printed in monthly magazines or daily newspapers or, as in the particular case of EarthSky, for example, disseminated via radio. Some readers might not realize the extent to which small, privately owned websites like EarthSky can say … well … anything. If we at EarthSky wanted to say the moon is made of green cheese, we could. In the 20th century, that statement wouldn’t have flown. Saying it would have put us in the fringe group category. But in today’s anything-goes world of information overload, if we said it often enough, convincingly enough, with good charts and illustrations, with quotes from known historical figures saying it (taken out of context, naturally) – with glaring news headlines making outrageous claims that don’t really match reality (or even always match what’s being said in the article below the headline) – a portion of our audience might begin to believe it. Some portion of those believers might become devoted followers of our moon-as-green-cheese stories, in which case they’d spread our stories via their own social media outlets. We might become a moon-as-green-cheese community online, a place where, in our comments sections, people would suggest that non-believers should “wake up,” and see our (distorted) light.

People do form communities online around fake news. That’s because, as Lazer and his colleagues point out in their article:

Research also further demonstrates that people prefer information that confirms their preexisting attitudes (selective exposure), view information consistent with their preexisting beliefs as more persuasive than dissonant information (confirmation bias), and are inclined to accept information that pleases them (desirability bias). Prior partisan and ideological beliefs might prevent acceptance of fact checking of a given fake news story.

Search engines like Google helpfully promote people’s preferences. If you believed the moon was made of green cheese, say, and read articles on that subject, search engines like Google are programmed to show you more of the same, truth or falsehood notwithstanding.

A first step in future academic studies of fake news will be to define key terms. Lazer and colleagues’ Science article was discussed in a March 9 article in The Atlantic, titled Why It’s Okay to Call It “Fake News”. The Atlantic article primarily discussed the question of whether fake news or false news is the preferred term. As academic studies proceed, those sorts of terms will come to be defined.

Fake news itself will be clearly defined. Lazer’s article said:

We define “fake news” to be fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. Fake-news outlets, in turn, lack the news media’s editorial norms and processes for ensuring the accuracy and credibility of information. Fake news overlaps with other information disorders, such as misinformation (false or misleading information) and disinformation (false information that is purposely spread to deceive people).

Lazer’s article very interestingly traces some of the history of media across the last century, saying:

Journalistic norms of objectivity and balance arose as a backlash among journalists against the widespread use of propaganda in World War I (particularly their own role in propagating it) and the rise of corporate public relations in the 1920s.

Like all things, media evolves. Lazer’s team wrote:

… Failures of the U.S. news media in the early 20th century led to the rise of journalistic norms and practices that, although imperfect, generally served us well by striving to provide objective, credible information. We must redesign our information ecosystem in the 21st century. This effort must be global in scope, as many countries, some of which have never developed a robust news ecosystem, face challenges around fake and real news that are more acute than in the United States. More broadly, we must answer a fundamental question: How can we create a news ecosystem and culture that values and promotes truth?

Most fake news stories center on politics, by the way, but science news has its fake stories, too, with the best-known one, probably, being the nefarious so-called “chemtrails.” You might know of people who believe that the ordinary contrails left by jet aircraft are these “chemtrails,” part of a vast, secret, global conspiracy to … what? The described purpose has morphed and changed over the years, but currently most “chemtrails” believers will tell you that Earth’s climate is being secretly and deliberately engineered (to make it hotter? colder? I’ve never been clear on why, and I’m not sure if all chemtrail-believers agree).

As with all good lies, the chemtrails conspiracy theory contains its grain of truth. There are indeed historical references to geoengineering and weather modification among scientists. Modern scientists continue to use the term geoengineering to describe the idea of deliberately altering Earth’s climate, in case global warming becomes so severe that nations agree on a need to implement drastic action.

And drastic, indeed, it would be. Earth’s climate is vast and complicated, with many feedbacks. All climate scientists known that any intentional program to alter Earth’s climate could be expected to have unintended consequences. However, as scientists tend to do, they discuss it. They study it. There was one small-scale geo-engineering experiment, via high-altitude balloon, announced last year. One of its lead scientists – David Keith at Harvard – told me by email today:

Nothing has happened yet. I think there’s about a 50/50 chance we end up flying this year.

Meanwhile, a 2016 survey of 78 atmospheric scientists overwhelmingly showed that the so-called “proof” for “chemtrails” is not proof at all.

I’m beginning to think that people who believe in things like “chemtrails” (and also “the moon landings were a hoax,” for example) are truly brainwashed, not in the sense of being forced to believe, but in the sense of having absorbed an overflow of false information. There’s an interesting film about this sort of brainwashing called The Brainwashing of My Dadby Jen Senko. I highly recommend it, if you’re interested in this phenomenon.

How to separate truth from fiction? Fake news is a powerful crisis of our time, and I’m glad scientists are calling for studies

 

Bottom line: Science publishes the largest-yet study of fake news and a call for more studies by 16 social scientists and legal scholars. Plus, a word about so-called “chemtrails.”

Published on EarthSky.org

A Little Humor for Your Day

And Goddess Made Dogs & Cats


Man said, “Goddess, when I was in the garden, you walked with me every day. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here, and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me.”

And the Goddess said, “No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever, who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be at times, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself.”

And the Goddess created a new animal to be a companion for Man. And it was a good animal. And the Goddess was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Man, and he wagged his tail a lot.

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