………. Remember this moment. How it could have went and didn’t.
I told everyone there would be a match up today……..Heh heh, Do you all believe everything you read on Twitter? What’s the wrestling term for that….A mark? While everyone goes and blows up the Box Office today for the opening of The Avengers: Endgame, I’m choosing instead to show my support for multiple topics of importance. Not only does my refusal to spend money on the big Disney machine act as a personal stance against putting all of our corporate eggs in one basket, but it also gives me a moment to show you, through my own version of geekdom, my support for other topics and projects. Enter…. My VUDU wish list of other things I fully intend to spend my money on and you will get a picture of what this post is going to be about.
On April 18th Jason Mamoa put up a video on his Youtube channel to raise awareness for recycling and limiting the pollution caused by plastics. On the level, I tend to be more of a naturalist than an environmentalist. It seems with the type of coverage we get of the topic that no one with sense could even know where to begin. Activists paint a picture of a massive death toll attributed to climate change, while the U.N. tells us that the hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic is slowly repairing itself. Activists follow one branch of scientific belief that says things like climate change will increase the number of deaths from insect born diseases, while other statistics show that since 2000 the number of global malaria infections are down 37% while malaria related deaths are down 62%. Activists will tell us we are one or two generations from certain death due to climate issues that the government needs to step in and do something about. 11,000 years ago we had an era that is called The Ice Age, so while climate change is very obviously real, it is also very clearly a natural process that can lead to massive changes. What it ultimately begs the question of is, how much stock do we give 200 years of scientific development and political power playing in the study of something that has been constantly changing for literally millions of years?
So why am I all poo poo on the “We’re ALL gonna die over the climate change.” argument while supporting Jason Mamoa and his stance. The answer to this is because I believe in the power of arguing visible viewpoints over hypothetical scare tactics. I lived in the state of West Virginia for over 25 years from 1990 until 2015. One of the most historical tragedies to ever hit the state was the Buffalo Creek flood of 1972 in which the collapse of 3 coal slurry dams caused a massive flood that killed 125 people. In the years that I had lived in WV there was another accident involving the mines and that was the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that killed 29 miners after a coal dust explosion caused collapse. The CEO of the company would go on to be sentenced to a year in federal prison when it was found that he had willfully violated mine health and safety standards, cutting costs that had ultimately contributed to that disaster and the death of 29 people.
Had enough yet? Fast forward to January 2014 to the incident known as the West Virginia Water Crisis. On January 9th, 2014 over 7,500 gallons of
4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) was leaked into the Elk River a few miles upstream of the West Virginia American Water intake which left over 300,000 residents in 9 counties without potable water for 9 days. The incident also saw 169 people end up getting checked with non-fatal illnesses, 14 of those, bad enough to be hospitalized. The DEP investigation would find that negligence in the storing of the chemicals was the biggest contributing factor. Are we seeing a pattern here? I have seen and experienced firsthand the ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT left behind by big corporations when they want their greater profit over conducting their business in a responsible fashion and while it may not be the death of us in a handful of generations…..Maybe, it has been both fatal and costly to the health of the general population surrounding them when the straw breaks the camel’s back so to speak. These were just a couple examples from one area, that I could personally speak to my knowledge of from being present when they occurred. In short, I am not so quick to dismiss the “tree huggers” when they are RIGHT. Which is also why I believe making the environment a political issue is rather asinine. The moment you take scientific findings and apply this one left and this one right, you ensure that the purpose behind the study loses it’s meaning. All of these findings are meant to be taken in as a whole to help science piece together the puzzle.
A can of soda can be bought for about 50 cents out of a vending machine in a lot of places, and a lot of times, the price is generally dictated by the brand rather than the cost to produce. A plastic bottle of water from a vending machine tends to cost about as much as a bottle of soda, or about a dollar to 1.50 now while it’s true you get more, about 8 ounces more, usually, there is little showing a justification for that price difference. What does price indicate? It indicates just how cheap both forms of packaging are, only one is 100% recyclable, the other is chemical based and is not 100 percent recyclable. Sounds like a practical solution to me and what is even better is that, not only is aluminum better environmentally than plastic, but because it counts as scrap metal, even just bagging your cans and setting them out for scavengers to collect also gives a hand to people who are generally in need of money, so that gives it bonus points in my book. So my take is a simple take from a simple geek…..I stand with Aquaman.
The state of Georgia became the most recent battleground between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice supporters on the topic of abortion with the HB481 bill passed by state legislature and expected to soon be signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp. For those who are unaware of what HB481 is, It is part of Georgia’s Living Infants Fairness and Equality ACT and you may know it by a different name The Heartbeat Bill. I will be going over just what it is and what it does here in this post as well as the contention surrounding it from many considered to be Hollywood Elite.
First let’s take a look at the basics of the bill and how it defines Personhood.
The bill will amend state law to define “Natural Person” to mean any human being including unborn children.
The bill will include embryos and fetuses in state population based determinations.
The bill will amend the state tax code to redefine “dependent” to allow a fetus at any stage of development to qualify as a dependent minor.
The next part is where the real issue lies with Pro-Choice supporters. It is the Heartbeat Abortion Ban. This section covers the both the ban and the exceptions that the law intends to provide for.
Except in cases of medical emergency, no abortion may be performed or attempted to be performed unless the physician performing the procedure has first made a determination of the presence of a human heartbeat.
The bill will prohibit abortion when a fetus has been determined to have a heartbeat unless the pregnancy is diagnosed as medically futile, or except when the abortion is:
- necessary to avert the death of the pregnant person or avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person;
- necessary to preserve the life of the fetus; or
- because of a pregnancy at 20 weeks or earlier is the result from rape or incest (and such offense was reported to law enforcement).
The bill will require any abortion performed after the first trimester to be performed in a licensed hospital, in a licensed ambulatory surgical center, or in a health facility licensed as an abortion facility by the state Department of Community Health.
Any person who performs an abortion would need to be a licensed physician.
The bill will require all physician, hospital, or other health-care facility records to be made available to local law enforcement agencies.
The bill will require a physician to inform the pregnant patient of the presence of a fetal heartbeat at the time the abortion would be performed.
Informational materials provided by the state would need to include the following additional statement:
“By six weeks’ gestation, the unborn child has a human heartbeat.”
The bill will amend requirements for abortion reports to require physicians to include information on the determination of the presence of a fetal heartbeat.
In every case of the homicide of a child, current state law allows there to be some party entitled to recover the full value of the life of the child. The bill would extend this to apply to the homicide of a “child carried in the womb,” at the point at which a heartbeat is detected.
I promised a fight with the title of this piece didn’t I? I promised to cover a big duke-a-roo between the state of Georgia and Hollywood, didn’t I? Very well, now that I have gone over what the bill entails, let us now turn our attention to the opponent and what a list of 50 well known Hollywood actors signed off on in an open letter and petition sent on March 28th to the Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Governor Brian Kemp.
You now see what the bill consists of and you see the opposing viewpoint. Now let’s get into the editorial part of this article as I attempt to suss out what the average person can make of this debacle. It is true that many such bills have been shut down in court as unconstitutional in accordance to the verdict of Roe v Wade in 1973. 46 years ago. I myself have been on both sides of the Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice debate as I remember a time that some of the more vocal Pro-Lifer’s were of the mind that every sperm produced by a man deserved a name. This is of course an exaggeration, but I assure you not by much. They were certainly of a sort that would have never allowed for the type of exceptions that I see presented in HB481, which was a huge part of my own reason for siding with the Pro-Choice argument.
Let’s consider the Pro-Choice argument in this particular case. Besides the obvious argument against constitutional rights, the letter states that the time frame is far too short and by the time many women know they are pregnant the choice is already taken from them. Once upon a time, I might have found this a reasonable point, however with advancements in both contraceptive methods, including a next day pill and the development of more sensitive pregnancy tests capable of detecting the HCG hormone in a little over a week, I would personally argue that any responsible person who is sexually active has the tools to prevent that time window of 6 weeks to pass them by. In light of this I would say the only reasonable argument would be the scheduling for such a procedure in the facilities required by the bill.
The letter goes on to talk about forced hidden procedures done at great risk to the woman. Seeing as how I saw nothing of this requirement in the bill itself, I can only deduce that the signee’s of the open letter were referring to DIY at home methods of abortion….To which I say again; The bill does provide for exceptions to the 6 week time frame. Given that any pregnancy outside of many of these conditions would have to be planned, accidental, or immaculate, being a responsible person provides the best protection. Again only the possibility of a woman’s inability to schedule the procedure within the time frame given is really a justification for this point’s reasoning and only that depending on the facilities available in a given area since same day surgical centers are listed as viable recognized options.
So what is my take away from this? The bill. The fact that 50 Hollywood stars signed off on a letter that threatened a boycott of an entire state and the urging of production companies to follow suit. There was a time when, as a person who sided with Pro-Choice, I would have been content with what HB481 provides for. As far as Anti-Abortion bills go, I really see nothing unreasonable about it given all of the advancements in prenatal healthcare in the last 46 years. So the only elephant that is left in the room is whether or not it is unconstitutional…..The “What a woman does with her body.” argument. I agree, to a point……a 6 week point. You see human beings in most all cases, but a few extremely rare defect scenarios, only have one heart beat, because they only have one heart. When a second heart beat is detected…..It really isn’t JUST the woman’s body anymore……is it? When you consider that this argument essentially can be seen as the woman having the right to treat an unborn child, a second life form with it’s own heart beat, as though it were an article of personal PROPERTY to be kept or discarded at will…..I ask you, the reader, how constitutional is regarding a human life as if it were PROPERTY?
As promised we are entering the next stage of evolution for The Unspoken Ethic. When I started this blog I had one goal in mind, to tell my story of one of the hardest trials I have ever faced. To give people some insight into who I am and to throw some ideas out there from a perspective that we don’t normally consider them from. As time went on, I took a different approach taking on a philosophical tone towards things that I liked and related to. Time has moved on, like the world itself and I started noticing myself changing tones again. It is time for that change here, but as we all know what has left a mark on us, becomes something we stick with as we are creatures of habit. Over time, I kept seeing increasing signs, or maybe just opened my eyes to those signs a little more, and so even as I officially start down this path, I am forced to recall an unfinished battle from the place where I began this journey.
The above picture was of the Facebook post that started it all for me. It was written days after I went to stay with a friend and work on their farm, after leaving my wife. This was part of the 16 pages she printed out and gave to authorities as she filed a restraining order against me in the face of me being 30 miles away and refusing to talk to her when she called. I would also add that this was the only post printed that was missing it’s comments……miraculously. Here for the newbies to my site is where, once these printed comments came to the Roane County sheriffs station, one among them decided to circle half a sentence and took it to a circuit judge who signed off on an arrest warrant. Days later while I was in the process of cleaning and rehanging a storm door that had been blown off in a big storm a couple years before I had the county sheriffs, the state police, the FBI, Homeland Security and a K-9 unit roll up on the farm and take me into custody. Three days later I found out through a phone call that my arrest had made national news. WOWK TV handled it locally, FOX NEWS blasted it everywhere.
Now I have kept a decent eye on this over the years and the furthest it ever moved on Google search was 8 positions down on the first page when I would search my name. Earlier today I checked and the link shown in the above picture now goes to a blank page. As of late last year even, my mugshot came up among the first of my pictures and today it was nowhere to be seen accept on a Facebook page for West Virginia mugshots dated from August 29th 2013. As far as any reports surrounding it, I could find nothing, but I assure you as this picture shows, it happened.
I had spent 8 days in jail, and upon my release, made possible only by the prosecutor dropping my bail from the highest it could be for charge, which was 150,000 to the lowest 500. No press was present that day at my pretrial. I was released the following day. Now aside from my public defender who was not much more help to me than the following 2 that my case would be shunted off to over the course of the year it was in the system, I had family who had asked their attorneys what I should do. The consensus was to sit on my hands and say nothing. I kept an eye to see if anything had developed in the news. I was not contacted, no one was. The more I thought about my situation, the more I realized, that if I had to wait for my trial to have my side told in a small town court system where I was an outsider, it would be AFTER the only thing anyone who could be selected as a jury was exposed to the very INCOMPLETE version of the story ran by the press. The above was my response. I did not care about the risks. I believed that the rather careless reporting with it’s lack of any details beyond what would make the sheriffs department look like heroes, flew in the face of due process, considering it was the only version of the story put out to millions of Americans, not to mention any from the town where a jury of my peers would be selected. You always hear about the freedom of the press, but you never hear about how they use that freedom to interfere with the constitutional rights of the American people. Because they could not be OBJECTIVE, I was at greater RISK of being found guilty over a statement that was misrepresented in it’s context. If they had done their job, they might have looked at that post, because it was in FACT a PUBLIC POST. That half sentence would not be the only thing.
At the time of my arrest I had been doing volunteer work for a local community theater for the better part of 5 years. In that time I had served on the theater’s board of directors, which in turn saw me be invited to be part of the East End Alliance Halloweast committee which was formed by Charleston city officials to develop the East end of the city into an art center. The Halloweast committee planned and organized the yearly Halloween fundraising event made to help raise money for the task of turning the East End into an art center. While volunteering for this theater, we had made a deal with a locally started sci-fi/horror convention, which at the time was in it’s second year. Our theater’s building would house part of the conventions events. We and the convention people did a fair amount of cross promotion for one another. The picture that was referred to in the police report was actually part of that cross promotion and was in fact part of the volunteer work I had been doing. Now it seems to me, that the judgement of that picture came from yet another high profile media buzzed shooting, a judgement that did not include anyone bothering to look for the facts behind. You can go to my Wikipedia page and see that I have a history with this particular Local Theater Kanawha Players, and their minutes by the laws of a 501c3 are PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. This ends MY PERSONAL experience with the bane that Partisan, non objective press and mass media has become to our society. Below is the link to my Wikipedia page.
Below is a link to an interesting article on writing headlines, the psychology of headlines and what makes for a successful headline. It states that in their study 8 out of 10 people only read the headline, 2 out of 10 read the article’s content. This is important when considering the immense growth of the internet and social media sites in the last decade. The growth of social media has added a rather dangerous element when combined with mass media outlets that are biased in their content. You see there is a rather important factor to consider when 8 out of 10 people only read the headlines and 2 out of 10 people read the content and that is when that content is biased in any way 10 out of 10 people come away from the article ill informed and that number grows exponentially when the biased or misinformation hits the internet in the social media circuit. This headline study also hits us with the success of negative superlatives and how online those headlines using words like: “Never” “Worst” had an average CTR (Click Through Rating) that was 63% higher than headlines with positive superlatives. They go to say that another study of 100 posts on tech site showed that headlines utilizing violent sounding words like: “kill” “fear” “dark” “bleeding” and “War” also had a higher number of social shares. Now where it comes to the media it is no secret that your local news will run a story of a bad wreck on the interstate that killed 3 people, sometimes hours later when clean up is no longer causing traffic delays and the wreck itself does nothing to change any kind of traffic laws in the area it happened in. Why this is considered news when it has no bearings on most of the viewership remains an unanswered question. Another unanswered question would be if they are intent on giving us “News” that essentially is not news so much as “life” and the sometimes unfortunate occurrences that befall people why not run stories on the estimated number of people who pass by that same spot on any given day, including the day of the wreck, that nothing happens to? This type of reporting turns the 3 people killed in an unfortunate accident from being people that are remembered fondly by a handful of family and friends into the people that are remembered by 10,000 viewers as the unfortunate people that were killed in an accident. This in turn leads us to another question. How much of how people view things like headlines utilizing negative or violent sounding words has been influenced in the course of time by the media? To be fair you also have to consider that when nothing happens, there is no news to tell and so through informing us when something occurs, the media automatically perpetuates attention to the negative by default. Are people negative by nature, or have we been conditioned to only pay attention to the negative instead of the whole picture? When we ask this question, we begin to see where opportunists, pushing agenda, take advantage of the system designed to inform people as a means to manipulate them instead. This too, is a very dangerous element. I will get more into this, but first I want to leave you this link to the article I have been writing about and yes, as you can tell by the title of this entry, made use of. It’s not so fun when the tables turn is it?
The power of the media to inform and influence has been well documented and in fact is the reason the press was given freedom under our Constitution, but freedom as we have always heard said here in America, is not free, there comes with it both sacrifice and responsibility.With this said it begs the question why there are politically partisan media outlets. Editorials and Magazines excluded, although I feel strongly that any News source that runs editorials should hold these editorials to account where stated “facts” are concerned by requiring reference points for where these numbers and facts come from. Below are 2 examples of this not being the case. Both editorials are focused on the DACA issue, however one is conservative based while the other is liberal. Again this leads to another question: If news is just news, just complete facts, Why then is there even such a thing as (left leaning) or (right leaning) NEWS? How much has this played a factor in the divide of our people who once considered themselves simply Americans into a SPLIT between conservatives and liberals?
If you are still not convinced by that dear readers, here is another article making use of war time propaganda tactics. At what point do we begin recognizing this type of “reporting” as detrimental to the unity of our people?
It’s not just us here in America either. Lets take a look at a news source for one of allies. Remember 8 out of 10 people are only going to read the headline, what does this headline tell you? What the other 2 who actually read it get is how often young royals get away with things like this and even sometimes the older ones as well and it states an example of that. What it does not state is that this incident caused the royal couple any grief at all from the higher ranking royals……In fact you get left with the question: Who besides the people WRITING this article are even bringing attention to this breaking of protocol like it means something more than how it is even presented in the article itself?
While it’s nice to know we are not alone in the problem of an inflated press, I’m more concerned about our yard at the moment, but I wanted to show that inflated agenda driven press is a problem for more than just us. Let’s return now with another recent story that broke with 2 sides. In the face of #MeToo and #Timesup movements, strong emotions become a factor, sometimes, so much so that people are compelled to accentuate for the sake of making the movement stronger. This is a double edged sword as you see here in these 2 articles. Here by making a story more than what the person coming forward intended for it to be, giving that the main person involved in the accusation has been old news for awhile now, we get our first real close up of how the media creates situations that will in all likelihood do more to scare real victims away from coming forward with their stories. A lot of these people have remained quiet because they are nervous about coming forward, common sense dictates that when they start seeing media twist victim’s stories to be about something more in order to push an agenda, it will do little to encourage them to stand up. It will also amp up the drama to the point that people will start getting hit for nothing, because, and I can vouch for this due to my case, over the “climate” it creates, or after enough of that happens, what was once a movement will become a trend that no body can put any stock into. Is it worth that?
Now I come to the part where I return to the subject matter that once got me into trouble, but never the less I feel this needs to be addressed. That would be the topic of recent school shootings. Before I continue just for argument’s sake I want to state that NONE OF WHAT I SAY IN THIS PART IS A THREAT TO COMMIT ANY VIOLENT ACT. Some people had a problem with that concept the last time I just wanted to make that clear. Lets start with a chart that takes us from 1980 to 2012. A chart that shows all 137 incidents of fatal school shootings and the 297 people killed in those. Does it surprise you to see how the numbers start jumping in the latter half of that 32 year span? You always hear about the effects of violent video games and television programming, you hear about bullying and bad parents and I estimate some of these get more credit than they deserve while others don’t get enough, but how much of a change does our advancements in communications play a factor? One thing I noticed was the steady increase that coincides with the rise of the internet.
2014 rolls around and a new non profit organization called Everytown pops up. There are 2 things worth noting about this organization against gun violence. The first is that they created a very broad criteria base for what they consider to be school shootings. You will even find one of the original 18 school shootings that made their list was a suicidal veteran who called the police and told them he was suicidal before shooting himself in his car while in the parking lot of a school that had been closed down already, another was not even a matter of someone going psycho, in fact the person directly at fault was a cop for carelessly not paying attention when a 3rd grader fired his gun in it’s holster while the cop was sitting on a bench. Fortunately no one was hurt or killed in the incident. The second thing worth noting about this group is how much stock a lot of the media puts in the numbers they provide. Below is an article that notes all of the above. You will find that I chose this article from among the 2 that I found that states this group’s blatant scare tactics while pushing an agenda for gun control, because it is everything that earlier editorials were not. The writer gave reference points that could be clicked on to view the source, they even called out their own paper for being one of the ones that briefly used this groups numbers. It’s important to note that there are many good things that remain about the press and the media, I just firmly believe that we can no longer ignore the less favorable and downright dangerous ways that it has also misused it’s freedom at our expense.
Now lets discuss this knack the media has with it’s intense focus on these events to make celebrities out of murderers. Below is an article that again gives many reference points including a link to a study that looks into the copycat factor of many of these mass shootings. If the media is aware of this information you may ask Why are we not as likely to see these findings on the “News” during these moments of crisis as we are a group like Everytown’s? Why the bias?
So lets do the list shall we? In this entry I have covered and given examples for comparison how the media has misused it’s freedom to:
1.Interfere with due process.
2. Design how the facts are presented to shape a story.
3. Use war time propaganda against our own people other AMERICANS.
4. Escalate the effect of emotion over reason on social issues to make a bigger story at even the expense of victims.
5. Use sensationalized numbers for the sake of pushing the agenda of gun control on the people.
6. Make celebrities out of murderers and in turn, YES, make themselves accomplices, however unwittingly to the further killing of our people.
…….And I did it ALL without screaming “FAKE NEWS” even once, I might add.
This entry is about breaking down the disease that is effecting our society. Now I’m not saying the media is solely to blame, because it isn’t, but it does play a factor. Social media plays another as does groups like Everytown that can’t grasp that reality is all the truth you need to scare people with and the instant gratification of readers thinking they are actually informed experts over reading a headline. There are many factors that combine into the perfect storm. They all have to be considered if we are to find any real solution.
One small way that media can help solve this issue from their end, would be to STOP RUNNING COMMERCIALS DURING NEWS BROADCASTS. I say this because with talk shows, game shows, sporting events, syndicated series, prime time award winning shows, any network has plenty of programming to make money running ads. Our NEWS BROADCASTS, should be to inform and educate us, that is, as our forefathers believed, highly important to our people and our nation and it should not be used as a tool for profiteering. When it is, of course the network will go out of it’s way to make sure it has enough viewers to that news broadcast to get a number of ads in. It becomes a controlling factor by which it operates and we have seen the effects. Anything to keep the buzz going, even over a tragic event makes it profitable while it deeply effects the foundation of this nation which is it’s people. I don’t have a problem with big business, I would even be all for finding a reasonable way to supplement whatever they would lose running news programming without commercials, but the media needs to step back and look at it’s place in the mess we have to deal with moving forward.