Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Earthlings...

This is from the movie Earthlings.... a stirring read:



"THE THREE STAGES OF TRUTH

1. RIDICULE
2. VIOLENT OPPOSITION
3. ACCEPTANCE



EARTHLINGS






earth’ling: n. One who inhabits of the earth.

Since we all inhabit the earth, all of us are considered earthlings. There is no sexism, no racism or speciesism in the term earthling. It encompasses each and every one of us: warm or cold blooded, mammal, vertebrate or invertebrate, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, and human alike.

Humans, therefore, being not the only species on the planet, share this world with millions of other living creatures, as we all evolve here together. However, it is the human earthling who tends to dominate the earth, often times treating other fellow earthlings and living beings as mere objects. This is what is meant by speciesism.

By analogy with racism and sexism, the term “speciesism” is a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.
If a being suffers there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that one’s suffering can be counted equally with the like suffering of any other being.

Racists violate the principle of equality by giving greater right to the interests of members of their own race when their is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of another race.
Sexists violate the principle of equality by favoring the interests of their own sex.
Similarly, speciesists allow the interests of their own species to override the greater interests of members of other species.

In each case, the pattern is identical. Though among the members of the human family we recognize the moral imperative of respect (every human is a somebody, not a something), morally disrespectful treatment occurs when those who stand at the power end of a power relationship treat the less powerful as if they were mere objects.

The rapist does this to the victim of rape.

The child molester to the child molested.

The master to the slave.

In each and all such cases, humans who have power exploit those who lack it.
Might the same be true of how humans treat other animals, or other earthlings?

Undoubtedly there are differences, since humans and animals are not the same in all respects. But the question of sameness wears another face.

Granted, these animals do not have all the desires we humans have; granted, they do not comprehend everything we humans comprehend; nevertheless, we and they do have some of the same desires and do comprehend some of the same things.

The desires for food and water, shelter and companionship, freedom of movement and avoidance of pain? These desires are shared by nonhuman animals and human beings.

As for comprehension: like humans, many nonhuman animals understand the world in which they live and move. Otherwise, they could not survive.
So beneath the many differences, there is sameness.

Like us, these animals embody the mystery and wonder of consciousness.
Like us, they are not only in the world, they are aware of it.
Like us they are the psychological centers of a life that is uniquely their own.
In these fundamental respects humans stand “on all fours”, so to speak, with hogs and cows, chickens and turkeys.

What these animals are due from us, how we morally ought to treat them, are questions whose answer begins with the recognition of our psychological kinship with them.

Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote in his bestselling novel Enemies, A Love Story’ the following:

“As often has Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right”.
The comparison here to the holocaust is both intentional and obvious:

one group of living beings anguishes beneath the hands of another.
Though some will argue the suffering of animals cannot possibly compare with that of former Jews or slaves, there is, in fact, a parallel.
And for the prisoners and victims of this mass murder, their holocaust is far from over.

In his book ‘The Outermost House’ author Henry Beston wrote:

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical
concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creatures through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.

We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth”."



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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Perfect Spice Vegan Pancakes

Rhiannon's Perfect Spice vegan pancakes.... 

These delectable delights taste decadent but are MUCH healthier than regular pancakes. Full of Omega 3's from the flaxseed, plus the wonderful benefits of disease and cancer fighting spices like ginger and nutmeg. Free from the ill effects and cruelty linked to eggs and dairy. They are also low in sugar and low in fat. They will actually fill you up and fuel you instead of leaving you comatose. Add organic blueberries for even more sweet, yummy nutrition.  

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour (preferably organic)
1/4 cup organic ground flaxseeds
2 Tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add all dry ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Then add wet ingredients .....
2 cups plant-based milk (I usually use vanilla almond milk but any plant milk is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp melted vegan butter (like Earth Balance)
1/4 cup of unsweetened organic applesauce (add last)
Ready to be flipped

Mix all ingredients well and cook on lightly sprayed or non-stick pan on Medium heat until bubbles form on top and the batter stops looking wet....
Then flip pancakes and let bake for another few minutes until bottoms are slightly browned. I top with pure maple syrup mixed with black-strap molasses.
Molasses and maple!
Flipped perfectly
Finished...oh wait...


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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Emperor Wu Zetian - Power Without Permission

Power without Permission:


The Rise to Power of China’s Only Female Monarch







What does it take for a girl born from a modest background in a male-dominated world to rise to the greatest position of power in the known world? It seems to have taken an extraordinary amount of wit, intelligence, and bravery, but also no small part of ruthlessness and manipulation. Emperor Wu Zetian ruled over the Tang Dynasty of China for half of a century and became China’s first and only female Emperor, ruling in her own right as monarch for the last fifteen years of her life (FitzGerald). The contemporary poet Luo Binwang portrayed Wu as an enchantress, saying “All fell before her moth brows. She whispered slander from behind her sleeves, and swayed her master with vixen flirting” (Dash). She has been demonized as a monster of the ancient world, cold, cruel, and murderous, but perhaps that reputation is merely the price she has paid for daring to be a woman who took power for herself in a man’s world. Her rule seems to have been no more ruthless than the male power players preceding and proceeding her reign, and she is credited with unifying a crumbling China and overseeing one of the most prosperous times in Chinese history (Dash). Her life was one of great intrigue, seduction, and controversy. How much of the tales are truth and how much is rumor is often difficult to calculate but it’s a fascinating story to explore.
China’s most powerful woman was born in the year 624 in Wenshui, China, located in what is now the Shanxi province as Wu Zhao (FitzGerald). She grew up in a China that had already been fully immersed in the ideals of Confucianism. Confucianism dictated that women are of a lower social status than men and should remain subservient to them as their masters, for as “father guides son, husband guides wife”, and women should always adhere to the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and sincerity (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004). However, the Tang Dynasty was also was a time of relative freedom for women and many women were able to contribute in the areas of culture and politics (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). It was a time of cultural revolution, during which women were allowed to be financially independent and be educated in philosophy, culture, art, and social ethics. Divorce became allowable as long as it was a mutual endeavor (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004).  Born to a lesser noble family, Wu was taught from an early age to read, write and play music, and at a young age she became known for her wit, talent, and exceptional beauty (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996).
At the age of fourteen, Wu Zhao was selected to come to the emperor’s palace as a Cai Ren, or lesser concubine fifth in rank. The emperor renamed her Mei Niang, meaning “charming and lovely”, but there is no indication that she ever served the emperor sexually. She did serve as his secretary for twelve years. Doing this gave her an intimate lesson into the inner workings of governing (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). The emperor died in 649 when Wu was twenty-six. As tradition insisted, she was sent to a nunnery to have her head shaved and spend the rest of her life in abstinence, as it would have been insulting to the dead emperor for any man to touch her after she had belonged to him (“Wu Zetian” 2003). This could have been the end to Wu’s chapter in history, were it not for the emperor’s son, Gaozong. During Wu’s time in the palace, it is obvious that Gaozong became enamored with Wu and some historians believe they had a physical affair before the old emperor’s death, which could have cost Wu her head had they been caught (Dash). Within two to three years of becoming emperor, and after several personal visits to the temple, Gaozong shirked tradition and went to the nunnery to retrieve Wu Zhao and bring her back to the palace as his own concubine now second in rank, and he gave her the title Zhao Yi (“Tang Empress Wu Zetian” 624-705).
Apparently dissatisfied with stagnating as a mere concubine, Wu quickly began a political battle within the palace to win the new emperor’s favor and attain more power for herself. She had two sons by the emperor, which granted her considerable approval with him but also considerable resentment from the empress and other concubines (“Wu Zetian” 2003). Most historians believe that she even went so far as to kill her own two week old infant baby girl so that she could blame it on the last person to hold the child, Empress Wang (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). However, she was obviously never blamed for this crime in her lifetime, and the Empress had already begun to resent Wu as a potential threat (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004). It is possible that history portrays her far more brutally than she may have actually been since many who wrote of her were men who saw her as a usurper and an evil murderer with the “heart of a serpent” (Dash). In any case, the death of Wu’s infant daughter disgraced Empress Wang, who was demoted and eventually executed along with one of the higher ranking concubines Wang was close to. Legend says that Wu ordered both women’s hands and feet to be cut off and their mutilated bodies tossed into a vat of wine to drown. However, Wu was never credited with such a thing in her life and this tale may have been an historical exaggeration played off of a much older story regarding Empress Lu Zhi from the Han-era B.C.E. who eliminated her romantic rival by gouging out her eyes, cutting off her limbs, burning her vocal cords with acid, and tossing her in a cesspit (Dash). In the year 655 Emperor Gaozong made Wu his Empress with the title Wu Zhao (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004).
            Historians depict the Emperor as a weak-minded and sickly ruler, although the accusations of being weak-minded may stem from resentful men at the time who noticed that the emperor actually listened to and considered many of Empress Wu’s ideas about agriculture, tax reduction, social reforms and effective labor saving practices and they essentially ruled together (“Wu Zetian” 2003). The emperor was definitely sickly and had a severe stroke within the first five years of his marriage to Wu, after which administrative rule was handed over to the empress. Wu began to acquire real power under the pretext of assisting the Emperor in ruling the state. In 674, Emperor Gaozong changed his title into Tian Huang, or “Emperor of Heaven”, Empress Wu Zetian changed her title into Tian Hou, which means “Empress of Heaven”, and commoners called them Er Sheng, or “two gods” (“Tang Empress Wu Zetian” 624-705). She appeared alongside the emperor every time he held court on a throne level to his. The couple became known as “the Holy Sovereigns”, and the emperor was merely an icon who ruled in name only (“Wu Zetian” 2003). She established a secret police force to spy on her opposition and did not shy away from executing or imprisoning those who stood against her, even family members (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). It is easy to understand why she did this, for there would have been extraordinarily strong disapproval from many in court who resented the idea of a woman rising to greater and greater power. None of her actions would have been so considered unreasonable or unexpected had she been a man (Dash).
After Emperor Gaozong’s death in 683, Wu's third son, Li Xian, ascended to the throne and was named Emperor Zhongzong. In February of the following year however, Wu overthrew Zhongzong and banished him because he was difficult to control and replaced him with his younger brother and her fourth son, Li Dan, who was entitled Emperor Ruizong. Empress Wu ruled the empire through him, who did as she instructed him to do (“Wu Zetian” 2003). A rebellion was attempted by Tang loyalists and officials from the south, who were defeated in a few weeks with the loyal cooperation of the royal army under the Empress’s command, which served as an efficient demonstration of her power (FitzGerald).
            In order to further secure her power and challenge the Confucian rules for women, Wu began to implement methods of elevating women in the minds of the people. She gave high political posts to members of her mother’s family, she had biographers write about famous women in history, and she supposedly said that the ideal ruler “was one who ruled like a mother does over her children” (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). She also declared that children were to mourn both parents, rather than just their father, as tradition previously dictated (Dash).
In 690, Wu’s weak-minded son removed himself from power at his mother’s behest and she finally assumed absolute power for herself under the legitimate title of Emperor and became Emperor Wu Zetian (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). She declared the empire was henceforth ruled by the Zhou Dynasty from her capital city Luoyang (“Wu Zetian” 2003). She ruled for over fifteen years as emperor from the age of 65 without revolt (FitzGerald).
            Emperor Wu’s cunning and unapologetic climb to supremacy appears to have been motivated by a genuine desire to be a benign and decent ruler to the common people. In the fifteen years of her rule as emperor, she reduced the size of China’s army while still protecting Chinese borders and the Silk Road, reduced the military’s influence over government by implementing scholars into power and requiring government officials to pass various exams before being granted authority (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). She also revised the exams so that no man of ability would be excluded due to his social status. She personally interviewed many candidates herself (“Wu Zetian” 2003). She lowered taxes on peasants, leading to increased agricultural production, improved irrigation techniques, and implemented a number of public works projects (“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian” 1996). Although she was quick to rid herself of direct threats to her power, she was known to listen to her critics, as long as they did not present themselves as political opponents. She even respected and rewarded those who offered sound guidance and initiative (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004).
Towards the end of her life, it is believed that she kept a harem of men at her sexual disposal, just as emperors traditionally kept a harem of concubines (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004). She showed particular favor for two fair faced artistic young men, the Zhang brothers, who frequented her private chambers (FitzGerald). As her health began to fail, she reinstated her banished son, Li Xian, as crowned prince, but did not abdicate her authority until she was bed ridden and unable to perform her duties. Li Xian ascended to the throne in 705 as Emperor Zhongzong again and restored the Tang Dynasty, but Wu was still called Supreme Empress. The Zhang brothers were executed by the new emperor apparently to eliminate any potential threats, once again indicating how very typical Wu’s level ruthlessness was in the quest for absolute power (“Empress Wu Zetian” 2004).
In December of the same year that she handed over power, at the age of 82, Emperor Wu Zetian died. She was buried alongside Emperor Gaozong in the Qianling Tomb, located west of what is now Xi'an City (“Wu Zetian” 2003). Her tomb is located in a very remote, inaccessible place within the mountain at the end of a snaking forest path. No-one knows what secrets or treasures lies inside for no one has ever opened the tomb (Dash). So in death, as in life, Wu seems destined to be shrouded in a cloud of obscurity, mystery and allure. Perhaps she was as cruel and cold as she is depicted by many historians, but I choose to believe that her efforts to improve the lives of peasants, as well as the level of love, admiration, and affection she inspired in her husband and loyalists, indicates that perhaps there was more to her than just cruelty and blind ambition. Surely she must have contained warmth and depth that has long been lost in the fogs of time, likely concealed purposefully by her during her life to maintain an image of infallible strength. Besides, her methods were no more brutal than the rule of her predecessors. As Cersei, another ruthless albeit fictitious female figure says in the first season of the popular series Game of Thrones, "In the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground" (“Cersei Lannister”).

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Sources: 

“Biographies: Empress Wu Zetian”. Women in World History Curriculum: Female Heros of Asia. N.p. 1996. Web. 8 Nov. 2014. http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/heroine6.html

“Cersei Lannister”. Game of Thrones Wikki. N.p. n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Cersei_Lannister

Dash, Mike. “The Demonization of Empress Wu”. Smithsonian.com. August 2012. Web. N.p. 3 Nov. 2014. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-demonization-of-empress-wu-20743091/?no-ist

“Empress Wu Zetian”. Ancient Worlds: The Orient. N.p. 2004. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

FitzGerald, Charles. “Wuhou: Empress of Tang dynasty.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

“Tang Empress Wu Zetian - the Only Female Emperor in Chinese History”. Tang Dynasty – Empress Wu Zetian (624-705). 2004. Web. N.p. 10 Nov. 2014. www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/tang/emperor_wuzetian/htm.


“Wu Zetian”. China Culture. 2003. Ministry of Culture. Web. 7 Nov. 2014. http://www1.chinaculture.org/gb/en_aboutchina/2003-09/24/content_22879.htm

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reason for Intolerance

Reason for Intolerance:

Do What Ye Will, But Harm None...Do Unto Others....Peace...
Where Did These Concepts Go?....

I'm venting. If you don't like it, than ignore it like I know you do all my other posts....

          It is very hard to remain polite and tolerant sometimes ....especially to those who do damage to the world and other beings. Tolerance should apply to those who are different, but who cause no harm. I don't care what clothes you wear for instance, or what movies you like, how you wear your hair, how many tattoos or piercings you have.... I don't even care about your religion....AS LONG AS no souls are being harmed. Those who cause harm to the world are not deserving of "tolerance". So in some ways I am sorry to say... I am NOT tolerant of meat eating, anymore than I am tolerant of republicanism, or radical fundamentalism. I tolerate a lot of meat eaters (the person vs. the action)....the same way you tolerate a severe drug addict or alcoholic in the family because you love them and see better potential in them....but the action is unacceptable and must be corrected.


           Meat-eating is not a personal choice. Not only is it directly affecting and ending the lives of billions of sentient, intelligent animals every year who are denied a personal choice, and not only do the American tax payers have to pay billions of dollars in corporate subsidies to the meat and dairy industries whether they eat meat or not, but the industry (organic or factory farm) of meat, eggs, and dairy is destroying our planet. Destroying it!
          One acre of rain forest goes down every second! Why? To grow livestock feed and to graze livestock. Up to 90% of the destroyed rain forest land is used for these two purposes. 80% of all our grain in THIS country goes to feeding livestock. Over a third of our land is used for livestock now. Wildlife are being mercilessly hunted down and destroyed to make room for more grazing land all the time. It takes over 2,400 gallons of clean, fresh water to produce just one pound of beef. Animal industries use FAR more fresh water than FRACKING does, yet liberals are noticeably quiet on this account. Animal agriculture accounts for 55% of our country's fresh water usage (note: personal use for all households - baths/showers/etc - only accounts for 5%). Not to mention all the fresh water that is contaminated by factory farm waste run-off.
          According to the UN, animal agriculture accounts for a conservative estimate of 18% of all green house gas emissions....compare that to the estimated 12% contribution that all forms of transportation combined accounts for (including planes and ships). I wont even go into the health aspects and benefits, because it is the most selfish reason to go vegan and the least relevant at this point. All the health from veganism wont do shit for anyone if the rest of you condemn us all to suffocation when the world can no longer sustain us and our collective abuse.
          If you are not vegan or close to, I cannot think of you as truly liberal or progressive, and you are certainly not an environmentalist or animal lover. I cannot tolerate those that do harm to the world....MY world...OUR world... and if you are a meat-eater, than you are no better than a republican or a radical, for you are doing such great harm in the world every single day with the thoughtlessness and/or callousness with which apply to your dietary and consumerist choices. It cannot be denied any longer, we know better now. Live better, do better, and walk the walk...don't just talk the talk. If you really care about the environment, stop aiding in its destruction...if you really care about animals, stop eating them. Don't be a hypocrite. Do the least harm you can, and don't not bother because you think it wont make a difference....it does....it will.


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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Back in the Day

Back in the Day...
Back in the day, they called me unfriendly,
"Just smile sweet heart, you're prettier that way",
But if only, I thought, I had words to say,
I'm not really unfriendly,
I'm just scared,
Scarred too many times by a look from another that screamed, "i don't care",
So yes, I tend to glare,
but no one knows the story of what brought me there,
After one too many times of being thrown aside,
I learned how to hide,
And yeah, I grew a scowl,
A hatred most foul,
That bitter, angry stare,
that lets you know,
There is a fire blazing just under there,
that doesn't show,
A raging torrent that burns with a flaming, "fuck you",
To a world that has never had a clue,
About the real you,
The pain that you place in another is a seed of hate that blooms in a sea of rejection and loneliness,
The recollection of that day in class I looked your way and you said, "What's your problem freak?!"
And though my words back may have sounded something like,
"Fine, I don't want to be your friend",
I knew,
I knew what was true,
That all I really wanted was a friend,
but then....so did you.
Rhiannon



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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fuck You Wal-Mart


Fuck You Wal-Mart...  (yeah, I said it! O.O)

Fuck you Wal-mart and all your cancerous, pretend fake food.
Fuck your slave wages and your cocky attitude.

Fuck your shitty service, and your retarded fucking staff.
If people weren't starving to death it might make me laugh.
 
Fuck your 8000 lines and the ONE number you have lit.
Fuck you Wal-mart, I've had it with your shit.

Fuck you Wal-mart, for those pictures that you lost.
Fuck you Wal-mart and your low fucking cost.

I lose that much more from this pain in my ass.
Fuck you Wal-mart, and your zero fucking class.

 Fuck you wal-mart, all your CEO's, and all that you do...

Hey Sams Club! Yeah, fuck you too!





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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

As Above, So Below

Here we are my dearest love, 
Rising so very high above, 
Here we are so far below,
Beyond where the shadows grow,

Let me breathe inside of thee, 
All life comes forth unto me, 
I am above, I am below,
I am all that you will ever know,

I am all that you see, 
I am all that you'll ever be,
I am all that is true, 
I am the light, and the dark, inside of you,

I am the highest wave,
I am the deepest cave, 
I am the love you make, 
And every promise that you break,

I am the lightning and the sky, 
I am that spark inside your eye,
I am the tell every time you lie,
I am your tears every time you cry,

I am the eternal mother, 
and every being is your sister... or brother.