Saturday, August 5, 2017

Judging People - It Can Be a Good Thing


The religious lesson not to judge other people can be valid when people are catty and unfairly pick on someone. But judging people and situations is very important in life. The modern way of being spiritual instead of religious has its flaws, especially since some of the old rules have seeped into the spiritual beliefs. “Spiritual” people tend to think that “anything goes” and they practice being loving and having inner peace by ignoring what is bad in life. They equate spirituality with remaining calm and serene at all times, and shut down confrontations with “Don’t judge me.” The words “You are judging me” are uttered as a very effective and accepted defense, because it stems from the old religions and makes a person who is judging feel sinful. But the outcome is that it enables the person doing wrong to continue, without any more criticism. Between the spiritual people who ignore problems and the fundamentalists who believe ancient, outdated rules are “absolute,” we have a system where change, if it happens at all, happens at a snail’s pace. How can you change someone if you are not allowed to talk about it?

I recently had a brief discussion with a yoga instructor who was not a Hatha yoga instructor, but who instead was an Ayurvedic instructor. Ayurvedic instructors practice a lot of pseudoscience in the name of yoga. This woman calls it “ancient science” and claims I know nothing about it. Well, it only takes looking at about ten Ayurvedic websites to see that their “ancient science” is outdated and inaccurate and never was run through any scientific method! Some of the statements made on their websites are absurd, but I will not repeat them here. After all, I was not criticizing the woman about all the inaccuracies; I was just responding to a claim she put on her post about milk.

Ayurvedic yogis claim that raw, whole milk is the best to drink (although I bet most of the students and teachers purchase regular or organic milk from the grocery store), and they even believe that a baby can be fed regular milk if a mother cannot nurse. This is horrible! There are strong links to Type 1 Diabetes from giving a baby under one year of age regular cow’s milk. Further, whole milk is full of fat, and children in America all have striations of fat on their hearts by age three due to what we feed them.

Here is what led to my comments on her post, which I kept up just long enough for her to read and respond. This woman went to a vegan dinner, posted pictures of the lovely food, then put in her status that “she was not vegan because Ayurvedics ‘need’ milk.” Does anyone else see the absurdity of a philosophy of peace that not only causes animal suffering, but also the claim that a person needs to drink milk in order to be spiritual?! The woman probably drank milk a good share of her life, but drinking it never was spiritual until she started doing Ayurvedic yoga and mindlessly following all the rules.

The websites make a claim that milk is the healthiest food and that whole milk is best and that milk opens up pathways in the body. No! Whole milk closes arteries and cow’s milk leaches calcium from people’s bones! I bet this woman feels she absolutely has to believe in the magical milk properties because her income is probably tied into her doing yoga (I have not checked whether she makes money at this, but I figure she does).

I checked many Ayurvedic websites and a few of them worried about the abuse of factory farming, but mostly worried from the standpoint that it was not healthy to drink such contaminated milk. NONE of them suggested plant-based milk! Seriously, would their whole belief system fall apart if they drank milk from a plant instead?

How can people feel spiritual when they are consuming a product that requires cows to be given growth hormones and are genetically modified to give anywhere from 5-20 times the milk they normally should give, resulting in terribly swollen udders and sore legs and the need to be milked three times a day. How can a person be loving when any male cow born to dairy cows is either shot or sold as a veal cow, to be tortured his whole short life? And the mother cows? They are kept pregnant, and are put on a rape rack soon after giving birth so they can be impregnated again, so they will continuously give birth and then lactate so that humans can drink cow’s milk. The baby cows are fed formula. The poor mother cries for her baby, and the baby is separated from her and from all other cows, and the babies are not allowed to touch any other cow or calf so that there is no chance for germs. The final kicker? Dairy cows are impregnated one last time when they are close to slaughtering. Before they rip the skin off the mother cow at slaughter so they can use her skin to make leather, they cut open her belly and let the fetus fall to the floor so they can use the developing calf fetus’ skin for fine leather.

Most farmers in the U.S. claim to be Christian, and they use this weak, tired excuse to abuse: “God put the animals here for us.” If they are not religious, then they use the excuse: “Animals kill animals. It’s the way of life.” No! No other animal kidnaps other animals, breeds them by artificial insemination, tortures them for months or even years and then kills them when they don’t need to eat them for survival. Humans are frugivores if you want to talk about “the way of life and natural cycles.” We are adaptable, so we should use or ability to adapt to be kind. Do you think if a farmer thinks kind thoughts but keeps up this torture it does any good for the situation and makes the farmer spiritual? Only in his head.

Back to the Ayurvedic yoga: How can a person follow a “good-feeling” yoga program that takes some of its beliefs from the Abrahamic playbook? The woman’s response to me was, “I love animals. They give their gifts to us. Blessed be to all animals. Don’t judge me; I don’t judge you!” See? It’s the speciest, Abrahamic idea that animals are just here for our use. “Blessed be to all animals?” She thinks she is being spiritual and made this proclamation as if she had some special powers! In her head, she does not feel guilty because she said the animals are blessed. Walk the walk, woman. Don’t just talk the talk. Break free from rules that are wrong. Take action instead of pretending to be spiritual and feeling the comfort of your empty words. Switch to plant milk. No other kind way exists.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Become a Prophet

I don’t understand prophets. A prophet is supposed to be divinely inspired and one who relays messages from God. Religions differ on whether God is speaking in words to the prophets, or whether the prophets receive a message from God through thoughts that enter the prophets’ heads when they are “in the receiving mode.” Religions even differ on the method of becoming a prophet – some are specifically called by God for this position and some are elected by the church.

It is odd that prophets are so cultural. A few years back, becoming a prophetess was quite popular, with women proclaiming titles such as Prophetess Smith or Prophetess Caroline; I saw it all over the Internet within a certain portion of the Christian religion. Think about that – it only happens in certain churches and in cultures that allow women such positions. You would think God would be calling women worldwide in a consistent manner.

How does one become a prophet? Usually, after hearing about the idea, at some point they are called. Sometimes they have been receiving messages from God for years and just know they are special. And as I said before, some are elected. A few people will argue that anyone can be a prophet, but according to Christian sites, a prophet is specifically called and it is a job that they must take whether they want it or not. Just keep in mind there are a lot of prophets in the church who are mistaken and did not receive that type of message from God. Such positions are always defined on websites with warning messages about false prophet-calling, and definitions are never clear-cut.
Oddly, there are prophets for all the Abrahamic religions. It seems that Christians, Muslims and Jews are all getting divine messages from God, and God is “speaking” directly to them. You would think God would correct whichever religions and sects are wrong and would let the prophets know not to deliver messages in the wrong religion. For example, if a prophet were Muslim and Christianity turns out to be the “real religion,” you would think God would tell the Muslim prophet that he had the wrong book, and that he needs to spread messages of Christianity. It’s rather mean, don’t you think, for God to tell prophets to spread Islamic messages when those messages will convert others to Islam and doom all of them to Hell?

To help you understand my thoughts, what if Islam is the right religion and all of the Christians have been told the wrong beliefs by prophets who received their messages from God and all the Christians and prophets of Christianity are doomed to Hell because of it? (I know you are saying right now that it is not possible because your religion is so much better than theirs is - I know how people think when it comes to defending God.)
Think about why God would send out prophesies to other religions. Because he is still doing this! Your next defense of God will probably be: “It doesn’t matter. At some point, those people who get messages to be a different religion would have heard about Christianity and would have heard about Jesus at some point in their lives and would have had an opportunity to switch to Christianity.” Really? The only thing they are taught is that Christianity is the wrong religion, just as you are taught that Islam is the wrong religion. God is a little more effective in his conversions to Christianity now that we have the Internet, so some places in the middle-East are being infiltrated by Christianity that never were before, but there are still many places on Earth that never hear positive words about Christianity or any other religion than their own. 

Let us not leave unexplored the idea that perhaps it is not God who is sending the “wrong” messages to the prophets in other religions. Most religions have built-in to their religions the ideas of “false gods” and “false prophets.” But if you think about it, do you believe there are gods in the sky, false gods, giving false prophetic messages to their prophets to spread around? How many false gods are in the sky? 

If you decide that there is only one god in the sky, do you think there are false prophets who are purposefully making up messages to fool people? I think neither idea is likely. What is more likely is that all prophets genuinely believe they have been given the gift of prophesy, but are receiving messages they created themselves in their own brains.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Where We Are On LGBTQ Issues

What follows is a talk I gave in front of a few progressive women. As usual, I put this together
by jumping from website to website and gathering information without saving my sources. So I
will try to put the sources I know I used at the end.


SPEECH ON LGBTQ ISSUES

My plan was to talk exclusively about transgender issues, but I found so much
commonality between transgender rights, gay rights and all the new gender
identities that are coming to light, that this talk will be a mixture of all of it!
We know morally that we should accept all LGBTQ people regardless of whether
it is a choice or a biological issue. They are people, so they should have equal
rights. It’s as simple as that.

However, I will let you know, right up front, it is biological.

Oddly, some transgender and homosexual people would rather not know whether it
is biological and they don’t want research results spread to the public. The reason
is that they are afraid if the conservatives know that gayness begins in the womb
and it is largely about hormones in the womb, they fear that conservatives will try
to find a way to “correct” it. What if some pharmaceutical company develops a
patch to regulate hormone flow and change the fetus’s gender orientation? It would
be manipulating a person’s very essence. It is not LGBTQ people who need to
change; it is society that needs to change.

The reason I think people should be told it is biological, is that 70% of people
accept LGBTQ people if they realize that it is biological. It is sad that a person’s
gender identity has to be proven in order to be accepted, but that is our culture, so I
will supply some evidence that might be helpful. My purpose is to increase
understanding in a positive manner.

Let’s get familiar with some new terms. Facebook has 58 gender identity terms to
choose from, but I will just go over the most common ones! This is about gender
identity.

Cisgender – most of us are probably cisgender – having the same gender identity
as what matches our birth certificates.

Transgender – having a different gender identity than what is on the birth
certificate.

Now these are all similar:

Non-binary gender. The person doesn’t fit either the male or female category. I
have heard the term “non-binary” a lot.

Pangender. The feeling of being many genders.

Bigender. Goes between being male and female genders.

Gender Fluid. Switching between genders.

See how similar these are? The key is to find the identity description that best
matches who you feel you are.

Here is another common term: Queer. This is an umbrella term. It means being a
nonconforming gender - and proud of it. Non-binary, pansexual, bi-gender, and
gender fluid can all fit under the term “queer.”

One more - Intersex. It is a term for a combination of chromosomes, hormones, or
internal sex organs that differs from the expected patterns of male or female. The
odds could be 1 of every 2,000 or as high as 1 of every 200 people being intersex.
There is a model named Hanne Gaby Odiele speaking out on this now, as she is
Intersex; being born with male parts inside her body. She was forced to get an
operation when she was a child to take out the male parts, and that is just not
necessary.

So things are not as cut and dried as they seem when it comes to gender!

There are at least 1,400,000 trans people in the U.S. and .6% of the world is
transgender. And there most likely are more, since many hide their identities.

LET’S DO SOME COMPARISONS WITH OUR FELLOW ANIMALS

The reason I bring up animals is that homosexuality exists throughout the animal
kingdom, is common, and is natural.

There are over 1,500 species of animals that exhibit some form of homosexual
behavior. 8% of sheep are exclusively homosexual. With Giraffes – 94% of all
sexual activity is homosexual. Flamingos have monogamous partners - it can be
two males, two females or a male and a female. Macaque monkeys have social
hierarchies and power based on lesbianism. Some snails have both male and
female organs (They are Intersex)! That just gives you an idea – I could go on and
on.

When female rat fetuses are administered male hormones before they are born, the
female rats exhibit male sexual behavior during adulthood. Similarly, when male
rat fetuses are given a steroid drug before birth to counteract the self-produced
male hormone, the male rat exhibits female sexual behavior as an adult.

It should be pretty clear already that this is biological and has always been a part of
human history.

Here is a fascinating, yet tragic example – in human form. In the 60’s, a baby boy
from Canada was having a circumcision, and his penis was accidentally burned
almost completely off. So “experts” decided he would be raised as a female, and
the baby underwent surgery and was given hormones to become female. He was
given a lot of experimental psychological sessions, which turned out to be harmful.
Now, remember, his brain in the womb developed as a male – and his brain always
told him he was a male. He was extremely depressed, and as an adult, he
committed suicide.

ARE THERE ANY BODY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GAY AND STRAIGHT
PEOPLE?

There are tendencies toward minor body differences between gay and straight
people. Here are a few that are interesting.

Gay men, like straight women, have an increased density of fingerprint ridges on
the thumb and the pinkie of the left hand. You can compare your right and left
hands when you get home!

There is a tendency for arms, legs, and hands of WHITE gay men to be smaller
relative to their stature. Lesbians are more likely to have longer bone growth in
their arms, legs, and hands. It probably has to do with hormones either being
released or inhibited during growth of the fetus.

Gay men and lesbians have a 50 percent greater chance of being left-handed or
ambidextrous than their straight counterparts. I’m left handed, but I am not
lesbian. So again, these are tendencies and percentages of people.

Mentally rotating a 3-D object, straight men and lesbian women tend to do better
than gay men and straight females.

The hypothalamus in your brain is responsible for all sorts of things, including
regulating hormones and sex drive. In straight men, a cell cluster in the
hypothalamus is more than twice the size of the cluster in straight women. In gay
men, that cell cluster is similar in size to straight women’s.

In brain scans, there are differences in the shape of the brain.
Transgender people’s brains, for instance, more closely match the shape of their
identity gender than those of their natal gender.

You might notice that quite often a gay man and straight woman are similar and a
lesbian and straight man are similar - but not always, of course. There are many
variations of similarities and differences.

Here is another possibility for how a fetus becomes homosexual or transgender. I
have read and read about epigenes, but I find understanding them difficult, and
hope that I explain them correctly. At least it will give you an idea of what their
role is in the body. Epigenes are biochemicals that are on top of genes and can
control how the gene is expressed – whether it is turned on or off, and how much.
Epigenes from the parents are supposed to be wiped out at the moment of
fertilization. There is supposed to be a clean slate, but some scientists think that an
epigene from the father might slip in and it signals a gene in the fetus to accept
more testosterone, which in the case of a female fetus, could masculinize her. And
if an epigene from the mother slips in, it could signal a gene in the fetus to reject
testosterone, which could feminize a male fetus. This is not fact yet in gender
identity, but there is evidence for it and more research is being done.

Now this is really cool. In any family, the second-born son is 33% more likely
than the first to be gay, and the third son is 33% more likely than the second, and
so on, as though there is some sort of “maternal memory,” something that stays in
the woman. Like her immune system becomes more effective at fighting the male
fetal hormones with each new male fetus. And she feminizes the fetus. The irony
of parents, especially a mother who is angry that her son is homosexual or trans, it
is likely that it is because of her.

And they have done enough research to know it’s not your upbringing, not
relationship with parents, whether you were raised by your grandma (I originally
thought that was the reason), not early-childhood sexual experiences and whether
you go to a Catholic school that makes you gay or trans.

So it is all about the hormones in the womb, what kind of hormones (there’s more
than just testosterone – I only mention testosterone because it is the strongest
influence), the amount the fetus receives from its positioning, and whether the
hormones are accepted or kept from the fetus by many different means.

LET’S TALK ABOUT TWINS - THE FAMOUS TWIN STUDIES

People always talk about twin studies. Why is one identical twin gay and one
straight? Even though the genes are the same and the DNA is the same, the
activity of those genes is not the same. Also, there is different positioning in the
womb between the twins; one can get a greater blood supply, and the placenta and
umbilical cords can influence each twin differently. So one could get a different
concentration of hormones than the other for instance.

That said, there is still a lot of sharing with identical twins, and several studies
have shown that identical twins are more often both transgender than fraternal
twins who each have their own amniotic sac in the womb.

WHAT DO TRANSGENDER PEOPLE FACE IN SOCIETY

49% of trans people attempt suicide. 18% of homeless people in cities such as
Chicago are transgender. In 2001 it was found that transgender people were kept
out of shelters because shelters are separated by male and female. They didn’t
know who to put them with, so they turned them away. 

At least 63% of transgender individuals experience acts of discrimination on a 
regular basis, including housing discrimination, job discrimination, and physical
assault, even in the workplace. Transgender people are not always treated
respectfully by police, so many transgender people won’t report violence that
happens to them. Male to female transwomen of color have the most violence
against them and are killed the most.

Families often reject transgender teens and they end up incarcerated or homeless.
Even successful transgender couples continue to face barriers to fostering and
adopting in many places. Some insurance plans still have exclusions for
transgender-related care. They face day to day prejudice, such as unsympathetic
nurses and doctors.

Think about what will happen if the American Health Care Act under Trump is
passed. Transgender will be a preexisting condition and won’t be covered.
Doctors can claim religious differences and refuse any kind of service.
Planned Parenthood currently helps transgender people and many of their clinics
have hormone treatments for them, which has been so helpful since most trans
people are low income. Of course, Planned Parenthood is being attacked and shut
down at many locations.

Trans people need accurate and consistent IDs to open bank accounts, start new
jobs, enroll in school, and travel. However, the name and gender change process is
complicated and sometimes just too expensive. Moreover, many state and federal
governments have intrusive requirements, such as proof of surgery, with a doctor’s
affidavit or a court order (Illinois still is like that, although it is being challenged)
and this has made it impossible for some trans people to update their IDs. Think
about this – many trans people do not want to have an operation. They are fine
without the surgery! Yet, to get a new birth certificate, driver’s license, and
passport, they must show proof of surgery. It shows such a lack of understanding.
Most cannot afford an operation. As a result, a third of trans people have not
updated any of their records or IDs.

And just to let you know, almost 99% of trans people are happy with their gender
reassignment, whether with surgery or without. There is only 1% that regrets the
transition.

WHAT IS GOING ON

North Carolina recently had the “the infamous bathroom bill” but it was partially
repealed, because they lost too much business. So boycotting can be fairly
successful. They replaced this bill with another bill and one part of the new bill
says that no changes can be made to it until 2020, after the next election. So no
specific protections can be added for LGBTQ people.

As far as bathrooms, I would bet many of us have had male to female transgender
people in our restrooms and never knew it. *Note: Someone from the meeting
voiced the opinion of most liberal women, proclaiming, “Who cares!” when it
came to whether there were transwomen in women’s bathrooms. I said, “Exactly!”

Only 15 states and the District of Columbia prohibit all forms of discrimination -
15 out of 50. Transgender people are told they are protected under categories such
as the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act, but trans people are not specifically
named as being protected in any of them. Since we know they are discriminated
against, they need specific protections under the law.

I will say that 15,000 trans people are serving in the military today. 150,000 either
are serving or have served. Up until last year, they had to keep it hidden, but now
they can openly serve in the military.

WHAT IS NEEDED

Visibility – There are positives and negatives to visibility. We need positive
images of transgender people in the media and society. I think that is definitely the
way to go. Unfortunately, some hateful people might become violent if they feel
“the old ways” are being changed. Still, ultimately, there has to be visibility for
change to occur, and no one should have to hide to protect racists’ feelings.

THE LATEST

We’ve had one success. Mark Green, Trump's nominee for Army secretary
resigned. I think it is due to the continued pressure of the Democrats because of
Green’s derogatory comments about Muslims and LGBTQ people.

Texas and Alabama are enacting laws to make adoption and fostering more
difficult. Michigan, South Dakota, North Dakota and Virginia already have such
laws, called “religious freedom laws.” And now Trump has signed an executive
order about enacting religious freedom laws federally. And he will be sued.

In Tennessee, they just passed a “Law limiting undefined words.” It’s bizarre!
They passed a law that said words that are undefined will have their natural and
ordinary meaning. So words like husband will mean a male and wife will mean a
female. It will prevent same-sex spouses and LGBT parents from being treated the
same as heterosexual families under the law. So often, these silly sounding laws
are underhanded and are for the purpose of discriminating against a minority.

There is another law in Tennessee that is being considered where children born
through artificial insemination would not be considered “legitimate” children of
their parents. That would be discriminatory against LGBTQ people and couples
and single people who can’t have children without help.

WE, as women, need to support transgender people. We know what it is like to be
thought of as a lesser being.

So we have to continue to speak up.

The only actions I can think of at this moment: The usual letter writing. Spread the
word by social media about transgender and gay rights. Sign petitions. Jump in
the conversation when something comes up. Don’t laugh if someone else makes
fun of them. Contact the local GLAAD Group and see where we can help.
Sources I used and may have quoted from:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/politics/north-carolina-hb2-agreement/

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/so- it-turns-out-giraffes-are-gayest-animal-planet231014/

http://nymag.com/news/features/33520/index1.html

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/gender- lines-science-transgender- identity/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120715193843.htm

http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new- insight- into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

You Call This Humane Meat?

If anyone truly buys the claim that the mom and pop farm down the street that they went to to get their animal for dinner was killed “humanely,” then I think we should examine two possible ways they killed the animal. You may find this offensive, but you must learn what actually happens to the animals on the “happy farm,” who are fortunate to be slaughtered at home.

1. The most popular method for killing chickens and turkeys that is considered humane (by meat eaters’ standards) is called the “killing cone” method. Let’s run through it, but instead of using a chicken, let’s use a dog, so you can relate better.

You look at your puppy at 10 months of age and decide it is a good night to eat a meal of dog meat. So you take your puppy to the shed. You pick him up and stuff him upside down into the killing cone, pulling his head out of the lower part of the cone so you have a good view of his neck. Look how snug he is in the cone – he won’t be able to thrash around much. That is so considerate of you! Then, you slice his throat and watch his heart pump out his own blood into a bucket below, so he doesn’t make too much of a mess. He does thrash some, and have a spasm or two, and then he settles down – still. You decide he is dead after a minute, even though experts state that it can take four to eight minutes for the dog to die, depending on whether you hit both jugulars or not. But since you don’t know that, after a minute, you pick up the dog and throw him onto a hot grill in order to singe off his fur.

Not humane enough for you? Are you ready for the most humane method possible? Here we go! I have seen this method used with turkeys, but we will again use a dog as a stand-in.
2. Your dog is playing with other dogs in a pen. Several people come to the farm, excited that they will “experience nature” and kill their own dog. You are the guide. Each person picks out a young dog to kill, and you pick out one yourself. You put your puppy in front of you and then sit on him gently so he can’t thrash around. Everyone else does the same. You each put a bag over your dog’s head so he won’t see what is coming. You take a knife, gently stretch out the dog’s neck while you coo, coo, so softly to him and encourage him. Then you cut his throat and as he tries to thrash around, you hold him firmly, and thank him for giving his life to you. You talk to the other fellow killers: “Can you feel the life-blood coming out of him? It is nature’s cycle! We are doing what we are supposed to do – loving our animals as we take their lives for ourselves.”
I personally thought the woman who ran this business and did this with turkeys had lost her mind, but apparently this is accepted in our culture. It is the most humane method I have seen. But do you notice the betrayal toward the animal?
Please do not call any of these killings humane. They are not. People only call it humane so they can eat an animal guilt-free.
If you have any other methods of killing an animal you want to discuss, I know about “humane” CO2 killing too. Or just substitute your dog for the animal (in your mind) and run it by your own conscience and see if you still think these killings are humane.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Book about Battling Bulimia



Exciting! My e-book is on sale!


I wrote The Battle of Bulimic Barb in order to help others conquer this eating disorder, and to help families and friends gain more knowledge and understanding about the illness.
My book is not to take the place of therapy, but will give tips of what helped me, and my personal analysis of my 11 year battle with bulimia.  I left out nothing, sharing even the most embarrassing moments.  Dare I say, it is entertaining, and thought-provoking!
Today, April 1st through Thursday, April 6th, the Kindle version of The Battle of Bulimic Barb will be available to purchase for just 99 cents! If you ever thought about reading it, this is the week to order it!




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Clean Coal is a Pipe Dream - Expensive, Dirty and Not Doable!



“Clean coal" does not exist. 

There are few areas in the U.S. where carbon capture could even work, because of the type of land requirements. Our town happens to have the right land, and we have a small test model. 

Carbon capture is expensive and in order to capture the CO2, you first have to burn the fossil fuels! Carbon capture equipment on a factory slows down the factory and requires more coal to produce the same amount of energy than a plant without carbon capture! Supporters of this waste of time ignore that these coal burning plants give off other toxic substances. This is NOT clean energy! 
 
The first plant with this technology is at least ten years away, if they do it at all. Many of the projects have been abandoned! At best, carbon capture will never be successful enough to make a dent in CO2, and at worst, it will continue to be a scam and waste of time.
 
When Trump says "Have you heard of clean coal?" now you will know that he is pulling one over on you.
 
Speak up for real clean energy - solar and wind. Let's demand more progress in those areas!

Spirituality - Help for the Fundamentalist?

Spirituality is a good concept for those people who want a little more freedom than offered by fundamentalist religions, because spirituality can be believed in any way you want. All you have to do is drop the church dogma and drop the rules and regulations. That’s it! You can believe in a lovely spirit in the sky, a smiling god, the loving Cosmos, anything you want! You can still go to church if that is your wish, but you will not HAVE to go to church. 
 
Churches are often mega-conglomerations claiming they cannot survive and need to borrow the pennies of the impoverished. As a spiritualist, you can choose to donate your money wherever you want – perhaps to a homeless shelter or an animal shelter or sanctuary; or you can use it to better your own situation, without guilt. It will go for GOOD, instead of division. If the church hounds you because you aren’t giving them the amount they want, you don’t need to be there. Or tell them to pray for it. Why pay to be bored?
 
Churches depend on you to bring people in, and they depend on you to be there every week because they know you will donate. It is a business. They create the aura that they know the origins of the world and the word of God, but they are just a staged pretense. Churches are the source of the huge divide between you and others by telling you that “the world is sinful” and “don’t pay attention to others – they are ‘of the world.’” Your church tells you not to care about the world and makes “the world” seem evil. How is enjoying and appreciating the good things in life evil? This is your one chance at existence, and they poison it for you! 
 
Think about it: Is playing cards sinful? All card games? How about Solitaire? Is going to the movies sinful? Is dancing sinful? Is eating vegan sinful? Is trying to help the world sinful? Is taking pictures sinful? Is sitting next to someone of the opposite sex sinful? Is wearing make-up sinful? Is showing you knees or your shoulders sinful? All of these are sinful in some religions. Isn’t it interesting that churches have different ideas about what is sinful! Are these really bad things? How odd that God changes these “important” rules depending on what church you attend! And how strange that saving the creation itself through ecology, and preventing animal torture is less important than what pleasurable things people do with their private parts in the privacy of their own homes. 
 
Churches put you under undue stress. You have duties, and are supposed to recruit and be an example for your church and you are supposed to study, and look and act happy. In fundamentalist religions, you are supposed to attribute everything you do to “the Lord.” You can’t just enjoy. You have to dedicate your enjoyment to God and everything you do has to be done for God. You, therefore, are not natural or fully concentrating in any your actions. Instead, you sit, bored, trying to find inspiration in confusing ancient texts that must be cleverly interpreted, because their real and plain meaning makes the folly of the religion obvious.
Churches divide in a male/female manner, because procreation is good for their business. With the church, variety or opinion is not encouraged. Different personalities and different types of people are washed away and people become bland.
 
Uneasy thoughts stress your body. And you are told by your church that your way “is a better way” even though you are frustrated, unhappy, and worried. But you stick to your rules because you think you are earning something, and you think you are showing others how wonderful it is to be religious. 
 
Because of all the church responsibilities, it is hard for you to reach your potential in anything but church-related activities. If you are good at singing, you are lucky as you can become a soloist in the church choir, but if you have another talent you want to develop, you are too trapped by church responsibilities and are too tired to be 100%. 
 
You think you are being punished when something goes wrong, and sometimes you also think others will be punished for “not living for God.” The life of the fundamentalist is not relaxed or peaceful. 
 
Look, this is your only life, and you are in a country where you have the chance to develop yourself to your fullest, so it is sad that religion only allows limited talents to be developed and stifles your knowledge, when the opportunities are bountiful if only you weren’t raised in a fundamentalist religion. More importantly, you are wasting your life because of trickery: they have tricked you into the concept of the church as “essential to life.” They are just like politicians who sell you on: “We have something better.” Do they? A good bicycle ride in the beauty of nature can give you more time for clear thinking and allow you to feel more serene than sitting in any pew ever did. And you aren’t lied to on a bike ride.
 
Church members switch the tables on you – like politicians, they trick you. Their favorite tactic is to tell you not to believe reality, or facts, and instead, tell you to believe “the TRUTH” (Christian Caps) which is not true or factual at all. Sometimes it is downright foolish, yet you believe it, because they make it a test of your faith to believe everything.
 
Now some of you are social butterflies and love the church for the friendship and camaraderie. But how about your kids? You make your kids attend church when one of your children might be an introvert and hate socializing; yet there he/she is, week after week, thrown in with kids he/she doesn’t like. I can attest to the misery of being bullied by church kids, and playing outside at home would have been better for me. I got socialization during the week at school and did not need to be thrown in with mean kids on a Sunday. I realize this differs from church to church, but their mind-numbing services don’t change. I have always spent hours entertaining myself at home, and cherish that time. I cannot say I have cherished church services.
 
Yet, how can you break free from these bonds to the church when you are taught not to doubt! How can you leave if you don’t allow yourself to think about leaving? See how they have you in their clutches? You have been taught to avoid whatever might be contrary to your religion. What harm is learning the history of your religion? You have been taught that this discipline of not looking at anything makes you a good person. Discipline can be good (think piano practicing), but not when discipline involves avoiding truth and shunning people. The church’s type of discipline deadens you. 
 
How are you roped by the church? You are told what to wear, how to behave, what to study, not to doubt, not to “be of the world,” that others are lost, that you must convert others, that yours is the one true way (most religions teach that), that you must suffer, that you must donate, that you must procreate, that you will be rewarded, and they have clubs, and day care, and groups and camping and even teams in large churches, so that you are totally immersed in their culture and they will have control over you. 
 
Pride is also seen as a dirty word, and worrying about “being prideful” dampens your enthusiasm. It can even keep you from supporting others because you see the things they enjoy as being prideful. Oddly, the narrow lens you are taught to look out of makes you more prideful and less accepting of others’ quirks! Certainly, no one is supporting conceit, but being proud of an accomplishment is a feel-good emotion and doesn’t need to be hidden. Suppressing your own emotions is not healthy, nor is it honest. You don’t need to always mentally beat yourself to make you humble. It makes you harder to communicate with, as you are battling yourself. Religious people are so busy with their regulations that they miss out on acknowledging, loving and being honest about the most important personality – their own. Yet, religion is all about the self (a muted self) – saving oneself by constant attention to God, being a conduit with a dampened personality, and getting reward points for such behavior. 
 
You may not realize it, but you have something you must sell, and when a person is in need of reassurance, you see it as an opportunity to “witness” instead of giving them specific reassurance on the subject they need. This keeps you from supporting your friends in an honest manner, and can ruin relationships. Instead of giving reassurance and building their personal strength, you tell them they “just need to focus on God.” Chances are, they already tried that.
 
The love that is being given through religion is a weak, numb love, because it is “all across the board.” “Love everybody.” A commandment that you must love everybody is just a worrisome task. As a human you change emotions and thoughts all the time. A better idea than trying to love everyone would be to “respect their right to live.” Loving everyone can also get you hanging around with people who will take advantage of you. Just be honest – you don’t love everyone – you don’t even like everyone. That’s okay! Sometimes, the best idea is to stay away from people you don’t like. When God comes first and all people must be loved equally, it not only becomes a falsehood, it cheapens real feelings of love and doesn’t make one person feel more special in your life than another. Why would you want to hurt the most special people in your life with your proclamations of loving everyone equally? 
 
You have a fear that without this particular religion you won’t be a good person. That you need it in order to have morals. You fear if you give up your religion you will just go wild. If you did “just go wild” it’s because you wanted to prove that you needed religion. This does not say much for all those years of trying to have good morals, because you have not developed any strength or morals of your own, and are only being good because you think your god is watching. Why don’t you make your own morals and just be honest about what good morals you should have in this life, and then stick with those?
 
Most churches shame women, telling them they cannot come up to the altar during their periods, they can baptize a boy earlier than a girl, females can’t be leaders, females must be submissive and not question, and females must dress “modestly,” until they feel guilty about their own beautiful bodies. The church has taken over and ruined the word “modest” to mean “cover up” a female. Where is the beauty and spirituality in the religion? In defense of the harsh rules, the religious often claim, “I am not being forced to do this; I willingly do this.” Yes, I have heard that over and over from females who wear burqas. 
 
You can break free even if your religion is a family tradition. After all, what good is saying your religion is a religion of love if it does not let you be you? If you fear leaving your church and think they may start calling you, realize they do not own you. You are a free person. It takes great bravery to walk away, but the rewards of thinking freely with no fear of doubt is worth it. And why put your children through all of these unnecessary burdens and this bondage? 
 
If you believe God is good, then if you are the best “You” that you can be, why would you worry about your position in the afterlife? A good God would see you were truthful and as kind as possible, and would send you to the best place. If being your true self is not good enough for your God, then you should look at the personality of the God you are worshiping. While we are at it, why are you worshiping at all? Just be thankful for being alive and grateful, but there is no need to grovel week after week. If a God is all powerful and is supposed to be perfect, then why does it need the excessive reinforcement? Here you have problems with reassuring people in life, but you gush over your God. Any God should find that annoying and should tell you He doesn’t need the constant praise and to go enjoy all the goodness of life! 
 
If you want to change churches, you could try a more liberal church. There are some very liberal Presbyterian churches. What I truly think is a better idea is to try out the Unitarian Church, because they have speakers on different subjects and stay current, so it is much more stimulating for the mind. Unitarian Churches can differ a bit depending on the minister, but they do not care what beliefs you have as long as you come without dogma and that you are searching for your own beliefs and your own personal truths. You can change beliefs as much as you want as you explore what you truly believe about existence. 
 
We are lucky. Enjoy, appreciate, examine your own spiritual needs or whether you need them at all, or if you are happy just believing in how the world really works. Live in the world, for the world, love existence and accept death, because it recycles you and is a part of life – the finality of you as yourself is part of how it all works. Don’t abuse this earth – cherish this earthly existence and the earth itself. Enjoy the good.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ancient Sexual Rituals Still Performed



A recent National Geographic magazine featured worldwide religious and cultural rituals, showing what was involved in becoming a man and becoming a woman in lesser-known tribes. I was rather disgusted to find that nearly all the rituals involve the boy and sometimes the girl having sexual relations with the leader, and some form of genital mutilation is performed - piercings, cutting, or sewing. For the boys, it was a test of manhood to take the pain without any change of expression.

We can see some of these sexual infatuations in our religious customs, with very different treatment based on gender. And since the leaders of the primitive tribes are nearly always male and the boys are made to perform acts on them, it seems too similar to what we have learned about Catholic priests to be ignored.

It brought home just how primitive we still are as a species. 

One of the main reasons I think so many cultures perform such ridiculous rituals is that in ancient times there were not that many activities – no cell phones, no piano lessons, movies or restaurants - so the focus was on the body. We still perform the bodily rituals of the ancient tribes as if they are important.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

MATERIALS THAT ARE BOTH VEGAN AND ECO-FRIENDLY


When we purchase materials, we want to look for something that is both vegan and
eco-friendly. Eco-friendly does not mean it is vegan, and vegan does not mean it is
eco-friendly. But if a material is not eco-friendly, in the long term, it will probably
harm animals!

Pleather is vegan, but it takes a lot of chemicals and energy to make. Alternatives
to pleather are “vegan leathers” such as: Paper, cork, recycled rubber, organic
waxed cotton, coolstone leather (from slate), tree bark leather (from sustainable
forests), Pintatex (from wasted parts of the pineapple bush), and mushrooms! Of
course, you can wear a cloth purse and avoid the look entirely!

One more word about leather: If you hear or see the words fine leather or soft
leather – stay miles away. The picture above talks about where this fine leather
comes from.

Fake fur, often called “faux fur” is a problem. It can have real animal fur in it, even
dog fur. Just don’t wear fur at all!

It is always a great idea to purchase from thrift shops because the clothes get
reused, instead of buying new. The important thing about thrift shops is that if you
accidentally buy a wool product (labels are often missing on thrift shop items), the
store owners will not order 50 more wool sweaters to replace the one you bought!
There were be no more animals hurt or killed by your purchase.

What is wrong with wool? Wool is called eco friendly, but it definitely is not vegan.
Sheep often have a huge amount of skin removed (called mulesing), because
farmers somehow think this process will keep the sheep’s back end area cleaner. It
is horrendous to see! Also, sheep are now bred with wavy skin because it will have
more surface area for wool, and sheep are bred with wool that is much thicker and
longer. (Wild sheep have thinner coats and shed them every year.)

Silk is called eco friendly, but it is not vegan. Silk worms make silk threads a mile
long and wrap themselves up in it as their cocoon, where they will become a moth.
They must then eat themselves out of the silk cocoon, which would wreck the mile
long silk, so the farmers have various ways to kill the moth inside the silk. This
means we conscientious consumers do not use silk for a material, including
hydrolyzed silk in soap. It is usually the last ingredient in a soap and is so
unnecessary for them to add it! There are vegan soaps at Kroger’s and Country
Nutrition.

Cashmere is eco friendly, but not vegan. However, there is soy cashmere made
from soy, which is eco and vegan! Yes, they have soy clothing! So far, I have
looked online and only found T-shirts, undies, and things that look like you should
dance in them. No soy business suits yet!

Another promising material is Ingeo corn. When looking under “Images” there are
nice clothing items made from corn. And material from corn doesn’t wrinkle!
However, it is difficult to find corn clothing for sale online. Some of these products
seem to be more experimental at this point.

If your goal is to wear clothing that is vegan, natural and organic, you have to see
whether any of these crops were treated with pesticides, whether the materials
were treated with dangerous chemical dyes, or formaldehyde (which stops the
wrinkling), and whether they are fair trade products. Organic cotton is great, but
the cheaper ones wrinkle; the higher the thread count, the less wrinkling there is –
but it is more expensive. And if you want to become as natural as you can possibly
be, go with the natural color of cotton - light green, light brown or cream – because
there are no dyes of any kind in them. Of course, that is quite limiting and
everybody would be wearing the same three colors with no prints available! It
would be novel to have some clothes made that way, however. I also would love a
shirt out of corn or soy, since the majority of us are in corn and soy country!

Linen is also vegan, but it wrinkles! Linen sometimes involves dry cleaning, which
is chemical-laden. Can you tell I don’t like to iron?

Nylon is vegan but uses a lot of chemicals in its making.

Rayon is vegan, but uses some chemicals. Rayon, however, comes in three levels
of environmental friendliness. The next step up from Rayon is called “Modal” and is
from sustainable beech trees. The highest step is Lycocell, and the common brand
name of Lycocell is Tencel. Lycocell is wood cellulose from sustainable farms. It
doesn’t wrinkle! The reason Lycocell is special is because you can wear it longer
without having to wash it, so it is considered very eco-friendly.

Hemp is great – it doesn’t need care or much water or pesticides. It does start out
stiff and has to go through a little processing with chemicals to be softened, but
hemp is a highly recommended eco and vegan product.

Bamboo is also vegan and eco-friendly. Yes, you can wear bamboo! The fibers are
quite soft!

Very rare vegan and eco-friendly clothes are algae clothes and banana fiber
clothes. These seem to be just for fashion shows.

Eco-fabrics are in their infancy, but they are growing. Organic cotton is probably
the easiest to find online. Some of the others have confusing websites. Hopefully,
these eco-fabrics will become more popular and easier to find!

I saved the most popular material to discuss last - polyester. Polyester is vegan,
but it’s not safe for the environment. We just are finding out about this! Polyester
is made of small plastic fibers, and every time your polyester clothes are washed,
microfibers leave the material and your washing machine via the water and
eventually make it into rivers and lakes. They also give off toxins, such as BPA and
PCB’s. Fish now have plastic in their insides, and then birds eat the fish. That
means polyester, polypropylene, fleece, microfiber and acrylic are all harmful. I do
not worry about acrylic yarn, however, because at least in my case, I usually make
afghans and they aren’t washed every time they are used.

From what I read, polyester breaking down in the wash might be worse than
discarding the sweater whole. This sounds discouraging, but we are working on
solutions. Filter balls should be made available for purchase soon that can be
thrown in the washing machine and will gather up the polyester microfibers. Filters
on some energy-efficient washing machines seem to be for water coming into the
machine to be pure. Filters that will clean plastic particles from clothes are still in
progress.

In the meantime, wash full loads of clothes because they jostle less, use gentle
cycle, cold water, and run dryer on low to help preserve the clothes.

Big cities have bins labeled “Close the Loop” bins, where you can throw your
polyester cast-offs, and they make the sweaters into playground material, fences,
etc. Going in the opposite direction, but also seen as eco-friendly, there is a
company that makes sweaters out of recycled pop bottles! So polyester can either
be listed as eco-friendly, or one of the worst environmental offenders. But it’s
vegan!

Let’s finish by talking about gold and diamonds. Certainly, keep your jewelry! But
if you are planning on buying more diamonds, make them lab diamonds. They are
identical to diamonds from mining, except that they can be made perfectly
symmetrical and flawless. They are constructed atom by atom, and end up costing
less than those that are mined. If you Google diamond mining, you will see the
devastation caused, and the huge holes fill up with standing water which causes
mosquitoes to breed and spread malaria. Gold mining is even more devastating.
Land is ripped up for tiny nuggets and chemicals are dumped in water, including
mercury. Mercury attracts gold, and locals who are trying to make a few dollars are
standing in buckets of water where they add mercury to attract gold particles.
Many people are having serious neurological difficulties from it and they dump this
water into the rivers! We can’t afford such devastation to planet earth! We must
change now by boycotting ecologically harmful products, and show the younger
generation so they know people can change. We can’t just leave everything up to
them. If they learn from us and grow with ecological and vegan changes, at some
point, children will be raised in an ecologically friendly culture and not know any
other way!

Monday, January 2, 2017

FERVENT FEAR OF FAKE FIRE

Fundamentalists have morality so screwed up. I was conversing with a fundamentalist awhile back and told him what the evidence is about death. He did not like my answer, and said that I would burn in Hell if I did not give my life over to “the lord.” I told him I would have to speak hypothetically, since I will be talking about the Hell I don’t believe in with him. I said, that if I died and went to Hell, I could not burn, because it takes mass and matter to burn, and a spirit has no mass or matter, so it cannot burn.

Now this is now sick a religion can make a person. He nearly yelled back that I would most certainly burn! God has spirit fire that would burn my spirit body! Of course, he made that whole part up, because it says nothing about “spirit fire” in the Bible. (Correct me if I am wrong.) He was so caught up in making sure I would be punished, because I had to be in order for his religion to work. But this is how deranged a person can become that he/she will make up “spirit fire” to make sure I burn!

Most fundamentalists do not even realize that their religion is very violent. I would never tell a person he/she will burn, nor would I worship any god that gives such an ultimatum. They do not realize that they are supporting a violent god and accept a violent death for simply thinking this particular god does not exist. They think their religion is about love and that they chose their religion for love, but I think they chose it more out of fear. They became religious to make sure they would go to Heaven instead of Hell. It is a religion continued because of fear. I will agree that they like the feeling that can be brought forth in their own bodies because of being religious or going to religious services, but I still think their religious foundation is fear - such fear that they do not allow themselves to think through what kind of a god they are worshiping, and how it diminishes their own morality to worship such a god.
I also know that many Muslims believe that a person who goes to Hell will get new skin every time their skin burns off, so that they can eternally burn! Interesting that the two religions are so similar with their concepts of burning in Hell and rewards in Heaven. Realize that one of the two religions is wrong, and the Muslims are sure it is the Christians who are wrong, and the Christians are sure it is the Muslims who are wrong. A lot of people of one faith or another (and all the rest of the religions and the nonreligious) will be burning in Hell! Or not – because the idea of a torturous Hell and a strong duality comes from Zoroastrianism - and is made up.

The religious accept so much violence in their religions of peace and love, and dutifully warn people that they’d better obey the rules (like the slaves of an imaginary god that they are); and it reminds me of a horrid scene I saw (on video) when a truck carrying pigs overturned a half a block from the slaughterhouse. For dramatic effect, I will tell you that the injured pigs inside the truck sounded so very human as they screamed. Ex-slaughterhouse workers have said that pigs screaming sound eerily like humans, but I never thought they did until I heard these very real screams of pain and of desperation. Now that you are sickened by that thought (as I want you to be because I am vegan), I will get back to the point of my story.

Security and employees, some of them in shirts and ties because this was both a slaughterhouse and a main pork production facility with offices, came out to get the pigs and made them walk the half block to their deaths. It is a law that pigs must be able to walk in order for them to be slaughtered. There were two pigs that were lying on the grass injured, and animal activists were begging the employees to let them take these two pigs for medical help and to an animal sanctuary. These pigs could not walk so they were not fit to be slaughtered and could not be used as food. An aside: These two pigs were on the grass in the sunlight for the first time and were sniffing the grass!

But the employees were so intent on “doing the right thing,” following rules, that they refused to let the activists take the pigs, and instead, brought out a piece of cardboard just big enough to hide each pig’s body, and shot each pig with a bolt gun. The employees had lost all sense of morality, but thought they were doing the right thing; and out of fear, they followed orders. The activists watched helplessly and horrified at the pigs convulsing and writhing in pain as they very slowly died. They were then picked up (and I saw one make a movement, so he was still alive) by a shovel and they were thrown in the garbage bin.

The employees callously disposed of their lives, instead of showing kindness and caring and allowing the activists to take the two pigs and give them a good life. I saw the pigs that did not make it, dead on the truck. They died. That’s it. No Heaven, no Hell, no Spirit Fire. They went through enough Hell on Earth thanks to those who still demand meat. Bear witness to the reality.

The pig story (absolutely true) and many of Bite Size Vegan’s expressive words were taken from her video, "I've Lost All Hope for Humanity."