I started this post two weeks ago before violence erupted at the Trump political “stage shows.” The events of March 11/12 prove my point. Actions have consequences.
In Buddhism we call it Karma. Jesus taught that you will reap what you sow. Either way the message is the same: actions have consequences. It’s not just a moralistic matter, it’s a principle of nature: cause and effect. We’re seeing this play out with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I was writing about bullying, name-calling and juvenile antics, but we are already seeing those actions and consequences escalate. When the leading Republican candidate tells his angry crowd, “go ahead and knock the crap out of them… (referring to protesters) I’ll pay your legal fees”, not too surprising when someone sucker punched a protester. AND, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision how the protesters might react; just as they did by organizing and showing up at the Chicago event with even more opposition. Of course, the tension escalates and BOOM, violence breaks out. One action leads to another… aka Consequences.
I was originally writing about the embarrassing spectacle and likely consequences, but now we have concrete examples of cause and effect. Punching isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of resentment and a high probability for more violence. When Trump tells his followers that he can’t understand why “Muslims hate us”, that tells me he isn’t aware of cause and effect. For years, going back to the 1950s, we meddled in Middle Eastern affairs, tossing out a dictator or two, to assure access to oil. We became the enemy because the USA was a big bully. But, if he can’t see it in the mirror, or the microcosm (his own events), doubtful he can anticipate the larger macro world consequences. Shouldn’t our Presidential candidates have the vision to SEE cause and effect on a personal, national and world basis? Seems obvious to me.
If we foul our drinking water, we get poisoned. When we pollute the oceans with a world of waste and hazardous chemicals, sea life dies and eventually so will the oceans. When the oceans die, so will we. Sadly that process is well underway according to many oceanic experts. Cause and effect is in play with fracking. Doesn’t take a genius to see that if we destabilize the ground with high pressure chemicals and water, the earth will rumble and collapse. Cause and effect is pretty obvious “to anyone with eyes to see”, as Jesus said. He also taught “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (from Sermon on the Mount, as reported by Matthew and Luke.)
So, if Jesus were here with the “evangelicals” I can’t imagine He would endorse the Trump philosophy of building walls, closing borders and declaring enemies. He would compassionately welcome immigrants the way we once did:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
(The inscription on the Statue of Liberty, part of a poem by Emma Lazarus, written in 1890.)
What has happened to THAT America? A nation of immigrants, the gracious, charitable America heralded in our songs and anthems? That’s the America I want to see again! A place with good Karma, liberty and justice for ALL.
Years ago I should have reviewed Amazon.com the company the way we review products on their site. If enough of us had, maybe this 2016 SuperBowl ad would truly usher in an Alexa /AI Echo revolution, the way the old 1984 Apple ad introduced the world to the Mac (Macintosh computer.) Better late than never:
I give Amazon.com ($AMZN) 5 stars ***** for its unparalleled customer service and innovative CEO Jeff Bezos who knew from the beginning Amazon represented everything from A to Z (look at their logo.) Amazon.com incorporated in May of 1996 as an e-commerce company. It was always going to be more than a book store and never limited to just a retail or re-sale company like the so-called competitors. Amazon.com has no competitors. It’s always been and still is unique! First the company description and then I’ll explain why its stock price skyrocketed from $17 per share to nearly $700 (Dec 2015) since I invested back in 1998. From the investor page:
Amazon offers its own products as well as third-party products across various categories, through its retail Websites and through its mobile Websites and applications. It manufactures and sells electronic devices, including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TVs, Echo and Fire phones.
And that summary doesn’t even mention the famous multi-billion dollar AWS (Amazon Web Services) that not only lets anyone run sites and services in “the Cloud”, it offers a variety of computing, networking, and database services for every size business. See for yourself: Amazon.com AWS site.
That same level of sophistication with simple interfaces is available for people who read, or want to publish eBooks, or both; for people who want to buy music and videos and keep them in the cloud, OR store their own content online in a safe, secure way– whether it’s music, videos, photos or files. Yep, Amazon customers can keep eBooks and audio books in our account, along with music, movies, and more. With a Prime membership its basically all you can “eat” (or absorb) of whatever digital services you want! That’s a lot more than what Wally World wants to offer you with “free shipping.” Of course, Amazon has that too, with packages delivered in two days or less to your home. (Last I checked you might pick up a Wally order in a week at a local store.)
For years, Amazon was considered the world’s largest bookstore, even though it had no retail “brick and mortar” stores. Buying books online expanded to buying eBooks in 2007 when the first Kindle eReader sold out in a few hours. Amazon reported in July 2010 that sales of eBooks was exceeding that of printed books. (I published my novel as both trade paperback and then as an eBook in September of 2010, using Amazon services of course 😉 )
Since then Amazon.com has created more elegant devices and an ecosystem that would blow Steve Job’s mind: Fire tablets, Fire TV, Fire phone and now the incredible AI Echo system, which is unlike anything you’ve seen! They all work together seamlessly, intuitively and are fun! The truth is while Apple actually is turning into the plodding corporation it railed against in the 1984 Super Bowl ad, Amazon.com is still innovating and bringing us the “must have” products and services for the future. So, if you haven’t been on Amazon.com recently, or haven’t seen the Echo, check it out. First, here’s one of the possible #SB50 Amazon Echo TV ads with Alex and Alexa 😉 Here’s a customer review of Echo /Alexa features on Youtube and here’s the official Amazon.com echo product page … once you’re there, look around at all the other amazing stuff, too.
All that and I didn’t even mention that I’ve stashed away an extra Fire phone (which was designed with VR in mind) and has features other smartphones can only dream of. Right, Siri? 😉
All this talk of more bombing in the Middle East is ridiculous. We simply can not continue in endless wars, for many reasons. First of all, we can’t afford it, but more importantly wars don’t work. It’s a leftover (maybe hangover) of macho caveman behavior. Beating our chest and then beating up the other person solves nothing. We only create enemies and perpetuate more violence.
Who started the trouble in the Middle East? Warring factions over there blame each other. We blame Muslims for the 9/11 terrorism, but we (the USA) were meddling in their (Middle East) affairs for fifty years before that tragedy. We needed their oil back in the 1950s to satisfy our endless appetite for fast cars and “the good life”– at ANY cost. We didn’t care if we had to topple a regime or two to get it. Just like a school yard bully, we were on top, riding high for awhile until the oppressed got pissed and took revenge. That’s the way I see 9/11. It was already an act of revenge, but we turned it into a major war that has cost nearly TWO TRILLION dollars and ruined countless lives– American, Christian, Muslim and more.
What has this solved so far? “Absolutely nothing” as the old song song “War” proclaimed back in the 1960s. Now we have hawkish political candidates who want to double down. Totally ridiculous! The only hope is when one side is brave enough to de-escalate tensions.
Honestly, think about any conflict you’ve ever been engaged in, when has violence ever had a successful outcome? If you kill someone there will always be consequences. It could be anything from your conscience driving you crazy, to death, if a family member believes in “an eye for an eye”; or depending on your religious views, eternal damnation. Just imagine the revenge that will come from recent police brutality. We’ve seen that hatred escalating on both sides.
So, what is the solution when we hate someone (or a group of people) so much we want to kill them, or wage war? The only answer is forgiveness. WAIT, don’t blow me off yet. Hear my logic.
When we hate (or hold a grudge, or crave revenge) we are only hurting ourselves. The other person or group is not affected by our feelings of hatred, WE ARE! It makes our heart or head pound and increases our blood pressure. (I’m sure a medical professional could explain this is detail, but you get the point.) We are mad, angry and our face is flushed. If we follow through and physically harm “the other” we might feel some satisfaction for a brief time, and then what? Psychopaths might get off on it, but the rest of us usually feel miserable, especially if we do this repeatedly. The other possibility is the harmed come after us and we are injured, maimed or killed. Not great results, eh?
By forgiving the “bad guy” we discover several things. First, we feel better after letting go of the rage and anger. Our blood pressure and “fight or flight” response settles down. We feel lighter, free-er, and in time even joyful. And, after all success is happiness, not misery. Hard to be happy when we’re full of hatred and anger. And one thing I’ve learned: Our freedom is founded more in love than in hate.
Just some food for thought during this time of Thanksgiving.
This is actually two posts in one: first my take on what being PRO-Life should mean, followed by the comments on local ABQ issues.
I cringe every time someone posts or replays the sound bite of Carly Fiorina’s gruesome depiction of the aborted fetus. Only a monster could be immune or unaffected by such graphic details. Yet for at least fifty years American pharmaceutical research labs have conducted far more horrifying acts on living beings. Not only in the quest for cures to cancer and other dis-ease, but also so that overweight Americans can pop a statin drug and continue indulging in salty, fatty processed food. Humans and animals have been tortured in the name of progress, for something as vain and petty as make-up or as outlandish as mink coats. The collection of tissue and body parts that has outraged so many is actually one of the more humane ways to conduct research. And, by the way the video has since been called into question, so all this anger at Planned Parenthood is actually misplaced.
The point is ALL lives matter— not just fetuses, but the at-risk mothers forced to endure life threatening pregnancies. Mothers and women matter. Of course Black Lives Matter and good for those creating awareness with the hash tag campaign. But, how about Latinos, Hispanics, indigenous people, refugees, or prisoners? As the Pope pointed out, those lives matter, too. If you’re going to say you are PRO Life, then you must be concerned about ALL life– not just causes you pick and choose. You can’t be for the death penalty and say you believe in the Right to Life.
Christians can not be concerned only with other Christians. Jesus did not discriminate against anyone. We’re told he kissed the feet of whores and lepers, and would compassionately remind us that ALL lives matter. That includes Muslims, Buddhists and atheists. Even though many Christians believe Pro Life only applies to the dominant species, I suggest we take the wider, more compassionate Buddhist view that all lives includes ALL sentient beings. That means not only animals, birds and fish, but bugs and every living creature that has feelings (and they do have feelings!) Ponder that PRO-lifers! All Lives Matter.
Now that you’ve read all that, here’s the post you may have been directed to. How do I feel about MY Community? In a word… disappointed.
I’ve lived in Albuquerque over thirty years, longer than the place where I was born. So, although not a “true native”, New Mexico is my home. I first felt disappointed while working at the County (back in the 1980s.) Too many local leaders were more concerned about lining their pockets and self promotion than tackling tough community problems. If they had addressed our water issues and sprawl years ago and not been so driven by attracting industry at any cost, we wouldn’t be facing the resource crises we have today. Sadly, they’re still at it creating another unsustainable “land grab” in the form of the problem-riddled Santolina development.
The same goes with the excessive force issues plaguing our police. I can tell horrifying stories of police abuse that date back more than 20 years and have only become worse throughout the years, culminating in cases that have cost local taxpayers millions of dollars.
I realize Albuquerque is not unique in either of these problems– resource management, human or natural. But, local politicians should have listened to savvy elders and creative voices back then and embraced our diversity, not caved in to become “Any Town USA.”
So, yes, I feel sad and disappointed that we might end up like Phoenix, a sprawling dust bowl with no remaining character. Burque should have fought harder to maintain its unique, enchanting identity– the very thing that would have naturally attracted “economic development” without selling out.
Yep… As I posted on Fbook, against my will but for a VERY good cause, here are the PRINT BOOKS: (Click the pic to see clearly 🙂 ) I’m all about eBooks these days…
but even the Dickheads (aka Phil fans) don’t agree. They still need the “Kinesiological” feel of a “real” book (or so says Senior Dickhead FB.) Okay Frank, and others, here ya go– print copies of Seeing Clearly! And, LARGE PRINT, for you self-proclaimed geezers! Also visible is a copy of my novel (A Kindred Spirit), Scott Apel’s PKD: The Dream Connection (one of the books that heavily influenced my PKD fiction), and Start Where You Are, the first book by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun.
The good cause is for my 87-year old “Father-Thing” (1954 PKD story title) Ross! Ross is not my “real” father, but SC is now a REAL book! So all you geezers, and old school book geeks, get over to BookPatch.com and buy one! Seriously, it’s got a 12-point Arial font so you can read without eye strain. If $8 is too steep, then you know the drill– here’s the $2.99 eBook version. Ahhhh! Must admit, it is fun holding and flipping the pages on my own books, but still prefer reading them on the Kindle. And, speaking of my FAV place, Amazon, that’s the brand new Echo next to my SC book. I’ll explain about it in my next post.