#FakeUnity

blindJusticeIt is incomprehensible that so-called POTUS Trump thinks with a few meaningless words he can call for unity? We’ve been watching this movie for a year now–  “Liar, Liar: Groundhog Day Version.” The only words he could utter that would be worth hearing is an honest apology.  Awareness, acknowledgement and acceptance <<< the true Triple A >>> is the only path to unity. What we really want is #justice.

Right now, we are NOT the “united” states and we have no equality. We’re the most divided I’ve seen since the days of draft dodging and war protesting under Nixon. Our Russian-puppet POTUS has done NOTHING in the past year to heal the gaping divide of people and politics. He panders to the states where he “won” (conned them) and punishes the states who dared to vote against him. Where are the “States Rights” Republicans now?  TrumpWorld wants to deport and detain everyone who isn’t part of their agenda. Reminder: that’s only one-third of US voters.  Trump and Comp. see the #BlueWave2018 coming. So this State of the Union Miller-written piece of propaganda isn’t worth the wear and tear on my ears and definitely not my eyes.  Yech Mr. Piggy! (he once called a beauty contestant in one of his pageants “Miss Piggy.” Just typical “presidential” name-calling.)

Update: Here’s one of the opposition responses from Senator Bernie Sanders.  My #LastWord: Why not a female Senator this year? (for the Official Response?) #SotU2Male  NOW it’s time for #NOW and we say it’s about time!

Xenophobia

First comes the rant. I must get this out of my system… then I’ll see if I can turn this into a dharma lesson, because I need one after getting embroiled in a twitter storm over Kaine vs. Pence! The “Bernie Bros” may only read this first para, so let me say while I certainly admire your idealism, reality is this: a vote for Jill Stein or even #TeamGov (with my own former Governor Gary Johnson) will help elect the megalomaniac, pathological egotist, Trump. Sadly it’s fact. We can prove that votes for Ralph Nader in 2000 divided Democrats and handed the election to Bush, who truly wrecked the economy and started the current wars. So, as I said with my “mic drop” tweet, even our beloved Bernie will tell you this! (UPDATE: and he did at the Convention.)

Words truly do have meaning. When we say “fascist” (lower case “f”) it stands for an autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader. Trump claims “only I can fix this.” He’s a fascist who fosters Xenophobia.  If you think he’ll change, that’s delusion.

The word xenophobia is pronounced zeen-ah phobia. When Hillary said “Zen-a-phobia” I laughed out loud because, after all, I am ZenWoman. It’s a moniker I’ve carried since 1980 when I first needed a “user” name for the original online CompuServe. Back then I was dabbling in Zen, more the philosophy than religion. When I had to come up with an online ID for the computer system, I wanted to convey something about my views and that I was female. Back then computers, like poker, were a man’s domain. If you were playing poker or getting geeky you were either considered a “sassy gal” or a dyke. I fell into the sassy category. Anyway, this is why I chuckled at Hillary saying “zen a phobic” which actually is part of Xenophobia.

Recently when I posted about my new dharma name on FaceBook, friends congratulated me, but I wondered how many reading my post were fearful or bigoted about my involvement with foreign religions and philosophy. That is the meaning of Xenophobia. It’s a fear of foreign ideas, concepts or religions.

The purpose of a dharma name for a Buddhist is kind of like baptism or taking an oath, but not exactly. While it is part of an initiation ceremony and confirms that one is “officially” a Buddhist, it can also reflect what we need to focus on as part of our Practice (that being our meditation and contemplation practice, as well as carrying out our precepts.) I’m taking time to define each term to avoid the kind of confusion I’ve seen on Twitter where Muslim names are being associated with terrorist pledges. People are confusing social media IDs (like my ZenWoman) or made-up names, like cop-killer Gavin Long’s Cosmo Setepenra, as a Muslim name. This is how conspiracy theories begin. “That’s his Muslim name.” (I saw posted more than once online!) NO! Long gave himself that name and promoted himself online as a “lifestyle guru” who praised polygamy. That has NOTHING to do with Islam or Buddhism.

A primary Buddhist precept is non-violence and no killing. And, we mean NO killing. That applies to animals, birds, reptiles and insects, as well as humans.  All are considered sentient beings. Sentience is defined as awareness or consciousness. Now we can have some pretty rousing dharma debates about who and what is sentient. I’m not sure #theDonald is sentient (just kidding) but I know my yard lizards are. They are certainly aware of me. Bugs are also aware. Ants and beetles scurry away to avoid being hurt. Part of the definition of sentience is avoiding pain. No one wants to suffer, and in my opinion that applies to plants and microscopic life forms, too.

I know this is getting into the “weeds” (which are also aware in a Quantum way), but let’s end with the most important point: why not embrace diversity rather than reject it? Why is “knowing stuff” considered elitist or bad? Why hate people based on their religion or skin color? I’m not thrilled that we have only “white people” running for President, but at least Tim Kaine lived in Honduras, learned to love Caribbean culture and speaks Spanish (in addition to his “amazing” work resume.) I trust him to be a more tolerant leader, as one who has witnessed dictators close up, and knows how dangerous Xenophobia can be!

Let’s keep our diverse Democracy and not hand it over to a fear mongering “strong man” who prefers to sit on a golden throne. After all, that’s why we broke away from England in the first place!

a Buddhist Bernie-backing Investor?

For those checking me out as a result of a Twitter post or publishing site, I know it’s confusing. I post a LOT about #BernieSanders but also $AMZN, and not enough about #writing, #dharma or my publishing biz.  I’ll touch on all of that here.  I don’t feel it’s ridiculous to support Bernie, and still be an active investor.  I am fortunate that my socially-aware investment choices have paid off.  I don’t invest in companies I don’t believe in.  I would love to chat with Bernie and see if he truly believes that ALL billionaires are bad.  I don’t.  The ones I invest in donate MILLIONS to charitable causes that I also support.  Let me say a bit more about how and why I began investing in the first place.

I was an online pioneer back in the 1980s running a hobbyist computer “bulletin board” system (called a BBS.)  Not only was I an early adopter of computers and online services, I was a Geek Girl — more common now, rare growing up in Iowa and learning data processing in the 1970s. Yep, punch cards, big mainframes, and giant floppy disks.  Even though I owned one of the first personal computers (before IBM made them), it didn’t occur to me to invest in MSFT back then.  I did buy AAPL the day Steve Jobs returned in 1997.  Good choice.  And, I bought a little known online service called Amazon.com in 1998 (before the 3 – 1 stock split.) 🙂  A VERY good move!  I was investing in the “guys” and their ideas, but had hoped people would have been investing in MY company.  I was involved in the earliest days of commercial internet with my own company ZiaLink as an alternative to America Online.  We would have gone public as ZLNK if it had all worked out. Sadly, NSCP (Netscape) was the original hot IPO, not ZLNK, and as they say, the rest is history.  (I call it HER story.) There’s a bit more on the About tab, and some day I’ll post more details from those days. Quite a story.  Anyway, that’s how and why I picked some real winners early on.  ORCL, QCOM, the QQQs, in addition to AMZN and AAPL.  I had some failures too, CUBE and HAYS (remember Hayes modems?) But got in on FB (Facebook) the first week at $33. TWTR, not so much (but I remain optimistic.)

I think it’s GREAT to invest in America’s future. I used PayPal (early days) and believe in Elon Musk. I was lucky to own eBay and got 100 shares of PYPL when eBay spun it off  (as a result of their 2002 joint venture.) I bought a little BitCoin and always keep my eye on new technology.  Does Bernie approve of my philosophy? Who knows, but I like him.  I trust Bernie over the screwball salesman (Drumpf) who really would be terrible for Wall Street and America.  Bernie is pro-diversity and humanity, something I admire. Hillary will probably win — a compromise me and many other investors can live with.

How do I reconcile all that with my Zen moniker? As I explain in my little philosophy book Seeing Clearly  Buddhists are not perfect, no human is. Grappling with the Dharma (and reality) is our practice.  Zen is a way of seeing things, more clearly. 😉

#Consequences

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.

 

 

the Ultimate Amazon.com Review

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?  😉