Tag Archives: karma

Twentieth Anniversary–9/11/2001 Remembered

It’s been twenty years since the worst terrorist attacks on the US in its history. The World Trade Center twin towers fell. The Pentagon suffered deadly harm. A similar attack on the Capitol failed only through the heroism of passengers that rushed the cabin of the plane flown by minions of Osama Bin Laden.

In the immediate aftermath of the these horrible events, political division was put on pause for eighteen months. Since then, the antipathy between Democrats and Republicans has grown. Given my own personal determinations to work on ending the cultural and political divide, I will make no further mention of it on this day.

Instead, I salute those first responders who did what they could to save lives. Many of whom, themselves, fell ill or died as a result of exposure to ash, fumes and toxic chemicals. Second and third responders, if you will, worked to rehabilitate injured survivors. Others supported the remembrance of the dead through memorials.

There are countless observances of this anniversary in person or on various media today. For myself and my family, there is only one that I can contribute. You who have been to this blog before, may have seen comments in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2018.  All have mentioned the good fortune that protected my beloved wife from getting a well-deserved job at the Pentagon–in a section at or near the impact of the plane.

Not luck or coincidence, but her Buddhist practice, and mine, saved her life.  She really should have got the promotion. Coworkers were certain of that. It was several years later that the plane struck. The person who got the job died in the attack–as did the man who hired her. Others died as well. One, who went out on a smoke break outside the building, didn’t. Such is karma.

I watched all of the news coverage from a TV in my agency director’s office with others. He was away. Everyone at my wife’s office, a few miles away, were allowed to leave within a short time after the Pentagon event. I, 25 miles away elsewhere in Northern Virginia, could also have gone home. Most people did. After talking with her, I stayed and worked on a budget due in a couple weeks, knowing that she would be home for our teenage children let out from school.

It seems unlikely, improbable–difficult to conceive of restoring a faith in American democracy in this decade. Yet it is essential if the nation is to survive not another attack from without but one from within. On this day, I will rededicate my Buddhist practice to that end.

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COVID and the Trump Cult Raging in America

Hope is a Decision—Now More than Ever.

November 8—the last post here before this one. Recognizing that Biden had won the election. Biden the healer of the cultural and political divide. An effort that I am determined to participate in.

As I said then, it would be difficult. Even more difficult than I expected. Not due to the resistance of ordinary folks, but to all those members of the Trump Cult.

My natural inclination is to simply say:

Get over it—he lost!

But they won’t buy that. They have drunk gallons of his Trump Kool-Aid and believe in him with all their hearts. The election was rigged and stolen from him. 

They also believe one or all these options about COVID-19:

  • It’s a hoax
  • It’s no worse than a cold or at worst a flu and people get over it
  • Masks are worse than useless—they are an infringement on one’s freedom
  • Likewise, social distancing and closing bars, restaurants, gyms, etc.

Worse, they make death threats against even Republicans who won’t help Trump in reversing the election results through whatever means he and his associates try. Somewhat skilled attorneys withdrew after winning but one of 38 plus cases. Leaving semi to unskilled attorneys to continue frivolous lawsuits that judicially speaking ought to incur sanctions against them or referrals to the bar for misconduct.

Those are the facts. But what will I make of them? Will I deplore those who fall for the lies? Pity those who may die of COVID because of him? Many probably have already. Statistical analysis suggests surges associated with Trump rallies and in those parts of the country where votes for him were higher than for Biden.

Trump didn’t bring the virus here. He did mock those who took it seriously. They accepted his direction on this and other things. He didn’t suffer physically, so far, for his dismissal of the virus. His supporters have found his assurances persuasive—he is their political messiah. Republican elected officials, in fear or support of Trump, continue likewise to follow the same patterns of COVID oblivion—even as they or their constituents succumb to the virus.

Should I sink into the pit of hatred, vitriol and derisive attacks on those who offer death threats even to fellow Republicans  who don’t support Trump in overturning Biden’s victory. NO! If I do, I can’t help heal the division. I must accept their humanity and, from my faith perspective, their inherent Buddhahood.

Yes, a difficult proposition. Whether you who read this find the principles, the concepts or tenets, of Buddhism persuasive, you still may find it difficult to accept the humanity of the Trump faithful if you are not among them. That’s the challenge if we are to get beyond the present turmoil.

We have an economy in tatters. Sickness and death confront us at the hands of an unthinking enemy we call coronavirus, COVID-19 or more formally–SARS-CoV-2. We have a would-be autocrat striving to milk the last bit of financial fortune and power from his tenure in the White House. Even he has a Buddha nature. Even he has a shred of humanity within his angry and hate-filled heart. It’s barely visible, but it’s there. As much as I have demonized, satirized and condemned him on this blog, I know that to be true. Still, he must pay for his crimes and suffer the effects of the karma he has created. He already has, at the hands of the voters. Beyond that, there are legal and financial perils ahead that he will likely face.

In the meantime, we must rescue and rehabilitate America from the harms he has inflicted. Reestablish a rule of law. An independent Justice Department. Oversight of the actions of the Executive Branch—which, according to the US Constitution is subordinate to Congress. The latter makes the laws, appropriates the money and declares war. The President and those in the administration implement and enforce those laws. He and the rest of the Executive Branch must yield to the scrutiny of how well and how lawfully are executing the laws passed by Congress that give him authority to act.

America has barely—and not yet completely, escaped becoming a dictatorship. Aided and abetted by a GOP controlling the Senate. There is lots to do. But political reforms are just treating symptoms. The underlying disease is what must be addressed. A disease of Us and Them.

That’s enough for now. We will be making updates as often as we can. Not so much on what politicians and ostensible national leaders are doing. No, on what’s happening among the populace. Who, myself included, are reaching out and making connections with the other side.

As Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, we need a

“new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Had Trump won, those famous words might very well have been for naught—due to Trump’s intentions and those he put into his second administration.

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Fear: Trump in the White House and 9/11

Cover of Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House I preordered  the Kindle version  of Woodward’s book, which notified me of delivery  to my account at 10:15 last night.  I guess Amazon is on Eastern Time; I’m in the Mountain Zone.

Is it a coincidence that Simon and Schuster released this book by Bob Woodward on 9/11, the anniversary of America’s worst attack since Pearl Harbor? I think not.

I have already posted three commentaries on the events of 9/11,  their personal connection to my family (2008, 2011 and 2014) and how my Buddhist faith applies. This will be my fourth post on the subject, in which I will explain my lack of coincidence comment and how times have changed–for the worse, politically. Some snippets from those prior posts will help explicate things. I’ll start with the 2014 post.

At the outset, I offer my profound sympathies to those who lost friends and loved ones to the actions of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist followers. . . .  While death comes to us all, it is  disturbing when it comes unnaturally at the hands of another. From my Buddhist perspective, this is a function of karma–the effects one receives as a result of causes one has made.

My wife, who worked as a civilian for the Department of the Army, had applied but failed to get a job at the Pentagon a few years before the 9/11 attack. Here’s an excerpt from the 2008 post.

The location of the section she applied for was at or near the point of the plane’s impact on 9/11. Several people in the section, including the person who did get the position, died in the attack that day. . . . Karma is a strange thing, which we cannot fathom or explain completely. . . . I empathize with those who lost loved ones on that day even as I feel great appreciation that my wife didn’t get a promotion that would have killed her.

The clip below comes from the 2011 post.  In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, a bipartisan fervor swept the the nation, during which Democrats and Republicans united in support of efforts to care for survivors and rebuild. The unity and bipartisan cooperation lasted perhaps 18 months.

More than ever, we all need to remember the sacrifices of those who died on 9/11 and as a result of the aftermath. More than that, we need to rekindle the compassion and cooperation that briefly enveloped America.

Alas, for the last 15 years, division and derision have instead enveloped America. The 2016 election gave us Donald J. Trump–the most corrupt, ignorant, incompetent, racist and unfit person ever to occupy the White House. He did so only with the able assistance of Vladimir Putin’s agents, James Comey’s inappropriately ill-timed announcements about investigations of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Clinton’s own inept campaign strategies–not to mention voters who stayed home. Then there’s the antiquated Electoral College. Continue reading Fear: Trump in the White House and 9/11

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Andrey Karlov Pays Putin’s Punishment for Aleppo

Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey KarlovAn off-duty Turkish policeman shot and killed Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov in Ankara today. The shooter shouted, among other things, “Remember Aleppo. Remember Syria.” The Russian Foreign Ministry called it an act of terror. Of course it was that. Presumably, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey is an innocent civilian.

Notably, killing thousands of innocent civilians in Aleppo with barrel bombs, chlorine gas and white phosphorus incendiary munitions is not terrorism. It’s a war crime. A war crime committed with the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin freely given to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s. Russia supplies the jets and undoubtedly much of the munitions used against Aleppo. Russian jets flown by Russian pilots also strike Syrian targets. Putin says they’re targeting ISIS combatants. Only Donald Trump believes that. It takes a liar to believe a liar, one must assume. Oh, sorry, this is about Putin and Russia today, not Trump.

It’s a pity that the Ambassador should pay for Putin and Assad’s criminal behavior, but karma is what it is. He did choose to work for Putin. One day Putin’s karma will come due for Putin himself.

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13 Years Since 9/11–What it Means to Me

In 2008 and again in 2011, I posted commentaries on 9/11. It is time to do so again, adding a different perspective. At the outset, I offer my profound sympathies to those who lost friends and loved ones to the actions of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist followers. Today it is ISIS or ISIL who would target America as well as people of Iraq and Syria. While death comes to us all, it is  disturbing when it comes unnaturally at the hands of another. From my Buddhist perspective, this is a function of karma–the effects one receives as a result of causes one has made. Calvinists might have a different perspective–predestination or what others call fate. It seems preferable to the minds of most, I suspect, to absolve the victims of any blame and place it squarely on the terrorists who commandeered the planes and flew them into their targets. Blame is undeniably correctly put on the terrorists but that is missing the point–they are the instrumentality of one’s karma. There are those people who rush to get onto a plane that turns out to have a mechanical problem that causes it to crash, killing all aboard. At the same time, others are delayed by traffic and miss the plane. Different than a terrorist plot? Yes, in terms of how it happens but not in result.  Continue reading 13 Years Since 9/11–What it Means to Me

Michael Brown–Karma versus Justice

Throughout America, news reports suggest there is a problem with the use of excessive force by police. Often it is applied in the arrest or simply the stopping of young African American males. It should be noted that it is also a problem in dealing with mentally disturbed individuals. The former occurs in major part due to institutional racism still embedded in the American system–profiling young Blacks. They are stopped all out of proportion with their representation in the population and all  out of proportion to their actual criminality. Then, when they do not respond with the respect and deference that law enforcement officials would expect, they are beaten or killed. Continue reading Michael Brown–Karma versus Justice