Monthly Archives: September 2022

Living In Our World Community

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Hear me, four quarters of the world – a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.

~Black Elk~

I have been reading Eckhart Tolle lately and thinking about his call for a higher consciousness rather than being trapped by our thinking. His words reminded me of the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, a French priest who wrote about cosmic consciousness and Thomas Berry, a priest I knew in the 1960’s who wrote about awareness of being connected with the rest of creation. It seems hard for us to think of ourselves as a world community. Many people disparage the United Nations as useless. Society is pitted Republican versus Democrat, Christian versus Moslem, Jew versus Palestinian, radical religious thinker versus secular thinker. The list goes on. It feels to me like the whole world has taken sides on just about every conceivable issue. We can’t even agree on the earth. Some people think we are in danger of destroying our habitat while others think the idea of global warming is nonsense. Despite differences in how we look or act, we all have a great deal in common with each other even in our physical makeup. We come from the earth when we are born and will return to it when we die. In the mean time we interact with the earth every time we eat, drink or draw a breath. We are all part of the same earth. It’s hard to be any more connected to the earth and to each other than that. There should be some way we can treat each other as part of the same community. I have been thinking about such a development and waiting for it for the past forty years. The reality is that it won’t happen by itself. We must all do our part to bring about such a change. How? Of course none of us can change the whole world all by ourselves. None of us has control of anyone else’s interactions with their world neighbors. What we can do is to start treating every person we meet as a cherished member of our world community. Action Steps
  • Start thinking of others as part of your world community.
  • Make them feel welcome in your world.
  • Start with people you fine easiest to welcome.
  • As you progress, work up to people harder for you to welcome.
  • See if you can have a relationship with someone and leave out all the labels we use to categorize people.
Selection from my book Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage, available at Amazon  

What We Learn from Trump Experience




Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

Written by John Dean and published in Dean’s List/, 9/28/2022

Five Lessons Trump Taught Us

His political career is like a Trump University for the rest of us

The Trump presidency is likely to be studied more than any other president’s other than Lincoln and maybe Washington. While Trump did not lead America through a war or depression, expand civil rights, or, truth be told, do much of anything positive, he did come close to trashing the Constitution and democracy. That makes him historic. It also makes his presidency a treasure trove of lessons needed to prepare us for any future Trumps, including Florida Governor DeSantis.

The five lessons are simple but vitally important. I see and read things that violate them daily.

Experience counts

Unqualified, inexperienced people should not be president (or hold other high-level government positions). We need to identify a set of basic requirements and develop a means to evaluate anyone who wants to run for president against them. The requirements should include a working knowledge of the Constitution, a basic familiarity with world politics and history, and an understanding of U.S. history.

Our existing political parties, which tend to become captive to strong personalities, cannot be trusted to either develop the requirements or apply them. The dilemma is to figure out a neutral, trusted party to do the work.

Trump’s inexperience, coupled with other issues, made him the president he was, which was a dangerous, racist sociopath. He was and remains an embarrassment to the United States who not only engaged regularly in clownish behavior but he reminded the rest of the world not to trust the U.S. Any country that can elect a reality TV star as president cannot be trusted.

Celebrity counts for too much in politics

The path to political power for celebrities is too easy. I am regularly amazed by otherwise intelligent people telling me that a movie or rock star would make a great president. They wouldn’t. The job of president is different from writing, performing music, or acting.

But we also have celebrity politicians. To pick on just one, consider Stacey Abrams, who was touted as a good choice to run as Joe Biden’s vice president in 2020 despite having lost her recent race for Georgia governor. Why Abrams? At the time, I was told she “had charisma” and “would shake things up.” Never mind that she appears to know little about economics, foreign policy, or the military.

Donald Trump has made a practice of judging fitness for office and electability on the basis of looks or name recognition. Consider Dr. Oz, currently a candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, and ex-football star Hershel Walker, running for Senate in Georgia, as two examples.

Also, think about reality TV star Donald Trump. Would he have won the 2016 Republican nomination and the presidency had he not been on The Apprentice?

Trump is the epitome of why celebrities lacking government experience don’t belong in politics. Trump’s ignorance of government contributed to his regularly ignoring laws and breaking them.

The Constitution did not protect us from a mentally ill president and needs revision

Donald Trump’s recent statement that a president can declassify top secret documents by simply deciding to do so, without even informing anyone else, was ridiculous. But is there anything specific in the Constitution suggesting that a president doesn’t have this power?

And what about a president that asks his Attorney General or Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to “take care of our enemies?” How do you hold a president responsible for this type of abuse? Impeach them and remove them from office? Trump taught us that the impeachment/conviction process doesn’t work in practice.

It is not readily clear how the authority of the president can be better circumscribed, but one place to start is for Congress to reduce grants of discretion to the executive branch. All federal expenditures should be subject to specific appropriations or authorizations from Congress. Actions by a president that are viewed as contrary to statute or unconstitutional should be subject to review by a special court established for that purpose. The court should be authorized to opine on the legality of the president’s action but not to overturn it. Challenges to overturn action should remain subject to impeachment and removal or to other judicial challenges in existing courts.

The trappings of our now imperial presidency need to be scaled back.

The United States now spends hundreds of millions of dollars to give the president a lifestyle that exceeds any monarch’s. The country spends billions on fleets of presidential helicopters and 747s. The president has unrestricted use of the White House and, it seems, other federal property. Remember Trump’s political rally at the White House? Remember how the January 6 rally preceding the assault on the Capitol was held right in front of the White House? The president should not be authorized to use the trappings of the presidency to boost their own celebrity or to convince ignorant people that the president’s pronouncements, regardless of how ridiculous, are the law of the land.

The British prime minister lives at 10 Downing Street. Why can’t the American president live more modestly? It is likely that security for the president could be maintained without treating the president like a King or Queen.

One huge benefit of scaling back the trappings of the presidency would be to make the office less attractive to narcissists like Trump. Trump was more interested in the luxury and celebrity provided by the office of the president than he was in the actual job.

Our current system doesn’t hold presidents accountable

I have already noted that the impeachment and conviction process is not effective. Trump taught us that. What about crimes committed before, during, and after being president? Should the president, and especially ex-presidents, be subject to the same laws as the rest of us?

Reform should start with limiting the president’s pardon power. It has been subject to regular abuse. And Trump may yet tell us that he secretly pardoned himself, without making a paper record of it, before he left office. The pardon power needs to be circumscribed to exclude self-pardons, pardons of crimes associated with sedition against the government, and crimes committed by members of the president’s family or his top political appointees.

The scope of “executive privilege” also needs to be reviewed to prevent an ex-president accused of wrongdoing from using it to obstruct justice by claiming that communications with former associates are covered by it.

More lessons

There are, of course, more lessons to be learned from the dark period better known as the Trump presidency. Historians and political scientists are already at work identifying them. Someday maybe a university could be created around the knowledge. It could be called Trump University.

Democracy at the Crossroads

Democracy at the Crossroads

Written by Lauren Elizabeth and published in 9/26/2022

Photo by Cyrrus Crossan on Unsplash

The Problem For Democracy isn’t Just the GOP.

Yeah, humanity is in trouble.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t follow elections or politics in other countries too closely at all. Personally, I find myself already drained enough as it is to think about all the way things could be improved here in the United States. But every once in a while, there are stories from other nations and their elections that I can’t help but find myself captivated by, for whatever reason. Whether it be the impact on the larger global conversation or the much needed broader labor movement, I do find myself growing more and more interested in the political landscapes of other countries.

Oftentimes unfortunately, the stories aren’t good.

Yesterday following elections in Italy, West Wing Reports tweeted:

“Exit polls show that the first avowed fascist since Mussolini will be the next prime minister of Italy; the apparent victory of Giorgia Meloni, 45, is sending shockwaves across Europe tonight…”

It’s one of those circumstances that really makes everything hit home, isn’t it? One of those moments where you’re reminded of how everything is so much bigger than us. We’re seeing these kinds of shifts not just in the United States of course, but around the world. It’s becoming clear that democracy is under threat virtually everywhere, and we’re entering very dangerous territory. But as alarming as it is to see the first far right government in Italy since Mussolini prepare to take power, more importantly we should be asking why.

Why are we seeing this trend? What factors at play are propelling these types of government into power?

Well, contrary to what some here within the United States might believe, we’re really not that different from other nations.

As people all across the world continue to find themselves even more exploited by corporations, the wealthy and the powerful, can we really be surprised when — just like here — they have politicians in their countries more than willing to take advantage of the anger and frustration? Their politicians will point to immigrants, the disenfranchised, the powerless as outlets for the anger and frustration just like here.

As Brianna Wu insightfully pointed out as well, social media has played a major role as well.

As much as we might like to think of Facebook and Twitter as public squares where people should be able to share various thoughts and ideas and connect with people all across the world to gain perspective, the reality is profit motive behind these massive companies prevents that from being a reality. They profit off of the scandal. They profit off of lies that circulate through various Facebook groups and onto our newsfeeds. The more outrageous and engaging a post might be, the more money they make and the more division is encouraged. It would be absolutely foolish not to acknowledge the direct impact these companies are having on this rightward shift.

At the end of the day though, this is all just end stage capitalism at its finest isn’t it? It’s never been designed to be compatible with democracy. This is a humbling reminder that as human beings, we’re all in this together. We’re all interconnected, and feeling the impacts of what feels like the death of civilization together. We’re all watching the worst of humanity thrive, while the rest of us fight over the crumbs. Capitalism has left all of us flailing, and whether it’s here, Brazil, Italy, or even Sweden, it seems clear that at least for the time being, we’re looking at some dark times ahead.

Does Quitting Mean Giving Up

Why Quitting Is Underrated

And grit is not always a virtue.

A hamster walking away from its hamster wheel.


Written By Annie Duke and published in The Atlantic 9/27/22

About the author: Annie Duke, a former poker player, is the author of Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away.

Siobhan o’keeffe, one of tens of thousands of runners in the 2019 London Marathon, noticed that her ankle started hurting four miles into the race. According to a news report at the time, she kept running despite the worsening pain. Another four miles later, her fibula bone snapped. Medics bandaged her leg and advised her to quit, but O’Keeffe refused. She actually finished the marathon, running the last 18 miles in nearly unbearable pain and risking permanent injury.

Running 18 miles on a broken leg stretches the limits of believability. Even her orthopedic surgeon remarked as much. But what might be more unbelievable is that this story is not uncommon. In fact, that same day, at the same distance into the race, another runner, Steven Quayle, broke his foot. He, too, kept running, through pain so bad that during the final 10 miles, he had to make several stops for medical assistance. But like O’Keeffe, he finished the race.

In professional poker—my former field—knowing when to quit is a survival skill that separates elite players from the rest of the pack. Yet, despite the obvious virtues of folding a bad hand, in most areas of life human beings tend to extol perseverance, so much so that a quick Google search turns up many other stories of distance runners around the world suffering horrifying injuries mid-race but refusing to give up. We look at these types of stories and think, I wish I had that kind of grit.

But is grit a virtue when we stay too long in bad relationships, bad jobs, and bad careers? Much of the commentary on the COVID-era Great Resignation seemed to judge the workers who were quitting in droves—as if millions of people were losers for walking away, during a global health crisis, from jobs that they didn’t want to do. Meanwhile, workers who are “quiet quitting”—that is, staying in a job they no longer like while doing the minimum necessary to hold on to it—get a sympathetic hearing in many quarters.

This is the downside of grit. Though grit can get you to stick to hard things that are worthwhile, grit can also get you to stick to hard things that just aren’t worth sticking to—such as the remainder of a marathon after your fibula snaps at mile eight.

In 2013, the economist Steven Levitt, a co-author of the best seller Freakonomics, put up a website inviting users to flip a virtual coin. You might be skeptical that anyone would use such a tool to help them decide anything. But over the course of a year, more than 20,000 people actually did this, including about 6,000 who were considering a serious matter such as quitting their job, retiring from the workforce, or ending a relationship.

Levitt reasoned that, if these were truly such close calls that relying on a coin flip seemed like a good option, the people who stuck with the status quo were likely to be as happy as those who left their job or their partner.

But when he followed up with the coin flippers two and six months later, he found that the quitters were happier, on average, than those who persevered. While the decisions may have felt close to the people making them, they weren’t actually close at all. As judged by the participants’ happiness, quitting was the clear winner. That meant that they were getting to the decision too late, long after it was actually a close call.


Nearly half a century of scientific research has identified a host of cognitive forces that make us put off quitting. The most well-known is the sunk-cost fallacy, first identified as a general phenomenon by the economist Richard Thaler in 1980. It’s a systematic cognitive error where people take into account money, time, effort, or any other resources they have previously sunk into an endeavor when making decisions about whether to continue and spend more, throwing good money after bad. The fear of wasting what we’ve already put into something causes us to invest more in a cause that’s no longer worthwhile. (Thaler later won a Nobel Prize for his research in behavioral economics.)

Another commonly known error that keeps people from quitting is status quo bias, introduced in 1988 by the economists Richard Zeckhauser and William Samuelson. When comparing two options, both individuals and companies overwhelmingly stick with the one representing the status quo, even when it is demonstrably inferior to the option representing change. An employer is more likely to keep a middling performer on the roster for too long than risk hiring a worse replacement. Likewise, an employee will stay at a miserable job because it’s the status quo, rather than quit to find a better one. We prefer the devil we know.

Decision makers in professional sports get a lot of continuous, quick, and clear feedback on player productivity. There are objective measures of player performance, and data are constantly updated. The coach and team management are highly motivated—both by financial reasons and their own competitive drive—to deploy the best players in order to win. Yet even NBA owners and coaches stick with their own bad decisions.

In 1995, the social psychologists Barry M. Staw and Ha Hoang looked at the results of the NBA drafts from 1980 to 1986. They asked a simple question: Does a basketball player’s draft order—independent of their subsequent performance on the court—affect their playing time, likelihood of being traded, and career length?

Staw and Hoang concluded that “teams granted more playing time to their most highly drafted players and retained them longer, even after controlling for players’ on-court performance, injuries, trade status, and position played.”

As a competitive strategy, this makes no sense; a high draft pick who plays no better than a lower-round pick deserves no more time on the court. But this is where you can clearly see the effect of cognitive errors like the sunk-cost fallacy. Spending a high draft pick to acquire a player burns a valuable, limited resource. Benching or trading or releasing such a player, despite performance data justifying it, feels tantamount to wasting that resource, so those players get a lot more chances than players drafted lower who are playing as well or better.

These findings can’t be dismissed as a relic of the pre-Moneyball era. The economist Quinn Keefer has conducted several field studies since the mid-2010s on the effects of draft order and player compensation on playing time in the NFL and the NBA. Although the effect sizes were somewhat smaller than in the 1995 study, they were still significant.

The Power of Understanding

To know someone here or there
with whom you can feel there is understanding
in spite of distances or thoughts expressed.
That can make life a garden.


Sometimes I stop to wonder why there are so many divorces, fights, arguments and hard feelings among people. I think I have finally found one of the culprits- mind reading.

You might think of the magic trick where the magician figures out what card you have chosen. Possibly you imagine an old married couple one of whom anticipates what the other is about to say. Or maybe you invite a friend over for dinner and serve exactly what your friend had imagined.

I was sitting on my porch with the above words on my pad, trying to decide what to write next. Along came my mailwoman, Jen, who asked what I was writing as she delivered my mail. After I told her, she offered her opinion that too often people are caught up in their own thoughts and don’t empathize with others. They make up their own minds rather than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Could she have been mindreading and known exactly what thought I needed next? I suppose so.

When I sat in counseling with warring couples, I frequently pointed out their pattern of mind reading. They spoke as if they were in each other’s heads or acted as if the other person said something they hadn’t.

I suppose mind reading is harmless enough if you don’t go off half cocked and react to something that might or might not be true. What if you decide your spouse, child, parent or friend is deliberately trying to be obnoxious and do something rotten in return? You might have just started a needless battle which could rage for years. And it could all be due to your faulty imagination and your mind reading.

So how do you get to understand someone? Even if they are talking the same language, people sometimes mean different things by the same words, glances, or mannerisms. Sometimes a person has no idea what another means and assumes that everyone means the same thing by what they say or do. They don’t.

One way to understand people is to ask, “Is this what you mean?” Isn’t that better than assuming you know and fly off the handle in response? You could tell people how you feel when they say or do something which upsets you. When you talk about your feelings rather than attacking others, you have a much better chance of them hearing you. There are no doubt other alternatives as well. Mind reading can be fun when it is a game but devastating when serious matters are at stake.

Action Steps

  • Think of any unresolved issues you have with people. Could they be due to misunderstandings?
  • What could you do to resolve the matter?
  • Have you ever been surprised when someone got upset about something you said or did when you meant no harm?
  • If there are still hard feelings about it, would it help if you explain what you meant?
  • If you are locked in conflict with someone, try stopping to listen to each other’s position rather than just insisting you are right.

Selection from my book, Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage, available at Amazon.

How Many Political Parties?

There Are Now Four Political Parties in the US

And that may be good news for Democrats

Written by Martin Edic and published in

Count ’em: Democrats, old school Republicans, Ultra MAGA, and Independents. The lines are pretty well drawn but all hell will break loose when the Ultra MAGA start losing and emulate Trump in their ‘if we don’t win the process is corrupt’ strategy.

Independents are leaning Democrat as more bad legal news reveals the extent of Trump’s corrupt activity. Old school Republicans may peel off more in the Dems direction too in disgust at all of that, though they are not a force right now.

Ultra MAGA thinks they have a lot more power than they do, as we saw at the poorly attended Ohio rally last week that reminded many of Nazism with their salutes, references to QAnon, and strident militaristic music. They have gone so full-on loon that they are likely making some Trump supporters uncomfortable.

All of this seems to be benefiting Democrats who have retained solidarity in the face of all this division. Maybe.

Unlike parliamentary systems where strange bedfellows make weak alliances for short term gains, our system and the politics of the last twenty years ensure that there will be few if any real alliances. The Republicans’ long term commitment to never compromising has ensured that.

Independents can serve as kingmakers except that they actually are independent, not a party with a platform and policy and leadership. As such, they are the unknown factor, exacerbated by the fact that they tend not to answer polling reliably, which has created a real problem with pollsters who have been wildly wrong, notably in 2016.

Then there are the old school Republicans, the party of Liz Cheney and to some extent Mitch McConnell, who have enough self-respect to not worship at the altar of Trump. There’s not a lot of them who openly admit their membership but if they were to make some alliances with Dems, they could have real power.

But they are conditioned to never compromise with the guys to the left.

For political junkies, this is fascinating. For one thing, none of us really know what will happen in the 2022 midterms, now weeks away. The scenarios change daily and there are still a few wild cards, notably the January Sixth hearings, inflation, and how important the abortion ruling will be to turnout.

This is foot in mouth territory right now and those who make their livings in predictions are hedging their bets to protect their future value as pundits.

This would be wildly entertaining if the stakes were not so high. Some of the potential outcomes are terrifying and could signal the end of the rule of law and our great democratic experiment.

Another advantage long term for the Democrats is the continued denial of the importance of climate change by the combined Republicans/MAGA. With 1000 year storms becoming the norm, it’s pretty hard to ignore the elephant over in the corner stomping all over everything we once considered unchanging.

Collectively, the Republicans still publicly* believe in the power of Trump, but instead of consolidating his grip, he is increasingly unhinged and incapable of any message beyond his own personal obsessions and fantasies. He is a man against the ropes getting pounded, with no experience of admitting he was wrong about anything.

*In private many think he is crazy.

Meanwhile Merrick Garland and his DOJ are constantly reminding us that no one is above the law, despite Trump’s lackey judge Cannon in Florida who is blatantly aiding his stalling campaign to avoid indictment. If she has friends, they might take her aside and remind her of posterity because she is committing long term career suicide.

So, at least four parties, any potential alliances unlikely except in the voting choices of independents who remain stubbornly indefinable, and a midterm that might be the most consequential election in recent history.

Meanwhile, those paying attention like me are trying to puzzle our way through, day to day.

Vote. It really makes a difference.

The Power of Love

Love is by nature exceedingly timid and modest,
but when roused-bold and fearless in the extreme.

~Charles Fillmore~

There is probably more written about love than any other topic. Love is the opposite of conflict and hatred and has many meanings. We think of love as a romantic feeling, warm and fuzzy, which draws us to another person. It has no reason or explanation. It’s just how we feel. We can’t explain it although people have tried in various ways over the centuries.

Love can also mean sexual desire. Love and sexuality can be intertwined in a relationship and complement each other. But it is also possible to love someone without being sexually attracted and to be sexually attracted to someone we don’t love. The two are often confused. Sometimes one partner is motivated chiefly by love and the other by passion.

Love can mean caring for someone. We can wish the best for someone and do what we can to make his or her life better. Sometimes we sacrifice our own needs for the sake of the person we love. The degree of our love for that person determines how much we are willing to sacrifice.

Sometimes our love is not returned. It can be very lonely and disappointing to continue loving a person who does not return our love. Sometimes it is returned and we bond in a life of mutual caring. It is certainly much more satisfying to love a person when our love is returned.

We sometimes use love to mean we like a thing or an activity. My children had a standard joke in reply to my saying I loved something, “If you love it, why don’t you marry it?” Love can be silly at times. Love for things is not the same as love for a person. Things don’t love us back. There is nothing personal in this love. It is just a matter of enjoyment.

We also talk of God’s love for us, love of our family members, our friends and our fellow beings in the abstract. Love can obviously mean many things. For me there are two basic meanings. One is how we feel about someone and the other is what we do about it.

There are many different levels of feeling love. They range from temporary good feelings to lifelong commitment and devotion. There are also many different levels of response to love. We might not do anything at all other than enjoy the good feeling. We might show our caring for another person when it is convenient. We might also put that person’s needs and desires before our own.

Simon and Garfunkel sang “I am a rock; I am an island.” John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.” Where do you fit?

Action Steps

  • What does love mean to you?
  • Who loves you and why?
  • What is the best thing about being loved?
  • Whom do you love and why?
  • What is the best thing about loving someone?

The Power of Imagination

It is the marriage of the soul with Nature
that makes the intellect fruitful,
 and gives birth to imagination.

~Henry David Thoreau~

Photo by Mark G on

Did you ever arise in the morning thinking about what faced you and then plodded through the rest of the day? If you allow yourself to, you can become an automaton. Many adults do it. Maybe that is why we have road rage and surliness in our daily life experience. Do you remember when you were a child and woke up wondering what adventures awaited you that day? Just because we are adults does not mean we have to jump on a treadmill rather than using our imaginations.

It seems hard for most of us to find a balance. Some of us rigidly plod along the path we think is expected of us, doing our duty but giving no thought to how we could enjoy the journey. Others are dreamers, following our flights of fancy but sometimes not tending to our obligations. Sometimes we follow a course set for us by others without thinking. Sometimes we stop to set our own course. Reaching a compromise between duty and imagination isn’t easy.

Is there a middle ground? Maybe there doesn’t have to be one for everybody. There is room in the world for its dreamers, plodders and everyone in between. Some of us become famous artists, learning how to portray our universe in a way which allows the rest of us a fresh perspective. Others see it as their duty to do the things which have to be done so that others can be free to do what they want to do. My Uncle Bob took the latter course, but did so cheerfully.

How do we compromise between duty and imagination? One way would be to divide our time between meeting our responsibilities and having fun. Many people take this approach. Still there are others who always bring their work home with them and yet others who never get serious.

Another way to approach the issue is to find creative ways to do what needs doing. Meeting our expectations in a joyless manner is not much fun. Consider Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and what his day was like. Even worse were his times of solitude after work. Then consider Owen Meany in John Irving’s novel A Prayer for Owen Meany. Owen lived a very creative and fascinating life despite many serious limitations.

Although these writings offer examples of extremes, we all have the choice to put some creativity into our everyday tasks, or adventures if we choose to look at them as such. What it takes is imagination. Rather than approaching something tediously and looking forward to the end of our task, we can ask ourselves the question “What if…?” and let our imaginations wander to ways in which our obligations can become adventures.

Action Steps

  • Decide what is the most boring part of your life?
  • Imagine ways you can make it more interesting.
  • List the tasks you most dread.
  • Think about how you could make them adventures.
  • Invite others to help you make your relationships more interesting.

Selection from my book, Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage. Available from Amazon

Punishing Martha’s Vineyard

Furious Texas Sheriff Announces Criminal Investigation Into Martha’s Vineyard Migrant Flights

Written by Matt Young and published in The Daily Beast 9/19/2022

Authorities have confirmed they are opening a criminal investigation into the individuals who “lured” approximately 50 migrants from the migrant resource center in San Antonio to be flown to Martha’s Vineyard at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar confirmed the investigation during a press conference Monday “to clear the air for everyone,” alleging that 48 migrants were “lured under false pretenses” to stay at a hotel for a couple of days, shuttled to a plane, flown to Florida, and eventually transported to Martha’s Vineyard, where they had been promised work and solutions to other problems.

A number of migrants have claimed to have been approached and paid $200 cash by a mysterious woman called “Perla” to recruit people to board a plane to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. By Friday the migrants were being transported from the island’s lone shelter to temporary housing at Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay—off Martha’s Vineyard entirely.

Salazar did not mention any specific suspects but said he had “the names of some suspects involved who we believe are persons of interest at this point.” He said he won’t part with the names but that “everybody on this call knows who those names are already.”

DeSantis claimed responsibility for the two flights that ferried the migrants to the upscale Massachusetts island as part of what the Republican governor’s office called part of efforts to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”

Salazar, who is a Democrat, said he felt bothered by the news and is working with nongovernmental organizations, media, and advocacy groups to help the migrants with representation.

He said he has spoken to one attorney who is representing a number of migrants as part of the investigation to discover if this was “a strictly predatory measure,” noting somebody “hunted them down, preyed upon them… for the sake of political theater. I believe people need to be held accountable for it.”

“What infuriates me the most about this case is that here we have 48 people who are already on hard times, they are here legally in our country at this point, they have every right to be where they are, and I believe they were preyed upon,” Salazar said, alleging the migrants were “exploited and hoodwinked” for nothing more than “political posturing.”

Salazar said he was unable to definitely provide a statute or criminal activity that was broken “but what I can tell you what was done to these folks is wrong.” He said he wanted to find out “sooner rather than later” what charges, if any, will apply and to whom.

He labeled the allegations he has heard as “absolutely distasteful, disgusting, and an abuse of human rights.” He said he was enraged by the news and said he believed criminal activity was “involved,” though had not yet spoken with any migrants yet.

Salazar said there may be parallel laws broken on the federal side and welcomed the White House to “give me a call.”


The Power of Strength


Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength.

~Henry Ward Beecher~

Strength is a physical characteristic which can be used for good and bad. We can use it to accomplish important tasks when needed. Building houses, growing food and even getting from one place to another call on our physical strength. Fighting off attacks requires us to be strong. Protecting ourselves and those we love can also call on our strength.

Sometimes we use our power for less noble purposes. Bullies grab what they want from weaker people. Other people use their speed to reach what they want before others can get there.

Strength is also mental. We can use our thinking to determine how to handle difficult problems. We can learn to handle threats by avoiding them rather than direct confrontation. We can also consider alternate ways of doing something to see which way might be best.

Our minds might also pursue devious purposes. Examples are tricking people into doing what we want while disregarding their best interests lying to others to get what we want and lying to ourselves to justify what we do.

We also have spiritual assurances that what we do in life has a higher purpose. Our long term goals take us beyond immediate difficulties. But our power of choice can ignore what we believe and act only in our own best interests, setting aside what we have learned about God, nature and humanity.

A family life of deprivation and abuse can incline us to seek revenge on people we see as having offended us. If we can’t get back at them, we might be tempted to take out our anger on whoever is available.

A supportive and peaceful family life can incline us to share our good fortune with others physically, mentally and spiritually. We would like others to find the peace we have found for ourselves.

Despite our backgrounds, life experiences and goals always have choices before us. We can choose to be selfish or concerned about others, greedy or generous, mean or kind, warlike or peaceful. Every time we make choices, what we choose becomes part of us.

As Charles Fillmore put it, “We grow to be like that which we idealize.” People don’t become saints or monsters by single acts. What we think about, wish for and choose on a daily basis moves us toward a certain way of being. How do we want to live our lives and how do we want others to see us?

Action Steps

  • Think about the physical, mental and spiritual power you have.
  • How do you use your power?
  • What is really important to you?
  • Are you moving in a life direction you find worthwhile?
  • If not, what could you change?

A selection from my book, Navigating Life: Commonsense Reflections for the Voyage, available at Amazon