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Denver 0720wrpThe Denver, Colorado skyline. (Photo: Larry Goodwin / Flickr)


Denver became the 73rd city in the U.S. to commit to 100 percent renewable energy when Mayor Michael Hancock announced the goal in his State of the City speech Monday, The Denver Post reported.

The commitment is part of the city's larger 80×50 Climate Action Plan unveiled by Hancock Tuesday, which seeks to reduce Denver's greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2050.

"Climate change threatens our people directly, putting our health, environment and economy—our very way of life—at risk," Hancock said, as reported by The Denver Post.

Published in Guest Commentary

 Zinke 0719wrpInterior Sec. Ryan Zinke. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr)


Ousted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt isn't the only polluter-friendly Trump appointee with sketchy ethics.

The Department of Interior's (DOI) inspector general wrote to Congressional Democrats Wednesday saying the office had opened an investigation into a real estate deal involving Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke and Halliburton Chair David Lesar, POLITICO reported.

"You expressed special concern about the reported funding by a top executive at Halliburton and assuring decisions that affect the nation's welfare are not compromised by individual self enrichment," Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall wrote to Democratic Representative Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and other Democrats, POLITICO reported. "My office opened an investigation into this matter on July 16."

Published in Guest Commentary

 Hat 0719wrpCowboy hat. (Photo: Rachel Knickmeyer / Flickr)


What's in a name? By definition, the name of a person, place or thing is its personal designation... a distinct way of being known to others. Unless, of course, it's the opposite — a label meant to disguise who or what a person or thing really is. In other words, a fake name.

Hiding one's true identity can be done for many legitimate purposes, but it tends to be widely-used these days by scheming people or nefarious interests with... well, with something to hide, using a dishonest, Orwellian representation of themselves for villainous reasons. Two of the most notorious practitioners are common crooks and corporate front groups, which often are one and the same. For example, Restaurant Workers of America is not made up of waiters and cooks. It's a front-group of chain-store owners who oppose raising the sub-minimum wage of their actual workers. Cloaking themselves as independent citizen advocates and adopting such patriotic-sounding names as Americans for Prosperity, these astroturf outfits run massive campaigns of deceit promoting policies and views that benefit the corporate sponsors at the expense of the public interest.

So, what should we make of a brand-spankin' new group with the incredible moniker of Cowboys for Liberty? What a positive name! Cowboys are seen as down-to-earth straight-shooters, and America is all about liberty. But wait, is this one of those Koch-funded, far-right-wing bands of angry, anti-government ranchers? Au contraire, as the old cowhands say. In fact, Cowboys for Liberty is an audacious, fun-loving network of hell-raising, climate-change activists who are out to expose, shame and defeat the corporate-serving profiteers behind the unconscionable climate-denier industry, instigated by Jim Marston of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Published in Guest Commentary
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 07:16

The Trump-Putin Assault on the US

Trumputin 0718wrpProtesters in London dressed as Trump and Putin. (Photo: TaylorHerring / Flickr)


The Trump-Putin Summit on Monday, July 16 makes evident that democracy and the rule of law in the United States is in rapid decline as a consequence of an autocratic President and a Republican-led Congress that supports him.

Trump’s refusal to back his own intelligence community about the interference of the Russians in the 2016 presidential election, and instead to side with Putin’s denial; his condemnation of the U.S. Press as the “enemy of the people”; his recent attack on the European Union as a “foe,” and reframing of Russia as a “competitor”; his repeated reference to the Mueller investigation as a “Witch Hunt,” despite the recent well-articulated indictment of 12 Kremlin-linked Russians for cyberattacks and theft of U.S. voters records as well as DNC emails; all of which performed on the world stage, is no less than a systematic attempt to undermine U.S. national security, and to squander the rule of law in collusion with Russia.

Published in Guest Commentary

Krill 0711wrpKrill. (Photo: PAL LTER / Flickr)


The five companies responsible for 85 percent of krill fishing in Antarctica announced Monday that they would put a "voluntarily permanent stop" to fishing in vulnerable areas earmarked by conservationists for the world's largest ocean sanctuary, the Guardian reported.

Krill are an important food source for iconic Antarctic marine life like whales, seals and penguins. They also help fight climate change by eating carbon-heavy food near the ocean's surface and excreting it in deeper water, according to the Guardian.

"The momentum for protection of the Antarctic's waters and wildlife is snowballing," Frida Bengtsson of Greenpeace's Protect the Antarctic campaign told The Guardian. "This is a bold and progressive move from these krill fishing companies, and we hope to see the remainder of the krill industry follow suit."

Published in Guest Commentary

Kid 0711wrp(Photo: Restless mind / Flickr)


As I listened to the news about the dramatic operations that recently rescued a young soccer team in Thailand, I was struck by the disturbing contrast in crisis management from two places on opposite sides of the world, acutely emblematic of two different countries and two completely different value systems.

On the one hand, the Thai government, their military, hundreds of volunteers and rescue experts from around the world successfully saved a soccer team of young boys who have been trapped in a flooded cave system since June 23. For the Thai people, no cost or sacrifice is too great to save the lives of these children. Elon Musk even had his engineers hastily build a mini-submarine in the event that the scuba diving escape strategy failed.

The cave rescue attempt in Thailand is indeed a celebration of the preciousness of human life. Seeing people value and protect each other's lives, especially those of children, above all other considerations, should bring to tears anyone who has a shred of empathy. 

At the same time, events on the other side of the world bring tears to one's eyes for exactly the opposite reason. We are witnessing the reeling of a nakedly cruel administration, busily -- and even gleefully -- engaged in destroying the lives of thousands of poor, innocent immigrant children, under the false pretense that they are "criminals." These are children from families who, in desperation, looked to the United States as the great moral beacon of hope to escape poverty and often death from violence in their own countries.

Published in Guest Commentary

 Moore 0709wrpMichael Moore. (Photo: Reza Vaziri / Flickr)


In 1998, on "The Roseanne Show," Donald Trump congratulated fellow guest Michael Moore on his film Roger and Me, Moore's takedown of General Motor's C.E.O. Roger Smith. Trump jokingly commented: "I hope he doesn't make one on me."

Some twenty years later, under circumstances that neither Nostradamus nor Johnny Carson's Carnac the Magnificent -- who could discern unknown answers to unseen questions – could have imagined, Moore is making a film about President Trump. The documentary, titled Fahrenheit 11/9 – a reference to the day in 2016 when Trump was elected -- is due to be released in some 1500 theaters on September 21, just in time for the midterm elections.

On a recent edition of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Moore announced the release date of Fahrenheit 11/9, and previewed some footage. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Veteran film exec Tom Ortenberg, who stepped down as CEO of Open Road Films last November, is in the process of launching a new company, Briarcliff Entertainment, and is partnering with Moore to release" the film.

Published in Guest Commentary

HR 0709wrp"identity & human right 027." (Photo: kellyjensen99 / Flickr)


In January 1941, with the prospect looming of US involvement in another European war, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke of America's purpose in the world: to protect and promote "four freedoms." FDR drew a clear link between US security and the fulfillment of human rights at home. "Just as our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all of our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all nations, large and small." In another speech he underscored the point: "unless there is [human] security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."

Among the extraordinary backward steps Donald Trump is taking America, none is more shameful, than his disregard for—in fact, his calculated trampling on—human rights at home and abroad. To my mind, the two are interrelated:A government that does not respect the human rights of its own citizens will also show no respect for human rights in other countries—and will help other governments that seek to repress their citizens' rights.

Published in Guest Commentary
Friday, 06 July 2018 07:27

The New York Times Strikes Out

NYT 0706wrpNYT headquarters. (Photo: Miquel C. / Flickr)


For more than a century, The New York Times has unabashedly bragged in a banner slogan that it publishes "All the News That's Fit to Print."

Really? Then why did this prestigious publication waste so much paper and ink on a June 25 front-page article about Bernie Sanders that was demonstrably untrue, not news and clearly unfit to print?

The piece claimed that the formidable presidential contender of 2016 has been a ballot box flop this year, failing to "expand his political base and propel his personal allies to victory in Democratic primaries." Moreover, it took a slap at Our Revolution, the aggressively progressive grassroots political movement that sprang out of Senator Sanders' presidential run. The Times scoffed that "fewer than 50 percent of the more than 80 candidates [OR] has endorsed have won elections this year."

News flash for clueless media cognoscenti: Winning anywhere near half of your campaigns is a stunning achievement for a political organization!

Published in Guest Commentary

Kids2 0705wrpCentral American migrant children. (Photo: Peter Haden / Flickr)


It's important that so many people were paying attention to the inhumane and criminal treatment that refugee and asylum-seeking immigrant families faced at the hands of the US government. However, we'll continue to see a humanitarian crisis at our border whether or not the Trump administration stops separating families. Why? Because this crisis is still only a symptom of a much-longer blood-soaked legacy of US intervention in Latin America spanning centuries -- and people will continue to flee their homes in droves unless we make drastic changes.

The attention that family separation received is an opportunity to focus on why entire families are risking life and limb (quite literally) to travel 1,500 miles or more by foot to leave everything they know behind. The quick and dirty answer touted countless times: They're fleeing extreme violence and poverty. Yes, that's true. But that's also a lazy response and the conversation must not end there. Why is there so much violence? Why is there such poverty?

Those questions won't be easy to answer, but we should begin by looking at the history of US intervention in the "northern triangle" countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. If you've heard the recent recordings of children screaming out for their parents, those innocent voices are very likely from one of these northern triangle countries.

Published in Guest Commentary
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