GUEST WORDS--I spent the last few days traveling across the country to North Dakota to join others in supporting a gentle man who tried to help everyone. For that he was convicted of several crimes and will be heading to a North Dakota prison.

Michael Foster was born and raised in Texas, in an oil family. His crime in North Dakota was turning off the Keystone pipeline in a symbolic but real call to all of us to do what we can to stop global climate chaos. 

That North Dakota valve turn was one of five similar actions last October–two women, three men, five valves on lines in Washington state, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, all done in resonance with the Break Free from Fossil Fuels campaign.

We see the buck-naked consequences of paying no attention to our oil consumption; Harvey drowns Houston, fires rip through the West, every hurricane is more intense than it otherwise would be, droughts last longer, lakes are drying up, the seas are rising and surging, and with fracking even earthquakes are no longer a pure act of God. Most previously natural disasters are now unnatural disasters, made worse by our hand more than the hand of God or Mother Nature.

GUEST WORDS--Two weeks ago, the equivalent of a bomb exploded in my life.

I’ve had personal problems of various sorts for 30 years, and daily migraines for 22 of them. Three years ago, I finally realized my symptoms were those of trauma. I didn’t know what happened to me, but clearly something had.

I began therapy for trauma, and it’s been gradually helping. Then, out of the blue, two weeks ago I realized what the original trauma was. When I was six, I had just learned about female anatomy, and I was saying my new favorite word over and over.

A lot of kids go through a similar phase, and the parent’s job is to teach the child what’s appropriate — and what’s not. Whatever was said to me instead was so shaming I experienced it as a trauma.

Once I realized this, I began to put the puzzle pieces together about my own life. I basically shut down my entire sexuality when the trauma occurred. Now it’s starting to come back. I’ve always assumed I was straight — but am I?

 

GUEST WORDS--FDR speaking about the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941: "Today we pray for the dead and for the swift recovery of the survivors. It's not the time to talk about Japanese aggression. 

George W. Bush speaking about the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001: Today we pray for the dead and for the rapid recovery of the survivors. It's premature to talk about Al-Qaeda's aggression. 

Donald Trump when asked about gun control on October 4, 2017: "We're not going to talk about that today.  . . . We won't talk about that." 

Which of these three quotes is accurate? 

GUEST COLUMN--With the unprecedented damage caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and now Maria to Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico literally nobody in either the government or media is willing to even suggest what might just be the irrefutable reality and truth of our future. Example: Humans may not be able to continue to live places like … Puerto Rico.

Throughout human history, whatever the magnitude of either natural or human caused disasters like earthquakes or war, there has always been the belief and possibility that although things might be difficult, we can rebuild that which has been destroyed.

What has never occurred to our species in the past, but which might very well be the unprecedented reality of our future, is that places like some areas of Texas, Florida, and surely Puerto Rico might never again be habitable in the future due to human caused and carbon fuel based global warming that is not only not getting better, but is actually getting worse, when measured by rising global temperatures and the ever increasing havoc it is causing.

GUEST WORDS--The Voice of America reports that on Thursday, Trump met with US military leaders to discuss Iran and North Korea, then staged a photo opportunity with them. He asked the journalists, 

“You guys know what this represents? . . . Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

What storm?

“You’ll find out.”

Trump has menaced North Korea with “fire and fury” and is now said to be determined to decertify Iran on compliance with the nuclear deal (the International Atomic Energy Agency, which inspects Iran’s nuclear facilities, says Iran is in compliance).  

GUEST WORDS—(Editor’s Note: In light of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, Stephen Cooper’s poem seems more appropriate than ever.)

My country, 'tis of Thee,

Troubled land of shooting sprees,

Of Thee I sing;

Land where 20 Sandy Hook children died,

Land where they tried to kill gay pride,

From ev'ry mountain side, high caliber bullets fly, when will it end?

My native country Thee,

Land of the AR-15;

You love glocks and (other) semi-automatic thrills,

Thy Bushmasters and Desert Eagles kill;

Breaking hearts with eternal chill,

When will it end?

 

GUEST WORDS--Small gesture, big moment. Pretty electrifying to see the over 100 NFL players, along with a number of coaches and owners, fight for their rights Sunday by taking a knee, sitting down, locking arms, raising fists or just not showing up during the National Anthem, that oh-so-fraught but often empty symbol of democracy.  

It even happened in baseball, in volleyball, on the street. All those guys, mostly black but with white support, were saying no - to our racist Dolt-In-Chief, to his divisive rhetoric, to his ugly claim that while Nazis are fine people, an American who exercises his First Amendment rights to challenge this country's systemic racism and egregious police brutality is a "son of a bitch."   

Sounding like an aggrieved plantation owner whose house slaves are getting uppity, Trump trash-talked athletes for being ungrateful and proclaimed their peaceful protests showed "total disrespect of our heritage, a total disrespect of everything that we stand for."

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