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?

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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.

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GUEST WORDS--If one were to believe Donald Trump's speech before the United Nations, in his short tenure as president he has already fixed the domestic problems he outlined in his "American Carnage" inaugural address and is now prepared to apply his methods to the rest of the planet. One might even call this speech "Global Carnage." Trump described a Hobbesian world in which decent countries everywhere are under assault from "small regimes" trying to undermine their sovereignty and destroy their ways of life. Or, as he elegantly phrased it: "Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to hell."

This was very much the way he described America on the day he was sworn in. It too was a desolate, dystopian hellscape of smoldering ruins and abandoned cities, where bands of foreigners and gangsters roamed the land, raping and pillaging and leaving carnage in their wake. He promised to take the country back (reclaim its sovereignty, if you will) from people who were trying to impose their values and culture on the Real Americans. He told the world on Tuesday morning that he had largely accomplished that task.

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GUEST WORDS--Hillary Clinton's new book about the 2016 campaign provides a reminder of the power of fake news, and our inability to find a concrete corrective. It's now clear that many false or misleading stories circulated on social media in the final weeks of the campaign, some apparently created by Russian agents. It's hard not to see that as a threat to our democracy. 

The ultimate weapon against such disinformation would be a less credulous public. But given our tendency to believe "facts" that confirm our biases—and for startling but unverified assertions to stick in our brains—is that really possible? Can fake news be successfully debunked?

Just-published research offers no panacea, but it does provide some concrete suggestions.

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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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GUEST WORDS--Writing for The Intercept on Monday, Glenn Greenwald argues there should be nothing shocking—and much predictable—about a man like Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary under President Donald Trump, being welcomed into the circles of the DC elite.

Though some jaws dropped, many laughed, and former White House press secretary was applauded for having a "sense of humor" about the work he did for President Donald Trump, there should be nothing suprising about Sean Spicer's on-stage appearance at Sunday night's Emmy Awards.

And so while some jeered the Emmy's producers for trying to make a cheap joke or "normalize" Spicer, it was clear that many didn't find the gag particularly funny.

But taking the criticism a step further, journalist Glenn Greenwald makes the point, in a post at The Intercept Monday morning, that there is nothing shocking—and much that's very predictable—about a man like Spicer being welcomed into the circles of the elite.  

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GUEST WORDS--There was gale-force bullshit coming from all points of the compass and nonsense was running at floodtide in the newspapers and on TV this past weekend, a sorry couple of days for elite political journalism. 

As to the latter, Charlie Rose got a chance to sit down with Steve Bannon, the last heir to House Harkonnen and, despite Rose’s letting Bannon off several hooks, we learned that Steve Bannon is one of those guys who’s read three books and thinks that’s all the books there are, that he’s more than a little batty, and that, as my pal John Fugelsang tweeted this morning, that he continues to look like “a guy who stayed up watching porn until 6:45 and his alarm went off at 7.”

How in the world could Rose have this guy on and not even mention the Mercers, the wingnut billionaire power couple without whose bankroll Bannon would be just another Alex Jones hawking brain pills and chemtrail remover? How could he let Bannon, who made his pile at Goldman Sachs and then made another pile in Hollywood, use the phrase “limousine liberals” without picking up a banana from the fruit bowl and throwing it at him? And how in the name of god could he hear Bannon say this without then picking up the phone and calling his bosses at 60 Minutes and telling them they by god better not send him out to interview anymore of these basket cases without a HazMat suit.

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