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If you’re young, vote for a younger Congress

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“Don’t trust anyone over 30.” — Jack Weinberg, 1964

 “I’m confident we’re going to win.” — Mitch McConnell, 76, Senate majority leader, during Kavanagh hearing

 “Do whatever you have to do, just win, baby.” Nancy Pelosi, 78, former House speaker, to Democratic candidates

 If you’re under 30 years old, then you’re one of nearly 60 percent of voting-eligible adults in the youngest generations in the United States. But you likely won’t be among the majority who actually vote. That’s a shame, and in this mid-term election, your failure to vote would be surrendering your future to political hacks and miscreants.

If you don’t vote Nov. 6, you’re risking your life. You’d be failing to hold accountable those who selfishly and foolishly put your life at risk — as well as those who refuse to act against such selfishness and foolishness.

The risks you face as a result of an incompetent, selfish Congress bowing to a president are many — a foolish emphasis on “saving” coal, attempts to weaken clean water regulations, curtailing regulations on uranium mill waste tailings, and numerous attacks on environmental regulations. All these, and many more, are risks to your health and longevity.

But the largest risk you face is the lack of congressional and presidential interest and action to curtail the coming consequences of climate change. Denial and rejection of science at the highest levels of American government mean that you — the young among us — will be those who face the outcome of uncontrolled climate change.

Should nations refuse to jointly address climate change — and the current American government has demonstrated it will not act in any leadership capacity — your ability to prosper, to enjoy life, to ensure a better future for your children will falter.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

October 30, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Journalists aren’t your enemy — they might be your last resort.

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Imagine you’ve been wronged. Someone, or some faceless corporation or other spineless institution, has caused you physical, emotional, or financial injury.

You want recompense. You want compensation. You want payback. You want it to never happen again — not just to you, but to anyone.

As the Ghostbusters say, Who you gonna call? The phone number on your bill or the back of your credit card that leads to a machine imitating a human being asking you to pick through several options, none of which fits your problem?

image of a newspaperDo you call a local, state, or federal regulatory agency? Where you repeatedly run into Sorry, I’ll have to transfer you to another department. Or you go to the agency’s office and are handed forms many pages long to fill out — and no one will help you do it.

Do you try to reach your representative in state government? Or your members of Congress? Are you told to use the contact form on the member’s website? Do you receive a form email or letter in response saying We’re glad you brought this to our attention

You want to reach someone who won’t lie to you. You want help. You need help.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

August 16, 2018 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

July 4, 2018: What, if anything, can stave off the ruination of the Republic?

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In 2007, on this overblown, sadly commercialized holiday whose historical moment has been buried by beer, barbecue, patriotic bombast, and over-the-top, often taxpayer-paid fireworks, I wrote what 2011 might bring. I wasn’t hopeful. I predicted:

sign for fireworksNearly one out of every six Americans will still be without health insurance. Attempts at immigration reform (whatever that means) will still have been eroded by more objections by many more interests with particular beefs. No coherent, consistent, effective American policy that begins to undo climate change will exist. American school children will continue to lag far behind other nations in math and science — and still have decreasing abilities as critical thinkers. Spending by lobbyists to influence federal regulators and members of Congress will be on its way to passing $3 billion for 2011. …

The income disparity between the top 1 percent of Americans and the rest of us — the other 99 percent — will have widened. The continual tension between those who demand increased security and those who fear erosion of civil liberties and constitutional rights will continue unabated. The debates and difficulties involving voting fraud and reform will have been heightened by the 2008 election as election foes bicker endlessly in courts about outcomes. And, figuring a 10 percent increase per election cycle, the top 50 industries will be en route to shelling out $850 million to just members of Congress alone in political contributions for the 2012 election cycle.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 4, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Bagdikian was right: Don’t allow media to concentrate

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Ben Bagdikian, one of the nation’s foremost media critics, died in 2016 at age 96. He left behind warnings about concentration in media ownership. We should have paid more attention.

head shot of human being

Ben Bagdikian

Beginning in 1983 with the publication of “The Media Monopoly” and again in 2000 with “The New Media Monopoly,” he railed against the growing power of ever fewer owners of media — big fish swallowing little fish, then still bigger fish swallowing those big fish. In the 2000 edition, he called the most monstrous fish “The Big Five” — Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Viacom, and the German firm Bertelsmann. He argued these corporations had “more communications power than was exercised by any despot or dictatorship in history.”

That was only 18 years ago. The world of media has dramatically changed — and, thanks to a federal judge’s decision this week in the merger case of AT&T and Time Warner, more change in media ownership and concentration lies ahead. AT&T (which provides the conduit) and Time Warner (which provides the content) argue they must be allowed to merge to compete with the new generation of media titans — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

Bagdikian would have none of this. He’d continue to argue the media concentration underway for more than a century has consequences on how we the people see ourselves, see others, and govern ourselves.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

When is that chemical toxic? Ask the industry-guided EPA

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If you’d like a reason to be cynical about whether government favors you or favors an industry, look no further than a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA safer choice logoThe EPA has decided to review 10 chemicals in public use but considered toxic by many scientists. However, the EPA will only assess the risk of these chemicals in terms of direct human contact. A law passed by Congress in 2016 requires the EPA to assess toxicity risk in hundreds of chemicals to determine whether they should be further regulated or even removed from the market, according to The New York Times.

Under potential review are chemicals in common commercial products. Take, for example, the chemical often used to dry clean your clothes, the solvent perchloroethylene. Yes, it will clean your Sunday best, but it’s nasty stuff. Also on the list is 1,4-dioxane. You might find it in your deodorant, your shampoos, or your cosmetics. Its use, too, might not be in your best interest.

But the EPA’s review, taken at behest of Congress, will be limited to only direct contact. Members of Congress, says The Times, argue the 2016 law calls for comprehensive analysis of risk. That would include contamination of air, land, and water in addition to direct contact.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 12, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Why save coal instead of investing in wind?

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Money moves toward enterprises where profit lies in waiting. But money runs as fast as possible from the tired and unprofitable.

wind turbines sky road

Wind turbines along I-80 in southern Wyoming.

Consider the fortunes of wind-generated energy and that produced by burning coal — a carbon fuel notable for emissions of carbon dioxide into an atmosphere already laden with it.

President Donald campaigned on the reckless promise to rescue the coal industry. I’ve already written about the economic improbability of coal’s rebirth (and the jobs that go with it). Note, too, that President Donald’s former chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, disagreed with the president’s touting of coal. (Hence the italicized former.)

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

June 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Mental illness should not become a blanket barrier to owning a firearm

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I want to buy a gun.

As a kid, I loved westerns — those with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and John Wayne. They were heroes — good guys in white hats defeating bad guys in black hats. Those heroes had guns — but they never drew first. That was the code of the West.

One movie — Winchester ’73, starring James Stewart — touted the gun I wanted most. I saw that rifle, that lever-action carbine, and I wanted one. But I was just a kid.

Now I’m not a kid. So I want to buy a Winchester Model 94 Carbine. It’s only about twelve hundred bucks. I can afford it. Lever action, seven-shot magazine, satin wood finish, brushed steel barrel. I have friends who can teach me to safely shoot it, respect it, and maintain it. So why not?

As I salivate, two thoughts emerge.

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

March 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized