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06.28 New Drone Plans an Ambitious Mission to Plant 100,000 Trees a Day [1:57 video]

06.28 EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans [the sociopathic Republican nightmare continues...]

06.27 The Senate’s Disastrous Health-Care Bill

06.27 Most Australians want renewables to be primary energy source, survey finds

06.27 Hundreds of US mayors endorse switch to 100% renewable energy by 2035

06.26 New study confirms the oceans are warming rapidly

06.23 From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

06.23 Latest diesel car models remain highly polluting, tests show

06.23 Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction [Good!]

06.22 Al Gore: battle against climate change is like fight against slavery [videos]

06.22 Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels [who holds the debt when the music stops?]

06.22 Australian health groups urge coal phase-out and strong emissions reduction

06.22 Tories aim to block full EU ban on bee-harming pesticides [what could go wrong...]

06.22 Route to recovery: how people overcome an opioid addiction

06.21 U.S. Coastal Cities Will Flood More Often and More Severely, Study Warns

06.21 London mayor issues emergency air quality alert amid heatwave

06.21 Exxon, BP and Shell back carbon tax proposal to curb emissions

06.21 Climate goals: inside California's effort to overhaul its ambitious emissions plan

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06.28 Warren Buffett Makes The Case For Single-Payer Health Care

06.28 Republicans eye billions in side deals to win Obamacare repeal votes [avoided Medicaid 'waste' to help the poor and opioid addicts will be divvied-up as bribes to secure votes for Republicans' sociopathic health care bill]

06.28 Why the Democrats Won't Wake Up

06.28 Onward Toward Socialism: America's Demise, and One Way to Survive [we need a healthier blend of methods, guiding principles, tactics and rules for efficiency and fairness]

06.28 Senate Health Bill Would Kill Essential Homecare Jobs

06.28 Urging Democrats To Go Bold, Warren Says 'The Next Step Is Single Payer'

06.28 Make democracy great again: Rep. Don Beyer’s revolutionary bill could transform how we elect Congress

06.27 Trumpcare isn't about health. It's a tax cut for the 1%

06.27 Trump lawyer's firm steered millions in donations to family members, files show [birds of a feather]

06.27 Senate healthcare bill would increase uninsured by 22 million people – CBO

06.27 Bernie Sanders rallies opposition to Republican healthcare reform plan

06.26 RALPH NADER: THE DEMOCRATS ARE UNABLE TO DEFEND THE U.S. FROM THE “MOST VICIOUS” REPUBLICAN PARTY IN HISTORY

06.26 Kansas' Tax Cuts Are a Spectacular Failure. Meanwhile, in California

06.26 Ire for Democrat Who Pulled Plug on California's Single-Payer Bill

06.26 Civil war has broken out inside the Democratic party. Does the future belong to the populist left or the centrists?

06.26 New Orleans mayor: US climate change policy cannot wait for Trump

06.26 Supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy is focus of retirement rumors

06.26 As Trump moves to privatize America's national parks, visitor costs may rise

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06.23 'I buried my smallest child under a bush': starvation and sorrow in South Sudan

Economics, Crony Capitalism

06.28 Sovereign Debt Jubilee, Japanese Style

06.27 Koch network 'piggy banks' closed until Republicans pass health and tax reform [the Koch bros. mafia-like organization controls the Republican Party]

06.23 Exclusive: Fake online stores reveal gamblers' shadow banking system

06.22 Top global banks still lend billions to extract fossil fuels [who holds the debt when the music stops?]

International & Futurism

06.28 It Pays to Be Smart

06.28 China’s Tech Moguls Warn of AI’s Troubling Trajectory

06.28 Elon Musk Says SpaceX Rockets Will Be Capable of Indefinite Launches Without Being Serviced

06.27 Africa facing shortfall of 50 million jobs by 2040, report says

06.27 Brazil's president, Michel Temer, charged with corruption

06.27 Three-quarters of world has little or no confidence in Trump, Pew study finds

06.26 What jobs will still be around in 20 years? Read this to prepare your future

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  Howard Zinn and the State of the Union

BEYOND RHETORIC:

Howard Zinn and the State of the Union

by Tom H. Hastings

Barack Obama is possibly the only public speaker capable of telling us that he's going to violate us in the name of saving us and we all choke up with gratitude.

Howard Zinn has crossed over. He was a mensch, a historian and a peace and justice activist. He was not convinced that nonviolence was always the answer, but he often provided expert testimony for nonviolent resisters seeking help in conducting a robust defense of their actions in opposition to militarism and injustice. He was a public intellectual of staggering stature, producing his germinal People's History of the United States that shattered myths and provided comfort to people who had been written out of history or misrepresented in our standard histories.

At the same time that the news of Zinn’s death flashed throughout the peace and justice world, we listened to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. It is both inspiring and chilling. He is justifying more military, more nuclear reactors, and more coal plants. His righteous rhetoric is great, and I hope more Americans understand that Republicans shame themselves constantly by their disinformation and obdurate obstructionism. But Obama’s actual policies are quite disappointing in many ways. Yes, he's a pragmatist, but he is also a brilliant orator. He builds up the citizenry's hopes in his integrity, and he seems to be working to honor his promises, but many of his promises are actually harmful.

Nuclear power is not a solution to any problem we have and will in fact exacerbate them all. Those power plants are the only power that is permanently poisonous.

An increased military budget is not wise, humane, or in anyone's enlightened self-interest. It squanders our resources and alienates our world neighbors.

Coal power is unnecessary and takes away sacred mountains, wild wooded creeks, and our clean air, and it will worsen global warming.

There was no serious mention of disarmament, ecological protection, a drawdown of our 1,000 foreign military bases, energy conservation, cessation of small arms and light weapons exports, and no realistic plan for either ending our Afghanistan quagmire or making Rooseveltian strides toward full employment.

Barack Obama is possibly the only public speaker capable of telling us that he's going to violate us in the name of saving us and we all choke up with gratitude. He is truly charismatic, truly talented, and, I'm chagrined to say, truly unable to change the war system.

Obama, problematic as his policies are, is light-years ahead of what we might well have endured otherwise with McCain as President.

That all said, I am so very glad it was not John McCain delivering the SOTU. Bush was an emetic speaker; McCain would have been harshly flogging a herd of dead peacenik horses with his faux populism and bellicosity—he just looks like hot conflict ready to explode, a barely suppressed bundle of hatred who paid some horrific prices decades ago and has been cashing in ever since, representing all that is most churlish and pugnacious in ‘his people,’ not the majority. Obama, problematic as his policies are, is light-years ahead of what we might well have endured otherwise.

I expect that Howard Zinn would have said, well, here is what you could do today to help promote peace and justice, and here are several historical examples from which you could draw inspiration. While I know Howard will rest in peace, I’m hoping the rest of us will act in peace and empower the best in Obama. The war profiteers have moved from the limelight to just off-stage, but their power is still a massive influence, an invisible hand of a marketplace that leaves the working middle class of this country increasingly bereft and no one—no individual—can match their power.

I believe Howard Zinn would remind us that only in our collective good and brave actions can we right our ship of state. o you, Howard Zinn, who crossed over at 87: those of us who teach and write will draw endless inspiration and challenge from your lifetime body of work and your example that, in life, was so very living.


Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the graduate program of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University and is on the Governing Council of the International Peace Research Association.



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This story was published on February 4, 2010.
 

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