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Health Care & Environment
12.17 Brazilian police foil million-dollar fraud to export precious wood to China [clear-cutting forests harshly impacts all life above and below ground-level for decades; it decreases oxygen production and seguestration of CO2 and increases area, frequency and duration of drought]
12.13 English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal [Are similar tests of U.S. waters conducted by the EPA anymore? We think not...]
News Media Matters
12.17 A Report to Our Readers
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
12.17 'Making America Stupid Again': Outrage Over Forbidden 7 Words You Can't Say at Trump's CDC [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
12.16 Poverty in US set to increase due to Donald Trump's policies, says UN official [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 Republicans Despise the Working Class [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.17 Venue of last resort: the climate lawsuits threatening the future of big oil [something else Republicans are packing the courts for...]
12.15 Who Pays for Judicial Races? The Politics of Judicial Elections 2015-16 [desperately packing the courts at all levels to protect white power & unregulated capitalism]
12.13 US Concern Over 'Pervasive' High-Level Corruption Surging Under Trump: Poll [anyone surprised?]
12.17 Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran [immoral behavior that could lead to War]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
12.17 How a Philadelphia nun became the unlikely face of conscientious capitalism [Why don't we teach morality in Law & Business schools?]
12.16 The Republican Tax Bill Provides Huge Benefits to People Who Don’t Work. But Only if They’re Rich. [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 The United States Is Now as Unequal as Russia. And That’s Before the Tax Bill. [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 EU to force firms to reveal true owners in wake of Panama Papers [what are the chances oligarchy-controlled countries (esp. America and Russia) ever agree to fight tax evasion and money landering? International agencies must all mandate common regulations as a condition for UN membership, trade agreements, world bank loans, etc.]
12.15 FCC Chair Ajit Pai 'Shows Just How Dumb He Thinks Americans Are' With Video Mocking Net Neutrality [he won't discuss how giving more monopoly power to cable ISPs will increase consumer costs and stifle innovation]
12.13 The “Death Tax” Cargo Cult [we lack for morals and sanity in U.S. media & politics]
International & Futurism
12.17 Africa’s new elite force: women gunning for poachers and fighting for a better life [a good model that converts victims of abuse and cruelty into positive activists with good jobs...]
12.14 Israeli undercover soldiers seen arresting Palestinian protesters [Palestinians need more and better weapons for a fair fight]
Howard Zinn and the State of the Union
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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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on February 4, 2010.