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04.23 US business schools failing on climate change

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04.25 Pollution From Canada’s Oil Sands May Be Underreported

04.25 High court orders UK government to explain clean air plan delay

04.25 Matt Damon: ‘Children are drinking water so dirty it looks like chocolate milk’

04.24 Disney, the Gap and Pepsi urged to quit US Chamber of Commerce ["Its a small world after all..." – Disney]

04.24 Why we joined the March for Science

04.23 The trees that make Southern California shady and green are dying. Fast. [video]

04.23 March for Science puts Earth Day focus on global opposition to Trump [videos]

04.22 Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Threat of Science Denial [4 videos]

04.22 These Images Carry a Dire Warning About Climate Change

04.22 Nearly 40 million people live in UK areas with illegal air pollution [rather than maximizing profit from fossil fuels, better policy embracing science could dramatically improve life on earth]

04.22 Bill Nye the Science Guy on Trump: 'We are in a dangerous place' [we need the opposite of Trump to advance the country and world]

04.22 Electric flying car that takes off vertically could be future of transport [videos; new solid-state lithium battery technolgy—led? by Dr. Goodenough—may double performance and recharge speed while eliminating risk of lithium battery fire]

04.22 Global 'March for Science' protests call for action on climate change

04.21 Sale Of Seawater Desalination Technology In China

04.21 Britain set for first coal-free day since the industrial revolution [Hurrah!]

04.20 How to Stop Drug Price Gouging [and why hasn't the U.S. Government done this?]

04.20 East Chicago Needs More than "Basics" from Scott Pruitt's EPA

04.20 The Monsanto Tribunal’s Legal Opinion Reinforces Movements’ Struggle for Basic Human Rights

04.20 Pollution is killing our children. Here’s how we can save them

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04.25 The Media Bubble Is Worse Than You Think

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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

04.25 The Democrats delivered one thing in the past 100 days: disappointment

04.25 Can Donald Trump better renegotiate Nafta? Yes, by bringing back TPP04.25 Trump signals delay on border wall funding to avoid government shutdown

04.25 Would Trump supporters elect him again now?

04.25 There’s no such thing as a blue or red state. Let’s talk about real life instead

04.24 Donald Trump Has Made Socialism Cool Again

04.24 Nearing 100 Days In, Trump is Least Popular President in Modern History

04.24 Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election.

04.23 Trump’s Organized Crime Ties Bring Blackmail to the White House

04.23 Trump: 100 days that shook the world – and the activists fighting back

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04.25 The Palestine Exception

Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.25 The Right’s Green Awakening

04.25 Trump's Corporate Takeover Detailed 100 Days into 'For-Profit Presidency'

04.23 Elizabeth Warren on Big Banks and Their (Cozy Bedmate) Regulators

04.23 The evidence is piling up — Silicon Valley is being destroyed

04.22 THE REAL TRUMP AGENDA: HELPING BIG BUSINESS

04.22 In Latest Populist Betrayal, Trump Executive Order Unchains Wall Street Greed [misfeasance, nonfeasance, and malfeasance]

International

04.25 Two wildlife rangers killed by poachers in Democratic Republic of the Congo

04.25 Ontario plans to launch universal basic income trial run this summer

04.24 Life in Africa’s Last Colony

04.24 Trump push for border wall threatens to cause government shutdown [since inexpensive electric flying cars are about to be sold, building any wall is just stupid]

04.24 Chinese leader urges restraint over North Korea in call with Trump

04.24 Trump Thinks This Is Pro-Life?

04.24 How France Voted

04.24 Asking for Trouble on Iran

04.23 The Observer view on the French presidential election

04.23 French election 2017: voters go to the polls in wide-open contest [videos]

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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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