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Health Care & Environment

03.21 Boston City Council Passes Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance

03.21 Storms, cyclones and floods will only worsen as the planet warms

03.20 Shocking autopsy photos show toll of plastic waste on dead whale [0:54 video]

03.20 Donald Trump is using Stalinist tactics to discredit climate science ["What a country!" –Yakov Smirnoff]

03.20 Pesticide residues found in 70% of produce sold in US even after washing

03.19 A Future Without Fossil Fuels?

03.19 England could run short of water within 25 years

03.18 Energy analysts forecast 'the end of coal' in Asia as Japanese investors back renewables

03.17 Deadly air in our cities: the invisible killer

03.17 Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic [Meanwhile, "conservatives" like Trump just make shit up...]

03.15 Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green [Due to our ignorantly anti-science, capitalism-obsessed government, we have an out-of-control catastrophe]

03.15 Capitalism is destroying the Earth. We need a new human right for future generations [11:04 video]

03.15 US official reveals Atlantic drilling plan while hailing Trump’s ability to distract public [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

03.14 New Mexico Jumps At Chance For 100% Clean Electricity

03.14 Whales are dying along East Coast—and scientists are racing to understand why

03.14 Climate study warns of vanishing safety window—here’s why

News Media Matters

03.18 Under Pressure, Donald Trump Begs, Cajoles and Threatens Fox News

03.17 Trump's media attacks are an abuse of power. We're holding him to account

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

03.23 Leaked Audio Exposes Oil & Gas Execs Laughing With Joy Over Cozy Access to Trump Officials

03.23 'Like Nominating Dr. Phil to Run CDC': Alarm Bells as Trump Nominates Right-Wing Sycophant Stephen Moore to Federal Reserve

03.23 Following Monsanto, Exxon Could Be Next US Corporation to Face EU Lobby Ban [Banning political influence of immoral companies is a great idea. Why doesn't America do this?]

03.23 Progressives Refuse to Back Down as DCCC Moves to Kneecap Primary Challengers

03.18 ‘One chance at survival’: Jay Inslee is running for president to fight climate change

03.17 Trump is cornered, with violence on his mind. We must be on red alert

03.16 Beto O'Rourke, friend of the fossil fuel industry, is no climate hero

Justice Matters

03.22 Betsy DeVos strikes out — in court

03.21 US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling

03.20 'A Poll Tax By Any Other Name': Florida GOP Undermines Newly-Restored Voting Rights For 1.4 Million People

High Crimes

03.20 US Killing Civilians With 'Impunity' in Hidden War on Somalia: Report

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

03.22 Monetary Policy Takes Center Stage: MMT, QE or Public Banks?

03.21 Green Groups Call Out Big Banks for Pouring Billions Into Fossil Fuel Industry

03.19 France’s Message for Capitalism Is Quite Simple: Adapt or Die

03.18 Why are millennials burned out? Capitalism.

International & Futurism

03.22 Yes, a Planned Economy Can Actually Work

03.22 Thanks to humans the ‘wilderness’ no longer exists – but we can make things on Earth better

03.22 Top oil firms spending millions lobbying to block climate change policies, says report

03.22 ExxonMobil faces EU parliament ban after no show at climate hearing [Banning political influence of immoral companies is a great idea. Why doesn't America do this?]

03.22 Labour members launch Green New Deal inspired by US activists

03.21 68% Want to Hike Taxes on the Rich to Help the Poor, Survey of 21 OECD Nations Shows

03.21 Palestinian Lives Don’t Matter*

03.21 England's running out of water – and privatisation is to blame

03.21 Christchurch attacks: New Zealand brings in sweeping gun-law changes [1:11 video]

03.20 We Must Apply Our Universal Values to All Nations. Only Then Will We Achieve Peace.

03.20 Why People In Finland Are So Much Happier Than Americans

03.20 Why climate action is the antithesis of white supremacy

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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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