Right-wing political operatives deserve credit for their impressive inventiveness.

In particular, they have created the "Rob Defense" for public officials who get caught engaging in bad personal behavior, such as sexual misconduct, snorting cocaine, and bribery. When nabbed in an act of naughtiness, the standard defense thrown out by politicians of all stripes has been to blame "stress of overwork" and to apologize to "anyone who is offended" by their grossly-offensive action.

But that excuse is overused, so advisors to right-wing bad boys have invented a new defense: Just claim to have been "in a drunken stupor" at the time. So, see, it really wasn't their fault -- blame the booze! The Rob Defense is named for Rob Ford, the almost-comically offensive mayor of Toronto, who keeps explaining that his crack cocaine use, abusive rages, and other antics only happen when he's sozzled, totally blotto.

Recently, though, a tea party congress critter from Florida added a clever refinement to The Rob. Arrested in November for buying cocaine in Washington, Rep. Trey Radel dolefully confided in a press release that, "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism." That's a shrewd touch, for you get extra public sympathy if you're a victim of disease?

But let's note that Trey also suffers from another disease he didn't mention: Political Hypocrisyitis. Barely a month earlier, Radel had joined his Republican colleagues to bash poor people by voting to require mandatory drug tests for all welfare recipients. Did alcoholism make him do that, too?

The poverty program pays under $200 a month for a family of four, while Radel draws more than $14,000 a month from us taxpayers. If Congress really wants to kick drug abusers off the public dole, its best odds of finding some would be to start testing its own members.

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Photo: Flickr user Andrea, creative commons licensed.


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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