Matthew Rothschild

Boy, the leaders of the Tea Party sure have a lot of gall.


On Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker threw in the towel. After having the capitol police arrest more than 200 nonviolent protesters who were merely singing freedom songs over this summer, his administration settled a lawsuit with the ACLU of Wisconsin.

One day after vanquishing the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers superstar Aaron Rodgers came to Madison not to talk football, but to rally the students for human rights.

People keep wondering when the Republican craziness is going to end. Well, I think I got the answer.


For Tea Party Republicans like Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann, the government shutdown is a fun game to play. They get a lot of limelight, while poor people get the shaft.

Cruz and Bachmann and other rightwing Republicans don't believe in any positive role for government.

So they're not bothered by the shutdown, and they are so callous that they can't feel the pain they're inflicting on poor people.

A great injustice is about to occur in Saudi Arabia.

Two leading feminists there are facing imprisonment for the crime of bringing food and water to a family in need.

Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyouni were sentenced in June to ten months in prison and a two-year travel ban for bringing these essentials to a Canadian woman. Her Saudi husband had locked her in her home with her three young children. She had texted the women on June 6, 2011, to tell them the family had insufficient provisions in the house. When they arrived with food and water, they were arrested.

John Boehner is the Speaker of the House in name only.

The Tea Party fanatics are in charge of that chamber, and they have voted to shut down the government in an effort to extort the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.

Boehner couldn't stop them, so he joined them, showing a stunning lack of courage and leadership. He is not a leader, but a follower -- over the cliff.

It's not even good politics, in the narrowest sense, since President Obama and the Democrats will come out of this stronger, and the Republicans weaker.


All of a sudden, peace has broken out, and the neocons couldn't be more upset.

Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post is practically apoplectic.

William Kristol of the Weekly Standard compares President Obama to Neville Chamberlain.

You know when they wheel out their hackneyed Hitler analogies, they're getting desperate.

And what, exactly, is the problem?

So Larry Summers is out of the running as Fed chief, and what a relief that is.

He helped deregulate Wall Street when he was in the Clinton Administration, and that led to the stock market collapse and the Great Recession, which began five years ago this week.

And in the Obama Administration, he low-balled the first stimulus package, which is one big reason why the unemployment rate has yet to fall under 7 percent.

Plus, when he was president of Harvard, Summers made an appallingly sexist comment that cost him his job there.


1. "I possess the authority to order military strikes."

No you don't, Mr. President. Only Congress has the authority to declare war, and ordering military strikes would be a clear act of war, thus violating the Constitution. It would also violate the War Powers Act, which says that the President can't engage in hostilities without a declaration of war or specific Congressional authorization unless there is "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." And Syria has done no such thing.



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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

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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