Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is the senior editor of The Progressive magazine (from 1994), which is one of the leading voices for peace and social justice in this country. Rothschild has appeared on Nightline, C-SPAN, The O'Reilly Factor, and NPR, and his newspaper commentaries have run in the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, the Miami Herald, and a host of other newspapers. Rothschild is the host of "Progressive Radio," a syndicated half-hour weekly interview program. And he does a two-minute daily radio commentary, entitled "Progressive Point of View," which is also syndicated around the country.
Rothschild is the author of You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression (New Press, 2007). He also is the editor of Democracy in Print: The Best of The Progressive, 1909-2009 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).
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Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has decided to vote against authorizing war against Syria. Baldwin, one of the most progressive members of the Senate, was heckled in Madison on Saturday for deliberating over her decision. On Tuesday, she came out with a forceful speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday explaining why she opposes the war authorization.

She denounced the Assad's regime for its "use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people," which she called "morally reprehensible and a serious violation of long-standing international law."

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont spoke out forcefully against a U.S. war on Syria over the weekend.

Speaking at a fundraiser in Madison, Wisconsin, Friday night, Sanders said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was "a butcher of the worst kind." But Sanders added: "To get involved in a bloody and complicated war in Syria makes no sense at all. We would reap consequences we can't imagine."

He also stressed that U.S. involvement in another war would be a huge distraction from the serious economic problems that plague most Americans.

President Obama continued on his lawless course to Syria at his press conference today.

Twice he wouldn't answer whether he'd go it alone if Congress didn't authorize military action, though it would be illegal under the Constitution and the War Powers Act if he did.

And he said that Security Council "paralysis" means that he could go ahead with its approval, either. The paralysis he was referring to was the opposition of Russia and China. Going ahead without Security Council approval is against international law and the U.N. Charter, as Ban ki-Moon has repeatedly noted.

John Kerry is not exactly inspiring confidence as Secretary of State.

He's become the biggest cheerleader for war against Syria in the entire administration.

At the Senate hearings yesterday, he wouldn't even rule out putting boots on the ground in Syria, even though President Obama had assured us on Saturday that this wouldn't happen.

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While it's certainly better that President Obama has waited to attack Syria and is seeking authorization from Congress, the assertions he made from the Rose Garden on Saturday reveal that he is prepared to act illegally.

President Obama gave a nice speech on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's famous speech. He always gives nice speeches.

He was right to talk about the gains that this country has made in ending formal discrimination, and to stress the unheralded people who were so instrumental in those gains.

Monday's violent arrests of the Terrell brothers by the Wisconsin Capitol Police was not enough to deter hundreds of people from flooding the Capitol rotunda at noon on Tuesday.

News of the police violence spread Monday night and drew people to the Capitol from all over the state on Tuesday. The spirited crowd, around 330 strong, was one of the largest, if not the largest, since the crackdown began.

Today's New York Times provides a classic example of how this so-called liberal paper fronts for an illegal and unpopular war.

Only 9 percent of the American public favors a war with Syria, but the Obama Administration is getting ready, within a matter of days, to launch this war, and so the New York Times goes right along.

It devoted its lead front-page story to Secretary of State John Kerry's bellicose rhetoric, and the story itself never quoted from a single critic of this proposed war, except the Syrian government itself, whose denial came deep on the jump page.

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Gov. Scott Walker's capitol police got way out of hand on Monday as they grabbed an observer, threw him on the ground, and jumped all over him.

As you'll see in this video, courtesy of Jeremy Ryan, the protesters were singing "If I Had a Hammer" when the police entered the rotunda. Damon Terrell was taking pictures of them and was trying to back off when they violently apprehended him.

We've seen this play before, and it doesn't end well. I'm talking about the seemingly imminent U.S. attack in the Middle East -- this time against Syria.

The war drums are banging loudly now, as the White House, with its handmaidens in the media, try to prepare an unwilling public to go along.

We're told, as we were told in Iraq and in Libya and Vietnam, for that matter, that the evidence is overwhelming.

The White House says there is "very little doubt" that Assad used chemical weapons.

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A couple thousand rabble rousers and nerdy savants from across the republic will let loose this weekend.

If I lived in South Dakota, I’d probably be in a nursing home. And that would be hell.

The nights would start with beer and end with coffee—a lot of coffee.

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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