By Matthew Rothschild on March 14, 2007
Update: Dems Surrender War Powers to AIPAC
By Matthew Rothschild

March 16, 2007

My hopes are down on the Democrats.

And I don’t mean on their chances of winning the White House in 2008.

I mean their chances of acting on principle today, in the here and now, about Iran.

This week, amazingly, the Democrats in the House agreed to strip out of the military spending bill any mention of the need for Bush to come to Congress before he goes and bombs Iran.

According to the AP, they did so because of “its possible impact on Israel.”

Now this is crazy.

U.S. legislators are willing to suspend Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which gives Congress the sole authority to declare war, because they don’t want to upset Israel or its supporters here at home?

AIPAC members were busily lobbying Capitol Hill earlier this week, and it looks like they prevailed yet again.

This time, over our Constitution.

That Democratic legislators would have such little reverence for that document is shocking enough.

And that they would have no institutional pride in their own authority is equally appalling.

But that they would surrender that power not because of some emergency but because they are bowing to the wishes of a foreign country is even more unbelievable.

 
Cheney at AIPAC: It’s the U.S. and Israel Against All Comers
By Matthew Rothschild

March 13, 2007

The Bush Administration seems to believe that a belligerent United States and an intransigent Israel can take on all comers.

So it was that Dick Cheney went to AIPAC’s convention in Washington on Monday to heap praise upon this lobby, which defends every illegal act that the government of Israel commits.

This is the cozy, symbiotic relationship that AIPAC has with the Bush Administration: AIPAC wants Bush to eliminate the Iranian threat to Israel, and Bush wants AIPAC to pressure Congress so he can play out his macho fantasies worldwide.

Said Cheney: “I commend AIPAC for the fine work you do,” adding, “I bring warm regards from the President of the United States. . . . He asked me to convey to this gathering his great appreciation for your efforts.”

One of those recent efforts has been to oppose Congressional attempts to make Bush get legislative approval before he goes out and bombs Iran. This is the cozy, symbiotic relationship that AIPAC has with the Bush Administration: AIPAC wants Bush to eliminate the Iranian threat to Israel, and Bush wants AIPAC to pressure Congress so he can play out his macho fantasies worldwide.

In his talk, Cheney linked Israel and America arm in arm as the bastions of all that is good in the world.

“Progress in the cause of security and long-term peace never comes easily,” he said. “Yet the United States and Israel persevere in that cause.” This requires, he said, “moral clarity, the courage of our convictions, a willingness to act when action is necessary, and a refusal to submit to any form of intimidation, ever. These qualities are a credit to the American and the Israeli people.”

The crowd cheered. Not a surprise. AIPAC has been the chief cheerleader all along for Bush’s adventurism.

And the convention continued to cheer as Cheney talked tough on Iran and Iraq.

“If Iran’s allies [in Iraq] prevailed,” he said, “Tehran’s own designs for the Middle East would be advanced and the threat to our friends in the region would only be magnified. My friends, it is simply not consistent for anyone to demand aggressive action against the menace posed by the Iranian regime while, at the same time, acquiescing in a retreat from Iraq that would leave our worst enemies dramatically emboldened.”

So this is a new reason for continuing the bloody Iraq War.

Now we’ve got to stay in Iraq to prevent Iran from gaining power because then Iran would be a greater threat to Israel.

The irony is that people who opposed the war from the start, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, warned that it would only strengthen Iran.

Cheney must have known this, too. But he probably thought, if that happens we’ll just go on to Tehran.

Which would only make AIPAC all the happier.

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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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