By Anonymous (not verified) on June 02, 2011

Americans love winners, and if President Obama scores more victories like the ones he has enjoyed over the last two months, he will easily win re-election.

For the first two years of his term, Obama, to the chagrin of his supporters, mostly remained silent while his opponents maliciously maligned him.

They said he was a Muslim. They said he wasn’t born in the United States. They said he didn’t write his own books. They said he was a socialist. They said he hated white people.

Obama’s nonchalant attitude in the face of these attacks flabbergasted and frustrated his supporters, who wanted him to defend his character and stand up for the progressive policies of the New Deal and the Great Society — policies that his opponents were targeting.

Well, Obama finally did stand up and showed himself to be a tough and decisive leader.

He started to turn things around in his budget speech on April 13, when he beautifully explained the noble purpose behind our social welfare programs.

“We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us,” he said. “So we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further — we would not be a great country without those commitments.”

And he laid down the gauntlet against Republicans who want to slash Medicare and Medicaid.

“I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs,” he said. “I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves.”

Then on May 1, during the Washington Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama delivered a knockout blow to Donald Trump, who had been slandering him for weeks. Obama reduced Trump to a punch line on late-night comedy shows.

One day later, Obama, taking a great political risk, successfully sent a team of Navy Seals to kill Osama bin Laden.

These actions have sent Obama’s approval rating up to a comfortable 54 percent in the latest CNN poll.

His popularity helps explain why one prospective Republican presidential candidate after another has been dropping out. Obama looks like a champ.

To be a real champ, Obama now needs to end the tax cuts for the rich, withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and get the DREAM Act passed.

Alvaro Huerta is a doctoral candidate in the University of California-Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning and a visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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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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