By Matthew Rothschild on July 24, 2012

The progressive Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, today called into question President Barack Obama’s commitment to protect Social Security.

“It is past time that the president told the American people in no uncertain terms that he will not cut Social Security on his watch,” Sander said.

Sanders noted that “during the past four years, President Obama has been largely silent on Social Security. The White House even failed to rebut alarming reports last year that Obama was considering Social Security cuts as part of a ‘grand bargain’ with Republican House Speaker John Boehner.”
Actually, the White House, and Obama himself, kept saying he was willing to make that bargain. And even this year, the White House has said that Obama is still open to it.

“It should come as no surprise that Republicans in Washington and Gov. Romney want to slash Social Security. The truth is Republicans have never liked Social Security and they have been attacking Social Security since its inception,” Sanders said.

“The question, however, that millions of Americans are asking themselves today is where President Obama stands on Social Security. Unfortunately, he has been largely silent on this issue since he has been in the White House and during this 2012 campaign.”

If Obama ends up cutting Social Security, he would be confirming the prediction that the great polemicist Alexander Cockburn made four years ago. “Cockburn passed away on Friday.

He would have admired Sanders’s statement today.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Morning Carnage in Colorado."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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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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