Stephen Zunes

Photo by The U.S. Army

On at least sixteen previous occasions, President Obama assured the American people that there would be “no boots on the ground.”

Reaching an interim nuclear deal with Iran would have been difficult enough even without hardliners in both Iran and the United States seeking to undermine them.

Netanyahu addresses Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress on March 3 was unprecedented in many ways.

He took advantage of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens to whip up ultra-nationalism.

The dramatic rise of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—which even al-Qaeda deemed too extreme to remain part of its network—is a tragedy by any measure.  It would also be tragic if we allowed the very forces that created this mess to explain it away.

The capture of Anas al-Libi (pictured), a prominent Al-Qaeda leader allegedly responsible for the devastating 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, by U.S. Navy Seals in Libya has received widespread support by pundits and politicians here in the United States, but it raises some troubling questions regarding its legality, the risks of blowback and U.S hypocrisy regarding the harboring of terrorist suspects.

In his speech today before the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama made important and valid points on the issues of human rights, arms control, and global governance. But note what the President did NOT say.

The President addressed Russian and Chinese obstructionism on Syria. Their abuse of veto power has, in the words of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, held the Security Council "hostage."

"We took head-on the fundamental questions facing the country."

An old friend who long ago gave up on the Democratic Party in favor of politics on the left fringe greatly enjoys bashing prominent liberals. He finds that the opportunism , the compromises, and the double - standards of leading liberal Democrats provide easy targets. Yet of former South Dakota Senator and 1972 Presidential nominee George McGovern , my friend once opined, "If all liberals were like McGovern , I'd still be a liberal ."


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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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