By Matthew Rothschild on June 07, 2013

By Matthew Rothschild 

Another day. Another civil liberties violation by the Obama Administration.

The revelation that the government has been tracking our e-mails, photos, and videos from Facebook and YouTube and grabbing all sorts of our information from Google and Apple and Skype should concern us all, as should yesterday’s scandal about the NSA’s vast domestic surveillance.

We’re supposed to have a Fourth Amendment right to be “secure” in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” but we aren’t any more.

Not at all.

You can kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye.

This is no accident. This was the predictable consequence of the USA Patriot Act. In fact, Russ Feingold predicted it when he was the sole Senator to vote against the Patriot Act back in October 2001. Here’s part of what he said on the Senate floor back then. “There is no doubt if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country where the … government is entitled to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your e-mail communications…the government would probably discover and arrest more terrorists or would-be terrorists … But … that country wouldn’t be America.” Well, it isn’t America anymore. It’s a different, much less free country. And the only way we can get some of the old America back is by repealing the freedom-stealing provisions of the USA Patriot Act and prohibiting this widespread snooping on innocent citizens.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Stop the Trial of Bradley Manning.

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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