Matthew Rothschild

With all the hullabaloo over the IRS's special scrutiny of Tea Party groups, a far worse case of political meddling and governmental overreach has been going on: The spying on leftwing activists in the Occupy movement.

Thousands of documents obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy show how Homeland Security and local law enforcement were obsessed with the Occupy movement and other activists.

They treated Occupy activists as potential terrorists.

They infiltrated Occupy meetings.

(Editor's Note: This article is derived from research and writing conducted by Beau Hodai, published by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy in the report "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.")

It was bad enough that Republicans from Newt Gingrich on down derided Barack Obama as the "food stamp President" during the last campaign.

Now they're trying to take food stamps out of the hands of the hungry.

On Wednesday, the House Ag Committee voted to cut $21 billion out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The cuts would yank food stamps away from 2 million people, and get this: 200,000 poor and hungry kids would no longer able to get free school lunches.

The Executive Branch is out of control.

As Ralph Nader points out, the Obama Administration has been serving as judge, jury, and executioner, even against some U.S. citizens.

Obama's drone policy is of dubious legality, as is the continued practice of kidnapping and imprisoning people indefinitely.

He waged his war against Libya without Congressional approval.


I admire Jason Collins, the NBA center, who just came out.

He's the first active player in major American sports to publicly say he's gay, which is astonishing in and of itself -- that it has taken this long!

But male athletics is an arena where gay slurs have been common for generations, even to this day, so it's little wonder that gay male athletes have thought twice and three times about coming out before.


On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked, "How could so many false assertions be taken as fact" in the lead-up to the Iraq War? She wanted to know where the journalists had been. Well, most of the skeptical ones were working for the alternative media. On Democracy Now, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales repeatedly rang the alarm bells. So did our friends at The Nation and Z and In These Times. On talk radio, Randi Rhodes was presciently outspoken, as was Thom Hartmann, who was just getting back in front of a mic.

A few points on the prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

I'm glad the Obama administration is not treating him as an enemy combatant and is not trying him before a military commission or sending him down to Guantanamo. We haven't slipped to the bottom of the hill yet.

But I wasn't happy about the denial of his Miranda rights for hours and hours, and that denial may actually jeopardize the government's case.

1. Why didn't the FBI keep better tabs on the older brother?

It was reported on Friday on CNN that a foreign government, later identified as Russia, notified the FBI two years ago that the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was a terrorist risk and that the FBI actually visited him but found nothing "derogatory" and apparently dropped the matter.

2. Why is law enforcement wasting time spying on peace and Occupy activists?

Thank God the police caught Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and what a relief for the people of Boston.

The Boston Marathon bombers have proven once again the insanity of terrorist violence, of what used to be called "the propaganda of the deed."

While it's still unclear exactly why the Tsarnaev Brothers appear to have engaged in these horrific acts, I suspect that it was to try to promote some cause or protest some grievance.

And if that's the case, they did a real bad job of it.

On Monday, President Obama said the culprits in the Boston Marathon bombings will "feel the full weight of justice."

At Tuesday's press conference, Obama said, "We will find whoever harmed our citizens and we will bring them to justice."

But what does he mean by "justice"?

Obama has a bad habit of using the word "justice" when his Administration rubs someone out, whether it's in Pakistan or Yemen with a drone strike or the Navy Seals taking down bin Laden.


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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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