By Matthew Rothschild on May 14, 2013

By Matthew Rothschild

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.

And now his Administration is overreaching domestically, though it’s unclear how much of this is with his knowledge or green light. The IRS’s witch-hunt of right wing and Tea Party groups is “outrageous,” as Obama himself properly noted. He should fire the person or people responsible. That’s what you do if you’re the boss and your employee acts in an outrageous fashion. He also needs to give his Attorney General, Eric Holder the old heave ho. Because Holder, as head of the Justice Department, was responsible for the secret seizure of the AP’s phone records, including some of their reporters’ home phones and cell phones. There apparently was no warrant issued for these records, so the Justice Department was violating their Fourth Amendment rights. And it was also a huge violation of the First Amendment for the Justice Department to be going through the phone records of reporters who are covering the government. Once the Executive Branch runs amok in foreign policy, it soon finds a way to run amok here at home, as we are learning once more.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Tsarnaev Brothers and Propaganda of the Deed.

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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