McCarthyism Watch

We will be regularly updating the site with examples of the New McCarthyism that is sweeping the country.

December 8, 2001

If You Don't Want American Flag Stamps, Watch Out!

Even an innocuous trip to the Post Office can you get you into trouble these days.

Daniel Muller, is the co-coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness, a group dedicated to nonviolence and a leading opponent of U.S. sanctions against Iraq.

On November 9, Muller and his colleague Andrew Mandell went to pick up stamps at the Chicago post office they regularly visit. They were paying with cash.

"We needed 4,000 stamps for a mailing we were doing, and I asked for ones not with the American flag on them."

The woman asked if Statute of Liberty stamps were OK.

"Yes, we love liberty," said Andrew Mandell.

"She asked us to step aside from the counter, and she went to the back, out of view," recalls Muller. "I knew something was up because this was a bit out of the ordinary. And Andrew said, 'She's calling the cops,' but I didn't believe him.

"No one said anything to us for about twenty minutes, and then two cops came in and asked for our IDs. They asked if we had any outstanding warrants. They ran a check on us. They asked us why we had asked for stamps without American flags on them. I said we're very rooted in nonviolent activities, and we would rather have the Statue of Liberty than the American flag."

The Post Office told Muller and Mandell that they would have to come back the next morning for stamps.

Mandell got his stamps the next day, but he also was asked to meet with a federal postal inspector for more than a half-hour. The postal inspector, says Mandell, asked: "Why are you paying with cash? Where do you get your money?"

Afterwards, the group was permitted to send out its mailing.

"The fact that they did ask for anything but flag stamps did raise a question for the clerk," says Silvia Carrier, a public relations officer for the U.S. Postal Inspector in Chicago. Plus, "They were buying postage with a large amount of cash, and usually a company will use a meter or a business check. Right now, since September 11, clerks have been told to be cautious, to be looking out for anything suspicious."



I wouldn't have given my ID to the cops nor say a word to them.

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

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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