Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Under The Radar

Wow! I really missed this story, and it looks like the media did as well. Apparently the House passed a bill last month to set up a commission to study, well, thought crimes (at least that's what it looks like). I don't know what shocks me more: that the bill passed 404-6, or that its sponsor was a Democrat.

I came across the story while perusing what is rapidly becoming one of my daily "must read" blogs, Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By. Here are some of the details from her first post on the bill:

While the media were pretending all other news was on hold during the California wildfires, a dangerous bill made it through the House of Representatives and has now been sent to the Senate where it has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Should a majority in the Senate approve the bill, all it requires to become law is the president’s signature and since it does not deprive children of healthcare, there is no reason to think he would veto it.

Designated H.R.1955 and titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007, it is an amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jane Harmon [Dem-CA] and overwhelming approved by the House on 23 October by a 404 to 6 vote.


And here is where the language of the bill as it resides in the Senate can be found. The bill is short by Congressional standards and deserves a thorough reading, but here's a little taste:

`SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS.

`For purposes of this subtitle:

`(1) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism established under section 899C.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.
[Emphasis added]

WTF?

"An extremist belief system"? You mean like one which promotes equality, civil liberties, and the right to be secure in our homes? Or one which is determined to restore the air we breathe and the water we drink? Or one which believes that the government of the United States of American should not lie us into an illegal war, nor kidnap and torture people? Those kinds of extremist beliefs?

In another part of the bill it is noted that the internet has become a useful tool for extremists. Uh, oh. Those of us who hang out at Atrios' Eschaton may soon have to put away our torches and pitchforks and our rusty chain saws. That's really gonna put a crimp in our discourse. Even the mere mention of those kinds of implements will get us into trouble.

And this bill was sponsored by a Democrat.

Here's a list of those who voted against the bill:

Jeff Flake [Rep-AR], Dana Rohrabacher [Rep-CA], Neil Abercrombie [Dem-HI], Jerry Costello [Dem-IL], Dennis Kucinich [Dem-OH] and John Duncan [Rep-TN].

Since the first post by Ronni Bennett, she has posted several more. The most recent is found here. She has a couple of solid tips on what we can do to make sure the Senate doesn't fall for this crap just because it has the word "terror" in its title.

Go visit.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Ronni Bennett said...

Thank you so much for following up on this. The more who post about it, the more who will know and perhaps do something.

There is no possible reason for Congress to study thought crimes unless they intend to do something about them. As someone said on my blog recently, Orwell was right, he just got the year wrong.

And thank you for the nice words about my blog. I'm glad you like it.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

Glad you're joining the fight! I'm the one who said Orwell was right and I truly believe it. His book scared me when I read it when I was about 14 because even then I saw it could happen. I am blogging about it at length. This bill is a blatant attack on the Constitution and The Bill of Rights and I will not be silenced.

That so few members of the House voted against it is appalling. I wrote each of those who did and thanked them for attempting to defend our freedom. My thought right now is that we need to toss the incumbents out and elect candidates who are on the side of the people and will defend our rights under the Constitution -- the cornerstone of our freedom.

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