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Saturday, 10 November 2007

Thought Crime Bill Video

[EDITORIAL NOTE: The story below was originally posted last Tuesday, but it is important that as many people as possible know about the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007, so I am reposting it today with something new.

As of late yesterday, Friday, still no mainstream media has reported on this bill. It was bad enough to find out my congressman voted for this bill in the House; now I am appalled to learn that one of my Maine senators, Susan Collins, has sponsored the bill in the Senate. You can find out how your representative voted here.

And here is a new YouTube video that needs to be as widely distributed as possible, and there are several more anti-H.R.1955 videos at YouTube.]

category_bug_politics.gif 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.

Some people have called this the “thought crime bill”, and they are not exaggerating – which is why I am straying from the topic of aging today to bring this to your attention.

This is the first terrorism-related legislation that specifically targets U.S. citizens and the vagueness of the wording is a dangerous threat to the First Amendment and to each of us in ways that have not been attempted before in the United States. The definitions in the bill hold the frightening keys to the undermining of our most basic liberty - to speak freely [bolding is mine]:

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

The difficulties here are that “extremist belief system” means anything the government wants it to mean as does the word “facilitating.”

“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.”

Again, this refers not just to violence, but to thought and speech for any undefined “political or social objectives”. In other words, it could mean universal healthcare, equal rights, abortion or anything at all about which you or I might want to make our views known that the government objects to. And, it establishes U.S. citizens as the targets of this legislation.

“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.”

This repeats legislative intolerance of speech and thought.

The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act does not establish penalties for these thought crimes; it “only” establishes a commission to study them. But it tells us where the thinking in Washington is heading.

The Commission is required to send a report about its findings to the Congress and president every six months for a year and a half. As disturbing as the bill itself is, so is the additional requirement that there be a “a public version” of the reports – that is, something different from what Congress sees.

Even with only a commission at this point, there is no way to understand the bill except as a warning of what is to come and mainstream media has not mentioned it – not The New York Times nor the Washington Post nor the Los Angeles Times, USA Today or CNN.

Please read the entire bill. It is not lengthy and there is more in it to be concerned about than I have reported in this post.

It is not extreme to say that unless you want to find out what it was like to live in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union under Stalin or Italy under Mussolini where any "wrong" thought and word could make a citizen subject to arrest and worse, this bill must be stopped. Write, email, telephone your senators and get everyone you know to do so too. You can easily do that here. It might be prudent too to ask the senators who are running for president how they will vote on this bill.

It won’t be easy to convince our senators. Any legislation that goes through Congress with the word “terrorism” in it, gets kneejerk passage. And there is no reason the Senate won't pass it, as the House did, while the country's attention is elsewhere.

The six brave representatives who stood up against the majority in voting against H.R.1955 are: 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].

Thought Crime Bill Story List

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, the serial fairy tale, Chandra and Her Georg is up to Episode XIX.]


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 03:29 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Well, I guess I don't have to worry about how I'm going to live in retirement anymore -- I'm going to federal prison and y'all will be paying for my keep because I reserve my right to free speech under the Constitution. This law violates at least 4 amendments: the 4th, 5th, 8th and 14th and that, in my mind is a sin.

James Madison said, "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

Our Founding Fathers were wise and forward thinking men. Its time we stop playing fast and loose with the wonderful gift that is their legacy: The Constitution of the United States.

meetch'alls in the gulug!!!

Ronni, thanks again for this call to action. I have spread the word among friends, notified two large groups of elders with whom I have regular contact, and, I’m making it known to my local representatives where I stand on HR 1955. This is indeed the very least we can do.

An arrogant H. L. Mencken long ago made the following awful prediction and I dearly hope we do not allow ourselves to deserve the ultimate awful fallout - “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

yes, yes, thanks again. that you tube message is chilling. posted today about your and Xtreme's efforts, plus other bloggers. cannot understand why my congressman voted for it. asked both his washington and new york offices: no illumination.

my senators oppose it--schumer and clinton? not a chance.

Terrifying, chilling, surreal. I never thought this would happen in the U. S. It makes me want to barf.

Why is the media ignoring this? That, too, is very frightening.

Because they're scared of going to jail, Darlene.

Ronnie: thanks for posting about this subject. It is critical to a functioning and healthy democracy. I've linked to your blog post from my I've Been Mugged blog.

George

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