Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, November 30, 2007

McCarthy would have loved SB 1959

Oh yeah, this slipped under the traditional media radar too:

The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, a.k.a. Senate Bill 1959. This masterpiece sailed through Congress in October (only six nays — three R, three D, Kucinich among them) and is currently in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

The bill would establish a commission similar to Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee and could potentially make any sort of political dissent or controversial religious display illegal. Even thinking about such things could get you in trouble.

In short, this outrageous Act is a yet another attempt to generate fear in the minds of the American people, another disgrace to the Constitution, and you can thank Rep. Jane Harman of California for sponsoring it.

Hyperbole? Well, you decide. Here's a chunk:
(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.


The Congress finds the following:

(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.
And if you really want to stir the bile, here's the whole thing.

Go ahead, read it. Then drive a truck through the loopholes and use your Disney-like imagination to interpret the strategically vague parts. It'll be quite a trip.

And after you read it, congratulate yourself, because you've probably done more for your civil rights than your congressperson.

"Force or violence." That phrase should stand out for anyone with any street smarts. See, they can interpret that however they see fit. They don't specifically say "bodily harm" or even "personal property damage". And "force" doesn't have to be physical, either.

Enforcement? They can contract that out. Big surprise. It's paragraph after paragraph of Orwell's greatest fears plopped in front of hundreds of millions of people looking the other way. Orwell even made up a word for it: Thoughtcrime.

It is still possible for the Senate to kill this craziness, but the lopsided results in the House don't exactly engender optimism. But it can be filibustered if enough sane people in D.C. are paying attention.

See Philip Giraldi's excellent analysis and commentary for more background on this disaster in the making.

Meanwhile, you can make a difference by contacting your legislators and kindly requesting they yank their heads out of their Deep South. Be polite, of course. But do contact them and urge them to read the text. S1959 must be stopped.

By the way, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee?

Joe Lieberman...


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