Holy crap…I hate it when I let this stuff slip through. I had heard a bit about HR 1955 – Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, but I hadn’t read enough about it; and then it goes and passes the House 404 – 6. Yowch.
One can, in a sense, look at this as just an intent to study the problem…sure. On the other hand, one could have seen McCarthy’s investigations, or the House Un-American Activities Committee, as the same. (To be fair, neither the Church Committee nor the 9/11 Comisison was so bad). Regardless, those National Commissions tend to end up pretty powerful. So what would it do, anyway?
I have to admit I find some disturbing assertions within the
findings section of the bill. For example:
- The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.
Ohhhkay. While true, the same statement can be made about satellite television, shortwave, newspapers, novels, and religious groups (note: in none of these cases do I mean ALL members/representatives of a group. Neither all shortwave transmissions, nor all churches, are bad. *grin*) But singling out the Internet here (none of my other suggestions get their own finding, dang it) suggests to me that there’s a considerable chance that it’s going to get
special treatment. That is seldom a good thing.
This appears to be a done deal, based on the lopsided voting in the House. But the OpenCongress link has a great news and blog listing that will give you the opportunity to make up your mind for yourself about this. An informed decision is the most important thing, in my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me, as long as you have REASONS.
In addition, it’s votes like this that shine a light on people who vote on principle. In a divided House of Representatives such as our own, I expect there were many odd bedfellows on this bill…from people who just liked the sound of the title, to those who have strong convictions that this is exactly the Sort Of Thing Our Government Should Be Doing. And it’s an intrusive, classic big government solution…have a National Committe to look at the issue.
So who voted against it, and why? You’d have to either HATE big government, or really, really be worried about the consequences of this particular sort of investigation. Hmmm…only 6 voted ‘Nay’…lessee…Kucinich? Kucinich??? Note: his office hasn’t yet spoken on this, and maybe there was some weird, legislative technicality reason that he voted against it…but I’m guessing no. I’m guessing that this universal health care, pull the troops out in a day, hard-left Democrat voted AGAINST this commission because he thinks it’s a bad idea. Heck, even Ron Paul was only a ‘Not present’ vote!
Kucinich has guts, I’ll tell you that much. And, in fact…as soon as I can confirm (and I don’t think it’ll be hard) that he was actually against this thing, I’m tossing his campaign some cash. There’s no way the guy will win, unfortunately, but at least I can give him that positive reinforcement.
And back to HR 1955…we need to watch carefully who is appointed to this Committee, and what they do. And while they may not like it…at least the good old Internet makes that pretty easy.
UPDATE: the associated Senate legislation appears to be S.1959
UPDATE: just in case you don’t know me well enough to be aware of it, I am about as
anti hate speech as you can get. I speak up when I hear it used, I find it shameful, and I am ALWAYS against the use of violence as a political tool. I’m by no means saying I’m pro-
Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism; anyone who thinks that has a severe disappointment coming. I just happen to kind of respect that whole 1st Amendment thing. Good idea; let’s have more of those!