Wednesday, November 07, 2007

'Thought Crimes' bill HR 1955 -- Passed With 404 Votes

This was obviously aimed at Muslims but could be used against almost anybody. Christians beware!

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955, titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. It was passed with 404 votes in favor. A close reading within an historical context - keeping especially in mind the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and Presidential Executive Orders, pursuant to which the government has engaged in massive surveillance of its own citizens, as well as detentions, extraordinary renditions, assassinations, and torture - leads me to the following conclusions:

* This is a "Thought Crime" bill of the type so often discussed in an Orwellian context.

* It specifically targets the civilian population of the United States.

* It defines "Violent Radicalization" as promoting any belief system that the government considers to be extremist.

* "Homegrown Terrorism" and "Violent Radicalization" are defined as thought crimes.

* Since the bill does not provide a specific definition of extremist belief system, it will be whatever the government at any given time deems it to be.

A few extracts of the Bill are presented below to show you its tone or "flavor."

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


"(3) 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."

"(6) The potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions." Section 899D of the bill establishes a Center for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. This will be an institution affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security. It will study and determine how to detain thought criminals.....

More here

Lucky Britain reaps the rewards of multiculturalism and mindless tolerance

The new head of security service MI5 has said the number of people involved in terrorist activity in the UK has risen to 2,000 - and that some are as young as 15. Jonathan Evans, in his first public speech since taking the job, called Islamic terrorism the "most immediate and acute peacetime threat" in the 98-year history of MI5. He also said there were as many Russian secret agents in the UK now as during the Cold War.

Referring to Islamic extremism, Mr Evans said: "The more that this ideology spreads in our communities, the harder it will be to maintain the kind of society that the vast majority of us wish to live in. "As I speak terrorists are targeting young people and children in this country. They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism. "This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity."

Mr Evans, speaking in Manchester, said a year ago MI5 had identified about 1,600 individuals who posed a "direct threat to national security and public safety". He said: "That figure today would be at least 2,000." He added: "Al Qaeda has a clear determination to mount terrorist attacks against the United Kingdom. This remains the case today, and there is no sign of it reducing." He said there appeared to be an increase in terrorist-related conspiracies being plotted from foreign countries, such as Somalia.

Mr Evans also warned about the number of Russian spies in the UK.


Hating Rudy: The Angry Left finds a new target

They have finally noticed that GWB will not be standing in 2008

"Rudy Giuliani [is] probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency," Sen. Joe Biden declared during Tuesday's Democratic debate in Philadelphia. "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun and a verb and 9/11." The crowd roared with laughter, and liberal blogger Josh Marshall wrote, "Okay, I may have to endorse Biden after this tear against Rudy."

With the end of the dreaded Bush era approaching, Rudy Giuliani has slowly begun to supplant the president as the leading hate figure among liberals, a reality that will only help Mr. Giuliani in his efforts to overcome his differences with conservatives and win the Republican nomination.

Within the past month, The New Republic, The Nation and The Washington Monthly have all run anti-Giuliani cover stories, with the last one declaring that, "as president, Giuliani would grab even more executive power than Bush and Cheney." In the Boston Globe, James Carroll wrote of Mr. Giuliani, "He's like a gang leader now, roving the streets, looking for some punk to bash. Iran will do."

This sentiment has dominated liberal blogs, where a general consensus has formed that Mr. Giuliani would be the worst president imaginable. Mr. Giuliani's decision to include neoconservative icon Norman Podhoretz on his foreign-policy advisory team has also triggered liberal paranoia about his determination to attack Iran. Lost in all the fuss is the fact that Charles Hill, a Yale professor, is actually Mr. Giuliani's top adviser. What Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Hill have both emphasized is that if America makes it clear that it will not hesitate to use military force, diplomacy has a much more realistic chance of succeeding. Not that this line of reasoning would win over any of his critics on the left.

"If you want to spend enormous amounts of money and kill millions of people in service of policies that will be counterproductive for both democracy and American national security then Rudy's your man," wrote The American Prospect's Scott Lemieux in a post titled "Stop Rudy." Mr. Giuliani's deviations from conservatives don't score him any points among the left, either. Mr. Lemieux's colleague, Dana Goldstein, pleaded with her fellow progressives to "stop calling Rudy Giuliani pro-choice."

The possibility of a Giuliani presidency had the Atlantic's Matthew Yglesias struggling for words: "One thing I'm wrestling with is finding a way to convey how terrified I am of the prospect of a Rudy Giuliani presidency in terms of its impact on our foreign policy." But Talking Point Memo's Mr. Marshall comes close to best explaining why Mr. Giuliani is worse than Mitt Romney. "I know I've said before that Romney's profound and almost incalculable phoniness is a terrifying prospect to behold in a possible president. But the danger of phoniness, aesthetic or otherwise, cannot hold a candle to the truly catastrophic foreign policy Giuliani would likely pursue if he got anywhere near the Oval Office," Mr. Marshall wrote.

The Giuliani hate fest has also infiltrated the airwaves, where Keith Olbermann has made bashing Rudy a daily feature on his show. Last Monday, an Olbermann segment entitled "Rudy Giuliani: The next Dick Cheney?" was about Mr. Giuliani's penchant for "secrecy" and "proclivity for executive power..." This was followed up on Tuesday with a segment that began with a graphic featuring Mr. Giuliani, President Bush in the background and the words "Bush on Steroids"--a reference to John Edwards's comment that Mr. Giuliani shares Mr. Bush's love of "crony capitalism."

The segment revealed, just as with Mr. Bush, the media have no problem broadcasting factual errors when targeting Mr. Giuliani. Mr. Olbermann misquoted Mr. Giuliani as saying that Democrats wanted to invite Osama bin Laden to the White House. In actuality, Mr. Giuliani didn't say Osama, he said Assad, as in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of the leaders whom Barack Obama did in fact say he would be willing to meet with in Washington with no preconditions within the first year of his administration. Making the incident even more absurd, Mr. Olbermann ran the video clip of Mr. Giuliani's remarks on his show, and it was clear that Mr. Giuliani said "Assad." How clear? The transcript appearing on the official MSNBC Web site for Mr. Olbermann's show had Mr. Giuliani saying "Assad" in the video clip.

Nevertheless, Mr. Olbermann asked his guest Arianna Huffington to comment on whether the former mayor was being hyperbolic or lying. "Well, he's lying and also every day he reveals more and more of himself," Ms. Huffington said. "And you can see that he really has the soul of a thug and the disposition of a tyrant." Ms. Huffington repeated the false Giuliani-Osama quote, and later in the interview, she added: "He's kind of channeling Rush Limbaugh. He's making the lunatic fringe mainstream." And Mr. Olbermann wondered, "Has it reached a level yet where we should be considering examining whether or not this is compulsive lying that there is something endemic to [Giuliani]? Or [is] this specific purpose-driven lies?"

One might ask the same about Mr. Olbermann. Even though the Associated Press issued a correction to its story that misquoted Mr. Giuliani following a report on AmSpecBlog, as of this writing, Mr. Olbermann has not corrected his erroneous segment. His spokeswoman did not return three calls or an email sent from The American Spectator asking whether the news channel planned to correct the error, and if not, to explain its corrections policy.

The irony, of course, is that the more vocal, vicious and unfounded the liberal attacks on Mr. Giuliani become, the easier it is for him to make his case to conservative primary voters that they agree on a lot more than they disagree. Mr. Giuliani has often cited his liberal foes to burnish his own conservative credentials. "I find it difficult understanding those who try to make me out as an activist for liberal causes," Mr. Giuliani said at his recent speech to the Family Research Council's Value Voters Summit. "If you think that, just read any New York Times editorial while I was mayor of New York City."

For a long time, Mr. Giuliani's liberal adversaries from New York were convinced that there was no way he could win the Republican nomination, but as it has become a more realistic possibility, their worries have grown. "It's totally unbelievable," Rep. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.), lamented in the New York Observer of Mr. Giuliani's resilience in the presidential race. "I refuse to believe that this could possibly happen to our country. I have too much confidence in our country to believe that this could really happen." With enemies like Mr. Rangel, does Mr. Giuliani need friends?



By Jeff Jacoby

At a White House ceremony tomorrow President Bush will honor eight distinguished men and women with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award. Among the recipients will be the longtime civil rights activist Benjamin Hooks; Harper Lee, author of the much-loved novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird"; Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman elected president of an African nation; and C-SPAN's founder and president, Brian Lamb.

One of the honorees, however, will not be there. Instead of joining the president amid the pomp and finery of the White House, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet will spend the day locked in a fetid cell in the Combinado del Este prison in Havana, where he is serving a 25-year prison sentence for speaking out against Fidel Castro's dictatorship.

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, has written that the conditions of Biscet's incarceration are like something out of Victor Hugo: "windowless and suffocating, with wretched sanitary conditions. The stench seeping from the pit in the ground that serves as a toilet is intensified by being compressed into an unventilated cell only as wide as a broom closet. . . . Biscet reportedly suffers from osteoarthritis, ulcers, and hypertension. His teeth, those that haven't fallen out, are rotted and infected."

A pro-life Christian physician, Biscet first ran afoul of the Castro regime in the 1990s, when he investigated Cuban abortion techniques -- Cuba has by far the highest abortion rates in the Western Hemisphere -- and revealed that numerous infants had been killed after being delivered alive. In 1997, he began the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which seeks "to establish in Cuba a state based on the rule of law" and "sustained upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Between June 1998 and November 1999 he was arrested 26 times; in 1999, he was sentenced to three years in prison for "disrespecting patriotic symbols." To protest the regime's repression, he had hung a Cuban flag upside down.

For decades, various American journalists and celebrities have rhapsodized about Castro's supposed island paradise, resolutely ignoring the mountains of evidence that it is in reality a tropical dungeon. Intent on seeing Castro as a revolutionary hero and Cuba as Shangri-la, they avert their gaze from the island's genuine heroes -- the prisoners of conscience like Biscet, who pay a fearful price for their insistence on telling the truth.

The US detention center in Guantanamo Bay is sometimes spoken of as if it were a Caribbean concentration camp, but the only facilities that deserve such a label are hellholes like Combinado del Este, in which Biscet and so many other Cuban dissidents have been brutally abused -- or worse. Over the years, life in Castro's gulag has been well-chronicled. The classic narrative is Armando Valladares's Against All Hope, a stark and searing memoir, first published in 1985, of the author's 22 years in Cuba's horrific prisons. The newest account of life as a Cuban political prisoner is Fighting Castro: A Love Story, Kay Abella's affecting and inspiring saga of one Cuban couple's love for each other and for their homeland, and the cruelties, large and petty, inflicted on those who challenge the regime.

For Lino Fernandez, a young physician who pays for his democratic resistance with 17 years behind bars, those cruelties are sadistic and often bloody. Abella describes, for example, what it was like to experience a requisa -- a search by armed prison guards -- in the notorious round fortress on Isla de Pinos: "The roar of the invading horde . . . viciously beating men unarmed and weak from malnutrition and confinement. A screaming mass of soldiers swarming over the circular, stabbing with bayonets, crushing limbs with truncheons and rubber-wrapped chains. The panic of no place to hide, knowing you'll be beaten harder for trying to protect yourself, stomped on for clinging to a pillar or rail, thrown down the stairs for daring to hesitate. . . . The indignity of men whining, begging, whimpering before a skull is cracked, a shoulder yanked from its socket, genitals smashed with the gun butt."

For the families of political prisoners, the cruelties come in other forms, such as the humiliating strip-searches on the rare occasions when a prison visit is permitted, or the pressure put on children to demonstrate loyalty to the Communist Party that has imprisoned their father. And there is economic privation: Oscar Biscet's wife, Elsa Morejon, is a trained nurse, but she has been barred from holding a professional job in Cuba since 1998.

The conscience and courage of these dissidents are nothing short of extraordinary. "During these years here in prison," Biscet wrote to Elsa in a letter smuggled out of prison earlier this year, "I have seen shameful things that I am unable to describe to you in words because of their perversity and their attack on . . . civilized society. Despite this difficult situation I am not intimidated nor do I take any step backwards in my mind. . . . I will carry out this unjust sentence until the most high God puts an end to it."


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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