Thursday, January 24, 2008


From New West Politics, The Voice of the Rocky Mountains

The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act: More Anti-Western Muck
By Christian Probasco, 1-21-08
Here’s an idea that should strike most Westerners, old or new, as absolutely un-Western, and it comes in the form of a Senate companion bill to a House bill that passed 404-6, under a temporary suspension of House rules to prevent debate, namely S. 1959, a.k.a. the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.

The legislation would ostensibly set up a commission to study homegrown terrorism. Civil libertarians have problems with the bill’s premises and wording, which seem vague enough to outlaw free speech and free thought, despite assurances within the bill to the contrary.

Take the definition of “violent radicalization,” for example:
“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.”

The emphasis here being on the “process” of promoting extremist belief systems, which might include books, Internet sites, speech and even ways of thinking.

And then there’s the bill’s definition of “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.”
That definition, oddly enough, fits the modus operandi of the federal government. What the bill objects to is anybody else using the government’s tactics of intimidation or coercion. Tell a politician that if he doesn’t support eminent domain reform or school vouchers or gun control, he may soon find himself looking for another job and you could be guilty of “intimidation.” You might also be guilty of “intimidation” if you inform someone she risks damnation for cheating on her husband. Threaten to cut off your child’s allowance and you could be guilty of “intimidation.”

Who voted against the original bill? Representative Jeff Flake of Arizona, California (!) Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Hawaii Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Illinois’ Jerry Costello, Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich and Tennessee’s John Duncan, Jr.. Nobody from what New West Network would define as the “Intermountain West.” All the representatives from Colorado voted “aye.” The representatives from Idaho voted “aye.” Dennis Rehberg of Montana voted “aye.” New Mexico’s three representatives voted “aye.” Chris Cannon and Jim Matheson of Utah—traitors to their nation and especially their homeland as far as I’m concerned, though I don’t want to intimidate anyone--voted “aye,” though Rob Bishop, somewhat to his credit, did not vote. Barbara Cubin of Wyoming also managed to miss the vote.

Pending approval by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the bill will soon face a vote in the U.S. Senate, and then it will be on its way to our “cowboy” president, who will almost certainly sign it into law.

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