Sunday, June 28, 2009

LIBERALS PUSHING THOUGHT CRIME BILL

Prison Planet - HR 1966 has cleared the House and now faces the Senate as S.909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill is expected to sail through the Senate as it did in the House. It will provide federal assistance to the states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for “other purposes.” . . .

S.909 is a direct violation of the First Amendment. It allows the federal government to prosecute people involved in “hate speech” transmitted over television, radio, and the internet. The House version of the bill states:

"Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce [radio, TV, internet] any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

In other words, if a talk show host engages in “hostile” speech against a person or persons of the above mentioned federally protected group that talk show host will face federal prosecution and the prospect of a two year prison term.

Alexander Cockburn, Counterpunch - The Matthew Shepard Act is a ham-handed attempt to right injustice by establishing different legal treatment for some classes of crime victims. The proposed statute classifies as "hate crimes" attacks based on a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. America is well on its way to making it illegal to say anything nasty about gays, Jews, blacks and women. "Hate speech," far short of any direct incitement to violence, is on the edge of being criminalized, with the First Amendment gone the way of the dodo. . .

Suppose two fellows in a bar see a man come in and, later in the evening, beat him up. He turns out to be gay. Armed with the Hate Crimes Prevention Act if it becomes law, local prosecutors will have an incentive to pile hate crime charges on top of simple assault and thereby garner federal funding that will be available under the statute. The suspects then face an "enhancement" -several more years behind bars—for committing a hate crime. . . .

The problem with the Hate Crimes Prevention Act is that it creates a thought crime and also categories of crime victims for disparate treatment. Goodbye to equality under the law. How will a prosecutor prove that a lesbian was murdered because of her sexual orientation rather than because she refused to give the mugger her purse? . . .

Advocates for the hate crimes bill insist that it deals only with crimes of violence and has nothing to do with limiting free speech or thought. But as Paul Craig Roberts, has pointed out on this site. "All laws are expansively interpreted. For example: The Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act [passed in 1970] was directed at drug lords. Nothing in the law says anything about divorce; yet it soon was applied in divorce cases."

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