Monday, January 28, 2008

We Deserve Better (H.R. 1955 Is Not It)

While there are several stories worthy of discussion tonight, I am going to focus upon something that has received less attention than deserved.

A piece of proposed legislation has passed the House and is currently shuffling through Senate committee scrutiny before coming to vote in that chamber. The bill is titled, “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.” For those whom would like to be better informed concerning this bill, it can be tracked while it travels through Congress here and its summary on Wikipedia is located here.

I understand H.R. 1955, in a nutshell, thusly: The bill attempts to define three terms specifically. These terms are: “Violent Radicalization,” “Homegrown Terrorism,” and “Ideologically Based Violence.” It then orders the establishment of an institute to study the fields associated with these newly defined terms.

The stated general purpose is to prevent internally (American) borne terrorism. The implied purpose that I, and others more noteworthy (see next paragraph) recognize, is to allow the federal government regulatory ability in areas that need no such over-watch.

I am highly troubled by this proposed bill; as are others. While I have not been an outspoken fan of Representative Ron Paul’s, I share his criticism of this bill. While he was not present for the House’s vote on HR 1955, he did speak on the floor at a later date in opposition. While the full transcript can be found here and I encourage its reading in its entirety given its brevity, I will highlight the statements by Representative Paul of which I agree:

“There are many causes for concern in HR 1955.”

“(HR 1955) may well be the first step toward US government regulation of what we are allowed to access on the Internet.”

“It leaves the door wide open for the broadest definition of what constitutes “radicalization.””

Other statements in this speech by Representative Paul minimize the risk from internally (American) developed terrorism; this, however, I do not so easily dismiss. However, I do agree wholeheartedly with the points expressed above and raise major objections to this bill. While homegrown terrorism may be a risk, the vague terminology of this bill and the means in which it intends to attack such terrorism are far from the needed solutions.

What’s worse is the ease in which the proposed legislation passed the House. HR 1955 passed 404 to 6. The only noteworthy speech made on behalf of the legislation prior to voting was a request to suspend regular rules of order so as to expressly pass the bill. It’s not just the substance within the proposed legislation that is troubling. Also startling is the lack of scrutiny it was subjected to while in the House. Even in my novice perspective, I see several details that deserve attention; the details noted above by Representative Paul (and echoed here) are severe enough to perhaps cause major opposition to the bill.

I am voicing my own opposition here. I would hope that, as an informed constituent, my readers would also give the bill a glance and form their own opinions. If strong enough, please contact your local representatives and make them aware of how you feel. This bill is a step in the wrong direction and could, worse, present opportunities for government to enforce censorship in ways never intended by our country’s founding fathers.

In closing – and mostly unrelated, I want to encourage all readers to watch the President’s State of the Union speech tonight. I encourage my fellow residents in Florida to participate in tomorrow’s Presidential Primaries. Despite his withdrawal, I will be pledging my continued support for authentic conservative ideals by voting, as promised, for Senator Fred Thompson.


Diana said...

How do you find out about all this information?
I am glad you are well informed and help keep us (your readers) up to date on various issues.
One thing I do not understand is why you would vote for Fred when he is no longer in the running. Doesn't that void your vote?
Anyway, thanks for the information and keep up the good work.

Old NFO said...

Good post Whiskey! It's interesting what you find when you start digging into the background on some of these things!