Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Free Speech, R.I.P.

The Finns aren’t the only ones having trouble with a chill wind blowing across their free speech rights — we’re about to face a big battle against the enemies of the First Amendment here in the USA, beginning tomorrow.

Mikko Ellilä is a Finnish blogger who has been summoned by the police for a hearing next week, all because of the content of his blog posts. Scroll down to our earlier posts for more information about his plight, or see posts one, two, three, and four on the topic.

Can’t happen here, you say? It very well may happen tomorrow, May 3rd.

This is why we should be afraid, very afraid of Democrat control in Congress:

The House Judiciary Committee passed a “hate crimes” bill last week.

All twenty-three Democrats voted in favor or it, and all seventeen Republicans dissented.

CNS news reported last week that —

every Republican attempt to amend the bill was defeated. Critics call it a “thought crimes” bill.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592) would expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include violence against a person because of his or her “actual or perceived” sexual orientation or “gender identity.”

Under the bill, people who attack others out of “hatred” for their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability would be committing a federal offense.

This incredible closing down of the First Amendment is getting little coverage relative to its foundation-breaking ramifications. It opens the door to inequitable penalties for what we say or write and brings us closer to criminalization of what was formerly “free” speech.

The summary of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007” (H.R. 1592) is here. This is part of the wording, which has been worked and reworked in Committee, as to what constitutes hate crime and its prevention:

(A) constitutes a crime of violence;

(B) constitutes a felony under the State, local, or Tribal laws; and

(C) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or Tribal hate crime laws.

The camel with its nose under the tent is the part which requires that the crime be motivated by prejudice. Who gets to decide that? And how are we to know they’re correct in their assessment or just politically correct in their thinking?

For example, homosexuals are not immune from the “trash-and-dash” crimes so prevalent in cities today. If the perps are caught, and they disclaim any knowledge of their victim’s sexual orientation will they be believed, even though that’s the fifth, or the tenth attack in a month?

The protected minorities in this bill are the usual politically correct suspects:

Supporters of the bill, including homosexual activists, have described “hate crimes” as a pervasive problem. “The intentional selection and beating or murder of an individual because of who they are terrorizes an entire community and sometimes the nation,” the Human Rights Campaign says on its website.

But conservatives say the bill would punish “thought,” since most crimes are motivated by hatred. They say it offers special protection for certain groups.

“Despite what its advocates say, this is not about crime — it’s about special treatment,” said the Family Research Council. “HR 1592 would further carve out ‘tiers’ of victims, putting more importance on crimes committed against a Rosie O’Donnell than against her next-door neighbor.”

Others object to the idea of putting homosexuality in the same category as race, an immutable characteristic.

“Special treatment” is right. Old people are not covered under this bill, though they are frequently singled out. The military is not protected, even if they are attacked by crowds…
- - - - - - - - - -
Rep. Jim Jordon (R-Ohio) tried to add unborn babies to the list of protected classes included in the bill. (Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., ruled the amendment was non-germane.)

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) asked for a definition of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” but Democrats rejected the idea.

“They obviously did not want to define gender identity to include she-male, cross-dresser, drag queen, transgender, transsexual, etc.,” said TVC Chairman Sheldon.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) offered an amendment to include military personnel as a protected class. He noted that troops in uniform often find themselves targets of hate and physical attack.

Republicans also proposed making senior citizens a protected class, pointing to crimes against elderly people. Likewise, why not extend hate crimes protection to pregnant women, who may be battered by boyfriends or husbands when they become pregnant, Republicans proposed.

Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida offered an amendment to give homeless people hate crimes protection.

All of it was in vain. It was in vain because this is a p.c. bill for one particular group:

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) proposed an amendment protecting freedom of religion: “Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution,” the amendment read, but that, too, was defeated.

Conservatives, including Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tex.), worry that religious leaders who denounce homosexuality as a sin may be charged with incitement under the legislation.

But I wonder if it is a hate crime for Christian preachers and Muslim imams, or if it’s just for the former. Somehow I don’t see the federal government going after mosques. In fact, CAIR is just waiting in the wings to get this going.

Here’s what Christine of Vigilant Freedom says:

Here are implications of passage of this bill, based on the views of the Center for Vigilant Freedom:

Potential Expansion to Hate Speech: The bill potentially criminalizes written or spoken criticism of any group, if anyone who reads or hears that criticism then commits a violent crime. The first tests to enforce this bill, if it passes, may come from Islamist groups such as CAIR. We anticipate a test of internet communications as “incitement speech” (and therefore not protected under the First Amendment) since they cross state lines, if a violent crime is committed and it is established that the accused read blogs critical of Islamist groups. A crime would come under HR 1592 if “Channels, facilities, and instrumentalities of interstate commerce are used to facilitate the commission of such violence… Such violence is committed using articles that have traveled in interstate commerce.”

Trawling for Hate Crimes: This bill encourages trawling for “hate crimes” by any definition (remember, recently two pieces of bacon left in a Koran on a public sidewalk was treated by local police as a “hate crime,” and the FBI agreed to investigate it as such). A starter budget of $5 million is requested, with $100,000 going to each jurisdiction that claims not to have local resources to “investigate or prosecute the hate crime.” Those grants of course will then go to “nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services programs that have experience in providing services to victims of hate crimes” — sounds like a real opportunity for CAIR, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) chapters, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS) and Muslim Student Association (MSA)…

Bringing it to K-12 Education: The bill asks for ADDITIONAL funds “designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles, including programs to train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes.” So that extra money could fund “hate crime education” programs in schools, and more “sensitivity” training for law enforcement. The grantees would be — wait for it — CAIR, ISNA chapters, MAS and MSA…

And here’s the meat of the bill. In addition to special protection for homosexuals, ironically, H.R. 1592 is set up to protect the very people who declare fatwas on homosexuals. More from Christine:

Religion = Race, now a law: The bill’s drafters work overtime to make sure you understand that religion and national origin REALLY have to be treated as race, even if that means we use 19th century definitions:

“Both at the time when the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States were adopted, and continuing to date, members of certain religious and national origin groups were and are perceived to be distinct ‘races’. Thus, in order to eliminate, to the extent possible, the badges, incidents, and relics of slavery, it is necessary to prohibit assaults on the basis of real or perceived religions or national origins, at least to the extent such religions or national origins were regarded as races at the time of the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”

How’s that for matter and anti-matter in one bill. Essentially, what it will provide for is silencing of such Christians who dare to speak out about homosexuality, while providing a bully pulpit for Muslims who also rail against it.

The rest of us think the whole subject has no place in governmental hands. The result will eventually look like — and be as expensive and inefficient as — what Uncle Sam managed to do with Social Security. A great many people will suffer needlessly for a few special citizens.

We become more like the EU every day. Sheep to the slaughter who never even notice the pens being set up around us.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. This monstrosity goes to the floor TOMORROW.

Please email, fax, phone or send a letter to your Representatives asking them to oppose H.R.1592.

Everyone can find their congressional representatives here.

33 comments:

Exile said...

I think we should ask these people,

what do they want to do more..

Protect our civil rights..

or prepare for civil war?



(My "civil war" poem!)

turn said...

I, for one, am quite relaxed about this.

The House floats sh..umm stuff like this routinely to pander to their respective bases, and they'll probably sucker CAIR et al out of some money.

Chances of passing the Senate are slim and President Bush has a light-sabre pen sharpened for veto duty if it were ever to get that far.

I don't know about the Babs Streisand/Marty Sheen axis of Hollywood--but can you imagine the HipHop community's reaction to Hate Speech legislation?

Crimes are crimes. The Federal justice system is overburdened now and if every mugging took on a hate crimes aspect we'd all be bogged down until 2107.

livfreerdie said...

Got this from my Senator,



Dear Mr. Bryant:



Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding "hate crimes" legislation. I appreciate your thoughts and the opportunity to respond to you .



Equality of individuals before the law has always been a bedrock principle of our nation. I oppose discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and will support any attempt to vigorously enforce anti-discrimination statutes. As I do not support discrimination under the law, I also do not believe in preference under the law. Therefore, I do not support "hate crime" provisions as I feel they value one person's life over another based on race, ethnicity, religion, or lifestyle. I believe rights are inherent in individuals, not groups. We should work to attain our nation's goal of equal opportunity without quotas or other forms of preferential treatment.



Thank you again for contacting me. If I can be of any assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to call upon me.








Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my web site at
http://isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Being in political speak I'm not sure what he's saying but I think it means he's against the "Hate Crimes" bill. He's a Republican. Haven't yet heard from my other Republican Senator.

Tom

Profitsbeard said...

I like the "perceived" part of this legaloid lunacy.

If I perceive a straight guy to be "gay" (ala Tom Cruise) and beat him up because I mistakenly think he's "gay", then, even though I AM WRONG, it is more of a crime than if I simply beat him up just as a straight guy?

Orwell must be getting ill. Posthumously.

(I think I hear dry heaves coming from his crypt.)

So now we have The Perception Police.

(What the hell is this, a Philip K. Dick nightmare?)

Noelie said...

It is truly frightening. Just where does the line get drawn now. What if someone doesn't like how you say hello, or someone saying something they believe.

They will take your rights to speech, to protect yourself, and running off with your money while they are at it.

Dan said...

@turn

Look at what President Bush did with the McCain Feingold bill; first he signed it into law to avoid criticism it then he immediately directed the GOP challenge it in court because it was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

If this bill passes and becomes law, y'all realise the US will have leapfrogged most of Europe in politically correct legislation foolishness?

Incidentally the introductory paragraph is a fine hair away from demanding outlawing of the confederate flag.

skjoldungen said...

My letter to the Finnish Embassy in Denmark :

Deres excellence,

Det er med den dybeste bekymring jeg erfarer, at Finland nu agter at
indføre censur.

Via talrige, alarmerende oplysninger på Internettet fremgår det at
en Finsk internet-blogger, Mikko Ellilä, nu skal afhøres at det
Finske politi på baggrund af politiske meningstilkendegivelser.

Som en varm tilhænger af Nordisk samarbejde og beundrer af Finsk
kultur er det smerteligt at se Finland slutte sig til rækken af
totalitære regimer, såsom Iran, Saudi Arabien, Syrien, Libyen
etc...

Jeg kan forsikre Dem om, at sagen vil blive fulgt nøje her i
Danmark - og tillige i hele den frie verden.

Med venlig hilsen

[Name, Address, Nationality]


Needlesss to translate, methinks....

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

How is this compatible with the notion that everyone is equal? If everyone is equal then everyone should be equally protected, or not protected at all.

Well, I guess it's not even supposed to make coherent sense.

Pikkupoika said...

Update on Ellilä case:

Mikko has now confirmed that the police is investigating the alledged crime on the request of The Ombudsman for Minorities (="vähemmistövaltuutettu") Mikko Puumalainen. The Ombudsman for minorities is a government official, whose job description is given here:

"The Ombudsman for Minorities is an authority with the basic task of advancing the status and legal protection of ethnic minorities and foreigners as well as equality and non-discrimination and good ethnic relations in Finland.

The jurisdiction of the Ombudsman only covers the supervision of ethnic discrimination: it does not cover discrimination based merely on language, sexual orientation, ideology or disability. Preventing discrimination on these grounds still belongs to other authorities, mainly the highest supervisors of legality and, in working life, to occupational safety and health authorities.

The current Ombudsman for Minorities is Mr Mikko Puumalainen, LLLic. Administratively, the Office of the Ombudsman for Minorities works in connection with the Ministry of Labour, but the Ombudsman is an independent authority. The Office employs four senior officers and a secretary.

The task of the Ombudsman for Minorities is to:

* promote good ethnic relations;
* advance the status and legal protection of ethnic minorities and foreigners in society;
* monitor the realisation of equality;
* supervise compliance with the prohibition of ethnic discrimination;
* provide information and reports.

The Ombudsman’s duties also include the tasks formerly assigned to the Ombudsman for Foreigners. A further task is the general safeguarding of the status and rights of foreigners.

The primary means used by the Ombudsman include recommendations, instructions and advice. The Ombudsman can also take initiatives related to the status of different ethnic groups or foreigners or social injustice. The Ombudsman enjoys an extensive right to access information.

Whenever necessary – although very exceptionally – the Ombudsman may also provide more extensive assistance to a person subjected to ethnic discrimination if the case is of great consequence. In most cases, however, legal assistance is only provided in the form of legal advice.

The new Non-Discrimination Act strengthens the Ombudsman’s mandate in addressing ethnic discrimination.

The Ombudsman for Minorities:

o provides guidance and advice to those contacting the office in issues related to ethnicity and being a foreigner in Finland;
o acts and encourages others to act on ethnic discrimination and the legal protection of foreigners;
o promotes the status of ethnic minorities and foreigners and good ethnic relations;
o provides information and training about ethnicity and the status of foreigners;
o seeks to make attitudes towards ethnic minorities and immigrants more positive;
o influences legislation and reports through statements and opinions;
o influences topical issues through methods including comments and initiatives;
o participates in public discussion through channels including granting interviews.

The Ombudsman’s task involves the principle of cooperation on multiple levels. Many aspects of equal treatment irrespective of a person’s origin are best achieved through cooperation between the various parties – not just the authorities."

Sounds like a 1984 character, doesn't it?

Vasarahammer said...

"seeks to make attitudes towards ethnic minorities and immigrants more positive"

To this I would like to add based on recent events:

by force if necessary

Wally Ballou said...

This may indeed just be veto bait. If it fails to pass, or is vetoed, the Dems can point to all opponents as "pro-hate-crime" by definition. This is the same way the NYT covers Supreme Coiurt cases (deeming "anti-gay" or "anti-women's rights" decisions),il vas sans dire.

As far as Bush signing McCain-Feingold even though he thought it to be unconstitutional, I think that is the single worst thing he ever did, and the only thing that approaches the impeachable.

gun-totin-wacko said...

This scares the Hell out of me, but I guess I'm a little vague on the basics: If I rape and kill a little white girl, is that a "love" crime? Can someone explain how to tell the difference?

As far as favoring our slammic friends, why just look who the Committee Chairman is: why it's the head of the Congressional Dhimmi Caucus himself!!! What a shock.

On behalf of all intelligent non-dhimmis in Michigan, I apologise for this &%)*(_*&_(*^)*%&*)


Oops. Guess I'm guilty of a hate crime. Good thing I'm biting my tongue, and not saying how I really feel about him.

gun-totin-wacko said...

you know, this is so scary that I did something I've never done before. I called my Congressman's office- in DC, rather than the local one- to tell his people how much I hate it.

For whatever it's worth. I suspect he's opposed to it anyway.

lot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

This is unjust because of its arbitrariness. Religion with regards to the law is just a set of beliefs that has a certain amount of power behind it and so has been given special treatment as "religion" rather than just as "cult" or "lifestyle" or some other description. So now people who hide behind the facade of religion receive special treatment according to the law. Increasingly you can get away with anything if you just claim its part of your religion; and now the religionists demand to have the law work for them moreso than it does for those who haven't been ordained in one of the state-recognized "religions." How absurd. At least you now see an example of one of the banal temptations to join Islam: unjust legal empowerment derived from the sometimes explicit, and always implicit, threat of violence.

lot said...

Thank you for your support on this issue. I wrote a few words about it too, from a Finnish perspective.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/03/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Incognito said...

This is great! Thank you for keeping us updated on the situation.

Just emailed Mrs. Lammila and posted the whole Mikka situation on my blog.

It's all so strange, considering Finland was ranked # 1 on Reporters Without Borders 2006 Press Freedom press freedom index.

Jason said...

From Drudge:

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200705/POL20070503d.html

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

It's all so strange, considering Finland was ranked # 1 on Reporters Without Borders 2006 Press Freedom press freedom index.

Nothing has even happened yet. Could people calm down? The law didn't appear a few days ago, it's been around for years.

Archonix said...

JCS, you need to account for the fact that it often takes several years for the full ramifications of law to actually settle in, especially when those laws have been created in a largely unaccountable and secretive way. There are laws on the books that have never been enforced but which are, nevertheless, profoundly undemocratic. Does the fact that they've never been enforced make them less undemocratic? Absolutely not.

I'm not sure the law is actually that old anyway. I expect this is being used as a test case.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

The law itself is separate matter. This is not about the law, this is about people completely freaking out because they think the fascist regime of Finland is about to crush a dissident with its iron fist.

I'm tired of the hysteria.

Matt Scofield said...

I read an AP story that Bush will veto this bill.

Stephen Renico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Renico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Renico said...

JCS,

Nothing has even happened yet. Could people calm down?

Yes, something has happened: a man was summoned to a hearing for exercising free speech.

The law didn't appear a few days ago, it's been around for years.

FYI, slavery was around for nearly 100 years in the US.

The law itself is separate matter. This is not about the law, this is about people completely freaking out because they think the fascist regime of Finland is about to crush a dissident with its iron fist.

It is about the law. It's like being pregnant. You can't be "sort of pregnant" or "a little pregnant". You're either pregnant or you're not. Likewise you either have freedom, including freedom of speech, or you don't.

No one accused Finland of being fascist. Outlawing simple speech (speech which isn't the equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater or overtly threatening violence) is the beginning of a slippery slope.

And Europe does have a reputation for loving to slide down the slopes of its "isms".

I'm tired of the hysteria.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one who's tired of your bitching.

gun-totin-wacko said...

Matt, I'd hope that Bush will veto the bill if it gets to him. But that ignores 2 larger issues: First off, a bill like this should never get to the desk of the president. In fact, I don't think it should ever leave the committee. Secondly, what if the dems try it again in 2 years? If they hold the House, and if, for instance, hillary or obama were the president, would they veto it?

As for Finland, I don't sense any "hysteria" in their case. It's like Stephen says: a man is being questioned for just blogging. No threats, no incitements to violence. I for one don't like that idea at all.

The Great Satan said...

What's motivating this bill is that there has been, since about the '60's when the judicial system went to hell, a fair amount of hate crimes in the US by blacks targeting whites, but of course those incidents, even when there is pretty clear indications that's what they are, are not identified as such, and these incidents will not be persecuted under this law.

But there has been a relatively insignificant number of backlash incidents where the perpetrator is white and the victim a minority. These will be persecuted. So the purpose of this bill is to remind the whites that it is "ok" for racial minorites to assault them out of "racial hatred", but it is not "ok" for whites to assault racial minorities out of "racial hatred".

Take a hypothetical scenario. A white man sexually assaults a black women and calls her a black bitch. This incident would be very likely persecuted as a hate crime.

Another scenario which actually occurs quite frequently in reality is a black man sexually assaults a white women and calls her a white bitch. This is never persecuted as a hate crime, nor will it under this bill.

There is a double standard - look at the way the government goes all out after white race-based jail gangs such as the Aryan Nation, compared to Hispanic race-based gangs such as Latin Kings and Crips, which the LAPD has to treat with kid gloves.

Basically, selective enforcement of hate crime laws and affirmative action seek, and in part succeed, in making whites second class citizens under siege in the US.

These hate crime laws really are bad news because they seem to be directed at a possible future scenario where a religious or racial group attacks a member of a white majority, there is a failure by police to prevent this attack, and then a reaction/defense by white "vigilantes" would be persecuted under this law.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

Yes, something has happened: a man was summoned to a hearing for exercising free speech.

Because the police has a duty to investigate possible crimes. Investigation != convinction. Suomen Sisu was investigated in a similiar fashion but nothing came of it. Halla-Aho ran for parliament despite his views on Islam and multiculturalism.

FYI, slavery was around for nearly 100 years in the US.

And I've worn this blue shirt for a few days now. So what?

And I'm sure I'm not the only one who's tired of your bitching.

Gee, I didn't know disagreeing with hysterical groupthink is now "bitching."

lot said...

Baron, here you'll find information about the legal case against Mr Ellilä. Text is a translation of the preliminary investigation letter that was sent to Finnish Police by Mr. Puumalainen.

Baron Bodissey said...

Lot, et al --

Thanks for the updates. I will posting more on Mikko, based on your material and that sent to me by email, as soon as I get time. Maybe later today.

Stephen Renico said...

JCS,

Because the police has a duty to investigate possible crimes.

You keep harping about the police while the rest of us talk about the law which drives the action of the police. It would be nice if you were on the same wavelength as everyone else.

And I've worn this blue shirt for a few days now. So what?

Being venerable doesn't make a law good.

Bitching, by the way, is when you hysterically accuse everyone else of hysteria.