BRUCE FEIN, WASHINGTON TIMES - Congress is perched to enact the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 20007" Act, probably the greatest assault on free speech and association in the United States since the 1938 creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Sponsored by Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat, the bill passed the House of Representatives on Oct. 23 by a 404-6 vote under a rule suspension that curtailed debate. To borrow from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, the First Amendment should not distract Congress from doing important business. The Senate companion bill, sponsored by Susan Collins, Maine Republican, has encountered little opposition. Especially in an election year, senators crave every opportunity to appear tough on terrorism. Few if any care about or understand either freedom of expression or the Thought Police dangers of S. 1959. Former President John Quincy Adams presciently lamented: "Democracy has no forefathers, it looks to no posterity, it is swallowed up in the present and thinks of nothing but itself."
Denuded of euphemisms and code words, the act aims to identify and stigmatize persons and groups who hold thoughts the government decrees correlate with homegrown terrorism, for example, opposition to the Patriot Act or the suspension of the great writ of habeas corpus.
The act will inexorably culminate in a government listing of homegrown terrorists or terrorist organizations without due process; a complementary listing of books, videos, or ideas that ostensibly further "violent radicalization;" and a blacklisting of persons who have intersected with either list.
Political discourse will be chilled and needed challenges to conventional wisdom will flag. There are no better examples of sinister congressional folly.
The act inflates the danger of homegrown terrorism manifold to justify creating a marquee National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Ideologically Based Violence . . . Since September 11, 2001, no American has died from homegrown terrorism, while about 120,000 have been murdered. . .
The commission's Big Brother task is to discover ideas and political associations, including connections to non-U.S. persons and networks, that promote "violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States." And "violent radicalization" is defined as "the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change."
Under the Act, William Lloyd Garrison would have been guilty of promoting "violent radicalization" for publishing the anti-slavery Liberator in 1831, which "facilitated" John Brown. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would have been condemned for assailing laws disenfranchising women and creating an intellectual atmosphere receptive to violence. And Martin Luther King, Jr. would have fallen under the Act's suspicion for denouncing Jim Crow and practicing civil disobedience, which "facilitated" H. Rap Brown. . .
Lengthy lists of persons, organizations and thoughts to be shunned will be compiled. Portions of the Holy Koran are likely to be taboo. The lives of countless innocent citizens will be shattered. That is the lesson of HUAC and every prior government enterprise to identify "dangerous" people or ideas â€” for example, the 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans herded into concentration camps during World War II.
Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer with Bruce Fein & Associates and Chairman of the American Freedom Agenda.
Fascism doesn't have to announce itself
RAY MCGOVERN, CONSORTIUM NEWS - "There was not a single example of energetic defense, of courage or principle. There was only panic, flight, and desertion. In March 1933 millions were ready to fight the Nazis. Overnight they found themselves without leaders...At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown.... The result is today the nightmare of the rest of the world."
These are the words of Sebastian Haffner (pen name for Raimund Pretzel), who as a young lawyer in Berlin during the 1930s experienced the Nazi takeover and wrote a first-hand account. His children found the manuscript when he died in 1999 and published it the following year as Geschichte eines Deutschen (The Story of a German). The book became an immediate bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages â€“ in English as Defying Hitler. . .
In his journal Sebastian Haffner decries what he calls the "sheepish submissiveness" with which the German people reacted to a 9/11-like event, the burning of the German Parliament (Reichstag) on Feb. 27, 1933. Haffner finds it quite telling that none of his acquaintances "saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that, from then on, one's telephone would be tapped, one's letters opened, and one's desk might be broken into.". . .
In the elections of March 4, 1933, shortly after the Reichstag fire, the Nazi party garnered only 44 percent of the vote. Only the "cowardly treachery" of the Social Democrats and other parties to whom 56 percent of the German people had entrusted their votes made it possible for the Nazis to seize full power. Haffner adds:
"It is in the final analysis only that betrayal that explains the almost inexplicable fact that a great nation, which cannot have consisted entirely of cowards, fell into ignominy without a fight."
The Social Democratic leaders betrayed their followers â€“ "for the most part decent, unimportant individuals." In May they sang the Nazi anthem; in June the Social Democratic party was dissolved.
The middle-class Catholic party Zentrum folded in less than a month, and in the end supplied the votes necessary for the two-thirds majority that "legalized" Hitler's dictatorship. . .