Saturday, May 23, 2009

Abolish all "hate crime" laws

How can we still be arguing over "hate crime" laws? Is there not a Constitution on which this country runs that claims equal treatment under the law for one and all? Unfortunately, over the years, under the influence of special interest groups, one municipality and state after another has enacted some form of law that gives greater legal protection only to certain victims, based on their race, gender, sexual proclivities, etc.

Over most of this time, with a few exceptions, one heard hardly a peep in protest against the injustice of these biased laws from the "conservative" evangelical community. I guess the activists among them were too occupied with their futile endeavors to rid the nation of Roe v. Wade, which kept them too busy to think of other matters. Now, however, when it appears that a federal hate crime statute is likely to pass in Congress – one that adds homosexuals to the special status categories of aggrieved groups, the right wing evangelicals are mobilized as never before.

Long before this homosexual dimension presented itself, it was clear to anyone who cared about traditional American principles that so-called hate crime legislation is designed to punish thoughts. In reality, these are thought crime laws, and constitutionalists, among others, who cherish individual rights, have condemned such decrees for at least the past decade. [See here and here.]

What is now worrying the good "Christians" about this latest proposed federal bill is the prospect of the law being used here in the U.S. as it is in places like Canada and several European countries (especially those under the aegis of the EU). In those countries, the interpretation of "hate" has resulted in arrests and prosecutions of citizens, usually of a religious bent, who speak out against the normalization of homosexual behavior. To publicly criticize aspects of a "protected" group, such as blacks or Jews or Muslims or homosexuals, is considered promoting or inciting "hate" and is, therefore, a crime.

In the U.S., the typical "conservative" does not worry himself about the general un-American nature of such specially targeted laws; he is simply opposed to the addition of homosexuals to the list of aggrieved, possibly putting their behavior and practices beyond the bounds of public criticism.

Now, along comes the upfront homosexual activist and writer Andrew Sullivan expressing agreement with opponents of hate crime laws. In "Intent vs. Motivation," Sullivan makes the rational case that there is plenty of legislation on the books to punish all infractions of the law, and that these special laws now being proposed are not to protect citizens from crime. Instead, they are the brainchild of special interest groups that desire "boutique legislation to raise funds for their large staffs and luxurious buildings."

In this regard, Sullivan cites the Human Rights Campaign, the most prestigious of the organized crusaders for homosexual civil liberties. He could just as well have cited the NAACP and the B'nai Brith Anti-Defamation League, both of which hype racism and anti-Semitism in order to justify their endless fundraising drives. (The ADL's Abraham Foxman brags about the role he has played in crafting many of these "hate crime" statutes that now exist in various cities and states.) Claiming the need for special status is, as Sullivan says, "very, very powerful as a money-making tool."

In a related article, "Hate Crime Laws" (The Atlantic, 5/1/09), Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, "The thing that made me leery of Hate Crime Law was the infamous Fat Nick case," and goes on to describe how a teenager was sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison (instead of seven), because he used the expletive "Nigger" in an assault he believed to be justified. Syndicated columnist and civil libertarian Nat Hentoff was outraged by this sentence and wrote, "Those eight years were not because of Minucci's act, but for what he said." In other words, a thought crime. [See details of the Minucci case here.]

See also the separate cases of two young men hardly out of their teens sentenced to 10 years each for activities in which no one was physically harmed.

Related Links

Nat Hentoff at Cato Institute
Laws that punish one time for the crime and another time for the hate violate the First Amendment, the 14th Amendment and protections against Double Jeopardy.

Paul Craig Roberts on hate crime laws
How will a court know whether a violent act was committed because of hatred or because of sexual lust or the need for money? The issue will be resolved by whether the attacked person is a member of a protected class.

Eugene Volokh on The Perils of Hate Crime Laws
People sometimes act in illegal -- often mildly illegal -- ways when engaged in protest. It's right to punish them for such actions. They shouldn't be punished more because they were motivated by disapproval of a religion, a religious practice, a sexual orientation, and the like, or were motivated by a desire to offend people based on these criteria.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Outfoxing forced inclusion

Thanks to one breach after another of the Constitution, and thanks to an "empathizing" Supreme Court, the government has made it harder and harder to mingle with one's own, especially if you're white and WASPy. How dare any white folks want to hang out with their own, is sort of the hidden question asked last February by Attorney General Eric Holder in that "we-must-talk-more-about-race" speech of his.

In raising the issue of the limited social interaction "on Saturdays and Sundays," that now exists between blacks and whites, Holder, the black man, was actually challenging all whites to open their homes to blacks who yearn for their company. Sure, thanks to affirmative action, we've managed to legally maneuver ourselves into your lives in the workplace, on a daily 9 to 5 basis, he seemed to be saying, but that is not enough. The only reason Holder wants that "dialogue on race," preferably on "Saturdays and Sundays," is to coerce social intimacy.

Holder admits that most Americans don't wish to be bothered chattering about "racial matters," and he regrets that we are "free to retreat to our race protected cocoons." If this is so, why can't this behavior be accepted as a dominant preference, and why shouldn't citizens live in whatever "cocoons" they choose?

Americans are still socializing, claims Holder, in the same manner as they did "some fifty years ago." And, he adds, "This is truly sad." Just why is this sad? Only because Holder's kind laments the fact that the country, in spite of a raft of unconstitutional laws designed to cater to "minorities," still falls short of a blatant form of government-mandated "inclusion." Apparently, if Obama's man has his way during his tenure at the Justice Department, he plans to fix this "problem."

In "The Subtle Art of Exclusion" (Takimag,
5/7/09), Robert Weissberg describes the steps many business establishments must take in order to attract and maintain the type of clientele they prefer to serve. "Freedom of association is preserved," he writes, "but only on the sly." He declares, "No matter how forcefully government tries to homogenize society ... people will resist."


Freedom of association, like private property, is a core American legal principle whose importance to liberty seemed so self-evident, so fundamental that the Founding Fathers apparently took it for granted. At best, the First Amendment alludes to it when it prohibits Congress from infringing on the right of free assembly. And, happily, for about 175 years, its bedrock status remained unchallenged. The 1964 Civil Rights Act that banned racial discrimination in public accommodations—hotels, movie theatres and restaurants—changed everything. This was soon followed by an avalanche of similar anti-discrimination laws and court decisions, and virtually no aspect of our existence—even choosing one’s neighbors—now escaped government meddling. ...

Worse, "freedom of association" had been publicly transformed into an alleged ruse to injure African Americans, women, homosexuals, the elderly, the childless and families with children, the odd appearing, the disabled, those of different faith and on and on. Government-mandated "inclusion" is now America’s passion, far out-shining freedom to choose one’s compatriots.

Read entire article here.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bogus "independent analysts"

It's ridiculous to think that we will ever live to see any significant move towards objectivity or fair reporting on the part of the mainstream media, as long as this media is the property of private companies. After all, why would not these companies benefit from particular goals and agendas, like any other institutions? The country's Founders demonstrated a high regard for the press of their day, perhaps expecting it to play an impossible role. Maybe the spirit of John Peter Zenger still filled their colonial air, as it still informs the thinking of a handful of today's reporters.

Columnist Glenn Greenwald writes about journalist David Barstow's report on retired military Generals, who were co-opted by the Pentagon to go on airwaves, during the Bush travesty, posing as "analysts," to make a bogus case for the U.S. attack on Iraq [, 4/21/09]. Many of these so-called analysts had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended. Barstow's story, although never denied by any of the principals cited, was suppressed by every major network and cable news show.

Greenwald writes:

By whom were these "ties to companies" undisclosed and for whom did these deeply conflicted retired generals pose as "analysts"? ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox -- the very companies that have simply suppressed the story from their viewers. They kept completely silent about Barstow's story even though it sparked Congressional inquiries, vehement objections from the then-leading Democratic presidential candidates, and allegations that the Pentagon program violated legal prohibitions on domestic propaganda programs.

The Pentagon's secret collaboration with these "independent analysts" shaped multiple news stories from each of these outlets on a variety of critical topics. Most amazingly, many of them continue to employ, as so-called "independent analysts," the very retired generals at the heart of Barstow's story, yet still refuse to inform their viewers about any part of this story.

Greenwald describes NBC's news anchor Brian Williams' attempts to "contain P.R. damage," as NBC executives sought to downplay their conflicting connections to their "independent analyst" former General Barry McCaffrey. The media bought the war story, as sold by Bush operatives, and then found the people who would help to nurture it further.

Read complete Greenwald column here.
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