Monday, June 15, 2009

Politics: "The New Push to Criminalize Dissent"

The New Push to Criminalize Dissent

Paul Krugman, Economist & New York Times writerThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) withdrew its controversial report on “Right Wing Extremism” (PDF) as a terrorism threat back in May, but now left-wing media pundits say it’s time to bring back the report that tarred all U.S. military veterans and any political conservative as potential terrorist threats.

Krugman’s column was followed by his New York Times colleague (and predictable conservative-hater) Frank Rich, who wrote that animated criticism of the Obama administration, such as a political speech by actor John Voight’s to “bring an end to this false prophet Obama,” constitutes language that incites people to terrorist violence. “This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-Scriptural call to action, is toxic. It is getting louder each day of the Obama presidency. No one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren’t warned.”
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The article goes on to say:
The real objection behind such reports is not that they are singling out particular groups, though they clearly do this. The DHS also came out with a report on “Leftwing Extremists.” That’s balance, right? Wrong. Both reports are an affront to freedom. They constitute, like Krugman and Rich’s remarks, an attempt to intimidate anyone who has any disagreement with current federal policies by tarring them as potential terrorists. It isn't "balance" if you paint anyone who criticizes government policies as being a potential terrorist. The "left" or "right" distinctions become meaningless in such a context.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano lied in an April 15 statement , saying, “We are on the lookout for criminal and terrorist activity but we do not — nor will we ever — monitor ideology or political beliefs.” But that’s precisely what the reports do.

Conservatives and everyone else who criticize government policies have been informed that they are being watched, and in the words of Frank Rich, they have been “warned.” The question is, will citizens allow themselves to be intimidated, or will they insist through their elected representatives that the intimidation from Washington stop?

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