legislation

11 Reasons You Should Fight Hate Laws

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From My Hate Speech…….

by Harmony Grant

Unless we resist now, a thought crimes bureaucracy like those regulating Australia, Canada and Europe will soon rule America. In these nations, federal hate laws have destroyed citizens’ rights to free speech. Punishment of politically incorrect bias is the ultimate goal of this legislation.

A national hate law would shatter Americans’ First Amendment rights, which are now sadly unique among Western democracies. We would lose our precious freedom to express politically incorrect ideas, moral judgments, or whatever personal convictions the reigning thought police deem “hateful.”

Think this can’t happen in America? Think again.

Hostile work environment law and campus speech bans already severely curtail free expression in American workplaces and universities. A US federal hate law would follow the examples of Europe, Canada, and Australia where Christian pastors have been indicted simply for quoting politically incorrect Scripture in their sermons. Iceland’s Orwellian hate law, for example, promises two years’ jail if you verbally “insult” a person on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

If a federal hate law were passed, free expression across the political spectrum would be threatened. What would happen to blasphemous art like Piss Christ or South Park, to Ann Coulter or Al Franken, to Christians protesting sodomy or homosexuals attacking the Bible? Every American, from left-leaning feminists to red state Republicans, should protest “anti-hate” legislation. If Rosie O’Donnell were an Icelander, she could have been prosecuted for verbal “assault” for her recent statement that radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam. Political activists in nations with hate laws have already been indicted for criticizing Islam, Zionism, and homosexuality. Hate laws threaten your freedom to speak your mind, no matter what’s on it.

Here are some of the most powerful, bipartisan reasons to fight this legislation.

1. Speech bans are a political weapon used by those in power to silence their opponents and politically unpopular minorities.

Hate laws empower the government to enforce the orthodoxy of whoever happens to be in charge. The government can define which biases or “hatreds” are unacceptable and which are okay. For instance, hate laws in our PC age allow women to derogate men but would silence men from legitimate (though possibly hurtful) speech like a discussion of biological gender differences.

In 2004 Swedish feminist Joanna Rytel wrote a hate-filled screed published in a major daily. Her article describes white men as arrogant, sex-obsessed and exploitative, explaining that Rytel just wants to “puke” on them. Stockholm authorities refused to indict Rytel under their hate law, saying it was passed to protect ethnic minorities, not white Swedes. This is one example of speech bans’ uneven enforcement; they are used to punish certain kinds of hate and allow others.

Because almost every exercise of free speech offends someone, government officials would end up enforcing speech bans on the basis of their own bias. Speech bans simply can’t be evenhanded unless everyone is shut up altogether.

In the real world, speech can and does wound. That’s a cost of life. We naturally resent painful realities like economic competition, unfair comments, and hard work. But in each case, the cures we’ve tried were far worse than the sickness. Speech bans might censor some hurtful speech but would empower government to silence minorities and strip the intellectual marketplace of legitimate and needed expression-the kind that creates positive, social change precisely because it is minority and challenges the sins of the group.

2. Hate speech bans don’t work.

Genuine racism and false hatreds exist in this world. Bans on hate speech, however, won’t solve the problem. If you only break off a tick’s body, its head will burrow deep beneath the skin. The only effective response to bad ideas is the truth. We should combat falsehoods with more and freer discussion, not less.

3. Hate laws aren’t necessary.

ADL claims an epidemic of hate sweeps America that can only be fought with stiffened penalties for bias-driven crimes. Yet the FBI’s 2005 Uniform Crime Report shows alleged hate crimes form a tiny 1/15 of 1 percent of all crime in America. Law enforcers’ time would be far better spent fighting the 99.85 percent of crime that’s happening every minute across our nation rather than getting entangled in discerning and testifying against the perceived motivations of a tiny minority of criminals.

Hate laws would require vast government bureaucracies, complicate law enforcement, and distract police and prosecutors from dealing with actual physical crimes. Government and law enforcement should focus on criminal acts, not words or motivations, in a nation where someone is murdered every 22 minutes, raped every 5, robbed every 49 seconds and burgled every 10 seconds. Discerning and prosecuting criminal motivations would only be a good plan if law enforcers had God’s omniscience and time to waste. Ours have neither.

4. Hate speech bans are unconstitutional.

Because the First Amendment underwrites our most precious civil liberty, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled against speech bans. In 1972 the Court declared, “[A]bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its contents.” (Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92)

Some forms of speech are restricted; these include threats and “fighting words” that incite “an immediate breach of peace.” But these restrictions are (and must remain) extremely narrow and content-neutral-the government is not allowed to censor speech based on the viewpoint it expresses but only on whether it constitutes an immediate threat. Hate laws, however, would punish the viewpoints expressed in speech, in violation of the Constitution.

International use of ADL-designed hate laws shows that the first kinds of speech to be sanctioned are extreme right, white nationalist speech and Holocaust reductionism. The average person is slow to defend such speech. But hate laws quickly broaden to punish forms of expression the average citizen would never dream of stifling. Sweden’s 2002 modified hate law, for example, explicitly exposes Christian sermons to prosecution!

All forms of controversial political and religious speech are potentially vulnerable to prosecution under hate laws. This contradicts Supreme Court Justice Holmes Jr. who said in 1929, “[I]f there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment [loyal defense] than any other, it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate.”

5. Speech bans will be used against the very minorities they were meant to protect.

Speech bans silence some to protect the feelings of others. But when the government has power to silence expression that power can be wielded against the very people who once enjoyed its protection. Liberals, the champions of unrestrained speech in the 1960s, now vote as a bloc in Congress to support speech restrictions. Yet already in countries such as Canada, England and Australia, leftist critics of Islam have become the victims of hate laws, indicted for religious “hate speech.”

Leftist artists Rowan Atkinson and Salman Rushdie realize hate laws don’t just threaten white nationalists like David Duke but liberals as well- they recently fought for revision of Britain’s hate law because it could be used to outlaw art that blasphemes or criticizes religion. Atkinson and Rushdie are just a few of hate laws’ leftist critics who know that persons of all political persuasions have a stake in defeating this legislation.

6. Speech bans chill legitimate and valuable speech.

Under the threat of possible indictment, many people will refrain from discussing controversial but important ideas. Speech bans are often broad and vague, leaving citizens unsure what might get them hauled into court.

This is what has happened in American workplaces, where hostile work environment law has left many employees unsure what they can say. Many Americans avoid all controversial speech and voluntarily refrain from exercising First Amendment rights at work. Hate laws would extend this dangerous minefield to the national political scene.

Legal philosopher Edmond Cahn points out that speech bans would leave our bookshelves empty. “[T]he officials could begin by prosecuting anyone who distributes the Christian gospels, because they contain many defamatory statements not only about Jews but also about ChristiansThen the officials could ban Greek literature for calling the rest of the world “barbarians.” Roman authors could be suppressed because when they were not defaming the Gallic and Teutonic tribes, they were disparaging the Italians. Then there is Shakespeare, who openly affronts the French, the Welsh, the Danes” (Beyond the Burning Cross, E. Cleary, Random House, 1994)

7. Speech bans greatly reduce the possibility of healthy, democratic change.

Criminalizing speech that expresses “hate” or “bias” would require us to outlaw history’s most valuable speech, especially the political and religious speech that threatens social stasis and ignites progress.

Aggressive speech is often the only tool available to political, social, or religious minorities whose access to government lobbying and mass media is limited. Those agitating for social change often need to use inflammatory and even “hateful” language to startle the public into hearing their message. Socrates compared himself to a horsefly biting the lazy flanks of his republic. We should certainly know enough by now to prefer the annoyance of stinging speech (even when we don’t see its value) to a tyrannical majority that plods, unchallenged, toward slavery.

Americans are so used to our mudslinging, no-holds-barred political discourse that we find it hard to envision the way freedom of speech could disappear. But the freedom we enjoy is extremely rare in history, and quickly lost. Free expression for intellectuals is the first thing to go when tyrants rise to power; the history of oppressive regimes makes it clear that freedom of political speech is a delicate exception and the overarching tendency is for majorities or elites to get power and silence all opposition.

8. The government’s interest in reducing violent crime does not outweigh our interest in preserving civil liberty.

Hate law advocates including the ADL argue that hateful speech incites violence, and appeal to the government’s interest in reducing violent crime. But it would be unfair to ban, for instance, white racist speech or Christian sermons against homosexuality without also banning the plethora of other speech that might incite crime. Gangsta rap and videogames would be open to censure; we would also have to ban pornography, especially sadomasochistic porn, which certainly inspires violence against women.

Yet bans against these kinds of speech have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional. The government has an interest in lowering violent crime of all stripes but has always found the value of the First Amendment to be greater. It’s unjust to argue that a few kinds of speech must be banned because they possibly incite violence (e.g., criticism of Jewish actions or homosexuality) yet permit huge categories of speech (violent sexual entertainment) that do the same. This would happen, however, under hate laws’ unequal and partial enforcement. The ADL is not truly driven by the desire to reduce violent crime but rather to enforce a social and political orthodoxy.

Instead of passing a hate law that would shatter the First Amendment and impossibly complicate law enforcement, people concerned with hate-driven crimes should focus on improving our existing justice system and making sure hard crimes don’t go unpunished.

9. Speech bans are offensively paternalistic.

They presume we can’t think for ourselves, reject racist or hateful ideas for ourselves, or deal with the hurt caused by others’ free expression. Are we such children that we need the government to cover our ears? Speech bans especially condescend toward the minorities they portray as helpless victims whose feelings must be sheltered from ideas they can’t combat in a free intellectual market.

10. Speech bans permit government to do something an individual could not morally do.

Frederic Bastiat’s classic treatise on The Law says government exists only to prevent injustice by defending our basic rights to person, liberty, and property. Government does not exist to guarantee our economic outcomes, redistribute our wealth, or protect our psyches. Speech bans would empower government to silence individuals by force. This is immoral whether it’s one person silencing another person or the government silencing a fringe group of dissenters. Human fallibility requires at least enough humility to allow others to question, challenge, and dissent from our ideas. John Stuart Mill explains, “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

11. Speech bans deny self-determination and individual freedom by criminalizing self-expression.

By censoring speech, hate laws censor thought and restrict our access to ideas. This is the essence of mind control. They deny the personal growth that comes from sharing ideas-including hateful, prejudiced, or false ideas-and having them challenged in a free intellectual marketplace.

Hate law speech bans have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional and would rend the very foundation of our freedom and democracy. Far from combating hate, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is actually the most hateful and enslaving legislation to ever reach Congress; it would invade states’ rights in law enforcement, enabling a hate crimes bureaucracy to police our thoughts and expression. Government could censor by force all speech that dissents from the reigning orthodoxy. Every American must speak up now in defense of the freedom for which our forefathers gave their very lives.

Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one’s discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments – and even human rights groups – all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.

Make your voice heard today or it will be silenced tomorrow. {Source}

This post was originally from Harmony Grant.

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George Orwell
George Orwell, the author of several books including ‘1984’ originated the term ‘thoughtcrime.’ Orwell, also accurately commented, “anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing.” Few realize that this great English author continually questioned all “official” or “accepted” versions of history. At the conclusion of the war in Europe, Orwell even expressed doubt about the Allied account of events and posed the following question in his lesser known book Notes on Nationalism, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear… Is it true about the gas ovens in Poland?” Ironically, those words from Orwell’s pen could have resulted in a prison term for him in many European countries today — for ‘thoughtcrimes.’
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Hold your breath… HR 1207 Gets House Majority Cosponsorship

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The Fed and its head cheerleader can’t stand up to an honest audit.

This appears to be the closest that Congress has ever gotten to breaking the Fed’s crime syndicate in its nearly 100 years of control. That’s saying a lot but it is also a long way from fruition.

Remember the bailout vote? The people spoke and Congress spit in their faces

Are we being set up for another disappointment with HR 1207? The Fed’s ability to buy virtually anything and anyone it wants in combination with the blackmail aspect will be hard to overcome. I’d say the threats and bribes are ongoing. The Fed only needs a few key votes to block it.

June 11th, 2009 Liberty Maven

Ron Paul’s red hot bill, HR 1207 to audit the Federal Reserve now has 222 cosponsors. The 218th, according to a press release by Paul, was Dennis Kucinich.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ron Paul’s Federal Reserve Transparency Act, HR 1207, has reached and surpassed the level of 218 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, which means it is now cosponsored by a majority of the members.

The 218th cosponsor was Dennis Kucinich (OH-10), and the bill has since received its 222nd cosponsor.

“The tremendous grass-roots and bipartisan support in Congress for HR 1207 is an indicator of how mainstream America is fed up with Fed secrecy,” said Congressman Paul. “I look forward to this issue receiving greater public exposure.”

Hearings on Federal Reserve transparency are expected within the next month, as part of the Financial Services Committee’s series of hearings on regulatory reform.

This is simply wonderful news, but now it becomes time to hammer on our Senators to cosponsor S604 which is HR1207’s Senate counterpart introduced by Bernie Sanders. The effort faces a stiffer battle in the Senate where Federal Reserve darlings sit on the Banking committee.

S604 currently has no cosponsors. We need a brave Senator to be the first. Jim DeMint could be that brave man. Drop him a line on Twitter: @JimDeMint and contact his office requesting he be the first brave cosponsor of S604. {source}

Can the Fed be audited, or abolished, through the current two party political system?

This may be the last chance. Pressure your representative and senator. There’s no valid reason for them not to vote for auditing the Fed.

Once again, we’ll find out who the traitors are.

Tennessee state representatives are mostly a waste of space

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Tennesseans do not need more laws and resolutions, they need less. Anything brought up should be based on sound U.S. and TN state constitutional principles. Most of the time it’s anything but.

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Subcommittee advances TN resolution seeking regret for slavery

The three-page resolution states that slavery has left a “bitter legacy” in the United States, and that Tennessee, with a slave population in 1860 of 275,000 people, or one-quarter of the state, played a part in creating that legacy.

No one today was responsible. Very few Tennesseans even owned slaves. Unneeded rhetoric that does nothing.

Bill seeks to criminalize saggy pants in Tennessee

Under the proposal, a person could be fined as much as $1,000 for publicly wearing pants “below the person’s waistline … in a manner that exposes the person’s underwear or bare buttocks.”

You may not like them but this bill is unconstitutional. What would be next?

Photo ID’s required for voting

The Finance Committee of the state Senate on Wednesday discussed a proposal to require Tennesseans to show “qualified photographic identification” before being allowed to vote. Currently, many Tennesseans who are elderly or have disabilities have no “qualified” photo ID — typically, because they do not drive, and therefore have no driver’s license. And there are still some motorists in Tennessee who have driver’s licenses without photos, for various reasons.

No evidence of any voter fraud but we’ll make it a law anyway.

Honk if you love capitalism

A bill to allow color advertising on school buses took a left turn in the House this morning, as representatives debated how bright and shiny colors could cause drivers to plow into little Timmy’s school bus.

But another fight could be brewing: The House added an amendment prohibiting advertisements of products that can’t be sold in vending machines in schools (read: junk food).

That moves directly against action in the Senate, which will now have to take up the bill again. The Senate had previously adopted an identical no-junk-food-ad measure, and then passed another amendment to nullify it.

Why not just sell naming rights for schools like sports stadiums do? How about Walmart High, McDonald’s middle school?


TN panel approves out-of -state wine legislation

A proposal to allow people to bring up to five cases of wine into Tennessee from out-of-state wineries is bubbling up in the legislature. Current law bars transporting any alcohol into the state.

Maybe not so bad. Making Granny a criminal for bringing back some Kentucky wine seems silly.

OK, some reps must have read the constitution.
Some bills have tried to protect the 2nd amendment and citizens from two and four legged predators. Success in these has gone back and forth. Most are written with stipulations.

TN House panel OKs guns in local parks

A House panel on Wednesday advanced a measure to authorize local governments to allow people with state-issued handgun permits to carry their loaded weapons in parks and playgrounds.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Harry Tindell, a Knoxville Democrat, also would allow local governments to decide to be selective about where to allow guns. For example, officials could decide to allow handguns on greenways, but not at ball fields.

Other pending 2nd amendment bills:

Senate Bill 576, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), would allow a person who has a valid Right-to-Carry permit, to carry a firearm into restaurants where alcohol may be served, as long as the permit holder is not consuming alcohol or is not otherwise prohibited by posting provisions. SB 576 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. House Bill 1807, sponsored by State Representative Ben West (D-60), is the companion bill to SB 576. HB 1807 is currently in the House Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure.

Senate Bill 1908, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” would prohibit the sale of micro-stamped firearms or ammunition in Tennessee. This pro-active preventive measure is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. House Bill 1924 sponsored by State Representative Henry Fincher (D-42), is the companion bill to SB 1908 and has been referred to the House Judiciary’s Sub-committee on Criminal Practice and Procedure.

House Bill 254, sponsored by State Representative Glen Casada (R-63), would delete the requirement to give a thumbprint as part of the background check process when purchasing a firearm. HB 254 passed the House 82-11 on Thursday, March 12. It has been referred to the Senate. Senate Bill 554, sponsored by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), is the companion bill to HB 254 and is expected to be voted on favorably.

House Bill 959, sponsored by State Representative Eddie Bass (D-65), would ensure the privacy of handgun permit holders by making records of permit applications and renewals confidential. Any public disclosure of this information would be a Class A misdemeanor. HB 959 is expected to be heard in the House Judiciary on Wednesday, March 18.

House Bill 961, sponsored by State Representative Mike Bell (R-26), would authorize a person with a handgun carry permit to possess a firearm in a refuge, public hunting area, wildlife management area, or on national forest land. HB 961 has been referred to the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Budget. Senate Bill 1519, sponsored by State Senator Tim Burchett (R-7), is the companion bill to HB 961.

House Bill 2376, sponsored by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), would modify the methods of disposing of certain confiscated firearms. HB 2376 would prohibit the destruction of confiscated firearms and require them to be auctioned off or sold to federally licensed firearms dealers. Proceeds from the sale of these firearms would be used to benefit of law enforcement agencies.

Some other reps do have some common sense but this bill is limited, only for the dying.

Tennessee legislators introduce medical marijuana legislation

Recently, Sen. Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis) and Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis) introduced companion medical marijuana bills — SB 209 and HB 368.

This legislation would allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana pursuant to a physician’s recommendation. Registered patients or their caregivers would be allowed to possess up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana and 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants.

Just read the U.S. and state constitutions…state representatives.

Don’t waste your and our time with anything that doesn’t meet the test of constitutionality. Unconstitutional bills are a hallmark of the out of control federal government and we don’t want to compare you with them.