In fascist America, thought crimes are prosecutable

Bev Conover
Jul. 11, 2006

Engage in certain types of talk and you can be arrested for thought crimes.

Whether they are gathered in a Miami warehouse or an Internet chatroom, if males, especially those of swarthy complexions, engage in big talk about doing evil things, even if they have neither the means nor expertise to carry them out, they stand the chance of being arrested and charged with being terrorists by US authorities.

On the other hand, if an estranged husband or boyfriend threatens to kill his wife or girlfriend, police maintain they can do nothing until he takes action, which oftentimes means the woman winds up brutally beaten or dead. In the meantime, the only recourse the woman has is to seek a restraining order that, as often as not, turns out to be meaningless.

Does that mean a woman's life has less value than groups of males who titillate themselves with talk of blowing up the Sears Tower in Chicago or the Holland Tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey?

Oh, says the Bushies, we can't wait to find out if these guys are going to carry out their plots and never mind that we send in infiltrators to encourage their pipe dreams.

"We don't wait until someone has lit the fuse to step in," Homeland [In]Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was quoted by the New York Times as saying at a news conference last Friday about the "New York plot."

Of course, they don't call them "thought crimes" arrests. They call them "preemptive action." And while it's viewed as a feather in George W.'s bogus "war on terror" cap if those arrested are convicted of something -- and a number of the 261 "preemptively" arrested and charged have been "persuaded" to cop pleas to some lesser charge, which still makes the "terrorist" label stick -- convictions are not all that important.

Why Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland [In]Security Committee, told the Associated Press (AP), "You may end up not winning it in court, but you get a bad guy off the street."

A bad guy? A person who hasn't done anything but shoot off his mouth?

The AP reported, "Law enforcers, they said, are now willing to act swiftly against al-Qaida sympathizers, even if it means grabbing wannabe terrorists whose plots may be only pipe dreams."

Ah yes, "al CIAduh sympathizers." Now that's enough to give any red-blooded American the chills.

If swarthy men can be arrested for pipe dreams, what about that emaciated blond, who shall remain nameless to deprive her of more publicity, that has repeatedly called for the death of people and even went so far as to say it was a shame Timothy McVeigh didn't blow up the New York Times Building? Hmm? What about the not so good reverends, Falwell and Robertson, who have called for all sorts of madness and mayhem? Roberston even called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And the list goes on and on . . . What about them, huh? Are theirs approved "pipe dreams?"

Oh my, lawyers have the audacity to question the arresting of people for thought crimes.

New York defense lawyer Martin R. Stolar told the Times, "Talk without any kind of an action means nothing. You start to criminalize people who are not really criminals."

Golly gee, no kidding? We have been criminalizing people for nonsense for years. Remember when you could have your property confiscated if a passenger dropped a marijuana seed in your car? And when we weren't arresting them for that, we were arresting the cash they were carrying if law enforcement thought the amount was too much (they had to be planning to spend it on something not good, right?).

Congress even passed a law making it a crime to threaten the president (back when we had one). Like the average person can walk right up to a prez. But shoot off your mouth in public about how you'd like to do some bodily harm to the occupant of the Oval Office and some upstanding citizen will be on the phone to the Secret Service who will come and whisk you away.

University of Richmond (Va.) law professor Carl W. Tobias wonders if there is politics is a factor in arresting pipe dreamers on terrorism charges.

Tobias told the Times, "There is some kind of public relations gained by making Americans on the one hand feel concerned that the Sears Tower in Chicago or some tunnel in Manhattan is targeted yet on the other hand feel comforted that the government is on top of it."

That's called playing the fear card, professor. It's a great diversionary tactic. The first Homeland [In]Security secretary, Tom Ridge, was very good at it with his color-coded "terror" alerts, which he raised and lowered in accordance with the amount of doo-doo Bush stepped in at a given time. His successor, Chertoff, is even better at it.

Instead of fooling around with color-coded alerts, Chertoff goes for raw meat: arresting a bunch of loose talking dreamers who would love to harm us, but lack the money, the tools and the ability to do so. But it plays well to the flag-waving, "God Bless America" crowd and keeps the rest of the clueless in check so they don't notice how the arrests of "wannabe terrorist" coincide with Bush's poll numbers.

Face it, folks, Larry Pinkney is right. Fascism is an American reality. Today, it's mostly swarthy men being arrested for thought crimes. Tomorrow, it can be you.

Remember former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer warned that Americans "need to watch what they say, watch what they do."

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