Sunday, May 22, 2022

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans say they will all vote to block a House Democratic bill that would authorize the FBI and Homeland Security to take stronger action against white supremacists, and since white supremacists are the GOP base, the bill will die to the filibuster.

The GOP compares the proposal, which sets up offices in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI to target domestic terrorism, to the recently paused disinformation board set up by the Biden administration.

“It sounds terrible,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) of the House-passed bill, predicting it won’t get 10 Republicans in the Senate.

“It’s like the disinformation board on steroids. Another way to look at is the Patriot Act for American citizens,” he added, referring to the law passed immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that expanded the government’s power to monitor phone and email conversations and collect bank records.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says he will bring the bill to the floor this week as a response to the killings at a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The bill passed the House 222-203 on a mostly party-line vote, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) casting the only GOP vote in favor.

Democrats increasingly see the need for the government to take more action against the threat of domestic terrorism given a long string of incidents that includes the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and several mass shootings targeting Black, Hispanic and Jewish people.

But the efforts have run into opposition from the GOP.

Senate conservatives say empowering the departments of Homeland Security and Justice with new authority to monitor domestic terrorism could easily morph into federal policing of political speech, and they worry it would be more targeted toward anti-government, anti-immigration activists than extreme left-wing groups.

“I’m completely opposed to this idea that we would be giving the federal government and federal law enforcement power and authority to surveil Americans, to engage in any kind of monitoring of speech that is directed toward censorship. I think it’s extremely frightening and I can’t believe they haven’t learned their lesson from the disinformation board debacle,” Hawley said.

The Biden administration ran into a storm of controversy last month when it announced the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board “to coordinate countering misinformation related to homeland security.” The backlash grew so intense that the Homeland Security Department put the project on pause after three weeks and its executive director, Nina Jankowicz, resigned.

Republican lawmakers argue that bringing the bill to the floor after the shooting in Buffalo is a veiled political attack on conservative critics of illegal immigration.

Some Senate Republicans see the domestic terrorism bill as another attempt to target the right and point to calls that Democrats made in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol to begin monitoring groups on the right as potential domestic terrorism threats.

“That’s exactly what it is,” said Hawley, arguing that the Department of Homeland Security has taken “a very different tone” with groups on the left that have threatened violence against Supreme Court justices after a draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade leaked.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, said law enforcement is already supposed to be tracking domestic terrorism threats.

“The Democrats can’t even wait an hour before they blame the Republicans for the Buffalo shooting. I think it’s despicable,” he said.

Johnson said “there’s a huge double standard” between calls by Democrats to authorize federal law enforcement to track extreme speech when it comes from groups on the right compared to groups on the left.
The vote will be brought up this week, but if you think blocking the bill will hurt GOP Senate candidates in November at all, you've not been paying attention for the last six years. They're not going to give Homeland Security the power to stop the terrorists they want to use against Democrats across the country. 

I appreciate Democrats trying to do something here, but note that zero Senate Republicans have signed on to the bill, and one Republican in the House voted for the legislation, Adam Kinzinger.

Liz Cheney voted against it.

Republicans need white supremacists in order to win, and everyone knows it.

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