Alcee Hastings amendment seeks to keep "hate groups" out of military; Attorney General gets to define "hate"
Impeached federal judge and now Representative Alcee Hastings has introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2647, link) that seeks to keep "hate groups" and the like out of the U.S. military (PDF here).
It's entitled the "Prohibition on recruitment, enlistment, or retention of persons associated with hate-related violent against groups or persons or the United States government" and it would add the following prohibition to Section 504 of title 10 of the U.S. Code:
A person associated with a group associated with hate-related violence against groups or persons or the United States government, as determined by the Attorney General, may not be recruited, enlisted, or retained in the armed forces.
"Hate groups" are defined by, among several other things, those that "espouse or engage in acts of violence against other groups or minorities based on ideals of hate, ethnic supremacies, white supremacies, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, or other bigotry ideologies." And, similar to Hasting's HR645, there's a catch-all definition:
Other groups or organizations that are determined by the Attorney General to be of a violent, extremist nature.
And, taking a page from Joe McCarthy, those identified as hate group members would include:
(B) Individuals known to have attended meetings, rallies, conferences, or other activities sponsored by a hate group.
(C) Individuals known to be involved in online activities with a hate group, including being engaged in online discussion groups or blog or other postings that support, encourage, or affirm the group's extremist or violent views and goals.
Note, of course, how broad those are, and especially note the "or" in the last; this isn't restricted just to violent groups but those that are "extremist".
No one wants actual violent extremists in the military, but since Eric Holder would define what a "hate group" is, this would obviously be abused. Further evidence of that is offered by the fact that the Obama administration-linked Center for American Progress refers to Rush Limbaugh as "hate radio" and of course the fact that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti Defamation League have both government links and questionable definitions of "hate".
UPDATE: See July 10's "Watchdog group: Dozens of active-duty troops found on neo-Nazi site", which among other things mentions this amendment (link). As I suspected from the title, the "watchdog group" is the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the profiles on the site in question only feature those claiming to be in the military and don't give their real names. And:
On Friday, the SPLC will present its findings to key members of Congress who chair the House and Senate committees overseeing the armed forces and urge them to pressure the Pentagon to crack down.