Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office could arrest or civilly commit conservatives for uttering mainstream positions under a terrifying and illegal plan to redefine domestic terrorism that punishes speech.
His office now claims some conservative views, or anything he deems as “misinformation,” are examples of “domestic extremism.” He even wants to create a Washington version of a Ministry of Truth to fund journalists to push his political agenda.
HB 1333 would create a left-wing Domestic Violent Extremism Commission in the AG’s office. The members are asked to recommend legislative “solutions to combat disinformation and misinformation, address early signs of radicalization, and develop a public health-style response.”
But this isn’t a “public health” issue, or it would be housed in the Department of Health. It’s intended to legally penalize, or legally commit, political adversaries. The commission’s “comprehensive” report must evaluate current laws and tools to tackle what they’re calling extremism and propose new legislation where there are holes.
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AG’s office is coming for conservatives
Based on the title and the public-facing press statements, Washingtonians may be fooled into thinking this is about violence or terrorism. It even has a built-in means of deflection: If you criticize the bill, bad-faith partisans like Ferguson and his enablers will accuse you of supporting white supremacy. Don’t let them fool you.
This commission is specifically designed to target conservatives and quash any government opposition, which is why the legislation purposefully ignores Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) extremists. Indeed, it expressly supports those tactics. Snohomish County Councilmember Megan Dunn testified in support of the bill. She previously endorsed Molotov cocktail attacks as a “good reminder” to be civically engaged.
The AG defines “domestic violence extremism” as much more than political violence. In fact, the conduct need not be violent at all. Ferguson includes “online disinformation” and “anti-government ideologies” as examples of what they’re seeking to target.
During a House Committee presentation on Washington extremism, a member of the Anti Defamation League provided local and regional examples of extremist behavior. It was primarily focused on white supremacy violence and propaganda, even though the state has seen minimal incidents by these hate mongers.
Antifa violence? What Antifa violence?
Notably, the presentation did not include a single mention of Black Lives Matter or Antifa violence, despite a sustained, months-long, and relentless stream of politically-inspired violence and threats that led to the murder of two black boys inside the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), a violent bat attack to the head of a police officer, and attempt to burn officers alive inside a police precinct that left-wing radicals attempted to seal shut.
While the presentation criticized a bail fund purportedly used to bail out members of right-wing Proud Boys, there was no mention of the exact same strategy used locally (and nationally) by BLM and Antifa radicals, which was amplified by then-candidate Kamala Harris.
The ADL representative noted white supremacists have a “common cause” with “anti-mask and anti-vaccine narratives,” “anti-critical race theory narratives,” and criticisms of election security and gender extremism pushed on children in the classroom. She argued they use protests around these issues to recruit new members, though she didn’t present any data to suggest that’s actually happening.
Targeting white conservatives
The AG’s office makes it clear that they’re primarily interested in targeting white people. Indeed, his office rejected the term “domestic terrorist” because it was too “triggering” to minority communities. And it came from an AG Office report after it tasked a group of stakeholders to explore violent domestic extremism.
The stakeholder group did not include a single conservative or even moderate political group. Instead, it included the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on Islamic Relations, and Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. Unsurprisingly, the group focused on white conservatives, which they labeled extremists, while arguing systemic bigotry within police departments attracts extremists.
The group’s partisan, left-wing recommendations were used to craft HB 1333.
A key task for the commission is to identify, “solutions to combat disinformation and misinformation” and “address early signs of radicalization.” And Ferguson has indicated that his office would use social media posts to find the “extremists,” with their data being collected and stored by the government.
But who determines what is disinformation or misinformation? The lawmakers who told us the vaccine stops the spread of COVID? The ones who deemed the lab leak theory a conspiracy? The ones who claim there are 74 different genders that one can hold (or not hold) based on one’s feelings? Maybe it’ll be the ones who literally called the Hunter Biden laptop “Russian disinformation.” Simply questioning whether or not elections are as secure as they should be is considered misinformation.
The Left uses claims of disinformation or misinformation to smear opponents as extremists so that they won’t hold any influence over debates. Now they’ll be able to use their strategy to silence opposition by throwing them in jail or having them committed under a “public health approach.”
And what kind of “solutions” could they find? AG Ferguson has a plan.
The bill asks the commission to evaluate, “current legal tools, both civil and criminal, and making recommendations for potential new legislation and regulations to address violent domestic extremism.”
It’s not hard to see how this can be easily abused and result in civil liberty violations.
Ferguson is looking for creative ideas to criminally charge conservatives who protest government overreach. And if they don’t exist, he wants to draft them. Ironically, and tragically, he could arrest those who protest the legislature for adopting new laws inspired by the commission.
This is about targeting speech
Ferguson said he intends to target speech, not violence.
In an interview with PBS, which calls the legislation a potential “model for the nation,” Ferguson said the federal definition of domestic terrorism (or extremism) is “too narrow for the great threat that we see with the increase of radicalization, for example.” He is seeking legislative powers to intervene when he hears speech he disagrees with.
“So we’re trying to broaden that term to address things that are not specifically a threat to somebody, but where the state can take some action in prevention, for example, take a more holistic approach, a public health approach, to address what we all see and know is happening in communities all across the country,” he said.
Ferguson told PBS he could envision compelling “extremists” to enter counseling. If one believes there are only two genders, which is a fact, they could be counseled into thinking there are 74. And if you don’t fall in line, you could be civilly charged. And he’s hoping to have media support.
Buying off the media
Sahar Fathi, a radical left-wing activist and representative from the AG’s office, pitched the bill to a House committee. She said the stakeholders’ group that inspired the legislation hoped to fund journalists to fight disinformation and misinformation.
“We believe at the Attorney General’s Office, that in order to combat misinformation and disinformation, local journalism really does play an important part,” Fathi said. “And so this fellowship program would be based off of a program that was created in California that funded a number of fellowships with local journalism, media outlets for strengthening that reporting.”
In other words, they’ll fund journalists in order to do their bidding. But given the left-wing partisanship of most Seattle reporters, this doesn’t seem truly necessary. They push left-wing propaganda for free.
This is unconstitutional
Ferguson hopes to criminalize protected speech he doesn’t like. And if you get in his way, he’ll call you an extremist.
His approach is unquestionably unconstitutional. He’s hoping that a friendly Washington state Supreme Court will ultimately give him a pass. And given the commission has two years to complete its research, Ferguson is betting that liberals will control the U.S. Supreme Court when it ultimately gets in front of them.
Irredeemably left-wing voters will fall for this scam without realizing its dangers. Imagine if the power Ferguson craves was used by their political enemy. Democrats spent four years screeching about fascism under president Donald Trump. Supporting this legislation only confirms they truly don’t understand what the term means.
What Ferguson’s bill threatens are freedoms, and he’s younger, power-hungry, and smarter than Governor Jay Inslee. That makes him a political danger. Democrats are indicating this will pass. That means we’ll be Ferguson’s next victims.
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