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Tylerdurden
03-04-2012, 11:34 AM
A bill passed Monday in the US House of Representatives and Thursday in the Senate would make it a felony—a serious criminal offense punishable by lengthy terms of incarceration—to participate in many forms of protest associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests of last year. Several commentators have dubbed it the “anti-Occupy” law, but its implications are far broader.
The bill—H.R. 347, or the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”—was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against the bill in the House of Representatives (the bill passed 388-3). Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill.
The virtually unanimous passage of H.R. 347 starkly exposes the fact that, despite all the posturing, the Democrats and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with the corporate and financial oligarchy, which regarded last year’s popular protests against social inequality with a mixture of fear and hostility.
Among the central provisions of H.R. 347 is a section that would make it a criminal offense to “enter or remain in” an area designated as “restricted.”
The bill defines the areas that qualify as “restricted” in extremely vague and broad terms. Restricted areas can include “a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting” and “a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.”
The Secret Service provides bodyguards not just to the US president, but to a broad layer of top figures in the political establishment, including presidential candidates and foreign dignitaries.
Even more sinister is the provision regarding events of “national significance.” What circumstances constitute events of “national significance” is left to the unbridled discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. The occasion for virtually any large protest could be designated by the Department of Homeland Security as an event of “national significance,” making any demonstrations in the vicinity illegal.
For certain, included among such events would be the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, which have been classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE), a category created under the Clinton administration. These conventions have been the occasion for protests that have been subjected to ever increasing police restrictions and repression. Under H.R. 347, future protests at such events could be outright criminalized.
The standard punishment under the new law is a fine and up to one year in prison. If a weapon or serious physical injury is involved, the penalty may be increased to up to ten years.
Also criminalized by the bill is conduct “that impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” and “obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds.” These provisions, even more so than the provisions creating “restricted areas,” threaten to criminalize a broad range of protest activities that were previously perfectly legal.
In order to appreciate the unprecedented sweep of H.R. 347, it is necessary to consider a few examples:
 A wide area around the next G-20 meeting or other global summit could be designated “restricted” by the Secret Service, such that any person who “enters” a that area can be subject to a fine and a year in jail under Section 1752(a)(1) (making it a felony to enter any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so).
 Senator Rick Santorum, the ultra-right Republican presidential candidate, enjoys the protection of the Secret Service. Accordingly, a person who shouts “boo!” during a speech by Santorum could be subject to arrest and a year of imprisonment under Section 1752(a)(2) (making it a felony to “engag[e] in disorderly or disruptive conduct in” a restricted area).
 Striking government workers who form a picket line near any event of “national significance” can be locked up under Section 1752(a)(3) (making it a crime to imped[e] ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds).
Under the ancien regime in France, steps were taken to ensure that the “unwashed masses” were kept out of sight whenever a carriage containing an important aristocrat or church official was passing through. Similarly, H.R. 347 creates for the US president and other top officials a protest-free bubble or “no-free-speech zone” that follows them wherever they go, making sure the discontented multitude is kept out of the picture.
The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act is plainly in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which was passed in 1791 in the aftermath of the American Revolution. The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The arrogance of the Democratic and Republican politicians is staggering—what part of “Congress shall make no law” do they not understand?)
H.R. 347 comes on the heels of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed by President Obama into law on December 31, 2011. The NDAA gives the president the power to order the assassination and incarceration of any person—including a US citizen—anywhere in the world without charge or trial.
The passage of H.R. 347 has been the subject of a virtual blackout in the media. In light of the unprecedented nature of the bill, which would effectively overturn the First Amendment, this blackout cannot be innocent. The media silence therefore represents a conscious effort to keep the American population in the dark as to the government’s efforts to eviscerate the Bill of Rights.
The bill would vastly expand a previous law making it misdemeanor to trespass on the grounds of the White House. An earlier version of the bill would have made it a felony just to “conspire” to engage in any of the conduct described above. The bill now awaits President Obama’s signature before it becomes the law of the land.
What lies behind the unprecedented attack underway on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is a growing understanding in the ruling class that the protests that took place around the world against social inequality in 2011 will inevitably re-emerge in more and more powerful forms in 2012 and beyond, as austerity measures and the crashing economy make the conditions of life more and more impossible for the working class. The virtually unanimous support in Congress H.R. 347, among Democrats as well as Republicans, reflects overriding sentiment within the ruling establishment for scrapping all existing democratic rights in favor of dictatorial methods of rule.
This sentiment was most directly expressed this week by Wyoming Republican legislator David Miller, who recently introduced a bill into the state legislature that would give the state the power, in an “emergency,” to create its own standing army through conscription, print its own currency, acquire military aircraft, suspend the legislature, and establish martial law. “Things happen quickly sometimes—look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations,” Miller told the Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming. Repeating arguments employed by every military dictatorship over the past century, Miller declared, “We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.” Miller’s so-called “doomsday law” was defeated in the Wyoming legislature Tuesday by the narrow margin of 30-27.
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/prot-m03.shtml

hanleyclifford
03-04-2012, 12:23 PM
So only Ron Paul and two others voted against tyranny on the installment plan...interesting

willmarsh3
03-04-2012, 01:03 PM
HR 347 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr347enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr347enr.pdf

It sounds like if you tried to do something like block the President's motorcade you would be subject to criminal prosecution. That seems reasonable IMHO. If the notion of restricted area is taken too far then it could be challenged as unconstitutional. I'm not sure this one is a big deal.

Tylerdurden
03-04-2012, 01:16 PM
HR 347 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr347enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr347enr.pdf

It sounds like if you tried to do something like block the President's motorcade you would be subject to criminal prosecution. That seems reasonable IMHO. If the notion of restricted area is taken too far then it could be challenged as unconstitutional. I'm not sure this one is a big deal.

I know, The Anti-Terrorism Crime bill was no big deal
The Patriot act 1 and 2 was no big deal.
NDAA was no big deal
Now this bill is no big deal.

So 1938 in response. To them it was no big deal too.

You must like toboggan building for all the slippery slopes.

skuthorp
03-04-2012, 06:25 PM
I'm not with TD often, he is his own worst enemy, but he has a point here.
"I know, The Anti-Terrorism Crime bill was no big deal
The Patriot act 1 and 2 was no big deal.
NDAA was no big deal
Now this bill is no big deal."

Phillip Allen
03-04-2012, 06:37 PM
If you met a future death camp guard back in 1930... who would he look most like among our bilge rats? (I have no answer in mind... just making a point)

skuthorp
03-04-2012, 07:29 PM
If you met a future death camp guard back in 1930... who would he look most like among our bilge rats? (I have no answer in mind... just making a point)
"I was just following orders and obeying the law..............."
which is something to be thought about.

Gerarddm
03-05-2012, 12:16 AM
I'm agreeing with TylerD here ( OMG! ). I detest any of these proposals that are soothingly offered to somehow protect national security or some other happy horsehockey. Just think of such a law in the hands of a scoundrel like should-be war criminal Richard Bruce Cheney for example.

coelacanth2
03-05-2012, 05:14 AM
I'll stick my oar in here - this is a very serious matter and Mark has called it. Camel's nose in the tent.

stevebaby
03-05-2012, 05:28 AM
I know, The Anti-Terrorism Crime bill was no big deal
The Patriot act 1 and 2 was no big deal.
NDAA was no big deal
Now this bill is no big deal.

So 1938 in response. To them it was no big deal too.

You must like toboggan building for all the slippery slopes.You're no big deal either. Arfarfarf.

PeterSibley
03-05-2012, 05:30 AM
I'm not with TD often, he is his own worst enemy, but he has a point here.
"I know, The Anti-Terrorism Crime bill was no big deal
The Patriot act 1 and 2 was no big deal.
NDAA was no big deal
Now this bill is no big deal."

Agreed . Mark is on the money with this one. The land of the not quite as free as recently.

"Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with the corporate and financial oligarchy, which regarded last year’s popular protests against social inequality with a mixture of fear and hostility."

PeterSibley
03-05-2012, 05:32 AM
If you met a future death camp guard back in 1930... who would he look most like among our bilge rats? (I have no answer in mind... just making a point)

An interesting question Phil, no answers but he or she could look like anyone at all.

Bill Griffin
03-05-2012, 05:32 AM
+10 It's this kind of stuff that makes me seriously think about voting for Ron Paul if for no other reason than to kick the cart over to see who really supports it.

Phillip Allen
03-05-2012, 05:35 AM
An interesting question Phil, no answers but he or she could look like anyone at all.

worth some introspection?

PeterSibley
03-05-2012, 06:02 AM
worth some introspection?

for everyone .

Vince Brennan
03-05-2012, 06:16 AM
http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa295/frayedknots/Trolls/trollpinhead.jpg

John Smith
03-05-2012, 06:20 AM
I'm a bit skeptical of someone's description of a bill. We've seen a lot os descriptions of the Affordable Health Care Act that have simply not been true. Remember the "death panels" that weren't?

I think I'll reserve judgement for a bit.

Paul Pless
03-05-2012, 06:31 AM
I'm a bit skeptical of someone's description of a bill. We've seen a lot os descriptions of the Affordable Health Care Act . . .

I remember having to pass it to find out what was in it. Perhaps the stupidest thing any Congressman, much less the Speaker of the House has ever said. . .

Tylerdurden
03-05-2012, 06:31 AM
I'm a bit skeptical of someone's description of a bill. We've seen a lot os descriptions of the Affordable Health Care Act that have simply not been true. Remember the "death panels" that weren't?

I think I'll reserve judgement for a bit.

I suggest you read it. This bill criminalizes protest for anyone under secret service protection. I guess you want Rick Santorum safe from dissent.

DanSkorupka
03-05-2012, 10:56 AM
Let's look at what the father of our country has to say about laws that promise improved security at the cost of excessive loss of freedom:


Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety (ed. and are damned to lose both) (Benjamin Franklin).

I agree wholeheartedly with Franklin.

ILikeRust
03-05-2012, 11:22 AM
I'm a bit skeptical of someone's description of a bill. We've seen a lot os descriptions of the Affordable Health Care Act that have simply not been true. Remember the "death panels" that weren't?

I think I'll reserve judgement for a bit.

Read it for yourself right here (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr347enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr347enr.pdf).

It expressly criminalizes, with a penalty of imprisonment of up to one year, and a fine, for merely entering or "remaining" in any area of a building or grounds where the President or "other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting."

So you're in your hotel room on the 15th floor. You just finished unpacking your luggage after a 6-hour flight. You've been up since 4:30 this morning, caught an early flight, and now all you want is dinner and a beer. There's a knock at the door. It's a Secret Service agent, who says "Excuse me, sir, but Senator so-and-so (or the President, or whomever) will be visiting this hotel later this afternoon and will be staying on the 14th floor. We are clearing out the floors above and below, so you will have to leave."

You say, "oh, jeez, come on, I'm just a business traveler." The agent says, "You have to leave, now. If you don't I will arrest you."

And if you don't leave, he can, based on this bill.

Or -

You're walking across a college campus to go into the student union to grab a sandwich. You have no idea that the President is visiting for a photo op or something. You find a couple guys in suits blocking the main entrance and a crowd there. So you scoot around the side of the building, because you know about the side door next to the kitchen, which leads past the rest rooms into the dining area. You open the door and step inside and start walking down the hallway. You suddenly find yourself face-to-face with a Secret Service agent pointing a gun in your face and pushing you on to the floor. Because you just entered a building where a person protected by the Secret Service was temporarily visiting.

The sponsor is a Republican from Florida - thereby demonstrating that the Repubs really are no better on individual liberties than the Dems.

By the way don't be misled by the use of the word "knowingly" in the bill. That does not mean what most people think it means.

Bill Griffin
03-05-2012, 11:28 AM
And what was that relatively small percentage of the population it takes to effect change? 10%? 30% Sure hope this isn't what it is starting to look like.

Tylerdurden
03-05-2012, 11:37 AM
And what was that relatively small percentage of the population it takes to effect change? 10%? 30% Sure hope this isn't what it is starting to look like.

3%. It is the magic number in revolutionary change. Always has been. Those numbers exist already only the catalyzing event remains to be seen.

Bill Griffin
03-05-2012, 11:42 AM
And we are seeing all the necessary "legalites" being put in place. I knew there was a three in there someplace, too lazy to look it up. But, none if it is a big deal, right?

Wavewacker
03-05-2012, 11:47 AM
I don't like it. OTH, it doesn't prevent protests it just sets rules to protest by; don't disrupt? Does that mean you can't speak without permission or does it mean stop throwing confetti at protected persons? Don't block the driveway.....OK, stand to one side! I can see "Restricted Areas", since these are traveling side shows, at some highschool toay, some civic center later...so it would be hard to define. They also have to post the area. It has to be known or should be known to the protestor, and I'm sure they will give warning beforer they cuff you as customary. But I don't like the bill. Let's see how they use it.

Garret
03-05-2012, 11:49 AM
The sponsor is a Republican from Florida - thereby demonstrating that the Repubs really are no better on individual liberties than the Dems.

By the way don't be misled by the use of the word "knowingly" in the bill. That does not mean what most people think it means.

IMO, the Reps are even worse. However, that's a bit like saying 90 knot winds are worse than 85.....

Can you give a brief rundown on why you say not to be misled by "knowingly"? To a layman, the term is very clear, but I'm guessing that it can be obfuscated in court PDQ?

Tylerdurden
03-05-2012, 11:50 AM
Follow the history and process of the enabling acts in Germany. If that doesn't raise the hair on the back of your neck congratulate yourself because you truly are a zombie and nothing will affect you cept a carefully placed head shot. :)

Garret
03-05-2012, 11:55 AM
How is this bill not in direct conflict with "or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"?

PeterSibley
03-05-2012, 03:18 PM
How is this bill not in direct conflict with "or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"?



That would be for the Supreme Court to decide wouldn't it ?

Phillip Allen
03-05-2012, 03:22 PM
I don't like it. OTH, it doesn't prevent protests it just sets rules to protest by; don't disrupt? Does that mean you can't speak without permission or does it mean stop throwing confetti at protected persons? Don't block the driveway.....OK, stand to one side! I can see "Restricted Areas", since these are traveling side shows, at some highschool toay, some civic center later...so it would be hard to define. They also have to post the area. It has to be known or should be known to the protestor, and I'm sure they will give warning beforer they cuff you as customary. But I don't like the bill. Let's see how they use it.

I assume this bill is preemptory... what fixin to happen we wonders?

ILikeRust
03-05-2012, 03:26 PM
Can you give a brief rundown on why you say not to be misled by "knowingly"? To a layman, the term is very clear, but I'm guessing that it can be obfuscated in court PDQ?

Typically, unless otherwise specifically defined in the law, "knowingly" does not mean that you knew that what you were doing was illegal. Rather, it usually means that you knew the facts of the situation and your actions.

The question that I have here is what would the prosecution have to prove you "knew" in order to get a conviction? E.g., what if all you knew was that you were entering the student union through the side door, because a couple guys in suits were blocking the front door? Do they also have to prove that you knew those guys were the Secret Service, and you entered the building anyway? Do they also have to prove that you knew the President was in there? Do they have to prove that you knew that you were breaching a secured zone?

One thing I am pretty sure about - they do NOT have to prove that you knew the law forbid you from entering, but then entered anyway. That typically would be "willfullly," rather than "knowingly."

This, to me, is one of the big problems with the law - which will be answered only if someone gets arrested under it and then challenges it in court. The court would have to determine whether the person "knowingly" entered or remained in an area covered by this law, in order to determine whether that person can be convicted of the crime defined therein (although not very well defined, IMHO).

ILikeRust
03-05-2012, 03:28 PM
How is this bill not in direct conflict with "or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"?


Time and place restrictions have been found constitutional. You don't have the right to assemble in the middle of the Supreme Court building, for example. So the argument would be they are not violating your right to peacably assemble - only in that specific zone that has been secured by the Secret Service, and only for the duration of the time necessary - i.e., that that the law is "narrowly tailored to serve a legitimate government interest", so that it does not violate your constitutional rights to free speech or to assemble.

Phillip Allen
03-05-2012, 03:33 PM
Time and place restrictions have been found constitutional. You don't have the right to assemble in the middle of the Supreme Court building, for example. So the argument would be they are not violating your right to peacably assemble - only in that specific zone that has been secured by the Secret Service, and only for the duration of the time necessary - i.e., that that the law is "narrowly tailored to serve a legitimate government interest", so that it does not violate your constitutional rights to free speech or to assemble.

can this 'zone' be moved like a trap?

ILikeRust
03-05-2012, 03:38 PM
can this 'zone' be moved like a trap?

Exactly one of the concerns about the way the law is written. I.e., do you have to "know" that you are entering or remaining in one of the secured zones covered by this law in order to be found in violation of it?

E.g., you're standing in a public park, and a swath of guys in dark suits comes walking through, telling everyone to move back and get out of the way, because some visiting dignitary is coming through. They don't see you standing there, because you're on the other side of a tree. They set up a perimeter and then you step out from behind the tree - to find that you have "entered" or are "remaining in" the secured zone. Does this mean you have committed a felony?

That is the concern.

Phillip Allen
03-05-2012, 03:42 PM
Exactly one of the concerns about the way the law is written. I.e., do you have to "know" that you are entering or remaining in one of the secured zones covered by this law in order to be found in violation of it?

E.g., you're standing in a public park, and a swath of guys in dark suits comes walking through, telling everyone to move back and get out of the way, because some visiting dignitary is coming through. They don't see you standing there, because you're on the other side of a tree. They set up a perimeter and then you step out from behind the tree - to find that you have "entered" or are "remaining in" the secured zone. Does this mean you have committed a felony?

That is the concern.

wouldn't that depend on the motive/agenda of the acting authority?

switters
03-05-2012, 04:02 PM
It is on it's way to be signed by the president. Only he can save us now.

Ultimately, though, I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution—that it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.
How could it be otherwise? The constitutional text provides us with the general principle that we aren’t subject to unreasonable searches by the government. It can’t tell us the Founders’ specific views on the reasonableness of an NSA computer data-mining operation. The constitutional text tells us that freedom of speech must be protected, but it doesn’t tell us what such freedom means in the context of the Internet.

-Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Or not. How could I have been so audacious? This bill was poorly written or cleverly written, and I foresee it ending up in front of the Supremes.

Garret
03-05-2012, 04:08 PM
Typically, unless otherwise specifically defined in the law, "knowingly" does not mean that you knew that what you were doing was illegal. Rather, it usually means that you knew the facts of the situation and your actions.

The question that I have here is what would the prosecution have to prove you "knew" in order to get a conviction? E.g., what if all you knew was that you were entering the student union through the side door, because a couple guys in suits were blocking the front door? Do they also have to prove that you knew those guys were the Secret Service, and you entered the building anyway? Do they also have to prove that you knew the President was in there? Do they have to prove that you knew that you were breaching a secured zone?

One thing I am pretty sure about - they do NOT have to prove that you knew the law forbid you from entering, but then entered anyway. That typically would be "willfullly," rather than "knowingly."

This, to me, is one of the big problems with the law - which will be answered only if someone gets arrested under it and then challenges it in court. The court would have to determine whether the person "knowingly" entered or remained in an area covered by this law, in order to determine whether that person can be convicted of the crime defined therein (although not very well defined, IMHO).

Thanks!

Phillip Allen
03-05-2012, 04:12 PM
It is on it's way to be signed by the president. Only he can save us now.

Ultimately, though, I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution—that it is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.
How could it be otherwise? The constitutional text provides us with the general principle that we aren’t subject to unreasonable searches by the government. It can’t tell us the Founders’ specific views on the reasonableness of an NSA computer data-mining operation. The constitutional text tells us that freedom of speech must be protected, but it doesn’t tell us what such freedom means in the context of the Internet.

-Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Or not. How could I have been so audacious? This bill was poorly written or cleverly written, and I foresee it ending up in front of the Supremes.

I think of the Constitution much like a contract... ever heard of changing the meaning of a contract after it was signed?

switters
03-05-2012, 04:41 PM
I am very glad that the constitution can be changed Phillip, esp that pesky 19th amendment. But starting with Bush and now Obama we have given up the 4th amendment, the second is under assault every day and a little bit of the first just went poof.

ILikeRust
03-05-2012, 04:44 PM
I'm thinking the assault on the 4th started well before Bush. But it does seem to have accellerated with alarming rapidity over the past 20 years.

Phillip Allen
03-05-2012, 07:38 PM
I'm thinking the assault on the 4th started well before Bush. But it does seem to have accellerated with alarming rapidity over the past 20 years.

I've told you guys about this and got yelled at by the fans of the sitting president...

Gerarddm
03-06-2012, 12:19 AM
So, this was what? 2001?

If not, why not?

Tylerdurden
03-06-2012, 10:01 AM
All in the timing guys.

Preventing protest: G8 summit moved from Chicago to Camp David (http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/preventing-protest-g8-summit-moved-from.html)