Umm restricted buildings or grounds. Besides being an obvious violation of the freedom of speech, the secret service could have used this to remove and prosecute Congressman Joe Wilson for yelling out you lie during an Obama speech, maybe? There are many other examples. Where does it end people? How long do we spit on the graves of our founding fathers?
We are betrayed by all of the House but 3 who did not vote for this bill. Three guys who had the guts to stand up for freedom! And the Senate, passed by unanimous consent? I thought we had a few senators with a backbone? Look at what is happening to us, freedom after freedom lost. Make a list since Obama and Bush have been President we have lost more freedoms than I can name from the patriot act to Obama care. I read today that the Justice Department has blocked Texas voter ID law. This passed by a large margin in a proper election. This is a state rights issue and the Federal Government needs to back off. How about the violation of the freedom of religion under the Obama care banner? Forcing the Catholic Church to provide contraceptives, a direct violation of their believes. I am not a Catholic but this raised the hair on the back of my neck. Look out America instead of Hail Hitler, our youth maybe yelling Hail Obama and doing the Obama salute and step! Strong words you say. Well open your eyes, pull your head out of the sand. The lion is about have lunch and dessert both. Remember freedom is not free. When good men do nothing evil men prevail. Now for the article. GRW
Quiet time: New federal law expands anti-free speech powers
Tired of 2,000-page bills heaping tyranny upon us? Well, how about just a 2-page bill instead? That’s right, H.R. 347 is here to prove that size doesn’t matter: government can squash your rights as easily with a few words as it can with the whole federal register.
Last week, Obama quietly signed H.R. 347, a bill innocuously titled, “An Act, To correct and simplify the drafting of section 1752 (relating to restricted buildings or grounds) of title 18, United States Code.” Zzzz. . . .
Well, wake up America. The President just put new teeth into a law that creates roving “restricted ground” around himself and anyone else protected by the secret service—at their discretion. The restriction can apply at the Secret Service’s discretion whether the protected person is actually there or not. The law defines “restricted buildings or grounds” as, “a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.”
And now, you don’t even have to be violating it “willfully” in order to be arrested and convicted of a felony.
Judge Napolitano joined Fox News to comment upon the law very few mainstream media outlets covered.
“It puts a lot of unbridled discretion in the hands of secret service agents,” he criticized. This discretion can easily lead to “suppressing speech on the basis of it’s content,” under the guise of public safety.
“This is a slow, creeping destruction of some of our basic liberties, and the President signed it in secret.”
And Obama by no means deserves all the blame for this: the bill passed the House 399 to 3, and passed the Senate by “unanimous consent.”
Ironically, the secrete service is providing protection for some political candidates during the campaigns. This means, unequivocally, that it is now, technically, a felony to protest or shout at any such political candidate, because wherever they go under such protection will automatically be considered “restricted ground” by the law.
So the question will be enforcement. To that Napolitano argues, it is “going to be enforced when the government wants it enforced.”
Napolitano argued there are at least three constitutional infractions in this bill: against 1) free speech, 2) freedom of assembly, 3) right to petition the government for redress of grievances. He asks, “What good is free speech if the people in the government are so far away from you that they can’t hear you?”
But as an article at Salem-News.com points out, the restrictions in this bill have actually been on the books since 2006. What’s new and particularly egregious is the removal of the “willfully” requirement. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, writes,
Fact: What is new about the H.R. 347 amendments?
1. The existing law required that for a person to be prosecuted under it, they would have had to carry out those described acts both “willfully” and “knowingly.” The requirement of “willfulness” generally means that a conviction requires proof that the person knew his conduct was unlawful. H.R. 347 strikes the “willfully” requirement. The new amendments appear to intend for a person to be convicted only by “knowingly” taking the actions described even if the person does not know that the actions are unlawful. As amended, a conviction arguably only requires proof that a person “knowingly entered” a certain area.
This is an effort to lower the bar for prosecutors who would, arguably, no longer have to prove that a person knew his conduct was unlawful.
2. The other major change is the inclusion of the White House and grounds and the Vice President’s residence and grounds as fixed zones of designation. You might wonder why this is even necessary. Of course, entering into the White House and its fenced-in grounds is already a federal violation. We think this particular change is to target demonstration activity, specifically that which occurs on the White House sidewalk just outside the perimeter fence (as detailed in 36 C.F.R. §7.96 it is lawful to protest on the White House sidewalk, which is under National Park Service jurisdiction). We think that the Government wishes to make it easier to prosecute protestors who step up off of the White House sidewalk and stand on the concrete ledge supporting the fence, something which tourists can be seen doing all the time.
We are also concerned that the Secret Service seeks to be able to expand its jurisdiction and authority to create pop-up cordoned off restriction zones in front of the White House extending to areas where demonstrators lawfully assemble.
Someone on Sean Hannity’s forums commented, “I am a staunch conservative, but I would vote for a liberal democrat before I voted for a republican that supported this measure.” Well, you don’t have to. While not present for the final vote due to campaigning, one GOP candidate was among the three Representatives who opposed this expansion of powers. During a previous roll call vote on the same bill last year, Ron Paul stood firm against this “creeping destruction.”
The legislators responsible for bringing this legislative excrement to life are Representative Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) in the House of Representatives and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT.) leading the Senate version.
The House vote tally which took place 02/28/12, was 338 for and 3 against. The three dissenters were Rep.Paul Broun R-Georgia, Rep. Justin Amash R-Michigan and Rep. Keith Ellison D-Minnesota. Rep. Ron Paul was reported earlier as having voted against the bill, but that was based on the original vote conducted 02/28/11. Rep. Ron Paul ABSTAINED on the final vote.