Proposed US law bans protesting near anyone who rates a Secret Service detail

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70 Responses to “Proposed US law bans protesting near anyone who rates a Secret Service detail”

  1. snagglepuss says:

    Even if you’re not protesting against the particular Secret-Service assignee ?

    This is fucking NUTS. So, if I’m protesting against a local sewer rate increase, and Gingrich blows through town within three blocks of me, I get a year in the fucking slammer ?

    • ialreadyexist says:

      Everything you see from government these days is about protecting the current system and those running it.  Everything ties back to that.  There is no left-wing and no right-wing.  There is only the state and you are a slave.  Welcome to the new world.

      • Mantissa128 says:

         Remember this in November, folks.

        • Thebes says:

           Yeah, you can vote for either choice between the two the Corporatocracy has offered us.

          but BOTH of the “legitimate” parties and their congresscritters supported this, and indeed support tyranny in general.

          We don’t need to vote this way or that.
          The only solution is a global revolution.

  2. LaurieMann says:

    That’s nutty.  I’ve protested within 20 ft of someone with Secret Service protection (well, OK, he was in a car).  

  3. So, basically, we place a VIP in the middle of an #ocuppy camp and everyone gets a year.

  4. eslater says:

    Aren’t they the people most likely to garner protests?

  5. dross1260 says:

    So when do I have to have my ID swiped to buy glitter?

  6. John Stephens says:

    Damn.  Back in 2008 people told me if I voted for John McCain this sort of thing would happen – AND THEY WERE RIGHT!

    • DrunkenOrangetree says:

       Gee, I could swear I was telling you this in 2010 when you were voting to give the GOP the majority in the House. I must be confused.

      • davidasposted says:

        You say that as if this bill was voted upon along party lines. Instead, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Republicans supported it. So what’s the difference?

      • Dan McGovern says:

        Only 3 congresskritters voted against it.  All three were team RED.  Not even the Boy Mayor voted against it.  Face it, both teams suck including yours.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Damn.  Back in 2008 people told me if I voted for John McCain this sort of thing would happen – AND THEY WERE RIGHT!

      The bill is in Congress, not the White House.  May I suggest that you spend some time on Wikipedia learning how the US government works.

      Hint:  the President doesn’t vote in the House of Representatives.

      Edit – and clicking on the actual bill, I see that it emanates from the Senate, that place where John McCain works.

      • oasisob1 says:

         I think you missed something. He did vote for McCain, and this sort of thing did happen.  It’s a causality joke: correlation doesn’t imply…

  7. Shmuel says:

    I am not a lawyer, but I don’t see much difference between the current law and this bill’s revision. The wording is streamlined, but otherwise everything complained about here was already on the books.

    • Skarphedin Njalsson says:

      Yeah, the law that this amends has existed for years.  It basically just changes the wording from “willfully and knowingly: to just “knowingly”.  If you want to know exactly what that means, ask a lawyer.

      • Gideon Jones says:

        It doesn’t mean anything.  It’s a meaningless political gesture because a few of the presidential candidates have been “glitter bombed” this year and the right wing is supposedly outraged about it and want to appear to have done something to stop it so the talk radio people will stop yelling at them.  

    • the_proph says:

      my bad. should have tried reading first

      • Skarphedin Njalsson says:

        The only thing new in those 4 parts is “of the White House or its grounds, or the vice president’s official residence or its grounds”(and I’m not sure why that wasn’t already explicitly illegal)

        In the original law, (1) and (B)  are contained in a-1 in the original law, and (C) is contained in a-2.

        The revised version splits those off to simplify the law.

    • cleek says:

      yeah, but stamping our feet and screaming “FASCISM!” is much more fun than reading the text of legislation.

  8. This is so nuts, it is unimaginable. Barring the obvious inability to protest where our highest elected officials can hear you, there’s a lot of more subtle ways this could be used. Tired of having people protest your power plant? Hire the close relative of a former president. While the Secret Service has a fairly discrete list of people it protects, it is broad enough to declare large parts of places like Washington D.C. or Manhattan off-limits.

  9. scythenoire says:

    USA, you are losing your freedoms fast. Within a few years it will be a military state worse than China. Scoff now, but it’s happening. Your freedoms are going fast.

    • Hanglyman says:

       Send me a few thousand dollars and I’m out of here. Otherwise, your warning is useless. Nobody with a brain is scoffing- we’re all well aware of what’s happening, and quite scared and outraged. But the system is irreparably broken, and nobody in a position of power cares what we think anymore, let alone acts on it.

    • EssArt says:

      After living in China for an extended time, I’m really convinced that we’re a couple dozen pieces of bad legislation and maybe five or six bad supreme court decisions away from a system that would look a lot like the current Chinese one.  The erosion of free speech and transparency over the past twelve years has been astounding.  My friends are all convinced that it’s alarmist, but you’d be surprised.

      • Warren Grant says:

         Well, the final step would have to see the Republican and Democratic parties merged into just “the Party”.  I can’t see that happening any time soon :P
        However I do agree that only a few more changes are needed to move the US (and sadly, my country – Canada) into being an actual police state. Probably a police state that keeps it well hidden mind you, but a gilded cage is still a cage…

        • Cynical says:

          What’s the difference between a single-party system and a two-party system where both parties represent the same ideals, other than that the single-party system is less prone to pointless bickering?

        • steve says:

          “Well, the final step would have to see the Republican and Democratic parties merged into just “the Party””
          Ahhhh I assume that is a joke right.Your from Canada but you must see that it has been “The Party” for some time now behind closed doors and only portrayed to the people/sheep that they have a choice.While there are a few that serve and see just a system and try to work within it, the “The Party” still is calling all the shots and that will not change until the Collapse.

  10. Wow.  It will be great for our leaders when they don’t even have to listen at all to the voters anymore.  The Republic is dead.

  11. autark says:

    would be so much easier if they just repealed the 1st amendment

  12. morcheeba says:

    I love the stupidity of this proposal. It’s supposedly for the VIP’s safety, but they’re ok if you quietly carry a concealed handgun (a la Brady/Reagan), but protest with a pocketknife and somehow you’re a threat?

    • Guest says:

      Because people who carry guns tend to be very authoritarian, and don’t often end up at these protests. 

      Basically, they don’t want to arrest tea-partiers, because they agree with them politically, but they want probable cause to throw Occupiers into jail.

      • Gideon Jones says:

        It has nothing to do with Occupy.  It’s about the gay rights folks that have been glitter bombing the Republican presidential candidates, and various right wingers who are sputtering with feigned outrage over the fact that these people are supposedly getting away with it.  

        Sometimes it’s helpful to have some idea what’s going on politically outside of Boing Boing and the left.  At least if you’re gonna start talking politics.  

        • Marja Erwin says:

          When a lot of bigoted politicians are calling for criminalization of lgb and especially t folks, and some bigoted politicians calling for murder, why is there so much more outrage over a few bigots getting glitter-bombed than over a lot of lgbt folks getting murdered?

  13. Guest says:

    Does this not require that the Secret Service announce VIP`s schedule ahead of time so that we do not accidentally protest near them?

    •  Seems to me if they didn’t make such announcements defendants could always beat the rap by claiming they did not know the VIP’s schedule and therefore they were not protesting “knowingly”.

  14. Jules McWyrm says:

     Wow. It’s almost like all these folks didn’t actually take the time to read the legislation (you can find it here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-347).

    Anyone can protest in any public space as long as they’re not disrupting official government business, blocking the entrances, or physically attacking people/property.

    Everybody take a deep breath.

    • donovan acree says:

      And who decides what is “disrupting official government business”? Also, isn’t the entire point of a protest to disrupt? Why aren’t my protests protected from the government disrupting the protest?
      Yet another example of one set of laws for us and one for them.

  15. kosmikray says:

    This means I wouldn’t be able to give bush/chaney the finger again for war crimes and lies and corruptions as they bussed by on the other side of the interstate? 

    Hmmmmn. 

    Reminds me of when Ronnie Raygun had all his “public” appearances controlled illegally, with the SS saying anti-Reagan placards and signs were “dangerous stick weapons” and worthy of confiscation, while his weren’t. Shitski, lets just elect  REAL robots to Congress instead of pretend ones, so we’ll know upfront we’re all just worthless bio scum!

  16. IronEdithKidd says:

    Not much to be done about this now.  It’s sitting on the President’s desk.

  17. Jules McWyrm says:

    From the bill:
    “(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area”

    So the space has to be cordoned off. If you break a secret service cordon you’re not just protesting- you’re trying to get arrested.

  18. kosmikray says:

    “Chipping Away At First Amendment” headline should be changed to “Blasting Away”

    • Gideon Jones says:

      Except that there was no blasting or chipping.  As with the NDAA amendment, it’s a change to a decades old law that is being described as meaningless on the law blogs, as “OMG, THEY”RE COMING TO LOCK US UP!” on various pop-culture blogs that try their hardest to occasionally cover politics, and as a purely political stunt on the blogs that actually cover politics.

  19. niktemadur says:

    This is all happening under the watch of the baby boomers.

    Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, let’s throw it out the toilet, but don’t mess with the right to carry weapons, in fact let’s allow people to bring guns into bars in Ohio.
    SOPA this, PIPA that, TSA stupidity and ACTA every time one reads the news, cops with itchy-trigger pepper spray and tasers everywhere.
    It’s relentless, like a fucking sociopath on the fucking warpath, and only the corporations get a pony.

    This is all happening under the watch of the baby boomers.
    What the hell happened with that generation?  Where’s the backbone?

    • Daniel Smith says:

       You’re really going to try to lay the creeping growth of entrenched wealth and privilege at the feet of an entire generation? Get a clue, grow up, and stop being such a putz.

      • niktemadur says:

        the creeping growth of entrenched wealth and privilege

        Now that’s a scary sequence of words, in context particularly creeping growth.

        OK, let me rephrase your concepts:
         You’re really going to try to lay the disappearance of the middle class at the feet of an entire generation? Get a clue, grow up, and stop being such a putz.

        • Daniel Smith says:

           Again, because the rich have decided to make a power grab (hardly unique to this time) you have decided that all of those born at roughly the same time are guilty of the sins of the most powerful fraction of the populace? Antinous, as a baby boomer, is as responsible as the Koch brothers and investment bankers? You paint with far too broad a brush.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      This is all happening under the watch of the baby boomers. What the hell happened with that generation? Where’s the backbone?

      I’m 54. Most boomers are now getting into retirement age. Like many of my peers, I’ve been to literally hundreds of political demonstrations. I’ve had the Secret Service at my door and been chased down the street by men in black. Unlike much of the younger generation, I’ve actually left the house. Get off your ass and do something if you don’t like it. My generation created most of the real civil liberties that apply to people who don’t happen to be rich, white, straight men. And we did it coming out of the McCarthy Era.

      • slayer1 says:

        I really respect your opinions Antinous, and I know you guys did some great stuff, but that was pretty harsh. I know a few boomers, who also protested, who do blame their own peers for our current state. After all, isn’t Bush a boomer? Your generation is far from “retiring”. Nearly every private sector job (small companies) I’ve had were owned by greedy (as in pay as low a salary as they can get away with), rich self-described boomers. You guys are running EVERYTHING right now – why isn’t pot legal, why so many wars? They are ALL your age running shit! I’m 40, no one my age is running anything, and under 30? What exactly should they be doing? Your generation didn’t have to deal with the police state of today. (Yes, Kent State – New Mexico, isolated events, also sort of ended a lot of the protesting, didn’t it? Mission accomplished) 
        I agree with, “What the hell happened with that generation?”

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          You guys are running EVERYTHING right now

          38 Senators, including the most powerful ones, were born before 1946.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_United_States_Senators_by_age
          MegaCEOs like Rupert Murdoch, who owns the entire world media, or Sheldon Adelson, who’s single-handedly bankrolling Newt Gingrich’s campaign are 80ish.

          The old guard is still running the world.

          Your generation didn’t have to deal with the police state of today.

          We grew up in an era of Jim Crow laws, sodomy laws, Nixon and plenty of other examples of totalitarianism.  The police were far more powerful than they are now.  There were no little gadgets for people to film them and no YouTube to publish them.  There wasn’t even cable television, let alone alternative media.

          The government and police in the 1950s and before did whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted and you would never know about it because the only sources of news were oligarch-owned newspapers/magazines and three lousy television networks.  People were arrested, harassed, imprisoned and murdered by the police on a regular and routine basis.

          Kent State – New Mexico, isolated events

          If you think that those were isolated events, it’s because shit happened without ever being widely reported.  Why do you think the Stonewall Riots happened?  Do you even realize that people were being hauled off to jail every weekend in every city in the country?

      • niktemadur says:

        Acknowledged, I was venting generically at a tide that feels overwhelming.

        Yeah my eldest brother is a Boomer, learned in 1970s schools of thought and profoundly ignorant on many issues he has a strong opinion on.  Mad Men all over again, with bell-bottom pants in his youth.

        “Eternal vigilance” makes me feel like howling at the moon sometimes, and if you do what you say you do, don’t you dare feel personally offended.

        I’ve lived in Mexico all my life.  As a civilian, I’ve been there protecting ballot boxes during heated and corrupted election days, back when things could get nasty with thugs in vans.

        More recently, as a sad anecdote, I was screening the Costa-Gavras’ film “Z” at a cultural center, on the same night the right-wing party finished a march at their HQ, half a block away from us.  Their right-wing noise disrupted my screening about a right-wing coup!

        Back to the point, my bafflement is:
        As a whole, with the Boomers in power, things have taken a sharp turn towards the far-right and corporate interests.

        Surely it’s as frustrating for you as it is for me.

        • Daniel Smith says:

          So, does the fact that you live in Mexico make you and your cadre responsible for Mexico’s current beyond-thunderdome-like qualities? Could it be possible that the responsibility for the bad parts of the modern world belong to the actual individuals who do the bad things, and not to some faceless, generalized group of people who have only the decade of their birth in common? Perhaps, when an action is done by an individual or group of individuals those people are responsible for that action, and not some random assemblage of persons who happen to be alive at the same time as the bad actors. Or maybe we should just hold people randomly accountable for the actions of others, it requires much less thought and nuance.

  20. Daniel Smith says:

    I don’t know what you’re all so upset about, I hear they are setting aside 200 square feet in a Utah wilderness area where anyone will be able to protest about anything, unmolested. Did you want more?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I hear they are setting aside 200 square feet in a Utah wilderness area where anyone will be able to protest about anything, unmolested.

      Candidates (and officials) are increasingly refusing to allow the press into press conferences. Even arresting them sometimes. At least the journalists and the protesters can talk to each other in Wilderness, Utah.

  21. angusm says:

    Presumably, protesting a G8 or G20 summit will now be a no-no: even if visiting foreign leaders don’t qualify for an SS security detail, I see from other comments that it can apply to “a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance”, which would probably cover it.

    • Warren Grant says:

       “Special Event of National Significance” is so vague it can cover a lot of things. Any public holiday celebration? So it might be illegal to protest something on Martin Luther King day for instance? Its certainly of national significance, and there are still a lot of racial problems that need to be dealt with aren’t there?
      As for the G8/G20 summits, look what our Prime Minister did up here in Canada for your model: a practice session for police state tactics and training (and if the protestors won’t cooperate by being suitably violent, well we have under cover cops to do the fomenting of violence to give an excuse for the heavy handed arrests. No law to cover something: just make it up and start arresting people, thats what the Chief of Police in Toronto did). Canada was mostly a pretty passive and nice place until the Harper Regime took over :(

  22. B E Pratt says:

    Let us not forget when Cheney wanted all those people with sticks removed from anywhere near him. Who cares if they were actually waving the American flag on sticks???? They could have been POINTED sticks, y’know?

  23. CarlM says:

    Isn’t that self-evidently unConstitutional? [Edit] — Evidently not .. the bill doesn’t say what is implied by the original post. I have to agree with Jules McWyrm.

  24. Cowicide says:

    Once United States citizens get control of more of our government again, we are going to have to roll back mountains of fascist policies designed against us.

    Then again, many of these same policies seem designed to never, ever allow the citizenry back into the government they’ve been unceremoniously kicked out of.

  25. atimoshenko says:

    How nice to see that the only legislation that gets bi-partisan support these days is one that is bad to the point of being impossible to justify. It seems that our political system has quietly gone through an irreversible funhouse mirror mutation at some point. We seem to be past the point of improving it from the inside, and it looks too entrenched to throw out and build anew… Is there any way we can start ignoring it while building alternative governance structures in parallel?

  26. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    Would it not be easier to just put them in bulletproof lucite like the pope?
    This works better if we veto the funding for airholes….

    • donovan acree says:

       I like those solid lucite blocks. I mean, I’ve seen bugs, snakes, and other low vermin completely encased in lucite so there is a precedent.

  27. TogosTurn says:

    This may just be a political softball designed for President Obama to  score a home run among voters. Senate and Congress will pass the bill overwhelmingly, then Obama will veto it and everyone will say how great a civil rights advocate he is.

  28. This is a completely phony issue. You can read the bill, which in fact does NOT have any “secret” provisions and compare it with the current law that was passed in 2006. The language has just been made less clunky. Yes, in fact we’ve been living under this law for 6 years and it’s so harsh and terrible that nobody has even noticed.

    Truthfully, anybody who’s been to a protest in the last century has lived under this (and actually much stricter guidelines in most states). If you want to protest and not get charged under this, all you need to do is:

    1) don’t knowingly sneak past the security guards or over security gates

    2) don’t knowingly physically block people from entering the event

    3) don’t knowingly attempt to keep people at the event from doing their thing

    3a) don’t cut the power cables to the building

    3b) don’t try to shine a laser pointer through the window into the speaker’s eyes

    3c) don’t arrange for 10,000 cats to jump out of the cake when it gets cut open

    3d) etc.

    4) don’t knowingly attack people

    In order to violate this law, you have to be aware their is secret service protection (yes, really it says it right in the law I have no idea where this “even if you don’t know” stuff comes from).

    The punishments are completely standard (misdemeanor for just doing it, felony for doing it with a deadly weapon).

  29. Thebes says:

    Are tar & feathers “dangerous weapons”???

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