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US Government Moves its Abuse of us(You+Me) UP a big Notch

 
 
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2012 10:10 pm
Me thinks my fellow leftists are about to take notice of this crime against us which I have been talking about for years....

You Can’t Occupy This

The government says the anti-protest bill was just a small tweak of the existing law. Don’t believe it.

By Dahlia Lithwick and Raymond Vasvari

Quote:
In post-Occupy America, it’s often hard to know whether new citizen protest laws signal the end of free speech or a mere tweak of the machine. That looks to be the case with the new anti-protest bill that passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly two weeks ago and was signed into law by the president soon thereafter. On its face, the new legislation doesn’t change a whole lot. Yet the Occupy protesters are in an uproar that the bill both targets them and also signals a radical shift in free speech law. Almost nobody else seems to have noticed it at all. Who’s right?
That all depends on what you want to protest and where.
H.R. 347, benignly titled the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act, passed the House 399-3. Such a lopsided vote suggests that nobody in Congress is bothered by this, on either side of the aisle. When President Obama signed it on March 8, almost nobody seems to have cared.
Simply put, the way the bill will “improve” public grounds is by moving all those unsightly protesters elsewhere. The law purports to update an old law, Section 1752 of Title 18 of the United States Code, that restricted areas around the president, vice president, or any others under the protection of the Secret Service. The original law was enacted in 1971 and amended in 2006. At first blush, the big change here is that while the old law made it a federal offense to "willfully and knowingly" enter a restricted space, now prosecutors need only show that you did it "knowingly"—that you knew the area was restricted, even if you didn’t know it was illegal to enter the space. This has been characterized in some quarters as a small technical change that hardly warrants an arched eyebrow, much less a protest.
But it’s important to understand what has changed since the original law was enacted in 1971, because it shows how much a tiny tweak to the intent requirement in a statute can impact the free speech of everyone.
For one thing, the law makes it easier for the government to criminalize protest. Period. It is a federal offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison to protest anywhere the Secret Service might be guarding someone. For another, it’s almost impossible to predict what constitutes “disorderly or disruptive conduct” or what sorts of conduct authorities deem to “impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.”
The types of events and individuals warranting Secret Service protection have grown exponentially since the law was enacted in 1971. Today, any occasion that is officially defined as a National Special Security Event calls for Secret Service protection. NSSE’s can include basketball championships, concerts, and the Winter Olympics, which have nothing whatsoever to do with government business, official functions, or improving public grounds. Every Super Bowl since 9/11 has been declared an NSSE.
And that brings us to the real problem with the change to the old protest law. Instead of turning on a designated place, the protest ban turns on what persons and spaces are deemed to warrant Secret Service protection. It’s a perfect circle: The people who believe they are important enough to warrant protest can now shield themselves from protestors. No wonder the Occupy supporters are worried. In the spirit of “free speech zones,” this law creates another space in which protesters are free to be nowhere near the people they are protesting.
Consider that more than 6,700 people have been arrested at Occupy events since last September. Thus, while these changes to the law are not the death of free speech, they aren’t as trivial as the administration would have you believe. Rather, they are part of an incremental and persistent effort by the government to keep demonstrators away from events involving those at the top of the political food chain.
Let’s start by recalling that political speech—of the sort you might direct toward Newt Gingrich or Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, both of whom merit Secret Service protection—is what the First Amendment most jealously protects. Demonstrators can almost never be muzzled based on what it is they want to say. The First Amendment also has a special solicitude for speech in what are called traditional public fora. There is a presumed right of access to streets, sidewalks, and public parks for the purpose of engaging in political discussion and protest. And while the government can always impose reasonable limits on demonstrations to ensure public order, that power comes with a caveat: It must never be used to throttle unpopular opinion or to discriminate against disfavored speakers. That is a powerful caveat: The degree of slack a court will cut any given restriction on public protest will rest on whether the government appears to be acting even handedly.
Restrictions that apply equally to all subjects and all points of view will usually be approved by the courts if they are narrowly designed to advance a significant governmental interest, such as public safety. But protest restrictions that discriminate based on subject or viewpoint must be absolutely necessary to serve a compelling state interest. Courts rarely permit them.

The changes in Section 1752 thus really do matter because they permit those in power to relegate their detractors to perform their political speech in remote locations, far from the public and the press. They do so in the name of protecting the security of the government official, despite the fact that their actual motivation for doing so has everything to do with the message of their opponents. Law professor Timothy Zick of William and Mary Law School published an outstanding analysis of what are known as “spatial tactics” in the Texas Law Review a few years back. When it comes to relegating demonstrators to obscurity, two approaches predominate: keeping protesters outside an expansive, sanitized bubble that surrounds the very event they have come to protest, or allowing them to come closer, but only within the confines of heavily policed “protest pens” that one federal judge likened to temporary internment camps.
Here’s one way the new legislation becomes doubly problematic: The exclusion zones imposed by Section 1752 have no natural or intuitive spatial boundaries. They can be as large as law enforcement claims is necessary to ensure the security of whoever the Secret Service is protecting. The “free speech zone” is a moving target, not a delineated area.
Brett Bursey learned that distinction the hard way. The 50-year-old brought an antiwar sign to an October 2002 Bush rally at an airport in Columbia, S.C. Police and Secret Service agents told Bursey to take his sign to a free speech zone a half-mile away or face arrest for trespass. He refused.
Bursey knew more about state law than the officers arresting him. Thirty years earlier, he had demonstrated against the Vietnam War when Richard Nixon visited the same airport, and demonstrators who refused to disperse were charged with trespass. The South Carolina Supreme Court threw out their convictions.
So, not unreasonably, Bursey thought he’d get the same result in 2002, and to a point, he was right. The state trespass charges against him were indeed dismissed on the strength of the precedent that he himself had helped to set a generation earlier. But four months later, he was charged with violating Section 1752. His conviction was upheld on appeal.
Bursey later described his experience to the San Francisco Chronicle. When he asked authorities if the problem with him staying in the area was related to the content of his sign, police told him that it did. As to geography: “The problem was, the restricted area kept moving. It was wherever I happened to be standing.”
Bursey might not have been convicted had he not engaged in a lengthy discussion with police regarding the legality of his actions, which helped to prove that his incursion was willful. A showing of that mental state is no longer necessary, however. In futzing with the intent requirements of Section 1752, Congress may well have had Bursey in mind.
It is tempting to dismiss the exile of protesters as a reasonable concession to security in what law enforcement would like you to believe is a new age of terrorism. After all, they will say, demonstrators are not being silenced; they are merely being denied access to the forum of their choice and the chance to amplify their own message by presenting it against the backdrop of the message they oppose. But that is precisely why we should be concerned.
Whatever they have come to say, the presence of demonstrators at these events carries a powerful message in and of itself that cannot be delivered as effectively in any other place. Being permitted to deliver their message in the same forum and at the same time as the speaker they oppose highlights the passion and commitment that animates the protesters. It underscores the existence of dissent, which is precisely what those who would sanitize the space around high officials would have us forget.
In short, citizen protests puncture the pretty, patriotic illusion of a focus-grouped, Photoshopped media event, and replace it with the gritty patriotic reality of democracy in action. That’s why the teeny cosmetic changes to Section 1752, which purport to be about new kinds of security, are really all about optics. They conflate dissent with danger, a Cold War habit which America was beginning to outgrow, but which after 9/11 seems to be a permanent part of the political landscape.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2012/03/the_anti_protest_bill_signed_by_barack_obama_is_a_quiet_attack_on_free_speech_.html
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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2012 05:02 am
@hawkeye10,
If you want to protest it is often necessary to show a willingness to challenge both existing behavior and existing laws...

If you really want to change forms, every detail of your life will be one of resistence to the old form and a welcome to the new...
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2012 02:22 pm
@Fido,
True enough, but what about my point? Do you think that this new oppressive effort from the state will be a wake up call to those on the left that the state must now be resisted if we are to be free.....that the aims of the state now massively diverge from ours?
Fido
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2012 07:42 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

True enough, but what about my point? Do you think that this new oppressive effort from the state will be a wake up call to those on the left that the state must now be resisted if we are to be free.....that the aims of the state now massively diverge from ours?
In most of thirty years I have been able to foresee the future, and know before hand who would get elected to high office and why, and tell if they were going to know some success and why... I am surprised the system has stood up as well as it has, and I think it has stood up because it does not step on morals, but simply demoralizes people... My father used to tell a story about killing frogs... It was that, if you drop a frog in boiling water he will try as much as he can to get out of it, but that if you put a frog in cold water and bring it to a boil, the animal will do nothing... The temperature is being raised on all of us, and we are seeing our rights taken as the price of having our livelihoods... No one wants to do anything... No one wants to be the first to take up arms... Everyone treasures the myths we were raised on, and though light and transient causes have given way to great greivances, no one wants to break the peace so long as there is the least hope of changing this oppressive society and obnoxious government...There is a greater likelihood that we will all put on iron collars, and shackles, and deliver ourselves into slavery with our children than that we will move against the government... Our only hope is that things get so bad so quick that the people move out of instinct to save their lives rather than their freedom which they rate at little value... We almost all give up a third of our lives for pennies to a class of people who despise us and abuse us... We take their abuse and raise our eyes in affection, and think, why was I not born rich...We have been for so long and in so many lands the champions of injustice that we can no longer honestly demand justice for ourselves because that would mean accepting the hell that lies before us... No; only rude and cruel shock will save us... Only reflex action meant to save us from destruction at the hands of our rich, that we later justify as if for freedom's love eternal will make us move...
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2012 10:14 pm
@Fido,
I hope that you are wrong, but I note that I hear with disturbing frequency the evaluation that if I had to rely on my peers to get the Bill of Rights then I never would, and that if my peers were confronted with a Nazi Germany then we would never confront Hitler....both of these things for some reason always remind me of when Miles Davis said that if he had to rely on niggers to support his music then he would starve.

No, there is not much rational justification for optimism, but I can not live with the alternative, which is of course hopelessness which always gives way to defeat.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2012 06:12 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

I hope that you are wrong, but I note that I hear with disturbing frequency the evaluation that if I had to rely on my peers to get the Bill of Rights then I never would, and that if my peers were confronted with a Nazi Germany then we would never confront Hitler....both of these things for some reason always remind me of when Miles Davis said that if he had to rely on niggers to support his music then he would starve.

No, there is not much rational justification for optimism, but I can not live with the alternative, which is of course hopelessness which always gives way to defeat.
Tyranny can exist almost any where with any degree of harshness or violence; but the experience of hitler was unique to Germany... Much of it went back to Barbarosa, and much of it can be related to nationalism, the success of Frederick the Great, and reaction to Napoleon... Culturally, that people grew up with a tyrant in every house hold... What I took for granted, that the people had the right to oppose the government when the government was wrong my German Grandmother did not at all accept... Individual freedom of thought was foreign... A dictatorship by the right is a real possibility... They are armed, violent, and they, meaning the evangelicals among them have a great influence on the military...The problem of organizing the right is as huge as that of organizing the left... A person would stand a better chance of herding cats with a broom...

From my experience with this people, we may be cruel and stupid most of the time; but are without the capacity for true malignacy... The right are ignorant, and so is the left...This situation is desirable only to the rich who say: The rabble should be denied power because they are uneducated, and denied education because they are powerless to demand it... But; technology is our defense, and mere bodies do not a fortress make... Like it or not, we must be allowed education and democracy too if we will much longer defend this land for ourselves...WE should remember that the American Indian did not want for intelligence or bravery... They were defeated by a less moral people wielding a more advanced technology...

The same thing will happen to us if we do not secure our freedom... We are educating the world, and they are paying for it with money we have given them to corrupt them and their leaders... Can we believe they will not turn our education and technology against us??? Why should they not, seeing us weak, helpless and divided as the rich would keep us to keep their wealth and power...They are concerned with keeping what they have from us; but they should concern themselves with keeping this whole place for all of us...They wave the flag in our faces, but at heart they are all internationalist, conspiring against this people with an international class of capital... The rich are not patriots.. They leave us defensless and add to the list of people who hate our guts... They are traitors of the worst sort..
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2012 10:27 pm
Same story, different day:

Quote:
The Obama administration has approved guidelines that allow counterterrorism officials to lengthen the period of time they retain information about U.S. residents, even if they have no known connection to terrorism.

The changes allow the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the intelligence community’s clearinghouse for terrorism data, to keep information for up to five years. Previously, the center was required to promptly destroy — generally within 180 days — any information about U.S. citizens or residents unless a connection to terrorism was evident.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/new-counterterrorism-guidelines-would-permit-data-on-us-citizens-to-be-held-longer/2012/03/21/gIQAFLm7TS_story.html?hpid=z1

Until and unless we the citizens get to ENOUGH! our abuse at the hands of the state will continue to escalate.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2012 05:37 am
@hawkeye10,
I have been reading about Burke in a book about the French counter revolution, and what he said in some respects makes a lot of sense... His conclusion was that circumstance make revolutions... And there is much to say for that, but those who charged the philosophes with conspiracy also have their point to make since parties were forming around ideas of government reflecting enlightenment notions of the individual, individual equality, and the basic rationality of men- long before the revolution...

The internet can be a sort of Jacobin Club, and left or right- invites conspiracy of thought if not in fact... I think the government is smart enough to not let things get too bad too fast so that people find themselves disillusioned and still with their morals intact... Any amount of slavery can be leveled on a popultion if their morals are gone... The U.S. and the rest of the West has an advantage in being able to play with money as though it were a game... They can drain some of the essential meaning out of it so that people begin to barter goods and services, which in turn requires a whole new form of relationship under the cover of the old economy; but unless the government pulls so hard on the paper that it becomes what it is: Paper, it can survive for a long time in crisis... Socialism is like Feudalism and a pay as you go society, and they could not withstand Capitalist money policy which amounts to making it a plaything of ones imagination... When they had to borrow from us to keep their technology on par, and to buy the affection of their upper management they were doomed... We live in a country of luxury and glitter; but it is all bought with funny money paid for a mortgaged future...

The government has pulled money out of our collective ass to keep Wall Street alive for one more cycle; but if they cannot keep Greece and Spain and a whole host of countries on their feet then many dominoes might fall leading right here... The Arab Spring that was never about liberty, and was about oil control has put more oil out of our reach than we care to admit... Now; to have this election go as they wish, and to drag us into another war, Israel is endangering the supply of oil from Persia... They could put our whole economy in the toilet for their fun, and then what help would America be to them if we were suffering through a command economy???

I think they think they know what is best for them, and they have seen us put ourselves literally over a barrel in Lybia, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan; and it is only natural for them to take advantage of our distress... I hope they do put us into the toilet... I hope they bring on a great financial and constitutional crisis...

I hope they get the president they want and find he is incompetent, as they all are on the right... I hope they drag us into another war we cannot afford to fight and will not win in the hopes of having complete control over the world energy market- and lose all... Things have to get very ugly very fast for people to be jarred out of their complacency and blind faith in the way things were...We have been living the dream; but if you scratch the surface it is all nightmare...
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