New Anti-Protest Bill Flies Through Congress – Both Parties Stage Nearly Unanimous Votes to Outlaw Protests Against Government

by on March 5, 2012 · 100 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights, Organizing, Popular

HR 347 is an authoritarian bill some say is designed to restrict the Occupy movement and to outlaw protests near or at government buildings.

Editor: On the heels of the passage of the NDAA of 2012 comes a new bill, HR 347, designed – it appears – to outlaw protests near government buildings or against government services.  President Obama has yet to sign it. Learn about it here and do something about it.

By Tom Carter / wsws.org / March 3, 2012

A bill passed last Monday (Feb. 27) in the US House of Representatives and Thursday (March 1) in the Senate would make it a felony—a serious criminal offense punishable by a lengthy prison term—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 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” 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 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 constitutes a significant attack on 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 a felony 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. For one thing, it replaces language prohibiting “willfully and knowingly” entering a “restricted area” with language prohibiting merely “willfully” entering a “restricted area.” This seemingly minor change dramatically increases the reach of the law.

What lies behind the unprecedented attack 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 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 for 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.

Graphic courtesy of Dees2.com

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Frank: How in h… do these bills fly out and we seem to be aware of them only the next day?

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avatar Adam March 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Because most of you were foolish enough to support Obama thinking he’d be any different from Bush. Same masters, different puppet.

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avatar Chris W March 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

Like the article says, Obama hasn’t signed it yet, you toolbag. There were only 3 Congressmen that voted against it, so if you vote, I guarantee that the Congressman you voted for voted in favor of it. Obama is the only hope to stop it.

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avatar Cate Cavanagh March 8, 2012 at 10:14 am

I agree with you Chris!

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avatar Lois March 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

“toolbag?” You guys are so funny.

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avatar G March 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Haha what hope were you referring to, Chris? Obama doesn’t know what hope for the American people means. He talks like he does…but he doesn’t

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avatar Amber March 13, 2012 at 7:44 am

He signed it.

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avatar Chris W March 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

And yes, Obama signed it. He *was* the only hope to stop it. For someone who doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about anyone in Congress, he sure likes to rubber stamp any bill that comes to him. Checks & balances should be between branches of government, not just between Republicans and Democrats. What’s the point of veto power if you don’t use it?

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avatar Deborah Stone March 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Well it’s getting more and more to sound alot like a police state. How can we put up with our rights being siphoned off, slowl but surely? Unconstitutional, and downright frightening.

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm

It is also my firm belief that the ease of the destruction of our economy greased the way for the passing of the NDAA . They just did it. No sweat. Now the protestors are at risk with this new bill? Look at the speed of the creation of these new bills. Who are those that posted that it was impossible for our country to become like Nazi Germany? Today attacks on womens rights in riot gear, tomorrow??????? They are coming after us from all directions.

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avatar Deborah Stone March 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Lois
I totally agree with you. This is so reminiscent of pre-Nazi Germany it is scarey. I don’t know how educated people can’t see the parallels.

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I wonder. The 1%, Congress, Corporations are certainly educated. Maybe with their abundance of money, cronyism, and the lust of power and money drives them. I just don’t know. Agree about how educated people cannot see the parallels. What I do know, there is a lot of complacency with consumerism, and I see this complacency around me all the time. It just seems like every day we are steamrolled with something threatening to our freedoms. I don’t want to appear to be dramatic, but more notice needs to be taken, especially educated people. This is very serious and scary. No even insiduous action anymore. You don’t like it, tough, we have a nice cell we can throw you in if you dare to protest.

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avatar Gina March 7, 2012 at 4:48 am

Lois,
Are you telling me that uneducated people are too stupid to understand what is going on in government?

Even though I don`t have a college degreeit doesn`t make me any dumber than you!

I resent your snobbery!

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avatar Deborah Stone March 7, 2012 at 8:22 am

“Uneducated” doesn’t refer to someone’s college degree, or lack thereof, at keast the way I understand it. I know people with advanced professional degrees and are completely uneducated about the ways of the world (never traveled, no common sense, they don’t read or keep up with current events).

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avatar john March 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

It might be said that having an education should not be confused with being intelligent, though it’s hard to get through the steps of an education without minimal intelligence. An intelligent person, exposed to an education, gains knowledge.
That knowledge, tempered with years of experience in life, leads ultimately to wisdom.
These terms are often mistakenly interchanged with one another.
Some people might assume a degree makes them “smarter”, when really it merely means you were exposed to more knowledge. Another argument holds that it took them 16 or more years to learn what took others 12 or less, but they were exposed to less knowledge. Hard to say if they retained more or not.
Whatever your view, one should never forget that the wise man never stops learning, and realizes the more you know, the more you realize how little you really know.

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avatar Lois March 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

Gina, Please accept my apology for offending you. What I was referring to, and probably worded badly was, it is not true that all uneducated people are dumb. What I was trying to say was, some people do not keep up with the news and what is going on around them. When I was raising two young children, and my husband was heavily into politics, I paid little attention to politics thinking that my husband would take care of all that. And I also believe that if the people that are privileged to have a college degree, shame on them for not making use of it, and being complacent.

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avatar Relani Prudhomme March 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I think it’s more an issue of psychology than education. Just as a child of abusive parents may watch a parent become more an more threatening and unreasonable and convince herself that, if she stays in line, she should be okay. For many, the idea that we are being raped by our government’s live-in boyfriend, Wall Street, while she looks on is unconscionable, too frightening to acknowledge.

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avatar Ryan Roland March 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

How about a mention of the three people that voted against this bill:

Ron Paul – TX
Justin Amash – MI
Paul Broun – GA

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avatar Frank Gormlie March 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Ryan, thank you.

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm

You are right. More, please.

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avatar Shane Finneran March 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Again, Ron Paul comes through for civil liberties. 100% of Democrats in favor? Yikes.

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avatar Josh March 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Ron Paul didn’t vote on this bill. Here’s the vote: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll073.xml

The three no’s were:
Justin Amash (R-MI)
Paul Broun (R-GA)
Keith Ellison (D-IN)

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avatar Ryan Roland March 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Yes he did.

You’re looking at Roll Call 73 (Feb 27):

“On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Concur in the Senate Amendment” (388 Yea/3 Nay)

This just basically made the House Bill match the Senate version.

The actual vote for passage of the bill was the next day (Feb 28) and was Roll Call 149:

“On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended” (399 Yea/3 Nay)

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll149.xml

It’d be interesting to know what made Ellison against including the amendment, but then get in line and vote for the actual passage of the bill.

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avatar Larry Boatman March 7, 2012 at 7:50 am

Being that I’m from Minnesota (escaping the winter weather here in San Diego), I recognize the name Keith Ellison as being the Democratic representative for Minnesota’s 5th District (basically the City of Minneapolis and some of its wealthier suburbs).

His change of vote really does need to be questioned as he’s the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (though is he caving in because he also sits on the House Financial Services and Democratic Steering and Policy Committees and has “seen the light” of the 1%)?

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avatar mrspaddy March 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

Ron Paul did not cast a vote. He was absent.

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avatar Ryan Roland March 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

I think you’re looking at the wrong vote.

Ron Paul did vote against it.

See my comment above.

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avatar TxTilly March 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Ron Paul ABSTAINED.

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avatar bodysurferbob March 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

i am so pissed off at both parties – i could scream. where’s all the liberals? huh? where are all the congressional civil liberties defenders? let’s cancell congress and start anew.

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Yes, where are they? Is anyone concerned and see how much further this country is going down?

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Oh yes, just how would we cancel Congress? They are the ones with the power, certainly not the 99%.

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avatar Deborah Stone March 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

ME TOO ME TOO
A bunch of WIMPS

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Probably in P.B. getting…….

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avatar bodysurferbob March 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

(hey editordude, where’s my avatar?)

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avatar unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG March 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Three ain’t much, unless of course each one has a brand new 8 ton personnel carrier purchased from a grant by the Homeland Security Police State Guys.

Hey, I just heard an echo; my office may be bugged!

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Yeah, Guys. Just a big bucket of laughs. Not to worry though, all is well. It was just the women who were attacked by the Naz.. in their riot gear. And Guns? Oh, wait, I’ll get my Kentucky rifle, that will stop them.

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avatar artsy native March 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

Lois,
To get at them squirrels you gotta hit the branches they’re sittin’ on. Figuratively speakin’. If it passes…geeze.

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avatar Lois March 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm

My son hit a squirrel on the ground after fleeing the tree branch.

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avatar Gator March 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Second Ammendment will be gone by years end.

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avatar Lois March 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Damn, that too. I guess we will just have to take the Constitution and tear it up.

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avatar Gator March 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hard to believe that Dennis Kucinich voted for this BS.

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avatar Halo March 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm

What ever you do, dont give up your guns… you are going to need em at the rate this is going. Sad to say, but true.

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avatar Josh March 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Dennis Kucinich did not vote. I assume he was campaigning for his primary election (taking place on Super Tuesday versus Marcy Kaptur, who also didn’t vote):

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2012/roll073.xml

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avatar Ryan Roland March 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

No, Kucinich *DID* vote for it.

You’re looking at the wrong vote.

Role Call 73 (Feb 27): “On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Concur in the Senate Amendment” This basically just made the House version of the bill match the Senate version.

The actual vote to pass the bill was the next day (Feb 28) and was Roll Call 149: “On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended”

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll149.xml

Kucinich did vote for it. Only Ron Paul, Justin Amash and Paul Broun voted against it.

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avatar Susan March 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Ryan Roland, The link to the Feb 28, Roll Call 149 vote is for 2011. Outdated.

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avatar Ryan Roland March 8, 2012 at 8:16 am

Ohp… You’re right. Amazing that it was Feb 27/Feb 28 but just a year apart.

I stand corrected. Thank you.

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avatar sada anand kaur March 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

We are a nation of awakening sheep, stop whining, take courage.
We are the 99%.
We are asleep no more.
Join Occupy or other socially progressive action group.
Get on it. Everyday take some action towards our saner tomorrow.
You’ll find yourself in the company of people of great heart & passion.

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 11:35 am

Engage. Now is the time . . .

An active citizenry is a healthier country and a requirement for democracy to function.

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avatar Jackie Rickett March 6, 2012 at 2:01 am

who proposed the bill time to unelect them /him or her

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avatar mampa March 6, 2012 at 4:01 am

I’m a Tea Partier, but I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you folks on this one. This steps firmly on the toes of EVERYBODY’S First Amendment rights. The politicians want to get all of us far enough away from them that they don’t have to hear us?? I don’t think so…..

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avatar dorndiego March 6, 2012 at 8:54 am

It’s looking pretty bad. For the first time in my life I’m thinking of voting for a guy who sounds and sorta acts and thinks like Ross Perot. And thinking about the jailed Thoreau who, when Emerson came to see him and asked “What are you doing in here?” responded, “What are you doing out there?” There’s got to be a way out of here.

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avatar Shane Finneran March 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I kind of like part of Ron Paul, too. But among other things, the way he’s turned out to be Mitt Romney’s Favorite Little Buddy on the campaign trail makes me hesitant. Shouldn’t the likes of Romney turn Paul off?

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avatar Halo March 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Romney and Obama are getting funds from the same corporations, so Romeny is just as bad as Nobama!

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avatar Larry Boatman March 7, 2012 at 9:02 am

“There must be some way out of here . . . .” But in that score, the joker was talking to the thief . . . . “So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late . . . .”

Isn’t it intriguing how verses from the Bible (Isaiah 21:5-9 [700 – 600 BCE), Bob Dylan (John Wesley Harding, December 27, 1967), and Jimi Hendrix (Electric Ladyland, October 25, 1968) can come together and spark a movement!

“Prepare a table, watch in the watchtower . . . . Go set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth . . . . And he saw . . . a chariot of men with a couple of horsemen . . . and said, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!” (Isaiah 21:5-9)

Is “Babylon” the “American Spring” (watch for it beginning Spring, 2012)!

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avatar Lois March 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Got to get my Jimmy Hendrix out and listen to it again. You know, like a classic that you learn more each time you listen to it or read it. Thanks for the thought.

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Thats the problem, Larry. U appear to be far too content to simply watch, and encourage others to do the same old, old, old thing. Your agenda becomes clear.
The only bible quote for u is that your feet seem to run swiftly towards evil.

People, lets not be further distracted.

Actively seek out and join the groups spreading the messages which resonate for u. We will make some more mistakes, so dont be surprised and then taken up by the future distractions saying you did the wrong thing. At least u can say what u did and how u managed along the way, communicating your experiences rather than misquoting ancient lore or digging up someones grave to ask them what they meant by their song.

Each renewed opinion makes a difference, and through the engagement processes we will learn to make better choices.

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avatar MA Rebel March 6, 2012 at 8:56 am

Why are we going down this road? Because the sheep keep voting in these people. Every time there is an election moment, people will complain collectively about Congress, the President and all state level polictians. But when it is time to pull the lever, they vote the same people in!
“They’re doing a good job for the state. Look at the stuff the got for us.”
“But these are the same people that have been blindly raising your taxes, cutting off funds for things that will reduce prices and basically call you stupid to your face.”
“But they’re doing good down there. It is the whole Congress that is the problem.”
Time to wake up people you want to “make changes” you have to start with your policitian. If he/she is not doing what you feel is right then vote them out. By re-electing them you are telling them that you like what they are doing and should continue it. Take the time and research what you’re voting for BEFORE you get into the booth. Remind the elected official that they represent you, not the parties. Right now both parties care about one thing: power for their party! Whatever happens to the country doesn’t matter as long as they have the power.

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avatar Deborah Stone March 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

Honest Politician=oxymoron.
From what I see, the choices are from bad to worse to unacceptably horrendous. Does it get worse?

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avatar Larry Boatman March 7, 2012 at 9:08 am

But you always have to remember that if voting changed anything, then it would be outlawed. And, “To live outside the law, you must be honest . . . .”

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avatar Frank Gormlie March 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Ah, Larry, you forget that the right has been working to outlaw voting since Day One. Do you recall all the impediments to African-Americans voting, to the resistance to women voting, and all the bogus results those voting machines churned out? So, voting for most Americans has been outlawed for most of our history. Hmmmm

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 11:49 am

Exactly! Get involved, people. Sign your petitions. Spend your money wisely. Communicate with your family and friends and co workers and bretheren to further their education against outdated stereotypes. Its working, albeit too slowly. Woman can vote today and, more importantly, children today cant imagine going backwards. Racists are losing.

If we engage and remain engaged, our grandchildren will not be swayed and they will do whats good and natural for everyone.

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avatar micaela shafer-porte March 6, 2012 at 11:26 am

SCARY… just finished a depressing stint on criminal grand jury duty and you’d better watch out, because they ARE coming to get you : they, our courthouse employees, are proudly announcing that SAN DIEGO HAS THE 3rd LARGEST PENAL INDUSTRY (they call it a “system”) IN THE NATION, (after LA and Chicago) and are getting the state assembly to grant them a 2nd criminal grand jury (only one other city in the US has two: LA) to further enhance the indictment potential!!!! can’t really see the need as we,” the one and only seated criminal grand jury in the county”, had only two cases to hear, taking a grand total of 4 days, (tuesday-thursday, of course) and then were dismissed for lack of “work” after two weeks (criminal grand juries are supposed to be for one month) Most states don’t even use criminal grand juries anymore; one-sided prosecution naturally leads to indictments… but here in san diego, we’ll be needing more folks to fill up the new woman’s prison we are building….
What bothers me the most is that soon, with all the new laws and such that make pretty much everyone a criminal felon, WHO are they gonna get to serve on the juries?

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avatar Halo March 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

What scares me is type in google search bar “fema camps” see what it brings up. You will be surprised. The government knows EXACTLY what they are doing. We will be in concentration camps just like in Germany. Sad to say, but dont know why else they need concentration camps in America. Not to mention, there are over 256 muslim training grounds here in America. Training grounds for what? To be better terrorists, or to “keep us in line?”

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avatar Lois March 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I have seen some interesting post about Jesse Ventura involved in the above. Take a look.

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Please. Dont look.
Jesse “the body” Ventura. Really?

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avatar JMW March 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

Astounding. Frightening. Motivating?
Can’t say I look for much hope from politicians. While, sadly, congress has often seemed no more than a commercial fraternity whose humanity could hardly be under estimated, the president, for whom I had not quite yet given up hope, even after mandatory health insurance, lost me, too, when he signed NDAA. Reluctance? How about some pipes? Some voice saying, “NO! Totally wrong! Can’t do it! Won’t do it! Get out! What the hell are you thinking of? This is the US! Land of the FREE!”
How can we be expected to vote? For what? For who? It doesn’t seem to work. I’m not “just discouraged.” Really don’t want to vote for Obama again (assuming the elections are held), and the Republicans have Mitt, Newt, Rick, or Ron. Sounds like the guys in a singing group. (And now, live, it’s the BOOBIES with their big hit, “Missionary Style.” That’s Mitt on bass, Newt sings lead, Rick plays lead and Ron bangs them skins.)
So, do what? Not seeing a large variety of high quality choices here. Ex-patting? Resisting somehow? Seems clear this incursion is intentional, invasive, blatant, malevolent, well-funded and will be ongoing with a deliberate and ugly stubbornness. Whirlwind coming?

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avatar Justin March 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm

The problem is people who select the lesser of evils, like yourself which continues the tyranny.

“Really don’t want to vote for Obama again (assuming the elections are held)”

Why would you even vote for him? I didn’t know Bush III had so much appeal. Unless of course he appeals to your sense of how a president should look like on the outside.

If that’s the case, you should stay far away from politics, otherwise I would think that your prone to buy an oceanfront property in the middle of Nevada.

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avatar Goatskull March 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

So if the only choises are the more evil and the lesser evil then what is someone supposed to do? That’s all there is running. Politics by it’s very nature is a corrup line of work.

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avatar Shane Finneran March 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I think on election day, when there truly are only two options, the lesser of two evils is the easy call.

BEFORE election day is when concerned citizens need to get to work. BEFORE election day, you can try to turn that lesser evil into an even-lesser evil.

As for the greater evil, between election days, I consider it a dangerous distraction. For example, the GOP primary race. Any time wasted paying attention to that circus is time lost forever.

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avatar Goatskull March 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm

That’s why it’s taco Tuesday for me rather than Super Tuesday. Cheers from Ponces in Kensington.

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 11:55 am

Tx, Shane! All your writings consistently remind U.S. to engage in the best experiment in Democracy ever undertaken, todate. WE can make ot better, and we ARE making our voices heard. Its has never been easier. A fully active Democracy is a healthier Country.

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avatar Lois March 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Very good point, insight.

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm

greetings. the philosophers of old had a comment on that. when the choice is between one evil and a lesser evil. Choose neither.

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

greetings. old saying “Don’t vote. It only encourages the bastards.” by voting you give them the illusion of having a public mandate. they do not have one at all. but they count the votes and create numbers in their favor. don’t give them any numbers to work with. do not be a simple sheep being led to slaughter. if you cannot fight them. At least do not help them create the illusion that they were voted into power and represent the people.

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avatar JMW March 7, 2012 at 1:56 am

You attribute qualities to me. You question my intelligence. Can you make a point?

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Greetings. Voting in the United States is a total fraud. the president is elected by the electoral college not the people. Does not matter one whit who you vote for now. The government decides who gets in office, not the people. besides who counts the votes cast? Why the government of course. just like it was in Communist Russia where the communist party always won with a 99% of the vote. And we are supposed to believe the counting of those proven liars? Why? I would rather trust the Mafia to count the votes then the political parties who always win regardless of the votes. I have a screen saver of George Carlin that says “Imagine the stupidity of the average person. Then realize that half of them are even stupider.

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avatar Anarchist Alternatives March 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

Dear liberals,
Can we riot yet ?

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Quote from John F Kennedy. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible. will make violent revolution inevitable.” wise words from the past still appropriate today. The government just voted to make all peaceful demonstrations illegal so next is the inevitable revolt of the sheep. when hopefully they will find some wolfs in sheep’s clothing mixed in with the flocks.

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avatar goBallistic March 9, 2012 at 11:58 am

Figures you want civil war, Richard.

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

the quote said revolution not civil war. does not civil war have the definition of one part of a country against the government of the country, like our war of the rebellion that we call the civil war now. Here in America, where the south wanted one form of government and the north another. considered a civil war because it was a internal war I would imagine. but a revolution is the over throwing of the government in power by part of the population who wish it to be replaced and have exhausted all means of doing so by any other means. we do not want to break away from America, we want America to become what it could have been before it was taken over by the professional politicians and greed.

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avatar Justin March 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Death Camps, Chemtrails, Illuminati, GMO, Smart meters, water fluoridation, 9/11, vaccinations, etc, are all connected, and part of the agenda for the 21st century. Their goal of ultimate control of the destiny humanity will be nearly complete once World War III starts, and the public at large will be forced to comply with any laws passed through fear, we will start to see the great human culling begin.

A world population of under 500 million will be reached in under half a century, and the embedded micro-chip will be the ultimate form of control. For the better of course.

If you don’t think you can handle fighting those things, then give up now, because humanity has already lost.

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avatar DavidC March 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

This is absolutely terrifying! I cannot believe how quickly this country is deteriorating into a police state. I have a strong feeling something big is coming that is going to see all these new laws come into action very soon. Definitely before the election. Time to move to Chile? I think so. Adios amigos!

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Greetings. the tentacles of our political system reach a long way. you would not be safe anywhere on this side of the world I’m afraid. and no worry about the coming, or expected elections. is much doubt that any election, even a horribly flawed one as we get now every time we are asked to vote, will come about. If Americans do not learn the lessons of Nazi German rule soon and apply the only thing that works with Fascists, then the only choice is go down fighting or die like sheep led to slaughter.

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avatar Deborah Stone March 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

David C-
I’ll see you in Santiago.

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avatar Anthony Badami March 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm
avatar Kerry March 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Go to We The People at WhiteHouse.GOV and sign the petition asking President Obama to VETO this bill.

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Great idea? that would have as much chance of success as the Jews of Germany sending a petition to Adolf Hitler to stop the genocide. this is Obama’s bill after all. not one against his rule, one to guarantee it continues.

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

greetings. I have been a student of World War 2 history, probably since I was born during it and lost many relatives in Europe to it. Main thing that sticks out in my mind is that the people exterminated by the Nazi’s all co-operated in their own destruction. none of them believed that their own democratic government could possibly do this to its citizens. believed it all the way up the chimneys at the crematoriums at the concentration camps. the people placidly allowed the Gestapo to simply arrest them and send them to the cattle cars to the furnaces. I have felt for a long time that if everyone that they tried to arrest and send to the camps instead of simply obeying as the Jews did, if they had simply blown away the Gestapo agents. after all what did they have to lose by resisting. to be arrested was to be gassed or starved and worked to death. at least if they resisted they would take the Gestapo agents to hell with them. not much satisfaction but better then being sheep to be slaughtered.

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avatar Lois March 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

Unfortunately it is true that victims of the concentration camps permitted their own demise. Have you ever seen the movie “The boy in striped pajamas?” It perfectly confirms what you talk about. The movie is on Netflix if you wish to see it. It shows how two children dug under a fence to get into the camp, and how obediently and trusting they were when going along with the adults they were told it was time “to go to the showers.” Even all of the reading I have done about this, I still don’t understand exactly how these murders took place on such a massive scale. It is a terribly sad movie, the people quietly going into the “showers” and especially the two little boys who thought it was a big adventure.

“people exterminated by the Nazi’s all co-operated in their own destruction.”

” none of them believed that their own democratic government could possibly do this to its citizens.” How true this is right here in our own country by a large group of complacent citizens.

I am afraid to say that I agree with your statement above, resist.

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avatar Lois March 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Quote from John F Kennedy. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible. will make violent revolution inevitable.” wise words from the past still appropriate today.

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avatar editordude March 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

By this morning, this article had 3200 hits just within less than 24 hours.

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avatar B.A. March 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

Paul voted against.

Here is the vote:

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll149.xml

Another version of “the enabling act” from 1933.

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avatar Lynn Atkinson March 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

The king of Zor he called for war and the king if Zam, he answered. And they fpashioned their weapons one upon one blah blah blah. . .the battle begins at the rise of the sun. . . They looked out on the field and none upon none. The war it was over before it began. Two little kings playing a game-they gave a war and nobody came. Face towards the shadow and the shadow gets larger, fsce towards the sun snd the shadiw is behind. EVERYONE STOP VOTING-MAKE NO VOTES COUNT AS MUCH AS VOTES. SO IF THERE IS A LARGER POPULATION IF REGISTERED VOTERS THAT VOTE FOR NO ONE THEN YHAT SEAT REMAINS VACANT. Walk away. Go to change.org and sign the potition firing congress and the president-We the american people fire you. Mske fun if them. Laught at them-help everyone look st them as a giant joke-they must he taken seriously so if you don’t allow yourseld to be sucked into the role the. I am having a horrible.tine commenting. So have a meeting, get your rep there and fire them. Furthercall in a citizens arrest for bullying behavior. Tell them we thr people are informing them that no votes count also and hsnd them the new priceedure that you have worked out fir them just don’t play along. Stop being theserinity.to accept the things I can-BE THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CSNyou’d be surprized at what you can do especially when you think outside the box.y expect-the e tactscriptvthesyoe t that you are suppose to say, you can also change things-be the change you wamt to see in the world ( ghandi) I add right here and now. Get up as many folj as you can to set up a date and time when You the people who they represent are doing a ’employment performanxe review’ People in every statebdo this and inform the our egotistical employee

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avatar Tal March 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Theres actually a petition going around the internet that is trying to bring some attention to this horrible bill but the media still hasen’t really listened, maybe this will help

http://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-overturn-the-bill-hr347-that-will-make-protesting-a-federal-crime

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avatar Fred March 8, 2012 at 7:19 am

Let them keep it up…\
they have no idea what sort of uprising they are going to trigger.

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avatar Richard Muszynski March 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

like the book. “unintended consequences.” the masters here have no idea of the minds of the people. no idea of the consequences of their actions in stripping the people of what little they have left. just as the King of France could not understand that what he was doing was killing the people of the country, so never thought that they could possibly rise up against the royalty.

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avatar Rwolf March 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Free Speech If You Dare?
How Far will Congress Go–TO CRUSH POLITICAL DISSENT?

Congress just passed H.R. 347: The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. Federal Government potentially can use vague terms in H.R. 347 to charge, prosecute and imprison anyone—who intentionally or unintentionally (enter or remain without permission) in any part of a restricted building or grounds designated restricted by the Secret Service or Homeland Security; or disrupt or intend to disrupt a function of Federal Government. Visitors, who don’t know it is illegal to be at a location including assembled persons; or protestors may be charged as criminal trespassers—without prior notice a person under Secret Service protection was present or coming to their location.

Innocent protestors standing too close to a debate venue could be prosecuted. What is too close? H.R. 347 mentions a building or grounds restricted in conjunction with a restricted area or event designated as a (special event of national significance). The term (In Conjunction) is so vague there is no limit what areas government might include and without notice as (restricted or a designated area).

Homeland Security designated e.g. as a (special event of national significance) Super Bowl XXXVI and the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. How close is too close for lawful demonstrators or supporters to the Democratic or Republican National Convention before being arrested under H.R. 347, especially when government can instantly deem a location restricted?

NEXT: Will U.S. Deem 1st Amendment Activities—SUPPORT Terrorism, Hostilities, Belligerents?

Where U.S. Government appears headed with the Patriot Act, The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and recently introduced “Enemy Expatriation Act” that would allow U.S. Government to Strip Americans of Citizenship without evidence or a conviction—is getting Congress to grant U.S. Government (The Executive Branch) the Power to arbitrarily arrest, charge, Indefinitely Detain Americans that participate in 1st Amendment activities (on the premise) certain 1st Amendment Activities appeared intended or were used to support or provoke hostilities, combatants, belligerents; terrorism and or threaten National Security. It is foreseeable millions of Americans would increasingly not attend political meetings, peaceful protests or make comments on the Internet out of fear they might be arrested, lose their job; be put on Homeland Security’s NO Hire List, especially if they work for a government agency or contractor—that happened in Nazi Germany.

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avatar Susie March 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

If it all comes crashing down – and it may, especially if our economic condition also deteriorates further – we need to establish a better system. I’d like to offer a suggestion: Set up a system that is aligned with our Constitution’s goal of prohibiting consolidation of power. Specifically, re-adopt our original Constitution with the first 10 amendments (the Bill of Rights) only. But instead of electing officials, select them from the general populace as we do for juries.

(Before you throw up your hands in dismay, just let it sink in for a bit… it’s not as wild as it sounds.) :-)

Under this system, our official’s task would be to run the machinery of government by following a minimal set of laws, not make new laws willy-nilly. Making new law reduces our freedom so it should be an act done slowly with great deliberation and reluctance.

Jury-style selection would prevent any form of power consolidation. It would require a population well-educated in self-government, of course, which would be a problem as things stand.

Jury-style service wouldn’t be as egregious as it sounds – any one who would serve would do so for only a single term. And keep in mind that governing was *not* a full time job when the United States was first established. The power-hungry have expanded it over time.

If jury-style governing seems too far out, we could keep our system as-is but vote for officials who campaign on NO new laws (or as few as possible. And each new law has a sunset clause). Imagine if we begin to demand no new laws and, in fact, demand that congress spend its time repealing existing laws. (Let’s start by repealing this anti-protest bill, the Patriot Act, RICO… ok, the list would be huge.) We could vote our way back to freedom.

Oh, and we could also vote outside of either Party.

I believe our strength would lie in shrugging off the divisiveness that our government keeps churning up and returning to our heritage of unity and (as Alexis de Toqueville noted again and again) brotherhood. Might sound sappy, but it used to work pretty well!

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avatar sheila March 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

We should get rid of every congressman that voted for this crap. That means they all go except for Ron Paul and the other two Republicans that voted against it.
B.O. goes to if he signs it!

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