the airing of the grievances

Protesting Now Illegal, Basically

Big brotherLook at what the freedom-hating Chinese government has done! They’ve gone and passed a law saying that it is illegal to enter a “restricted” area even if you didn’t know that the space was restricted, and also made it illegal to protest in said “restricted” area or do anything that could be “disruptive,” like booing. Except just kidding, it wasn’t passed in China; it was passed in the United States, and it also makes protest punishable by up to ten years if it’s carried out anywhere that the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.

First noted yesterday by the Washington Times, the law is called the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act and it improves “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds” as well as places designated as the site of a  “special event of national significance,” and “building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.”

In other words, this bill improves Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds, special events of national significance (the state of the union, the state of the state, even the Superbowl or the Grammy awards), and places where the Secret Service will be visiting in order to offer protection to someone more important than you. Isn’t that wonderful?

But wait! HOW will all this stuff be improved?  Oh, just by making sure that you’ll get slapped with ten years in jail or a fine for knowingly entering these restricted areas, or acting with “disorderly” or “disruptive” conduct so that official business in one of these areas is disrupted. No biggie, right?

The good news is that this bill is bipartisan, since it passed unanimously in the Senate and with only three “no” votes in the House and Obama signed it into law. But don’t worry, it’s not like they’ll ever actually USE this law against anyone, so it’s totally fine, and even if they do, we’re free to sit at home and write all the angry letters we want, which will definitely help. Oh and also? This law was passed in March but there was no coverage of it in the mainstream media until just yesterday, when the Washington Times ran the above essay in the “Communities” section of their website. Aren’t you glad we don’t have a state-controlled press? Or live in a commie-fascist state like China? That would be horrible!

[The Washington Times]

About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

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  • bureaucrap

    But we can still protest in the privacy of our own homes.

    Wait, what?

    • memzilla

      No problem-o, the Feds wiil have the video footage from the drones (also legal!) to prove you're in the privacy of your home.

      Wait, what?

    • http://www.wonkette.com/ FlownOver

      Not if the "protest" (nudge, nudge) involves minors. Or sheep.

    • ph7

      COUCH UNFAIR TO CARPETS!!!

      • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

        DRAPES DON'T MATCH!

    • Lascauxcaveman

      In protest, I'm gonna wear my "I Like Ike" and my "Nixon Now" buttons as I fill my mail-in ballot, at home.

  • http://www.wonkette.com/ FlownOver

    This law cannot be applied to the area around a cash register without violating the First Amendment.

    • Darthhippy

      Unless you intend to redistribute the "speech" any where but up.

  • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

    So basically, the government gets to declare "Base!" but they don't have to tell you where it is?

    • anniegetyerfun

      Olly olly oxen free!

    • Billmatic

      Sounds suspiciously like Calvinball.

      • emmelemm

        You should know!

    • not that Dewey

      All your "base!" are belong to them.

  • Mittens Howell, III

    Occupy jail-cells!

  • memzilla

    This will be fascinating to watch play out in Tampa at the Rethuglican Convention, when "Stand Your Ground" and "It's OK To Be Strapped In Public" meets the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act."

    • Mittens Howell, III

      They'll get a walk.

      IOKIYAR

  • Gopherit

    I guess they were running out of mentally-challeged muslims to entrap.

  • keinsignal

    Interestingly, all three of the "Nay" votes came from Republicans: Justin Amash of Michigan, Paul Broun of Georgia, and (dun-dun-DUN!) Ron Paul.

    • Grief_Lessons

      Just as a stopped clock is right twice per day, Ron Paul, by constantly doing the same thing, periodically does the right thing.

  • le_derppage

    Okay, I 'get' that corporations are people now, but where does this leave those of us who used to be people with constitutional rights & all that jazz?

    • OhDeerMee123

      Just wait, the supreme court will have to eventually rule that people aren't really people.

    • CleverSobriquet

      Some people are more people-ish than others

  • fartknocker

    Next the US government will outlaw people wearing Halloween masks of their least favorite politician at a public event. But don't worry, Bubba the Teatard will still be able to pack his 40 caliber Glock and stand his ground.

  • coolhandnuke

    This really sucks. Now I have to cancel my protest at the Teen People's Choice Award Show. What will I do with all the signs I made–"Real Men For Menudo."

    • le_derppage

      Do you know any Mexican cannibals?

  • LastGasp

    Ha! And here we were all worried about the imposition of Sharia law. I feel so foolish now…

  • Mittens Howell, III

    "special events of national significance (the state of the union … )"

    Joe Wilson? It's the Secret Service, we're here to retraoctively escort you to your prison cell.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      I bet you $10,000 that they made sure that they're exempt.

  • Callyson

    So, the fucking teabaggers carried *guns* to rallies, but it wasn't until OWS that this cockamamie bill passed?

    FFS…

    • http://www.wonkette.com/ FlownOver

      Cockamamie (Kok-a may-mee), n. A particularly hush-hush 1950's GOP fundraising event. See also Pat the Money.

  • http://loljazzcatz.blogspot.com/2012/06/introducing-bad-note-millstones-of-jazz.html Chet Kincaid_

    Paragraph 4 contradicts paragraph 1. Is it "knowingly" or "unknowingly"?

    • http://www.wonkette.com/ FlownOver

      Yes.

    • Mittens Howell, III

      Any ingly will do.

    • HogeyeGrex

      Sir? You're going to have to come with us.

    • http://wonkette.com OldWhiteLies

      {snark off} Did some research after reading your comment. GPO.gov final full text has them both as Knowingly.

      Short little piece of work, though, isn't it? Knock off the header crap and normalize margins and there is mebbe a half page of 8.5×11, even with appropriate subordinate indentation.

  • Baconzgood

    The free speech zone will be located under the bridge 7 miles away.

    • Grief_Lessons

      …and localized to a space equidistant between your left and right ears.

  • widestanceromance

    Well, this is some feel-good Friday snarking material, ain't it?

    Can't we keep Friday afternoons reserved for dick jokes?

    • mormos

      i want john boehner to do something stupid so we can have an article called boehner's boner

  • bumfug

    Oh stop, it's for your own good. Calm down – here, have a nice chicken sandwich.

  • http://www.wonkette.com ChillBill

    But lining up outside your local Chick-Fil-A like a fucking idiot is still permitted, right?

  • PuckStopsHere

    Do NBA games count? Because booing Lebron James might be worth doing the time.

  • anniegetyerfun

    I was once chased out of a unmarked restricted area in China by uniformed guards bearing automatic weapons. That was fun, I miss China.

    • MissTaken

      That happened to me, too! Then again I was climbing a 15' fence to get into school after curfew while drunk on Zhejiang beer, but still!

      • anniegetyerfun

        Um… we were in the same program?

        • MissTaken

          Maybe! I taught English at Pui Ching Commercial College outside of Guangzhou. Fun times!

          • anniegetyerfun

            Oh, OK, no. I was in Beijing and then Xinjiang. Never made it to Guangzhou, actually, but plan to some day, even though I can't understand the language in the south.

          • vtxmcrider

            We Americans can't either.

  • Freewayblogger

    Yes, but they'll never catch me.
    http://freewayblogger.com

    Thousands of signs posted on freeways – No Arrests.

    • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

      Freeway!

      I heard you died.

      • HistoriCat

        You can't kill an idea whose time has come.

      • http://www.gurukalehuru.wordpress.com gurukalehuru

        That was Snake Pliskin.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Who would Jesus bomb?™
      Really?

  • memzilla

    O/T, but great grafitti at a Torrance Chik-Fil-A.

    • SorosBot

      But what?

    • Tundra Grifter

      That is the most professional griffito I've ever seen.

    • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

      I want to kiss the person who did that.

    • shelwood46

      An idiot on Gawker claimed this was but one of many incidents, and went on to compare it to "the vandalism of the Jews in Germany" (I'm guessing because he's only vaguely familiar with Kristallnacht, from fapping to it.).

  • TootsStansbury

    The Washington Times?!

    • http://dismalpseudoscientist.wordpress.com Fraudulently_Joe

      First thing I did when I saw that was search the bill name to look for a non-nutcase blog talking about it. I found Snopes, which is, ehn, good enough, I guess. But that's about it.

  • mrpuma2u

    Each state will have a designated free speech zone located in the bumfukiest farm field far away from anything, and since no media will go there the thugs with badges will just tase and club everyone at will.

  • http://lostintarnation.blogspot.com/ SayItWithWookies

    Wait — we're supposed to be getting all jumpy over something printed in the Washington Times? They haven't printed an actual fact in decades, much less anything a real human being needs to care about. On the other hand, they're always on the bleeding edge of the journalism about the secret UFO base at the North Pole, so maybe I'm wrong.

    • http://dismalpseudoscientist.wordpress.com Fraudulently_Joe

      What are you talking about, NORAD issues a press release about that UFO base once a year.

      • mormos

        404 not found

        LOL!

  • http://www.wonkette.com ManchuCandidate

    I'm still waiting for the Teabaggers to be pepper sprayed and beaten… or does that only apply to hippies, commies and non white people?

    • WhiteyMcFlyover

      Ain't been sprayed or tazed! Next question!

  • http://www.wonkette.com Lionel[redacted]Esq

    James O'Keefe should be quaking in his boots, so there is a good side to this.

  • SorosBot

    So now they're legally codifying W's old practice of having the Secret Service drag any non-conservatives away from any and all of his speeches?

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      With help from the likes of Mayor Bloomberg — drag 'em off to jail, and when the convention's over, let 'em go. The politicians are protected from the unpleasant experience of hearing from the citizenry, so it's totally worth it.

      • mormos

        "The politicians are protected from the unpleasant experience of hearing from the citizenry"

        you mean peasantry.

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          Tomato, tomahto.

  • http://www.wonkette.com Lionel[redacted]Esq

    And someone should point out that the Washington Times is about as reliable of news source as the little elf that whispers into Gretchen Carlson's ear.

    • http://simplyleftbehind.blogspot.com/ actor212

      Yea, except this time they got the bill right

      Even a blind squirrel can trip over his nuts if they're big enough

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Seems that only a few right-wing nutter sites paid any attention to this at all.

  • OneYieldRegular

    Can I be arrested for wearing my "Mitt Romney went to Europe and all I got was this lousy $1,000 fishbird t-shirt" t-shirt?

  • MissTaken

    Not being allowed to say "Boo!" is totally cool, but covering contraception so women can control when they have children requires Congressional hearings on Freedom of Religion? Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • Extemporanus

    This is good news for Queen Gertrude, methinks.

  • lurker_above

    That whole "right of the people peaceably to assemble" thing is so passe anyway.

  • http://www.notfrisco.com/colmatales/norton/proclaim.html#declaration Joshua Norton

    But we can still show up and wave around our guns, right?

  • barto

    Does this mean Joe Wilson won't be let into the State of the Union address? Could be a good thing, just sayin'.

  • StealthMuslin

    Eh, the right to peaceably assemble is soooo 200 years ago…

  • http://dismalpseudoscientist.wordpress.com Fraudulently_Joe

    I'm really glad that we're finally getting around to clarifying that the First Amendment really means that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, and that bigoted assholes have the right to say whatever they want without ever being criticized, and nothing else whatsoever.

  • GeorgiaBurning

    This is a great victory for the two-party system, helping to keep it at two. Also for policemen who need overtime pay.

  • Guppy

    even the Superbowl or the Grammy awards

    Because these poor corporations can't afford their own security, the taxpayers will have to pay for it instead.

    Yay, fiscal conservatism!

  • Biel_ze_Bubba

    When did Congress hire former Soviet propagandists to invent titles for these piece of shit laws? Or are they outsourcing it to North Korea? "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act" my ass. More like the "First Amendment Erosion Act, Extension of 2012."

    Those fuckers haven't "improved" anything, in years.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    I wonder if this will affect the protest I am planning of the new secret super-highway I just found out about?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Johnny-Appletruth/133951326629923?sk=wall deanbooth

    Just like Wonkette, the government does not allow comments.

  • Wilcoxyz

    Can we apply this retroactively to Chick-Fil-A?

  • http://howtosavetheworld.ca/ BZ1

    I thought the Secret Service only visits Colombia?

  • Blunderthing

    The President will possibly be visiting the Wonkette web site in the future or the past. All commenters are under arrest. Submit voluntarily. That includes me. All hail Mighty America o land of liberty sweet Jesus sing with me, o happy day! Freedom is Slavery.

  • LakeLucilleLoon

    Is it still okay to bring hookers to the areas where the Secret Service is serving?

  • http://twitter.com/Rainbow_Meow Rainbow_Meow

    Wonkette is obviously not on the right petition notification email lists, because this has been a thing on the internet for months now, right? Or maybe it wasn't and I psychic-ed up some blog posts about it in my head?

    • bobbert

      Naw, this was a thing briefly back when it was passed.

      • http://twitter.com/Rainbow_Meow Rainbow_Meow

        Thanks man!

  • http://hong-kong-actresses.blogspot.com/ Chow Yun Flat

    Thank goodness this important story was covered by the Washington Times. If it had been in one of those rabid right-wing rags full of racist rhetoric I might not believe it.

  • HogeyeGrex

    Apparently, all these protests are working. Congress has been alerted to a very serious problem and has taken steps to make things better.

    Unfortunately, the solution they've come up with has nothing to do with fixing any of the myriad problems facing the average American. Rather, they tell everyone to shut the fuck up or it's ten years in the hole for you.

    Well, I guess that's one way to deal with a general public that is dissatisfied with their government. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Biff

    Oh for fuck's sake. I'm going to see Ron White in Vegas tonight, doesn't that qualify as a ”special event of national significance”?

    Hope she likes chocolate…

  • http://my.execpc.com/~artkm/rabbit_hole.html MilwaukeeKent

    I was going to say something but then I thought better not…

  • chascates

    You can always start a religion, get tax breaks, raise all kinds of money pretending to 'heal' people, and talk gibberish to people instead of the old-fashioned way to protest.

  • mormos

    your move occupy

  • ttommyunger

    Those privately owned and operated prison cells aren't going to fill themselves, Pilgrims.

  • TribecaMike

    Well, it's about time.