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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    1. 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?

    2. 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.

  1. 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."

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. OhDeerMee123

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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."

  6. LastGasp

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

  7. 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.

  8. Callyson

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


    1. OldWhiteLies

      {snark off} Did some research after reading your comment. 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.

  9. widestanceromance

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

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

    1. mormos

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

  10. 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.

    1. 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!

        1. MissTaken

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

          1. 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.

    1. 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.).

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. mormos

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

        you mean peasantry.

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. barto

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

  17. 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.

  18. GeorgiaBurning

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. BigSkullF*ckingDog

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

  22. 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.

  23. LakeLucilleLoon

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

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 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…

  28. 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.

  29. ttommyunger

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

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