THE AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES  4:20 pm August 3, 2012

Protesting Now Illegal, Basically

by Kris E. Benson

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]

 
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{ 103 comments }

bureaucrap August 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm

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

Wait, what?

memzilla August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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?

FlownOver August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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

ph7 August 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

COUCH UNFAIR TO CARPETS!!!

actor212 August 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm

DRAPES DON'T MATCH!

Lascauxcaveman August 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

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

FlownOver August 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

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

Darthhippy August 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

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

actor212 August 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

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

anniegetyerfun August 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Olly olly oxen free!

Billmatic August 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Sounds suspiciously like Calvinball.

emmelemm August 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm

You should know!

not that Dewey August 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm

All your "base!" are belong to them.

Mittens Howell, III August 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Occupy jail-cells!

memzilla August 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

They'll get a walk.

IOKIYAR

Gopherit August 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

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

keinsignal August 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

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

CleverSobriquet August 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Some people are more people-ish than others

fartknocker August 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Do you know any Mexican cannibals?

LastGasp August 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

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

Mittens Howell, III August 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

"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 August 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

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

Callyson August 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

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

FFS…

FlownOver August 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm

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

Chet Kincaid_ August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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

FlownOver August 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Yes.

Mittens Howell, III August 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Any ingly will do.

HogeyeGrex August 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm

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

OldWhiteLies August 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

{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.

BoatOfVelociraptors August 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Holy hell, I had to lookup 8.5 x 11 as a paper format!
When you said "remove the header" I was thinking along these lines.
http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec14

Baconzgood August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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

Grief_Lessons August 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm

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

widestanceromance August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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

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

mormos August 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm

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

bumfug August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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

ChillBill August 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

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

PuckStopsHere August 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

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

anniegetyerfun August 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Um… we were in the same program?

MissTaken August 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

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

anniegetyerfun August 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

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.

Freewayblogger August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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

Thousands of signs posted on freeways – No Arrests.

actor212 August 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Freeway!

I heard you died.

HistoriCat August 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

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

gurukalehuru August 4, 2012 at 7:47 am

That was Snake Pliskin.

Biel_ze_Bubba August 4, 2012 at 2:57 am

Who would Jesus bomb?™
Really?

memzilla August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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

SorosBot August 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm

But what?

Tundra Grifter August 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

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

actor212 August 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I want to kiss the person who did that.

shelwood46 August 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm

The Washington Times?!

Fraudulently_Joe August 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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.

SayItWithWookies August 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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.

Fraudulently_Joe August 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

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

mormos August 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm

404 not found

LOL!

ManchuCandidate August 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Ain't been sprayed or tazed! Next question!

Lionel[redacted]Esq August 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

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

SorosBot August 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

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

you mean peasantry.

Biel_ze_Bubba August 4, 2012 at 2:49 am

Tomato, tomahto.

Lionel[redacted]Esq August 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

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.

actor212 August 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

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

OneYieldRegular August 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

This is good news for Queen Gertrude, methinks.

lurker_above August 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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

Joshua Norton August 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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

barto August 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

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

StealthMuslin August 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

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

Fraudulently_Joe August 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

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

Guppy August 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

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

deanbooth August 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Just like Wonkette, the government does not allow comments.

Wilcoxyz August 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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

BZ1 August 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I thought the Secret Service only visits Colombia?

Blunderthing August 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

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

Rainbow_Meow August 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

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

Rainbow_Meow August 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Thanks man!

Chow Yun Flat August 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm

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…

MilwaukeeKent August 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm

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

chascates August 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

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 August 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

your move occupy

ttommyunger August 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

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

TribecaMike August 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

Well, it's about time.

vtxmcrider August 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

We Americans can't either.

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