Obama signs anti-protest Trespass Bill

Published: 10 March, 2012, 00:52 RT
Only days after clearing Congress, US President Barack Obama signed his name to H.R. 347 on Thursday, officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events — essentially criminalizing protest in the States.
RT broke the news last month that H.R. 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, had overwhelmingly passed the US House of Representatives after only three lawmakers voted against it. On Thursday this week, President Obama inked his name to the legislation and authorized the government to start enforcing a law that has many Americans concerned over how the bill could bury the rights to assemble and protest as guaranteed in the US Constitution.
Under H.R. 347, which has more commonly been labeled the Trespass Bill by Congress, knowingly entering a restricted area that is under the jurisdiction of Secret Service protection can garner an arrest. The law is actually only a slight change to earlier legislation that made it an offense to knowingly and willfully commit such a crime. Under the Trespass Bill’s latest language chance, however, someone could end up in law enforcement custody for entering an area that they don’t realize is Secret Service protected and “engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct” or “impede[s] or disrupt[s] the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.”
The Secret Service serves as the police that protects not just current and former American presidents, but are also dispatched to monitor special events of national significance, a category with a broad cast of qualifiers. In the past, sporting events, state funerals, inaugural addresses and NATO and G-8 Summits have been designated as such by the US Department of Homeland Security, the division that decides when and where the Secret Service are needed outside of their normal coverage.
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund tells the International Business Times that the Trespass Bill in its current form “means it’s easier to prosecute under ‘knowingly,’” instead of both knowingly and willfully, “which is an issue because someone could knowingly enter a restricted but not necessarily realize they are committing a crime.” Speaking with IB Times, Verheyden-Hilliard tries to lay to rest claims that the Constitution will be crippled by the Trespass Bill, but acknowledges that it does indeed allow law enforcement to have added incentive to arrest protesters who could be causing a disturbance.
“[HR 347] has been described as a death knell for the First Amendment, but that isn’t supported by the facts,” Verheyden-Hilliard adds. “This has always been a bad law.”
Gabe Rottman of the American Civil Liberties Union adds to IB Times, “Bottom line, it doesn’t create any new violations of the law.” So far, however, it has raised awareness of the levels that the US government are willing to go to in order to make it harder to express ones’ self.
Under the act, protesting in areas covered by Secret Service could land a demonstrator behind bars, and the thing about the Secret Service (in case you couldn’t tell by their name), is that they don’t always make it clear where they are. You could even say that the service they provide, at times, is kept secret.
Presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are now officially covered under Secret Service protection, making it a federal offense to disrupt a campaign stop. That means whether it’s by way of a glitter bomb protest or causing a disturbance on the same Holiday Inn hotel floor that Santorum is staying in, doing such could cause a bit of a legal battle for the persons involved.
Although the G-8 Summit originally scheduled for Chicago this spring would have made much of the Windy City a protected area where crimes could easily be tacked on to arrested protesters, the event was moved this week to the presidential retreat at Camp David. In turn, many have suggested that the White House is only going out of their way to limit protesting rights. While a Chicago summit would have meant the Trespass Bill could have been enforced in the same area where thousands of demonstrators were expected to protest, moving the event to a heavily fortified rural location will instead deter protesters from likely coming close atto the meeting at all.
And before you forget, the president can now detain you for getting too close to his front yard, order your assassination if the country considers you a threat and lock you away for life with no charge if you’re alleged to be a terrorist. You, on the other hand, can’t yell obscenities at Newt Gingrich without risking arrest.

LINK: http://rt.com/usa/news/trespass-bill-obama-secret-227/


Hillsdale College Offering Free Internet Course on the Constitution.


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The Dictator-in-chief Strikes Again

President Obama ran roughshod over what he regards as the ancient, outdated Constitution of the United States when he issued a ruling that required Catholic institutions, and any other religious institutions that are not houses of worship, to provide coverage for birth control and sterilization as part of the health insurance package for their employees. This Constitution, which the president has characterized as interfering with his ability to get things done, states in its First Amendment that the free expression of religion may not be interfered with by the federal government. This president, notwithstanding, asked to reconsider his ruling, reaffirmed that demand earlier this week.

The national outcry was huge. Many people who are not Catholic stood up for religious freedom, even though they themselves have no objections to the use of birth control. These people recognized the constitutional problem over and above the immediate challenge to the administration of the healthcare legislation scornfully dubbed by many “Obamacare.” These people were very clear that people of faith are guaranteed by the Constitution, which they do not consider to be ancient and outdated, to live according to the teachings of their faith wherever they go. At work, on vacation, in the grocery store, anywhere. This country has been a beacon for freedom of religion shining around the world and attracting millions who were oppressed and persecuted elsewhere. Those who chose to speak out for freedom of religion demanded that the president stop making Catholic institutions provide health insurance coverage that conflicted with the basic teachings of their faith.

Today the president, clearly ignoring the constraints of the old, rusty Constitution which he suffers with little grace like a leg shackle on a convict, announced an accommodation for religious institutions. As soon as I heard the word, I knew that it was not a victory for the Constitution. Accommodation is always a workaround. People create accommodations when they don’t want to solve real problems. This accommodation is no different.

The president, once again demonstrating his disdain for the Constitution, did not announce that due to First Amendment rights, the government would withdraw its demand that Catholic employers pay for coverage that is an affront to their faith. Rather, he announced that the insurance companies that provide health insurance to Catholic employers would be required to provide free contraception, abortifacients and sterilization to the employees of Catholic institutions. He put the burden of providing this coverage to those employees on the insurance company. He simply ordered the insurance company to provide the service without charging the Catholic institutions any premium for the service.

Please explain to me where this president got the authority to make such a demand. If the president can force the insurance company to provide this service for free, then what can he not do? Why even bother with the whole idea of coverage and premiums? Why not just insist that all medical insurance companies simply pay the bill for all health services? Since the so-called “accommodation” is simply a different way of sidestepping the Constitution, what difference does it make how far he steps?

President Barack Obama is a human being created by God, just as I am. He is a husband and father who appears to have a good marriage and be a good parent. He is loved by God just as I am. Christ died for him, as Christ died for me. Barack Obama was granted the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by his Creator, just as I was. I respect his right to live, his right to enjoy personal liberty, and his right to work toward a dream.

I do not think that Barack Obama has any right as the chief executive of this constitutional republic to decree that insurance companies provide and pay for any health service whatsoever. It is the subject for another post, but as an aside, I reject the whole idea that provision of birth control and sterilization is a public health issue, too, and I reject the whole idea that there is a human right to birth control, abortion and sterilization at no charge. We are faced with a man whose ego knows no limit — not a constitutional limit, not a conscience limit. This is a profound danger to us all. I know it sounds disrespectful to call him a dictator-in-chief, but it is my way of getting your attention. He is behaving like dictators do. He behaves as if whatever he wants to do must be done because the universe requires it to be so. I wish I could be a red light and flash “Danger! Danger!” every time Barack Obama disrespectfully shreds another clause in the Constitution of the United States of America.