Pres. Obama undermining free-speech.

Pres. Obama is undermining not just the freedom of religion clause of the 1st Amendment but also free-speech.

Under a new law which Obama signed anyone protected by the Secret Service may request that there be no protests near them.  The penalty is a felony.

Consider that Pres. Obama can give Secret Service protection to anyone.

Therefore, you could be arrested by the Secret Service at their discretion or at the request of the protectee and then jailed with a felony charge for protesting anywhere near that person.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joe in Canada says:

    “supported overwhelmingly by both parties….”

  2. brave_yankee says:

    I think its also important to note on this law, that it passed almost unanimously in both the House and the Senate. That’s right, the Republican controlled House allowed this bill to go into effect.

  3. Richard says:

    It would not surprise me at all if at about 4:59pm EDT today, President Obama grants Secret Service protection to all workers at Planned Parenthood.

  4. wmeyer says:

    Tyranny is as tyranny does. One thing the vote in both houses makes clear is that Congress holds statist positions. Besides trashing the 1st amendment, they are oblivious to the much ignored 10th.

    Now, as to all those calm and nuanced positions about how these grievances may be redressed, let’s review: both houses passed this with minimal discussion, no debate per se, and almost unanimous votes. Do not look to Congress for a savior.

  5. ivan_the_mad says:

    @brave_yankee: Utterly unsurprising. The two parties have repeatedly shown themselves to be sorry excuses for opposition parties, and sorry custodians of our rights. Also, thanks for the link to the vote record and bill text.

    This is terrible. I’m sure this will be applied against partisan targets, i.e. Catholics demonstrating against the HHS mandate etc. Are recusancy and penal laws on the horizon?

    Also, my congressman, “crazy old” Ron Paul, was one of three nay votes ;)

  6. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Something else that will fail the Supreme Court test.

  7. Joseph-Mary says:

    It is not looking good for the freedoms we have enjoyed.

  8. wmeyer says:

    Joseph-Mary: It is not looking good for freedom of any sort. I have likened the government to a stage IV cancer, and I think with each new revelation, the comparison is more fitting.

  9. Scarltherr says:

    So with his minions plotting protests throughout the rest of the year, the question may be not just who can’t be protested against, but who doesn’t get secret service protection. What better way to eliminate opposition than by denying them protection.

  10. One of those TNCs says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for bringing things like this to our attention. A free society depends on a well-informed citizenry. It’s amazing what goes on in Washington that we never hear about…until it’s too late.

  11. brave_yankee says: I think its also important to note on this law, that it passed almost unanimously in both the House and the Senate. That’s right, the Republican controlled House allowed this bill to go into effect.

    What a coincidence. Just last night I was reading Mark Levin’s Ameritopia where he quotes Frederic Bastiat and Thomas Jefferson on the potential for a legislative assembly to wield tyrannical powers.

    Throw the bums out. All of them. And buy guns.

  12. iPadre says:

    It’s all part of Obama’s plan to destory Religious Liberty and every other freedom we enjoy as Americans. The persecution is rolling into high gear, “put on the armor of God”!

  13. Darren says:

    Interestingly, Rep. Gowdy of South Carolina, who looked great in grilling Sibelius in the other video in the other post, was another one of the votes in support of this. His stock went up then way down in my eyes in under an hour.

  14. Darren says:

    Ful text of the bill (it’s short)

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011’.


    Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
    -‘Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds
    ‘(a) Whoever–

    ‘(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
    ‘(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;
    ‘(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or
    ‘(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;

    or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

    ‘(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–

    ‘(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if–
    ‘(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
    ‘(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
    ‘(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

    ‘(c) In this section–
    ‘(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area–
    ‘(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President’s official residence or its grounds;
    ‘(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or
    ‘(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and
    ‘(2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.’.

    Speaker of the House of Representatives.
    Vice President of the United States and
    President of the Senate.

  15. moon1234 says:

    Which just goes to show that the US congress considers the president to be a KING. He has MORE protection than Hitler, Stalin or any other dictator EVER has. The fact that they can ARREST and JAIL somone for protesting based on their proximity to someone who they MAY or MAY NOT know has secret service protection is insane. How is this any different that granting the military the right to pickup anyone under the NDAA bill?

    You could be protesting at the local planned parenthood, etc., someones CAR drives by who is under secret service protection and you then are arrested for protesting near someone with secret service protection. I suppose under the NDAA act they could classify you as a domestic terrorist and then you don’t even get legal defense.

    People WAKE UP! This IS how Hitler and the NSDAP came to power in Germany. They did EXACTLY the same thing and there were FEW Germans who saw it coming. WHY do people keep voting for Obama, Romney, etc.? Why do they vote against their own life and liberties?

    Ron Paul is the ONLY guy left who actually believes in YOU. He DOES NOT travel with secret service protection. He specifically refused it. If you notice any of his rallies over the last few months there are THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people there to see him. NO ONE has ever tried to harm him. Maybe it is because he is fighting for the people!

    This won’t change until we have a president of the PEOPLE and not of the Congress or the Corporation. I know Father doesn’t like political comments, but we need to back the only candidate who will stop and reverse all of this legislation. We need someone like Ron Paul or we WILL wake up in 1940’s Germany with the only difference being the whole country will be a jail under electronic surveillance. Say the wrong thing at the wrong time and you will disappear.

  16. ContraMundum says:

    @Diane at Te Deum Laudamus

    I think you’re right. I hope you’re right.

    Ultimately, though, when the government wants to violate the Constitution and the vast bulk of the populace both does not know and does not care what the Constitution does and does not say, we have not only the dictatorship of relativism, but also the dictatorship of amnesia.

  17. Jim of Bowie says:

    “…or within such proximity to…” So broad it should be renamed The Gestapo Enabling Act. And this has bipartisan support?

  18. PostCatholic says:

    Thank you for posting the text of the act, Darren.

  19. Timbot2000 says:

    This section from “They Thought They Were Free” by Milton Meyer seems most apt.

    “”You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to “go out of your way to make trouble.” Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

    “Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, “everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to you colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, “It’s not so bad” or “You’re seeing things” or “You’re an alarmist.”

    “And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.

    “But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere or submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many as you did at meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller; attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends, you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still further and serves as a further deterrent to ·to what? It is clearer all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you must make an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a troublemaker. So you wait, and you wait.

    “But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked ·if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in “43” had come immediately after the “German Firm” stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in “33”. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

    “And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying “Jew swine,” collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in ·your nation, your people ·is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.”

  20. Darren says:

    PostCatholic: When saw that the title of it was “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 ” I said to myself, “huh????” So I had to find the actual text of it. It is so short no representative or senator can say it is so loooong and difficult to read and understand! It’s interesting that it is the last few lines that contain the really dangerous stuff.

    I have a friend who is in the US Navy, for 25 years now. I wrote an email to him in 2008, and, knowing he is a very conservative man whose heroes are Ronald Reagan and John Wayne, I asked, “how do you feel about the possibility of called Barack Obama your Commander in Chief?”. He never answered the question… and I never asked him again. I think his non-answer spoke volumes.

  21. gracie says:

    President Obama, with the willing acquiescence of Congress (Rome circa 27 BC, anyone?), has just transformed the Secret Service into the Praetorian Guard. The SS are now an elite group surrounding the President who, on the orders of Emperor Obama, can decide who is allowed to stand in the presence of Caesar Barry and his willing stooges.

    Next step – As a cost saving measure, Obama will simply give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the people arrested. Perhaps, for his amusement, he’ll throw these felons into an arena and they can fight each other for their lives.

  22. jhayes says:

    I don’t understand where all this uproar came from. That law has existed since 1971 and was last revised in 2006. Here is the report from the House committee explaining why they wanted to make changes now.

    The United States Secret Service provides protective services to the President, the First Family, the Vice President, former Presidents, visiting heads of state, and others. This protection covers not only the White House and its grounds but also any where a protectee may be temporarily visiting. The Secret Service also pro- vides protection at events designated as ‘‘a special event of national significance.’’

    Current law prohibits unlawful entries upon any restricted building or ground where the President, Vice President or other protectee is temporarily visiting. However, there is no Federal law that expressly prohibits unlawful entry to the White House and its grounds or the Vice President’s residence and its grounds.

    The Secret Service must therefore rely upon a provision in the District of Columbia Code, which addresses only minor mis-demeanor infractions, when someone attempts to or successfully trespasses upon the grounds of the White House or Vice President’s residence or, worse, breaches the White House or Vice President’s residence itself.

    H.R. 347 remedies this problem by specifically including the White House, the Vice President’s residence, and their respective grounds in the definition of restricted buildings and grounds for purposes of Section 1752.

    The bill also clarifies that the penalties in Section 1752 of title 18 apply to those who knowingly enter or remain in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so. Current law does not include this important element. The bill makes other technical improvements to the existing law. In the 111th Congress, the House approved similar legislation (H.R. 2780) by voice vote on July 27, 2010.

    Given that the revisions were adopted by unanimous consent in the Senate and with only 3 No votes in the House there doesn’t seem to be anything controversial about these changes.

  23. Widukind says:

    It seems to be quite odd – but why shouldn’t it, that the feds are
    so ravenous in attacking the laws of Arizona declaring them to
    be the epitome of “racial profiling”, that they turn around to enact
    a law that makes “political profiling” acceptable. Profiling is profiling
    isn’t it? Good is bad, and bad is good.

  24. EXCHIEF says:

    So the little dictator (er president) who was supposed to be the great unifier just might be the catalyst for a popular revolution which would include people like me that have never intentionally violated a law before. On so many fronts he and his minions in Congress, and that includes the spineless “opposition party”, are violating the Constitution and Bill of Rights. There comes a tme, and I believe it is fast approaching, when good citizens must stand up to tyranny even if it means arrest. Likewise, good Catholics must stand up to the immorality of this Marxist even if that means martyrdom. Never thought I’d see this in the USA in my lifetime.

  25. Johnno says:

    Obama’s being more open about what he is like never before. Consider his most recent slogan. We’ve joked about it here with Fr. Z. But the joke’s now on us!

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