President Obama: Veto The “Anti-Free Speech” Bill

Written by Nell Greenberg

Topics: Action

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H.R. 347 would make free speech a felony

Image via OccupyYourCongress.info

Update: Obama signed H.R. 347 into law last week.

Our right to assemble and speak freely in protest of the government is under serious threat this week.

Last Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously (388-3) in favor of H.R. 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, which could impose federal criminal charges, including prison time, against people who participate in protests at locations protected by the Secret Service or identified as being of “national significance” by the Department of Homeland Security.

I was shocked when I found out about this wide reaching, frightening bill, and even more shocked by how little attention it’s getting. We definitely can’t let this one pass under the radar. Please call on President Obama today to veto a bill that threatens our free speech and tears at the fabric of our democracy.

It is no exaggeration to say that this bill would hinder protests like the recent Keystone XL demonstrations at the White House and recent Occupy protests at federal buildings. Would it discourage you to attend a protest if you knew you could face federal criminal charges just by being there?

As rt.com explains:

Outside of the current presidential race, the Secret Service is responsible for guarding an array of politicians, even those from outside America. George W Bush is granted protection until ten years after his administration ended, or 2019, and every living president before him is eligible for life-time, federally funded coverage. Visiting heads of state are extended an offer too, and the events sanctioned as those of national significance — a decision that is left up to the US Department of Homeland Security — extends to more than the obvious. While presidential inaugurations and meeting of foreign dignitaries are awarded the title, nearly three dozen events in all have been considered a National Special Security Event (NSSE) since the term was created under President Clinton. Among past events on the DHS-sanctioned NSSE list are Super Bowl XXXVI, the funerals of Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, most State of the Union addresses and the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

There is speculation that this bill comes in response to concerns about the heightened climate of protest in the country magnified by the Occupy movement. It comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s decision to move the G8 summit to Camp David as well as tightened ordinances in Charlotte, N.C., the site of the Democratic National Convention in September.

Anyone in this country who believes that part of how we work for environmental, social, economic or political change is through nonviolent protest of our elected representatives and their policy positions should pay very close attention to this bill.

At the exact same time that corporations have been given unbridled influence over our government by the Citizens United ruling, which protects corporate money as free speech, the peoples’ right to assemble and speak freely is being diminished.

See here, here, here and here, if you want to find our more about the bill, which has received considerably less coverage than you might imagine.

A measure of our democracy is how the government treats its dissenters, let’s make sure President Obama does not let this bill become law.

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. VETO H.R.☭347 says:

    Voice your opinion and tell president Obama to VETO Legislation Bill “H.R. 347″ which violates the context of the First Amendment which states: “Congress shall make NO law…ABRIDGING…the RIGHT of the PEOPLE peaceably to ASSEMBLE, and to PETITION the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    The Petition link is @ http://wh.gov/9r0 by Ron Paul.
    SAVE our first amendment rights by March 29, 2012!

    H.R.☭347 sets the precedence in taking away our rights “☮Tools” to keep this country FREE!

    Although you might not take part in these events (maybe because of your busy lives and in raising your children), it is because your able to raise your children in this free country that relies on these events. We certainly did not get our freedoms with H.R.☭347. So ask yourself this question (?), why is our U.S. Government always so concerned about those who express their objectionable views and believes to keep Government from interfering with our lives and families (?), that is the U.S. Government always trying to find ways to spend our hard working tax dollars in making deceptive “Law Titles” like the “Patriot Act” passed by Congress, which really should have been called the “Spy & search everyone ACT” or the “Make everyone’s private information public and pass it around in the N-DEx network ACT” and the so called Bill “SOPA & PIPA” pulled from Congress last month, which should have been called the “Keep citizens misinformed, ☭☪ompliant ACT” and to “Stop their freedom of speech from being expressed on the internet, by copyrighting the ©Bills & ©Laws being discussed ACT”?

    So you see, these B.S. / U.S. law titles like “The Trespass Act” which really should be called “Invisible & moveable property line with an a*shole in the middle ACT” do not mean what they say, unless you read the context within!

    So please sign this petition @ http://wh.gov/9r0 and share it with your friends, since now is the only hope we have for our President to VETO this un-constitutional bill and to keep our country strong and free for You, Everyone & all Future Generations after.

    P.S. “Let’s be grateful this Petition did not infringe any copyright “PIPA” ©Laws pulled”

  2. Bob says:

    Has he actually vetoed it? It doesn’t seem to state whether he did or not…

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