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Restricted Speech Zones

The “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011” (HR 347) may not be a particularly insidious piece of legislation in and of itself, but it does make it easier for the government to abuse it’s power.

To be clear, HR 347 did not create any new laws.  It simply amended a trespass law originally passed in 1971.

That trespass law, still in effect, makes certain temporary locations restricted where individuals under Secret Service protection are present.  Certain conduct within these restricted areas which would “disrupt the orderly conduct of Government,” is a criminal offense.

As the ACLU points out, the passage of HR 347 makes it easier for the government to convict these “disrupters”:

Under the original language of the law, you had to act “willfully and knowingly” when committing the crime. In short, you had to know your conduct was illegal. Under H.R. 347, you will simply need to act “knowingly,” which here would mean that you know you’re in a restricted area, but not necessarily that you’re committing a crime.

The president should be able to give a speech without being interrupted by protestors.  But with every reasonable allowance, there is always the possibility that it can be abused.

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‘Obama Truth Team’ Orders Website Shut Down

How progressive.

via: CFP

A political website that contained stinging criticism of the Obama administration and its handling of the Fast and Furious scandal was ordered to be shut down by the Obama campaign’s ‘Truth Team’, according to private investigator Douglas Hagmann, who was told by ISP GoDaddy his site contained information that was “maliciously harmful to individuals in the government.”

Hagmann, CEO of Hagmann Investigative Services, Inc., a private investigative agency serving a roster of Fortune 500 clients, was given 48 hours by GoDaddy to find a new home for his website before it was deleted.

Hagmann was told the reason for the shut down was because the website featured “morally objectionable” material. After GoDaddy refused to identify the complainant, only saying that it was not “any official government agency,” further investigation by Hagmann revealed that the order came from a group tied to Obama campaign headquarters.

Supreme Court Rejects Campaign Spending Limits (Again)

More speech, not less.

via: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday turned away a plea to revisit its 2-year-old campaign finance decision in the Citizens United case and instead struck down a Montana law limiting corporate campaign spending.

The same five conservative justices in the Citizens United majority that freed corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts in federal elections joined Monday to reverse a Montana court ruling upholding the state’s century-old law. The four liberal justices dissented.

“The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law. There can be no serious doubt that it does,” the court said in an unsigned opinion.

Revolution Muslim Co-Founder Sentenced To 11.5 Years For Threatening ‘South Park’ Creators

Attacks on free speech are attacks on all of us.

via: Daily Mail

A Muslim convert from New York has been sentenced to 11-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to threatening the writers of the satirical South Park television show for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammad among other charges.

Jesse Curtis Morton, 33, of Brooklyn, also known as Younus Abdullah Muhammed, ran a website that encouraged Muslims to engage in violence against accused enemies of Islam.

After one South Park episode pictured Mohammad disguised in a bear suit, the home addresses of the show’s creators were posted on that page and threatening messages were sent.

The sentence was handed down in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the U.S. Justice Department said and includes a three years’ probation after his prison term.

Morton pleaded guilty in February to making threatening communications, using the Internet to put others in fear and using his position as leader of the Revolution Muslim organization’s Internet sites to conspire to commit murder.

Mass. Town OKs $20 Fines For Swearing In Public

Passed by a pretty large margin.

via: AP

MIDDLEBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Residents in Middleborough have voted to make the foul-mouthed pay fines for swearing in public.

At a town meeting Monday night, residents voted 183-50 to approve a proposal from the police chief to impose a $20 fine on public profanity.

Supporters say the proposal isn’t meant to censor casual or private conversations, but instead crack down on loud profanity in downtown areas and public parks.

Middleborough has had a bylaw against public profanity since 1968. But it’s rarely, if ever, been enforced, because it essentially makes swearing a crime.