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G_j

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Gender: Male
Current location: NC
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,102

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Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347

http://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/protesting-nato-what-know-about-secret-service-and-hr-347


Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347
By Gabe Rottman, Washington Legislative Office at 12:58pm

The forthcoming summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, set for May 20 and 21 in Chicago, could be the first public test of H.R. 347, the recently passed law that expanded the ability of the Secret Service to suppress protests in or around certain restricted zones near individuals under its protection. We've written about H.R. 347 here and here.

NATO summits are interesting affairs. Unlike the periodic meetings of member nations, the summits are more stately and elaborate events, meant to introduce major policy changes or new members to the strategic alliance (among other things). This means lots of Very Important Persons, and lots of Very Controversial Issues. Both of these things mean lots of expected First Amendment activity.

As far as H.R. 347 goes, the NATO summit has been declared a "National Special Security Event" by the Department of Homeland Security. This puts the Secret Service in charge of the overall security plan. My understanding is that the FBI chips in with counterterrorism and counterintelligence assistance, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (another DHS agency) is in charge of emergency preparation. It also means massive security preparations and infrastructure—and lots of opportunities for the suppression of lawful protest.

The entire area around Chicago's McCormick Place—the main site for the summit—will be off-limits to unauthorized personnel, and I believe will qualify as a restricted zone under the federal law that was amended by H.R. 347. Additionally, the Secret Service plans to close parts of Lake Shore Drive and I-55 near the summit as well as other locations in the Loop.

For protesters, this means a couple of things. First, be aware of the types of conduct covered by the law amended by H.R. 347 (all of this stuff was actually illegal before the recent revamp, which is partially why the bill sailed under the radar). That is, you cannot:

(1) Enter or remain in one of these zones without "lawful authority";
(2) Engage in "disorderly or disruptive conduct" in or near one of these zones that "impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government activities or official functions" (but you must intend to impede or disrupt those activities or functions);
(3) Block or otherwise impede an entrance or exit to one of these zones (but you must again intend to disrupt government activities or official functions); or
(4) Engage in any act of physical violence against person or property in any restricted zone.

Second, note this is where the lowered intent standard in the law, which we explained here, could come into play. Previously, per the one case discussing the scope of the law amended by H.R. 347, there was a question about whether you had to affirmatively know your actions were unlawful under federal law before you could be convicted under the relevant federal statute. Under H.R. 347's amendments to that statute, I think it's safe to say that requirement is gone. All you need to know are the "facts underlying" the offense, meaning that you merely need to be aware you're engaged in the conduct described above in one of these zones, but not that it's illegal.

In practice, this could mean that protesters who inadvertently find themselves in one of these areas could be arrested and charged under H.R. 347. That said, the law also requires that the area be "posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted," meaning that it would have to be obvious based on signage, a cordon of police officers surrounding the area or some other means that the area is a federally restricted area. If not, it would arguably be difficult to form the required intent to commit the crime. That will not necessarily, however, stop the authorities from arresting you.

What will be particularly interesting (read: alarming) is if the Secret Service starts to use the law to get at protests that are physically removed from the event. For instance, if a lawful protest that is within earshot of the summit gets rowdy enough that it "disrupts" the "orderly conduct of Government business or official functions," does that trigger the statute? We just don't know. The Secret Service certainly has the ability and obligation to secure the individuals it protects, but it also must permit lawful protest to be seen and heard. It cannot use H.R. 347 to "sanitize" the summit.


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MAPS: What Your State Is Good At, And What It's Lame At

MAPS: What Your State Is Good At, And What It's Lame At
maps show that each state is No. 1 in something.

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http://www.upworthy.com/maps-what-your-state-is-good-at-and-what-its-lame-at?c=cd1

Invasion of the The Austerions (This Modern World)

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Stop the sale of Trayvon shooting targets

http://campaigns.dailykos.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=144

Stop the sale of Trayvon shooting targets

The silhouette on the paper target is faceless. But the hoodie, the Skittles and the iced tea leave nothing to the imagination. This is meant to be Travyon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old shot to death in February in Sanford, Florida.

Skittles brand candy is clearly depicted in the targets. The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a division of Mars Inc., produces and markets Skittles. They could stop the sale of these targets by taking legal action against the Hiller Armament Company, which sells the targets online.

Stop the sale of these targets by signing our petition to The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and Mars Inc.

To The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and Mars Inc.

We, the undersigned, urge you to take legal action the Hiller Armament Company for its unauthorized use of Skittles brand candy in a product sold by Hiller. The Skittles brand is clearly seen on the paper targets sold by Hiller intended to depict Travyon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old shot to death in February in Sanford, Florida.

Please take legal action to stop the sale of these items.

http://campaigns.dailykos.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=144

Video shows Walker saying he will use 'divide and conquer' strategy

Gov. Walker denied his "budget repair bill" was about union busting, but this Jan. 2011 video exposes the truth and is shaking up Wisconsin.

Donate $4 below to recall Walker next month.
https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/pcccrecallwalker?refcode=e5-2mo-fin

&feature=player_embedded

"Sorry"

from a NC friend,

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Help Stop Idaho's War on Wolves

https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=2437&s_src=3WDW1208AFTX5&s_subsrc=fblike

Help Stop Idaho's War on Wolves

One year ago, Idaho finally got its chance to manage its wolves.

Since then, they have failed to manage these animals as the ecologically important wildlife that they are. Instead, state officials have pulled a bait-and-switch on wolf management planning.

By abandoning their original commitments to the Service and pandering to anti-wolf extremists, Idaho officials appear to be pursuing the ultimate goal of near decimation of wolves in the state.

It is clear that as a result of delisting, Idaho is pursuing a race to the bottom in wolf management -- and appear to be unraveling one of our nation's greatest conservation success stories: the restoration of Western wolves.

Take action now: Write to Interior Secretary Salazar urging him to immediately hold Idaho officials accountable for their extreme anti-wolf policies.

Education and an anti-gay mentality don't mix too well

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The majority voting on the rights of a minority

is simply wrong.


All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Thomas Jefferson

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.

Mahatma Gandhi



Which counties cast the most votes against amendment one

This map is showing which counties cast the most votes against amendment one than in favor for it and notes the percentage of people 25 or older who have completed a bachelor's degree.

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