I don't care that the retail Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year. I'm almost continually freaked out that Halloween hasn't stopped since December 12, 2000. It's like we're all living in a demented version of the film, Groundhog Day. The alarm goes off, we get up, and something horrible happens. All day long we wish we could change something but the next morning ... the alarm goes off, we get up, and something horrible happens.
It's Kafka's world ... we just live in it. With a little bit of H.P. Lovecraft thrown in to ramp up the creep factor.
We can all remember how much fun it was watching the National Defense Authorization Act creep through both Houses of Congress, hoping against hope that Obama wouldn't sign the goddamn piece of paper that would invalidate our Constitution. But he did. Then to prove he wasn't an extreme Fascist, he added that he probably wouldn't use the law he just signed into being. But regardless ... it's there lurking in the shadows waiting ... waiting.
H.R. 347: Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011
It was introduced on January 19, 2011. This bill, with changes, passed in the Senate by unanimous Consent on February 6, 2012. The bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote on February 28, 2011. The vote was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass the bill, needing a two-thirds majority. This usually occurs for non-controversial legislation. The totals were 399 Ayes, 3 Nays, and 30 Present/Not Voting. H.R. 347 was presented to the President on Mar 1, 2012. He hasn't signed it ... yet.
How to describe this noisome sludge awaiting Obama's signature? John Robb from Global Guerrillas said it best:
"HR 347: One more step towards Neo-Feudalism
"In feudal times, you could be put to death if you didn't kneel when the carriages of the nobility passed by. This is a step in that direction (although very few people care).
"I'm not that excited to write about this type of thing. Seems like more of a chore than something I want to do. Why do I write about it? It's another milestone on the decline of the US that is worth highlighting for future historians.
"I can see these future historians now: poring over the output of software systems that cull trends from massive social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) repositories. Some will be shaking their heads, asking themselves: what were those numbskulls in the early 21st Century thinking about when their governments began to hollow out? Why were they so passive as things began to fall apart?
"This new bill, about to be signed by the President, is called the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. It is not as innocent as its name.
"Essentially, it makes it a federal offense to be anywhere near ... "somebody protected by the secret service. That's from the President to candidates for political office (Romney or Santorum) to senior government officials to foreign dignitaries (G20). In other words, lots and lots of people.
"While being sold as a way to close a loophole in the current law regarding White House security, it is actually much more than that. It changed one word that made a world of difference. What's the difference?
"To be arrested and imprisoned, all you need to do is be in the same building or area around a person that has secret service protection. You don't even need to know you are breaking the law to be arrested and imprisoned. If you are merely walking in an area 'secured' for a person being protected, you can be legally jailed for up to one year. If you are carrying something that can be seen as a weapon (legally or not), that imprisonment can be extended to ten years.
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