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Mon Mar 5, 2012, 03:40 AM

HB347 is a disturbing assault on the first amendment

I was alerted to this piece of legislation via Naomi Wolf on Facebook:


A bill passed Monday in the US Congress and Thursday in the Senate would make it a felony—a serious criminal offense punishable by lengthy terms of incarceration—to participate in many forms of protest associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests of last year. Several commentators have dubbed it the “anti-Occupy” law, but its implications are far broader.

The bill—H.R. 347, or the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”—was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against the bill in the House of Representatives (the bill passed 388-3). Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill.

The virtually unanimous passage of H.R. 347 starkly exposes the fact that, despite all the posturing, the Democrats and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder in favor of the oligarchy.

http://chuckystuart.newsvine.com/_news/2012/03/03/10570464-us-congress-passes-authoritarian-anti-protest-law

42 replies, 6109 views

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply HB347 is a disturbing assault on the first amendment (Original post)
OKDem08 Mar 2012 OP
unionworks Mar 2012 #1
Le Taz Hot Mar 2012 #4
onenote Mar 2012 #8
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #16
onenote Mar 2012 #18
unionworks Mar 2012 #20
Lawlbringer Mar 2012 #2
ProSense Mar 2012 #3
unionworks Mar 2012 #21
Scuba Mar 2012 #5
onenote Mar 2012 #7
Scuba Mar 2012 #12
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #35
onenote Mar 2012 #6
SidDithers Mar 2012 #9
FSogol Mar 2012 #17
unionworks Mar 2012 #22
randome Mar 2012 #39
FSogol Mar 2012 #42
MineralMan Mar 2012 #10
unionworks Mar 2012 #24
Courtesy Flush Mar 2012 #11
onenote Mar 2012 #13
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #15
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #14
unionworks Mar 2012 #23
onenote Mar 2012 #27
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #29
onenote Mar 2012 #31
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #33
onenote Mar 2012 #34
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #36
onenote Mar 2012 #37
99th_Monkey Mar 2012 #38
onenote Mar 2012 #40
unionworks Mar 2012 #19
onenote Mar 2012 #26
unionworks Mar 2012 #28
onenote Mar 2012 #30
unionworks Mar 2012 #32
midnight Mar 2012 #25
woo me with science Mar 2012 #41

Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 03:46 AM

1. specifically aimed square

 

At the Occupy movement

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Response to unionworks (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:39 AM

4. +1

Funny this never came up when the TeaKlanners were having their rallies.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:58 AM

8. Funny it didn't come up when Occupy was having its rallies or any other rallies

in the years since it was enacted, originally in 1971, amended in 1982 and a few times since (most recently 2006).

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Response to onenote (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 01:15 PM

16. you are certainly living up to your handle. ~nt

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #16)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 01:53 PM

18. well, if there weren't so many folks on DU intent on perpetuating false facts about this bill,

I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself.

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Response to onenote (Reply #8)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:55 PM

20. see reply 19 n/t

 

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:33 AM

2. There's always the Internet

Until they put through a bill on that. But congress is so far behind the times on technology, they'll do that in about 30 years.

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:37 AM

3. Ah

"HB347 is a disturbing assault on the first amendment "

I thought fear mongering was a sport of the right wing?

The bill does no such thing. This nonsensical frame is being advanced by Ron Paul supporters.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=384646
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=384462

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Response to ProSense (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:56 PM

21. see reply 19 n/t

 

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:46 AM

5. Fearmongering? Perhaps, but why this bill? Why now?

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Response to Scuba (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:57 AM

7. It was proposed a year ago. Its not a major bill or a high priority.

So it took around a year.
As for why? Maybe because it was considered a good idea to close a weird loophole in the law under which it applied to places the President and VP "were temporarily visiting" but not to the WH or the VP's residence.

Whoop-de-fucking-do.

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Response to onenote (Reply #7)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:16 AM

12. Thank you.

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Response to onenote (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 12:01 AM

35. Classic line of bs: "Oh, it's just housekeeping. Not to worry. Nothing to see here." ~nt

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 08:55 AM

6. Debunked a bunch of times already

The only fearmongering going on here is by those who knowingly or unwittingly are spreading the false notion that this particular bill makes any significant change in the law. It doesn't.

If the president vetoed this bill tomorrow (and he won't) do you know what the law would be? It would be almost exactly the same as it would be if he signed this bill with one clear substantive difference: if the President signs the bill the bill would cover the White House grounds and the grounds of the Vice President's residence. Today the bill only covers locations where the President or VP are "temporarily visiting".

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:00 AM

9. Threads like this make the case for the return of unrec....nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 01:23 PM

17. Exactly. There are also 3 variations of this post on DU at the moment.

Definitely on someone's "to do" list for today.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:58 PM

22. see reply 19 n/t

 

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Response to FSogol (Reply #17)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 04:47 PM

39. 3? More like 8 or 9.

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Response to randome (Reply #39)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 06:36 PM

42. Yup, "Outrages" attempting to split the left just keep going, and going, and going....

and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going....

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:08 AM

10. I note that the article at the link does not discuss

the actual content of the bill, nor does it spell out why it is an assault on the 1st Amendment. I wonder why that is? Actually, I don't wonder, because this bill does nothing of the sort. The section of the bill being addressed, merely adds the White House and the VPs residence to locations that have some restrictions on protests, etc.

This is an attempt to stir people up about something that is not what it is said to be. A common tactic.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:04 PM

24. see reply 19 n/t

 

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:11 AM

11. Only a few Republicans opposed it -- no Democrats.

That's tragic. We're on our own.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/prot-m03.shtml

Any word on whether Obama will sign it?

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Response to Courtesy Flush (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 09:17 AM

13. Why wouldn't Obama sign it? Does he hate the Vice President?

The only thing this law does is restate existing law plus add the White House and the Vice President's residence to the "restricted areas" covered by the law. So why wouldn't he sign it?

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Response to Courtesy Flush (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 01:14 PM

15. The Bill is already law

in that it passed with veto-proof majorities, it was unanimous in the Senate,
and only one or two no votes in the House.

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 01:12 PM

14. Oh come on ... you are just being hysterical and paranoid

or so some DUers apparently think.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1251&pid=19051

I'm with you, in thinking this is a vile and suspiciously timed piece of shit legislation,
aimed primarily at Occupy and attempting to scare people away from even thinking
about protests and demonstrations at like the G8 meeting upcoming in Chicago, and
the party conventions as well.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:01 PM

23. never get a blueddog

 

... for a pet. You will spend all of your time cleaning up huge steaming piles of crap on D.U. threads....

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:12 PM

27. Suspiciously timed?

Really? Here is the timeline:

Introduced January 2011
Passed by House February 2011 and referred to Senate
Sent to Senate Judiciary Committee March 2011
Reported by Senate Judiciary Committee November 2011
Passed by Senate February 2012 and sent back to House
Passed by House on February 27, 2012 and sent to President on March 1

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Response to onenote (Reply #27)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:31 PM

29. Thanks for the information. This is helpful to know.

But seeing as how it was initially introduced before OWS is not particularly comforting to me;
as the law's clear intent is to try to make perfectly peaceful assembly and protest "illegal",
so 1%ers never have to actually SEE it or be embarrassed by it. Poor babies.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #29)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:35 PM

31. For the 99th time: the only intent of this bill is to extend existing law to the WH and VP residence

that's it.

If this bill had never been introduced, never passed, the substance of section 1752 would be the same as it is under HR 347 except that it wouldn't cover the WH and VP's residence.

Really. That's it. Stopping the Salahis. That is what HR 347 is about.

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Response to onenote (Reply #31)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 11:52 PM

33. The fact that we were already screwed 10 times over, before this bill added even more repressive

power to NDAA, Patriot Act, et. al. doesn't make it A-OK with me. sorry.

What does a police state look like?

This is what a police state looks like.

Have a nice day.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #33)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 11:56 PM

34. so you are opposed to making it unlawful to enter the WH and VP's residence without authorization

because you think that doing so adds repressive power to the NDAA and Patriot Act?

WHen you return to reality, give me a call.

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Response to onenote (Reply #34)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 12:14 AM

36. Ring!! Ring!!! This pretty much sums up my concerns.

Imprecise Language and the Risks of H.R. 347
Published 1, March 3, 2012 - by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger on Jon Turley's blog

Coincidentally and often, abuses of civil or human rights in the United States derive from
the same source as law made via precedent. That source is vague or overly broad legislation
and imprecise use of language. As a matter of good drafting practice, this is why precision
language is encouraged – to provide clarity and minimize ambiguity in the letter of the law.
When vague laws create issues in court, the court either makes a ruling creating precedent
and consequently a plan of action for how to address the issue moving forward although
occasionally a law is overturned in it's entirety for vagueness and the legislature can take a
fresh swing writing the law.

However, it seems to be a trend that vague or overly broad language could be fairly described
as being purposefully adopted allowing “wiggle room” for Federal authorities to potentially
abuse civil and human rights under the color of authority. This is a dangerous practice. The
issue of vagueness is at the heart of the NDAA scandal as recently discussed on the blog here,
here and here. While the NDAA poses a threat to your 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights, the
newest attack of vague language is aimed at your 1st Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech,
Freedom of Assembly and Freedom to Petition. It is found in the pending legislation of H.R. 347,
innocuously titled the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011″.
As currently worded, it might as well have been called the “Federal We’re Too Important To
Be Annoyed By Your Protest Act of 2011″ or (as described by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI),
one of the few Representatives to vote against the bill) the “First Amendment Rights
Eradication Act” because it effectively outlaws protests near people who are “authorized”
to be protected by the Secret Service. Being that the bill passed on a House vote 388-3 and
is currently coming out of committee in the Senate, its progress is something civil libertarians
and activists may want to monitor.


This is H.R. 347 (proposed 18 U.S.C. § 1752) in its entirety as it is coming out of committee:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011’.
SEC. 2. RESTRICTED BUILDING OR GROUNDS.
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;

MORE HERE: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/03/03/imprecise-language-and-the-risks-of-h-r-347/

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #36)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 07:41 AM

37. FAIL

That's the grade any decent law school professor (a term that apparently doesn't include Mr. Turley) would give Mr. Howington for his "legal analysis" of HR 347.

For starters, Mr. Howington claims that a comparison of HR 347 to the "current law" reveals that HR 347 "expand(s) the meaning of the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ to mean virtually any place in proximity to or place proper a government function or an “event of national interest” is taking place. "

One problem: the version of 18 USC 1752 on which Mr. Howington based his analysis is not the current version. Its a version that dates back to the mid-1990s. Here is a link to the current version. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1752

Subsection (a)(2) of the current law uses the following words to describe one of the categories of restricted areas covered by the law: "any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance". Those are exactly the same words referred to in Subsection (c)(1)(C) of the law as amended by HR 347.

In other words the big change that Howington cites is only a change to someone who lacks the basic legal research skills to find the current law. In my experience, citing an old law and claiming its the current law is big fail both in law school and in court. Its downright embarrassing, actually.

As for the rest of Mr. Howington's analysis, it also doesn't hold up to scrutiny. He is right that the current law drops the word "willfully" from the "disorderly conduct" provision of 18 USC 1752. The current law (the one he doesn't cite or quote) reads as follows:

(3) willfully, knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, to engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any building or grounds described in paragraph (1) or (2) when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;

And this is the language of HR 347:
(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;

In legal parlance "willfully" and "knowingly" have different meanings -- willfully requires that the actor have more than mere knowledge of the acts they are committing, but that they also have intent. Of course, that explains why the revised version drops "willfully" -- it already requires a showing of intent and the inclusion of "willfully" was unnecessarily redundant.

Finally, Howington italicizes the words "or so that, such conduct, in fact" in the above quoted portion of HR 347 and argues that the inclusion of those words somehow negates the intent requirement. Of course, those words also are in the current version and if they negate the word "intent" they also negate "willfully". Except, of course, those words don't negate a damn thing. The law as written (both current and the revised version in HR 347) requires prosecutors to show not only that the accused had an intent to impede or disrupt in engaging in certain conduct but also that such conduct in fact did impede or disrupt. Requiring both intent and an actual result is hardly unusual in the law. Indeed, its pretty much standard as any half-decent lawyer would know.

Frankly, I wasn't particularly surprised at how pathetic Mr. Howington's analysis was. The giveaway was when he referenced Rep. Justin Amash. Amash is a notorious teabagger member of Congress from Michigan. Maybe some people respect the legal analytical skills of the tea baggers (which include some of those wonderful birthers whose legal gymnastics have kept us entertained for the past few years). But in my experience, the tea baggers legal interpretations rarely are correct -- rather they reach a conclusion that they want to reach and proceed to make up arguments and misstate the law to fit their conclusion. That's what Howington has done and I'm just sorry that you got fooled by it.

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Response to onenote (Reply #37)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 04:44 PM

38. Your utter lack of concern about HR 347 is duly noted

or rather, perhaps is more accurate to say that your hyper-concern that
anyone IS concerned about these draconian laws getting routinely passed
by both parties, that form together a web of secrecy and repression
against Occupy, or anyone else left of center who is determined to
use their 1st Amendment rights to try to stop the Mega-Corporate driven
capitalist machine from destroying us and the planet... that that is noted.

I actually DO appreciate all the effort you are putting into trying to
convince me "not to worry" ... thanks.. Nice try. but no cigar.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #38)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 04:50 PM

40. And your lack of interest in the facts and fact-based arguments is also duly noted

If you can give an example of how defeating HR 347 would change the law for the better in a significant way, I'd be interested. Absent such a showing, the hysterical claims that the enactment by Congress of this particular bill is going to eviscerate the First Amendment in ways that would not occur if only the bill had been defeated are just that: hysterical.

on edit: changed "lack of concern" to "lack of interest"

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 05:46 PM

19. BULLSHIT

 

The bill makes it a felony to assemble in an area under secret service protection. RAHM SAID HE WOULD PLACE JURISDICTION OF SECURITY FOR G8 UNDER SECRET SERVICE. ONCE DONE, ALL DEMONSTRATIONS ARE ILLEGAL. Spare us the blue dog bullshit.

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Response to unionworks (Reply #19)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:10 PM

26. This bill restates existing law in that regard.

Sorry if you can't deal with that reality but if you compare Section 1752 as it exists today and how it will exist once the president signs this bill, you'll see that there is no substantive difference beyond the fact that under the amended law the White House, the VP's residence, and the grounds of the WH and VP's residence are added to the areas covered by the law. That's pretty much it.

Here is the description from the House of why the bill was introduced and enacted:

"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 misdemeanor 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."

In short, this bill makes the Salahi's gate crashing stunt a violation of Section 1752, whereas under the law prior to this amendment, Section 1752 didn't cover the Salahi's stunt.


By the way, the 2004 G8, the 2009 G-20, the 2000 IMF meeting were all designated as national special security events subject to Secret Service oversight. Which explains why there were no protests at any of those events, right?

Final point: Rahm doesn't have the power to invoke this provision. Designation of an event as a National Special Secruity Event is handled by the DHS,not by a mayor. And Rahm wouldn't need to ask DHS to make the designation -- based on past history they would do so whether he asked or not. And the designation doesn't much matter since even if it wasn't designated, it would fall under the law's existing (pre HR 347) scope because the President will be "temporarily visiting" the G8 summit.

Sorry to deflate your balloon with facts.

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Response to onenote (Reply #26)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:26 PM

28. gonna break my plastic scooper

 

Picking this one up. Thanks for the clarification. So DHS declares the event a "national special security event". The end result is still to make all demonstrations at the event illegal, thus taking a giant dump on the first amendment.

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Response to unionworks (Reply #28)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:33 PM

30. So you have no response to the fact that this is what the law has been for years

and yet demonstrations have occurred at events deemed national special security events?

Also, if you actually bothered to read the law, you would realize it doesn't make all demonstrations at a designated even unlawful. It applies to disorderly conduct within an area of such an event that has been cordoned off from public access or otherwise posted or restricted from public access, or to obstructs ingress or egress to a cordoned off, posted or otherwise restricted building or area that is part of a designated event.

Somehow I doubt that you are going to understand this point any more than you have the other factual points that have been set out before you. You like your reality. I get that. Too bad that its not fact-based.

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Response to onenote (Reply #30)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:40 PM

32. you sure got that right

 

My reality is vastly different than yours, as is the rest of the 99%s. I have a little axiom that covers these situations - "it's the golden rule - he who has the gold makes the rules". And you are correct in another respect - if I live to be a hundred, I will never understand oppression.

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Mon Mar 5, 2012, 06:07 PM

25. K&R Sounds like those in congress are passing unconstitutional bills?

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Response to OKDem08 (Original post)

Tue Mar 6, 2012, 05:36 PM

41. There's a new assault on us every day. nt

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