Obama gives Patriot Act another year with no privacy protections

Andrew McLemore | RawStory.com

If the Patriot Act hadn’t been approved for another year, Sunday would have looked much different.

Sunday could have meant the government was no longer given permission to wiretap the phones of Americans and seize their records and property.

But since the bill was approved by Congressional Democrats earlier this week and signed into law by President Obama on Saturday, this Sunday is just another Sunday for Americans living with the Patriot Act.

To be fair, many Democrats asked for additional protections for the privacy rights of American citizens.

But Republicans said that would detract from the ability of the country’s intelligence agencies to track down terrorists. Lacking a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate to pass the bill with the extra provisions, Democrats left them out.

Democratic Rep. Jane Harman opposed the House’s approval of the extension, citing abuses during the administration of President George W. Bush.

“While I strongly support using the most robust tools possible to go after terrorists, Congress must revise and narrow — not extend — Bush era policies,” Harman said.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com had the following to say of the overwhelming support of the law’s extension:

One of the strangest prongs of conventional Beltway wisdom is the lament that there is not enough  bipartisanship.  The opposite is true:  many of the most damaging acts inflicted on the country by Washington are enacted on a fully bipartisan basis — the most destructive political act of this generation, the invasion of Iraq, was fully bipartisan, as were most of the post-9/11 civil liberties abuses and other Bush-era initiatives– and, at least in certain areas, the harmonious joining together of Republicans and Democrats continues unabated.

Most publications and politicians expected Obama to sign the Patriot Act.


During a round-table discussion at the French Senate January 29, 2010, on the topic of “Where are we at with Al Qaeda?”, Alain Chouet — former head of the Security Intelligence Service of the DGSE (Directorate-General for External Security: the French equivalent of the CIA or MI6) — demystified the concept of “Al Qaeda” and denounced the inappropriate responses and other instrumentalizations by the West, without however deflating the dangers of Islamic extremism.

The video below has been subtitled into English and edited to include the best parts of Alain Chouet’s passionate discourse containing no stonewalling or political doublespeak, placing itself light-years ahead of the official discourse about September 11th and “the nebulous Al Qaeda” that the mainstream media have been reporting for far too long.

Learn more at our meetup.


Town Hall Seattle

1119 8th AveSeattle, WA 98101

206 766-9700  

Monday, March 29, 2010 | 7:30 – 9pmTown Hall, Seattle, enter on 8th Avenue

Arundhati Roy has written just one novel, but what a debut. The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997, and ever since, the Indian activist has concentrated her writing on political issues. Tonight, she’ll read from her latest book of political essays, Field Notes on Democracy, followed by a Q&A moderated by Anthony Arnove and a book signing. Presented by Seattle Arts and Lectures and Elliott Bay Book Company.

Tickets are $15 general/$30 patron at www.lectures.org or 206/621.2230. Visit www.lectures.org for more information. A patron ticketholders’ reception at the Sorrento Hotel begins at 9 pm.

LEARN MORE:Read a Salon interview with Roy

More info at our Meetup 

February 25th, 7:00PM

 Solsticio (Cafe) 
1100 N Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 547-0404

Michael and I have returned from our trip to Costa Rica where we visited a few Eco-Farms/Intentional Communities and would like to share our experiences with you all and discuss next steps. Please join the discussion whether or not you were able to attend the first meeting last month.


Original Meeting topic:

I would like for us to come together to discuss what we can do individually or together as a group to help create the world we would like to see. Our world is, first and foremost, our immediate home and our local community.

Some ideas for discussion:

1) Becoming Self-Sufficient (Shelter/Food/Energy)
– Purchasing Farm Land
– U.S. or Foreign?
– Skills Needed

2) Strengthening the Local Truth Community
– Jobs/Skills/Tool Sharing within the community

3) Outreach – How can we improve awareness in our immediate communities?

My dream is for us to combine our gifts, talents and resources and help each other to survive and thrive in a world that we help create. Without our input, the world will become what others want it to be and we will forever react on the stage rather than ACT.

Please suggest other topics for discussion in your RSVP or in the “Discussion Board” on the meetup page.

Thanks to you all,

 Craig Whitlock | WashingtonPost.com 

The U.S. military has prepared contingency plans to delay the planned withdrawal of all combat forces in Iraq, citing the prospects for political instability and increased violence as Iraqis hold national elections next month.

Under a deadline set by President Obama, all combat forces are slated to withdraw from Iraq by the end of August, and there remains heavy political pressure in Washington and Baghdad to stick to that schedule. But Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Monday that he had briefed officials in Washington in the past week about possible contingency plans.

Odierno declined to describe the plans in detail and said he was optimistic they would not be necessary. But he said he was prepared to make the changes “if we run into problems” in the coming months.


A & E for 9/11 Truth Press Conference from MysterE Productions on Vimeo.


Deborah Blum | Slate.com 

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was—the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.

Doctors were accustomed to alcohol poisoning by then, the routine of life in the Prohibition era. The bootlegged whiskies and so-called gins often made people sick. The liquor produced in hidden stills frequently came tainted with metals and other impurities. But this outbreak was bizarrely different. The deaths, as investigators would shortly realize, came courtesy of the U.S. government.



1,000 Signatures from “Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth)” to be Submitted Today to Congress—Petition Cites New Scientific Evidence of Explosive Demolition at WTC

This GLOBAL MEDIA EVENT will be simultaneously hosted in over 23 cities worldwide!


WHEN: Friday February 19, 2010, 10:00-11:00 AM

WHERE: Ground Zero, Manhattan (in front of the PATH Station)



Actor Daniel Sunjata, and Author Sander Hicks, for AE911Truth, will discuss the evidence and the significance of this petition with the public at Ground Zero.

More than 1,000 independent architects and engineers world-wide now support the call for an independent investigation into the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings (1, 2, and 7).

These scientists have signed a 9/11 Truth Petition calling on Congress to launch a new investigation. AE911truth.org calls for a Grand Jury probe into John Gross and Shyam Sunder, managers of the reports by National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).



* The discovery of advanced explosive nano-thermitic material found in each of the WTC dust samples by top nuclear physicist Dr. Steven E. Jones, and a peer-reviewed panel of top international scientists.

* Eyewitness testimony cited multiple experiences of secondary explosions, even before the first plane hit WTC 1.

The implications of these findings have the potential of profound impact on the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial.



This press conference will be simultaneously hosted in over 23 cities worldwide, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Alexandria, VA, Tampa, as well as cities in Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. The SF press conference will be accessible to media (audio and video) via webinar at www.ae911truth.org. at 11:00am PST on Friday Feb 19, 2010.



9/11 Commission Chairmen Kean & Hamilton seriously criticized their own Commission in their book “Without Precedent.” They complained their investigation was “set up to fail” and that they had been lied to by NORAD. Their special counsel, John Farmer, recently wrote, “that “at some level of the government…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened.”


About AE911Truth

AE911Truth is a non-partisan association of architects, engineers, and affiliates, who are dedicated to exposing the falsehoods and to revealing truths about the destruction of all three WTC high-rises on 9/11/2001. http://www.AE911Truth.org


Background on Sander Hicks, AE911Truth Affiliate:

Author and journalist, Hicks hosted the “We Demand Transparency” conference, which featured Richard Gage, founder of AE911Truth. Hicks served as an “expert witness” on 9/11 in a recent NJ trial. See: http://sanderhicks.com/Misprision.html


Background on Daniel Sunjata:

Daniel Sunjata is Tony-nominated actor and star of stage, screen and TV. He co-stars in the FX television show, “Rescue Me” alongside Dennis Leary. Earlier this year, a “Rescue Me” subplot even incorporated his belief that the attacks were an “inside job.”


More Info:

Sander Hicks, for AE911Truth.org,

347 446 4461 (Cell) • 347 627 4705 (W)



Sander Hicks



9/11 Truth Returns to Left Forum:



Truth is Revolutionary.

Truth is Anti-imperialist.

We are Unstoppable.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | 7:30 – 9pm
Location: Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street.

Learn more at our meetup

The rise of America’s surveillance state over the past 25 years highlights a dangerous paradox, says journalist Shane Harris: It’s now harder for the government to catch terrorists, and easier for it to spy on the rest of us. Harris, the intelligence and Homeland Security correspondent at the National Journal and author of The Watchers, says high-tech spycraft has moved from the province of Bush era ‘emergency response measures’ into the mainstream, creating a capacity to gather a disquieting trove of personal information on every American. Presented by Town Hall’s Center for Civic Life, with University Bookstore. Series supported by The Boeing Company Charitable Trust and RealNetworks.

Tickets are $5 at www.brownpapertickets.com or 800/838-3006, and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating. Late seating is not guaranteed.

Read an interview with Harris by The New New Internet

Learn more at meetup.

Vice President Joe Biden will be attending a fundraiser in Seattle for Patty Murray on Friday, February 12.

WHERE:Westin Hotel1900 – 5th AvenueSeattle, WA 98101

WHEN:Friday, February 128:30 am – 10:00 am

Bring your own signs and megaphones and let Vice President Biden and Senator Patty Murray know how you feel.

Remember last August, We Are Change LA gave Biden the Bentham Open Chemical Physics journal publication about how nanothermite was found in the WTC dust.

Let’s ask him “What are you doing about the paper given to you in LA about the scientific fact that active nanothermite explosive was found throughout the dust found on 9/11?” 


A reader asked whether the U.S. is still in an official state of emergency, and if so, what that means.

The answer is yes, we are still in a state of emergency.


On September 11, 2001, the government declared a state of emergency. That declared state of emergency was formally put in writing on 9/14/2001:

“A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, I hereby declare that the national emergency has existed since September 11, 2001 . . . .”

That declared state of emergency has continued in full force and effect from 9/11 [throughout the Bush administration] to the present.

On September 10 2009, President Obama continued the state of emergency:

The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2009, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.

Does a State of Emergency Really Mean Anything?


Yes, it does:

The Washington Times wrote on September 18, 2001:


Helen Thomas | CommonDreams.org 


President Barack Obama does have a foreign policy. It’s called war.

The President has not defined any real difference between his hawkish approach to international issues and that of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

Where’s the change we can believe in?

Bush left a legacy of two wars, neither of which was ever fully explained or justified. Obama has merely picked up the sword that Bush left behind in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the struggle against terrorism, one might say, “Who cares?”

One group that cares consists of Americans who follow the rules and think we should honor all the treaties we have promoted and signed over the years.

The President gave short shrift to foreign policy in his State of the Union address, mentioning neither the lives lost nor the cost of the global hostilities that the U.S. has involved itself in. He also didn’t mention U.S. policies in the Middle East, though those are the root cause of many of our problems.

While U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has a hopeful outlook for the resumption of the stalemated talks between the Israelis and Palestinians after a year of trying, Obama seems to have temporarily thrown in the towel.

Obama said he was keeping his promise to leave Iraq by the end of August.

Meanwhile, frequent suicide bombings continue in that beleaguered country.

Afghanistan is a different story. U.S. forces there are involved in manhunts of al-Qaida and Taliban leaders. But the cost in civilian life is heavy when drones are used and whole families have been wiped out to get one suspected leader.

The U.S. seems to have convinced the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan that it’s their war too. The Washington Post said the loss of Hakimullah Mehsud has dealt a fatal blow to his followers.

The U.S. military web has spread to Yemen, where American intelligence teams have joined Yemeni troops in planning missions against al-Qaida elements. Scores have been killed there.

Then there’s the ramped-up U.S. saber-rattling toward Iran.


Paul Joseph Watson | PrisonPlanet.com 

Claims on behalf of authorities that naked body scanner images are immediately destroyed after passengers pass through new x-ray backscatter devices have been proven fraudulent after it was revealed that naked images of Indian film star Shahrukh Khan were printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London.

UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said last week that the images produced by the scanners were deleted “immediately” and airport staff carrying out the procedure are fully trained and supervised.

“It is very important to stress that the images which are captured by body scanners are immediately deleted after the passenger has gone through the body scanner,” Adonis told the London Evening Standard.

Adonis was forced to address privacy concerns following reports that the images produced by the scanners broke child pornography laws in the UK. When the scanners were first introduced, it was also speculated that images of famous people would be ripe for abuse as the pictures produced by the devices make genitals “eerily visible” according to journalists who have investigated trials of the technology.

However, the Transport Secretary’s assurances were demolished after it was revealed on the BBC’s Jonathan Ross show Friday that Indian actor Shahrukh Khan had passed through a body scan and later had the image of his naked body printed out and circulated by Heathrow security staff.


Susan Gilmore | SeattleTimes.com

A Fort Lewis soldier has been charged with assault after he allegedly held his 4-year-old daughter mostly under water because she couldn’t recite the alphabet. Charging papers equated the technique to torture.

The incident came to light Jan. 31, when Joshua Tabor’s girlfriend called police and said he was walking around their Yelm neighborhood, wearing a Kevlar vest and threatening to break windows, according to Thurston County Superior Court charging documents.

When officers arrived, Tabor’s girlfriend told them that she and Tabor, 27, had just had an argument and that he beats his daughter, said Yelm police Chief Todd Stancil. Officers found the girl hiding in a locked bathroom and covered with extensive bruises all over her body, including her ears.

“Once she spoke to officers, she was articulate and told us right away, ‘Daddy did this,’ ” Stancil said.

The girl told officers that her father hits her, and she also said he would fill a sink, lay her on her back and put her head into the water until the water was up to her eyes, Stancil said.

Jeff Fobes  | MountainX.com 


Word is spreading on Twitter and on small-farm listserves that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will drop its program to monitor the movement of all livestock, a plan that encountered widespread resistance from farmers, particularly those from small farms, who argued it would bankrupt them.

The New York Times wrote on Feb 5:

Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

In abandoning the program, called the National Animal Identification System, officials said they would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracing program that could win widespread support from the industry.

The program had been pushed by large industrial farms. However the American Farm Bureau Federation is seeking to distance itself from the failed program. The Times reports: “It was just overwhelming in the country that people didn’t like it, and I think they took that feedback to heart,” said Mary Kay Thatcher, public policy director of the American Farm Bureau Federation.