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House Clears Path For Extension Of Government Spying On American Citizens

House Clears Path For Extension Of Government Spying On American Citizens
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Steve Watson
February 11, 2011

House Clears Path For Extension Of Government Spying On American Citizens 080409wiretapping

Two days after proposals to extend provisions of the draconian PATRIOT Act failed to attract a super majority in a fast track vote, another vote in the House of representatives has cleared the way for the smooth passage of the legislation.

Last night’s vote put in to place a new rule that will allow the legislation to be passed by just a simple majority. It is expected that the House will vote again on the legislation next week, and that it will easily pass.

Earlier in the week, House Republicans had attempted to suspend House rules and pass the extension with limited debate and no amendments. That fell 7 votes short because a 2/3rds majority was required.

Last night’s ballot saw 248 vote in favour of allowing the extension to proceed, while 176 voted against.

Just four Republicans, including Congressman Ron Paul, voted against the extension. On Tuesday 26 Republicans had voted against. The other three Republican nays were Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Raul Labrador (Idaho) and Tom McClintock (Calif.).

Several representatives who ran on a Tea Party platform of restoring civil liberties also voted in favour of the legislation, following a lecture by Homeland Security Head Janet Napolitano, who told the congressional oversight panel that the nation faces a “heightened” terror threat, the like of which has not been seen since 9/11.

Meanwhile, 172 Democrats voted against proceeding Thursday, up from the 148 who voted against the measure on Tuesday.

Excluding the 15 who voted for the extension, Democrats protested the Republican attempt to hold the vote under the “closed rule”. Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) said Republicans were practicing “unique trickery” by calling the bill back for a second vote.

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“We have a right to have a voice and that voice has already been expressed,” said Lee. “What more needs to be said?”

The PATRIOT Act, which was rushed into law in the days following 9/11, gives law enforcement agencies vast new powers to deal with so called terrorist threats.

Certain provisions within the legislation are set to expire on Feb. 28 if Congress does not act to extend them.

One of the expiring provisions in question is the so-called “lone wolf” provision, enacted in 2004, which allows for the electronic monitoring of an individual without the government having to prove that the case has any relation whatsoever to terrorism or a foreign power. This is in effect a carte blanche for the government to use every method at their disposal to spy on any American citizen they choose.

Another of the provisions gives the government access to business, library and medical records, with the authorities generally having to prove that the investigation is terrorism related. However, since according to Homeland Security guidelines the new breed of terrorist is classified as someone who supports a third party, puts a political bumper sticker on their car, is part of the alternative media, or merely someone who disagrees with the authorities’ official version of events on any given issue, the scope for the government to use this power against their political adversaries is wide open.

The third provision in question allows a FISA court to grant “roving wiretaps” without the government having to even identify their target. This is another carte blanche power that gives the state the license to monitor telephone calls, e mails and any other form of electronic communication.

When the legislation was originally signed into law, it contained “sunset” provisions, written in to gradually phase out some of these more extreme measures. However, the sunsets have been consistently extended.

The Obama administration has regularly and successfully pushed to extend the provisions. Earlier this week, the White House issued a statement that noted Obama “would strongly prefer enactment of reauthorizing legislation that would extend these authorities until December 2013.”

Obama will push the Senate to extend the PATRIOT Act provisions for another three years, even more than House Republicans who want to see the provisions extended until Dec. 8.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, however, given that Obama voted for the PATRIOT Act renewal in 2008 when he was an Illinois Senator, while also lending support for immunizing the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits charging them with being complicit in the Bush administration’s wiretapping program. Indeed, Obama has even moved to effectively legalize and expand the wiretapping initiative.

Senate Democrats are set to fast track the companion legislation (S. 149) to the House bill, as they seek to bypass the committee process and push the bill straight to the floor.

Libertarian Senator Rand Paul has vowed to ferociously oppose such efforts in the Senate:

“…the House will pass these extensions and send the PATRIOT Act renewal to the Senate. And when they do, I will oppose it,” a statement issued by Paul this week reads.

“I do not say that lightly. I firmly believe it is a primary duty of our government to do what it can to protect the lives of its citizens. But I also believe it must in equal measure protect our liberty, and in this our government has failed us. We should remember the words of Ben Franklin, who famously said ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’”

“It is time for Congress to stop quietly extending this law and avoiding a serious discussion about protecting all the rights of all Americans. I will insist the Senate allow debate and amendments as we consider this important legislation,” he concludes.

We have previously highlighted how the PATRIOT Act has been misused and abused by the authorities to specifically target American citizens.

In 2008, a Justice Department report confirmed that the FBI had been abusing their ability to obtain personal records of Americans without a warrant as a matter of course. The use of “national security letters” under the PATRIOT Act allows federal agencies to bypass the protections of the Fourth Amendment. This means that all electronic communications and cell phone calls of American citizens can be monitored without the prior approval of a court.

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Federal judges have previously ruled that the provisions of the PATRIOT Act in question are entirely unconstitutional.

Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

Trump: Ron Paul Has “Zero Chance” Of Beating Obama

Trump: Ron Paul Has “Zero Chance” Of Beating Obama
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Paul Joseph Watson
February 11, 2011

Prospective presidential candidate Donald Trump caused a sensation at the start of yesterday’s CPAC event when he dismissed Ron Paul’s chances of beating Obama in 2012, saying the Texas Congressman had “zero chance” of winning the election.

“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you,” Trump told the CPAC crowd, to a chorus of both boos and applause.

“I like Ron Paul, I think he’s a good guy, but honestly I think he has zero chance of getting elected, you have to win an election,” the billionaire socialite added.

In actual fact, the Texas Congressman has a greater chance of beating Obama in 2012 than someone who the Republican establishment is likely to throw their weight behind next year – Sarah Palin.

A Rasmussen poll released Monday showed that Paul leads Palin in being able to build a campaign that would prevent Obama from securing a second term. The poll shows that in these early stages, Ron Paul would poll 35% of votes to Obama’s 44%, where as Sarah Palin would attract 38% to an Obama count of 49%.

The figures mean that at this time the Texas Congressman would score 2% more of the overall vote than the former governor of Alaska.

Those numbers are also based on the fact that Obama is still riding high on a recent 15 point bounce in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings, a lead that is sure to subside as the election nears. Once Paul is able to mobilize his hugely effective grass roots base, which outstrips anything the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich or Mike Huckabee can call upon, a 9 point deficit is far from insurmountable.

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Indeed, before the Tucson shootings when Obama was at one of the lowest ebbs of his popular approval, a YouGov/Polimetrix study found that establishment Republican candidates like Palin, Gingrich and Romney were all losing popularity at a similar pace to the president. Only Ron Paul has bucked this trend.

In addition, an April 2010 Rasmussen survey found that a hypothetical 2012 election race between president Obama and Texas Congressman Ron Paul would result in an almost dead heat, with Obama just one per cent ahead.

Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008 will only be motivated to do so again if Republicans put forward a compromised candidate who can easily be characterized as George W. Bush 2.0. If Ron Paul runs against Obama, huge numbers of Democrats will take a back seat, and some may even switch allegiances, such is the profound sense of betrayal many liberals now feel towards Obama’s completely unfulfilled promises of hope and change.

Donald Trump is completely wrong in his assertion that Paul has “zero chance” of beating Obama. Indeed, once the establishment media gets its teeth into the likes of Palin, Romney, Gingrich and indeed Trump himself, their compromised backgrounds will almost guarantee Obama the victory, whereas Paul’s squeaky clean track record cannot be as easily distorted.

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By the time the campaign season is in full swing, and the mud begins to stick to the names of establishment Republican candidates, Ron Paul may be the only contender who can beat Obama in 2012.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.

Reparations: Rahm Says Pay the Banksters First

Reparations: Rahm Says Pay the Banksters First
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Kurt Nimmo
February 11, 2011

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s recently departed chief of staff, is running for mayor in Chicago. It was originally determined that Emanuel was not eligible to run because he lived in Washington for two years, but this was turned aside by the Illinois Supreme Court in late January.

According to a recent poll conducted in the Windy City, Emanuel actually has a chance of winning the February 22 election. He is widely supported by white voters. Black and Latino voters have added the margin he needs to win the election. A Tribune/WGN poll puts him at 49% and small business owner, lawyer, and government bureaucrat Gery Chico trailing with a paltry 19%.

In order to woo black voters, Emanuel said during a debate sponsored by the Chicago Defender newspaper at the DuSable Museum of African American History on Wednesday that he supports reparations, the idea that Black Americans deserve to be compensated by the government because their ancestors were slaves.

Emanuel had a caveat, however – the banksters must get the money government claims they are owed by the American people and their children and grand children. In fact, it is mathematically impossible to pay off the debt, but that’s a subject for another article.

The question was about Chicago’s budget deficit, but as a Democrat who sat with Goldman Sachs operatives in Obama’s cabinet, he was also talking about the nation’s debt. Chicago, after all, is a microcosm of the nation at large, especially with Obama at the pulpit.

“I think we have to be honest and frank with ourselves, we have a budget deficit that also needs to be addressed,” Emanuel said after telling the crowd he supports reparations.

Rival candidate and community activist Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins didn’t seem to understand Rahm Emanuel’s point — the banksters will be paid into perpetuity and there will be nothing left to hand out to the ancestors of slaves or for that matter anybody else who believes the government owes them money.

“When I hear Rahm Emanuel talking about a budget deficit when we’re talking about reparations, to me that’s offensive,” Watkins said. “This country was built on our backs, the backs of our ancestors. They bled, they died, they came in chains and they died in pain. So don’t talk to me about budget deficits right now. Not on this subject.”

Rahm Emanuel – as former Obama chief of staff, a senior advisor to Clinton, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and chairman of the Democratic Caucus – understands how the game is played. He is experienced at paying lip-service in order to get elected by the sheeple.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

More importantly, he learned how the economic system operates while working as a banker for the investment firm of Wasserstein Perella. He also sat on the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, as known as Freddie Mac.

During his tenure, the government-created institution was plagued by scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities. Obama rejected a request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel’s time as director.

Emanuel is a favorred son. Earlier this week it was discovered that phone calls between Rahm and former governor Rod Blagojevich are mysteriously missing from evidence in the trial of Blagojevich. He is accused of conspiring to commit several “pay to play” schemes, including attempting to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat.

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Emanuel knows black Americans will never see a cent under the transfer of wealth scheme known as slave reparations. Instead, like all other Americans outside of Emanuel’s political class, they will be systematically and relentlessly fleeced, driven into poverty, and made homeless on the continent their ancestors conquered, as Thomas Jefferson warned.