Merkel Ranked so High on NSA Report List – Why?

Editor’s Note – Of all the people, and/or nations to watch closely, why was the NSA so focused on Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor? As Tyler Durden posted at Zerohedge: “With friends like these, who needs Russians?”

The Obama Administration apparently ignores historical data like the Wikileaks cables we reported on this week that showed Putin’s intentions in 2008, we ask again, why so much interest on Germany, our staunch NATO ally?NSA economist bridge

The chart posted below shows that she ranked above Bashar Al Assad of Syria in manual CIA station chief directives/reports and was in the top of those being watched including some of the most nefarious characters and governments including Malaysia, a nation so in the news of late due to the missing flight MH 370.

We know Malaysia is a hotbed, but is Germany, or their Chancellor? And look who made the list at 122, yes Ukraine’s now freed former President, and new candidate for the same office again, now that Russia has forced such dire changes to Ukraine, Yuliya Timoshencko.

From Tyler Durden at Zerohedge:

With friends like these, who needs Russians?

In the summer of 2013, a big diplomatic spat erupted when as a result of Snowden’s revelations, it became clear that among the countless world leaders the NSA was spying on was none other than US “best buddy forever”, German chancellor Angela Merkel. Why would the US spy on one of its closest strategic allies the Germans wondered: after all is it not Germany where the bulk of NATO forces are stationed (a topic that is sure to gain more prominence in the coming months now that the second coming of the USSR is just around the corner). Little by little, the diplomatic fallout was put to bed after US ambassadors across Europe were summoned, and given a stern talking to, resulting in promises that never again will the US abuse its bosom, if broke, buddies in Europe. And the whole spying scandal disappeared as if it had never happened.

Naturally, what the less naive ones knew and anticipated, was that if it had emerged that the NSA was spying on Merkel, there was about to be a waterfall of other unpleasant revelations about how deep the NSA’s tentacles stretched inside Germany, all contained in Snowden’s seemingle endless bag of goodies. (Read the rest here.)

With all the secret reports on Merkel, you would think she was more like Hitler than Putin is like Stalin.

NSA Kept Hundreds of Reports on German Chancellor Merkel: Report

By Sam Laird – Mashable

The NSA stored more than 300 secret reports on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the White House’s most important allies, in a database that also contained information about scores of other foreign heads of state, according to a Saturday report from Der Spiegel.

The prominent German news magazine said this is just the latest revelation to emerge from the massive collection of sensitive and damaging documents released by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower who began leaking top-secret information about United States intelligence-gathering operations last June.

20140329_ukr1

The database of foreign leaders included more than 100 people, according to Der Spiegel, who were listed alphabetically according to first name. In addition to Merkel, heads of state from Peru, Malaysia, Guatemala, Colombia, Belarus and Somalia appeared on the list. Der Spiegel did not specify what types of information the more than 300 reports on Merkel contained.

A separate Der Spiegel report from Saturday said the NSA and its British equivalent also targeted private German companies for clandestine intelligence-gathering operations. German authorities are reportedly considering whether or not to open their own formal espionage investigation into the NSA’s activities.

Saturday’s news is the latest Snowden leak to strain the relationship between the U.S. and Germany. Last October, it was revealed that the U.S. likely spied on Merkel’s personal phone, according to multiple reports. That led to a conversation between Merkel and President Barack Obama in which the German chancellor reportedly warned Obama that, if true, such actions by the U.S. would be “completely unacceptable” and a “grave breach of trust.”

"The Road to Boston" – 2014, the Congressional Report

Editor’s Note – As we approach the running of the first Boston Marathon since that horrific day last year, security has been elevated to unprecedented levels. Just in time for this event, the Congressional Homeland Security Committee just published their investigation of the bombing at the hands of the Tsarnaev brothers.

From this new report are some key takeaways, one of which is very worrisome, there has been a clear reversion of law enforcement, at all levels, including that of Federal agencies, back to a pre-9/11 mentality.boston-strong

The 9/11 Commission Report, after a comprehensive investigation, offered many solutions to fix the gaps, one with special regard to immigration, but to date, Federal agencies have not completed those system repairs.

What is worse is that major walls have once again been erected, a return to the silos of old if you will. There is a clear lack of cooperation and collaboration between agencies as we know contributed to the horrors of the first 9/11.

What was confirmed in this report was that the Russians had provided a major tip to the FBI about the Tsarnaev family and the radicalization of their two sons.

Additionally, the Russians asked that if anyone in this family were to travel back to any part of Russia, that our Customs and Border agencies and/or the FBI to notify Russian intelligence. Our agencies could not even do that.

The last major item in this report is the FBI, per the Department of Justice, has refused to turn over documents and has demonstrated a crass lack of cooperation with the Congressional investigation committee.

The question is why? The answer is, another report would be drafted that demonstrates the failures of agencies to keep America safe in the matter of National Security.

We cannot forget that under the Obama administration, we have had TWO attacks where people died; the Ft. Hood shooting and the Boston bombing plus a number of other events where dubious explanations were all that were provided.

It is clear, no one is safe from peril or injury at the hands radical Jihadists thanks to the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security.

Read the report here or click on the screen capture below, but the introduction is a must read:

BostonBombingReport1

'March Madness' – Obama and Russia, What is Next?

By Scott Winchell and Denise Simon, Editors at SUA

It is ‘March Madness’ here in the USA as the NCAA Tournament finalizes the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ on this Sunday, but the madness that really matters is what we see across the globe.

It is also the total ineptitude in the White House and the State Department when it comes to the Russian Bear flexing its muscles and baring its formidable claws in Eastern Europe and beyond. The ‘Final Four’ may well be determined soon, but Putin is not playing games, he knows what he is doing, and he knows his opponents well… no need for any ‘Bracketology‘ there.

It appears that for a very long time, for over five years, the State Department has been well aware of the many violations of a 1987 nuclear missile accord committed by Russia but failed to to disclose the transgressions to anyone, especially Congress.

In fact, upon the now famous Hillary Clinton “reset” button fiasco, Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov read the ‘tea leaves’ all too clearly. The Washington Free Beacon reported just how dangerous this is, yet, the Obama Administration still went ahead with that new ‘reset” at the time, knowing full well of the violations:

Two senior House leaders on Friday requested an investigation by Congress’ General Accountability Office (GAO) into the State Department’s failure to report Russian violations of a 1987 nuclear missile accord.Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin

“It is clear from my subcommittee’s oversight that the administration did not fully disclose what it knew about Russian arms control violations when it was trying to get the New START treaty ratified,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

“Its all-consuming drive to protect its Russia reset policy has gutted our missile defenses, alienated allies, and only encouraged Vladimir Putin’s lawlessness,” he said in a statement. (Read the rest here.)

Additionally, the Obama Administration, through Hillary Clinton, still went ahead with that new ‘reset,’ even using a poorly translated button they hastily found at their hotel, at the time, knew full well of these violations. Moreover, they also unilaterally capitulated to Putin and scraped the missile defense shield for countries including Poland and the Czech Republic.

It seems that the ‘reset’ button was translated into Russian as: ‘go ahead’ Russia. America, and especially this administration was, and is, too preoccupied to care. But now, many within the DC ‘Beltway’ have noticed the violations and are challenging John Kerry to come clean.

9ResetButtonNow, as shots have been fired in the newly ‘annexed’ Crimea, one Ukrainian commander has been placed in detention. That understanding of ‘reset’ by Putin and his Comrades is showing the absolute ineptitude of Obama/Clinton, and now John Kerry. Reuter’s reported:

Russian troops forced their way into a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea with armored vehicles, automatic fire and stun grenades on Saturday, injuring a Ukrainian serviceman and detaining the base’s commander for talks.

A Reuters reporter said armored vehicles smashed through one of walls of the compound and that he heard bursts of gunfire and grenades.

Colonel Yuliy Mamchur, the commander of the base, said a Ukrainian serviceman had been injured and that he himself he was being taken away by the Russians for talks at an unspecified location.

Asked if he thought he would return safely, he said: “That remains to be seen. For now we are placing all our weapons in the base’s storage.” (Read the rest here.)

Putin achieved his first occupation victory some years ago in Georgia, effectively absorbing the South Ossetia and Abkhazia areas in 2008, but now with Crimea under his control, its the eastern portion of the Ukraine under the gun. Ukraine, along with many of the other east European nations, including the former SSR Baltic States, are more than worried. Demonstrating this, Poland has escalated its desire and efforts to secure a missile defense system:

Poland has decided to speed up its tender for a missile defence system, a defence ministry spokesman said on Thursday, in a sign of Warsaw’s disquiet over the tension between neighbouring Ukraine and Russia.

“The issues related with Poland’s air defence will be accelerated,” spokesman Jacek Sonta said. “Poland plans to choose the best offer for its missile defence in the next few weeks.”

The NATO member had planned to reduce the number of bidders by June, but the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about Russia’s annexation of Crimea have prompted officials to speed up the timetable. (Read more here.)

Now Russia has massed troops on the Eastern border of Ukraine after running unprecedented ‘war games‘ close by:WeiboObamaXi.jpg-jpg-thumb-620x859-124110.jpg

Russian forces gathering on the border with eastern Ukraine may be poised to invade, the White House warned on Sunday, as the government in Kiev said that the prospect of war with Moscow was continuing to grow after the annexation of Crimea.

Speaking after Nato’s top commander in Europe voiced alarm about the size and preparedness of the Russian troop buildup, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, said President Vladimir Putin may indeed be readying further action.

“It’s deeply concerning to see the Russian troop buildup on the border,” Blinken told CNN. “It creates the potential for incidents, for instability. It’s likely that what they’re trying to do is intimidate the Ukrainians. It’s possible that they’re preparing to move in.” (Read more here.)

With all this in mind, Obama, or as he has been referred to in China as “Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger” is pledged to assist and support Ukraine by signed agreement, but it has meant nothing more now than MRE’s, or rations if you will, instead of weapons heading to Ukraine.

So, now that Putin has performed unchallenged, what is next? Well there are at least 5 probably scenarios according to a top consultancy on such issues.

Wikistrat, a consultancy that analyzes geopolitical and economic forces using crowd-sourced expertise, has been calculating what could happen next in the region.

In January, Wikistrat analysts forecast the potential for Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to resign (which he did a month later) and for Crimea to request annexation into Russia (which occurred this week).

Recently, 66 analysts spent five days exploring scenarios involving all types of interventions, from small-scale missions against criminals and terrorists to outright invasions and massive cyberattacks.

Here are five plausible and alarming scenarios compiled by Wikistrat senior analyst (and BI contributor) professor Mark Galeotti:

Scenario 1:

1screen shot 2014-03-21 at 7.58.23 am

Scenario 2:

2screen shot 2014-03-21 at 7.58.32 am (1)

Scenario 3:

3screen shot 2014-03-21 at 7.58.46 am

Scenario 4:

4screen shot 2014-03-21 at 7.58.57 am

Scenario 5:

5screen shot 2014-03-21 at 7.59.07 am

Galeotti then explains why Russia would potentially act in these ways, and the effects of that sort of behavior. These observations encapsulate why Russia discreetly intervenes aboard, how it’s done, and the effect of the Kremlin’s actions.

Strategic Takeaways:

screen shot 2014-03-21 at 7.59.23 am

But what is worse, Putin is suing a handful of countries that are in fact, past due, in big numbers on their payment for gas usage.

While Barack Obama is fretting over NCAA basketball brackets, where clearly he was out-gamed on the first day of his predictions, Putin is gaming the West. “Tigger” is being punked again, here in our hemisphere where geo-politics has been ignored for years.

A senior Russian defense official has announced that Moscow is looking to build military bases throughout different countries in Asia and the Western Hemisphere.

According to RIA Novosti, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia is looking to build military bases in Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu said, according to RIA Novosti. The newspaper noted that “Moscow currently has only one naval base outside the former Soviet Union – in Tartus, Syria, but the fate of this naval facility is uncertain because of the ongoing civil war in that country.”

The comments are probably intended in part to shore up domestic support for Vladimir Putin among Russian nationalists who are likely reassessing his leadership abilities in light of the events in the Ukraine in past weeks.

However, the timing and substance of the comments also suggest that Russia is trying to antagonize the United States because of the collapse of the Russian-backed Ukrainian government last week. (Read more here.)

Perhaps the White House, the NSC and the Pentagon should concentrate on Patriot missiles and go visit out National Geospatial Intelligence Agency for the remainder the of March Madness… (Photo courtesy of Bostinno.)

Obama-2014-March-Madness-Bracket-Predictions-3

ObamaCare – More Bad News, Premiums to Skyrocket

Editor’s Note – Does anyone consider ObamaCare, or the PPACA an actual law anymore? It changes constantly, delays galore, lies about everything, and what ever happened to saving families $2,500 per year? Now we see that lie is worse than anticipated as well. Where will this all end?

O-Care premiums to skyrocket

By Elise Viebeck – The Hill

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.SkyRocketObamaCare

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

“The increases are far less significant than what they were prior to the Affordable Care Act,” the secretary said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Her comment baffled insurance officials, who said it runs counter to the industry’s consensus about next year.

“It’s pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs,” said one senior insurance executive who requested anonymity.

The insurance official, who hails from a populous swing state, said his company expects to triple its rates next year on the ObamaCare exchange.

The hikes are expected to vary substantially by region, state and carrier.

Areas of the country with older, sicker or smaller populations are likely to be hit hardest, while others might not see substantial increases at all.

Several major companies have been bullish on the healthcare law as a growth opportunity. With investors, especially, the firms downplay the consequences of more older, sicker enrollees in the risk pool.

Much will depend on how firms are coping with the healthcare law’s raft of new fees and regulatory restrictions, according to another industry official.

Some insurers initially underpriced their policies to begin with, expecting to raise rates in the second year.

Others, especially in larger states, will continue to hold rates low in order to remain competitive.

After this story was published, the administration pointed to some independent analyses that have cast doubt on whether the current mix of enrollees will lead to premium hikes.

ObamaCare also includes several programs designed to ease the transition and stave off premium increases. Reinsurance, for example, will send payments to insurers to help shoulder the cost of covering sick patients.

But insurance officials are quick to emphasize that any spikes would be a consequence of delays and changes in ObamaCare’s rollout.

They point out that the administration, after a massive public outcry, eased their policies to allow people to keep their old health plans. That kept some healthy people in place, instead of making them jump into the new exchanges.

Federal health officials have also limited the amount of money the government can spend to help insurers cover the cost of new, sick patients.

Perhaps most important, insurers have been disappointed that young people only make up about one-quarter of the enrollees in plans through the insurance exchanges, according to public figures that were released earlier this year. That ratio might change in the weeks ahead because the administration anticipates many more people in their 20s and 30s will sign up close to the March 31 enrollment deadline. Many insurers, however, don’t share that optimism.

These factors will have the unintended consequence of raising rates, sources said.

“We’re exasperated,” said the senior insurance official. “All of these major delays on very significant portions of the law are going to change what it’s going to cost.”

“My gut tells me that, for some people, these increases will be significant,” said Bill Hoagland, a former executive at Cigna and current senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Hoagland said Sebelius was seeking to “soften up the American public” to the likelihood that premiums will rise, despite promises to the contrary.

Republicans frequently highlight President Obama’s promise on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

“They’re going to have to backpedal on that,” said Hoagland, who called Sebelius’s comment a “pre-emptive strike.”

“This was her way of getting out in front of it,” he added.

HHS didn’t comment for this article.

Insurers will begin the process this spring by filing their rate proposals with state officials.

Insurance commissioners will then release the rates sometime this summer, usually when they’re approved. Insurers could also leak their rates earlier as a political statement.

In some states, commissioners have the authority to deny certain rate increases, which could help prevent the most drastic hikes.

Either way, there will be a slew of bad headlines for the Obama administration just months before the election.

“It’s pretty bad timing,” said one insurance official.

Other health experts say predictions about premiums are premature.

David Cutler, who has been called an architect of Obama-Care, said, “Health premiums increase every year, so the odds are very good that they will increase next year as well.  None of that is news.  The question is whether it will be a lot or a little.  That depends in part on how big the insurers think the exchanges will be.”

Jon Gruber, who also helped design the Affordable Care Act, said, “The bottom line is that we just don’t know. Premiums were rising 7 to 10 percent a year before the law. So the question is whether we will see a continuation of that sort of single digit increase, as Sebelius said, or whether it will be larger.”

The White House and its allies have launched a full-court press to encourage healthy millennials to purchase coverage on the marketplaces.

HHS announced this week that sign-ups have exceeded 5 million, a marked increase since March 1.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday claimed the administration has picked up the pace considerably, saying months ago reporters would have laughed if he “had said there would be 5 million enrollees by March 18.”

It remains unclear how many of those enrollees lost their insurance last year because of the law’s mandates. Critics have also raised questions about how the administration is counting people who signed up for insurance plans.

Political operatives will be watching premium increases this summer, most notably in states where there are contested Senate races.

In Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus in the nation and has a competitive Senate race this year, rates are expected to rise 100 percent on the exchange and by double digits on the larger, employer-based market, according to a recent article in the Business Record.

Sheila Timmons contributed.

Rep. Gowdy – ENFORCE the Law Act – VIDEOS (Must see)

By Scott W. Winchell

Yesterday we witnessed a seminal moment take place in the House of Representatives that all Americans need to take seriously. We are at a critical point defined best as a Constitutional Crisis because the rule-of-law is being replaced by the rule-of-man, the definition of tyranny.

As Congressmen Trey Gowdy (R-SC) states in the videos below, we need to look at what is happening minus the labels of party and ideology. The issue at hand; the “ENFORCE The Law Act of 2014,” seeks to give the House ‘standing’ before the courts to defend its powers as assigned by our founders in the Constitution.

To defend these powers from being usurped by another branch of the government in our co-equal, three-branch system of governance is of the utmost importance for all Representatives and Senators. After all, they are the voice of the people in the House, and the voice of the several states in the Senate. Our voice should never be diminished by an executive.

Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-SC, defends his bill.
Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-SC, defends his bill.

In his ‘Floor Speech’ he cites instances where the President, a Senator at the time, made statements about the previous administration’s so-called grab for power.

In those statements, then Senator Obama called upon the courts for remedy to stop the perceived power-grab of the Bush Administration.

Now that he is President, there is an obvious leap in the opposite direction and the House seeks to force the President to “faithfully execute the laws” he swore to uphold and defend.

The IJReview said this:

We’ve finally gotten to the point where Congress had to pass a law to make sure that the laws they pass are enforced.

In a speech that Representative Trey Gowdy really shouldn’t have had to make, he explains angrily to the Congress what its job is, and to Obama what his job is. Members were heard to applaud as he reached the crescendo.

Five Democrats joined Republicans in passing a bill that directs Obama to follows the laws – clearing the House by a 233 to 181 vote.

Now the White House is vowing to veto the bill should it pass the Senate on the same grounds. They claim it usurps the power of the Executive branch. This adds up to a Constitutional Crisis indeed. However, we at SUA do not believe for one moment that the Senate will pass it, but the ‘bell has been rung.’

Whatever Harry Reid does now will likely only varnish his reputation for being the worst Majority Leader of the Senate in modern times in terms of constitutionality, class, ethics, professionalism, and esprit de corps of the once most ‘deliberative body on the planet.’

Bridget Johnson at PJ Media wrote the following:

The White House issued veto threats on Wednesday for a pair of bills reining in executive overreach that debuted and were debated on the House floor.

The Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law (ENFORCE the Law) Act of 2014 puts in place a procedure that would expedite the ability of the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws.

Obama Delivers his 2014 State of the Union Speech
Obama Delivers his 2014 State of the Union Speech

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former prosecutor who introduced the bill, said a three-judge panel at the federal district court level followed by direct appeal to the Supreme Court is necessary so that the president can’t stall litigation until his term is up.

The Office of Management and Budget said in the veto threat that it “strongly opposes” the bill “because it violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions – taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.”

“Congress ordinarily has the power to define the bounds of the Executive Branch’s enforcement authority under particular statutes, and persons who claim to be harmed by the Executive Branch’s actions may challenge them as inconsistent with the governing statute,” the veto threat continues.

“But the power the bill purports to assign to Congress to sue the President over whether he has properly discharged his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed exceeds constitutional limitations. Congress may not assign such power to itself, nor may it assign to the courts the task of resolving such generalized political disputes.” (Read the rest here.)

Please read the rest of her great article, but as is sometimes best, watch the videos and judge for yourself. There are two speeches to watch, the first is his introduction, and the second is his defense of the bill. Both are around five minutes long, but it is a great ten minutes total that explains in clear language what the problems are, and what the remedy is according to his seasoned, experienced view as a former prosecutor.

More from Bridget Johnson at PJ Media:

On the House floor, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the intent of Gowdy’s bill is to “abolish the powers of the presidency because you disagree with policy.”

Isn’t it ironic, that the Representative from Texas describes Gowdy’s Bill in such a way yet she is the one who thinks the Constitution is 400 years old.  (From the Free Beacon)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) declared the U.S. Constitution to be 400 years old Wednesday on the House floor, which would mean it was signed in 1614.

“Maybe I should offer a good thanks to the distinguished members of the majority, the Republicans, my chairman and others, for giving us an opportunity to have a deliberative constitutional discussion that reinforces the sanctity of this nation and how well it is that we have lasted some 400 years, operating under a constitution that clearly defines what is constitutional and what is not,” she said.

That would be seven years after Jamestown, Virginia became America’s first permanent English settlement.

We at SUA stand firmly along side constitutional scholars like Rep. Gowdy and hang our heads every time Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tries to educate us. Texas must be very proud.

Rep. Gowdy’s Floor Speech on the ENFORCE the Law Act

%CODE%

The second speech ends on a note about what we pointed out after the 2014 State of the Union speech last month where the Democrats cheered as Obama said:

But America does not stand still, and neither will I. (Applause.) So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do. (Cheers, applause.)

Gowdy, and strict constitutionalists like SUA agree, it was unconscionable of the Democrats who rose and cheered as the President told them he intended to go around them. Why would they cheer about losing more of the co-equal branch’s power to the Executive?

Rep. Gowdy’s Defense of the ENFORCE the Law Act

%CODE2%