Friday, April 4, 2014

Night Watch

North Korea: At a meeting with military officers on 1 April, Kim Jong Un warned that the circumstances of the country are very grave and vowed to crush hostile US policies.

Comment: Kim's remarks make it official: the thaw in relations with the South has ended for now. A month ago it was just the opposite.North Korean leaders can never just do something because it needs doing. They invariably wrap themselves in pariotism, crisis and victimization, and triumph over insurmountable odds. As a result they consign the people to endless sacrifices and poverty.
Expect rocket and missile launches and probably a nuclear-related test, but the timing is not clear.

India: SpecialComment. General elections begin on 7 April and will run through 12 May. A new Pew Survey poll found that Indians are unhappy with the direction of government and judge it is time for a change after a decade of Congress-led coalition government. While it is difficult to credit a poll taken in a democracy of 1.2 billion people with 812 million registered voters, Pew's findings are similar to the analyses of most Indian political commentaries.

The apparent front runner is the National Democratic Alliance, which is a coalition led by the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Its candidate for prime minister is Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat State. Its platform stresses economic development, especially job creation.

Rahul Gandhi, son of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, is the candidate for prime minister of the ruling coalition which is led by the Indian National Congress. The Congress platform always calls for greater social justice.

Multiple surveys indicate Modi is more popular than Gandhi.

Pakistan: State-run television reported the Interior Ministry has rejected a request from former President Musharraf to go abroad for medical treatment and to see his ailing mother. Irfan Sadiqui, the prime minister's adviser on national affairs, told thePTVon Wednesday that the government rejected Musharraf's request as it could make it difficult for the government to bring him to court once he leaves the country.

Comment: It is probably politically impossible to allow Musharraf to leave at this stage of the proceedings against him. The Interior Ministry is the proper authority for making the decision. For now, Musharraf is still headed to trial.

Peace talks. A spokesman said the Pakistani Taliban would not extend the ceasefire that has been in place for the past month. However, the Taliban remain open to peace talks with the government. Some Taliban leaders said the government's inaction on their requests would lead to renewed attacks.

Comment: The government's limited prisoner relief is enough to keep the parties talking, but apparently not enough to prevent attacks from resuming.

Saudi Arabia: The interior ministry is enforcing the new anti-terrorism law and new regulations on what constitutes "terrorism" in the Kingdom. The sweeping provisions criminalize virtually any expression or association critical of the Kingdom and its understanding of Islam. These "terrorism" provisions include the following:

Article 1: "Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based."

Article 2: "Anyone who throws away their loyalty to the country's rulers, or who swears allegiance to any party, organization, current of thought, group, or individual inside or outside the kingdom."

Article 4: "Anyone who aids "terrorist" organizations, groups, currents of thought, associations, or parties, or demonstrates affiliation with them, or sympathy with them, or promotes them, or holds meetings under their umbrella, either inside or outside the kingdom; this includes participation in audio, written, or visual media; social media in its audio, written, or visual forms; internet websites; or circulating their contents in any form, or using slogans of these groups and currents of thought, or any symbols which point to support or sympathy with them."

Article 6: "Contact or correspondence with any groups, currents of thought, or individuals hostile to the kingdom."

Article 8: "Seeking to shake the social fabric or national cohesion, or calling, participating, promoting, or inciting sit-ins, protests, meetings, or group statements in any form, or anyone who harms the unity or stability of the kingdom by any means."

Article 9: "Attending conferences, seminars, or meetings inside or outside the kingdom targeting the security of society, or sowing discord in society."

Article 11: "Inciting or making countries, committees, or international organizations antagonistic to the kingdom."

Comment: The laws and supporting decrees were enacted in March. They gave jihadis in Syria 15 days to return or be considered terrorists. They also labeled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and criminalized atheism as "terrorism."

The new regulations are the most far reaching and restrictive of any enacted to date. They criminalize any form of protest or advocacy of reform. They are as severe and as authoritarian as any in North Korea. Cumulatively, they are an indicator that the monarchy is concerned seriously about internal stability.

End of NightWatch
March Jobs Report: The Mild Economy Continues 
Kevin Glass / Townhall Columnist
The March jobs report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is out, finding that employment growth was roughly in line with expectations. Many analysts predicted growth of 200,000 jobs, and the report came in with 192,000 nonfarm payroll jobs added - entirely in the private sector, as 1,000 government jobs were shed during the month. 
The workforce participation rate increased very slightly, and the unemployment rate stayed constant at 6.7%. The U-6 measure, which captures broader "underemployment" numbers, actually rose to 12.7%.

Just as important, the BLS's estimation of employment in previous months was revised upwards. BLS now estimates that 37,000 more jobs were added over January and February than previously estimated.

Analysts have pointed out that the total number of jobs in the American economy has now - finally - passed the pre-2008 recession peak. That doesn't mean that the economy is in any healthy status; it's more to explain that it's taken this long to get back to where the economy was six years ago - and that the economic recovery still has a long way to go.

House Speaker John Boehner released a statement after the jobs report calling for the consideration of the Republican jobs plan, saying:
House has passed dozens of bills that would help fuel economic growth by expanding all types of energy production, protecting families and small business from ObamaCare, improving education and job training, and more. Senate Democrats have no excuse for standing in the way of these common-sense jobs measures, many of which passed with bipartisan support, and I urge them to act immediately.”
What is clear is that there's still a long way to go to a "healthy" economy - this is a status quo report that means little more than that the economy is still sputtering along.
Data Show 15-20 Percent of ACA Enrollees Haven't Paid Premiums
By Jason Devaney
 / Newsmax

Blue Cross Blue Shield has data that shows 15 to 20 percent of Americans that are signed up for Obamacare have not paid their premiums, making the actual number of sign-ups closer to 6 million.

National Journal reports that 80 to 85 percent of people who enrolled with the insurance company through the Obamacare exchanges paid their first month's premium. The rest have not paid, meaning they are not actually covered under any insurance plan.

The news was proof that the system is not working, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar told Newsmax. "This is just more evidence of what I, and many of my Republican colleagues, have been saying all along: Obamacare just doesn’t work — in theory or in practice," said Gosar, a dentist, in a statement.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius accepted the figures saying other insurance companies have reported similar numbers.

But she tried to put a positive spin on the numbers. "Insurance companies... tell us from their initial customers it’s somewhere between 80, 85, some say it’s as high as 90 percent have paid so far," Sebelius said.

"Lots of companies have different timetables for when their new customers have to send their first payment. You are not fully enrolled until you pay your premium."

National Journal estimates that if the national average of paying Obamacare enrollees is between 80 and 85 percent, the overall number of Americans covered under the Affordable Care Act is between 5.6 and 6.1 million — not the 7.1 million that have reportedly signed up.

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced the final day to enroll in an insurance plan through the Obamacare exchanges will be April 15. People who started to fill out an application online are being granted the extension to complete the process.

"For those in line on the 31st, we encourage consumers to finish the process as soon as possible," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright said, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"They must complete their enrollment by no later than the 15th for coverage this year."

The later deadline is seen by some Obamacare critics as a way to get more people to sign up for healthcare plans, since there will not be a way to verify if someone actually tried to sign up before the March 31 deadline.

Deadlines to sign up for plans have been fluid since the website rollout last fall. The deadline to get coverage for Jan. 1 was changed from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23, and then the March 31 date became a soft deadline.

Open enrollment for 2015 is set to begin Nov. 15, a change from the initial date of Oct. 15.

Iran loses Manhattan skyscraper to Islamic terror victims 

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

Justice. Finally.
Iran loses Manhattan skyscraper to terror vics                  NY Daily News
The Iranian companies that own a Midtown office tower worth more than $500 million must forfeit the building to people who successfully sued Iran for iran NYC skyscraperdamages over terrorist attacks, including 9/11, a judge has ruled.
In a written opinion Friday, Manhattan Federal Judge Katherine Forrest said the companies must hand over the building because they acted as fronts for the Iranian government and therefore “are” the government of Iran under certain federal laws.
In a separate but related decision in September, Forrest said the feds have the right to seize the building, 650 Fifth Ave., partly due to money laundering acts.
It’s unclear how the various claims to the property will be sorted out.
The terrorism victims are staking claim to the building because a different federal judge, George Daniels, in 2012 ordered Iran, Hezbollah, Osama Bin Laden and others to pay them more than $6 billion in damages.
Daniels, in a default judgment in 2011, found Iran and other parties liable for the 9/11 attacks.
The feds have said their aim would likely be to sell the building and use the proceeds to pay some of the damages owed to the terrorism victims.
Forrest also ruled Friday that sixproperties in Queens and in Texas, California, Virginia and Maryland, should be forfeited.

Another traitor in the fold  
By: Diane Sori

"Chairman, I do not know who took al-Qaeda out of the talking points, but you should know that I myself made a number of changes to the points."
- Michael Morrell at Wednesday's Benghazi hearing

Simply...the media generated story about a YouTube video being the cause of the attacks on our Benghazi compound was NOTHING but a LIE created to cater to the political ambitions of Barack HUSSEIN Obama...period.

And the Obama administration...ALL in the Obama administration...knew this from day one, and that includes former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, who in Wednesday's Benghazi hearings before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, outright denied he covered-up or “inappropriately altered and influenced” the now infamous Benghazi talking points, and did so in an effort to downplay if NOT outright dismiss the role of terrorism in the distance the media 'anointed' savior of us all from everything Benghazi before it tainted his re-election bid.

Called to testify after several key Republican members of Congress claimed new evidence showed he deliberately misled them by withholding what he knew about the talking points after the attacks, Michael Morell was indeed the very person who editing and made eight changes to said talking points (his name, initials, and notes are all over the original pages), and was the one who was in direct contact with the Obama White House at all times. And at one point during his testimony Morrell admitted that he was the one who removed the information about al-Qaeda and the word islamists from the talking points even though the CIA had warned those in the administration about a possible al-Qaeda terrorist attack in the making before the attacks on the Benghazi compound occurred.

And then in the next breath...while claiming to be an intelligence professional... Morrell in trying to cover his own butt said,"... the group of officers from our office of Congressional affairs and our office of public affairs,” were the ones who removed the references from said talking points.

LYING and passing the buck...the blame everybody else game...the hallmark of those in the Obama administration surfaces yet again in Morrell's testimony, and for a minute there I thought he might just blame George W. Bush for removing the al-Qaeda and islamic references.

Continuing on Morrell claimed that administration Susan Rice...were told the day before Rice went on the Sunday morning talk show circuit that a 'key point' in the Benghazi talking points "just might" be inaccurate.

In other words, they all knew the YouTube video nonsense was an out-and-out LIE, and yet this administration continued to spew that LIE until caught and only until caught. And they all (I believe) knew the truth that Benghazi was Obama's ILLEGAL gun and weapons running operation that originated in Libya, funneled through Benghazi into Turkey, with the final destination being the al-Qaeda backed Syrian rebels. And they all (I believe) knew Ambassador Stevens found out and was going to expose said operation and therefore had to be silenced before he could in a 'targeted' kill...and that Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty were just throwaway collateral damage they could care less about.

And why else would Morrell have said that these supposed 'professionals' relied on and based their entire analysis and talking points on media coverage instead of on information generated from the operatives on the ground...information from CIA personnel and those who were there during the attacks, including information from Woods and Doherty before they were killed...if NOT to cover for this most politically damaging of truths.

Giving credence to my words above is that when further questioned about the video supposition, Morrell continued to refuse to explain to the Committee why this administration stayed to the pre-set video narrative even after U.S. intelligence completely discredited the reports that the attack was a protest over the anti-islam video gone awry. In fact, Obama himself continued to spew this very LIE in a speech he gave at the U(seless) N(ations) on September 26, 2012...more than two weeks after the attacks.

And when directly questioned yet again about al-Qaeda and islamic ties to the attacks, Morrell responded by saying, “The only way we knew that anybody who was involved in that attack that night was associated with al Qaeda was from classified sources.” Claiming that leaving in reference to al-Qaeda could have jeopardized classified sources and that, “To leave it in, the [CIA] director would have had to declassify that information,” is simply NOT true for Ambassador Stevens himself had sent numerous messages to Hillary Clinton saying he feared for his and those at the compound's safety due to continuing al-Qaeda presence in the area.

And this is more than just merely infuriating because here we have a CIA Deputy Director more concerned about protecting those involved...those who are the enemy...than in telling the truth about that horrific day where four brave Americans lost their lives because of the actions of Barack HUSSEIN Obama and those who orbit around him.

“These allegations accuse me of taking these actions for the political benefit of President Obama and then [former] Secretary of State [Hillary Rodham] Clinton... these allegations are false,” Morrell said in his summation but I think NOT for any and everything this administration does is indeed solely for the political benefit of NOT only Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his administration, but for the benefit of the Democratic party as well.

And so Morrell's tampering with the truth actually 'aided and abetted' the other words Michael Morrell committed an act of TREASON...and he knows he did for he is NOT a stupid man. Now he has to find a way out of this mess...or have Obama's spin meisters do it for him. I just wonder if they will or if Michael Morrell will offer himself up as Obama's sacrificial lamb...and let's NOT forget as Hillary Clinton's sacrificial lamb as well...for answers to that I guess only time will time.