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News Archives  [October 2013]






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Celebration after the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series

On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series Championship - The game was not only magical, it was special. This was the first World Series the Sox won at home with all their fans in attendance in 96 years. We have play-by-play photos in our Photo Gallery 

 
 
  
  

News Headlines
 











Republicans Brain Explosion in Healthcare.gov Hearing
Federal Judge Ruled Texas Abortion Law Unconstitutional
Edward Snowden's Mission Drip: Is the Flood yet To Come?
Who Put Healthcare.gov on Life Support? Will it Recover?
The Hysteria over Healthcare.gov
Democrats Averted Default - Federal Workers Back to Work
Congress Is Working to Avert Debt Default - Re-open gov.
The Damage Is Done - China Wants its Money Back
US in Fiscal Crisis - Damage to Real Americans
President Obama Rejected House Tea Party GOP Plan to Raise the Debt ceiling While Keeping the Government Shutdown
Government Shutdown Taking its Toll on Regular Americans
Government Shutdown: Day 2
The Federal Government Shut down
The Republicans' Government Shutdown 30 Hours Away
Government Shutdown & Syria - Iran Updates


  
October 30, 2013 [6:15 PM]



Republicans’ Brain Explosion In Obamacare Hearing

U.S. House Energy & Commerce Republican-chaired Committee Obamacare Website HearingPhoto_political

Do we want HealthCare.gov To Work OR Should We Keep Going for Its Utter Failure

 
At 4:00 PM today, President Obama gave a speech on the Affordable Health Care Act in Boston’s Faneuil Hall where former Massachusetts Republican governor, and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney signed a similar health care law in 2006. The President was sharp and upbeat and even had a good laugh with a heckler who was yelling in the back about climate change. This happened before he started his speech and President Obama stopped and told the protester that it was the wrong protest because the climate change protest was last week.” “Wrong place – wrong time,” the President said before he started his speech without any further disturbance. As if to remind the country, the president outlined the reasons why we needed this health care law to rescue the millions of Americans who were shut out the health insurance market for multiple reasons, including affordability. He also focused on the benefits of the law, and refuted Republicans’ claims that people have been sent cancellation letters from their insurance companies unlike what the President had promised. The President’s speech was short and well-received in the historic Boston Faneuil Hall.

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GOP Rep. Mike Rogers Grills Kathleen Sebelius on Security Risks: Exposed Millions of Americans!
10/30/13 - During testimony in the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday morning, Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) strongly lectured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius abou...
At 9:00 this morning, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Katheline Sebelius, testified before the Republican chaired U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee about the technical trouble that has plagued  healthcare.gov, the site where people are supposed to go in order to enroll in President Obama’s new Affordable Health Care Law. The website was launched on October 1, and within hours millions of users who tried to access the site encountered error problems and were unable to complete their enrollment. The launch of the enrollment period came on the heel of the Tea Party House Republican government shutdown, which brought Republicans’ popularity and approval ratings among Americans to an all-time low. But with the website problems, Republicans began to pounce. After spending the past 3 and a half year demonizing the law, calling it a train wreck, a disaster, socialism, government takeover, and last September trying to dismantle it, defund, or delay its implementation, the Republicans have found new issues and quickly set up committee hearings to demand answers to the website problems for a law they hated from day 1.

Last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing with the private contractors who worked on the website. Today, it was Secretary Sebelius’ turn. The Republicans have been consistent, using the committee hearing to make long speeches to continue to decry the law, minimizing and dismissing its benefits, and disregarding any improvement that has been made in fixing the website. At the same time, they have used these hearing to hype up and embellish rumors and press accounts adverse to the law – making up horror stories about insurance companies dropping people from plans they had and sending out letters that they were doing that because of “Obamacare.”

Secretary Sebelius opened with a prepared statement, in which she said,

“I want to apologize to you that the website is not working as well as it should,” she said, offering the most direct apology yet from such a high level administration official. “I want to assure you that HealthCare.gov can be fixed, and we are working around the clock to give you the experience that you deserve. Today, more individuals are successfully creating accounts, logging in and moving on to apply for coverage and shop for plans,” both statements say. “We are pleased with these quick improvements, but we know there is still significant, additional work to be done. We continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the consumer experience. While we are working around the clock to address problems with HealthCare.gov, it is important to remember that the Affordable Care Act is much more than purchasing insurance through HealthCare.gov,” the statements say.

For most of her testimony, the Republicans vented their grievances with the law, particularly those letters they said they received from their constituents to show that the President misled the country when he said, “if you like your old insurance, you can keep it.” The problem is, the Affordable Health Care Law set up some basic criteria for the health insurance marketplace, and requires insurance companies to meet certain basic market standards, such justifying rate hike, and providing basic coverage for preventative care and women’s health. These letters complaining about people being dropped from their health insurance appear to all be coming from Republican districts where the Tea Party has been well financed, extremely organized, and have been fighting this law from the beginning. Under the AHCA, nothing will change for people who receive health insurance coverage through their employers. This makes up 95 percent of the people in this country who need insurance. Only a fraction of 5 percent of people will be dropped by their previous insurance companies because they were being defrauded in the first place. Before the AHCA, the health insurance market was largely unregulated and left consumers unprotected. As a result, insurance companies regularly dropped coverage for consumers – sometimes in the middle of the year, denied treatment, dropped people off their coverage in the middle of treatment on the basis of annual cap, and millions of Americans could not obtain health insurance coverage at all for what the insurance industry considered “pre-existing condition.” In addition, Children who turned 18 years old were immediately dropped off their parents’ health insurance plans. The Affordable Health Care Act was passed after 70 years of various Presidents and Congress trying to address the issue of the 43 millions of Americans who could not afford to buy insurance because the benefit was not provided through their employers. This group of people includes the self-employed and small business owners.

Secretary Sebelius reminded the Committee that millions of people have already been benefiting from the law. The October 1 launch was the start-up date for the open enrollment, the last component of the law to be implemented.  This open enrollment period will continue until March 31, 2014. Otherwise, millions of people with pre-existing conditions who could never get insurance and young people under the age of 26 have already been enrolled in the program. These two components were deployed over the past 2 years and have already been in effect. Further, part of the law strengthened Medicare to make it possible for seniors to receive wellness and preventative care, as well as discounts on prescription drugs. The Affordable Healthcare also offers preventative care and maternity coverage for women. It offers consumers more options, lowers cost, and curtail fraud and unethical practices in the insurance market. Finally, many people who may now worry about being dropped from the current health insurance because they had bought into sub-standard plans and may see the cost of their premium rise may be eligible for get their premium subsidized un the Affordable Health Care Law. The new law will cover millions of Medicaid eligible people, even though Republican governors in 26 States worked to sabotage the program by keeping their States from participating in the program. These are States with the highest numbers of uninsured Americans. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees that want to voluntary join the program will receive tax credit. The Health Care Law was designed after Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Law and President Obama adopted the individual mandate from a plan that was first developed and promoted by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a strong and influential Republican think-tank.


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October 28, 2013 [5:15 PM]

BREAKING NEWS

Texas 4:00 AM Abortion Law Struck Down by Federal Court
A Federal Judge Ruled Texas' Abortion Ban Unconstitutional
 & Cannot Go into Effect as Scheduled next Week



Photo_Freewoodpost.com                                                                                       Photo:Moveon.org 
Republicans' New Strict Abortion Law in Texas Struck Down in CourtTexas Republican Governor Rick PerryLast June the Republican majority legislature in Texas passed one of the most restrictive  laws banning most abortions and passing regulations which would have made impossible for doctors and clinics to provide abortion services in the State. When the legislature attempted to pass the law in just before midnight at the end of the legislative period, Texas Democratic Senator Wendy Davis mounted an 13- hour filibuster. The filibuster rules in the Texas legislature are strict and forbid members to get off topics, lean on the podium, and even from drinking water. When a Senate colleague tried to provide Mss. Davis with a back support,the Senate Republican Chair declared that she had violated the rules and ordered her to terminate the filibuster  By that time, words had gotten out on social media and thousands of people spontaneously showed up and filled the galleries of the capitol, chairing and chanting for her to be allowed to continue. When she was finally forced off the floor just 1 minute before midnight, the Republicans tried to rush the bill through and passed it. However, the record later showed that they had voted for the bill 2 minutes after midnight when the legislative session had already expired, which would have made the bill illegal. That forced the Republicans to pull out the bill. but in July, Texas governor Rick Perry called a special session of the legislature and the bill was passed. Democrats are a small minority in the Texas legislature. 


After the passage of the bill, Governor Perry declared that the Republicans had reached their goals to do away for good with abortion in the State. Prior to that, media reports and special documentaries had shown that stringent and highly prohibitive regulations on abortion service providers in Texas had already driven many doctors and clinic out of Texas, living Texas women, especially the poor to cross the border into Texas or resort to home remedies to induce abortions. This law would have effectively shut down Planned Parenthood, which provides women health services, including gynecological services and  mammogram to thousands of poor women in Texas. That bill also contained provisions to make it a criminal act for doctors to perform abortions. This law would have closed a third of the few remaining few clinic. This fight turned Senator Davis into a national rock star and role model for women. After the remarkable filibuster, even the pink sneakers wore by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis during the filibuster became went viral on the internet and became famous. She is now running for governor in Texas where Rick Perry's term is coming to an end.

Senator Davis' Famous Pink Filibuster SneakersHer campaign to become the governor of the State faces an uphill battle as Texas remains one of the reddest of the red States. Planned Parenthood and other groups sued the State of Texas, and today a Federal judge struck down key provisions of the law, declared it unconstitutional, and  ordered its implementation blocked. Republicans in the so-called red States have been passing the same type of regulations-based laws, which they hope can get around legitimate laws, which they know will be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court under the 40 year old precedent Roe v. Wade. Following the ruling after 5:00 PM this afternoon, Texas governor and former GOP 2012 presidential candidate vowed to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. 





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October 27, 2013



Edward Snowden's Mission Drip: New Release from Russia

Is The Flood yet To Come?

NSA Leaker Eadward Snowden Released New Sensitive & Damaging Information about U.S. Spying on Foreign AlliesPhoto_guardian.com

Former NSA Security Analyst Edward Snowden Released New Information Implicating the U.S. in Widespread  Spying on Foreign Heads of States - Including Close Allies


French President, Francois Hollande
French President Francois HollandeNew leaks emerged last week by the former NSA analyst, Edward Snowden, who has been living under asylum in Russia that the United States has been spying on foreign heads of states, including some of its closest allies. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters gathered in Washington DC on Saturday October 26, to demand an end to the secret government spying and surveillance program, as well as the Patriots Act. The new leaks allege telephone hacking and eavesdropping on the telephone conversations of as many as 35 foreign leaders, along with close allies, such as France and Germany. Following the leak, the French government summoned the US ambassador in Paris to demand an urgent explanation over Snowden’s claims that the National Security Agency had engaged widespread phone and internet surveillance of French citizens. This week, the French daily newspaper, Le Monde, published details from Snowden’s latest release, suggesting the U.S. had been intercepting French phone traffic on "a massive scale". German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has been reported to have told reporters that France and Germany want talks with the US over the alleged snooping activities. Reuters reported that Merkel asked the U.S. to “agree to a no-spying” agreement with its European allies. "That means a framework for cooperation between the relevant [intelligence] services. Germany and France have taken the initiative and other member states will join," Merkel has been quoted to have said.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel
Photo_theguardian.co.uk
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

Last June, the 29-year old Snowden fled to Hong Kong after he copied what was reported to be an internal audit containing thousands of top-secret and highly classified documents from the National Security Agency, and leaked the first batch to the Washington Post and the Guardian, a UK newspaper. News of the leaked documents created an up-war globally. The initial leaked documents contained evidence of a broad overreach by the U.S. government into the privacy of hundreds of millions of foreigners and unsuspecting American citizens, through a massive collection of electronic and internet data, including a large swooping of telephone, email, text messages, and other personal and financial information involving some of the biggest service providers. The documents released by Snowden contained evidence of data-mining from Sprint, Verizon, At&T, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google. The reaction to the leaks was mixed, with former and current national security experts defending the program, while the American public and foreigners expressed outrage over the privacy violations. While in Hong Kong, Snowden gave interviews to the Guardian indicating that he was in possession of more documents. The NSA had been collecting billions of documents on hundreds of millions of people worldwide through a secret surveillance program called PRISM. The program was originally created to target foreign intelligence under the Patriots Act after the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

After releasing the first set of documents from Hong Kong, Mr. Snowden left China en route to South America, possibly Ecuador, where media speculations spread that he was offered asylum. Snowden was promptly charged with several criminal charges by the U.S. Justice Department, including espionage. While on transit in the Moscow international airport, reports surfaced that the United States had planned to scramble jets to intercept any airliners transporting Snowden. From a trip to North Africa at the time, President Obama denied that such a plan was in effect. However, those reports caused Snowden to become stranded in the Russian airport terminal for a month, virtually existing in a no-man’s land, while he sought asylum from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin issued temporary asylum about a month later to Snowden who has since been considered a fugitive from justice in the U.S. government.

Brazil President, Dilma Rousseff
Brazil President, Dilma RousseffSnowden can be credited with blowing the secret surveillance program wide open and compelling the Obama administration to take defensive actions, including a promise to open the program to more transparency. Nonetheless, the damage has been done. Snowden’s action came close to souring already cool relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama, right in the middle of the Syrian chemical weapon attack in the Syrian civil war and the subsequent tension and threat of military action by the U.S., which were later resolved diplomatically by Secretary of States John Kerry in the UN Security Council. Last month , it was the president of Brazil , Dilma Rousseff, who lashed out at the United States for spying on her and her country during the UN General Assembly in New York. It is not completely clear what has motivated Snowden to  launch these leaks or why he chose this particular slow-burn method. He has said in interviews that he was motivated by his conscience and his belief in civil liberty and privacy under the U.S. Constitution. His father had at first called for the younger Snowden to return to the U.S. and face the U.S. government in court, but appeared to have changed his mind and agreed that his son should remain out of the country, after he traveled to visit his son in Russia. Prior to Snowden’s decision to leak the documents, the government had refused to acknowledge or deny the existence of the program on grounds of its extremely high level of classification. However, the former NSA data analysis continued to work with the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, and was gathering support from human rights organization and activists, and gaining a following among former government whistle-blowers. Earlier this month, Snowden was presented with an award in Russia by former whistleblowers and human rights activists.

About a month following the first leaked documents, Mr. Snowden leaked more NSA documents to the Washington Post. The new revelations included the unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by law and executive orders. These new violations did not involved instances of heave droppings. Rather, they related to violations of surveillance law, and showed typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of US emails and telephone calls. The violations of law were the result of a practice by the NSA to collect intelligence outside the scope of Congress’ oversight role and without seeking clearance from the FASA Court under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This special secret Court was created to oversee the U.S. surveillance program under the Patriot Act after 9/11. Among the second set of documents released by Snowden were classified papers that showed how NSA employees were instructed to remove specific details from reports and substitute them with generic words to replace the names of the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Each leak has prompted more calls in the media, Congress, in activist and civil liberty circles, and among business and corporations, for more transparency from the Obama administration. For now, 29-year old American citizen Edward Snowden remains a thorn on the side of his country, with the potential to cause more international incidents and conflicts between his country and world leaders. In addition to embarrassing the Obama administration, the on-going Snowden’s leaks also pose a threat to international diplomacy with possible disruption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and its allies. Yet, it has not been determined how much more classified material and secret documents Snowden may still have in his possession or what he might plan to do with them in the future. His father visited him in Russia earlier.


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October 26, 2013



Who Put HealthCare.gov on Life Support?


The problems with healthcare.govAs Much as Republicans have been seeking the demise of the healthcare law and as gleeful as they are by the problems that have plagued the launch, this question could have been asked by every American:
 “Why doesn't healthcare.gov work properly?” asked Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.)

 Will it ever work & What will be the lasting impact - if any?

Good news! Here Are the Answers
 
On October 1, the federal government set out to launch the scheduled enrollment for health care coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act. Within hours, words were out that the main site, healthcare.gov, that was specifically built to handle the program was showing signs of failure, locking users out of the system, sending error messages, and even crashing under the stress of millions of visitor-traffics, with people either trying to sign up or just checking out the program. The so-called glitches mostly affected the online marketplace that is intended to link uninsured Americans to affordable private insurance plans, one of the most important aspects of the program. As this came on the heel of the government shutdown by the Republican House of Representatives, and the subsequent reopening of the government and the close call on the debt ceiling default on September 16, the news cycle was slow and the press began to pounce. Republicans who have hated the law from the beginning and have tried to sabotage, defund, and derail, going so far as to shut down the government in a last ditch effort to dismantle the law, saw the website problem as a gift for them to do away with the law for good. Tea Party Republicans saw the website glitches as a new weapon in their 3-year guerilla warfare against the law and took their tactics to sink all, the law, the federal government, and the President, to a whole new level.

On Thursday, we all had a chance to get real insights as to why the website ran into trouble. Given the size of the program, some glitches should have been anticipated and built into the launch on D-Day October 1. For example, users have had trouble signing on, getting accurate cost estimates and completing enrollment, but had proper testing being done on time and to a proper degree, leading to provisions and adequate contingency measures to deal with the technical problems effectively, the rollout would have gone much smoother while adjustments could have been made. But it was clear that the contractors were short-sighted, and therefore none of those precautionary steps were planned or even taken into consideration. On October 1, the website simply reflected the dysfunction of its disintegrated components, due to the fact that it was never fully integrated during the construction and was subjected to sub-standard testing.

At a hearing before the House commerce committee, it was revealed that at least three separate companies worked on the development of the website at a cost of approximately $500 million dollars. CGI Federal worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) under the Health and Human Services Department, as the lead contractor. Another component of the website, including coding and testing, was handled by Optum/QSSI, a business unit of the mega healthcare company UnitedHealth Group. This group sub-contracted with CGI Federal. Two other companies were represented in the hearing, one of which was only responsible to process paper applications, which were then to be used as the basis for entering data into the same system. A third company had no role or responsibility for the functions and functionality of the website.

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NJ Dem to House Committee: "I Will Not Yield to This Monkey Court"
Frank Pallone to House Committee: "I Will Not Yield to This Monkey Court"October 24, 2013www.FreeBeacon.com
After asking a fairly reasonable question, Rep. Pitts called the healthcare rollout “one of the biggest IT disasters in government history,” which is not true. The history of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare Part D and Prescription Drugs, shows that some of these program launches were literal nightmares, particularly Medicare and Social Security during an Era of no computers and before anyone had social security numbers, with many Americans not having their birth certificates to prove their ages. More recently, the rollout of President Bush’s Medicare Prescription Drugs was as rocky as the launch of the Health Care Law and the glitches went on for months. But it is what happened after Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) suggested that visitors to the website could not be “guaranteed their personal privacy” that turned viral, and will probably remain memorable in the history of this committee for years to come.  Democrats argued that the site is compliant with so-called HIPPA medical privacy laws, and when Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) was yielded the floor, he lambasted what he called the GOP’s “monkey court” by Republicans who were seeking to keep uninsured Americans from signing up for health insurance coverage. “Once again [he said] my Republican colleagues are trying to scare everybody,” Pallone said.

Why Healthcare.gov is in intensive care

The contractors attempted to blame the disastrous launch on the high volume of traffic that overwhelmed the site at the beginning of the enrollment period. This was obviously preposterous, as such high volumes should have been expected and planned for. Then Democrat Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto argued “that’s really kind of a lame excuse; this is the 21st century... Amazon and Ebay don’t crash the week before Christmas…” That, too, does not speak to the problems that the website faced, given that users interacting with Amazon and Ebay are involved in wholly different types of transactions than are people signing to obtain health insurance coverage. There were also suggestions from some of the committee members that many of the problems stemmed from “a last-minute change” in the site’s operation that required site visitors to sign up before they could window shop for policies. This argument does not stand the test of logic either, considering that any last minute change would have been mitigated, had appropriate integration and testing been conducted on the website within a sufficient amount of time, to allow for adjustments and re-testing even after the October launch date.

However, the most important information that came out from the hearing is that while the program was supposed to work as one from end to end, these contractors spent the life of the contract working separately on their own component and barely coordinating the development of the site with each other, or exchanging information in any systematic way. This was evident when each contractor appeared to answer the committee’s questions by explaining how they did their part. And as the hearing went on, the wall that separated the work of these contractors and caused much of the problems on October 1 and thereafter, became literally higher and more visible. However, what seemed to have doomed the functionality of healthcare.gov was the unforgivable window of 2 weeks these contractors gave themselves to test the website. It sounded incredible when executives testifying for their respective companies responded to the question of testing that they did not conduct any testing on the site until 2 weeks before the launch of a program of this size and complexity, when in reality testing on such a project should have taken place months – at least 4 to 6 months – before the rollout day.

Yes - Healthcare.gov will recover soon & Americans will get health care coverage

As of today, while Republicans continue to try to scare Americans and keep people from signing for healthcare in  their radio rebuttal to the President’s radio address, President Obama has appointed a new system manager to oversee the fixes and repairs to the website, and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Katheleen Sebelius, has announced a deadline of November 30 for the site to be optimized and be made entirely functional to provide for a more user-friendly experience, as well as to allow the program to be implemented more smoothly and more fully. Ultimately, the website will be fixed, and the very Republicans who now think that these glitches will help them to finally do away with the program, might inadvertently end up putting enough pressure on the contractors and HHS to propel the website to full and smooth functionality. This would be poetic irony, since at least one major reason for these problems is the refusal of Republican governors in GOP/Tea Party dominated States to participate in the health care and Medicaid exchange. This boycott forced the federal government to pick up millions of uninsured Americans from those States, putting a tremendous stress on the system. It is worth mentioning that in States where governors, Democrats and Republicans, have agreed to participate in the program by setting up connectors or exchanges, the program has met remarkable success. Open enrollment has been extended through March 31, 2014. At the end, the website will be fixed, people will sign up and get much needed health insurance coverage, and the initial problems with the website will have gone to prove that most new launches come with certain levels of difficulties and that, for planners, it is important to hope for the best and always plan for the worst. All is well that ends well.
 
  

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October 24, 2013



The Hysteria over the Technical Issues with Healthcare.gov

The media hysteria over healthcare.govPhoto_businessinsider.com

Since the Start of the Enrollment Period on October 1



 
Given the mania that has been running through the media since the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Health Care program, and fueled by the same radical Republicans that shut down the government as a means to de-fund the Health Care Law, we went on the website to see exactly what the rioting was all about. Extreme Tea Party Republicans aside, those in the media in general happen to have too much time on their hands and too little news to report. As a result, in any given no-news news cycle, electronic and print media journalists and commentators will beat on any issue at hand like they would a dead horse.

It is remarkable that people who are supposed to be, at the very least smarter than the rest, and possess the ability to conduct simple gatherings of information and disseminate what they compile, would act as if they never heard of computer or server errors, crashes, exceptions, and all forms of difficulties that too often come with operating websites and operating systems. The idea that a system overload caused a program to lock out users could become the source of such a frenzy in the media is truly laughable, particularly when this health care program enrollment is scheduled to remain open through March 2014.

Could or should those who planned the launch of the enrollment have been prepared for the worst? Yes, they should have planned for massive numbers and all types of possibilities, complete with contingency plans and alternative routing mechanisms. Therefore, whoever participated in the planning of the program’s opening day, including program managers, webmasters, information technicians, software engineers, right down to data entry personnel and contractors should all be fired. There is absolutely no excuse for putting the President through this unnecessary embarrassment among people who spend their time lurking in paranoia in wait, and hoping for him to take one false step. Not to mention the hassle for those who need health care coverage, have tried to enroll, and are now waiting to sign up for much needed health insurance.

To find out what was behind the hysteria, we went on healthcare.gov today and tried to register. From our experiment, we believe that there are several different factors that may be contributing to the problems that users have reported facing during the process of online enrollment. From the beginning, we got several error messages because we failed to follow the instructions for entering a password and choosing a plan. We simply assumed that we could just enter any password that we wanted, but the system specifically requires a combination of lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. This is not unusual; As a matter of fact, many website sign up systems work in a similar fashion. However, once we followed the procedure, we were offered certain options, but were not able to continue. Nonetheless, our account was successfully created. Within 2 hours, we also received an email indicating that our account was successfully created and that we could return and log in any time to complete the application process. This email contained 2 separate telephone numbers that we were encouraged to call if we ran into problems, needed live customer support, or preferred to complete the enrollment by telephone. In any event, based on our own experience, had we been a real customer,  we would be able to go back, log in, and complete our enrollment process.

Healthcare & medicinel
Hotline: By phone 24/71-800-318-2596  - TTY: 1-855-889-4325 
For Small Business: Call: 1-800-706-7893 - TTY: 1-800-706-7915
The March deadline for enrollment has been extended through March 31 2014

Unfortunately, the hysteria that is being carried by the press is not benign.  It is in fact very damaging to the program, because of the potential to scare and discourage people from signing up for health care coverage that they may desperately need. The Tea Party and the Republican Party at large do not need any help to sabotage the Affordable Health Care program, to disparage the President, or to destroy this country. They carry enough venom among them to bring about the catastrophic destruction they have been predicting and hoping for, all by themselves.



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October 17, 2013


Democrats Put the United States of America Back on Fiscal Track
President will sign the bill before midnight

Bill Signing by President Obama - Federal Government Reopens
Federal Workers Back to Work


 
The United States Government will be opened for business on October 17, 2013. By 10:15, on October 16, the House voted to pass the Senate bill and put an end to the 16 days government shutdown and avert a debt default by the United States. After resisting putting the Senate bill on the floor of the House without the support of the majority of his Republican Caucus, House Speaker John Boehner (Rep.-Ohio) finally agreed to allow the Senate clean continuing resolution to fund the government to go to the floor of the House for an open democratic vote. The bill was passed with the support of all 200 Democrats in the House; 87 Republicans voted yes, including Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Budget Committee Chairman and Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan voted no. At around 8:40 PM the U.S. Senate voted 81 to 18 to approve a bill (HR-2775) to reopen the government and avoid the default. 18 Republicans voted no, among them were Tea Party Republican Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who led the insurrection by working with a small group of radical Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives to dismantle the Affordable Health Care Act or shutdown the government and default on America’s debt. The bill appropriated 947 billion dollars; the sequestration level funding that has been in place, to operate the Federal government. The bill extends the continuing resolution through January 15, 2014 and extended the debt limit through February 14, 2014.

The bill arrived in the House at around 9:30 PM where House members are expected to vote and pass the measure and get it to the President’s desk before midnight in order to avoid default. The bill also provides for a budget process to start between the House and the Senate to allow for negotiations on a long-term budget for the country to be completed by December. Before the Senate vote, conservative tank tank and outside tea party groups, including the Heritage Foundation sent out threats to any Republican Senators who might vote for the bill. After the Senate vote, the President gave a short press conference to the White House press corps, lamenting the idea that a small group of lawmakers could have set out to inflict damage upon the country, and indicating that he is looking forward to working with both parties on passing a budget, continuing to reduce the deficit, growing the economy, passing an immigration bill, and pursuing other important legislative agenda.

Since the beginning of this ordeal, President Obama has consistently said that the American government cannot continue to function by leaping from crisis to fiscal cliff to the edge of default, as it has been since the Republicans took over the majority of the House of Representatives after the November 2010 elections. With the rise of the Tea Party and multi-million dollar campaign financing by conservative billionaires, a group of 40 to 60 radical Tea Party Republicans have brought the business of the U.S. House of Representatives to a grind, by refusing to work or cooperate with Democrats on anything or passing any legislation, except for voting 39 times to ban abortions and redefine rape and voting 43 times to repeal the health care law. During the 3 weeks shutdown that sent 800,000 federal government employees home without a pay check, stopped cancer research and drug trials at the National Institute of Health, and saw thousands of children having to stay home from head start programs, the President has refused to negotiate, in his words, “with a gun in the head of the country,” or “under the threat of crashing our economy.”

“No one will hold the American people hostage to extraneous demands,” the President has said time and again. Despite clear signs that they were hurting the country and threatening the world’s economy, the Republicans continued to pursue their strategy, virtually holding the country hostage and putting the United States in disrepute abroad. Despite personal damages to individual citizens, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the 16 day shutdown has cost the country 4.3 billion dollars. In addition, economists estimate a loss of about 24 billion dollars in economic activities. Certain scientific research might be forever discontinued because some type of research must be kept un-disrupted. Many lives might in fact have been irreparably dislocated as a result of the Tea Party Republicans’ radicalism and intransigence. This week, at the International Monetary Fund summit, not only did China call for the de-Americanization of the world’s economy and currency due to what the Chinese say is America’s political instability, one of the three credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings issued a downgrade warning and put the U.S. on a credit watch. At the end, the Republicans accomplished nothing. Throughout this ordeal, the both Senate and House Democrats stayed together and worked closely with the President. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) played a key role in bringing this crisis to an end, and found a partner in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) who helped to bring about the bi-partisan legislation. Democrats expressed relief that their effort helped to keep the country on its fiscal track, but are disappointed over the low sequestration level funding and the fact that they were not able to negotiate a longer period of time between not and the next budget and debt limit deadline in order to avoid another crisis in the next 10 weeks, especially after Tea Party Republicans took to Twitter, the Internet, and television, broadcasting the preparedness to start another all-out war over the next round of budget negotiations. The Tea Party appear to have learned nothing, even after polls this week showed that Americans have sharply turned against them and blame them for the country’s fiscal crisis.

 
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Transcript of President Obama’s Oct. 17 remarks 
on The budget Deal
 after Congress voted to fund and re-open the government 
& to lift the debt limit to avoid default


President Obama at a press conference

“Good morning, everybody! Please have a seat.

Last night I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America's bills. Because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over; the first default in more than 200 years will not happen. These twin threats to our economy have now been lifted, and I want to thank those Democrats and Republicans for getting together and ultimately getting this job done.

Now, there's been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But let's be clear. There are no winners here. These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don't know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it's slowed our growth. We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on. We know that potential home-buyers have gotten fewer mortgages and small business loans have been put on hold. We know that consumers have cut back on spending and that half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months.
We know that just the threat of default, of America not paying all the bills that we owe on time, increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit. And of course, we know that the American people's frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher.

That's not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington. At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we've got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back. And for what? There was no economic rationale for all of this. Over the past four years, our economy has been growing, our businesses have been creating jobs, and our deficits have been in half. We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy. But nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.
And you don't have to take my word for it. The agency that put America's credit rating on watch the other day explicitly cited all of this, saying that our economy remains more dynamic and resilient than other advanced economies and that the only thing putting us at risk is -- and I'm quoting here -- "repeated brinksmanship." That's what the credit rating agency said.
That wasn't a political statement. That was an analysis of what's hurting our economy by people whose job it is to analyze these things.
 
That also happens to be the view of our diplomats, who have been hearing from their counterparts internationally.
Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claim their actions were needed to get America back on the right track, to make sure we're strong.”

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October 16 2013

U.S Government May or May not Avert a Debt Default
Before Midnight Tonight

Rep.House Speaker John Boener & Dem. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 
 



Rep. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of KYSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell_Photo_Vanityfair.com


The People behind the effort to put an end to the crisis

As of today the U.S. government has been shut down for 16 days, and is moving closer to a potential default on the government’s obligation to pay its debt, make good on Treasury Bills (T-bills), and send out monthly checks to social security recipients, veterans, and other programs that are run in the States. Some economists and commentators have made it a point to emphasize a default at midnight tonight, October 17, would not mean a complete debt default. The reason is that if Congress does not get a bill to the President’s desk by midnight to re-open the government and authorize the treasury to draw upon necessary funds to continue to pay the government bills, a process referred to as ‘raising the debt ceiling,’ the treasury will start operating on liquid cash, of which there is only enough to make payment on the debt but not enough to send checks to soldiers, veterans, Medicare, and social security. According to analysts, if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, by October 23, the treasury will not have the funds on hands to pay on treasury bonds, and by November 1, benefit checks will not be issued.

The Senate worked over the weekend to forge a resolution to put an end to the fiscal crisis. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Dem. Of Nevada), and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Rep.-Kentucky) have been working around the clock to structure an agreement that can pass in both Houses of Congress. Meanwhile, a measure brought to the floor on the Senate by Main Republican Senator Susan Collins failed to pass the Senate. Yesterday, radicals House Tea Party Republicans mounted a revolt against House Speaker John Boehner, and prevented him from bringing any bill to the House floor. Since then, all media reports have pointed back to the collaboration on the Senate floor between Reid and McConnell to avoid the third debt default by the United States in the country’s 237 years history. Unlike what most TV and media reports have indicated, the first default occurred when the British burned down the U.S. treasury; the second default was due to computer glitches, and even though those glitches prevented the treasury from paying interest on the debt, it was considered to be a technical default.

As of 12:30 today, Senate Republicans were meeting behind closed doors and are expected to make a statement, and send a measure to the House where Speaker John Boehner is expected to put the measure on the House floor, and this time, open the votes to Democrats. Almost all 200 House Democrats have pledge to support any measure sent by the Senate. It is not clear at this time what the complete contour of the Senate resolution will contain, but preliminary press reports indicate that the Senate agreement would seek to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling before midnight tonight, thereby avoid default. It is likely that there will be meetings taking place between the Houses of Congress all day today. Speaker Boehner is not likely to bring the Senate agreement to the floor, if he does, until later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Senate, which would then take up the House bill, will have to employ the necessary parliamentary tactics and maneuver to prevent Senators to block the bill. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who started the effort to shut down the government, and brought the country to the brink of default in an effort to dismantle the President's Health Care Law just indicated to reporters on Capitol Hill that he will not take any adverse steps to derail progress that have been made in trying to re-open the government and prevent default. At least on the three credit agencies, Fitch Rating put the U.S. on notice yesterday that America’s triple ‘A’ credit rating may be degraded due to the “political brinkmanship.”  Government, investors, and finance ministers around the world have been wondering whether the United States should be dislocated as the center of the global economy. The Stock Market is up as of this hour, and the situation remains fluid.


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October 15, 2013



The Damage is Done & This is Just the Beginning
China Upset over U.S. Fiscal Crisis
Republicans Holding Radical Line - Denied Default Matters



House Speaker John Boehner (Rep-Ohio)


As of today, House Republicans continue to move the country closer to a debt default. After meeting with the Republican House leadership over a plan he worked with Senator Reid, Senator McConnell's mission was not accomplished, based on a press conference given by  House Speaker John Bohener indicating that House Republicans continue to insist on trying to derail the Affordable Health Care Act as a condition for opening the government and avoiding default on the U.S. government debt. The President has said all along that he will not negotiate on paying the United States government debt, which is expressly mandated by the Constitution, and is Congress' responsibility. China urges a 'de-Americanized world' After giving up on passing a clean continuing resolution to re-open the government and raising the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on the debt of the United States, Rep. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio recessed the House and sent U.S. Representatives home for the weekend. The Senate on the other hand, remained in cession through the weekend, and after various Congressmen and Senators from both parties were expressing optimism that the default might be averted before the October 17 deadline when the U.S. Treasury will run out of sufficient revenue to pay interests on the debt and send out social security and veteran checks. However, after a measure presented on the floor on the Senate by Main Senator Susan Collin was defeated Sunday, the talks were reduced to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnoll of Kentucky. But despite the more optimistic façade that Congressional leaders seemed to have decided to put forward since the beginning of the long holiday weekend, as of today, it does not appear that any agreement has is nearing the reach of lawmakers, while the clock continues to tick toward the deadline of Thursday October 17 to keep the country from falling into fiscal chaos.

Meanwhile, the upheaval and the prolonged obstruction by House Tea Party Republicans already claimed serious direct and collateral damages, aside from the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are suffering or are at high risk of losing everything as a result of the fabricated Republican crisis.The Los Angeles Times has reported that Chinese officials are very upset over the U.S. fiscal crisis, and that China is urging the rest of the world to 'de-Americanize’ the world’s currency. Although China expressed its concerns more publicly, and perhaps more loudly than the other countries, including close American allies. World leaders are in Washington this week for a meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to talk about the international recovery. It was then, during an interview with NBC, the New York Times reported that the word spread among the group that the debt ceiling was a major issue, that the U.S. government has been shut down, and that there has been “no end in sight.” The paper ended the report writing, “So it really completely transformed the meeting in the last few days.”Due to the closeness of the deadline for the United States government to be made fiscally whole by Congress, the paper reported that the potential for default and the lack of any prospect that a solution will be reached shook the dynamics of the meeting, and even displaced the agendas for the meetings. Dozens of countries are represented in those meetings, but the focus turned to the fiscal crisis in Washington, with representatives from dozens of countries being close economic United States, including Saudi Arabia and China. There can be no doubt that world economists and leaders are watching very closely what is going on in Washington DC. And it is an important reminder that China is the U.S. largest creditor, having the most to lose if the United States were to default on its obligations to the world. All eyes are on Capitol Hill and the White House, where a flurry of activities seems to be amounted to no resolution, at least up to the time of this writing. The President took time today to participate in helping in a food pantry and soup kitchen.The Daily Star reported that the IMF, which “typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits,” is now suggesting that it may be time to raise taxes on the highest income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight growing income inequalities.” In its Fiscal Monitoring Report, “Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution,” the IMF wrote, noting “steep cuts” in top rates since the early 1980s.The report continued, “According to IMF estimates, taxing the rich even at the same rates during the 1980s would reap fiscal revenues equal to 0.25 percent of economic output in the developed countries. The gain could in some cases, such as that of the United States, be more significant,” around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, said the IMF report, which also singled out deficient taxation of multinational companies. In the US alone, legal loopholes deprive the Treasury of roughly $60 billion in receipts, the global lender said. The 188-nation IMF said that it did not want to enter into a debate on whether the rich should pay more taxes. But, it said: “The chance to review international tax architecture seems to come about once a century; the fundamental issues should not be ducked.”



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October 12

The Consequences of the US Government's Fiscal Crisis 
at the Hands of GOP House Speaker John Boehner
 & Radical Tea Party Caucus

Former Senator Jim Demint of the conservative Heritage Action

Faces behind the plot to shut down the US government
Former Rep. Senator (S. Carolina) Jim Demint: Photo_businessinsider.com

Extreme Tea Party Conservative Money Pac behind the Government ShutdownLeft the Senate to head the Tea Party-affiliate conservative Action Pac -Heritage foundation

 May Be More Extensive than Anticipated

The Faces behind the fiscal crisis
Tea Party Radical Agenda Financier, the Koch Brothers
The famous billionaires - The Koch Brothers who have poured millions of dollars into efforts to defeat President Obama & the Affordable Health Care ActPhoto_Salon.com

The Damage To Real Americans - Young & Old


The United States government has now been shut down for 12 days. By now, most sensible Americans are aware that not only did House Republicans shut down the government voluntarily and for political reasons, the shutdown was also carefully planned by Tea Party and Conservative groups that had their eyes set on derailing the President’s Health Care Law. According to the New York Times, documents have surfaced this week that show how tea party supporters and conservative affiliated groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, began plotting and strong-arming moderate Republicans to shut down the government over budget negotiation issues, since March 2013. In addition, those groups circulated memos among reported 40 to 50 hard-core Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives, threatening to keep a score card and recruit primary challengers for any lawmaker who did not vote to kill the health care law when the time came to fund the government at the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2013. The Senate did pass a resolution to continue funding for the government, beginning on October 1, 2013, but the resolution was defeated by House Republicans who prevented House Democrats from voting under a partisan rule. Despite the Wall Street crash and the Great Recession the country faced at the end of the Bush Presidency, the budget deficit has been cut in half since President Obama was first elected in 2008.

House Republican Leadership
While the Republicans were scheming to shut down the government, there was an even bigger deadline looming on the October 17, the day the federal government will run out of money to pay its bills, according to U.S. Treasurer Jak Lew. On that day, unless Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling, the treasury will be unable to pay U.S. creditors, and the country would go into default. Most economists warn that a default on U.S. obligations would constitute a crisis exponentially bigger than the government shutdown, which is causing economic distress, layoffs, and real fear and uncertainty all over the country. Unlike what its name suggests, raising the debt ceiling does not mean that the government borrows more money. It means that the time has come for Congress to re-authorize the Treasurer to borrow in order to pay bills that the government already incurred. This includes, interest payments on the debts, social security and disability payments, payments to veterans and active duty military, contractors, and all other items on the budget that Congress already approved as expenditures. In addition, a default could send the Stock Market plummeting, causing millions of investors to lose their investments, saving, and pensions, and crashing the world’s economy. Of course, just like Republicans deny that the President was born in this country, and do not believe in facts or science, they have been preaching on TV that the government shutdown is good for the country and breaching the debt ceiling is no big deal, even though it does not take much brain power to realize that a default by the United States could result in a collapse of the global economy and even a bigger recession.

House Tea Party RepublicansAlthough Congress always held budget debates regarding the debt ceiling, it was 18 times under President Reagan with a Democratic majority. An up to now, no Congress has ever threatened to default on the debt in exchange for any concession from a president, Democrat or Republican. In essence, the budget is where negotiations take place and parties exchange goodies. Therefore, President Obama’s position is that he cannot establish a situation where a party in the majority in Congress can hold the entire country and the World’s economy hostage to unreasonable demands. But the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner himself appears to also be a hostage of the more radical group of Tea Party Representatives in the House, thus unable to even allow the entire House membership, including the Democrats, to vote to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling. Following that, both parties could re-instate the normal order and follow the procedures of negotiations in order to pass a budget for the government to function.

This week, the President met separately in the White House with House Democrats and Republicans, plus Senate Democrats and Republicans. In press conferences and written statements, the President explained to the country and to Congressional members that the principle upon which he is standing is as important to the well-being of the country and the presidency, as re-opening the government and raising the debt ceiling. In other words, he cannot have any Congress threatening the country, and by extension the entire world, with economic depression in exchange for their agenda, which was rejected by voters in 2 elections. Hundreds of economists, business groups, including small businesses around the country, Wall Street bankers, corporations, labor unions, and the Chamber of Commerce have written to the President and Congress to plead for the fiscal gridlock to come to end and for Congress to avoid default. The President promised the GOP that he will be ready and willing to put everything on the table and negotiate with Congress in good faith on the budget, once the government is re-opened and debt limit is raised. The house recessed for the weekend, but several Democratic Senators, led by Senate Majority Harry Reid are in a meeting with the President this afternoon in an effort to define a framework to attempt to configure a Senate agreement in which Senate Rep. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would represent the Senate Republican Caucus.

Congressional members exiting the White House
following meeting with President Obama:Photo_usatoday
Congressional members leaving the White House after meeting with the President
Today, Republicans in the House virtually sent the President the same version of the bill they have insisted on all along. It was no surprise that the President rejected that offer, which did not even include re-opening the government and sending the 800,000 federal government employees back to work. One by one, Democrats took to the House floor and asked the Republicans to open up the votes on the Senate bill to re-open the government, so that the entire House membership can vote, and not just the Republicans like Speaker Boehner has been keeping it. A major on the floor of the Senate, which would have extended the debt ceiling until March 2014 to avoid another immediate fiscal crisis, put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was killed by Senate Republicans. Americans are beginning to understand that the government is not just some useless entity that should be rid of, as the GOP constantly portrays it to be. In fact, the government is The People, and the government touches the lives of millions of Americans in one way or another. Indeed, the government is really the train that pulls the country forward, rather than being the burden and the horror that the Republicans would like the public to believe that it is. In this manner, “We did not build it” all alone, and we may not have been able to build anything without having a government that works and provides a framework and a platform for hard-working and enterprising citizens, as well as the needy, to stand on. Radicals Tea Party Republicans may continue to drive this country into the abyss, unless Americans rise up and make their voices heard, because this is their government. Polls published by Associated Press, Gallup, and CBS, this week indicate that the majority of Americans are aware that it is the Republicans that are creating havoc in the fiscal affairs of the country. However, since the Republicans have rigged the districts where they got elected, Americans should start thinking of getting rid of moderate Republicans in Democratic districts in the Northeast and the West in order to loosen the grip of the GOP on the House of Representatives. This is critical, because despite what those so-called moderates say in public, they have voted in lock steps with the radicals in the Congress. It is scary to think that Republicans could be voted in by anyone and given stewardship over the affairs of this country. If so-called patriotic Americans continue to vote against their best interests and the interests of the country, the banana Republicans that are causing the current damage on this country, will turn American into a banana republic.



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October 11, 2013


Congressional Banana Republicans on the Run
House Speaker John Boehner Pulling His Hair


Republican House Leadership & Tea Party Caucus


President Obama Rejected Republicans’ Proposal to Raise
The Debt Ceiling while Keeping the Government Shut Down

President Obama Press Conference amid Government Shutdown President Obama's Press Conference:Photo_C-Span.org

It has been 10 days since Congressional Tea Party Republicans took their leader, House Speaker John Boehner (Rep – Ohio) hostage, in a crusade to derail the President’s Health Care Law. The Tea Party has been railing against the law since its enactment in 2011. But with the confluence of the end of the fiscal year to fund the government on September 30, and the launch of the final implementation of the Affordable Health Care Law, billionaire tea party backers and dozens of conservative groups led by radical tea party Junior Senator of Texas, Ted Cruz, cooked up a strategy to shut down the U.S. government unless the president agreed to dismantle his own landmark law. To many rational people, this would seem to be an irresponsible and unworkable strategy. However, John Boehner who has shown no leadership since he became speaker of the House of Representatives in the wave elections of 2010 when the tea party took over the majority of the House, allowed himself to get led by the nose by the tea party and shut down the government. The President has said all along when the tea party rebels in the House of Representatives began to threaten to shut down the government that he would not negotiate with a gun pointed at the heads of the American people and under the threats to crash the American economy. 

Tea Party Republicans behind the 
U.S. Government Shutdown:Photo_Politico
Rabid Tea Party Congressmen
The Health Care law went into effect on Tuesday October 1, and on that very day, the Republicans shut down the government. The reason that the Republicans can do this is because under the Constitution the House of Representatives is granted the right to appropriate funding for the government to function each year. Under normal processes, the House would produce a budget, then the Senate comes up with its own budget, and the president would offer a budget. Subsequently, the House has a responsibility to appoint designees, people they call referees to negotiate over the 3 budgets and come up with one budget. However, the Republicans having run on hating the government, have presented their budget called the Ryan Budget, because Paul Ryan who ran as the Vice Presidential candidate with Mitt Romney in the November election is the chairman of the House Committee, and that budget cut almost all government programs right down to the bones.

The Ryan budget seeks to eliminate food stamps or make harder or impossible for families to receive the benefits; it seeks to cut, eliminate, or privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and social security. It deprives the elderly of meals on wheels, reduced veteran benefits, and only allow for increases in the military. Due to all these cuts, the Ryan Budget amounted to approximately 980 billion dollars, while the president and the Senate budgets, which seek to maintain program for the poor, veterans, the disable, and the elderly, came to 1.8 trillion dollars. The House received the President’s budget in March and the Senate’s Budget in June. But since then and even after 19 requests by the Senate to the House to appoint conferees to negotiate the budget, the House refused to do so. Tea Party House Representatives had a plan: it was to shut down the government in order to force the president to scrap the health care law, after the Republican majority in the House had futilely voted to repeal it 40 times.

Over the past 9 days, the House leadership and Speaker Boehner continued to beat their chests about how they will not re-open the government or raise the debt ceiling, which is coming due on October 17. Treasury Secretary Jak Lew testified before the House Appropriation and Budget Committees that the United States cannot default on its debt. Section 2 of the XIV Amendment specifically states that the full faith and credit of the United States should not be put in doubt. However, the law is vague in that it does not state exactly who is responsible for making sure this does not happen. The U.S. Treasurer has some discretion as to what can be paid if the country needed some flexibility in terms of prioritizing the country’s bills. However, as part of their incredible demands, House Republicans decided to take power away from the Treasurer, which is something the President would never agree to.

Remains of Fallen Soldiers from the war
While Republicans Shut down the Government - Soldiers are still dying because we are still a country at warAfter the right wing revolted and shut down the government, the media began to air some of the damages that were being caused by the shutdown: World War II Memorial closed to visiting veterans, 400 national parks closed, the National Institute of Health unable to pursue treatment for about 400 children with cancer; the Center for disease Control shut down and unable to track dangerous flu virus in the starting flu season, military families denied benefits for 26 young soldiers killed in the war in Afghanistan last week. he Fisher House Foundation, a charity offered to pick up the bill and get repaid when the government reopens. Therefore, Republicans began passing small bills to open those parts of the government that the media continued to highlight. But the President stayed firm, maintaining that he will not negotiate until the Republicans re-open the government. But then, there was the looming possible catastrophic event of not raising the debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling does not mean spending more money. Instead, it is done routinely to allow the government to pay bills that it already incurred. In the past 2 days, the business community, particularly Wall Street began to put pressure on the Republicans to back away from the this strategy of  jumping into the abyss and taking the country with it, and behind that the world economy.

Thursday night, a group of House Republicans, including the leadership, Majority Whip Eric Cantor and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan met with the President at the White House to discuss the government shutdown for the first time in days. Prior to meeting with the Republicans, the President met with House and Senate Democrats, but before going into the meeting the Republicans made it clear in a short press conference that they would only be willing to raise the debt ceiling for a short time, while keeping the government shut down, thus leaving hundreds of thousands of regular people who either work for the government or depend on it for their livelihood in limbo. Up till yesterday, John Bohner took to the House floor to say that while he was willing to “have a conversation” with the democrats, his position had not changed on getting rid of the President’s health care law.

Two Republican leaders came out with op-ed pieces in major newspapers Wednesday morning in an attempt to push the president into negotiations. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wrote that both parties should agree to modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code in order to end the stalemate. His suggestions included asking wealthier Americans to pay higher Medicare premiums and federal employees to contribute more toward their retirement, broadening the tax base, lowering tax rates and simplifying the tax code.

Protesters Demand an End to the Republicans' Government Shutdown
Republicans offered a plan to President Barack Obama on Thursday that would postpone a possible U.S. default in a sign the two sides may be moving to end the standoff that has shuttered large parts of the government and thrown America's future creditworthiness into question. No deal emerged from a 90-minute meeting at the White House, but the two sides said they would continue to talk. It was the first sign of a thaw in a political crisis that has weighed on financial markets and knocked hundreds of thousands of federal employees out of work. The Republican offer would extend the government's borrowing authority for several weeks, staving off a default that could come as soon as October 17. It would not necessarily reopen government operations that have been shuttered since October 1, but a Republican aide said that was part of the discussion as well. Following that meeting, House Republicans seemed to be steering clear of the President’s healthcare reforms and spending that prompted the crisis in the first place. The two sides instead are negotiating how far to extend the debt limit and how much funding they would provide the government when it opens, a Republican aide said. Both sides were expected to continue talks into the night.

Perhaps the results of the Associated Press & Gallup polls that were published tonight might have something to do with the House Republicans’ decision to go back to the drawing board, after the President rejected their proposal one more time to raise the debt ceiling while keeping the government shut down. A new Associated Press-GfK survey released Wednesday shows that 62 percent of adults surveyed online mainly blame Republicans for the current shutdown. About half said Mr. Obama or congressional Democrats bear the responsibility. These numbers echo a Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday which showed 70 percent of Americans disapproving of how the GOP is handling the budget negotiations, compared to 61 percent for Democrats and 51 percent for Mr. Obama. How the tea party will react to any agreement between House Republicans and the President that does not involve the dismantling of the health care law remains to be seen. 


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October 11, 2013 [Update]


House Speaker John Boehner Pulling His Hair

 


Perhaps the results of the Associated Press & Gallup polls that were published tonight might have something to do with the House Republicans’ decision to go back to the drawing board, after the President rejected their proposal one more time to raise the debt ceiling while keeping the government shut down. A new Associated Press-GfK survey released Wednesday shows that 62 percent of adults surveyed online mainly blame Republicans for the current shutdown. About half said Mr. Obama or congressional Democrats bear the responsibility. These numbers echo a Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday which showed 70 percent of Americans disapproving of how the GOP is handling the budget negotiations, compared to 61 percent for Democrats and 51 percent for Mr. Obama. How the tea party will react to any agreement between House Republicans and the President that does not involve the dismantling of the health care law remains to be seen.


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October 7, 2013



Banana Republicans’ Government Shutdown

No End in Sight – Republicans Do Not Know What They Want
In Return for the Hostages

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Boehner: Judge Congress laws repealed, not passed
House Speaker John Boehner told CBS News Chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer that people who criticize Congress for not doing anything have it all wrong. Shieffer shares his insight from Sund...
CBS Bob Schieffer Blames Boehner & Congress for Obama's Sequester - The leftists always try to blame the House for Obama's failings.

In the land of government shutdown, this weekend was super busy with, Republicans taking to Sunday shows to swear up and down that they will not reopen the government unless President Obama gives into their demand to repeal, dismantle, or delay, the Affordable Health Care Act. Republicans’ demands as conditions to not blow up the U.S. and the world’s economy are becoming more and more insidious, since the Affordable Health Care law went into effect last Tuesday October 1, at 7:01 AM. With the health care law being in full implementation and millions of Americans logging on to healthcare.gov to sign up for insurance, the Tea Party Republicans’ demands are getting more and more disjointed. While some still maintain that they will not vote to re-open the government unless the President agrees to some damage being done to the health care law, others – mostly moderate Republicans looking for a way out of the quagmire, are now saying that they expect the standoff about the government shutdown to be rolled into one with raising the nation’s borrowing (debt ceiling). Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew said on CBS Face the Nation that Congress needs “to raise debt ceiling to avoid default "abyss." When host Bob Schieffer pointed to Lew that House Speaker John Boehner stated on another network the same day that he just did not have the vote to pass a straight continuing resolution, or a clean temporary budget to allow the government to re-open, Lew responded, “Well then why doesn't he put it on the floor and give it a chance?" Treasury Secretary Jak Lew said Sunday on "Face the Nation," challenging Boehner to allow the House vote one way or another.

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Jack Lew Gets Grilled by Chris Wallace Over The Shutdown & Obamacare - Fox News Sunday 10-6-13
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew joins Fox News Sunday and is pressed by Chris Wallace to explain President Obama's stubbornness in no negotiations with Congress regarding the proposed budgets, and Obamaca...
Chris Wallace Grills Jack Lew: 'Your History is Wrong,' Obama's Refusal to Negotiate 'Unprecedented'10/6/13 - On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew led a contentious symposium on the history of the debt limit, with each accusing the other side of bucking responsible ...On each and every one of the Sunday shows on the major networks and cables, one after another, Democratic Congressmen and analysts stated, "There's a majority in Congress that is prepared to do the right thing, to open the government and make sure we don't cross over that abyss" that Treasury Secretary Jak Lew, talked about on CBS.  On ABC' This Week, with George Stephanopoulos,  Boehner maintained that Democrats must agree to partially dismantling or delaying President Obama's health care law as a condition of re-opening the government, a position Democrats continue to flatly reject. Meanwhile, in an interview to the Associated Press, the President stated, “I am happy to negotiate with them on anything. I’m ready and eager to negotiate with anyone,” but maintained that he will not negotiate with House Republicans while the government is in shutdown.

Meanwhile in a surprise move, Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Recalled almost all Defense Department Workers, about 400,000 Defense Department civilian employees, whom he said, Pentagon lawyers have identified as “essential” workers, based on the supportive duty to active duty military. Mr. Hagel said the decision that “most DOD civilians” now would be exempted from furloughs came after Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers said they interpreted a stop-gap budget law passed by Congress last week to include a larger number of workers. When the government shut down, about half of the Defense Department’s civilian work force of 800,000 was ordered to stay home; military personnel are automatically exempted from the shutdown. In a letter released Saturday, Mr. Hagel said that government lawyers said that under the Pay Our Military Act, the Defense Department could “eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.”

On CBS Face the Nation Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner said, “Government shutdown is not some damn game." Boehner made the same statement at a press conference last weeks, and his spoken has repeated the statement several times since. As of the end of the first week of the government shutdown, Tea Party Republicans, including John Boehner, R-Ohio, appeared to have been switching the conversation to blaming the President and the Democrats for this Republican manufactured crisis. But most observers believe and the polls reflect that most Americans do not believe what the Republicans are trying to sell the public. Today marks the seventh day since the government has been shut down by House Tea Party Republicans.

The country is caught in the middle, while the federal government barrels toward a possible first-ever debt ceiling default on October 17. Past that date, if the Republicans do not vote to raise the debt ceiling, the country will default on its debts, and the country and the world’s economy could spin down into another financial crash. But, thus far, Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives are in full revolt, refusing to vote on a resolution to fund the government and prevent default, unless the President agrees to take apart the health care law. Democrats in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate have already agreed to accept the budget the Republicans proposed in this budget resolution. This budget retains spending as the sequester level, which has cut billions of dollars from programs, such as child care, meals on wheels, nutrition assistance for pregnant women and new-born, as well as food stamps for Americans who cannot afford enough food for their families. However, headed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Tea Party House Republicans have refused to pass a budget, they themselves proposed to the President and the Senate. At this point, if the Democrats wanted to submit and accepted a de-funding of the health care law, it would only add to the budget deficit, since the law already took effect last Tuesday. The process for repealing a law is to get an amendment or a repeal passed in both Houses of Congress and to get the president to sign on it.



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October 4, 2013

Republican Government Shutdown 
Taking its Toll on Americans


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Michele Bachmann to Sean Hannity: 'This Is About the Happiest' GOP Has Been in a While
10/2/13 - Rachel Maddow delivered a provocative takedown of the GOP Tuesday night saying they not only wanted a government shutdown, but they're positively "giddy" about it. Well, Michele Bachmann did...
Tea Party Republican Michelle Bachmann said about the government shutdown

House Republicans have been threatening to blow up the federal government for decades. Elections after elections, Republican candidates for office have promised their constituents to send them to Washington so they dismantle the Federal government. They have demonized federal workers, calling them incompetent, useless, parasites, and lazy. As the GOP becomes more and more radicalized by the Tea Party wing of their party, their ideology explains why they have not passed any bill to benefit the Country or to make the lives of Americans better. Rather, they have stalled or kill bills the Senate has passed to help people who were hurt in New Jersey when Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the state. House Republicans have refused to pass the Violence against Women Act, Veteran Benefits, as well as the Farm bill, all the while, setting their sight on preventing the Affordable Health Care from going into effect. Last year, the Republicans used as a talking point for being a dysfunctional party the idea that the Democratic Senate had not sent them a budget. So, six months ago, the Senate sent them a budget. In a normal budget negation, the House would pass a budget and the Senate would pass its own budget. The president would also submit its budget.

Senators Mitch McConnell & Rand Paul of Kentucky Plotting around the Republicans' government Shutdown

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Rand Paul & Mitch McConnell caught on hot mic talking shutdown strategy
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) were caught on a hot mic Wednesday night while discussing their party's messaging on the government shutdown. Paul ran into ...
Consequently, the House of Representatives would appoint what they call conferees to negotiate over the separate budgets and arrive on a single budget to run the government. However, after all the whining by Republicans that Senate did not send them a budget, once they receive a budget from the Senate they refused to appoint negotiators. In the course of the past six months, the Senate sent seventeen letters requesting the House appoints those referees to negotiate on the budget. When the government ran out of money to function at the end of the federal government’s fiscal year on September 30, the Republicans seized on that to extort concessions from the President of the Health Care Law. Rather than passing the temporary Continuing Budget Resolution to keep the government open until further and more broad negotiations could be held, Tea Party Republicans boxed in their own House Speaker, John Boehner and moderate Republicans to force a government shutdown, hopping that the president will give up and agree to dismantle his own law after extreme Tea Party Republicans took both the government hostage.

There has been very little movement, since the President and Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid have made it clear that they will not enter into negotiations with the Republicans with a gun to their heads. It is clear that the President wants to break this habit of governing by crisis, which the Republicans have turned into an art. Create a crisis and then threaten to blow up the entire infrastructure of the Federal government unless they get their way on radical agenda items, which the country has repudiated in two consecutive elections. Essentially, right-wingers in the House of Representatives are using the budget process to implement the Republican Party platform.

On Wednesday, President Obama invited the leaders of the Senate and House to meet with him at the White House this afternoon. It is not clear what the President wants to discuss in his meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. After the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner came to the microphone and said that the President reiterated his position that he will not negotiate over raising the country’s debt ceiling, and will certainly not negotiate until the Republican-dominated House of Representatives re-open the government. Meanwhile, the Republicans are standing firm, even though the Affordable Health Care law went into effect on Tuesday October 1, and millions of Americans have gone onto the site healthcare.gov to shop for health insurance.

House Tea Party Republican Leadership
House Speaker John Boehner & Majority Whip Eric Cantor
Photo_humanevents.com

At this point, the Republicans do not seem to have a strategy for getting the country out of this gridlock and getting themselves out the jam they are in. In the past few days they have resorted to taking to the electronic and print media to repeat ad nauseum that they want to negotiate but the Democrats and the President are refusing to negotiate. This strategy appears to count on Americans being so stupid that they will not understand who exactly shut down the government. To put it simply, the Constitution gives Congress the duty to appropriate money to run the federal government. Therefore, not only are they wasting time on an idiotic public relations campaign, they have also been passing small bills they say will open parts of the government. This is dangerous, because not only are they only passing bills that they like or will open parts of the government that are more likely to cause them grief from the public if they remain close, but one must wonder what will happen if they are allowed to re-open certain parts of the government and refuse to open the rest of it indefinitely. The Republican Party is in disarray with Tea Party members fighting moderate mainstream Republicans, now they have managed to bring the anarchy to the entire country, not to mention that their action will affect this country internationally. Around the country, several thousands children have to stay home because the money that goes to pay for their program is part of the federal budget. Homeowners cannot complete their federal mortgage transactions, and veteran services are shut down.


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October 2, 2013


Republican Government Shutdown - Day 2

House Republican Leadership
Photo_rt.com

Today is day 2 since House Republicans shut down the U.S. government. NBC News reported 10 minutes ago that President Obama invited the leaders of the Senate and House to meet with him at the White House this afternoon. It is not clear what the President wants to discuss in his meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Yesterday, the House tried to pass 3 bills that would break the federal government down into parts and fund some of it and leaves out others. All 3 bills were defeated in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Republicans went on an offensive in the print and electronic media trying to place blame for the shutdown on the shoulders of Senate Democrats and the President, even though they are the ones making extraneous demands that have nothing to do with the budget. The Affordable Health Care Act is separate from the budget and is funded through the health care market. Yet, in a budget negotiation to fund the federal government, Republicans are demanding that all or part of the law be dismantled.

The President has stated time and again that he will not negotiate over the government budget it that means scrapping key provisions of his own health care law. Final provisions of the Affordable Health Care Law, which was passed in 2011 and was upheld by the Supreme Court, last June, went into effect yesterday. The battle that led to the shutdown of the Federal Government started in 2010 with the rise of the Tea Party. While many Americans might not realize that shutting down the government is the Republican agenda, NBC has obtained video tapes, which they run on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, showing Tea Party activists demanding that their representatives go to Washington to shut down the government. In each instance, the Tea Party Republicans can be heard on tapes promising their constituents that they intended to do just that, followed by applause.
 

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October 1, 2013



At 12:01 Last Night – Radical Tea Party Republicans

House Republican Government Shutdown

 Shut Down the United States Government




Tea Party Representatives Suicide Caucus over Government Shutdown
US  House of Representatives: 13 hours ago:Photo_rt.com 


US of Representatives House FloorWhen the clock struck 12:00 last night, the extreme right wing Tea Party Republicans in Congress shut down the federal government. The demand in this hostage-taking: House Republicans want the President of the United State to scrap his own Health Care Law, which was duly passed in both Houses of Congress, upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, and ratified voters in two elections. At this time, a small but the most radical faction in the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has managed to hold the country hostage and shut down the government. Their leader in name only in the US House, Speaker John Boehner, stumbles and bumbles in front of cameras as if gagged and bound. After two weeks of holding funding for the federal government hostage in an attempt to dismantle the President’s Health Care law, through unworkable legislative maneuver, at midnight last, the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives succeeded in shutting down the federal government. This all started with the approaching end of the fiscal year for the federal government yesterday September 30. Due to Tea Party Republicans obstructionism and wishes to derail all of President Obama’s initiative to run the country, the federal government has not operated on an annual budget for over two years. During budget negotiations in 2011 between the President and House Republicans and Senate Democrats, the Republicans threatened to default on the country’s debt if they did not get everything they were asking for. Since the House Republicans were so unreasonable and refused to take yes for an answer, if when the President and the Democrats consented to all the demands for cuts even in programs that serve the most vulnerable citizens, the President agreed to all of the budget cuts the Republicans demanded and that led to the concept of sequestration. The sequester includes a series of severe cuts in domestic spending, such as cuts for head start, meals on wheels, homeless shelter, and nutritional programs for infants and children. This sequestration in lieu of budget was put in the form of a continuing resolution or CR, which was only passed for a few months at a time. The few months expired last night and the back and forth in Congress has been over renewing the continuing resolution for three months, until November or December, to keep the government opened.

Government Shutdown under President Bill ClintonDespite the fact that the Republicans control only one of the three parts of the government, they have been trying to pass bills representing the extreme wing of their party made of extreme Tea Party Republicans some of whom were sent to Washington by their districts to explicitly destroy the federal government. Photographs taken from Tea Party rallies in 2010, as well as recorded tapes coming out Tea Party meetings, show Tea Party activists shaking their fists with fervor demanding that their Representatives shut down the federal government. That was the missions. It was the campaign. The Tea Party agenda is to dismantle the federal government, believing wrongly that the government is some generic machine in Washington that, perhaps contributed to the election of President Obama, a president the Tea Party had vowed to make a one-term president. Since the Republicans failed to defeat the President in November, they tried to use the passage of a temporary budget to keep the government opened, by asking the President to scrap his own Health Care law, not to mention that millions of Americans are already benefiting by getting health care coverage that insurance companies had denied them prior to the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act.

It is impossible to predict at this time what it will take and when the government might reopen. The problem being that there is another even more critical deadline looming, the debt ceiling, when Congress must pay debts they have approved to allow the government to operate. But the same small group of Tea Party Republican extremists in the House of Representatives has also vowed to use that deadline to take the government hostage as a means of extracting concessions from the President. Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, have tried to pass and implement universal health care in this country for the past 100 years. In the past 4 decades, health care costs had skyrocketed while an estimated 40 million Americans suffered and died for lack of health care coverage. President Obama devised a health care bill based on a model the Republicans had been advocated for several elections past. But even that was not good enough to keep the militants in the US House majority to use various schemes to shut the government down. Today, at least 800,000 federal employees were forced to stay home without knowing for sure when they may be able to return to work, and hundreds “critical” federal employees, such as Capitol Hill guards, certain cabinet level officials, the Secret Service, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, and others must continue to work without pay. Based on the 1995-1996 Republican government shutdown under President Bill Clinton, the cost of a shut down adds approximately 140 million dollars per day to the federal budget deficit.


US Budget Deposit
Despite the Republicans’ shenanigans, the Affordable Health Care Law is in effect starting today, and Americans who need health insurance coverage can go to the various State exchanges or log on directly on healthcare.gov to sign up for health insurance. The process is simple, and is very similar to buying any products or services online. There are various levels of coverage, and consumers will be able to select between different levels of coverage. Once a consumer enters some very basic information, such as name, zip code, income, for example, they will receive a quote instantly for the various levels of coverage and can choose what coverage would suit the best. Those with income below the poverty level can sign up and receive coverage through subsidy deriving from the insurance pool. Several parts of the law have already been in effect, including coverage for children 26 years or younger who could not previously stay on their parents’ health insurance, as well as people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and other serious diseases, whom insurance companies had routinely refused to cover. The President made a brief statement on camera at about 2:00 PM today, and reported that more than 1,000,000,000 have gone online to try to take advantage of the new health care plans. Many Republican-run states in the South have refused to allow their uninsured residents to take advantage of the Health care law to obtain health insurance coverage. Research by the Institute of Health and other research organizations have suggested that people with no health insurance have a life expectancy of 5 years less than those with health insurance. The health care is being administered in the States through health insurance exchanges. It is worth noting that the Affordable Care Act is self-sustaining and does add to the federal budget deficit. In addition, the deficit has been steadily going down since President Obama has been in office.


 


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September 28, 2013 [Update on the U.S. Government Shutdown]

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate striped the language to de-fund the President's Health Care Law from the House of Representatives's bill, and passed a clean continuing resolution to fund the government through November. A continuing resolution also known as a CR is not a budget; it is a temporary budget agreement passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President to keep the government funded, and thus open to take care of the people's business. The Senate then sent the bill back to Congress, which is the procedure required by the Constitution, but based on reports from The Hill and NBC Capital Hill reporters, House Speaker, John Boehner (Rep. of Ohio) is being either hold up or run out town by a group of about 40 right-wing Tea Party Republicans who are determined to crash the U.S. economy along with the world's economy and inflict serious damage upon the American people in order to prevent uninsured Americans from benefiting from the President's Health Care Law, which is opened for people to sign up and obtain health insurance coverage beginning Tuesday October 1st. 

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September 29, 2013 [1:59 PM]



The Republicans' Government Shutdown


The Federal Government Budget
The Federal Government Budget: Photo_edition.cnn

America Taken Hostage: Demand_ The Affordable Health Care

These two men are behind the or orchestration of this hostage taking of the people and the U.S. government 

Tea Party Republican Senator
 Ted Cruz of Texas:Photo_businessinser

Tea Party Senator of Texas Ted Cruz - The Face behind the Government ShutdownTea Party Terror
 


Republican activist Grover Norquist


Above: Grover Norquist: "We want to reduce the government to a size that it can be drown in a bathtub:






 Photo_dailyfinance                                          Photo_dailymail.co.uk
US House Tea Party 2013 government shutdownMaking a budget is simply about making a balance sheet, cash in – cash out, in order to your bills. Under normal circumstances, a budget negotiation would not be the appropriate time to throw monkey ranches and make demands related to issues that are not a part of the budget and are not budget items. For example, in a good faith budget planning, a husband would not ask his wife to cut her brother from the family trust because the brother made a certain real estate investment. This would be a sign that there are other motives at play other than simply trying to come up with a workable family budget, the clearest being that such a husband is trying to undermine his wife and possibly throw the family into a crisis. The same thing is happening here.

This budget battle on Capitol Hill is not about the budget, nor is it about the budget deficit. The budget deficit has been going down under President Obama. It is about the Republicans’ effort to fulfill an agenda, which American voters have now twice rejected since 2008. The Republicans have been so successful in moving the country to the right that they are now fighting over a bare bones, baseline, budget that includes the severe sequester cuts, to fund the government. For instance, in the 39 States where Republicans control the governorship and the legislature, they have shifted their fight against abortion from passing laws to ban the procedure, since those laws cannot stand constitutional challenges at the Supreme Court, to passing laws with regulations so extraneous that abortion clinics and abortion doctors and providers cannot stay in practice. The Republicans’ tactics to implement policies that are routinely rejected at the ballot box are lethal. With the help of power-hungry conservative groups and radio talk shows, and Fox News, the Republicans continue to attempt to impose their failed, regressive agenda on the country through coordinated campaigns of distortion and right out lies. On issue after issue, the conservative tick tanks would issue memos, and all Republicans would repeat them, sometimes words for words, time and again, on TV, on the radio, and on the internet, until they turn blue in the face. Sometimes, they do succeed in deceiving the public under the sheer weight of such campaign of mass deception.
This insidious fight is being led primarily by a small group of 80 or so Tea Party Republicans from extremely ideological rural districts. Those Tea Party Republicans, who are by the way at war with moderate Republicans, were sent to Washington to dismantle the government. 

Tea Party demanding government shutdown since 2010
Tea Party Demanding Government Shutdown


Those Congressional Representatives are from Southern States that representing only 15% of the U.S. population, but yet are dictating the agenda for the remainder 85% of the country, by threatening to derail the U.S. economy, default on the country’s debt, and throw the global economy into chaos. In order to achieve their goals of radicalizing the country,  the Republicans attached a list of demands they want to cash on, including dismantling the health care law, after they have voted 40 times to repeal it and took it all the way to Supreme Court and lost. Even in their latest health care delay tactic, the Republicans included in the bill a provision to allow employers to deny employees coverage for contraceptives under their employee health insurance plans.

Tea Party claiming that they are America

Tea Party Claiming They Are AmericaAfter the Senate returned a clean budget resolution to the House of Representatives to fund the government through November, in order to give Congress and the president enough time to negotiate a budget for the country for fiscal year 2014, last night the Republicans moved closer to shutting down the government. Yesterday, the House Republican Conference met behind closed doors to plan their strategies and tactics on how to move forward. When they emerged, they started meeting in committees with the plan of sending back a 2 part fragmented bill to the Senate, which would ensure a government shutdown. Their plan was to replace the complete de-funding of the Affordable Health Care law, which was in their original bill with a one-year delay of the implementation of the law. In addition, the new resolution calls for the repeal of a 3.2 percent tax on medical devices to help cover the law. The health care law does not add to the budget deficit. It pays for itself through insurance premium. The 3.2 tax on medical devices would go to pay for subsidies to expand Medicaid and for those who do not have enough income to pay insurance premium.

Tea Party Radicals_Google[Share]
Tea Party Radicals

Words of this Republican maneuvered were leaked to the press and reported on NBC and CNN. Once it became known what the Republicans were planning to do, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement essentially warning the Republicans that no bill will pass the Senate with language that seeks to undermine the President’s Health Care law. Following that the President issued a statement from the White House asking the Republicans to do their job right by the people and the country and fund the government without the gamesmanship and trying to re- adjudicate issues, such as the health care law, which was extensively discussed during the presidential campaign and voters decided to re-elect the president, sent more Democrats to the Senate and the House of Representatives. But even though Democrats had received a million votes more than House Republicans, the Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives due to re-redistricting of Congressional maps and gerrymandering in Southern States. The House voted late into the night and uses the so-called Asset rule to pass the measures with a majority of the majority. Only 2 Republicans voted against the bill and 2 Democrats voted with the Republicans. The Republicans passed a separate bill to pay active duty military personnel in the event of a shutdown. This signals that the Republicans are planning to shut the government down.

In 1995, under President Bill Clinton, the Republicans shut down the government first for 5 days in November, and later for 3 weeks starting in December 1995. This time, with the looming deadline of the debt ceiling on October 17 , which could throw the government into default, it appears that the Republicans are preparing to push the United States government into the default, which would be unprecedented and in violation of the U.S. XIV Amendment of the Articles of the Constitution. Tea Party Republican have threatened to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip to extract demands from President Obama, even if it means defaulting on the U.S. government debt for bills that the House has passed and expenses the Republicans themselves have approved. The President has consistently said in various statements, press conferences, and speeches, since the beginning of this Congressional unrest that he will not negotiate over the good faith and credit of the country, and will not allow the government and the citizens of the U.S. to be held hostage to 
Republicans’ demands.
Red & Anarchist Tea Party Action Network

U.S. House of Representatives Republican Leadership


Budget Chairman Paul Ryan                  House Speaker John Boehner                         Majority Leader Eric Cantor
House Majority Whip, Eric CantorHouse Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan
House Speaker John Bohner     





    

During a government shutdown, Congress will get their pay, while congressional workers will not.

Essential services, such as police and fire will remain open
Homeland Security, the Secret Service, and the FBI will not be paid
Federal monuments & landmarks will be closed
The Health Institute, the FDA & the Center for Disease Control will be closed
Visa & passports will not be processed
About 400 national parks will be closed
Social Security checks will be paid
Medicare and Medicaid payments will be delayed
Air Traffic Controllers will remain on the job
Approximately 800,000 federal government employees will be sent home without pay

 CONSERVATIVE GROUPS BEHIND THE HOSTAGE SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

Government Shutdown

Threatening to Burn the House Down

The American Heritage Foundation        The American Family Association          Freedom Watch
The American Conservative Union          Family Research Council                       Freedom Works
John Birch Society                                 Eagle Forum                                         RightMarch.com 
The Conservative Caucus


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September 28, 2013 [Update on the U.S. Government Shutdown]



The Federal Government Shutdown

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate striped the language to de-fund the President's Health Care Law from the House of Representatives's bill, and passed a clean continuing resolution to fund the government through November. A continuing resolution also known as a CR is not a budget; it is a temporary budget agreement passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President to keep the government funded, and thus open to take care of the people's business. The Senate then sent the bill back to Congress, which is the procedure required by the Constitution, but based on reports from The Hill and NBC Capital Hill reporters, House Speaker, John Boehner (Rep. of Ohio) is being either hold up or run out town by a group of about 40 right-wing Tea Party Republicans who are determined to crash the U.S. economy along with the world's economy and inflict serious damage upon the American people in order to prevent uninsured Americans from benefiting from the President's Health Care Law, which is opened for people to sign up and obtain health insurance coverage beginning Tuesday October 1st. 

While the Senate adjourned yesterday and is scheduled to reconvene Monday, the House is schedule to meet at 12:00 today. However, no one knows at this time which way this crisis is headed, or whether or not John Boehner who has absolutely no control over his Tea Party caucus will have any influence to change the current dynamics and prevent a government shutdown. Tea Party Congressmen are almost giddy about shutting down the government and are now following orders from Tea Party radical Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. There is no reason to believe at this time that a government shutdown will be averted before the end of the federal government fiscal year on Monday September 30,2013. the easiest way out would be for Speaker Boehner to allow a vote by the full House of Representatives on the Senate bill, where he would get a sufficient number of Democrats and moderate Republicans to pass the Senate's continuing resolution. But is unlikely that Boehner will go that route, since the last time he allowed this to happen over the fiscal cliff debacle on January 3 of this year, the radical wing in the House threatened to throw him out of the Speakership. Since that time, the Speaker has not brought any bill to the House, except in the case of the Hurricane Sandy Bill to provide relief for the victims of the damages in New jersey, unless he has the support of the majority of his majority Republicans.


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Views & Analysis
 
In this section, we will analyze important news and offer our own views and opinion on the issues of the day. We will approach those issues from angles that may not be covered by the larger news media. We encourage and appreciate your feedback.

  

 
July 23, 2013

 
The George Zimmerman Murder Trial
 
Under Florida Stand-your-ground law, Zimmerman was entitled to a hearing before a judge to invoke the law and possibly receive immunity from prosecution. Zimmerman waived his rights to that hearing and instead decided to go on trial based on as a straight self-defense. Nonetheless, even though stand-your-ground was never a part of the trial, and neither party brought it up at any point, Judge Debra Nelson included the law in the jury instructions. This was surely a judicial error on her part. Judge Nelson has other responsibilities in allowing Zimmerman to get off scot-free on Second Degree Murder charges and manslaughter. For example, the judge allowed a motion by the defense forbidding the prosecution from using the term “racial profiling.” The ludicrousness of this is that the entire case was based on race. There can be no doubt that had Trayvon Martin been of White skin he would have been alive today, and anyone who claims otherwise ought to join the vacuum-thinker society and immediately moves to the great state of denial. But, even worst, when Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O’Mara started to stink up the courtroom with racial innuendos, scapegoating, and even calling a witness to suggest that Martin got exactly what he deserves because he is a  Black youth, the judge allowed that to come in, a testimony that was highly prejudicial and inflammatory and had zero probative value.
 
The self-defense law has been on the books in jurisprudence since the beginning of time and is recognized in all 50 states and in every country. It is used in justifiable homicide. Self-defense is a sacred right. The idea behind it is that if you are attacked by someone and feels that your life is in danger, you have a God-given right to defense yourself in any manner available to you, including the use of deadly force. Self-defense, however, does not protect anyone who goes out looking for a fight, provokes a confrontation, and then kills another because they are losing the fight (especially in the case of Zimmerman where he knew that the police was on their way), or to kill someone because you want to, or perhaps it is what you had intended to do from the beginning. Sanford Police Detective Soreno who virtually testified for the defense, even though he was a prosecution witness, said that based on the consistency with which Zimmerman told his version of what happened on the night of February 26 when he killed Tryavon, Zimmerman “would have to be a pathological liar or telling the true.” Zimmer seems to fall into the first category, and like the dead teenager told his friend Rachel Jeantel on the phone minutes before Zimmerman shot him in the heart, Zimmerman is a “creep.” In the word of George Kastanza of the Seinfeld, “It is not a lie if you believe it.” In that episode, Kastanza was portraying a pathological liar. What would any of us do if we were to shoot someone dead? The answer is, we would come up with a story quickly to justify our action before the police arrive. And Zimmerman who was schooled in self-defense law, and the new Florida stand-your-ground law in his criminal justice classes, had plenty of time to make up a story to justify the killing while he waited on the scene of the murder for the police to arrive.
  
Ordinarily, self-defense is both an easy and hard defense to win on. In most cases where a defendant claims self-defense, the other party in the conflict in dead and therefore only the surviving party can take the stand to tell the jury what happened from their perspectives. Given this, even in the presence of good forensic evidence, self-defense remains largely a circumstantial legal quagmire, and unless prosecutors have sufficient direct evidence and witnesses to disprove a defendant’s version of the occurrence, a defendant is likely to be acquitted of murder charges. This being said, most defendants who plead self-defense get convicted, except for those with unlimited resources to hire dream team defense attorneys who will do whatever it takes, including assassinating the character of the dead victim and using inflammatory racial tactics in court to help their clients get away with murder, as was seen in the George Zimmerman’s defense strategy. Needless to say that self-defense is not typically used successfully when the defendant is Black. The reasons for this are 1) Many Black defendants do not have the financial resources to hire competent private attorneys and are routinely pushed by public defenders to plead guilty under threat that they might end up spending life in prison if they chose a trial by jury and are found guilty, which is always a risk. This is a practical strategy considering that White jurors tend to perceive Black defendants as capable of the worst making the testimony and any statement by a Black defendant more likely to be dismissed and disbelieved by jurors. With this backdrop, Zimmerman’s defense lawyers shamelessly used Trayvon’s race to appeal to the White Jurors’ basal instincts of bias, prejudice, and bigotry toward the dead teenager. This was not the first time defense lawyers had turned a murder victim into a monster who deserved to be killed, but defense attorneys for Zimmerman allowed themselves to get carried away and jumped over the boundaries of all decency into the territory of disgrace.
 
What makes this case unique is that any thinking observer, who watched the trial in its entirety and listened to Zimmerman’s multiple statements to police after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, could see through the well-fabricated story that Zimmerman told police and stuck to throughout. The same police that was more than willing to swallow his story whole the very night of the shooting. Zimmerman knew that the police was on his side right from the start, so the question is, why then would he not have stuck to his story? After all, it was working for him with those who counted. Finally, the idea that George Zimmerman has some sort of Hispanic blood or background in him is so irrelevant to this case, and apparently seems to provide some intrigue only to those who do not understand race relations in this country, are ignorant of the pervasive nature of racism, and are clueless relatives to the underlying animosity that exists among some Hispanics and Black Americans. This case is an all-around failure of racial cohesiveness in American society and a total exposure of the unequal and racist nature of American jurisprudence. If there was any doubt that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has brought the American civil war into our court system to continue the dismantling of the Black community, the Trayvon Martin case has obliterated all remain doubt. 
 
the life out of a teenager. And he said in an interview with Shawn Hannity of Fox News that if he had to do it all over, he would not change a thing. He has been sitting in Court showing absolutely no remorse or concerns, just waiting for his lawyers to get him off. Every human being of good will, Black or White, should be outraged by the circumstances of this case.
 
  

 
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