Puppet Masters


Obamacare is either the product of mentally retarded criminals or a conspiracy to destroy the American healthcare system

© Blacklisted

The on-going disaster of the Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare is undoubtedly the most poorly planned implementation of any government program in American history. This law which forces people to buy health insurance or face a fine is one of the dumbest ideas ever conceived but it is the implementation of it that has been even dumber. The implementation has been so horrible that one has to question if this was done intentionally to plunge the entire healthcare system into chaos.

This might sound counterintuitive but it really isn't. The reason for the Obama regime to do something like this is that it would give them the pretext to justify a complete government takeover of America's healthcare system. This would be presented as the false solution to a problem that they created in the first place. If this wasn't part of a broader conspiracy, the only other explanation for the piss poor implementation is that the Obama regime put mentally retarded criminals in charge of its drafting, planning and execution.

There are so many facets to this but the Affordable Care Act should really be called the Unaffordable Care Act because it is actually increasing the cost for existing insurance policies. The amount of regulations, taxes and fees the law requires insurance companies to comply with forces them to pass on additional costs to customers. Both individuals and businesses have been severely impacted by this. Since the law has gone into effect it has caused businesses to hire more part time workers and less full time workers. This is because the law only forces businesses to provide health insurance for full time workers but not part time workers. By mandating that businesses shell out more money to provide health insurance for full time workers it discourages them from bringing on more full time help. Many businesses simply can't afford these additional costs and especially not with Obamacare dramatically increasing the cost of health insurance.

Accountability: why does Kathleen Sebelius still have a job?

Unlike the real world, where managers and employees are judged on results and held accountable for their performance, in Washington, D.C., loyalty and partisanship almost always come first. Accountability comes later, if it comes at all.

This happens in every administration, and President Obama's is no different, as we've seen with the fatal mistakes made regarding the Fast & Furious gun program and in the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Democrats, claiming to see these as partisan witch hunts designed to hurt the administration politically, circled the wagons. Obama stood loyally by Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton

Loyalty is generally a good thing, in politics, as in life. But Kathleen Sebelius and her agency's rollout of Obamacare is different.

Sebelius' department had 3½ years to prepare to implement the Affordable Care Act. No one ever suggested that commandeering one-sixth of the American economy would be an easy task. (Many Republicans suggested the opposite and were dismissed as killjoys for their efforts.) But after the debacle of the last two weeks, liberals and Democrats - not conservatives or Republicans - should be calling for Sebelius's head.

The administration's handling of the implementation of Obamacare over the past three years has been a slow-moving train wreck: a mixture of embarrassing delays, hard-to-justify waivers, and assorted bad news about the unintended consequences of the law. Some of this was Sebelius's fault, some of it was not.

The crowning blunder came 10 days ago with the rollout of healthcare.gov website, the centerpiece of the administration's effort to sign individuals up for coverage through the government-run health care exchanges that are at the heart of the legislation. To say this was vitally important to the overall success of the law is an understatement. It is the aspect of Obamacare that the president himself has said is utterly essential - and backed up those words by letting the federal government shut down rather that give in to Republican demands to gut it. Nonetheless, its premiere was a giant flop - and Kathleen Sebelius is responsible.

'Furloughing reality': Sarah Palin claims Barack Obama flirts with impeachment

sarah palin impeachment
© Associated Press Photo
Palin says raising the debt cap without Congress is an 'impeachable offense.'
President Barack Obama is risking "impeachable" offenses with the way he is handling the debt limit debate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said in a post on her Facebook page Monday.

"Defaulting on our national debt is an impeachable offense, and any attempt by President Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit without Congress is also an impeachable offense," Palin wrote.

In her statement, Palin also accused the president of "scaremongering" on the debt ceiling. She suggested that a default could be averted by paying interest on the debt through daily revenues collected by the United States, an idea that has been recently touted by several conservative voices on the right.

"It's also shameful to see him scaremongering the markets with his talk of default. There is no way we can default if we follow the Constitution," she said, also adding that the president was trying to "furlough reality" when talking about the debt limit.

Palin was in Washington on Sunday, when she visited the World War II Memorial and protested the government shutdown's impact on veterans. She will visit Iowa next month for the Faith & Freedom Coalition's fall fundraiser.

Jose DelReal is a POLITICO fellow.

Comment: Sarah Palin is in no way qualified to comment on the Constitution, or reality, for that matter. Her presence at the veterans' protest can only be grandstanding for her own political goals.

Cell Phone

Dangerously Ignorant: France says no known health impact from mobile phones

A person uses a smartphone to hire a chauffered car on Februay 1, 2013 in Paris
France's safety watchdog said on Tuesday it was standing by existing recommendations for mobile phones, wifi and cellphone relay antennas, saying their emissions had "no demonstrated impact" on health.

The National Agency for Health, Food and Environmental Safety (Anses) said that, in lab tests, electromagnetic emissions had had a "biological" effect on cells, although evidence for this was "limited."

But it saw no grounds for recommending any changes to existing laws as there was "no demonstrated impact" on health.

It said, though, it would make a recommendation that children and big users of mobile phones limit their exposure to the devices.
Che Guevara

Brazil announces secure email to counter US spying

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia on October 8, 2013
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced Sunday that her government was creating a secure email system to try and shield official communications from spying by the United States and other countries.

"We need more security on our messages to prevent possible espionage," Rousseff said on Twitter, ordering the Federal Data Processing Service, or SERPRO, to implement a safe email system throughout the federal government.

The agency, which falls under Brazil's Finance Ministry, develops secure systems for online tax returns and also creates new passports.
Stock Down

A job engine sputters as hospitals cut staff

© Kyle Grillot, AP
Hospitals are reducing payrolls in the face of declining revenue even as the new health care law expands health insurance to more Americans.
Hospitals are cutting thousands of jobs, undercutting a sector that was a reliable source of job growth, even through the recession.

Hospitals, a reliable source of employment growth in the recession and its aftermath, are starting to cut thousands of jobs amid falling insurance payments and inpatient visits.

The payroll cuts are surprising because the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whose implementation took a big step forward this month, is eventually expected to provide health coverage to as many as 30 million additional Americans.

"While the rest of the U.S. economy is stabilizing or improving, health care is entering into a recession," says John Howser, assistant vice chancellor of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Health care providers announced more layoffs than any other industry last month - 8,128 - largely because of reductions by hospitals, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas. So far this year, the health care sector has announced 41,085 layoffs, the third-most behind financial and industrial companies.
Bad Guys

Israeli officer killed in Cameroon

© Press TV

An Israeli military officer, who was an advisor to Cameroon's president, has been killed in a helicopter crash in the central African country.

Retired Colonel Avi Sivan's chopper went down near Cameroon's capital city of Yaounde on Monday, Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported.

Sivan was responsible for training a presidential guard brigade unit in Cameroon.

There have been no comments on the cause of the incident.
Eye 1

New York Times says UK tried to get it to hand over Snowden documents

© Evan Agostini/Associated Press
Jill Abramson: 'Prior restraint is pretty much unthinkable to me in this country.'
Jill Abramson says she was approached by UK embassy officials after announcing collaboration with Guardian over NSA files

The editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, has confirmed that senior British officials attempted to persuade her to hand over secret documents leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Giving the newspaper's first official comments on the incident, Abramson said that she was approached by the UK embassy in Washington after it was announced that the New York Times was collaborating with the Guardian to explore some of the files disclosed by Snowden. Among the files are several relating to the activities of GCHQ, the agency responsible for signals interception in the UK.

"They were hopeful that we would relinquish any material that we might be reporting on, relating to Edward Snowden. Needless to say I considered what they told me, and said no," Abramson told the Guardian in an interview to mark the International Herald Tribune's relaunch as the International New York Times.

The incident shows the lengths to which the UK government has gone to try to discourage press coverage of the Snowden leaks. In July, the government threatened to take legal action against the Guardian that could have prevented publication, culminating in the destruction of computer hard drives containing some of Snowden's files.

Xerox: Access to food stamp system is restored in the 17 states that were affected by outage

© AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
People in Ohio, Michigan and 15 other states found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp debit-style cards on Saturday, after a routine test of backup systems by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure. Xerox announced late in the evening that access has been restored for users in the 17 states affected by the outage, hours after the first problems were reported.

"Restarting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality," spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer said in an email. An emergency voucher process was available in some of the areas while the problems were occurring, she said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe underscored that the outage was not related to the government shutdown.

Earlier Saturday shoppers left carts of groceries behind at a packed Market Basket grocery store in Biddeford, Maine, because they couldn't get their benefits, said shopper Barbara Colman, of Saco, Maine. The manager put up a sign saying the EBT system was not in use. Colman, who receives the benefits, called an 800 telephone line for the program and it said the system was down due to maintenance, she said.

"That's a problem. There are a lot of families who are not going to be able to feed children because the system is being maintenanced," Colman said. She planned to reach out to local officials. "You don't want children going hungry tonight because of stupidity," she said.

Computer glitch blamed for nationwide EBT system shutdown on Saturday

People in Ohio, Michigan and 15 other states found themselves unable to use their food stamp debit-style cards on Saturday, after a routine test of backup systems by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure.

At about 9 a.m. Saturday, reports from across the country began pouring in that customers' EBT cards were not working in stores.

At 2 p.m., an EBT customer service representative told CBS Boston that the system was currently down for a computer system upgrade.

Xerox spokeswoman Jennifer Wasmer released further details later in the afternoon in an emailed statement.

"While the electronic benefits system is now up and running, beneficiaries in the 17 affected states continue to experience connectivity issues to access their benefits. Technical staff is addressing the issue and expect the system to be restored soon," Wasmer said. "Beneficiaries requiring access to their benefits can work with their local retailers who can activate an emergency voucher system where available. We appreciate our clients' patience while we work through this outage as quickly as possible."