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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Holder's Meltdown Speaks Volumes

by Tom Fitton, Judcial Watch: If anyone had doubts as to just how much contempt Attorney General Eric Holder has for the institution of Congress (pun intended), those doubts dissipated this week when Holder became unhinged during a heated exchange with Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) in his testimony before Congress.

Fox News described the exchange:
Attorney General Eric Holder got into a heated argument with a Republican congressman Tuesday over the still-pending contempt case against him.

Holder was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee when Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, began pressing him for documents in a separate investigation. Gohmert brought up an apparent sore spot, referencing the 2012 House vote finding Holder in contempt of Congress.

"I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight," Gohmert said.

A visibly annoyed Holder said: "You don't want to go there, buddy." Leaning back in his chair, he added, "You don't want to go there, okay?"

"I don't want to go there?" Gohmert responded.

Holder went on to say that the congressman "should not assume that that is not a big deal to me."

"I think that it was inappropriate and it was unjust, but never think that was not a big deal to me. Don't ever think that," Holder said, pointing his finger.
Two quick observations: First, there is simply no excuse for the nation's highest law enforcement officer, even if pushed, to refer to a member of Congress as "buddy" or "pal" like a playground bully scrounging for lunch money. That may be the "Chicago Way" but it is entirely inappropriate. And second, whenever I see a politician point his finger to emphasize a point, it's impossible not to think of Bill Clinton and his "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" moment. Or Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook speech." Finger pointing, as we have seen time and time again, is usually done by people who have something to hide.

And Eric Holder has much to hide.

Holder is at the center of one of the most serious scandals of the Obama administration, "Operation Fast and Furious," where weapons were allowed to "walk" across the border by our government and into the hands of Mexican drug cartel members. One of those weapons wound up at the crime scene of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, precipitating public outrage and congressional investigations. Countless Mexican citizens, by Holder's own admission, will also be shot and killed by weapons supplied by his Justice Department's gun-running operation.

Holder's attempts to obstruct justice in the investigation of Fast and Furious were the reason for the attorney general's contempt citation and for his embarrassing exchange with Rep. Gohmert. (Holder continued his political haranguing at a conference run by the infamous race-hustler Al Sharpton the day after his testimony.)

As Rep. Gohmert pointed out, if Holder had any respect at all for the institution of Congress, or any sincere regret over the contempt citation, he would begin cooperating and release the records that will help us to unravel one of the most shameful chapters of Holder's tenure.

But he won't. Because he can't. To release those records is to prove his guilt. He knows it. We know it. Congress knows it. And so does the president, who made a desperate effort to protect Holder by claiming Fast and Furious records were protected by executive privilege, which they are not.

Judicial Watch, for its part, will not be intimated. We will "go there" until justice is done. We have sued the Obama administration repeatedly for Fast and Furious records. And we continue to expose the administration's stonewalling and lies and educate the American people. In fact, Fast and Furious was covered extensively in our hard-hitting documentary District of Corruption, in which, in a nice coincidence, Congressman Gohmert appears. (Click here to get your DVD copy for the story Holder isn't telling.)

The American people have had enough lying. Enough excuses. Enough go-nowhere congressional investigations tainted by politics. Enough finger pointing. They want answers. And that is what we are trying to deliver.

Holder is Obama's protector on Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and many other scandals. And he's abused his office for the political benefit of his leftist allies.
--------------
Tom Fitton is president of Judcial Watch a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Tags: Eric Holder, meltdown, Tom Fitton, Judcial Watch To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Obamacare’s Latest Casualty

by Newt Gingrich: Secretary Sebelius’s announcement that she is leaving office is a good time to assess her impact.

Sadly her term as Secretary of Health and Human Services was a disaster.

Americans should be able to expect that people who enter high public office will see their job as a public duty and will view faithfully serving the public and administering the laws as their solemn obligation.

Secretary Sebelius ran her office in a secretive and extraordinarily partisan manner which frequently ignored, violated, and changed the law at whim.

Perhaps her approach merely mirrored the attitude of the Obama White House, but as the Senate-confirmed head of a major department of the American government, Secretary Sebelius must be held to a different standard than White House staff.

The White House staff is there to serve the president. Their positions are inherently personal and political. If the Obama White House is often arrogant, aloof, secretive and largely isolated from the Congress, it is because that is the President’s style. And that is his right.

Leading a major federal department is a very different proposition.

The Secretary of HHS has legal duties and obligations which define and limit what she can and cannot do for the president. Although he nominated her, her job is not defined by the president. It is defined by the law.

Again and again Secretary Sebelius operated secretly, without consultation, and beyond the limits of the law. She made dozens of changes to policy without the authority to do so, from waiving welfare’s work requirement, to pressuring insurance companies for Obamacare implementation dollars after Congress denied her budget request, to delaying the employer mandate–twice–outside the confines of the legislation.

In fact, her capricious redefinition of Obamacare will be studied for decades as a stunning betrayal of the rule of law.

Even after illegally assuming powers she didn’t have, however, Secretary Sebelius still failed spectacularly in her duty to administer competently.

I have worked with a number of very effective HHS secretaries–in particular Louis Sullivan, Tommy Thompson, and Mike Leavitt. They knew how to run things and how to get things done. By contrast, as an implementer, Sebelius may be the most incompetent major cabinet officer in modern times.

The Obamacare website disaster she oversaw is a historic case study in bureaucratic failure. Once all of the government decision documents have been released and all the participants interviewed, I suspect people will marvel at the isolated, ignorant, self-deceiving, and ultimately catastrophic way in which Sebelius and the department she led failed the American people.

The failure is inexcusable because a department undertaking to reorganize the entire health care system has an obligation to get the central mechanisms–the parts that allow people to obtain health coverage–right. Americans’ lives, jobs, and savings were at stake. Moreover, from a purely political perspective, the failure is all the more stunning because it was obvious from day one that the website would be the most public symbol of President Obama’s entire presidency.

Websites are now the stuff of everyday life. The public knows a good website from a bad website. And for years there have been effective, convenient, and reliable sites to purchase insurance online.

Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of the tech community supported President Obama.The level of expertise and experience Secretary Sebelius could have called on to help with the website was breathtaking. Half the population of Silicon Valley would have been delighted to participate in what was clearly going to be an historic undertaking. But she and the president did not do that.

There is a sickness, almost a mental condition, in the Washington political-bureaucratic class that leads it to believe it knows everything.

Twenty-eight-year-old congressional staffers stay up until three in the morning writing laws about systems they have never participated in and cannot possibly understand. Fifty year old bureaucrats who have spent their entire careers in small cubbyholes in giant Washington office buildings (visit the Humphrey Building which houses HHS and you will see what I mean) issue rules and regulations on topics and industries about which they know very little, affecting millions of people they don’t know in places they have never visited.

It was this kind of hubris which led to non-functional websites and the months of illegal changes to Obamacare.

And it is the same kind of hubris that led Secretary Sebelius and President Obama to travel the country advocating for a law that no one, including them, understood.

Secretary Sebelius’s final betrayal of the public trust–after her abuses of power and her failures of implementation–was her fundamental dishonesty with the American people.

She had an opportunity to help lead the country in a constructive, open dialogue about health reform. Instead she defended the law, denied facts, dismissed legitimate questions and deceived the public. She tried to spin us on the life and death matter of our health care.

The Secretary gave dissembling testimony before Congress about the website. (“The website has never crashed,” she said. “It is functional but at a very slow speed and very low reliability.” As she spoke the words, CNN displayed a live shot of healthcare.gov as it failed to load.) She repeatedly claimed not to know how many Americans had signed up for insurance on the exchanges, even months after they launched. She used secret email accounts to avoid disclosure rules that applied to her communications as a public official.

Secretary Sebelius owed the public an open, participatory process of implementation. Instead she chose the opposite strategy of secrecy, dishonesty and hidden deal making.

For delivering a breakdown when a breakout was possible, Secretary Sebelius was right to resign. She, and the administration she worked for, have done the American people a great disservice.
----------------
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. Newt and his wife, Callista, host and produce historical and public policy documentaries. The above commentary was shared via his daily email via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, Gingrich Productions, Obamacare’s Latest Casualty, HHS, Secretary Sebelius To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Boehner Unloads on White House: The Obama Administration Has Not Told the Truth

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): "The frustration is the American people have not been told the truth about  happened at the IRS.  The American people have not been told    the truth of what happened in Fast and Furious.  The administration has not told    the American people the truth about  Benghaz.  We have been going through all these hearings having to hold people in contempt because they have made it impossible to get to the documents.  They have not been forthcoming, they owe the American people the truth.  And, when it comes to Benghazi, we've got four Americans who are dead. Their families deserve the truth about what happened, and the Administration refuses to tell them the truth."

Tags: House Speaker, John Boehner, Obama administration, scandals, IRS, Fast and Furious Benghazi To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

What’s a Job?

Editorial Cartoon by William Warren

Tags: President Obama, the unemployed, What's A Job, editorial cartoon, William Warren To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Sebelius Resigns, But Obamacare's Failures Remain

Because Mr. Obama Won't
Take the Responsibility!
Today In Washington, D.C. - April 11, 2014 :
“Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act. . . . The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, convince a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall." ~ The New York Times

“Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act. . . . The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, convince a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall.  ~ Politico

The Senate will reconvene at 4 PM today. It’s expected that a unanimous consent agreement will be offered to postpone until April 28th votes on the nomination of Michelle Friedland to be a United States Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit and the controversial nomination of David Weil to be the administrator of the wage and hour division at the Department of Labor.

The House is not in session today.   They will return at 2 PM on April 28, 2014.
Yesterday the House passed:
H. Con. Res. 96 — "Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2015 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2016 through 2024" by a vote of 219-205 - 219 Republicans for the budget plan and 193 Democrats voted against the plan.   Twelve Republicans also voted against the Ryan measure because the didn't believe it was not conservative enough.
S. 2195 (unanimous consent) — "To deny admission to the United States to any representative to the United Nations who has engaged in espionage activities against the United States, poses a threat to United States national security interests, or has engaged in a terrorist activity against the United States."

Back to Seblius' departure:
Unfortunately Secretary Sebelius’ departure won’t mean the well documented and continuing failures of Obamacare will depart with her. Americans are still experiencing higher premiums and higher deductibles, “bureaucratic nightmares,” Medicare cuts, the inability to access doctors and hospitals of their choice, and canceled insurance plans. All of these, of course, show that Obamacare remains the “train wreck” former Senator and Obamacare architect Max Baucus described a year ago, but they also show that this law continues to break the explicit promises made by President Obama and Democrats that “all this is going to lower premiums,” and that “if you have health insurance and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it.”

And as has been the case for years, Americans continue to disapprove of Obamacare. A USA Today/Pew poll earlier this week found Americans disapproving by 50%-37%, and today a new Gallup poll confirms, “Americans' views on the broader healthcare law remain more negative than positive. Currently, 43% approve and 54% disapprove of the law . . . .”

In his statement on Sebelius’ resignation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s fitting that nearly one year after the primary legislative architect of Obamacare predicted it would be a train wreck that the government official most responsible for overseeing it reportedly is resigning.  Regardless of the administration’s public explanation for the Secretary’s exit, Obamacare has been a rolling disaster and her resignation is cold comfort to the millions of Americans who were deceived about what it would mean for them and their families. Countless Americans have unexpectedly been forced out of the plans they had and liked, are now shouldering dramatically higher premiums, and can no longer use the doctors and hospitals they choose. Beyond that, virtually everyone who has come into contact with this law has had new reason to worry about what it means for the government to control their health care. Secretary Sebelius may be leaving, but the problems with this law and the impact it’s having on our constituents aren’t. Obamacare has to go, too.”

Tags: HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, resigns, Obamacare, Train Wreck To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Charts Obama Doesn't Want You to See

Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation: Talking about Obamacare’s effects is one thing; seeing hard data is another.

Heritage’s newly updated Obamacare in Pictures has 5 charts that show the law’s effects on Americans—from canceled insurance policies to new taxes, Medicare cuts, reduced choice for plans, and more.

Here’s a quick look at just three of these charts and how Obamacare is hitting three groups.

YOUNG PEOPLE
Obamacare in Pictures 2014: Premiums Age 27

Obamacare says you can stay on your parents’ health insurance until you turn 26. This chart looks at what happens after that—if you don’t have employer-sponsored insurance and you have to get insured through Obamacare. If you’re trying to save for a car or house—or just paying rent to have your own place—seeing your premiums double is quite a blow.

SENIORS
Obamacare in Pictures 2014: Medicare cuts
You may recall Heritage experts’ warning that Obamacare would cut $716 billion from Medicare. That’s still happening.

Despite the Obama administration’s recent walking back of Medicare Advantage cuts for this year, Obamacare’s planned cuts to Medicare are moving forward. This chart shows which parts of Medicare are affected.

Heritage expert Alyene Senger has explained that, instead of cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare program, Obamacare targets the amounts Medicare service providers are paid. These cuts have ripple effects on seniors. Doctors, nursing homes, and other providers who can’t afford to be part of Medicare any more will cut back or stop participating—and that means fewer options and less access to care for seniors.

ALL AMERICANS
Obamacare in Pictures 2014: Obamacare Remains Unpopular (Polls)

This chart looks a lot like a heartbeat—and it tracks one of Obamacare’s vital signs: public opinion. There has been a 10-point gap between support for and opposition to the law for some time now. That spike in opposition/sharp decline in support? It coincides with the flood of cancellation notices that landed in Americans’ mailboxes last year.

Obamacare remains unpopular because it’s raising taxes, killing jobs, and cutting Americans’ health care choices. We need health reform that reverses these trends.

>>> See the rest of Obamacare in Pictures

Tags: Health Care, health insurance, medicare, Medicare Advantage, medicare cuts, Obamacare in Pictures, seniors, taxes, young people, Heritage Foundation, Amy payne To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Crowned Blue State Madness Bracket Challenge “Champion”

  WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Republican Governors Association today announced Illinois Democrat Governor Pat Quinn as the winner of the Blue State Madness Bracket Challenge, an online competition where participants chose, through head-to-head matchups, the Democrats whose policies they believe inspire the most madness in the states.
After five rounds of voting, Governor Quinn was selected as the most maddening of all Democrats vying to be elected governor this year.

“Governor Pat Quinn’s tenure in Springfield has been a case study in destructive policy, broken promises, and failed leadership,” said RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho. “Quinn’s blue state approach has made job loss, high unemployment, soaring taxes and a crippled state economy the standard in Illinois. He was elected to tackle the state’s challenges, but Illinois’ problems have just grown worse with Quinn at the helm. It doesn’t have to be that way. In November, voters in Illinois and every blue state across the country will have a chance to reject this kind of madness, opting instead for the leadership of a Republican governor and a brighter, more prosperous future in the states.”

The RGA sent Governor Quinn a trophy today congratulating him on the misfortune of being crowned the winner of the Bracket Challenge.

The full bracket:
Governor Pat Quinn defeated Charlie Christ for the dubious crown. Quinn had previously blown away his former bracket competitors many of who may have have easily earned the right to dubious crown if Quinn had not been in the running.

Charlie Christ had defeated Mike Ross the former "lap-dog" for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  The would be Arkansas Governor wannabe, Mike Ross was voted the worse potential Governor candidate  for three brackets before running head long into Charlie Christ.   Arkansas which has been heading in a positive direction out of 138 years of blue-state madness and is in hopes of shucking its former blue-state madness this election year.

As for the Quinn's victory, it would not have been difficult for anyone to defeat him for this dubious honor as as he represents the corruption ridden Illinois governor office which holds the record for the most incarcerated corrupt Governors.

Tags: Blue State Madness, brackets, Pat Quinn, Charlie Christ, Mike Ross To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Celebrating Passover and Survival

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: At sundown on Monday, April 14, Jews around the world will celebrate Passover with the traditional Seder dinner. Passover is about the exodus from Egypt and a reminder that they were slaves until led to freedom by Moses. Passover is an annual reminder of the survival of Jews and Judaism against extraordinary odds.

Conquered and exiled people in the past often disappeared. As Wikipedia notes, the first appearance of the name “Israel” was an Egyptian inscription dated around 1200 BCE. The term “Land of Israel” is found in the Torah, also called the Old Testament. Around 722 BCE it was conquered as was Judah in 586 BCE. Later, in 165 BCE the Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom was established, lasting 99 years and destroyed after the Romans captured Jerusalem in 66 BCE.

Until the State of Israel was reestablished in 1948, a constant Jewish prayer was “Next year in Jerusalem.” When Israel’s independence was declared, it was immediately attacked by five neighboring Arab nations who were to various degrees defeated.

In 1967 Israel was attacked by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, but they were again defeated. 1n 1973, the Yom Kippur war took its name from having been attacked on its most holy of days by Syria and Egypt. While other nations are granted the lands they capture in war, particularly a war of defense, Israel continues to be accused of “occupying” them.

Israel has never really enjoyed peace with the nations that surround it and others in the Middle East. These days it is continually under attack from the Palestinians who protest their refugee status, but nothing is ever mentioned of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who became refugees when they were forced to flee from Middle Eastern nations in which many had lived for generations; double the number cited for Palestinians displaced in 1948.

A constant stream of UN resolutions has been directed against Israel. The Palestinians today are demanding recognition as a separate state, but after six decades they have never accepted the right of Israel to exist, insisting instead on its destruction.

These days it is the Christians of the Middle East experiencing the persecution the Jews have always known.

I was thinking about this as I read of the latest failure of the Obama administration to achieve what no previous one accomplished, a state of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Secretary of State, John Kerry, was so desperate for any solution that he floated the notion of freeing the Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard, currently serving a life sentence, in exchange for Israel’s acceptance of the transfer of strategic parts of its homeland and acceptance of the return of millions of Palestinian Arab refugees—now the oldest “refugee” group in the world. Even Pollard denounced this.

How eager have the Israelis been to find any grounds for peace? They have repeatedly released Palestinians who engaged in terrorist attacks, many of which resulted in the deaths of Israelis. The latest such release was abandoned as the Palestinian leadership repeated its impossible demands. Unlike Gaza that was abandoned by Israel to provide Palestinian living space and is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization, the Arab citizens of Israel enjoy the same rights as their Jewish neighbors, a true democracy that does not exist anywhere in the Middle East where monarchies and despots continue to rule.

The “Arab Spring” was an effort by Egyptians, Libyans, and Tunisians to overthrow their despots. The new, interim Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The Palestinian groups, Hezbollah and Hamas, have a long history of terrorism as do fascist Islamic groups such as al Qaeda and others.

The Passover Seder is the same dinner as the Christian “last supper” celebrated by Jesus and his apostles. While Jews pray for a messianic age, Christians identify Jesus as their messiah. Ironically, early Muslims prayed facing Jerusalem until the Jewish tribes of their time refused to accept Mohammed as the final prophet of God and were driven from Medina, suffering great slaughter and enslavement.

Islam practices a form of equal opportunity intolerance. It holds all other religions in contempt, but retains a special disdain for Judaism and Christianity.

I doubt that either President Obama or John Kerry know or care about the history I have cited. Despite the fact that Israel is literally the only ally the U.S. has truly had in the Middle East, Obama’s policy has been to withdraw from that region of the world and largely abandon it to the turmoil it is enduring. Their effort to negotiate with Iran ignores its hatred of the U.S. since it took our diplomats hostage in 1979 and its long quest to have its own nuclear weapons with which to impose its hegemony. All of Obama’s efforts regarding the Middle East have met with failure.

In two places, Israel and America, a population of six million Jews in each nation represents the bulk of the world’s Jews. Scattered throughout the rest of the world is the Jewish Diaspora. All suffer open or silent anti-Semitism to some degree. Jews have not engaged in the evangelism of Christianity or Islam, but they have never closed the doors to anyone who has adopted their faith.

From a spiritual point of view their existence and the resurrection of Israel is a miracle. In my lifetime, they have risen like the mythical phoenix from the ashes of the Holocaust in which millions were killed, as were Christians who also perished in Nazi death camps.

I do not know why Jews have been the subject of so much hatred over thousands of years. Some of it can be attributed to the competition of the religions whose roots began in Judaism; Christianity and to a lesser degree, Islam. Some of it has to be an irrational belief that Jews are different from the rest of humanity, but they are not.

They are a people who have survived based on their belief in a universal God of all mankind, the laws He set forth, and in their history as recorded in the Old Testament and since.

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel. And Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him…And all the people answered together and said: ‘All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.’” Exodus, 19.

The holy nation endures.
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Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signs disseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: Passover, survival Jews, Israel, United States, Alan Caruba, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ongoing Train Wreck: Pew Poll: 50% Still Disapprove Of Obamacare | Technological Problems Plague Medicaid Applications | Some Patients Without Doctors

Today in Washington, D.C. - April 10, 2014
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate voted 56-41 to invoke cloture on the nomination of Michelle Friedland, to be a United States Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit, using the precedent Democrats set by using the nuclear option to break Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he plans to force a vote on the controversial nomination of David Weil, to be the administrator of the wage and hour division at the Department of Labor today or tomorrow.

Yesterday, after Democrats failed to get the 60 votes needed to proceed to S. 2199, their trial lawyer giveaway marketed as a bill about “paycheck fairness,” the Senate voted 75- 21 to confirm Wanda Felton to be first VP of the Export Import Bank of the U.S. and 95-1 to confirm Terrell McSweeny to be a Federal Trade Commissioner. Three other nominees were confirmed by voice vote.

The House reconvened at 9:00 AM. Today the took up Rep. Paul Ryan's final Budget Proposal that would cut more than $5 Trillion of expected spending.  The plan was  H. Con. Res. 96 — "Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2015 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2016 through 2024."  At  12:02 PM, the bill passed by a vote of 219-205 - 219 Republicans for the budget plan and 193 Democrats voted against the plan.   Twelve Republicans also voted against the Ryan measure because the didn't believeit was not conservative enough.

The House then immediately passed by unanimous consent S. 2195 — "To deny admission to the United States to any representative to the United Nations who has engaged in espionage activities against the United States, poses a threat to United States national security interests, or has engaged in a terrorist activity against the United States." No other bills are expected to be considered today.

Yesterday the House passed H.R. 4414 (257-159) — "To clarify the treatment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of health plans in which expatriates are the primary enrollees, and for other purposes."

Today, the House Oversight Committee voted 21-12 along party lines to cite IRS' Lois G. Lerner for contempt of Congress! The vote sends the contempt charge to the whole House for consideration. Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee, which has apparently gained more access to documentation of actions by the IRS, voted to ask the Justice Department asking it to pursue criminal charges against Ms. Lerner. That referral, must alsogo to the full House floor for a vote.

Other media sources on the actions by the House Ways and Means Committee:
WaPo: House committee votes to request criminal prosecution of ex-IRS official Lois Lerner
WSJ: Lois Lerner Pushed for IRS Action Against Crossroads, House Panel Says
Politico: GOP says IRS’ Lois Lerner targeted Crossroads
NYT:
Examiner: Issa says emails suggest Elijah Cummings prompted IRS targeting of True the Vote
WT: Displays of Obama, Democratic support common at some IRS offices
Fix: IRS employees accused of donning pro-Obama gear, urging callers to vote for him

In addition, tensions within the House Oversight Committee are heating up. Yesterday, Republicans accused the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), of lying about staff members conspiring with former IRS official Lois Lerner to target the conservative group True the Vote in 2012. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Daniel Issa (R-CA), and five Subcommittee chairmen sent Rep. Cummings a letter asking him to explain why his committee staff contacted the IRS about True the Vote, why that contact was hidden from Republicans, and why the Ranking Member denied those staffers actions in February. Excerpt follows:


"Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise. ... You have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS."
President Obama declared during his victory lap over Obamacare enrollments last week that “the debate over repealing this law is over” and said, “It’s working. It’s helping people from coast to coast . . . .” But once again, the president didn’t take into account the views of the American people.

USA Today writes, “The Affordable Care Act looms as a powerful issue in this year's congressional elections, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, and one that is reverberating in ways likely to boost the GOP. In the survey, taken after President Obama announced a surprising 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the law's exchanges, more than eight in 10 registered voters say a candidate's stance on the law will be an important factor in determining their vote. A 54% majority call it very important. By 2-1, those who rate the issue as very important disapprove of the law. That means it is more likely to motivate opponents than supporters to vote — a critical element in midterm elections when turnout often is low. . . . Americans continue to disapprove of the law, now by 50%-37%. . . . In coming years, they predict by 35%-29% that it will have a mostly negative effect on them. . . . Asked about the effect on the country as a whole so far, 43% say it has been mostly negative, 30% mostly positive. . . . Still, the downbeat assessment of the health care law over the long term hasn't budged. By 44%-38%, those surveyed say its overall effect in coming years will be mostly negative.”

So clearly the debate isn’t over. And it’s not hard to see why Americans continue to strongly disapprove of Obamacare, given the disastrous consequences it’s had all across the country.

Even the Huffington Post can’t ignore the serious disruptions to Americans’ health care that Obamacare is causing. In a must-read report titled, “How Obamacare Leaves Some Patients Without Doctors,” the Huffington Post writes, “In January, a doctor told Noam Friedlander, who was suffering from excruciating lower back pain, that she needed surgery to remove part of a severely herniated disc. Friedlander had Blue Shield insurance through Covered California, California's version of Obamacare, and planned to use it to cover the costs of the operation. But when she started to call surgeons covered by Blue Shield, she ran into a roadblock. Surgeons who were covered by her insurance operated out of hospitals no longer covered by her insurance -- or vice versa. Friedlander spent days on the phone, hours on hold, making dozens of calls across Southern California, trying to match a surgeon with a hospital that would both be covered. In total, she reached out to 20 surgeons and five hospitals. ‘No one could help me. Some expressed sympathy,’ Friedlander, 40, told The Huffington Post in an email. ‘They told me, “I'm so sorry -- it's all just so new. You're a victim of the changes. No one knows what they're doing.”’ . . . Unable to match a hospital and a surgeon that were both covered, Friedlander started haggling between doctors for a cash price for the surgery. . . . . In the end, she had to take out two credit cards so she could pay $16,000 out of pocket.”

“[N]ationwide,” the Huffington Post explains, “about 70 percent of Obamacare plans offer fewer hospitals and doctors than employer-sponsored group plans or pre-ACA individual market plans, according to a study by consulting firm McKinsey & Company released in December. This narrowed number of doctors and hospitals is what Friedlander encountered when trying to match a surgeon and hospital that would both be covered. Covered California is aware of the problem. Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross -- the largest Covered California providers, each carrying about 30 percent of all Covered California enrollees -- have both narrowed their networks, according to Jeff Rideout, senior medical adviser for Covered California. . . . The Affordable Care Act increased insurers' costs by forbidding denial of coverage to consumers with pre-existing conditions and by imposing taxes and fees to fund aspects of the new law. To make up for ACA costs and keep premiums low, Blue Shield asked its doctors and hospitals to accept payments from the insurer at rates reduced up to 30 percent. Not surprisingly, some doctors and hospitals rejected Blue Shield's reduced payment rates and decided not to re-sign contracts with the insurer. At least three major Los Angeles hospitals previously covered by Blue Shield -- UCLA, Cedars Sinai and Good Samaritan -- have opted out of the insurer's new network, said Lindy Wagner, corporate communications manager of Blue Shield. According to Wagner, Blue Shield of California now has about 40 percent fewer physicians and 25 percent fewer hospitals in its network than last year.”

Further, “[W]hen signing up for a plan, it's difficult to determine which doctors and hospitals are still covered. ‘You can sign up on Covered California and think you're totally fine, only to find out later that you're totally hosed,’ [David Fear, an insurance agent in Sacramento,] said. Specialist doctors, such as surgeons, ob-gyns and urologists, declined Blue Cross and Blue Shield's lower payments most frequently. Fear estimates that about two-thirds of Blue Cross and Blue Shield's specialists have opted out of the networks. Like Friedlander, Ruth Iorio, a 35-year-old new mother from Los Angeles, is struggling to find the care she needs in Blue Shield's smaller network. She signed up for Blue Shield through Covered California in November because the Covered California website listed her hospital, UCLA, as accepting Blue Shield, she said. However, after Iorio gave birth in December, she was told that her ob-gyn at UCLA was not covered by her insurance. So she paid out of pocket. Iorio has not been able to find a urologist for her son or an ob-gyn who is both covered by her insurance and practicing in a hospital that is covered. She's called over a dozen doctors who are covered by her insurance, and each has told her that if she or her son needs an operation in the hospitals the doctor contracts with, it won't be covered. ‘My insurance is pretty useless. And I'm not fussy about what doctor I see,’ Iorio said. ‘I don't know what to do. I may just drop it for myself and keep my son on it. It's really depressing.’”

And of course the technological problems that Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration assumed would simply be solved or never surface in trying to create such a complicated system continue to plague Obamacare. National Journal
reports, “The technology behind a huge part of Obamacare's efforts to expand insurance coverage—the part aimed at low-income Americans—remains far from fixed, and the glitches are keeping some of the nation's most vulnerable patients from getting insured. The administration launched a ‘tech surge’ to improve the HealthCare.gov experience for those shopping for private insurance, but the website's process for enrolling in Medicaid remained mired in glitches. And for President Obama's efforts to expand health coverage that's a major problem. To reach would-be Medicaid recipients, the Affordable Care Act relies on potential enrollees being able to effectively navigate the law's website to enroll. And there, just as with the early days of HealthCare.gov, technical failures have created a high hurdle for those looking to join the ranks of the newly insured. Some applications sent from the exchanges never make it to the state Medicaid offices. Of those that do, jumbled or missing data can make the applications impossible to process in any kind of automated way. In the meantime, these individuals are without coverage as they wait for their applications to be reviewed, and their prospects for getting insured soon are dimming as backlogs build. And then there's the extreme example, where some applicants—typically those whose incomes put them on the cusp of Medicaid eligibility—have been trapped in a circular purgatory. Consumers are incorrectly deemed eligible for Medicaid by the exchanges, then rejected by the Medicaid offices. Their applications then need to be sent back over to the marketplaces, but they don't always make it there.”

Obamacare is still a mess, it’s still causing chaos in the American health insurance system, it’s still resulting in higher premiums, canceled coverage, narrow networks, and endless technological and administrative problems. It’s still, as former Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), one of the architects of the law warned a year ago, “a huge train wreck.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Kentuckians, and the countless Americans suffering under Obamacare, need real solutions. . . . Washington Democrats forced America’s Middle Class into this impossible situation. They basically blocked every reasonable attempt to reform this law – or to change it in any meaningful way. Yet now that Obamacare’s become politically difficult for them, they’re deflecting blame. . . . “Americans agree that it’s time for Washington Democrats to work with us to remedy the mess they created — and that means repealing this law and replacing it with real reforms. It’s time for them to work with us on a real jobs agenda too – to take up the numerous jobs bills the House has already sent over and get them onto the President’s desk.”


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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

America's Suicide Pact with Communism

 Alan Caruba, Contributing Author: It was a Founder and our second President, John Adams, who said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

He was right and I am sure he would be appalled to know that the Constitution has since been interpreted to permit the murder of the unborn or that the ancient definition of marriage has been trashed to permit people of the same sex to “marry.” The legalization and use of marijuana is a further sign of decline.

These and other elements of the values expressed and expected by the Founders are eating away at the present and future of the United States of America. The Supreme Court was created to rule on what the Constitution’s actual words say and mean, not on the passing aspirations of generations who have abandoned the fundamental principles of the remarkable government it created.

The Constitution represents a federal government that was granted limited powers. The rest were retained by the States, but Communism and Socialism are based on a strong central government, one ruled by an elite class of intellectuals to oversee all elements of the economy and to set the rules by which everyone must live even if they conflict with their religious convictions and moral values.

The degradation of the nation has tracked the rise of Socialism, begun with Karl Marx’s creation of Communism. Born in Prussia in 1818, Marx was influenced by the writings of Hegel, a German philosopher. Marx’s socialist writings would get him expelled from Germany and France. In 1848, with Friedrich Engels, he published The Communist Manifesto and was exiled to London where he wrote the first volume of Das Kapital, living there until his death in 1883. Suffice to say that the Communism he unleashed would cause the death of hundreds of millions, particularly in Russia and China where it was embraced.

Americans and, in particular, conservatives who have a high regard for the Constitution and the values of personal freedom and liberty it bestows on individuals, have been fighting against the tyranny of Communism and Socialism, but it has always had an appeal to those who prefer to let others determine the actions of government and the bigger it is, the better. This is enhanced by a government that redistributes the wealth from those who worked for it to those who have not.

Along the way there have been voices that have spoken out against Communism and Socialism. I came across a speech by one of them. At the time he said, “We’re at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it’s been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.”

It is happening today in an America that has twice elected a Communist as its President, some say out of guilt over the slavery the nation countenanced and which took a Civil War to end. That Civil War was fought between moral Americans who hated slavery and those who profited from it. In the latter part of the last century, Americans joined with the black community to put an end to the injustices it had encountered for a century. That was the act of a nation with its moral values intact.

Barack Obama was “a red diaper baby” raised from birth by a family devoted to Socialism and educated in universities where it thrives today. His actions are entirely determined by the Marxist theology to which he has devoted his life and his failures demonstrate its failures. In the process, millions of Americans are suffering unemployment in an economy that knows what it takes to create growth, but which has been thwarted by massive government regulation and the crony capitalism that corrupts it. It has wasted billions on the global warming/climate change hoax that is still being advocated by some in Congress.

In the stump speech given to support the campaign of a leading conservative, the speaker said that the issue of that elections was “Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.” That question exists today.

A centralized government was the “very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that… a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.”

At the time he gave his speech, he noted that “For three decades we’ve sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.”

He warned that, “Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp at this moment.”

He could have delivered that speech today, but the speaker was Ronald Reagan and the speech was given on October 27, 1964. He was campaigning for Sen. Barry Goldwater who was running against Lyndon Baines Johnson who was the incumbent as the result of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Johnson was overwhelmingly elected and, while expanding the war in Vietnam that would cost more than American 53,000 lives, he also launched the “Great Society” program based entirely in Socialism. Like the war, it too would fail.

Goldwater had rejected the New Deal socialism of Franklin D. Roosevelt and it was Roosevelt who would preside over the nation’s longest economic doldrums from his first election in 1932 until the Great Depression would end in the wake of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Four years later Americans would celebrate the defeat of the Japanese Empire and Germany’s Nazi regime.

Reagan would be elected President in 1980 and, through two terms, would oversee economic growth that would be passed onto George W. Bush. The nation would turn to Bill Clinton in 1992, electing him twice.

To save the nation today, Americans must reject a Democratic Party that resembles the Communist Party USA. The voters must secure control of the Senate and House by a Republican Party that must tap into the values of men like Reagan and predecessors that included Coolidge, Hoover, and Eisenhower. Both Bush presidencies tried as well.

The warnings Reagan voiced in 1964 are no less true today and, with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, an even greater threat exists than did five decades ago. If we fail, we will be signing a suicide pact with Communism.
------------
Alan Caruba is a writer by profession; has authored several books, and writes a daily column, Warning Signsdisseminated on many Internet news and opinion websites and blogs. He is a contributing author at ARRA News Service.

Tags: America, Suicide Pact, communism, Democratic Party, Communist Party USA, Alan Caruba, Ronald Reagan, warning signs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Was It an April Fool Joke?

 by Phyllis Schlafly: U.S. control of the Internet’s basic functions has kept the Web free for Americans and for the entire world. And it’s up to us to keep it that way.

As Ronald Reagan said during the great Panama Canal controversy in the mid-1970s, “We bought it. We built it. We paid for it. We intend to keep it.”


Within two years after the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty to give away our Canal, angry voters defeated two dozen Senators who voted for that treaty and induced eight more to retire. Reagan’s triumphant 1980 victory over both the Democrats and the Republican Establishment included the support of a new Republican Senate.

Where is the Republican leader who is smart enough to follow Reagan’s example and thereby pave a route to the White House? Where is a leader who will protect and defend America’s control of the Web, which is such a prime example of America’s technological exceptionalism?

President Obama tried to hide the news of his abandonment of our control of the Internet by having an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce issue a low-key press release in those late Friday afternoon hours where embarrassing news is often buried. Was this an April Fool joke?

The U.S. created the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and has kept control over the technical procedures that allow computers around the world to connect to Web addresses. ICANN has managed the Internet’s Domain Name System since 1998, ensuring that the Internet runs efficiently without political pressure from any country.

Now the Obama Commerce Department wants to give ICANN away and even invite Communist China and Russia to help us police the Internet. That’s like telling the fox to guard the chicken coop because those countries don’t believe in free speech and don’t even allow their own people to have free access to the Internet.

That could be the most dangerous use yet of Obama’s now-famous pen. It’s also a great opportunity for some Republican to stand up for America like Reagan did, and reap the political reward.

There has to be political capital lurking in a pro-America policy position that is already espoused by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Heritage Foundation, and Bill Clinton. Clinton warns that other countries “have been trying to take this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering their people.”

Pundits can debate whether Obama had the constitutional right to give away our Internet power with the stroke of his pen, but there’s no question about the constitutional authority of Congress to veto what he did because the Constitution plainly gives the Commerce power to Congress.

Unfortunately, giving away the Internet is another key part of Barack Obama’s plan to diminish America’s power and prestige in the world. He wants to spread around world power to our enemies as well as our friends, just as he seeks to spread the wealth around in our country.

Obama’s defenders argue that his action is just part of a plan to support the “multi-stakeholder” model of Internet governance. That’s a buzzword to conceal the argument to hide the transfer of real control of the Web to many countries, companies, UN and globalist groups, none of which respect our First Amendment right.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, the top Democrat on the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said “while the internet was a product of American genius, no government or intergovernmental organization should control its future.” What nonsense! Of course America should control the valuable property that we built!

Some Democrats are whining that “stakeholders deserve” a voice and a role in the governance of the Internet. No, they don’t. We built it; it’s ours. And all stakeholders and countries are better off if the U.S. controls the Web rather than foreign or United Nations globalists who did nothing to build the Internet into such a valuable asset.

Among the many deceitful arguments used by the globalists is that taking the Internet away from the U.S. will advance us toward a goal of “no government control of the Internet.” If the United States doesn’t keep control of what we invented, the Internet will end up under Chinese or UN control.

And one more problem: for years the UN has searched for devious ways to tax individuals. Turning the ICANN domain-name system over to a bunch of global bureaucrats who did nothing to develop the Internet would give them an assortment of new ways to tax us.
--------------------
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader of the conservative movement since 1964. She founded and is president of Eagle Forum. She has testified before more than 50 Congressional and State Legislative committees on constitutional, national defense, and family issues.

Tags: ICANN, domains, democrats, giveaway, Internet’s Domain Name System, Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Eliminate Your Waste Tax

Thomas A. Schatz, President, Citizens Against Waste: As you prepare your tax return, I know you would like to console yourself that your hard-earned tax dollars are at least going to finance national priorities, like defense, border security, critical infrastructure, and the social safety net programs upon which many Americans depend.

But the shocking reality is the government squanders a whopping 44 cents of every individual income tax dollar on waste!

Another 32 cents goes to pay the $425 billion in annual interest on the national debt!

That leaves just 24 cents – or about one quarter of your tax dollar – to pay for the services that you expect from government!

If these facts make you hopping mad, check out Citizens Against Waste.  For 30 years, CAGW has spearheaded the fight against waste in government, saving taxpayers $1.3 trillion.  No other organization in America can claim such an outstanding record of success in eliminating deficit-producing government waste.

Tags: taxes, tax return, government, waste, fraud, abuse, wasteful spending, Citizens Against Waste, CAGW To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Firefox Fired

Paul Jacob
 by Paul Jacob, Common Sense: Brendan Eich resigned last week as CEO of Mozilla under pressure from gay rights activists upset because six years ago Eich had given a thousand bucks to California's anti-gay marriage initiative, Prop 8.

On Fox News's Special Report, George Will dubbed the story "redundant evidence that progressives are for diversity in everything but thought," as well as an alarming illustration of the intolerance of "sore winners."

Whatever one thinks of the campaign to drive out Eich (and a number of prominent gay leaders have spoken out against it), those demanding Eich's ouster were within their legal rights. Still, such a political attack wouldn't be possible without government assistance in denying donor anonymity. That's the major lesson Mr. Will drew from the fracas: anonymous contributions are vital:

The people advocating full disclosure of campaign contributions say, "we just want voters to be able to make an informed choice." That's not what they're doing at all. They really want to enable themselves to mount punitive campaigns, to deter people, and to chill political speech.What's wrong with today's vendetta politics (what Pat Buchanan calls "The New Blacklist") is not that boycotts are immoral, but that, when made personal and coupled with ideological conflict, they lead to never-ending feuds.

Anonymous speech and press and donations remain key to a peaceful society.

Advocates of mandatory campaign finance disclosure should be asked, "do you also, then, oppose the secret ballot?"

The privacy of the voting booth was also instituted to insulate people from the worst aspects of partisan discord . . . and commerce from the legacy of the Hatfields and McCoys.

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.

Tags: Firefox Fired, Brendan Eich, persaonl contribution, campaign disclosure, chills political speech, George Will, Pat Buchnan, Paul Jacob, Common Sense To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Maryland's $125.5 Million ObamaCare Train Wreck That Could Have Been Avoided

 “Maryland is set to scrap its ObamaCare state exchange after spending at least $125.5 million. The state’s exchange website ‘is broken beyond repair.’ So is the trust in Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown to lead on important issues. Together they promised to ‘lead the nation’ in building a state ObamaCare exchange. Instead, they ignored warnings signs and are left with the dubious honor of having the first federal investigation into their failed exchange and now the first exchange to be totally abandoned. Maryland deserves better leadership.” - RGA Communication Director Gail Gitcho

As Enrollment Period Ends, Maryland Set To Scrap Broken ObamaCare Exchange That “Cost At Least $125.5 Million”
Maryland Set To Terminate State Exchange That “Cost At Least $125.5 Million” Which “Is Broken Beyond Repair.” “Maryland officials are set to replace the state’s online health-insurance exchange with technology from Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, according to two people familiar with the decision, an acknowledgment that a system that has cost at least $125.5 million is broken beyond repair.”  (Mary Flaherty and Jenna Johnson, “Maryland Set To Replace Troubled Exchange With Connecticut’s System,” The Washington Post, 3/28/14)
  • “The board of the Maryland exchange plans to vote on the change Tuesday, the day after the end of the first enrollment period for the state’s residents under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.”  (Mary Flaherty and Jenna Johnson, “Maryland Set To Replace Troubled Exchange With Connecticut’s System,” The Washington Post, 3/28/14)

Earlier This Month, The Federal Inspector General Launched A “First Of Its Kind Probe” Into What Went Wrong
A Federal Inspector General Is Probing What Went Wrong In Maryland, The First Examination Of Its Kind To Be Revealed Publicly. “A federal inspector general is launching a review into what went wrong with Maryland's health insurance exchange, the first examination focused specifically on how millions of dollars in federal money was spent by the state, according to the lawmaker who requested the probe.” (John Fritze, “Federal Inspector To Audit Maryland Health Exchange,” The Baltimore Sun, 3/9/14)

Demolition Of State Exchange “A Particular Embarrassment For Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown” And Gov. Martin O’Malley
“But Maryland Will Be The First To Walk Away From Its Site, A Particular Embarrassment For Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), Who Was Placed In Charged Of Implementing Health-Care Reform In Maryland By Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).” (Mary Flaherty and Jenna Johnson, “Maryland Set To Replace Troubled Exchange With Connecticut’s System,” The Washington Post, 3/28/14)

The Washington Post: “The Exchange Has Become A Major Embarrassment For Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley And Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown.” “Costs were outlined Thursday in a routine budget review presented to state lawmakers after months of outrage and political finger-pointing over the health-exchange debacle. Hopes of developing a site that would be a model for the nation have melted away as the exchange has become a major embarrassment for Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown.” (Jenna Johnson and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Begins To Put A Price On Health-Care Exchange Debacle,” The Washington Post, 2/27/14)

Maryland’s ObamaCare Exchange Problems To Tarnish The “Political Image Of Gov. Martin O’Malley And His Handpicked Successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown.” “The troubles hitting Maryland’s health exchange could have a lasting impact by tarnishing the political image of Gov. Martin O’Malley and his handpicked successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, according to experts assessing elections in 2014 and beyond. For O’Malley, who is contemplating a White House bid, the crisis could test his credentials as a data-driven and technologically savvy leader. Brown, who made his leadership on health care reform a selling point in his candidacy for governor, risks being overshadowed by O’Malley in publicizing efforts to repair the website.” (Erin Cox, “Faltering Exchange Could Mean Trouble For O’Malley, Brown,”  Baltimore Sun, 12/24/13)

Indeed, Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley Promised That Maryland’s State ObamaCare Exchange Would “Lead The Nation”, Established Council To Oversee The Operation With Lt. Governor Anthony Brown As Co-Chair
Just 24 Hours After ObamaCare Was Signed Into Law, O’Malley Promised That Maryland Would “Lead The Nation” In Putting It In Place. “Barely 24 hours after President Obama signed his landmark health law, Gov. Martin O’Malley promised that Maryland would ‘lead the nation’ in putting it in place…But when Tuesday arrived, Maryland’s Web site stumbled badly. People couldn’t log on, forcing state officials to delay the opening of the exchange for four hours. Even after it opened, many frustrated users were unable to create accounts, the first step in buying coverage. All told, fewer than 100 people have managed to enroll.” (Lena H. Sun, “Maryland’s Health Insurance Web Site Stumbles Badly In First Days,” The Washington Post, 10/4/13)

Less Than A Day After ObamaCare Became Law, O’Malley Called Press Conference To Announce Creation Of Maryland’s Own ObamaCare Exchange. “It’s a situation far different than what O’Malley predicted on a sunny morning in March 2010, less than 24 hours after Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. O’Malley called reporters to the entrance of an Anne Arundel County emergency room to announce that Maryland would begin drafting plans to ‘immediately begin the work to ensure our state leads the nation.’”  (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

Through Executive Order, O’Malley Created The Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council To Oversee The State’s Efforts To Implement The ObamaCare Exchange. “Governor Martin O’Malley unveiled an Executive Order today outside the Emergency Room at Anne Arundel Medical Center, where the Governor outlined ways in which federal health care reform, signed by President Obama yesterday, will impact families in Maryland.  The Executive Order creates the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council to advise the administration on policies and procedures to implement the recent and future federal health care reform legislation as efficiently and effectively as possible. As states assume the critical role of implementing multiple aspects of health care reform, the Council will make policy recommendations and offer implementation strategies to keep Maryland among the leading states in expanding quality, affordable health care while reducing waste and controlling costs.”  (Press Release, “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Health Care Reform Council,” Office of Governor Martin O’Malley, 3/24/10)

“Council To Ensure Efficiency In Implementing Health Care Expansion, Cost Control Measures.” (Press Release, “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Health Care Reform Council,” Office of Governor Martin O’Malley, 3/24/10)

“Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, DHMH Secretary John M. Colmers To Co-Chair Council.” (Press Release, “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Health Care Reform Council,” Office of Governor Martin O’Malley, 3/24/10)

“Maryland Was Among The Earliest And Most Enthusiastic Supporters Of What Became Known As ‘ObamaCare,’” Second State “To Enact Legislation Creating An Exchange.” “Of the 14 states that opted to build and run their own health-insurance marketplaces, Maryland was among the earliest and most enthusiastic supporters of what became known as ‘ObamaCare.’ And it became the second state, trailing California, to enact legislation creating an exchange.”  (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

O’Malley And Brown Ignored Warnings For Over A Year That The State Lacked A “Plausible Plan” For The Exchange That Had A “Calamitous Debut”

Washington Post Investigation: Members Of O’Malley’s Cabinet “Failed To Heed Warnings” That The $170M Exchange Lacked Accountability And Was “A Disaster Waiting To Happen.” (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

According To Budget Officials, The O’Malley-Brown Exchange Was A “High-Risk Undertaking From The Outset.” (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

“On A Conference Call At The Start Of The Final Week Of September, Senior Aides Gave O’Malley A High-Level Summary Of Expected Troubles With The Exchange.”  (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

“The Web Site Would Not Allow Some People To Check For Subsidies Or To Select Plans, But Everyone Should At Least Be Able To Log On, He Was Told, According To Several Aides.” (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

“The Governor Ended The Call, Said John Griffin, His Chief Of Staff, Saying The State Should Move Forward.’” (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

“But Two Days Later, Griffin Requested That A Roomful Of Aides To The Governor And Brown Vote On Whether To Proceed. Most Gave The Oct. 1 Launch A Green Light.”  (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)
  • In Endorsement Of His Gubernatorial Campaign, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski Credited Brown For Making Sure Maryland’s ObamaCare Exchange Was “Ready To Go.” “On Oct. 1, while we’re fighting to save ObamaCare, we know that in Maryland we have a health exchange that’s ready to go because of Anthony Brown.” (Michael Dresser, “Mikulski Backs Brown In Primary For Maryland Governor,” The Baltimore Sun, 9/22/13)
“The Next Day, O’Malley Smiled As Obama Visited Prince George’s County And Praised State Leaders For Being Ready To Roll.”  (Aaron C. Davis and Mary Pat Flaherty, “Maryland Officials Were Warned For A Year Of Problems With Online Health-Insurance Site,” The Washington Post, 1/11/14)

Tags: Maryland, Obamacare Trainwreck To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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