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Posts tagged ‘Maryland’

Japan Lied! US Navy Soldiers Dying Of Radiation Poisoning After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.


Some call it political spin, but others just say the world is being told lies. The epitome of the falsehoods being told about Fukushima comes from no less than the Japanese prime minister himself.

At the final International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires, the one deciding who would host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Shinzo Abe assured the IOC the “situation is under control.” Abe said there never was nor ever will be any damage to Tokyo as a result of the Fukushima disaster.

When pressed on the issue by Norwegian IOC Member Gerhard Heiberg, Abe doubled down and told the members, “It poses no problem whatsoever.” Abe went on to say that the contamination was limited to a small area and had been “completely blocked.”

The prime minister also stated, “There are no health-related problems until now, nor will there be in the future, I make the statement to you in the most emphatic and unequivocal way.” source – WND

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A historic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, causing a nuclear power meltdown. The US Navy rushed in to help—but are those sailors now paying the price? Nearly 100 believe that mission ruined their health.

Vic Carter reports a Navy lieutenant from Maryland who can no longer walk is demanding someone take responsibility for what’s happened. On March 11, 2011, one of the largest earthquakes ever shook Japan. It triggered a tsunami. Waves more than 100 feet high slammed into the coast, killing thousands.


When the wall of water smashed into the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, an explosion spewed radiation into the air and water, creating yet another tragedy. The United States military sped into the disaster zone to help, not knowing it was headed into the path of a radiation plume.

Now, three years after that exposure, at least 100 of those first responders are suffering from unexplained illnesses like cancer, leukemia, bleeding and hair loss—and they’re blaming it on radiation poisoning from Fukushima.

“When you’ve got a nuclear power plant that’s melting down, how can you not expect health risks to come from that?” said Lt. Steve Simmons. Lt. Steve Simmons was on board the USS Ronald Reagan, the first ship to arrive for Operation Tomodachi—the Japanese word for friends.

“I don’t think anybody on board really knew the full scope of what was going on,” Simmons said.

Seven months after arriving home to his family in Maryland from his deployment, Simmons’ health started to deteriorate. “One day, I was coming out of the bathroom and my legs just buckled on me and that was pretty much it,” he said.

Simmons and more than 100 others from the Ronald Reagan are fighting back. They’re suing the Tokyo Electric power company, claiming it hid the truth about radiation leaks at Fukushima.

“The TEPCO people who ran the power plant never warned their government. Their government never warned the world. The command never got the order, `Don’t go ’cause you’re going to get cooked,’” said attorney Paul Garner.

WJZ contacted TEPCO at its offices here in Washington and in Tokyo and got a “No comment.” Clearly, Simmons’ health has taken a drastic turn for the worse, but the problem is linking the sailors’ many medical problems to the Fukushima leak.

At the Pentagon, the Department of Defense has been answering numerous questions from sick sailors about what happened at Fukushima, but government reports indicate that radiation levels on board the USS Ronald Reagan were well below what’s considered dangerous.

“Drawing a cause and effect for individuals is exceedingly difficult,” said Johns Hopkins University Prof. Wayne Biddle. Radiation exposure experts say even if there is a connection, it’s hard to prove.

“They’re suffering. Clearly these individuals are suffering but they have no way of showing necessarily that their symptoms are related to that instance of radiation exposure,” Biddle said. “The hardest part is the family because we have three children,” Simmons said. “Our oldest daughter struggles with `Dad’s going to die’ kind of thing.”

Congress is now asking the Department of Defense for information about the medical conditions of crew members who were aboard the Ronald Reagan and what’s being done to treat them. source – CBS News.

by NTEB News Desk

Ted Cruz Vows Spending Fight on Debt Cap Boehner Seeks to Avoid.

Image: Ted Cruz Vows Spending Fight on Debt Cap Boehner Seeks to Avoid

Senator Ted Cruz vowed to use a debate over raising the federal debt ceiling as leverage to extract a new round of U.S. spending cuts, even as House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that defaulting would be “the wrong thing” for the country.

Cruz, the freshman Texas Republican who led the fight to defund Obamacare that contributed to a 16-day partial government shutdown in October, said today that he wouldn’t give in to Democratic demands to raise the debt limit without conditions.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz’s Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here. 
“We should not raise the debt ceiling without significant structural reforms that address the out of control spending and out of control debt in Washington,” Cruz said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast. “The debt ceiling is the natural lever point to address the out-of-control spending and debt. It has historically been the most effective lever point to doing so.”

Cruz’s comments came as Boehner, an Ohio Republican, refused to say whether House Republicans would seek to attach spending reductions to a debt-ceiling increase.

“We believe that defaulting on our debt is the wrong thing,” Boehner said today. “We don’t want to do that. And so we’re going to have a conversation this afternoon about the way forward on this issue.”

House Republicans are holding a policy retreat in Cambridge, Maryland, today and tomorrow to plan their strategy for raising the federal borrowing cap four months after a dispute over funding the government brought the U.S to the brink of default.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said Congress should raise the debt ceiling as soon as possible, and that the U.S. will reach its borrowing limit by late February.

President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada have said Democrats won’t accept any conditions on raising the debt ceiling.

Urgent: Do you support Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for President? Vote Now 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


More Than Half A Billion Naira Spent On Governor Suntai’s Treatment—Investigations Reveal.


By SaharaReporters, New York

Investigations by SaharaReporters reveal that poverty-plagued Taraba State has so far spent more than $1.2 million (close to N200 million) in ten months on the medical treatment of brain-injured Governor Danbaba Suntai. The state has also spent millions of naira more in security votes to the injured governor, estacode payments to him as well as members of Mr. Suntai’s inner circle, and transportation. The total cost to the state is close to half a billion naira, our investigative team discovered.
Mr. Suntai was injured in October, 2012 when a small plane he was piloting crashed near Yola Airport in Adamawa State. Mr. Suntai was attempting to land at the time of the accident.

After a brief stay at the National Hospital, Abuja, the injured governor was flown to a hospital in Germany. He was later transferred to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the State of Maryland, the United States. After spending a few months there, he was admitted at a rehabilitation center for trauma patients in Staten Island, New York. He was flown back to Nigeria on August 25, 2013.

Several sources in Taraba State told our investigator that the funds spent on Mr. Suntai’s treatment were not documented as formal expenditure by the state government. Instead, the funds were either directly channeled into the personal account of one Aliyu Umar, a US-based friend of Mr. Suntai, or handed to the governor’s wife, Hauwa Suntai.

In addition to the medical payments, the governor and three of his aides who accompanied him abroad were paid nightly estacode payments, meaning allowances paid to government officials traveling on official assignments outside the country.The brain-injured governor received about $1,500 per night as estacode allowance while his wife and other aides received $500 each every night for the 10 months that Mr. Suntai was abroad.

SaharaReporters also learnt that Mr. Suntai’s associates demanded that the injured governor receive half of the security votes in the state with his former deputy, Garba Umar, who is now the acting Governor of Taraba State. A source at the state treasury said, “During the time the governor was abroad for treatment, the sum of $75, 000 (about N12 million) was sent each month into a personal account.” The payment was in addition to the sum of N100 million monthly security vote that was also sent to the same personal account apart from the governor’s monthly salary.

In addition to paying the medical bills, Taraba State also “shouldered the estacode of all those involved in the accident and those that were with [Governor Suntai] both in Germany and the U.S.,” one state source disclosed.

An inside source in the state government said, “So far, the state government has expended hundreds of millions of naira on Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai since his involvement in an air crash.” The source stated that the state government has paid all the medical expenses for the governor in addition to expenses incurred by his wife and other family members.

Mr. Suntai was flown from Germany to the U.S. in a special medical jet designed for flying patients with serious trauma. The hiring of the jet cost the state 200,000 Euros, a source stated. Also, Taraba State paid $150,000 for the private jet that flew Mr. Suntai from the U.S. to Nigeria. The state also picked up the bill for a local flight that took the ailing governor from Abuja to Taraba. The state contracted Izzy Air, a private charter airline owned by Alex Izinyon, to convey the governor to Taraba. Damian Dodo, a lawyer who is close to the governor, was reportedly to have a substantial interest in Izzy Air.

Since arriving from treatment abroad, Mr. Suntai has continued to receive N100 million in security votes every month. The governor also receives another $100,000 for medical care in addition to a monthly entertainment allowance that runs into millions of naira on a monthly basis.

A member of the Taraba State Assembly said he was disturbed to hear that no proper records and documentation were being kept about the governor’s medical expenditure. Asking for anonymity, he promised to raise the issue with his legislative colleagues.

“It is not right to send public funds directly to the personal account of Alhaji Aliyu Umar, a very good friend of Governor Danbaba Suntai. Alhaji Umar is not even an official of the state government in any capacity. Therefore he should not be taking charge of the medical concern of the governor when the money is coming from here,” said the assembly member. He added: “It is unfortunate that, despite the colossal amount being expended by the government of Taraba, no documentation of the transactions is recorded at the level of the state government.”

Several sources in the state disclosed that the transfer of funds for the governor’s treatment was always done over the phone. “It was always done between the state government and Alhaji Aliyu Umar or the governor’s wife, Hawwa,” said one source. Another added that, despite the colossal amount involved, nobody ever deemed it right to demand periodic updates about the governor’s health status.

A day after Mr. Suntai was flown back to Nigeria and helped out of the plane, he ostensibly signed a letter that was forwarded to the state assembly indicating his desire to reclaim the office of governor. The letter and subsequent acts by Mr. Suntai’s close associates threatened to push the state into a political crisis.

According to a senior staff of the Taraba Health Ministry, “The fact of the matter is that nobody here actually knows the true health status of Governor Suntai. His health status has been treated as an exclusive property of a few people.”

At the time, a top politician in the state told SaharaReporters thata cabal around the ailing governor was determined to hold the state hostage because of the funds they tap from public funds. He named the governor’s wife, the governor’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), the US-based Aliyu Umar, and Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as members of the cabal.

Since returning from his medical trip abroad, Mr. Suntai has not been found fit enough to resume duty.

SaharaReporters could not get any official response to this investigation. Both the chief press secretary to the governor, Hassan Mijinyawa, as well as the media assistant to the governor, Sylvanus Giwa, failed to respond to several telephone calls.


Former USAID Contractor Imprisoned in Cuba Appeals to Obama.

By Cathy Burke

A former U.S. government contractor imprisoned in Cuba for four years says he fears his country has “abandoned” him and is appealing to President Barack Obama to personally intervene in his case, the Washington Post reported Monday.Editor’s NoteHow China’s Air ID Zone Changes the Geopolitical Map of Asia 
In a letter to the president, sent via the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, Alan Gross, 64, describes his isolation from the world, adding that his daughter and mother have been stricken by cancer, his wife has had to sell the family home in Maryland, and “my business and career have been destroyed.”
Indirectly critical of what the family believes are lackluster efforts to secure his release, Gross notes the Obama administration and its predecessors “have taken extraordinary steps to obtain the release of other U.S. citizens imprisoned abroad.”
But unlike those cases, Obama has sent no special emissaries nor agreed to negotiate over him, The Post noted.
“Our view is that unless President Obama becomes personally involved in this matter, Alan Gross will die in jail,” lawyer Scott Gilbert told Reuters.
The letter, a copy of which was provided to The Post, is to be delivered to the White House Tuesday — the anniversary of Gross’s 2009 arrest in Havana, and is part of a new strategy by his family to direct pressure at Obama, including at a demonstration Tuesday outside the White House led by his Gross’s wife, Judy.
The vigil will be led by Jewish Council leaders and was to include the broadcast of a video recording from Gross, who has personally written to the president seeking his intervention in the case, Gilbert said.
Gilbert said Cuba had agreed to sit down with U.S. government officials, without any pre-conditions, to discuss possible terms leading to Gross’ release and return home.
But the State Department has rejected any negotiated settlement of the Gross case out of hand.
“It’s a great puzzlement to me why no decisive action has been taken on Alan Gross, particularly when Alan is imprisoned in Cuba solely because of his work on a U.S. government project,” Gilbert said.
Gross said he was in Cuba to set up communications equipment to give unrestricted Internet access to Jewish groups. A judge said that activity was a crime against the Cuban state and sentenced Gross to 15 years behind bars.
The Gross case has often been described as an obstacle to any serious improvement in U.S. relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostility.
But Gross’s disenchantment with the administration over his treatment is shared by a growing number of U.S. lawmakers, who see him as one of the last victims of the Cold War and the decades-long freeze in U.S.-Cuba relations that has persisted despite Obama’s early pledges to work toward a thaw, The Post reported.
In a Nov. 21 letter to Obama last month, a bipartisan group of 66 senators, spearheaded by Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., called Gross’s case “a matter of grave urgency” and urged Obama to “act expeditiously to take whatever steps are in the national interest to obtain his release,” The Post reported.
The senators told Obama that they “stand ready to support your administration in pursuit of this worthy goal.”

And in another letter Nov. 15
, a separate group of 14 lawmakers led by Cuban American Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., urged Obama to continue his policy of demanding Gross’s “immediate and unconditional release,” The Post reported.
In a statement Monday, Leahy countered “instead of simply demanding Mr. Gross’ unconditional release — which has achieved nothing in four years, and which his family regards as a death sentence — they should not shrink from the obligation to negotiate for his freedom.”
Meanwhile, the State Department Monday pressed for the contractor’s release with its own statement, saying his continued captivity on the communist-ruled island was “gravely disappointing.”
“Tomorrow, development worker Alan Gross will begin a fifth year of unjustified imprisonment in Cuba,” the department said. “It is gravely disappointing, especially in light of [Cuba’s] professed goal of providing Cubans with Internet access, that the Cuban government has not allowed Mr. Gross to return to his family, where he belongs.

Editor’s Note: Domestic Pressure Drove Rouhani to Make Deal With West 

“Mr. Gross is a 64-year-old husband, father, and dedicated professional with a long history of providing aid to under-served communities in more than 50 countries,” the statement added.
“We reiterate our call on the Cuban government, echoing foreign leaders and even Cuba’s allies, to release Alan Gross immediately and unconditionally.”
Reuters contributed to this story
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Despite Website Fixes, Fears Grow that Obamacare Numbers Don’t Add Up.

Image: Despite Website Fixes, Fears Grow that Obamacare Numbers Don't Add Up

By Newsmax Wires

The Obama administration was hoping to have 7 million people enrolled in health insurance through, but at the current rate that won’t be possible, according to some experts who have crunched the numbers.

“We’re looking at 1 million people signed up in the amount of time they’re expecting,” reporter Rebecca Jarvis said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” 

And if that pool is dominated by older people, Jarvis noted, premiums in 2015 could skyrocket.

Special: The ObamaCare Survival Guide – Just $4.95. Save $15! 

The administration had been counting on younger, healthier people signing up to keep costs down for older people who use health services more often. But early reports showed young people either not signing up – possibly opting for a less-expensive fine – or signing up for Medicaid, which is funded by taxpayers.

The White House released a statement Sunday morning that it had met its self-imposed November 30 deadline to make major repairs to the site, which barely worked for the first month after its October 1 launch. Reporters testing the site, however, still found it crashed.

Even with the repairs, the Obama administration is asking people not to flood the site. It is said to be capable of handling 50,000 people at a time now, or 800,000 per day.

ABC’s numbers used only the current known capacity of the website and not the projected 800,000 per day. The administration originally set December 15 as the deadline to sign up for coverage that would take effect January 1. But because of the technical problems, that deadline was extended to December 23.

Open enrollment lasts until March 31.

After the disastrous initial rollout, federal officials reported that only about 23,000 people signed up for private insurance through Even worse, just 150,000 signed up for private plans through both the federal and state-based exchanges.

But as the states addressed their own website glitches, their numbers seemed to go up. Kentucky, a Republican stronghold that decided to expand Medicaid and build a state-based exchange, has been an early success. Kentucky announced it would add an 80 percent increase in capacity by Dec. 2, and that more than 60,000 people had enrolled in coverage by Nov. 26.

“There is great variation by state,” Stan Dorn, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told USA Today. “In states that are enthusiastically implementing the law and trying to implement the state exchanges and trying to increase enrollment, there’s going to be greater numbers.”

Still, those numbers don’t seem to be at the level needed to make Obamacare work.

In Colorado, enrollment figures are below the state’s own worst-case projections. The lowest-level mid-November enrollment projection was 11,108; the middle range 20,186 and highest hitting 30,944, the Denver Post reported.

In Maryland, meanwhile, the situation got so bad that the exchange board decided to let insurance companies deal with payments directly.
Its first full month of operation saw only 1,278 people signed up for the state-run option. During the first week in November, 465 people signed up.

The low numbers have some questioning whether Maryland will make its goal of signing up 800,000 uninsured residents during its first year, Fox News reported. The state also delayed its small business marketplace enrollment deadline until April.

“The complexity of the challenge has been clearly more than we anticipated,” Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland’s health secretary, said in a statement. “Our focus is on improving the performance of the system. We are really looking for significant improvement.”

Along with Kentucky, New York and California seem to be the best hope for Obamacare.

New York’s enrollment numbers showed 76,177 had enrolled in a health plan, up from 48,162 on Nov. 12. And 257,414 people had completed their exchange applications, up from 197,011. New York officials expected 1.1 million to sign up by the end of three years.

California has said enrollment applications grew from 334,027 as of Nov. 16 to 385,556 as of Nov. 23.In Washington, more than 150,000 have started applications.

Insurers, meanwhile, also are very concerned about “back-end” issues, according to Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans. Specifically, they want to know if the non-consumer portion of the site that ensures insurers receive subsidy payments will be ready by Jan. 1. There have also been considerable problems with “834” forms, or the process by which the government gives insurers data about whom they’re insuring, she told USA Today. That will have a huge effect on numbers.

“ and the overall enrollment process continue to improve, but there are significant issues that still need to be addressed,” Ignagni said. “Health plans will continue to support federal and state officials’ efforts to fix the ongoing technical problems and improve the direct enrollment process so that consumers can get the coverage they need.”

“The real challenges remain, and that’s downstream,” said Rick Howard, research director for the technology consultant Gartner. “The real error rate will be in the billing transactions and how accurate the billing information is and how accurate the premium calculation is.”

Republicans plan to highlight Obamcare’s failures in the 2014 midterm elections, and many Democrats in tough elections are distancing themselves from the program they once touted. 

In addition to the website failures, the program has come under fire because President Barack Obama promised people they could keep insurance plans and doctors they like. That has proved to not always be the case.

And some people who currently have insurance are being forced into plans that cost significantly more.

The employer mandate, which affects people who get insurance through their jobs, was delayed until 2014. Republicans charged that this was to move the full impact on the public until after the 2014 vote.

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The White House denied that, but on November 22 confirmed that the 2015 enrollment period would be delayed by a month to give insurance companies more time to calculate their premiums.

That would move enrollment to November 1, just three days before the midterm elections.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Van Hollen Says GOP Trying to Thwart Obamacare.

Image: Rep. Van Hollen Says GOP Trying to Thwart Obamacare

By Greg Richter

Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland joined the White House‘s attack on Republicans Sunday, saying the GOP still is trying to thwart the success of Obamacare. Van Hollen admitted on “Meet the Press” that the website and other parts of the Affordable Care Act are having trouble. But Republicans, he said “are not trying to work with us to address these issues.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., issued a “playbook” against Obamacare, Van Hollen said. Host David Gregory pointed out that Republicans had opposed the ACA from the beginning. “But you’re not saying it’s the Republicans’ job to execute, right?” Gregory asked Van Hollen. “Because these were the federal government’s ideas, the president’s ideas, and it’s his responsibility to execute.” Van Hollen countered that conservatives are running ads telling young people not to sign up for Obamacare and are behind efforts to interfere with “navigators,” who are assigned to help people through the process of signing up for health insurance through the new system. Van Hollen argued that when Republicans passed the Medicare Part D prescription drug bill in 2003, Democrats didn’t think it was perfect, “But Democrats worked with Republicans to get the job done.” Gregory wasn’t sold. “I did the research,” he told Van Hollen. “You did not encourage people to sign up.” Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Democrats, Obama Head into 2014 in Disarray.

A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party’s re-election prospects are for the first time distancing themselves from President Barack Obama after the disastrous rollout of his health care overhaul.

At issue, said several Obama allies, is a loss of trust in the president after only 106,000 people — instead of an anticipated half million — were able to buy insurance coverage the first month of the new “Obamacare” web sites. In addition, some 4.2 million Americans received notices from insurers that policies Obama had promised they could keep were being canceled.

“Folks are now, I think in talking to members, more cautious with regard to dealing with the president,” said Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee and one of the first leaders in his state to endorse Obama’s presidential candidacy six year ago.

Cummings, the White House’s biggest defender in a Republican-controlled committee whose agenda is waging war against the administration over Benghazi, the IRS scandal, a gun-tracking operation and now health care, said he still thinks Obama is operating with integrity. But he noted that not all his Democratic colleagues agree.

“They want to make sure that everything possible is being done to, number one, be transparent, (two) fix this website situation and, three, to restore trust,” Cummings said.

Rep. William Lacey Clay, D-Mo., like Cummings, a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus who personally likes Obama, struggled to describe the state of play between congressional Democrats and the president.

“I am trying to think if you can call it a relationship at this point,” he said.

Clay said the administration is now obligated to “fix it, fix all of it” after Obama apologized this month for both the insurance website problems and his earlier promises that people could keep their old polices. Otherwise, he said, “a wide brush will be used to paint us all as incompetent and ineffective.”

Obama is now allowing insurance companies to reissue their canceled policies for another year. But “Obamacare’s” problems have left Democrats vulnerable to an orchestrated assault by Republicans who six weeks ago were on the losing end of the government shutdown.

The political body language tells the story of the strain. Thirty-nine House Democrats in Obama’s party defied the president’s veto threat and voted for a GOP-sponsored bill to permit the sale of individual health coverage that falls short of requirements in the law.

“I think people want to have a little more transparency going forward with whoever is implementing the website and other elements,” said Jeff Link, senior adviser to Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate and voted for both the original health care law and the GOP-sponsored House bill this month. “If demanding that kind of transparency means lack of trust,” he added delicately, “then I think people probably would like to have had more transparency.”

Across the Capitol, several swing-state Senate Democrats have signed onto legislation to further weaken the health care law. Sponsored by Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who’s facing a tough re-election challenge, the bill would require insurance companies to permanently continue selling policies that the law deems substandard. Landrieu herself skipped an event with Obama earlier this month when he appeared at the Port of New Orleans. She said she had a long-standing engagement elsewhere in the state, which Obama lost last year by 17 points.

Repairing the relationship between Obama and his allies may be as complex as fixing the website and health care law. Much rests on rebuilding trust with the public, a solid majority of which now opposes “Obamacare,” according to multiple polls. Both parties will be watching on Saturday to see whether the vast majority of those who try to sign up for policies on the website will succeed, as Obama has promised. Democrats have urged the administration to quit setting “red lines” like the Nov. 30 deadline, that carry the risk of being broken.

Nearly a year from the midterm election, Republicans in both chambers are launching a drive to link virtually every congressional Democrat to Obamacare. In the House, the effort, based around dozens of votes to repeal the law, is about denying Democrats the 17-seat gain they would need to win back the majority. In the Senate, it’s about gaining the six seats Republicans need to take control of that chamber.

“So you’re running on Obamacare,” read a faux tip sheet from House Republicans to House Democrats that went out over the holiday week. “The best thing to do,” it advises Democratic lawmakers in 28 districts, “is step in front of the cameras and explain to voters why government should run their health care.”

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, showed notable discipline last week when they complained loudly about the Democrats’ new limits on filibusters — then pivoted in as little as one sentence back to “Obamacare.”

The filibuster limits, said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, can be chalked up to “broken promises, double standards and raw power — the same playbook that got us Obamacare.”

Democratic leaders scoff at the notion that missed deadlines and other problems could threaten the party’s prospects 11 months down the road. A similar budget-and-debt fight that sparked the shutdown and smacked Republicans last month looms early next year, they point out. There is time, they insist, for the law to begin working as intended and to help elevate the Democrats’ political prospects.

“Yesterday’s battles and today’s battles and tomorrow’s battles create different environments,” said House Democratic campaign chief Steve Israel, D-N.Y. Independent voters, the keys to elections in the most competitive districts in the country, are pragmatic, he added. “They want the Affordable Care Act not to be repealed, but to be fixed. They don’t want to go back, they want to go forward.”
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Rove: President to Blame for Obamacare Website Woes.

Republican political strategist Karl Rove said Tuesday the administration’s effort to blame problems with the Obamacare rollout on high website traffic was pure “baloney” and typical of a president who refuses to accept responsibility for anything.

“Where was this administration in its planning process?” the former political adviser to President George W. Bush asked during an appearance on Fox News. “They did not plan appropriately for the kind of volume one would expect.”

The website,, experienced immediate glitches after its launch last Tuesday, causing its administrators to shut it down last weekend and again on Monday for software fixes, a number of media outlets reported. White House officials maintained that the volume of traffic caused the website to crash.

Story continues below video.

But Rove, now a Fox News contributor, said the blame for the problems rests solely with President Barack Obama.

“Now they’re blaming who? The people signing up. ‘There are too many people signing up. There’s too big a volume.’ Baloney,” Rove said.

“Wasn’t it classic what the administration does? It blames everybody else. It’s never this president’s responsibility,” he added.

Rove also questioned why the administration has failed to provide clear information on the number of people who visited the site and actually enrolled for coverage. He said with the technology available today, tracking those numbers should be fairly simple.

“It was a technological problem a decade ago. It’s not a technological problem today. And, you can bet, if this was a good number, they’d be talking about it,” Rove said.

The Republican claimed to have his own numbers showing that the state of Maryland has signed up only 326 people for coverage under the healthcare law since Oct. 1, when the online insurance exchanges opened.

“Maybe this program is not as popular here in the beginning as it was thought,” he said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


By Wanda Carruthers

WARNING! Obamacare Health Data To Be Shared With Law Enforcement Agencies.

The Obamacare nightmare

Maryland’s Health Connection, the state’s Obamacare marketplace, has been plagued by delays in the first days of open enrollment.  If users are able to endure long page-loading delays, they are presented with the website’s privacy policy, a ubiquitous fine-print feature on websites that often go unread. Nevertheless, users are asked to check off a box that they agree to the terms.


By the time America wakes up, if we ever do, it will be far past the time that anything can be done to fix it.

The policy contains many standard statements about information automatically collected regarding Internet browsers and IP addresses, temporary “cookies” used by the site, and website accessibility.  However, at least two conditions may give some users pause before proceeding.

The first is regarding personal information submitted with an application for those users who follow through on the sign up process all the way to the end.  The policy states that all information to help in applying for coverage and even for making a payment will be kept strictly confidential and only be used to carry out the function of the marketplace.  There is, however, an exception: “[W]e may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.”  Here is the entire paragraph from the policy the includes the exception [emphasis added]:

Should you decide to apply for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection, the information you supply in your application will be used to determine whether you are eligible for health and dental coverage offered through Maryland Health Connection and for insurance affordability programs. It also may be used to assist you in making a payment for the insurance plan you select, and for related automated reminders or other activities permitted by law.  We will preserve the privacy of personal records and protect confidential or privileged information in full accordance with federal and State law. We will not sell your information to others.  Any information that you provide to us in your application will be used only to carry out the functions of Maryland Health Connection. The only exception to this policy is that we may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities. 

The site does not specify if “appropriate authorities” refers only to state authorities or if it could include the federal government, as well.  Neither is there any detail on what type of law enforcement and/or audit activities would justify the release of the personal information, or who exactly is authorized to make such a determination.  An email to the Maryland Health Connection’s media contact seeking clarification has not yet been answered

The second privacy term that may prompt caution by users relates to email communications.  The policy reads:

If you send us an e-mail, we use the information you send us to respond to your inquiry. E-mail correspondence may become a public record. As a public record, your correspondence could be disclosed to other parties upon their request in accordance with Maryland’s Public Information Act.

Since emails to the marketplace could conceivably involve private matters regarding finances, health history, and other sensitive issues, the fact that such information could be made part of the “public record” could prevent users from being as free with their information than they might otherwise be.  However, as noted, any requests for such emails would still be subject to Maryland’s Public Information Act which contains certain exceptions to the disclosure rules. source – Weekly Standard.

by NTEB News Desk

The World War II Memorial Shutdown: A Symbol of Government Malice.


World War II memorial closing
U.S. Park Police walk away after closing the World War II Memorial in Washington on Tuesday. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque )

The mainstream media is in the midst of one of its regular exercises in completely missing a wave of groundswell conservative anger—this time over the closing of the World War II Memorial. It’s as if the entire conservative case against the Obama administration’s incompetence, malice and inefficiency was boiled down to one incident.

1. Government overreach. This was a monument built almost entirely through private donations. Now the government pretends the monument belongs to it—not to the people who donated to build it, the vets whose sacrifice it honors or the families of vets and other citizens who want to use it to teach their kids about courage, honor and sacrifice.

2. Government inefficiency. It doesn’t cost money to keep an open-air memorial open. It costs money to put up barricades. It costs money to man the barricades with security. So now we’re spending money to “save money”? No, the administration is spending money to punish the public.

3. Government malice. A government run by people of good will—who are true public servants—would have immediately reached out to the myriad private veterans’ groups to keep the memorials open during the shutdown. The line of volunteers to man the memorial, provide tours and keep the bathrooms clean would have stretched around the block. Between the VFW and American Legion, the memorial could be manned and maintained in perpetuity.

It’s good the government has relented and opened the memorial to Honor Flights, but what about the vets who come with their families or the families of vets teaching the next generation? The Honor Flights won the day because they, thankfully, had a public platform to make their case, but not every World War II vet visits the memorial on an Honor Flight. The group rightfully won, but shouldn’t a family taking a great-grandfather to D.C. win also?

The president just spoke from a well-prepared stage in Maryland, condemning the shutdown. The money spent on transportation, security and staging for that event would easily cover the cost of opening our nation’s war memorials for several days.

I’m hopeful that the manifest injustice and obvious malice of the memorial closings will be a clarifying moment for the American people. It’s not 1995 any longer, and we don’t have to depend on the mainstream media to tell the truth. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we’re considering litigation, but litigation will be unnecessary if there is a sufficient—and proper—public response.



David French is senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice. This article is crossposted on National Review.

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