Major establishment press outlets ignored Friday's news that "Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ... explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO), but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer also "refused to put her name on a letter recommending a temporary ATO be granted for six months" In other words, HealthCare.gov should not have launched.
Brian Fung at the Washington Post's "The Switch" blog didn't consider the idea that HC.gov shouldn't even have gone live the most important story element. While failing to disclose Fryer's no-go recommendation and refusal to go along, he and his post's headline instead obsessed over whether Republican Congressman and House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa might "release files" that "could aid hackers." It wouldn't be a surprise to learn that hackers already have them, or at least have figured out how to work with or around them. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Not to worry, people. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D got through "technical glitches, political hostility and gloom-and-doom denouncements." So will Obamacare.
That's the Christmas love letter delivered to the left by Tom Raum of the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, late this morning. Raum "somehow" failed to note that the size and scope of Obamacare's screw-ups, errors, and from all appearances deliberate omissions (e.g., no system for paying subsidies to insurers after a 42-month head start) dwarf that seen in any previous major rollout. Though other programs had their share of broken promises (e.g., Walter Williams ran down Social Security's original lies in a November column), no program has been handicapped by anything near the equivalent of the President's false guarantee ("if you like your insurance plan-doctor-medical provider, you can keep your insurance plan-doctor-medical provider"). Of course, Raum didn't mention that bitter reality. Excerpts from Raum's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a Monday dispatch about Obamacare's really bad year and future prospects at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, reporter Calvin Woodward took as a given the left's assumption that Republicans and conservatives take pleasure in the suffering of real people as long as it furthers their political aims when he wrote that "Republicans, of course ... feigned indignation that the law many of them despise wasn't working out so well." That's pure lefist projection.
The genuine indignation has two sources, Mr. Woodward. The first is that much of what has transpired as a result of the deeply flawed Affordable Care Act was predicted or known and ignored. The other is that there were red flags galore ahead of the debut of the HealthCare.gov web site that it wasn't ready. They were deliberately ignored. To name just one instance, those in charge of security wouldn't sign off on the idea of going live on October 1; of course, Team Obama launched anyway. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In January 2010, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation studied the draft language in what ultimately turned into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what came to be known as Obamacare. His two most important findings: 1) Obamacare would encourage divorce while discouraging marriage; 2) Individuals and couples earning what most would consider to be nice but certainly not opulent incomes — especially those aged 50 and above — would pay disproportionately high premiums, while those making just a few thousand dollars less per year would, after subsidies, pay far less. Yours truly has made these points subsequently on several occassions (examples here, here, and here).
Well glory be, almost four years later, acting as if they're breaking some kind of new ground, Katie Thomas, Reed Abelson and Jo Craven McGinty at the New York Times have discovered that "the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s." Imagine that. Even then, the Times trio pegged the suffering Obamacare is inflicting to gross income and not net — and the difference is stark. Excerpts, beginning with a weak headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Friday morning, CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch." Further, Fryer "told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)" in late September, "but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer's statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay" at best difficult to believe.
While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson's startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In his classic novel "1984," George Orwell warned about the evils of a totalitarian state dominated by a single ruling party with total power over its inhabitants. Oceania, his fictional superstate, is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The character known as "Big Brother" reminds everyone he is constantly monitoring the citizens of Oceania, mainly by "telescreen."
At the end of 2013, the federal government may not yet have telescreens, which in Orwell's imagination had the ability to eavesdrop on people's conversations and broadcast propaganda, but it does have the nonfiction equivalent -- data collection, drones and other technological invasions of privacy. Our government does have the National Security Agency.
Obama adviser John Podesta today apologized for comparing House Republicans to the Jonestown cult led by Jim Jones. The Washington Post’s Web site reports: Podesta made the remark in an article in Politico Magazine , saying that the Obama administration should focus on using executive action because it is “facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.” Although Podesta was speaking this fall before being hired by the White House, he quickly apologized to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) through a post on his Twitter account.
The Post and other media outlets didn’t note that “Reverend” Jim Jones, founder of the San Francisco People’s Temple, in truth numbered Democratic politicians, not Republicans, among his admirers.
Earlier this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a post primarily about the Associated Press's whitewashing of President Barack Obama's quote of the year acknowledging that his multi-year guarantee — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health clinic care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words), I noted that the related web page for NBC's "Today" show followed the AP's lead by claiming that Obama's original promise and not the admission was the quote of the year.
The video clip present at that same web page is both funny and sad. It's funny, because Tamron Hall began her report by ignorantly asserting that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is "everyone's favorite mayor from the Northeast." It's sad, because like the AP, NBC's video truncated Obama's actual November 14 admission and let it slide without further comment, effectively giving what Ford said about his drinking and use of drugs more weight than Obama's admission that he lied to the American people for years. The clip follows the jump:
In what appears to be a deliberate watering down of the significance of the statement a Yale University librarian has identified as the year's top quote in his eighth annual list, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, used the following headline in its Sunday morning "Big Story" coverage: "OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PROMISE IS 2013 TOP QUOTE."
Uh, no. The statement tagged as 2013's top quote is Obama's admission that the guarantee he made dozens of times over a several-year period — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words). The wire service also truncated what Obama actually said in his November 14 admission, yet didn't employ an ellipsis in doing so.
I'm interrupting my series on Common Core State Standards for public schools to join the appeal to Iran and North Korea for the release of American hostages like imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini and missionary Kenneth Bae. And I'm also calling upon President Obama and Congress to step up their action, stand for religious freedom and fight for the release of these godly men, whose crimes were nothing more than exercising their faith.
For those who haven't followed the news on these men of the cloth, pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years by an Iranian court last January for starting house churches in the 2000s, an era in which they weren't even regarded as a threat to Iran's security.
Urging his viewers to "get your tapes rolling at home" to record his prediction, that great Nostradamus of MSNBC predicted on his Wednesday, December 11 program that come March 1, five million people would be signed up for ObamaCare.
"I mean, if we have got 3 million people who have been on to it already, where are we going to be in April?!" the MSNBC host pondered aloud, referring to the total number of visitors to the HealthCare.gov website. "This baby is going to be off the chart!" Dr. Schultz thundered as he gave his prognosis [WATCH video below page break; LISTEN to mp3 audio here]:
Alan Gross, political prisoner. Those were four words missing from Emma Margolin's December 10 MSNBC.com story hailing the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Gross, a State Department contractor, has been languishing in a Cuban prison for five years.
There was a reference to "genocide" in the story, but that was from a quote from a Cuban official railing against the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba (emphasis mine):
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace was not in the mood to put up with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's standard-issue leftist guff on Sunday. Last night, I noted that the pressed Emanuel until he forced a "yes" out of him to a simple question: "Didn't he (President Obama) say, 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.'" That move brought out Emanuel's ridiculous contention that what Obama somehow really meant was, "If you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice." Everyone but you and a few deluded leftists know that isn't so, Zeke.
A good example of Wallace standing up to what amounted to a bullying attempt by Emanuel, followed by a couple of other howlers delivered by Zeke the Bleak, are after the jump.
So it's come to this. During the past week, the Associated Press reported today, "Federal health officials," meaning "the Obama administration," began "urging" (i.e., "telling") counselors and navigators around the country to stop using paper applications for Obamacare coverage, "because of concerns those applications would not be processed in time." It seems that either Team Obama or AP (my money is on AP) doesn't mind risking criticism for waiting to let this news out until a weather- and sports-dominated Saturday. It's apparently okay to keep those who don't know any better, i.e., those who went to the trouble of printing a paper app on their own, in the dark.
So you shouldn't use paper. But the vastly under-reported but inarguable fact is that HealthCare.gov isn't secure; experienced IT security experts strongly warn against using it. So consumers shouldn't be going online either, meaning that there's no defensible way to apply for coverage before the end of the year. Of course, the Associated Press's Kelli Kennedy didn't tell readers that (no form of the word "security" is in her late Saturday morning story), just as she and Time Magazine's web site failed to do earlier this week (bolds are mine):
Kudos to the Daily Beast for running a feature today on six Americans who are detained in despotic regimes across the globe -- one in Cuba, the others in North Korea or Iran -- all of them held since President Obama took office in January 2009.
Writer Brandy Zadrozny noted she was writing her feature on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Alan Gross's imprisonment in Cuba. Among those men is SaeedAbedini, a Christian minister who is serving an 8-year sentence in "RajaiShahr Prison, notorious for its brutal treatment of inmates."
In his December 4 story, "A bogus health care website, courtesy of the GOP," MSNBC.com's Geoffrey Cowley essentially compared a California Republican website which denounces ObamaCare to the numerous fraudulent scam sites cropping up which claim to sell health insurance but are ripping unsuspecting consumers off.
Cowley also seemingly lamented the inability of California officials to shut down the site, CoveringHealthCareCA.com, which he charged was a nefarious GOP plot to "undermine Obamacare" by "divert[ing] people" who were "looking for the [state] exchange site" (emphasis mine):
Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn at the Politico have apparently been living in hermetically sealed Beltway caves since early October.
In an item which appeared Tuesday evening, the pair acted as if the idea that Americans stand a great chance of losing access to their current doctors and other medical providers as a result of signing up for a health care plan through the Obamacare exchange is something brand new. Kim and Haberkorn write that Republican opponents of Obamacare are going to have to "replicate the uproar" which occurred with "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," when the uproar has been building for weeks, based on numerous stories involving real people (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In a March 2008 column, I criticized pundits' concerns about whether America was ready for Barack Obama, suggesting that the more important issue was whether black people could afford Obama. I proposed that we look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, after signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some members of his own team. Despite that, his batting average was nearly .300 in his first year. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first Rookie of the Year award. There's no sense of justice that requires a player be as good as Robinson in order to have a chance in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter is that as the first black player, he had to be.
According to the letter of the law, the much-talked-about federal subsidies for purchasing ObamaCare are only to be disbursed to eligible customers who bought them via state-run health care exchanges, NOT the federal HealthCare.gov website, argue plaintiffs in a lawsuit before a federal district court in Washington, D.C. The Obama administration, you may recall, is promising subsidies regardless of whether they are purchased from the federal exchange or state exchanges.
Reporting on the lawsuit in today's paper, the Washington Post's SandhyaSomashekhar waited until halfway through her page A2 article -- headlined "Health-law critics see case as their last, best shot" in the print edition -- to summarize the legal reasoning behind the plaintiffs in the case. What's more, the Post staff writer seasoned her article throughout with loaded language attacking the lawsuit (emphasis mine):
On November 19, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a congressional committee that "[W]e still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January" for those who have enrolled in plans through HealthCare.gov.
On Black Friday, while almost no one was paying attention, Alex Nussbaum at Bloomberg News reported that "The administration is setting up a temporary process ... (in which) insurers will estimate what they are owed rather than have the government calculate the bill." Somehow, they'll settle up (or "true up") at the detailed level later. Tuesday evening, Roberta Rampton and Caroline Humer at Reuters covered this development. The Reuters item, which went live about an hour before Megyn Kelly's broadcast last night, moved the Fox News host to treat it as her lead story.
How does one do a report on an important commerce-related web site without mentioning serious known security problems which are so bad that respected IT experts warn that it shouldn't be used? Ask Kate Pickert at Time's Swampland blog and Kelli Kennedy at the Associated Press, because that's exactly what they did.
Pickert and Kennedy reviewed the new and not much improved HealthCare.gov on December 2 and 3, respectively. No variation of the word "security" is in either writeup. Both reports ignore the fact that IT experts are absolutely appalled at the site's lack of security.
It might seem like another day in Tea Party Land when a conservative columnist accuses the Obama White House “airbrushing history” like the “Stalin era” Soviet Union. But the columnist isn’t a conservative. It’s Dana Milbank of the liberal Washington Post, complaining about what’s happened to White House news photographers.
He’s not alone. A New York Times photographer has publicly compared Team Obama to the Soviets’ Tass news agency. What is going on?
Well now the landing page for the Lean Forward network is hailing HealthCare.gov as the "website [which] might just save your life." The teaser headline links to msnbc.com staffer AliyahFrumin's gauzy treatment of President Obama's latest speech plugging his troubled health care overhaul (emphasis mine; see screen capture below page break):
Does the Daily Beast's Sally Kohn not have an editor? Or does she just have one who simply doesn't care that she utterly embarrasses herself when she insists the Founding Fathers would approve of ObamaCare's contraception mandate?
"To put it mildly, our forbearers [sic] would be appalled by how right-wing conservatives are trying to use government to force their religious views on all of us. Make no mistake, this is what Hobby Lobby wants to do—use government to push a conservative religious agenda, " Kohn groused this morning in "When Religion and Liberty Collide":
Corrected/clarified from earlier | President Obama's lie about having always said that there were caveats to "if you like it you can keep it" claim made it into the top 10 finalists for PolitiFact's 2013 Lie of the Year Readers Choice Award. PolitiFact editor Angie DrobnicHolan invited readers this morning to vote for their favorite false claim. Half of the nominees were conservative politicians or pundits, three nominated claims were from either "bloggers" or chain emails, and President Obama was the only liberal Democrat among the finalists, appearing twice on the list.
Mr. Obama is also nominated for a "pants on fire" claim that the FISA court is "transparent." PolitiFact editors will reveal their own choice for Lie of the Year later this month. To vote in the Readers Choice category, click here.
As has so often been the case since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the editorialists at a major national business newspaper are reporting facts that the wire services and broadcast networks should have relayed to the American people weeks or months ago.
In this case, it's the Wall Street Journal. A Friday evening editorial published in Saturday's print edition directly refutes the Obama administration's key Obamacare memes involving affordability, choice, and the nature of the once-free health insurance market (bolds are mine):
The Conservative Campaign Committee says on its "About" page that it is "a traditional Political Action Committee that works with grassroots conservatives across the country to make our movement more effective, hold Barack Obama and the liberals in Washington accountable and support important campaigns and outstanding conservative candidates for federal office." CCC clearly states that its ads and other efforts are "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
Yet MSNBC's Ed Schultz has taken to Twitter to shriek (HT Twitchy) that "Ted Cruz is targeting Thanksgiving" because CCC is running TV ads during Thanksgiving thanking the Texas senator for "doing everything he could to stop Obamacare before it hurt the American people." Meanwhile, Organizing for Action, whose only mission is to promote the President's agenda and whose charter member list came over from Obama's 2012 campaign, is directly targeting Americans' Thanksgiving gatherings by coaching its members on how to talk up the wonders of Obamacare. Obama himself spoke directly to members to encourage them "to talk about the ACA at holiday parties."
Hobby Lobby's complaint about infringement of religious freedom is deserving of scorn in the eyes of CNN, judging by the way the network's website treated news of the Supreme Court agreeing to take up a case in March which would decide if ObamaCare's ironclad contraception mandate is an unconstitutional intrusion on a business owner's religious liberty.
Leave it to MSNBC to see Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful for ObamaCare, Wendy Davis, same-sex marriage, and John Kerry hammering out an interim nuclear deal with Iran.
"In a year where Congress’ approval rating has reached an all time low, an embattled President Obama faces the healthcare challenge that could define his legacy, and the timetable for US troops in Afghanistan remains murky, it is all too easy to become cynical about the public sphere," MSNBC.com writers Johnny Simon and FarraKober confessed in a piece published this morning. "But when members of the msnbc family paused to reflect, what they recalled was a year full of triumph and spirit," they noted in the lead paragraph of their November 26 "Why I'm thankful" slideshow feature.
One of the two sequences involved the Obama administration's announcement that it will delay Obamacare enrollment for 2015 by 30 days until November 15, 2014 and its optimism that the dysfunctional, insecure HealthCare.gov web site will be operational by the end of the month. In this sequence, Pace indicated blind acceptance of unsupported assertions combined with willingness to parrot long-discredited talking points about why the website initially crashed. Fortunately, as we'll see, Wallace did not let her website history rewrite slide (bolds and numbered tags are mine):