In the USA...United Surveillance AmericaFisa court: no telecoms company has ever challenged phone records orders
Judge says requests for mass customer data have not been challenged 'despite the mechanism for doing so'
Spencer Ackerman in Washington
theguardian.com, Tuesday 17 September 2013 23.29 BST
No telecommunications company has ever challenged the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court's orders for bulk phone records under the Patriot Act, the court revealed on Tuesday.
The secretive Fisa court's disclosure came inside a declassification of its legal reasoning justifying the National Security Agency's ongoing bulk collection of Americans' phone records.
Citing the "unprecedented disclosures" and the "ongoing public interest in this program", Judge Claire V Eagan on 29 August not only approved the Obama administration's request for the bulk collection of data from an unidentified telecommunications firm, but ordered it declassified. Eagan wrote that despite the "lower threshold" for government bulk surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act compared to other laws, the telephone companies who have received Fisa court orders for mass customer data have not challenged the law.
"To date, no holder of records who has received an Order to produce bulk telephony metadata has challenged the legality of such an Order," Eagan wrote. "Indeed, no recipient of any Section 215 Order has challenged the legality of such an order, despite the mechanism for doing so."
That complicity has not been total. Before the Bush administration moved the bulk phone records collection under the authority of the Fisa court, around 2006, Qwest Communications refused to participate in the effort.
Telecommunications company acquiescence to the bulk phone records collection orders also contrasts with the protestations of some internet companies regarding their relationship with the NSA. Yahoo is petitioning the Fisa court to disclose a 2008 incident in which it refused to comply with bulk NSA surveillance until the court demanded it turn over customer data.
While the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, in July declassified a Fisa court order underpinning the bulk phone records collection, the order declassified on Tuesday delved far deeper into the reasoning used by the court to justify the mass collection under Section 215, allowing the government to access data "relevant" to an "ongoing" terrorism investigation.
The disclosure is the third major court disclosure about bulk surveillance in a week. On Friday, the Fisa court – citing the public interest in surveillance generated by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden – ordered the government to review for potential declassification post-2011 court opinions related to the phone records database.
Tuesday's ruling presented one such opinion – one that found the court in substantial agreement with the government's interpretation of its powers under the Patriot Act.
Citing a supreme court precedent, Eagan found that there are no Fourth Amendment protections around so-called "metadata", the records of phone numbers dialed and received or the times and durations of phone calls. While the precedent, Smith v Maryland, had to do with an individual case, Eagan wrote that the collection of metadata from millions of people does not, en masse, create a constitutional problem.
That contention is the subject of court challenges by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups.
Eagan's August 2013 order also shed light on how the court considers mass phone records from Americans not under suspicion of wrongdoing "relevant" to an "ongoing" terrorism investigation.
"The government's burden under Section 215 is not to prove that the records sought are, in fact, relevant to an ongoing investigation," Eagan wrote; merely that the government must have "reasonable grounds to believe that the information sought to be produced has some bearing on its investigations of the identified international terrorist organizations."
The judge assented to the government's argument that the necessity underpinning the bulk phone records collection was "to create a historical repository of metadata that enables NSA to find or identify known or unknown operatives", including inside the United States.
But Eagan recognized that "the concept of relevance here is in fact broad and amounts to a relatively low standard".
Civil libertarians found the Fisa court judge's reasoning alarming.
"It's problematic because it means the government is allowed to collect records merely in anticipation of investigations," said Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the ACLU.
Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said: "There's not much daylight between what the government asserts and what the court determines."
While Opsahl hailed the court for disclosing more information about its inner workings, he said the ruling "shows the trouble with having a one-sided court process, where the court is only seeing arguments from one side and seems to adopt those arguments. It seems like a failure of the adversarial process."
The Fisa court does not hear from any petitioner aside from the government. Bills currently before Congress would create a privacy advocate to push back against the government's arguments before the Fisa court.
Sheldon Snook, a spokesman for the Fisa court, said Tuesday's disclosure marked the first time the secret court had decided on its own to reveal information related to the NSA's phone records database.
In a statement on Tuesday, Clapper said the August court opinion "affirms that the bulk telephony metadata collection is both lawful and constitutional".
"The release of this opinion is consistent with the president's call for more transparency on these valuable intelligence programs," Clapper said.
***************Secret terrorism court orders declassification of its own rulings
By George Chidi
Saturday, September 14, 2013 17:43 EDT
The Edward Snowden leaks may have helped the ACLU win a victory in America’s most secretive courtroom Friday.
Court cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — the court that reviews requests by the NSA to wiretap suspected terrorists’ communications — are generally classified. But Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered the government to review the court’s opinions on the meaning, scope, and constitutionality of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the government to obtain “any tangible things” relevant to foreign-intelligence or terrorism investigations.
Section 215 is the legal basis the NSA claims legitimizes its mass phone records collection program. The very arguments the NSA uses to justify the program are, currently, classified, which have caused incredible frustration among policy makers hoping to describe their objections to current practice.
“We are pleased that the surveillance court has recognized the importance of transparency to the ongoing public debate about the NSA’s spying,” said Alex Abdo, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, in a statement Friday.”For too long, the NSA’s sweeping surveillance of Americans has been shrouded in unjustified secrecy. Today’s ruling is an overdue rebuke of that practice. Secret law has no place in our democracy.”
Saylor gave the government until October 4 to identify court opinions on Section 215 and set a timetable for declassification review.
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s mass phone records collection program. Oral argument in the case is scheduled for November 1 in New York, the ACLU said.
************America’s gun disease is a national security issue
By Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 7:50 EDT
The spate of shootings in the US and the lack of political will to tackle gun control shows the country as a basket case, not a model state
If this isn’t a matter of national security, what is? When 13 people end up dead at a US military base, that surely crosses the threshold – putting America’s problem with guns into the category reserved for threats to the mortal safety of the nation. At its narrowest, Monday’s massacre at the Washington navy yard is a national security issue because it involved hostile entry into what was meant to be a secure military facility. Plenty will now focus on how a man twice arrested in gun-related incidents was able to gain such easy access to the nerve centre of the US navy. There will be inquiries into the entry-pass system, use of contractors and the like.
But that would be to miss the wider point. America’s gun sickness – which has turned massacres of this kind into a fairly regular, rather than exceptionally rare occurrence – endangers the US not solely because it can lead military personnel to lose their lives, nor even because it can lead to the murder of schoolchildren, as it did at Sandy Hook elementary school last year, or the death of young movie-goers, as it did in Aurora, Colorado, also last year – dreadful though those losses are.
The foreign policy experts who gather in the thinktanks and congressional offices not far from the navy yard often define national security to encompass anything that touches on America’s standing in the world. That ranges from its ability to project military force across the globe to its attractiveness, its “soft power”. For decades, this latter quality has been seen as one of the US’s primary assets, central to its ability to lead and persuade other nations.
But America’s gun disease diminishes its soft power. It makes the country seem less like a model and more like a basket case, afflicted by a pathology other nations strive to avoid. When similar gun massacres have struck elsewhere – including in Britain – lawmakers have acted swiftly to tighten controls, watching as the gun crime statistics then fell. In the decade after the rules were toughened in Australia in 1996, for example, firearm-related homicides fell by 59%, while suicides involving guns fell by 65%.
But the US stays stubbornly where it is, refusing to act. When President Obama last tried, following the deaths of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook at the end of 2012, his bill fell at the first senate hurdle. He had not proposed banning a single weapon or bullet – merely expanding the background checks required of someone wanting to buy a gun. But even that was too much. The national security pundits who worry how a US president is perceived when he is incapable of protecting the lives of innocent Syrians abroad should think how it looks when he is incapable of protecting the lives of innocent Americans at home.
On guns, the US – so often the world leader in innovation and endeavour – is the laggard, stuck at the bottom of the global class. Bill Clinton perfectly distilled the essence of soft power when he said in 2008, “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.” He was right. But every time a disturbed or angry individual is able to vent his rage with an assault weapon, killing innocents with ease, the power of America’s example fades a little more.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013
************Obama: Republicans promising economic chaos if they don’t get what they want
By Dominic Rushe, The Guardian
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 12:42 EDT
Barack Obama on Monday accused his Republican opponents of holding the economic recovery to ransom, as the US faces another deadline over its borrowing limits.
In a speech that was overshadowed by news from Syria and fatal shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, Obama said he would not negotiate over an extension of the US debt ceiling as part of an escalating budget battle in Congress.
“I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it doesn’t get 100% of what it wants. That’s never happened before. But that’s what’s happening now,” said Obama.
In a speech marking five years since the start of the financial crisis that triggered the deepest recession in living memory, Obama said much progress had been made in rebuilding the US economy but much more remained to be done.
Republicans are attempting to force more spending cuts and remove funding for Obama’s 2010′s affordable healthcare act, known as Obamacare, as they negotiate an agreement on the 2014 fiscal budget that begins on 1 October.
In 2011, a similar row led to an historic downgrade of the US’s debt rating and caused panic on financial markets around the world. “I will not negotiate over whether or not America keeps its word and meets its obligations,” Obama said. “I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.”
Obama said the financial crisis had “sent an economy already into recession, into a tailspin”. Five years after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank, which precipitated the financial meltdown, Obama said: “It’s hard sometimes to remember everything that happened during those months, but in a matter of a frightening few days and weeks some of the largest investment banks in the world failed, stock markets plunged, banks stopped lending to families and small businesses, our auto industry – the heartbeat of American manufacturing – was flat-lining.”
Obama said the US had “cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and we’ve begun to lay a new foundation for economic growth and prosperity”.
In the last three and a half years, the economy has added 7.5m new jobs and the unemployment rate has come down, Obama said. “Our housing market is healing. Our financial system is safer,” he said.
He said more work needed to be done and the economy had to grow faster. “Because even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, the top 1% of Americans took home 20% of the nation’s income last year, while the average worker isn’t seeing a raise at all,” Obama said.
Obama said the fight over the US’s debt ceiling threatened that recovery. If Congress does not reach an agreement soon, treasury secretary Jack Lew has said the US will reach its borrowing limit in mid-October and will likely be unable to pay all its bills soon after. In a letter to Washington leaders last month, Lew warned such a situation would do “irreparable harm” to the US economy.
“After all the progress that we’ve made over these past four and a half years,” said Obama, “the idea of reversing that progress because of an unwillingness to compromise or because of some ideological agenda is the height of irresponsibility. It’s not what the American people need right now.”
September 17, 2013Florida Among States Undercutting Health Care Enrollment
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ and ROBERT PEAR
MIAMI — As many states prepare to introduce a linchpin of the 2010 health care law — the insurance exchanges designed to make health care more affordable — a handful of others are taking the opposite tack: They are complicating enrollment efforts and limiting information about the new program.
Chief among them is Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-dominated Legislature have made it more difficult for Floridians to obtain the cheapest insurance rates under the exchange and to get help from specially trained outreach counselors.
Missouri and Ohio, two other states troubled by the Affordable Care Act, have also moved to undercut the law and its insurance exchanges, set to open on Oct. 1. In Georgia, the state insurance commissioner, Ralph T. Hudgens, has said he will do “everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”
Alarmed by the resistance, the secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, and the Obama administration are intensifying their efforts to win public support for the exchanges in Florida and elsewhere and are confronting their critics head on.
On Tuesday, Ms. Sebelius capped a three-city visit to Florida — home to the country’s second largest uninsured population — with sharp words about the state’s unwillingness to embrace the law. She will do the same in Missouri later this week.
“It’s unfortunate that keeping information from people seems to be something of a pattern here in the state,” Ms. Sebelius said at a news conference in Miami, referring to restrictions on outreach counselors.
The online exchanges are designed to offer a variety of insurance plans at subsidized prices and are meant to make health care more affordable to lower-income people who do not have insurance. Outreach counselors, known as navigators, provide information about the plans and help enroll applicants.
Ms. Sebelius also criticized Florida’s rejection of $50 billion in federal money over 10 years to expand Medicaid, its concerns about privacy issues, which she said were unfounded, and its sudden unwillingness to grapple with insurance rates.
Even among states hostile to the law, Florida became an outlier this year when it passed a bill removing for two years the state insurance commissioner’s ability to approve insurance rates for new health plans, she said. This leaves Floridians vulnerable to higher rates at a time when the new health plans will be introduced.
In other states, insurance commissioners used the law to obtain better deals for consumers.
“To have the Florida Legislature pass a bill that for two years — 2014 and 2015 — removes rate-review authority really puts Florida consumers at great risk,” Ms. Sebelius said, adding, “No one else has done that.”
Ms. Sebelius’s criticism is unlikely to inspire cooperation in Florida or in the other states that vigorously oppose the law. Mr. Scott has been one of the law’s fiercest opponents, despite his decision to accept the $50 billion for Medicaid expansion. But the Florida House blocked that effort this year while Mr. Scott sat mostly on the sidelines, failing to lobby for the expansion, lawmakers said. The state also chose not to run its own health care exchange, leaving it to the federal government.
Democrats said Mr. Scott and Republican lawmakers continued to throw up roadblocks.
Last week, Florida’s deputy health secretary ordered county health facilities to bar navigators, or outreach counselors. The health department said it was following established policy: All outside groups are prohibited from using county health property to conduct nonstate business. Brochures, though, will be made available, according to a statement. No written requests for space have been made by navigators, a spokesman said.
County health offices are important in the campaign to reach potential applicants because they deal mostly with lower-income people who may not be insured.
And on Monday, in a letter to the top Republican and Democrat in Congress, Mr. Scott raised concerns about privacy, saying that navigators and others involved in the health care effort could use applicant information improperly. Attorneys general from 13 states have expressed similar worries about the release of financial and medical information — be it intentional or accidental.
Saying that Florida was “ground zero” in the Obama administration’s campaign to enroll people, Mr. Scott asked House Speaker John A. Boehner and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, “to thoroughly review what privacy rules and safeguards are in place.”
“Floridians should not have to exchange their privacy for insurance,” Mr. Scott wrote.
Ms. Sebelius said on Tuesday that she appreciated the governor’s concerns but that her office, which oversees Medicare, is used to dealing with privacy issues.
“I can guarantee you we take that very, very seriously, which is why nobody will be collecting personal health information at all at any point along the way,” she said. “Verifying, yes; storing it, no.”
Florida is not the only state complicating the Obama administration’s efforts to roll out the new exchanges.
A Missouri law adopted this year requires the licensing of navigators and also restricts their activities. Without that license, the Missouri law says, navigators cannot “provide advice concerning the benefits, terms and features of a particular health plan” or “advise consumers about which health plan to choose.”
Ohio has adopted a similar law, stating that navigators can distribute some information but cannot recommend a plan or offer advice about benefits in a particular plan.
In Georgia, the insurance commissioner, Mr. Hudgens, said his “job is to protect consumers.” To that end, Georgia mandates that health insurance counselors be licensed to become navigators, a process that requires criminal background checks and fingerprinting of applicants.
For Democrats, the new state laws and rules are just another way to throw up obstacles to try to defeat the Affordable Care Act.
“They couldn’t beat Obamacare in Congress, where they’ve tried 41 times to repeal it, they couldn’t beat it in the Supreme Court, so they are trying death by a thousand cuts,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Lizette Alvarez reported from Miami, and Robert Pear from Washington.
************Wall Street Journal Warns GOP That Government Shutdown Could Give Democrats The House
By: Jason Easley
Sep. 17th, 2013
In a editorial that reeks of panic and desperation, the Wall Street Journal is warning House Republicans that a government shutdown could enrage voters to the point where they give Democrats back control of the House.
The Wall Street Journal editorialized:
The defunders sketch out an alternative scenario in which Mr. Obama is blamed, and they say we can’t know unless Republicans try. But even they admit privately that they really won’t succeed in defunding ObamaCare. The best case seems to be that if all Republicans show resolve they’ll win over the public in a shutdown, and Democrats will eventually surrender, well, something.
If this works it would be the first time. The evidence going back to the Newt Gingrich Congress is that no party can govern from the House, and the Republican Party can’t abide the outcry when flights are delayed, national parks close and direct deposits for military spouses stop. Sooner or later the GOP breaks.
This all-or-nothing posture also usually results in worse policy. The most recent example was the failure of Mr. Boehner’s fiscal cliff “Plan B” in December 2012, which was the best the GOP could do because Mr. Obama had the whip hand of automatic tax increases. The fallback deal that was sealed in the Senate raised taxes by more and is now complicating the prospects for tax reform.
The backbenchers are heading into another box canyon now. Mr. Boehner is undermined because the other side knows he lacks 218 GOP votes, which empowers House and Senate Democrats. They want to reverse the modest spending discipline of the sequester, and if the House GOP can’t hold together on the CR they will succeed. The only chance of any entitlement reform worth the name is if Mr. Boehner can hold his majority and negotiate from strength.
The backbenchers might even look at the polls showing that the public is now tilting toward Republicans on issues including the economy, ensuring a strong national defense and even health care. Some Republicans think they are sure to hold the House in 2014 no matter what happens because of gerrymandering, but even those levees won’t hold if there’s a wave of revulsion against the GOP. Marginal seats still matter for controlling Congress. The kamikazes could end up ensuring the return of all-Democratic rule.
Beneath the typical misinformation and Republican talking points, the Wall Street Journal editors were desperately trying to stop House Republicans from completing their political suicide mission.
The WSJ was correct. The strategy that House Republicans are trying has never worked. President Obama is not going to back down, and a government shutdown that prevents the military and senior citizens from being paid will flip quite a few marginal districts House controlled districts into the Democratic column. There are 49 battleground seats that Republicans currently control. If House Republicans shutdown the government, many of those seats will be in jeopardy.
Republican House incumbents who are counting on the combination of gerrymandering and Citizens United dark money to keep them in office might be in for a huge surprise, because the public outrage over a government shutdown would create a climate where Democratic challengers could run on making sure that the troops get paid and Social Security checks get sent out. No amount of secret Koch dollars can defeat pocketbook issues.
The majority of Americans have long blamed congressional Republicans for the dysfunction in Washington. A Republican led government shutdown would push that blame over the edge. Fifty seven percent of the American people don’t support the Republican plan to defund Obamacare.
If Republicans shutdown the government, they will lose and lose badly. The best path to a Democratic House takeover in 2014 is for Republicans to keep doing exactly what they are currently doing.
**************Four Congressional Working Days Before a Shutdown, Time for Another 3 Benghazi Hearings!
By: Sarah Jones
Sep. 17th, 2013
Unless the House cancels their week off (they just got back from recess, they’re exhausted), they have just four Congressional working days left before a government shutdown. So what do they do?
Yes, buckle up patriots. Perhaps your House won’t even sit down for budget reconciliation and they had to delay their continuing resolution vote because, well, they didn’t have the votes. Mind you, the CR is sort of the morning-after pill of budget planning – it’s the oops stopgap, and they can’t even do that. Not good.
But one thing Republicans can really get behind is investigating our security clearance failures due to sequestration another Obama Hillary witch hunt obsessing over the horrible tragedy in Benghazi.
Your calendar of fun brings you:
On the 18th, your very important House Committee on Foreign Affairs brings you, “Hearing: Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?” AKA: Let’s kill Hillary’s 2016 chances.
There are two shows planned for you on the 19th: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform brings you “Reviews of the Benghazi Attack and Unanswered Questions” and House Armed Services Committee will bring you, “Defense Department’s posture for September 11, 2013: What are the Lessons of Benghazi?”
Nowhere in there is an explanation for why Darrell Issa won’t let the co-chairs of the Benghazi report testify in front of the TV cameras. There is also no investigation into the Republican-leaked and deliberately changed emails that implicated the White House and State Department. Oh, gosh, no, they’re just looking for the “truth” you see.
It’s a jolly good thing Putin saved the Republicans from having to vote on Syria, thus freeing up their time for more narrow politicization of one single embassy attack, while the scores of attacks under Bush were collateral damage we were expected to ignore.
Fund the government? Surely you jest. Not when there are shows to put on for the Tea Party base. Eric Cantor can’t seem to manage that House schedule to save his soul. It just keeps getting away from him. Or maybe it’s that they are working even less this year than they did last year. And poor Speaker John Boehner, the man with the second worse job in DC (hello, GOP whip), he is desperate to get out of defunding the government, but Obama’s not biting at his threats.
Still, the Speaker managed to toss the blame on the President, “It’s a shame that the president could not manage to rise above partisanship today. Instead, he should be working in a bipartisan way to address America’s spending problem — the way presidents of both parties have done before. He should work with us to delay his health care law for everyone.”
Too bad about that deficit hitting its lowest spot in five years, eh? Too bad that ObamaCare lowers the deficit. Oh, yes, it’s too bad. Too bad that the CBO estimated the Republican plan to repeal ObamaCare would boost the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022. Yes, ain’t it a shame.
How about we defund ObamaCare anyway, and for old time’s sake the President let’s us shutdown government but agrees to take the blame. Eh?
Tick tock. Four more days and the economy explodes. But, Benghazi!
**************Republicans Foolishly Try to Get People to Reject Paying $100 a Month for Healthcare
By: Sarah Jones
Sep. 17th, 2013
ObamaCare is coming. Or, as Elizabeth Hasselbeck quipped in an oh so not scripted totally planned way today on Fox today, “ObamaScare.” Yeah, they didn’t believe Sarah Palin’s lies, so we’ll get Elizabeth Hasselbeck to say them.
As Republicans crow that only 23% of Americans want them to destroy ObamaCare because they don’t understand it or like it, the big benefits are starting to roll in.
The latest benefit is a doozy, with the Department of Health and Human Services releasing a report today showing that nearly six in ten (56%) uninsured Americans can pay less than $100 per month for coverage.
Yep. Nearly six in ten people who don’t have health insurance may be able to get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for less than $100 per month, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
HHS explains that 23.2 million, which is 56% of the 41.3 million eligible uninsured,
may qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or tax credits enabling them to get insurance at the exchanges for $100 or less a month.
So Republicans want Americans to reject being able to pay only $100 a month for coverage, so that they and their families can go uncovered in order to help Republicans appease a faction of their party. Seriously? The fail is huge on this.
Of course, Republicans have blocked the Medicaid expansion in some states (and you know they’ll blame Obama for that and their base will buy it), thereby keeping millions from affordable health insurance. In those states, Republicans are causing insurance rates to rise by denying Medicaid expansion. A RAND Health study found that premiums increase by 8 to 10% if states fail to expand Medicaid.
Tuesday’s HHS report shows “if all 50 states took advantage of new options to expand Medicaid coverage, nearly 8 out of every 10 people (78 percent) who currently do not have insurance could be paying less than $100 a month for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.”
Republicans can continue to ObamaScare the public, but only their base wants ObamaCare destroyed. The public is confused about ObamaCare. Not only have Republicans thrown all of their considerable corporate resources at demonizing the healthcare law, but in typical Democratic style, it has been presented long in policy specifics and short on bumper sticker slogans. Democrats are trying, but short and inaccurate is not their forte and every time they try it, then end up cringing in retreat as soon as they’re busted.
Democrats feel compelled to litter up any public notices with long winded statistical analysis, specific and accurate qualifiers and caveats. (e.g., “Republicans voted to end Medicare”– they got dinged for that, had to add “as we know it” when if it was not as we know it, it would no longer be Medicare. See Shakespeare and Plato.) President Obama is guilty of this; one of his biggest weaknesses is his failure to simplify things for the public. He routinely thinks that good policy makes good politics.
Democrats should learn from Bill Clinton.
Former President Bill Clinton cut through the fog of lies recently, “President Clinton said by not cooperating people in Republican states will be paying for the law, but the benefits will be going to people in other states.”
ObamaCare will no doubt have a bumpy roll out, as did Medicare and Social Security. But as people begin to enjoy the benefits, the polls will begin to shift. The only problem will be all of the Tea Partiers and Republicans who are on ObamaCare but don’t know it. When they are polled, no doubt they will bash it just like they demanded the government stay out of their Medicare.
Eventually even the most politically unaware will become dimly aware that Republicans are against millions of them getting access to affordable health insurance that is not a pick pocket sham for a corporate business.
Note: HHS defines Marketplace eligible as the eligible uninsured with incomes above 138% of the Federal Poverty Level in Medicaid expansion states or above 100% of the Federal Poverty Level in non-expansion states.
*************Boehner Angry GOP Did Not Get Free Pass on Day of Navy Yard Shooting
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Sep. 18th, 2013
boehner-faceHouse Speaker John Boehner, busily plotting three more pointless Benghanzi hearings, accusing Obama of partisanship in his response to the Washington Navy Yard shooting, his long orange face whining, “It’s a shame that the president could not manage to rise above partisanship today.”
You would think he was watching his investments in the Keystone XL Pipeline crash.
He was joined by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince “The GOP is a Religion” Priebus, who tweeted yesterday,
Disappointing that POTUS couldn’t rise above partisanship yesterday…hours after #NavyYardShooting. @Morning_Joe: http://t.co/N2XbFE1gJi
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 17, 2013
Serial adulterer Newt “Drop my Pants for my Country” Gingrich, congenitally incapable of being inoffensive, used his bully pulpit on CNN’s Crossfire:
President Reagan, in the tragedy of the (space shuttle) Challenger, postponed the State of the Union address because he realized the country needed to be in mourning. President Obama should have recognized that an event this painful and tragic, in the nation’s capital, required being president rather than partisan, and being concerned about people rather than concerned about attacking.
Then there is Republican strategist and pundit Alex Castellanos who opined that,
When there is a tragic event like this in the nation’s capital and the local baseball team expresses that it would be insensitive to participate in the national pastime, but the president proceeds with a self-congratulatory press conference to celebrate his miniscule economic accomplishments, it tells you the Obama administration has become tone-deaf. Bill Clinton, who ‘felt our pain,’ would never have made this mistake.
And if you watched Preibus’ tweeted video, you know that Morning Joe went after Obama too:
It was props — he brought his props along and he had this political. And it was a harsh, partisan speech from the president of the United States on any day. But you know what? This president is frustrated and there is — he certainly has every right to do that. But on the day while people were hiding, while people were bleeding, while people were dying, while the nation was locked in on this — he’s talking about harsh partisanship and Republicans wanting to hurt people.
Let’s recap: What was Obama’s supposed mistake?
Addressing the economy and Republican obstructionism. You see, if there is a shooting taking place somewhere, Republicans get a free-pass from criticism.
The Republicans, busily plotting more Obamacare repeal votes and Benghanzi hearings forget, if they ever knew, that they have responsibilities as elected officials. That, not to put too fine a point on it, they have a country to run.
President Obama is aware of his responsibilities and having dealt with the Navy Yard Shootings, which were still taking place as he spoke about them, turned to those other responsibilities and dared to goad the Republicans.
I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100% of what it wants. That’s never happened before but that’s what’s happening right now.
He accused the Republicans of irresponsibility. He also, quite truthfully, pointed out to our do-nothing Congress that “what is also important to remember is that Congress has a lot of work to do right now” and that there isn’t a lot of time in which to do it.
Of course, the Republicans already know what they’re doing: plotting against Obama and figuring out ways of throwing our economy into chaos.
White House press secretary Jay Carney also knew what the Republicans were doing, and he said in defense of Obama, that,
Far from being a partisan speech, the president made clear in his speech that many Republicans on Capitol Hill agree with him that we should not go down the road of threatening to shut down the government or defaulting on our obligations in the name of some partisan agenda item.
Yes, we know where the partisanship was truly lurking yesterday.
Instead of telling Republicans to do their jobs, these GOP drones wanted Obama to preach national unity, so they could get on with their business of destroying the country without attention being drawn to their treasonous actions.
Cockroaches do so hate the light to be turned on them.