Beltway Insider: Obama Addresses ACA Launch Failure; Mass Shooting at LAX; SNAP Benefits Slashed; Snowden Seeks Assistance

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President Obama continued his campaign to win back the confidence of the people as his favorability rating dropped to record lows while the Health and Human Services Secretary explained to Congress the failures with the ObamaCare rollout.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped three percentage points to an all time low of 40% of those polled that approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose three percentage points to 53%.

President Obama Addresses Affordable Care Act Website Glitches

President Obama along with Health and Human Services Secretary each spent the week fending off inquires as both faced harsh and severe questioning after data for the first month of open enrollment surfaced revealing grossly lower than initially reported numbers.

HHS Czar Kathleen Sebelius sat before a Congressional committee explaining the rollout of the ObamaCare website was a “debacle.”  

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, said in response to media questioning, “What’s important to know is that the website wasn’t functioning very well on October 1st or October 2nd; in fact, it hasn’t been functioning well in the first month since the launch.  And that’s why the President is so focused on making sure that everything is done to bring that website up to the standards he has for it.”

Secretary Sebelius explained the accountable for this failure rests directly on her shoulders echoing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims over the Benghazi terror attack which resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher J. Stevens.

During Sebelius testimony the healthcare.gov website crashed again, as reported in the Daily Telegraph.

With the White House touting numbers in upwards of 20million visitors with 700,000 enrollees for the month of October, new data released show that on the first day only six individuals enrolled in the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The higher than expected glitches, severe website problems and outages which in late October were attributed to higher than anticipated traffic were in actuality due to poorly built infrastructure a direct contradiction from the White House released statements.

“Because the central issue here, as we’ve talked about before, is not can we build a great website, it’s can we make sure that the American people who deserve affordable, quality health insurance are able to buy it.  And that’s why the President is so frustrated by the website -- more frustrated than anyone else, I think it’s fair to say.” Carney stated.

A lack of governmental transparency resulting in extremely lower than reported numbers has raised concerns on the Hill with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle again battling over this contentious issue.

The White House has announced actual data will be released mid month for the past month, which according to Carney is standard practice “for this type of accounting.” He also indicated the numbers come from multiple sources, as the data is collected and assembled through various sources, including mail respondents, phone enrollees and website enrollment and state’s running their own tallies.

The lack of governmental transparency, as the numbers released across the board are only the data the White House is willing to present, also poses deep problems with limited solutions.

Using the Massachusetts example repeatedly throughout the week, as it was the first state to almost universally require its residents to enroll in a healthcare program, the White House stated their goals are in alignment with that states early enrollment numbers, a program instituted by the governor Mitt Romney.

“So we knew it was going to be a slow build.  It’s no question that it’s been made more challenging by the poorly functioning website, and that’s on us, and that’s why we’re dedicating the resources and the brainpower to get it fixed,” said Carney.

Mass Shooting at LAX Kills TSA Agent

Los Angeles International Airport was the scene of another mass shooting when a single gunman entered the facility, shot his way through security, killing one and injuring three, before being subdued by responding officers.

Entering Terminal 3, at approximately 9:20am (PST), Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, gave no clue as to his intentions blending in with other travelers at the third most trafficked airport in the country. Dressed in jeans and sneakers, the former New Jersey resident, carried a large blue duffle bag concealing a Smith &Wesson .223 caliber M&P-15 Assault rifle and five magazine clips.

Gerardo I. Hernandez was the first to encounter Ciancia as he pulled the weapon out of his bag and fired multiple rounds at point blank range wounding the on duty Transportation Security Agent.

Turning from the wounded officer, the shooter continued through the airport, up the escalator, repeatedly asking cowering travelers, if they were TSA.

Looking back he saw Hernandez move and, stalking with the intention of mortally wounding, returned down the stairs to fire a second fatal shot, killing him.

Hernandez, a husband and father, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other agents and one traveler were injured as the suspect, with a clear vendetta, stalked TSA agents through the airport.

Firing as many as twenty rounds into the panicked crowd, Cianci was shot and critically wounded by a Los Angeles Airport Police Sergeant.   

Within minutes a major mobilization of all law enforcement assets had been deployed to the scene. The situation moved from fluid to static swiftly after the single shooter was apprehended.  

LAPD in coordination with all other Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies continued with a perimeter search utilizing all resources and methods of detection. No additional devices or suspects were found.  

Investigators found a note inside the shooter’s duffel bag containing a message with the initials N.W.O. Authorities believe this stands for New World Order, an organization that believes the United States government is tyrannical.

Los Angeles International Airport, the sixth highest trafficked in the world, on the orders of the Federal Aviation Administration,  issued a Traffic Management "Ground Stop" for the airport denoting total closure.

The air transportation lock-down, throughout the day, was briefly lifted with only flights delayed on the tarmac or unable to divert to other airports arriving and departing.

By Friday at 5:00pm (PST), 8:00pm (EST) LAX had reopened allowing passengers who waited, outside, for the majority of the day, back inside the facility.  

Air traffic remained suspended, with no flights boarding out of LAX, for a total of 27 hours.

Ciancia was known to suffer from mild depression and had one day earlier sent a text message to his family indicating some distress and possibly suicidal remarks. New Jersey State Troopers were summoned to the Ciancia home and believed the message contained enough concern to contact west coast officials for a “Well Being Check.”

The intent by White House officials on downplaying the seriousness of gun violence was noted through Press Secretary Jay Carney, that “The president was briefed on the incident” deferring any other statements to the LAPD and other federal agencies leads on the West Coast.

The White House has chosen to divert attention from the failure in this administration’s ability to secure any type of common sense gun reform simply by word choice. The American people are not interested in continued lists of Mass Shooting locations as the United States erupts in gunfire.

Ciancia was charged Saturday with murder and other crimes. He remains unresponsive, in critical condition with life threatening injuries, at UCLA Medical Center.

SNAP Benefits Slashed

November 2013 has arrived and with it SNAP, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Benefits for over 47million Americans have been slashed due to the inability of lawmakers to provide additional funding for the 2009 Recovery Act boost.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 allotted a slight increase to families receiving the food subsidy over the past four years.

The Obama Administration, in 2010, has signed two bills which accelerated the demise of the supplemental increase benefits recipients received due to the ARRA. The savings associated with each of those bills were used to fund state fiscal relief, federal funding for school districts to maintain teachers’ jobs and maintaining a higher federal match for Medicaid costs.

The ending of the supplemental increase will drastically influence the ability for families to purchase food.

SNAP benefits reduction is an across the board action, with every family in every state experiencing the same cuts totaling for a family of four an $80.00 per month loss in food subsidies totally 5billion in federal savings.

22million children will be affected; close to half that number, 10million, are living in deep poverty and 9million are elderly or have a serious disability. Without additional legislation immediately to offset these deep cuts SNAP recipients will average less than $1.40 per meal.

The cuts will result in every person who is receiving benefits losing up to 21 meals per month.

The Department of Agriculture sets a nutritional standard with benefits determined by a mathematical equation factoring in inflation, food pricing increases, cost of living increases some of the data may be provided by supporting agencies.

The mathematical equation doesn’t factor in price index per state. Some SNAP participants may need to travel some distance in order to purchase food at a lower cost, they spend additional monies in transportation, others may be fortunate to have neighborhood groceries that sell at a low cost maximizing the benefit without subtracting from the household living expenses which in most cases are extremely limited.

Sequester cuts are not the reasons behind the cuts in SNAP benefits.  Programs directly effecting families are not subject to sequester cuts. SNAP, Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Programs, Food Stamps as well as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Welfare other programs directly effecting families are not subject to sequester cuts.

Snowden Seeking Assistance from Foreign Leaders

Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who downloaded sensitive information including security programs jeopardizing the lives of American and allied operatives, is seeking assistance from foreign leaders who are smarting from recent revelations of NSA spying.

It has been reported that Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum for one year in Russia, has reached out to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in hopes of persuading her to contact President Obama with an appeal in hopes that he will have the criminal charges dropped against the 30 year-old whistleblower.

In the week since initial reports of NSA spying on foreign heads of state surfaced reports now indicate a total of 35 foreign dignitaries were routinely monitored through an elaborate set of key words prompts which would automatically initiate recordings.

President Obama and the White House initially denied these reports. The NSA has since apologized for the monitoring procedures. All allies were briefed on security, counter-intelligence and monitoring methods with the White House issuing a conciliatory statement indicating it is “reviewing the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we properly balance protecting the security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share.”

Snowden, who is actively seeking permanent asylum, has seen an increase in possibility with each new revelation of NSA spying.  More than 50 high profiles German citizens are reportedly petitioning Chancellor Merkel to grant Snowden permanent asylum.

The White House has maintained the position that “Mr. Snowden has been charged with crimes, and he ought to return to the United States to face those charges and avail himself of all the rights available to defendants in this country.  The crimes with which he’s charged are very serious, and it’s certainly our view that the right thing to do in this case is for him to return, or be returned, to the United States to face those charges and to have his day in court,” according to Secretary Carney.

 

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

For more information on the Affordable Care Act: https://www.healthcare.gov/

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov, Daily Telegraph.com 

Haute-Lifestyle.com Fund Raising Campaign: http://igg.me/at/haute-lifestyle-funding-campaign/x/3486527

 

 

 

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