"Russia chose this brazen act aggression and moved in with its forces on a completely trumped set of pre-texts claiming that people were threatened and the fact is that is not the act of somebody who is strong that is the act of somebody who is acting out of weakness and out of a certain kind of desperation. We hope that Russia will turn this around."
Earlier, he said this about Obama's 90 minute phone call with Putin:
"The President was very strong, he made absolutely clear that this is unacceptable and there will be serious repercussions if this stands. The President asked Mr. Putin, in fact told Mr. Putin that it was imperative to find a different path, to roll back this invasion and un-do this act of invasion."
So influenced was Putin by Obama's forceful rhetoric, he took action:
Within hours, Putin asked the Russian parliament for approval to send forces into Ukraine. The vote endorsing his request was unanimous, Obama’s warning drowned out by lawmakers’ rousing rendition of Russia’s national anthem at the end of the session. Russian troops now control the Crimean Peninsula.
The lesson is clear wouldn't you say?
America has become a joke in the eyes of far too many.
There's another quirk in the Obama administration's new health insurance system: It lacks a way for consumers to quickly and easily update their coverage for the birth of a baby and other common life changes.
With regular private insurance, parents just notify the health plan. Insurers will still cover new babies, the administration says, but parents will also have to contact the government at some point later on.
Right now the HealthCare.gov website can't handle such updates.
It's a reminder that the new coverage for many uninsured Americans comes with a third party in the mix: the feds. And the system's wiring for some vital federal functions isn't yet fully connected.
It's not just having a new baby that could create bureaucratic hassles, but other life changes affecting a consumer's taxpayer-subsidized premiums. The list includes marriage and divorce, a death in the family, a new job or a change in income, even moving to a different community.
Such changes affect financial assistance available under the law, so the government has to be brought into the loop.
At least 2 million people have signed up for private health policies through new government markets under President Barack Obama's overhaul. Coverage started Wednesday, and so far things appear to be running fairly smoothly, although it may take time for problems to bubble up. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls it "a new day in health care" for millions of Americans.
Insurers say computerized "change in circumstance" updates to deal with family and life developments were supposed to have been part of the federal system from the start.
But that feature got postponed as the government scrambled to fix technical problems that overwhelmed the health care website during its first couple of months.
"It's just another example of 'We'll fix that later,'" said Bob Laszewski, an industry consultant who said he's gotten complaints from several insurer clients. "This needed to be done well before January. It's sort of a fly-by-night approach."
A fly-by-night approach could be used to describe a myriad of this administration's policies.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Tuesday that troops and their families will be asked to sacrifice
on pay and benefits to preserve readiness in an era of tighter budgets.
Hagel listed politically-charged changes to compensation and personnel policy as one of his top six priorities in reforming the military following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the department gears up to meet new challenges.
In his 35-minute speech , Hagel said his strategic vision for the department's future constantly had to be balanced against the uncertainty of funding. The overall goal, given the political gridlock in Congress, involved a tradeoff on shrinking the size of the military to maintain investments in new weapons and cyberwarfare capabilities, Hagel said.
"Destructive technologies and weapons that were once the province of advanced militaries are being sought by non-state actors and other nations," Hagel said. "This will require our continued investment in cutting-edge defensive space and cyber technologies, and capabilities like missile defense, as well as offensive technologies and capabilities to deter aggressors and respond if we must.".
The degree of difficulty in the task increased exponentially under the budget cuts, Hagel said. The Defense Department is "currently facing sequester-level cuts on the order of $500 billion over 10 years. This is in addition to the ten-year, $487 billion reduction in DoD's budget that is already underway."
"These cuts are too fast, too much, too abrupt, and too irresponsible," Hagel said. "DoD took a $37 billion sequester cut during the past fiscal year, and we could be forced to absorb a $52 billion sequester cut this fiscal year."
Yet, Hagel said he remained committed to his six priorities "for our budget and strategic planning efforts going forward" -- institutional reform, force planning, readiness, investments in emerging capabilities, balancing capacity and capability, and balancing personnel responsibilities with a sustainable compensation policy.
Hagel also echoed the themes of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who reached a consensus on foreign policy that combined the soft power of diplomacy and development with the hard power of the military to achieve what they termed "smart power." Hagel said.
How's that smart power working out for us?
It's a travesty that those we're sending into harm's way over and over again should, upon arriving home or even before, be targeted for pay and benefit cuts. A travesty made all the more egregious when one thinks of the litany of wasteful government programs geared less toward helping anyone and more toward empowering those who dream the programs into existence. Hello Obamacare.
Justin Hadley logged on to HealthCare.gov to evaluate his insurance options after his health plan was canceled. What he discovered was an apparent security flaw that disclosed eligibility letters addressed to individuals from another state.
“I was in complete shock,” said Hadley, who contacted Heritage after becoming alarmed at the breach of privacy.
Hadley, a North Carolina father, buys his insurance on the individual market. His insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, directed him to HealthCare.gov in a cancellation letter he received in September.
After multiple attempts to access the problem-plagued website, Hadley finally made it past the registration page Thursday. That’s when he was greeted with downloadable letters about eligibility — for two people in South Carolina.
The letters, dated October 8, acknowledge receipt of an application to the Health Insurance Marketplace and the eligibility of family members to purchase health coverage. One of the letters was addressed to Thomas Dougall, a lawyer from Elgin, SC.
Hadley wrote to Heritage on Thursday night and also contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers HealthCare.gov, as well as elected officials in his state. He has yet to hear back from HHS, even though HealthCare.gov still displays the personal information of the South Carolina residents on his account.
Hadley reached out to Dougall on Friday to notify him of the breach. Dougall, who spoke to Heritage this evening, said he was evaluating health care options in early October. Dougall said he was able to register on HealthCare.gov, but decided not to sign up for insurance.
“The plans they offered were grossly expensive and didn’t provide the level of care I have now,” he said.
Dougall said he never saw the October 8 letter until Hadley sent it to him Friday.
After learning of the privacy breach, Dougall spent Friday evening trying to contact representatives from HealthCare.gov to no avail; he spent an hour waiting on the telephone and an online chat session was unhelpful. He also wrote to Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC), along with Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC).
“I want my personal information off of that website,” Dougall said.
Anyone who goes to that site at this point is a complete idiot.
Imagine what would be happening in this country today, the absolute feeding frenzy that would result, if a Republican were responsible for all of this, if a Republican had told the lies that have been told to uphold it, if Republicans had been responsible for shoving it down the throats of Americans.
The calls for impeachment would ring loud but if you and I even bring up the word we're painted as extremists, racists, hate-mongers.
America is upside down.
And it seems half the country is either oblivious or apathetic.
We're in deep fecal matter... so very deep fecal matter.
CGI Federal’s parent company, Montreal-based CGI Group, was officially terminated in September 2012
by an Ontario government health agency after the firm missed three years of deadlines and failed to deliver the province’s flagship online medical registry.
The online registry was supposed to be up and running by June 2011.
Officials at the U.S. government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded six technology contracts worth $87 million to CGI Federal for Obamacare website work, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The CMS officials refused to say if federal officials knew of its parent company’s IT failure in Canada when awarding the six contracts.
CGI Federal built Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov, which went live Oct. 1 but has since experienced multiple technical problems, including crashes, refusal to load and sign-on, or to provide accurate information.
So... not only was the Obamacare IT work outsourced to a foreign country, it was outsourced to a company with a history of failing to deliver.
Next question seems obvious.
Who benefited personally by the awarding of the work to CGI Federal in the administration?
We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people," Obama told reporters at the White House. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.
"That would change my calculus; that would change my equation."
As church after church is put to the torch in Egypt by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, one of the things that is going up in flames is the reputation of President Obama.
In the past 48 hours alone, some 57 Egyptian churches have been burned to the ground in the Nile
valley. It will not be lost on the Egyptians that Mr. Obama has spent the crisis playing golf at Martha’s Vineyard.
Scores of Christians are being consumed in this conflagration, some burned beyond recognition defending their churches, even as Mr. Obama’s much-despised envoy in Egypt, Ambassador Patterson, still tries to effect a reconciliation between the the Muslim Brotherhood conducting this devastation and the Egyptians who revolted against the Brotherhood’s rule.
Mr. Obama came out against a pastoral background to urge the Egyptian military and government to take it easy on his favored Islamists and to hint at even more sanctions if they do not. As Mr. Obama retreated back to the beach, his aides warned of a cutoff of the $1.5 billion a year that American has been providing, though such aid is now being overwhelmed with a package of $12 billion that began flowing from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates only last month.
In Arab culture, such language and mannerism, including the wagging of fingers, will be seen as insulting, which at least partly explains the rush by the oil-rich countries to help the revolutionary government in Cairo. Yet America’s problem is larger than finger pointing. The Obama administration is allying itself against those fighting for a secular Arab world, a fight that is now arising across the Arab world. It may be that two decades ago the radical religious ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood won some adherents. But Arabs have long since rejected that siren. America seems to have trouble catching up.
Romans, Macedonians, Persians, Christians, Muslims, Ottomans, French and Brits, all traversed the Valley of the Nile, but the essence of Egypt remained deeply Egyptian long after they left. This is the context in which the battle with the Muslim Brotherhood has erupted.They are basically waging a war against the essense of Egypt shared by the majority of the country's 86 million citizens, both Muslims and Christians. The Brotherhood’s loss, which took a year, was predictable.
When in 2009 President Obama came to Cairo for his first major speech on foreign affairs, he simply made his remarks and walked away, thinking his “Islamist friendship message,“ coupled with his charisma, would be enough. He ignored the Christian Arabs, who have been the bridge between Western and Arab cultures since the 17th century — translators of the greatest works of arts, literature, civilization, theater, and cinema. They, as did Jews living in the Arab world, made an outsized contribution to whatever success has been made toward modernity.
The eviction of the Christians from the Arab world, as the eviction of the Jews before them, is a loss not only for the West but mostly for Arab Muslims. More importantly, it is a crime against humanity. Where is President Obama? Will his silence make him a partner in this crime?