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Wasserman Schultz: Obama Should Absolutely Be Open To Extending Enrollment Period


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: I want to go back to the first question I asked, you didn't answer specifically on what Jeanne Shaheen is calling for. That if these glitches aren't fixed in a timely manner, and everybody I've talked to in the administration says a 'timely manner' is getting this website up -- truly up and running by Dec. 1. Should there be an openness to extending the open enrollment? Should there be an openness to delaying the penalty in some form?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ, DNC CHAIR: There should absolutely be an openness to extending the open enrollment period, I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

TODD: But not the penalty?

DWS: Giving people as much opportunity to get coverage, and if we we can extend the open enrollment period, to make sure that we can continue to move forward with implementation, thats the goal. The goal is to give people the time they need to shop around, to make the comparisons, to get covered, and to make sure that when it comes to their health, they can focus on staying well.

Italian PM Raises Spying Issue During Talks With U.S. Secretary of State

ROME, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Wednesday raised the issue of alleged U.S. special service's spying on the European Union (EU) during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome, according to ANSA news agency.

According to sources from the Italian government quoted by ANSA, Letta raised concerns about reports that Italians were among millions of people to have their phone conversations intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Kerry reportedly said that the United States was "reviewing the issue." He also added that his country wanted to "find the right balance between protection of security and the privacy of citizens."

Earlier this week, Italian media said that privacy watchdog Antonello Soro has formally asked Letta's government to report on whether the communications of Italian citizens were also affected.



Russia Criticizes Results of London Diplomatic Meeting on Syria

MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday that a meeting of 11 nations on resolving the Syrian conflict resulted in a call for regime change, a challenge that upsets plans for a peace conference in Geneva.

The final document adopted at the London meeting on Tuesday “again sets regime change in Damascus as the key task, defines the National Coalition as the sole legal representative of the Syrian people, and voices a threat to use ‘all options’ to influence the violators of ‘London decisions,’” Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

“This is a poorly masked threat to return to the scenario of using military force, which is unacceptable,” said the statement, posted on the ministry’s website.

Foreign ministers of 11 countries comprising the Friends of Syria group met to discuss the preparation for the Geneva-2 conference, designed to get the Syrian government and opposition groups to meet for peace talks.

A Syrian government representative last week told journalists in Moscow that Geneva-2 would start on November 23. However, only the United Nations has the authority to set the date, and major Syrian opposition groups remain reluctant to take part.



FACT-CHECKED: Hannity's Lies Harming American Consumers

In a galling display of disregard for the public interest, Sean Hannity has been using his radio and TV show to broadcast provably false information about The Affordable Care Act. Hannity was called out by Salon in a piece called "Inside the Fox News lie machine: I fact-checked Sean Hannity on Obamacare" after he distorted the stories of three couples to imply that they were worse off under Obamacare's new rules. In fact, the couples are now able to get more coverage for less money, but Hannity did not retract his report.

By last night, Hannity's lies were corrected on the Rachel Maddow Show, in the Washington Post, Politico, Huffington Post, The Ed Show (VIDEO), and many other outlets, but Hannity refused to address all the mainstream coverage calling him out for deceit.

Consumer Reports has also chimed in, correcting statements made by Hannity, The Hill and bloggers on Breitbart.com.

Consumer Reports advised shoppers the best time to enroll in Obamacare was a few weeks off, while the current delays and glitches at HealthCare.gov are ironed out. Hannity took this out-of-context, squealing in a segment to Ann Coulter, "Consumer Reports, Ann, they're telling people, 'Stay away from the website!' " when just the opposite was true. Consumer Reports has unequivocally endorsed the exchange as the best place to purchase health care.

Because Hannity was again misleading the public, Consumer Reports had to issue a statement so Americans can get basic buying advice from the nation's leading consumer reporting experts.



Thousands Expected At Rally Against Mass NSA Surveillance (Saturday)

The National Security Agency's opponents are moving out of the courts and onto the streets in a demonstration against mass surveillance on Saturday.

A coalition of groups called StopWatching.Us, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union and the Libertarian Party, is planning a rally for thousands in Washington to continue pressuring Congress to respond to the revelations of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Snowden, a former NSA employee, leaked thousands of documents about the agency's surveillance operations to journalists.

"We started with rallies where members of Congress are from, and now we're going to where they work," said Charlie Furman, a campaign manager for the online advocacy group Demand Progress who is helping organize the event. "This is something we aren't going to stop caring about."

Supporters listed on the rally website include groups like an Ohio tea party group and the Green Party. Companies Ben & Jerry's and Reddit are both sponsors. And Rep. John Conyers Jr., (D-Mich.), who teamed up with Republican Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) on a failed amendment to end one NSA surveillance program, appears in an online video released Wednesday to build support for the group.

"I think that's a very real strength, to say that people are coming together when we disagree on so many different things," said Furman.



Some Dems Say Obama Needs To Fire Those Responsible For Problem With HealthCare.gov Website

October 23, 2013 - 12:20 pm

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are worried about persistent problems with the rollout of President Barack Obama's health care law — and one says the president needs to "man up" and fire those responsible.

Rep. Richard Nolan, Democrat of Minnesota, emerged from a Wednesday meeting with administration officials on Capitol Hill and told reporters the rollout has "damaged the brand" of the health care law.

Democrats facing re-election in 2014 were hoping to run on the law's new benefits for millions of uninsured Americans. Instead, a litany of computer problems is keeping consumers from signing up and buying insurance on the health care exchanges.

Nolan said, "The president needs to man up, find out who was responsible, and fire them." He did not name anyone.



Russia Drops Piracy Claims Vs Greenpeace Activists

Source: Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's main investigative agency says it has dropped piracy charges against jailed Greenpeace activists and charged them with hooliganism instead.

The Investigative Committee's statement Wednesday appears to herald a quick release of the activists, who were arrested last month for a protest at Russian oil rig in the Arctic. The piracy charges carry a 15-year prison term, while hooliganism is usually punished by 15 days in jail or a fine.

The move follows a comment by President Vladimir Putin, who said last month that he doesn't think the Greenpeace activists are pirates.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/russia-drops-piracy-claims-vs-greenpeace-activists

Court Rules Probable-Cause Warrant Required for GPS Trackers

An appellate court has finally supplied an answer to an open question left dangling by the Supreme Court in 2012: Do law enforcement agencies need a probable-cause warrant to affix a GPS tracker to a target’s vehicle?

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals gave a resounding yes to that question today in a 2 to 1 decision.

“Today’s decision is a victory for all Americans because it ensures that the police cannot use powerful tracking technology without court supervision and a good reason to believe it will turn up evidence of wrongdoing,” said ACLU attorney Catherine Crump in a statement. “These protections are important because where people go reveals a great deal about them, from who their friends are, where they visit the doctor and where they choose to worship.”

It’s the first appeals court ruling in the wake of United States v. Jones, a Supreme Court case involving a convicted drug dealer. In that case, the Supreme Court justices ruled in January 2012 that law enforcement’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment. The justices declined to rule at the time, however, on whether such a search was unreasonable and therefore required a warrant.

A number of court cases in the wake of Jones have grappled with the question of GPS trackers, but all of these cases have involved the use of GPS trackers prior to the Supreme Court decision. In these cases, the courts had to decide whether evidence obtained through the use of GPS trackers was still admissible in light of the Supreme Court decision. Several courts around the country have ruled that the evidence gathered prior to the Supreme Court ruling can be submitted in court because investigators were acting in good faith at the time, relying on what were then binding rulings in several U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal that authorized the use of warrantless GPS trackers for surveillance.



Alan Grayson Compares Tea Party To KKK: ‘If The Hood Fits, Wear It’

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is not backing down about a flippant remark comparing Tea Party Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan into a fundraising message despite criticism from at least one opponent.

“Members of the Tea Party have engaged in relentless racist attacks against our African-American President,” Grayson said in a statement to WKMG-TV published on Tuesday. “There is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the hood fits, wear it.”

Grayson’s latest fundraising email includes an image of a burning cross with the caption, “Now you know what the ‘T’ stands for” and a transcript of his interview on Monday with MSNBC host Al Sharpton, during which he stated that after the country lost $24 billion during the GOP-engineered government shutdown, Americans “want their money back, and the Tea Party out of their lives. At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.”

The message was quickly rejected by Tea Party members in Grayson’s region, including activist Jason Hoyt, who also insulted Sharpton.



Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s Popularity Takes Big Hit Back Home Over Shutdown Debacle

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:21 EDT

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is in hot water with his constituents over the role he played in the shutdown of the federal government, which was engineered by far-right conservatives in a vain attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.

According to Talking Points Memo, both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal carried stories on Wednesday reporting that Lee’s popularity has taken a sharp hit in the wake of the shutdown fiasco, leading some Republicans to talk of fielding a primary opponent for the erstwhile tea party darling.

The Post claimed that for many years, Utah has been represented in the Senate by pragmatic, business-minded Republicans whose ideology was tempered by an interest in keeping the machine of government operational. Lee, on the other hand, has angered longtime party stalwarts and supporters by following Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on what many saw as a fool’s errand, the federal shutdown and the threats to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

President A. Scott Anderson of Utah’s Zions Bank — founded by Mormonism’s spiritual leader, Brigham Young — told the Post that Lee’s no-compromise form of governing is bad for business.


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