Tuesday, 03 December 2013


Ken Berwitz

Would you put personal information on a public web site that has no security mechanism built into it?

If so, you should be thrilled with the supposedly "improved" and "fixed" version of healthcare.gov, also known as ObamaCare.

Excerpted from Matthew J. Belvedere's article for cnbc.com (and it is far, far from the only one):

It could take a year to secure the risk of "high exposures" of personal information on the federal Obamacare online exchange, a cybersecurity expert told CNBC on Monday.

"When you develop a website, you develop it with security in mind. And it doesn't appear to have happened this time," said David Kennedy, a so-called "white hat" hacker who tests online security by breaching websites. He testified on Capitol Hill about the flaws of HealthCare.gov last week.

"It's really hard to go back and fix the security around it because security wasn't built into it," said Kennedy, chief executive of TrustedSec. "We're talking multiple months to over a year to at least address some of the critical-to-high exposures on the website itself."

Another online security expert-who spoke at last week's House hearing and then on CNBC-said the federal Obamacare website needs to be shut down and rebuilt from scratch. Morgan Wright, CEO of Crowd Sourced Investigations said: "There's not a plan to fix this that meets the sniff test of being reasonable."

Last month, a Sept. 27 government memorandum surfaced in which two HHS officials said the security of the site had not been properly tested before it opened, creating "a high risk."

Kennedy said those state-operated exchanges also face security risks. "These are going to be a large area for attack." He pointed to a problem on the Vermont website on Friday. Officials overseeing the Vermont Health Connect website confirmed a security breach on the system last month.

When it comes to securing personal information online, Kennedy cited Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter as models for the industry. He even said the IRS website does regular testing to help "ensure that when the websites come out they're protected."

So how come private enterprise - which does not have the limitless resources of government - can put together secure web sites, but the government - with its limitless resources - cannot?  And how come web site development for private enterprise was a minuscule fraction of the insane $400 - 634 millon taxpayer dollars Obama & Co. shelled out for the sick joke that ObamaCare's web site is?

And why are so many of our wonderful, "neutral" media not SCREAMING at the top of their lungs, demanding answers to those obvious, basic questions?

ObamaCare is an unworkable monstrosity.  And, making matters exponentially worse, it apparently is a feast of feasts for hackers and identity thieves to boot.

I wonder how many people who joined mainstream media in sneering out opprobria against Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are starting to consider the possibility that they were right - maybe more than starting to, and outright agreeing with them.

Quite a few, I'll bet.  And who can blame them?

Zeke . . . . . On Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto” [Oct 2] computer programmer and founder of McAfee, Inc. John McAfee said the online component of Obamacare “is a hacker’s wet dream” that will cause “the loss of income for the millions of Americans who are going to lose their identities.” . . . . (12/03/13)


It doesn't get more overt than this.

Excerpted from Rachel Barnhart's account at rochesterhomepage.net:

Three Edison students who were charged with disorderly conduct pleaded not guilty in court.

The boys were with about a dozen basketball teammates Wednesday morning on Main Street waiting for a school bus to take them to a scrimmage at Aquinas. There was no school that day and their coach had arranged for a pick-up at a central meeting spot.

An officer asked the boys to disperse and they refused. The young men say they tried to explain to him they were waiting for a school bus. The officer arrested three of the players.

"We didn't do nothing," said Raliek Redd. "We was just trying to go to our scrimmage."

"We was just waiting for our bus and he started arrested us," said Wan'Tauhjs Weathers.

"You just downtown, minding your own business, and next thing you know, anything can happen," said Daequon Carelock.

The report does not accuse the boys of using abusive or obscense language.

Their coach, Jacob Scott, who is also a district guidance counselor, arrived at the location as the three students were placed in handcuffs. Scott said he pleaded with the officer to let the boys go, saying he was supervising them.

"He goes on to say, 'If you don't disperse, you're going to get booked as well,'" Scott said. "I said, 'Sir, I'm the adult. I'm their varsity basketball coach. How can you book me? What am I doing wrong? Matter of fact, what are these guys doing wrong?'"

"One of the police officers actually told me, if he had a big enough caravan, he would take all of us downtown," Scott said. 

Rochester school board member Mary Adams showed up to the arraignment.

"I think the charges should be immediately dropped and I think the district attorney's office should be stepping in an looking at these kinds of matters," Adams said.

A trial date has been set for December 11.

A trial?  For WHAT?  

Read the above excerpts, then use the link I've provided and read the entire article.  I dare you to find anything at all.

This is about as clear a case of young people being hassled specifically and exclusively because they are Black, as any you will ever come across. 

Instead of having to post bail and go to trial, every one of these young people - and their coach/guidance counselor - should have all charges dropped and a formal written apology handed to them. 
Accompanying that apology, there should be a commitment that the police force will deal with the officers and sergeant involved within proper administrative guidelines - along with a strongly worded directive to them, and the overall police force, that such behavior will result in significant employment - maybe even legal - repercussions.

Real racism. It comes in all forms, from all sources. No group is immune to it, or from it. Certainly not police personnel who consider young Black schoolchildren doing nothing but waiting for a bus, to be engaged in criminal activity.

One other thing:  While I am assuming the writer of the article, Rachel Barnhart, accurately relayed the exact quotes of these students, was it really necessary to make certain we saw every grammar and syntax error - especially in an article with this type of subject matter?  What does it accomplish, other than giving racists an opportunity to say "see, they don't speak good English", as if their English skills had anything to do with what happened.

It could have been handled differently.  And I wish it had been.

Zeke .... .... ..... NO, No, NO ! . . . . . . This shows a Diversity-Sensitive action by the Po-lise. . . . Student-athletes are criminals - even if they are INNOCENT of any criminal activity. . . . . This was clearly established in the Duke Lacrosse case . [ where the DA prosecuted 3 players for the non-rape of a skank who had been hired to perform as an exotic dancer. ] . . . . . So as not to be prejudiced, the Rochester (a Jack Benny joke?) fuzz gave the Boyz the exact same treatment -- steel bracelets for no earthly reason. . . . . . (12/03/13)

DRKKNIGHT Free, I agree with you 100%. Unlike corp America where they supposively teach diversity training there is not enough training for the police department which is why they had to go to video tape, audio would be a great addition so we can hear what transpired between the the suspect and the police officers. Personally for me I would like to see all law enforcement personnel to go through some cultural diversity training and make that a annual requirement. I would also like to add that I have the upmost respect for law enforcement officers I know that there job is not easy, I am making no excuses for their behavior nor do I condone it. I would also like to add that there is too much racial profiling going on not just with police departments but unfortunately in corp America as well. I know first had about that. Thank you Ken once again to open my eyes to not only this story, but the Charles Schwab discrimination/ bullying story and of course the Hobby Lobby story. (12/05/13)

free` Something doesn't sound right. I wish the police were required to at a minimum tape record all interactions with the public. Video and sound would be best, but as I said at least at a minimum a voice recorder. (12/03/13)

free` DRKKNIGHT, It isn't your computer, you have to refresh the page after you post. I think we have all had that happen to us at one time or another. :) (12/06/13)

DRKKNIGHT Free, I agree with you 100%. Unlike corp America where they supposively teach diversity training there is not enough training for the police department which is why they had to go to video tape, audio would be a great addition so we can hear what transpired between the the suspect and the police officers. Personally for me I would like to see all law enforcement personnel to go through some cultural diversity training and make that a annual requirement. I would also like to add that I have the upmost respect for law enforcement officers I know that there job is not easy, I am making no excuses for their behavior nor do I condone it. I would also like to add that there is too much racial profiling going on not just with police departments but unfortunately in corp America as well. I know first had about that. Thank you Ken once again to open my eyes to not only this story, but the Charles Schwab discrimination/ bullying story and of course the Hobby Lobby story. (12/05/13)

DRKKNIGHT Sorry for the double pos,t new computer still working out the bugs (12/05/13)


Ken Berwitz

This is the easiest blog in the world to write -- because it consists of nothing other than realclearpolitics.com's chart of major polls measuring President Obama's approval ratings over the past three weeks - even as mainstream media kept building the public's anticipation of a new, improved web site:

President Obama Job Approval 







RCP Average

11/10 - 12/2






11/30 - 12/2

1500 A




Rasmussen Reports

11/26 - 12/2

1500 LV





11/22 - 11/26

1191 A




The Economist/YouGov

11/23 - 11/25

1000 A




CNN/Opinion Research

11/18 - 11/20





CBS News

11/15 - 11/18

1010 A




ABC News/Wash Post

11/14 - 11/17





FOX News

11/10 - 11/12

1006 RV




All President Obama Job Approval Polling Data

Any questions?


Ken Berwitz

The horror stories regarding Charles Schwab - specifically the bullying and discrimination stories - continue to come my way.

Here are three more from among those I have received in the past week (there are others to choose from as well) - two of which apparently are from Schwab's Phoenix office and one of which came in the form of an email with the writer's actual name, which I am intentionally withholding to protect him/her from repercussions:

-Good morning Ken, I can no long sit back and continue to read these horror stories about Charles Schwab without sharing my story with you. I too was forced out of Schwab because I spoke up during a town hall with senior leaders about an issue in which I felt was important and was not getting any real answers from my managers and or director. They would continually dance around the issue and would not provide answers. We were all warned to keep quiet and not say anything. The right thing to do morally was to talk about the adverse, confrontational atmosphere we were in and being subjected to along with the scrutinizing unrealistic deadlines that we were issued. I brought my concerns up the our HR representative to only find out that they are there to protect the managers and cover up any and all issues. I applied to a half a dozen other positions within the organization to not ever receive a call for an interview. One day after work, I walked up to a hiring manager and asked her point blank if she was still hiring and she said yes, I then informed her that I had applied for your open position she looked it up and said I would not be a good candidate when I asked why she said your manager will update you or you will hear back from the recruiter. I later learned that I was being blacklisted as I received virtually the same information back on the other positions that I had applied to. Please keep in mind I was not on any written or verbal warnings. Shortly after that my managers felt the need to gang up on me and intimidate me, alienate me from the rest of the team. I also learned that the managers would plan on having team outings/ Happy hour get togethers on the days I was out on vacation and or if I had called in sick. This occurred on a couple of instances, personally I do not believe in coincidences this was very deliberate. Some of my co- workers wanted to stand up for me but where petrified of what the managers may do to them. Things got so bad to the point in I left the company to work at another firm. Discrimination, bullying of any kind either out in public, schools or in the work place should not be tolerated by anyone.

-It is about time that former Schwabbies come to the defense of former employees that have endured the same behavior as Mr. LaBell has encountered. Schwab was once a great company to work for. Unfortunately that environment no longer exists. I think if Chuck knew that his company was bullying it's employees this type of behavior would end. Mark LaBell was a great person to work with.

-I was doing some research for a college course that I am taking on Public Policy and Government, when I came across some blogs that you had been writing about that had to do with my former employer. Charles Schwab & company. I was an employee for about two and a half years before I left last year. I was working at the call center at the Phoenix location. I can relate to the person you have been writing about as for me I completely felt as if I was being ostracized. I am not of the Jewish faith but I have many friends that are, however I am a gay male who would continually receive both glaring and scrutinizing looks from management. There were even several days where management would completely ignore me and walk right past me to talk to someone else as if I was not even there or if I was talking to a co-worker the other person would be called away from talking to me. I attended a few meetings with a (Pride group) which is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender group. The reason I did not attend more meetings is because of the overwhelming feeling I had of not only being ostracized by the managers but they put the fear of heck into you almost on a daily basis. There were some days I was just afraid to even get out of bed and or leave the house. Some of the employees are great to work with but mid- level managers that is a completely different story, it is almost like Jekyll and Hyde atmosphere. I hope this will give you some additional insight to what some people have experienced while working at Charles Schwab.

What is going on at Charles Schwab?

At this point I think it necessary to remind readers that I am not actively soliciting people to tell me about their experiences working for Schwab.  They are finding me.

Let me also point out that I am not that easy to find:  I don't solicit "likes" on facebook, or do any tweeting to boom up traffic.  Readership of hopelesslypartisan.com is exclusively - so far, at least - from word of mouth.  

For this reason, I strongly suspect the people who allegedly have had these problems with Schwab (I acknowledge now, as before, that I have no way of knowing for certain), are actively seeking outlets to talk about them...which, in turn, suggests that Schwab itself either is not seen as being, or in fact has not been, responsive to their situations.

Maybe at some point, the company will be.  Until then, if "schwabbies" continue to contact me, I will continue to pass their stories along.

tania Tilley Charles Schwab received notification of an illegal account being opened in my name. The account was immediately closed by Schwab and I was told everything would be handled internally. In 2006 I received notification of a tax debt of 1.7 million when I was garnished and my bank account was cleared. In 2007 I requested mediation but Schwab refused. In 2009 I received a Court Order transferring account and reissue of tax documentation to IRS with the felon known by them at the time the account was closed. They still refused. They also refused to release information that would prove my innocence. They withheld evidence until 2013. My life has been destroyed and I need the attention of the press to get something resolved. Single mother of five, crushed by monster firm Charles Schwab. The total debt due is now 2.8 million dollars. It is extremely hard to get housing with such a large debt. People run the other way. (02/10/14)

Mark LaBell I am by no means a disgruntled ex-employee as I did everything I could to take myself out of a hostile work environment and transfer to another department but to no avail. I resent that fact that you think that every person who has left a post about their work experience at Charles Schwab as being disgruntled. I believe that they too were either discriminated against and or bullied by a manager and higher. Everything that I have described to Ken is 100% factual. I am the kind of person that tells it like it is whether you like it or not. I am very honest and straight forward with people. (12/03/13)

lynch mob I do not wish to add any more fuel to this already engulfed inferno. I am a retired HR professional and as I read these horrific allegations of discrimination and bullying especially in the day and age of the anti-bullying campaign which is going on nationally. I find myself with the writer Ken Berwitz as this actions are intolerable and I for one am rooting for you. The information that you have provided back in October. The correct the term “ constructive discharge” means constructive dismissal. Constructive discharge, occurs when employees resign because their employer's behavior has become so intolerable or heinous or made life so difficult that the employee has no choice but to resign. Since the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is in effect a termination. Believe it or not, this happens all too often especially at large companies such as Charles Schwab. (12/03/13)

DRKKNIGHT It took a while but there appears to a huge pattern that at least dates back to 1993. Please see for yourselves. SAN FRANCISCO, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing a "reasonable impression of partiality," in an order filed May 27, 1993, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lucy McCabe disqualified the NASD from arbitrating claims for wrongful termination, sex and age discrimination brought against Charles R. Schwab and others by former Schwab Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Barbara Wolfe. While this claim was pending before the NASD, Schwab accepted a three-year position on the NASD board of governors. Mrs. Wolfe is seeking damages in excess of $8 million. Schwab's Highest Ranking Female Executive At the time of her termination last year, Wolfe was Schwab's senior female executive and had been an employee for 16-1/2 years. She has been described by Charles R. Schwab as a company founder. In October of 1992, Schwab secured a court order compelling Mrs. Wolfe's suit out of court and into arbitration before the NASD. At that time it had not been disclosed -- either to Mrs. Wolfe or to the court -- that Charles R. Schwab had either just been, or was about to be, elected to the NASD's board of governors. On May 21, 1993, prompted by what she termed a "reasonable impression of partiality," on part of the NASD, Judge McCabe rescinded her earlier order and ordered the arbitration to proceed instead before the NYSE. EEOC Complaint also filed Mrs. Wolfe's suit names former employers Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., The Charles Schwab Corporation, and five senior male executives of the companies, including David Pottruck, Schwab's president and chief executive officer. Mrs. Wolfe has also filed a complaint regarding her termination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Retaliatory Discharge In her complaint, Mrs. Wolfe alleges that she was wrongfully terminated for discharging her responsibilities under Schwab's internal policies governing business conduct, including Schwab's Manager's Guide To Business Conduct, and Employee's Guide to Business Conduct. Mrs. Wolfe claims she was terminated to silence her opposition to the behavior of David Pottruck, who as Schwab's new president and chief executive officer, has assumed Mrs. Wolfe's former responsibilities over Schwab's Human Resources and Compliance departments. As alleged in Mrs. Wolfe's complaint, Mr. Pottruck's unethical behavior included: -- Attempt to induce Schwab management to hire females with whom Mr. Pottruck had a relationship and his brother; -- Use of a limousine company that Mr. Pottruck owned himself, for which Schwab was billed at market rates even though the chauffeur was already being compensated by Schwab; and -- Mr. Pottruck's habit of dealing with female employees in a manner which had caused several complaints to be raised with Schwab's Human Resources department. Earlier this year another former Schwab female executive sued the firm for sex and age discrimination, and for reporting "irregularities" in a Schwab subsidiary. -0- 6/2/93 /CONTACT: Deborah Ballati for Schwab, 415-954-4426/ (12/07/13)

Wow Wow! Someone I know is going through hell in sf now too! This is crazy shit and I am glad this blog exists. Might get worse before it gets better so I will leave names out (12/10/13)

DRKNIGHT Ken you uncovered the issue at Hobby Lobby and now you have the insight to what is going on at Charles Schwab what is your take on this situation. I was surfing the web when I came across this article, Personally, I am on the side of the ex- employee as it does seem there are a number of discrimination and or bullying occurrences that to me do not appear to be from disgruntled ex-employees. What is religious discrimination? Religious discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment because of their religion, their religious beliefs and practices, and/or their request for accommodation (a change in a workplace rule or policy) of their religious beliefs and practices. It also includes treating individuals differently in their employment because of their lack of religious belief or practice. If you have been rejected for employment, fired, harassed or otherwise harmed in your employment because of your religion, your religious beliefs and practices, and/or your request for accommodation of their religious beliefs and practices, you may have suffered unlawful religious discrimination. Some workers experiencing religious discrimination may also experience other forms of illegal discrimination as well, such as national origin discrimination, immigration/citizenship status discrimination, and/or race discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based on religion. Title VII makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment, such as promotions, raises, and other job opportunities. Title VII also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee, unless to do so would create an “undue hardship” upon the employer. Flexible scheduling, voluntary substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and lateral transfers are examples of ways of accommodating an employee's religious beliefs. Most states also have laws that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion. Some states may also provide additional protections for workers against religious discrimination, and may provide additional requirements beyond those required under federal law for accommodating the religious practices of employees. For more information, please see our page on state religious discrimination laws. You should start by letting your employer know that there is a conflict between your religious observances and your work schedule. When your employer's workplace policies interfere with your religious practices, you can ask for what is called a “reasonable accommodation:” a change in a workplace rule or policy which would allow you to engage in a religious practice without conflicting with your work obligations. Your employer is required to provide you with such an accommodation unless it would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer's business, defined as an accommodation that is too costly or difficult to provide. It is important for you to work closely with your employer to find an appropriate accommodation. If the accommodation would impose a burden on the employer that cannot be resolved, the employer is not required to allow the accommodation. Many accommodations, however, do not require any monetary or administrative burdens. Whether your employer can accommodate your religious practices will depend upon the nature of the work and the workplace. Usually, your employer can allow you to use lunch or other break times for religious prayer. If you require additional time for prayer, your employer can require you to make up the time. Employers must give time off for the Sabbath or holy days except in an emergency, unless the employee works in key health and safety occupations or the employee's presence is critical to the company on any given day. This time off does not have to be paid, however. If employees don't come to work, employers may give them leave without pay, may require the amount of time to be made up, or may allow the employee to charge the time against any other leave with pay, except sick pay. The Stress of Workplace Discrimination What Can Employers and Employees Do? By Michelle K. Massie, Monster Contributing Writer When Audrey Murrell's mother was a biology student in the 1950s, she was told that she had to wait for all the white students to finish their experiments before she could use the lab. Fast-forward to the 1980s, when Murrell was a graduate student herself. The discrimination she faced was not as blatant but just as real. She was excluded from study groups, and other students would take all the copies of homework assignments before she could get one. "You're left with this feeling of ‘is this discrimination, or is it me, or is it them?'" says Murrell, associate professor of business administration and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. "You know it's them, [but] it's just harder to prove, because it's not obvious discrimination." Discrimination in the workplace and academia leads to more than just a bad day. It takes a toll on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of employees and students. "There are two broad categories of overt discrimination -- threats and intimidation," says Murrell, who for the past 15 years has researched issues such as affirmative action, workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and mentoring practices. "It's clear [these are] discrimination. Then there are subtle forms of discrimination that are more challenging and harder to detect." Workplace Discrimination Is Common Forty-six percent of African American workers believe they have been treated unfairly by their employers, compared with 10 percent of whites, according to a 2002 Rutgers University study, "A Workplace Divided: How Americans View Discrimination and Race on the Job." The study also found 28 percent of African Americans and 22 percent of Hispanics/Latinos have experienced workplace discrimination, compared with 6 percent of whites. The feelings of hopelessness, mistrust, despair and alienation common among people facing bias don't stop at the end of the workday. Stress and depression don't just affect employees at work but also at home among family, friends and loved ones. Hard to Ask for Help A related issue is the stigma that still surrounds mental health and illness in the African American community. "There's this belief that we have to appear strong at all times," Murrell says. "Many of us don't believe in going to a therapist and discussing our personal business with a stranger. [But] bias and the way it affects our physical and emotional state has very real consequences. Employers have to take notice as well, because these things will negatively impact performance." What Should Employers Do? Murrell says employers can address workplace bias through the following actions: Recognize the difference between job level and job title. An employee may be granted a particular title, but if the level of responsibility and challenges haven't changed, the worker can feel he is being appeased and that he isn't fully trusted or valued within the organization. Examine barriers to both entry and advancement. Study companies that consistently do things right. Pay attention to diversity leaders, and integrate their best practices into your workplace culture. Concentrate on targeted recruitment strategies. Create focused employee-development initiatives such as formal mentorship programs that equalize resources and facilitate diversity. Form affinity or diversity groups within the company. What Should Employees Do? Workers also play an important part. According to Murrell, they should: Participate in company-sponsored affinity and networking groups. Join external professional organizations. Develop informal social support networks made up of people who can offer insight into workplace issues. Consider therapy or counseling. Community-based employee assistance programs also offer more holistic approaches to dealing with workplace issues. Seek out a job coach who can help you move to the next level in your career. Keep a detailed log of events in case you decide to file a complaint with your supervisors, human resources department, union, a lawyer and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). "Today's discrimination is a lot more subtle," Murrell says. "If we don't tell younger people out there that discrimination has taken a different form, then they'll think they're the problem." (12/04/13)

Church_Guy I would like to tip my hat off to both you Ken for bringing up another great topic like the Hobby Lobby in which you exposed a company for anti-Semitism and this discrimination bullying issue that is going on with Charles Schwab who also may be showing signs of anti-Semitism. And to the individual who brought this issue up in the first place. Thank you that took a tremendous amount of courage to come forward. For nearly 30 years, I worked for one company and went through a dozen or so different managers and never had any problems like what these folks have reported to you. It is a shame that there are still very ignorant people in this country. My wife and I were watching TV last night, ABC what would you do. We saw a story about not only racism but discrimination and how the theme was "people need to step up" to ignorance and say enough is enough. If you go online and see for yourself the story on Interracial Couple Faces Criticism, pay close attention to the HR executive and diversity trainer. If this does not move you then you truly have no heart. The message I received from reading your posts and the post of others including yours Ken is very clear that they did stand up and say enough and what did they have to show for themselves? Nothing they lost their jobs and or were forced out because they chose not to put up with the discrimination or bullying anymore. What does this say about corporate America? (12/04/13)

Church_Guy Update: I called Charles Schwab today to see if I could get any answers as to what is going on. I never made it to Charles Schwab personally, I did not even get passed a customer service representative they refused to answer any questions. They are very tight lipped over there which leads me to believe that there is something for certain going on over there, Ken have you tried to reach out to Charles Schwab? (12/05/13)

lynch mob Are these Horror stories? Or are they gripes from disgruntled ex- employees. (12/03/13)

Ken Berwitz lynch: an excellent question. The answer, of course, is that I don't know, which is why I always add a disclaimer. But I have to say that most of the correspondence I'm getting seems heartfelt - and the more I get, the more I am persuaded that, even if some of it might be from disgruntled employees who are making things up, there also are sincere accounts of an ugly culture at this company. (12/03/13)


Church_Guy Nice work DRKKNIGHT, you are quite the sleuth. It appears like Ken that you guys have discovered potentially at least by the looks of it corporate cover up. I am reminded of this moving and inspiring quote from a truly remarkable man with a great vision. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ― Nelson Mandela (12/07/13)

EA Add me to the list. I gad worked for Schwab for 8 years when I was bullied and forced to sign a fabricated letter indicating my guilt for an action I did not commit if I wanted to keep my job ( less bonuses and any potential pay raises). I allowed the cohersion so I could pursue a new job while employed. I had proof of my innocence but it did not matter to them. Traumatic and caustic experience which still haunts me. Caused health issues in my family as well. (01/13/15)


Ken Berwitz

You can't say the New York Times isn't trying.

Today's lead editorial is titled "Fast Recovery for Health Care Website", and its first paragaph puts about as rosy a spin on the ObamaCare web site as possible.

The problem, however, is that the ObamaCare web site is anything but rosy, and most of the rest of this editorial goes through hoops to try and present it in whatever positive light the editorial board can dream up.  Only in the last two paragraphs - which many readers probably never get to - does some of the grim reality come out.

Let me show you, by posting the editorial - in rust - with my comments in blue:

The Obama administration says it has made enormous improvements in its website for enrolling consumers in new health insurance plans. There are still major hurdles to surmount, but the strides made raise the prospects that the website will be able to help millions of Americans buy policies from private insurers on new insurance exchanges, either by Dec. 23, the deadline for policies that will take effect on Jan. 1, or by March 31, the deadline for taking out coverage without being fined. There will be federal subsidies to help those on modest incomes pay the premiums. Voila!! It's alive, it's alive!!  What a great "recovery".  What a President we have.  And that Kathleen Sebelius?  A veritable Princess on earth (sorry, PC fans, I don't know the gender-neutral version of Princess).  Unfortunately, however, there is a bit more.

The website, HealthCare.gov, was supposed to be ready on Oct. 1, but an array of technical problems made it impossible for all but a trickle of customers to compare policies and enroll in a plan. Now the fun starts.  "An array of technical problems?"  That's what the Times calls it?  How about "after three years and over half a billion dollars pissed away on who knows what, virtually nothing worked right"?  That's what happened, isn't it?  For some weeks in October, the site was down 60 percent of the time. That dire situation at the front end of the process has been largely corrected through a frantic repair effort over the past five weeks, but it won't be enough unless the final back-end stage of enrollment is fixed as well. Aha - there's a taste of the reality part.  But why not tell us about that "back-end" - like, for example, the payment mechanism is not even built yet?  Or would doing so burst the Obama bubble by showing the web site's "Fast Recovery" to be the joke that it is?

On Sunday, the administration issued a progress report asserting that the system was running smoothly for a vast majority of users, that the site was now working more than 90 percent of the time, and that consumers were getting much better feedback from the site than before. Thanks to software and hardware improvements, the average page is loading in less than a second compared with an average of 8 seconds in late October, and the number of frustrating error messages that block people from using the site has fallen below 1 percent.  Nicely constructed.  An entire paragraph stating nothing other than the Administration's claims.  How many readers will fail to notice that these are not facts, but Obama propaganda? 

The administration estimated that the site could support 50,000 users at the same time, that users spend an average of 20 to 30 minutes on it, and that the site can support 800,000 visits a day. We won't know how accurate those projections are until that many users try to use it. The website serves 36 states, but many other states have set up their own exchanges, several of which are working better than the federal exchanges. Some are in worse shape. Translation:  The Times has no idea at all if things are working well, therefore no idea if there has been a "fast recovery" or any recovery at all.

The big challenge ahead is to upgrade the back-end systems that transmit information to insurance companies so that they can complete the enrollment process. Consumers have until Dec. 23 to sign up for policies effective on Jan. 1, leaving only three weeks to solve the back-end problem. In some cases, insurers have no record of some people who think they have enrolled or have received inaccurate or incomplete information for some enrollees. One big problem is that some insurers say they have not been told what subsidies a customer will get and what premium should be paid by the customer.

If those problems can't be fixed quickly, the administration will need to find alternate ways for people to enroll and get subsidies without going through the website. Bingo.  Only people who read the final two paragraphs find out that the web site is still a disaster.

Pity the poor Obama-loving New York Times.  It tries so hard to make lemonade out of this lemon, but it still comes out like a lemon anyway.

On the bright side, however, maybe this latest foray into BSville will convince a few more of the people who have not yet realized it until now, that the New York Times editorial page has degenerated into a mix of fantasy and dishonesty.  To that extent, it might be worth something after all.

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