RUSH: So I got out of bed and I have to admit I was a little worried. I went to the wall plate and I hit the button for the blackout shades, and they began to open. And then I hit the button for the solar shades, and they began to open. And then I got the courage to actually walk to the window, and I looked out there, you know what I saw? I saw a blue sky. And I felt such relief, I can't tell you, my friends. Yes, I saw a blue sky. I saw at least three-quarters of all essential birds up at work and singing. I guess the nonessential birds got the day off.
School kids, I found out, are still gonna get breakfast, lunch, snack, ecstasy, whatever else they get, still on display and still in plentiful supply. All of the welfare checks and all of the food stamp cards are still usable. They have not been shut down. Everybody in Obama's base depending on government is going to have a fine day, even though CNN is now got another clock up. Yesterday they had their countdown clock. Now they've got a count going on the length of time the government has been shut down.
Look, I don't mean to sound off-putting here, but I have been doing this for 25 years, and as a result -- you've been alive for all this time, I mean, most of you have. It's amazing how similar all of this is. It's amazing the formula that exists here. It's amazing the absence of any real news about what is happening in this country. It is nothing more than a template and a narrative that's dragged out, pulled out of a drawer, that's held for every time something like this happens.
And everything that's been said about every government shutdown in my lifetime is being said. Well, except I didn't even know when the government was shut down during the Reagan years, and there were a lot of times when it was. I didn't even know it. I think the government was shut down seven times during the Reagan years. I have to look up the number, but it was a significant number. But a big deal wasn't made of that.
The first government shutdown that was actually treated as the end of life as we know it was in 1995, and that's provided the template and the narrative ever since. It's breathtaking to watch this because it's so wrong. It's so absent of any reality and substance and fact. The shutdown's not even the story today. The story is this is the first day the Obamacare exchanges are open and it is a disaster. Reporter after reporter has been going to HealthCare.gov, trying to log on and buy an insurance policy, and it is an absolute mess.
I thought about appointing myself national navigator. Have you seen the story? Apparently there are at HealthCare.gov, both at the brick-and-mortar locations and at the Department of Health and Human Services, whoever's running this show, and the website, there are navigators. They are there to help people navigate the process. And the memo has gone out to the navigators from the government. "As Obamacare enrollment begins, the Department of Health and Human Services has a helpful tip for the program’s so-called Navigators: 'Do not leave documents that contain PII [Personally Identifiable Information] or tax return information on printers and fax machines.' The warning is contained in Section 2.4.3 of the 207-page Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual."
Are you kidding me? We have a 207-page operators manual for the people running Obamacare. A 207-page operator manual! If you went out and bought an iPhone and it had a 207-page operator manual, you would take it back. If you bought anything that had a 207-page operator manual, other than your car, and those things every other page is a safety warning designed to keep the lawyers off everybody's back. You'd take it back. But here's a 207-page operator manual, and they have such little confidence in the people they've hired to do this, they have to remind them, "By the way, don't leave people's tax returns lying around the office." "By the way, don't leave any of their personally identifiable information on printers or in fax machines."
The same section of the 207-page operators manual asks navigators "to 'double-check' the fax number before faxing Obamacare enrollee’s tax returns." Get this. "When faxing PII or tax return information, double-check that the recipient’s fax number is correct and that someone is able to pick up the faxed information immediately." Holy smokes, folks, if they have to remind people of that, do you realize, you're worried about the NSA; you need to be worried about the Obamacare navigators!
Anyway, it's a disaster. Now, I know some people say, "Rush, come on, it's so massive, it has to be a disaster." They've had three years, folks. They have had three years to set this up. Obamacare has been the, quote, unquote, law of the land for three years. We've had three years to get this system up and running. They have known for three years it was coming. This is utterly irresponsible. It is a great illustration of the total inability of the federal government to manage something like this. None of that is going to end up mattering.
But I'm gonna tell you. I've been chronicling people. There have been some journalists like Charlie Spiering at the DC Examiner, there's a six-page story on his adventures, he calls them misadventures of just creating an account at HealthCare.gov. And you know what people are learning? Can't keep their doctor. People are learning they can't keep their plan if they like it. Some people are learning that their annual cost may be as high as $33,000. Some people are learning their annual cost could be $26,000, $25,000. That's the story today. And, of course, it's being obscured and papered over by the affection that the Drive-Bys have for this shutdown because to them all this is, as we pointed out cleverly and correctly yesterday, is just the latest assault on the Tea Party.
That's all it is, is an attempt to destroy the Tea Party, an attempt to destroy the Republican Party. That's all this shutdown is. The only people affected by this are the 800,000 to a million nonessential workers, and if you want to go to the Grand Canyon, you can't today. It's shut down. The National Parks are shut down. But what is the Grand Canyon but a giant hole. Let's face it, folks, it may be pretty and it may be unique, but it's a hole in the ground. You know you can't even go there because the government shut down.
What kind of government do we have that cannot even let people get to the bottom of a hole without government assistance? The one thing you do not need government for is to find the bottom of a hole, but you can't go there today because the government shut down, and the national parks, which is no big deal because more and more of those are off-limits anyway.
There were eight government shutdowns during Reagan. (interruption) Oh, yeah. I told you about the panda cam. I was first with it. Well, the Washington Post was first with that, and I had people sending me that story all night last night. It made me wonder: What am I doing here? I broke the story along with the Washington Post, that the panda cam at the National Zoo is dormant, blank. You can't see the panda. The camera's not being operated. A nonessential person obviously does that.
So I got e-mails last night, "You ought to talk about this! Rush, Rush, look at this! You can't even see the panda at the zoo." I said, "Yeah, I know." Anyway, the Obamacare opening day is today, and I want to repeat this. A lot of people are gonna cut 'em some slack, "Rush, it's because it's massive. You gotta understand." I know. It's been three years they've had to set this up. Now the fines and all of that, that's all been delayed. They don't have the ability to administer it. I don't think, folks...
You know, you talk about the employer mandate has been waived and everybody wants, "Well, let's have the individual mandate waived." I don't think they have systems in place to administer anything right now. I think this law is whatever Obama says it's gonna be from day to day. But there's a little story out there, and I mean little. It's not being covered. Drudge has a link to it, but that's the only place I've seen it.
I think this story has as much to say about the decline of American culture as anything we could find out there today, and it is this. "The Office of Personnel Management..." That's the group, by the way, that is subsidizing members of Congress up to 75% of their health care.
RUSH: By the way, you know, it might help if I were to tell you who these navigators are at the exchanges. In California, the navigators are people from ACORN, Planned Parenthood, the Service Employees International Union... Well, they are. That's who got the money to administer the exchanges. I remember the story that we did on this about a month ago.
California's getting something like $900 million for their exchange, and the people running it are ACORN, SEIU, Planned Parenthood -- and this is probably gonna be the case in all the other exchanges as well. They are voter-registration outreach plans, essentially, in addition to administering the exchanges. So it's gonna be ACORN, SEIU, Planned Parenthood. They're gonna have to make sure that your tax return and other personal data isn't just lying around on a fax machine or left overnight in the printer for the janitorial crew to get.
RUSH: Let me ask you a question. If things get too bad out there at the exchanges, can the navigators just do your annual checkup for you and be done with this? You know, when you get right down to it, when you cut to the chase, when you strip away all of what's going on out there, these navigators are going to end up being your health care providers, these people that you're gonna be interacting with at the exchanges.
Now, what is an exchange? An exchange, ladies and gentlemen, is a website, pure and simple. It's a website. Thirty-six states have set up or agreed to set up exchanges. But let's say it was all 50 states, or is it 57? Hell, I'm confused. They've had three-plus years and limitless amounts of money and they can't set up websites? They have access to the best brains and the best IT minds out there. Instead, they funneled the money for these exchanges to their political buddies: the unions, Planned Parenthood.
Folks, I'm not making that up. If you didn't hear the program that day when we learned who is getting the money at the California exchanges, it is Democrat interest groups. It's Planned Parenthood. It's the Service Employees International Union. It's ACORN. These are the groups of people that are being given the money to administer, i.e., navigate these exchanges. And all they are is websites.
Now, depending on your age, let's say that you're a Millennial, somewhere up to the age of 34, 35, your life is on websites. You either have an account at Amazon, you have an account at iTunes, or you have many accounts on many websites where you have given them your credit card information or what have you. And you're used to going to Amazon, and if you want to go buy a Kindle book, it takes five seconds, period. And this is what people are accustomed to. They're accustomed to these websites just working. The websites are never shut down, and if they are, it is a big deal, and normally if they are it's because they're down for maintenance or maybe just a huge demand or load on them.
But there ought not be any excuse for these websites to be unreachable. How could you not expect there to be a huge load? How could you not plan for that? But everybody that's gone to HealthCare.gov today has run into an absolute nightmare that has taken a lot of time, and most of them have been kicked out of their attempt to get an account and register, and they've been sent to what is essentially the back of the line.
I don't think they need to be cut some slack. They've had three years. The federal government, they've got limitless amounts of money. There is no excuse, except incompetence. People that have no idea what they're doing are running this. They think they're the smartest people in the world. They think they have the biggest hearts and are the most compassionate. They sit around all day and they theorize about how when they get power and when they're in control, they're gonna fix all these things wrong with this country, and they make a mess of everything. They make a mess of every entitlement program. There isn't one thing the federal government does that anybody in Big Business would emulate, at least not in the profit sector. And that's the story today.
The media loves the shutdown because it's an opportunity to break the Tea Party, they think, and to rip into the Republicans. Let me give you just an example. This is Charlie Spiering at the DC Examiner: "The Glitchy Error-Filled Misadventures of Creating an Account on HealthCare.gov." Now, again, I want to stress here that everybody is probably thinking we need to cut 'em some slack. I'm not of that frame of mind because, as I say, they've had three years, limitless amounts of money. Glitchy, there's no excuse for what's happening today to be happening. But it was all predictable. And it was predicted. This cannot work.
This thing prints out to six pages and I'm not gonna go through all of that. "A friend and I spent the morning trying unsuccessfully to create an account on HealthCare.gov and shop for cheaper health insurance. We both live in Virginia, but it appears that we won't be shopping and comparing healthcare plans anytime soon. Here is a description and some screenshots of what we found."
Step one, you find the open for business page at HealthCare.gov. The health insurance marketplace is open, and there's a smiling liberal woman there pictured beckoning you to enter the website. And the button is "apply now," enroll now in a plan that covers essential benefits, preexisting conditions and more. By the way, it is the preexisting condition policy that I read somewhere this morning that somebody encountered a price tag of $33,000 a year.
Now, a lot of people who think Obamacare is finally going to cover their preexisting condition also think it's gonna be free or close to it. That's part and parcel of the expectation, and they're finding out that's not the case. So step two is they're aligned. Step three, filling out all my data, my e-mail, my name, my unique password with at least one upper case letter and a number, my user name. Step four, security questions. And you have to pick three. This is in case you forget your password, and in order for them to reissue you a new one or identify you as the person claiming to be you, you have to be able to answer these security questions.
And one of the questions -- I kid you not -- in the list that you can choose three from is, "What is your favorite radio station?" And it happens to be at the top of the list.
Other questions are, "What was your favorite toy when you were a child? What's your favorite cuisine? First name of your oldest niece. Relatives' telephone number that's not your own. Type a significant data in your life." Mr. Spiering says, "Do I want the government having the answers to those questions? Oh, well, the NSA probably already knows." Did that, moves on to step five, says, okay, here we go. Did the security questions. He put in his favorite radio station. And then step six, create a marketplace account. After he had done everything up to this point, he gets a red banner that says, "Your account couldn't be created at this time. Please note that two or more answers to the security question cannot be the same. You must provide distinct answers to the chosen security questions. Please wait a few minutes and try again."
And there's a button here to return to "create account" page. Well, as he points out, his three answers are all different words. He didn't violate the rules, so to speak. He followed directions explicitly, implicitly, and he was still rejected. He said his friend had the same problem. So step seven was back to the homepage. When this effort bombed out, after he had done everything right, he was sent back to the very beginning and told to repeat steps one through five, at which point he was told his effort had failed again. He was sent back to the top of the page, back to the homepage, this time with a button which said "try again." And he was told once again to repeat steps one through five.
A lot of people have been trying this today just to see what happens. I, of course, have better usage of my time to do this, 'cause at some point we're all going to have to do it. But at the end of I think three or four attempts, each one a failure, and each one sent back to the homepage, he finally got a message which said "system error, please retry your action. If you continue to get this error, please contact the administrator." And I know some of you are out there shouting, "Come on, Rush no big deal, happens all the time." It doesn't happen all the time. But again, these people have had three years to set this up. They've had limitless amounts of money. It is a harbinger, it's an indication of how this is gonna go, and it isn't pretty.