Republican Health Care Fail

Republican Health Care Fail

It’s a day later, and the dust has settled. President Donald Trump and Paul Ryan have failed, the latter admitting that Obamacare is the law of the land. The President of the United States, and the Speaker of the House, arguably two of the most powerful men in American politics, teamed up to get a job done (the repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare) and they fumbled the job. But they are not alone. They had help.

Team Republican has lived for the termination of President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. Tea Party Members and traditional republicans alike ran for election and re-election based on some version of a repeal and replace platform. They had years to work together, to caucus, to run the numbers, and to do what ever was necessary to get the job done.

They also control the White House and the two Houses of Congress. How is failure possible in that scenario of near total domination? But they didn’t make it happen. The Republican Party is simply to fractured, to ideologically disparate, to complete this task alone. And the democrats are certainly not inclined to help out.

At the core of the problem lies the Freedom Caucus, that extremist group of republicans in the House of Representatives that wanted a more complete repeal of Obamacare. They simply don’t believe the government should be in the business of offering, providing or facilitating health care. In their world view, that’s a private business matter.

Even though Ryan and Trump removed significant kinds of medical coverage from the proposed replacement plan, in order to appease Freedom Caucus Members, no agreement was possible. Ryan and the Administration simply didn’t have enough votes, and in the end, the bill was pulled, with no plans to try again. In fact, President Trump appears to be setting his sites on tax reform, for his next big project.

This has weakened the Trump Administration politically. This has weakened Paul Ryan politically. This reflects poorly on Donald Trump himself, who was elected as a consummate deal maker who will soon make America “tired of winning.” And he campaigned on a platform of repeal and replace. So it’s no surprise that President Trump is shifting the blame. He even had the audacity to blame Nancy Pelosi, and the democrats, for the debacle. Is it logical to blame the other team for winning? No, politics, and life, simply don’t work that way.

Learn more about the Republican Health Care fumble (CNN)


Photo: By Caleb Smith; Office of the Speaker of the House [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Breaking World News

breaking world news (Hosni Mubarek)

Hosni Mubarak walks free after six-year detention
“Six years after his ouster, Egypt’s ex-President Hosni Mubarak has been released from detention after being cleared of inciting the killings of hundreds of protesters in 2011…” (Al Jazeera)

Jordanians in Karak find unity in wake of tragedy
“New initiatives aim to strengthen the town’s sense of community, after a December ISIL attack that killed 10 people…” (Al Jazeera)

Israel shuts down Arab primary school in East Jerusalem
“Israeli occupation authorities shut down the private school a month ago, alleging an affiliation with Hamas…” (Al Jazeera)

“The area along the Israel-Jordan border is highly susceptible to earthquakes. Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians joined forces to provide the best possible response in case such a disaster strikes…” (Jerusalem Post)

“…Along with a contingent of Jerusalem Post editors and reporters, I was in the Palestinian city to meet with PA strongman Jibril Rajoub, who has been part of the Israeli-Palestinian landscape since the beginning of the Oslo Accords over two decades ago….”
(Jerusalem Post)

Trump’s art of no deal: Find someone to blame
“…Speaking soon after accepting defeat, Trump didn’t shoulder the responsibility himself, nor did he pin the blame on House GOP leadership or any of the warring Republican factions’ whose competing demands ultimately sunk any chance of a consensus bill.
Instead, he blamed Democrats and vowed to let Obamacare “explode.”…” (CNN)

Missing black girls in DC spark outrage, prompt calls for federal help
“Two months ago, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department’s new commander, Chanel Dickerson, made a pledge: Let’s find our missing girls.

Now, as the department posts profiles of missing black and Latina girls in the nation’s capital on its Twitter feed almost daily, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling for a federal investigation…” (CNN)

Westminster attack: police scramble to piece together past of London killer
“Counter-terrorism investigators have been investigating Khalid Masood’s life and associations across Britain as they raced to discover what led him to kill four people and injure more than 50 in Wednesday’s murderous attack in Westminster…” (The Guardian)

Woman photographed in hijab on Westminster Bridge responds to online abuse
“A woman whose image became an Islamophobic meme after the Westminster terror attack has told of her horror and distress at the incident and the abuse she suffered afterwards…” (The Guardian)

Vancouver is the 39th most expensive city in the world, according to The Economist
“ancouver, the city of unaffordable homes and disappearing millennials, ranks as the 39th most expensive major city in the world, according to The Economist’s Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2017…” (

Canadian-developed Ebola vaccine licensed to Merck
“The small U.S. company that holds the rights to a Canadian-developed Ebola vaccine has agreed to licence it to vaccine giant Merck, which should speed the development of the product that scientists hope will eventually end the outbreak in West Africa…” (

It’s Happening: Scientists Can Now Reverse DNA Ageing in Mice
“Researchers have identified a cellular mechanism that allows them to reverse ageing in mouse DNA and protect it from future damage.

They’ve shown that by giving a particular compound to older mice, they can activate the DNA repair process and not only protect against future damage, but repair the existing effects of ageing. And they’re ready to start testing in humans within six months…” (Science Alert)

Two-Thirds of Cancer Mutations Are Random and Unavoidable, Scientists Claim
“Almost two-thirds of cancer mutations are caused by random DNA-copying errors during cell division and are impossible for us to avoid, regardless of lifestyle and the genes we inherit from our parents, according to new research…” (Science Alert)



Photo: This image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

President Trump’s Ultimatum on a healthcare vote

President Trump's Ultimatum on a healthcare vote

It’s a showdown for President Trump. He’s given Congress an ultimatum, to pass his health care bill, or face the wrath of angry voters. And many republican lawmakers, like President Trump himself, ran on platforms promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Earlier today, following intense negotiations, the President, who presents himself as a master negotiator, failed to convince enough members of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus to pledge to vote for the new plan, forcing House Republicans to cancel Thursday’s vote. Since Thursday was the seventh anniversary of Obamacare’s inception, this turned a planned victory into an embarrassment, and a potential defeat.

According to the President, this may be the last opportunity for congress to repeal Obamacare, which is anathema to conservative republicans. But many of the government’s most conservative politicians find the replacement plan too similar to Obamacare. They claim to prefer fewer required benefits and less mandated coverage, which they say frees insurance companies to create plans that meet the needs of consumers, and empowers consumers to find the plan that’s right for them, without unnecessary and costly features.

However, democrats fear this will give insurance companies cart blanche to create inadequate plans, saving themselves money, but leaving consumers without adequate protection in the process. The plan has also been criticized for potentially leaving over 20 million people uninsured. And this would follow years during which Obamacare greatly reduced the number of uninsured people throughout the United States.

Now President Trump, the negotiator, has brazenly called for an end to negotiations. He demands a vote on Friday. Is this a clever strategy, or a poor and arrogant decision for the President? Freedom Caucus Republicans are not his servants. They are fiercely independent, and ideologically extreme. Many believe they are freeing the people, by taking away a requirement for government mandated healthcare, which they view as a kind of unconstitutional burden (which the Supreme Court, it’s important to note, does not.)

By attempting to force their hand, he may not get the results he hopes for. It’s a big, high stakes gamble for President Trump. His success in this matter would do a lot to quell concerns over the many concerns over his competence, rationality, and efficacy, and the integrity of his administration. A failure would exacerbate his many problems, and represent a failure to achieve one of his primary campaign objectives.

Learn more about President Trump’s ultimatum to congress (CNN)


Photo: By Boss Tweed (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breaking World News – Terrorist Attack in London, outside of Parliament

Breaking World News - Terrorist Attack in London, outside of Parliament

The Management Team of Face Activities extends our sympathies to the victims of Wednesday’s tragic terrorist attack in London.

London attack: Assailant shot dead after 4 killed near Parliament
“Four people were killed and scores injured when an attacker plowed a car through crowds in central London before attempting to storm the Houses of Parliament in what police believe was an act of Islamist-inspired terrorism…” (CNN)

US Officials: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians
“The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN…” (CNN)

A visual guide to the Westminster attack
“Four people – including an attacker and a police officer – have been confirmed dead after a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then entered parliament armed with one or more knives…” (The Guardian)

Tobias Ellwood MP hailed for attempting to save officer’s life
“Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood attempted to resuscitate the police officer fatally attacked outside parliament and stemmed the blood from multiple stab wounds…”
(The Guardian)

French police arrest suspected suppliers of gun used in Paris Orly airport attack
“French police arrested on Tuesday two individuals suspected of supplying the pellet gun used by Ziyed Ben Belgacem, the man who was shot dead at Paris’s Orly airport after trying to grab the rifle of a soldier on patrol…” (France 24)

Le Pen, Macron go head-to-head in first French presidential TV debate
“Over three-and-a-half hours of fast-paced debate on Monday evening, France’s five leading presidential candidates laid down the gauntlet for the first face-to-face showdown of this roller coaster campaign…” (France 24)

‘Surgical operation has cut terror attacks’
“NEW DELHI: Terrorist violence and ceasefire violations in J&K have come down after the surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the government told Parliament on Wednesday. It also said that Pakistan would have to commit to halting state-sponsored terrorism if it wanted to resume dialogue with India…”
(The Times of India)

US ban on carry-on e-gadgets will hit Indian travellers hard
“MUMBAI: One out of every two passengers who fly from India to the US transit through airports in the Middle East like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and from Saturday they will need to check in all electronic devices sized larger than a smart phone like laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, electronic games, DVD players, etc…” (The Times of India)

Artificial Intelligence hits African companies
“Fear not, robots will not be stealing Africa’s jobs any time soon. It has been a mantra of capitalism since the beginning: using a tractor boosts your yield compared to using a spade. Your factory can multiply your output. Technology boosts productivity…”
(The Africa Report)

South Sudan government to blame for famine, still buying arms – U.N. report
“South Sudan’s government is mainly to blame for famine in parts of the war-torn country, yet President Salva Kiir is still boosting his forces using millions of dollars from oil sales, according to a confidential United Nations report…” (The Africa Report)


Photo: By Ahmedghn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Breaking World News

Breaking News (Australian Funnel Web Spider)

Scientists Want to Use Deadly Spider Venom to Prevent Brain Damage From Strokes
“The Australian funnel-web is one of the deadliest spiders in the world, but this poisonous predator may just hold the key to preventing brain damage caused by stroke…”
(Science Alert)

7,000 Huge Gas Bubbles Have Formed Under Siberia, and Could Explode at Any Moment
“Last year, researchers in Siberia’s remote Bely Island made the bizarre discovery that the ground had started bubbling in certain places, and was squishy under the locals’ feet like jelly…” (Science Alert)

French interior minister resigns amid inquiry into hiring teenage daughters
“French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux resign Tuesday after he was placed under preliminary investigation amid revelations that he hired his two teenage daughters as parliamentary aides with exorbitant salaries, all at the taxpayers’ expense…” (France24)

French Catholic bishops accused of ‘covering-up sex abuses’
“Twenty-five French bishops have been covering up scores of cases of sexual abuses by Catholic priests, French media revealed on Tuesday in a report reminiscent of the Spotlight investigation into clergy sex abuse…” (France24)

Met police accused of using hackers to access protesters’ emails
“The police watchdog is investigating allegations that a secretive Scotland Yard unit used hackers to illegally access the private emails of hundreds of political campaigners and journalists…” (The Guardian)

Coal in ‘freefall’ as new power plants dive by two-thirds
“he amount of new coal power being built around the world fell by nearly two-thirds last year, prompting campaigners to claim the polluting fossil fuel was in freefall…”
(The Guardian)

Teen Islamists given six years’ jail for Sikh temple bomb attack
“Prosecutors had argued that the three 17-year-olds – who were 16 at the time of the act – had attacked the temple out of radical Islamist motivations to kill “non-believers”. The youth court on Tuesday agreed that their motive had been hate for other religions…”
(The Local)

Mysterious mummified body discovered in Berlin Hindu temple
“…Police were called to the temple on Monday afternoon after the cadaver was discovered whilst building work was being done on the Sri Ganesha Temple, which is a stone tower structure in the district’s Hasenheide park…” (The Local)

Don’t ‘meddle’ in Nepal, Sri Lanka, China media warns India
“BEIJING: The Chinese media has threatened to “fight back” any Indian attempt to meddle with China’s attempts to enter into military collaboration with Nepal and Sri Lanka…”
(The Times of India)

Anti-Romeo squad starts, morphs into moral police
“MEERUT: Just two days after Yogi Adityanath took oath as CM of UP, one of the BJP’s oft-repeated promises during its election campaign – formation of anti-Romeo squads “to protect the honour of women” – took off with a great deal of purposefulness in the state. In Meerut on Tuesday, “anti-Romeo dals” were out on the streets in full force, making it among the first UP districts to form the teams that will be posted at educational institutions and public spaces “to prevent eve-teasing and ensure safety of girls…” (The Times of India)


Photo: By Provaprova (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Another Opportunity to Sign and Help Chickens

help save chickens

“Another Opportunity to Sign and Help Chickens

Qdoba Mexican Eats: Stop Supporting Chicken Torture!
While the campaign for Wendy’s to commit publicly to improved broiler chicken welfare continues, another campaign needs your help. Unlike Chipotle, Panera Bread, Noodles & Company, and other restaurant chains, Qdoba Mexican Eats has also failed to pledge publicly to rid tortured chickens from its supply chain. Chickens.

Chickens used for meat are raised in near total darkness. Many birds are bred to grow so large, so fast, they are crippled by their own weight. The animals often suffer from constant leg pain so severe they can’t stand. As a result, they spend almost all their time sitting in their own waste. At slaughter, they are shackled upside down and shocked with electricity before their throats are cut open—all while fully conscious. Many are even scalded alive.

Despite this horrific cruelty, Qdoba Mexican Eats has failed to publish a meaningful chicken welfare policy. Please tell Qdoba president Keith Guilbault that you won’t support Qdoba while it serves up cruelty. Sign and share our petition to get the word out that consumers care about animal welfare.” (

Learn More


Photo: By Charles M. Sauer Charles M. Sauer (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Nowruz!

Happy Nowruz!

The management team of Face Activities wishes everyone a Happy and Prosperous Nowruz!

Nowruz is a delightful holiday of Iranian origin, now celebrated around the world. Also known as the Iranian New Year and Persian New Year, this ancient holiday, with roots in the Zoroastrian Faith, marks the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of the New Year for Iranians, and many other peoples as well.

The start of Nowruz is typically celebrated, depending on region and custom, between March 20th and March 22nd, and marks the beginning of 13 days of joyous celebration. The days preceding the start of this holiday are often solemn and contemplative, but Nowruz is a wonderful celebration of light and joy.

The holiday, which spread far and wide with the expansion of the Persian Empire in the ancient world, has been celebrated for over 3,000 years across both Western and Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin and the Balkans. In modern times it’s still a holy day for Zoroastrians, but it’s also celebrated as a secular holiday by many ethnic and linguistic groups.

Modern Nowruz celebrations include a bountiful ceremonial table, filled with culinary treats. In past years, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama always made a point to honor the holiday. Please enjoy this archival footage of the former First Lady’s gracious celebration:


Photo: creative commons license (copy, share, adapt): CC BY-SA 3.0

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