White House officials STILL attempting to “spin this turd”

Steve Watson
Oct 22, 2013

A petition has been launched on the White House website demanding that the Obama administration release the defective code for the Healthcare.gov website to the the open source community, a move that would make public the errors that have led to such a disastrous rollout.

The petition, submitted via the ‘We The People’ website, states:

Release to the open source community the source code to healthcare.gov, specifically all code written by CGI Federal.

It is believed that the enrollment issues with healthcare.gov are likely due to poor coding practices in components that are unavailable to the world’s development community to evaluate. Code funded by taxpaying citizens should be made available to the general public as government funded development is generally public domain software. Please release the code so we may help fix any found issues.

In an interview with On The Media, tech expert Paul Ford says he believes that the ongoing problems with the Obamacare website may be attributed to the fact that the code is closed.

As reported by TechDirt, other experts and those within the insurance industry who were privy to the construction of the website have said that the problems have arisen from the fact that, besides the $634,320,919 in taxpayer money that was invested to construct Healthcare.gov, the website was built by political cronies, rather than by Internet native companies and individuals with any experience of building and maintaining large-scale, public-facing web-based apps.

Last week it was also revealed that the Healthcare.gov website is in violation of Open Source Licensing. Again, this is most likely because those who built it have little understanding of what that entails.

Other experts, including Robert Laszewski, a consultant with clients in the healthcare industry participating in the new exchange, said insurance companies were complaining “loudly” that the site had experienced problems before the launch. “People were pulling out their hair,” he told The Washington Post last week, also calling for a complete shutdown and rebuild, because “Things are worse behind the curtain than in front of it”.

The New York Times reported that Henry Chao, described as “the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace,” was “deeply worried about the web site’s debut” way back in March. Chao commented that he hoped Obamacare would not amount to “a third-world experience.”

It is now well documented that senior White House officials probably knew that the site was not ready when it was launched.

The petition needs 100,000 signatures by November 19th in order to reach the threshold for an official response from The White House.

Mike Masnick of Techdirt explains, however, that the likely response from the White House will be that while anything created by government employees is public domain, the Healthcare website was programmed by private contractors, so it is not technically required by law that the coding be open sourced.

Masnick also explains that on a practical level it is “a lot harder to take proprietary code and then release it as open source, than it is to build code from the ground up to be open source.”

Meanwhile, in the face of every single documented case of anyone trying to sign up having great difficulty, the White House continues to kid itself that the website isn’t really that much of an issue.

White House senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness again made a fool out of herself by re-tweeting an Obamacare “success story” that wasn’t really a success.

Shortly after “certified Obamacare navigator” Chris Edmunds tweeted this…

…McGuinness retweeted it, you know, to show the world that not everyone is having problems signing up.

However, fifteen minutes later, Edmunds tweeted the following…

Whoops! And that isn’t the first time McGuinness has fallen flat on her face recently in attempting to shill for the defective website.

It seems that the White House is STILL desperately attempting to, Jon Stewart puts it, “spin this turd”:


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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