Saturday, February 9, 2013

CIA should not be used to carry out traditional military activities: Brennan

Brennan: "The CIA should not be used to carry out traditional military activities." 

Verne Strickland / February 09, 2013

This might to some degree defuse objections that some have toward the drone program, which has a very specific and useful purpose. We are in a war. Anyone who cannot perceive that has apparently not read any history post-dating the War of 1812.

Radical Islamic terrorists and assassins are trying to kill Americans and destroy U.S. facilities around the world. In doing so, they have savagely slaughtered American men, women and children with impunity. We should and do have the right to defend our country and our citizens by whatever means we have at our disposal, with the possible exclusion of mustard gas.

Drones are a breakthrough technology which allows us to kill terrorists where they are hiding (often shielded by their own children and women, while sparing the lives of Americans. No amount of clamor on the part of American protestors should dissuade us from doing that. These home-grown agitators are usually ignited by blatant propaganda produced by the enemy and promoted by MSM. At least one caveat should be observed. We should not respond to beheading the beheading of U.S. citizens by beheading members Al-Quaida, Hezbollah and other funny-sounding terrorists. This might be deserved but it wouldn't be right.

The following is excerpted from an AP article based on Brennan confirmation hearing.

Associated Press / 020913

Administration officials say Brennan would limit the use of drones by the CIA and leave the majority of strikes to the military. Brennan signaled in his written answers that he would not seek to expand the CIA's paramilitary operations.
"While the CIA needs to maintain a paramilitary capability ... the CIA should not be used, in my view, to carry out traditional military activities," Brennan wrote, referring to activities like the special operations raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The CIA's drone strikes primarily focus on al-Qaida and Taliban targets in the tribal regions of Pakistan, while the military has launched strikes against al-Qaida targets in Yemen and Somalia. The agency also carries out strikes in Yemen, where three American citizens with al-Qaida connections have been killed: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old-son and Samir Khan.
Brennan said he would work to improve the CIA's intelligence collection and performance across the Arab world after a spate of unanticipated unrest, from the revolts of the Arab Spring to the terror attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Lara Jakes and Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Panetta Benghazi testimony: He 'explains' military response in Libya attack -- though not very well

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 8, 2013


WASHINGTON — The U.S. military is determined to position small, quick reaction forces closer to global crises after the rapid assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya last September kept U.S. armed forces from responding in time to save four Americans.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress on Thursday that they moved quickly to deploy commando teams from Spain and Central Europe last Sept. 11, the chaotic day of the assault on the U.S. installation in Benghazi, but the first military unit didn't arrive until 15 hours after the first of two attacks.

"Time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response," Panetta said in likely his last Capitol Hill appearance before stepping down as Pentagon chief.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of an election-year cover-up of a terrorist attack in the nearly five months since the assault, and they kept up the politically charged onslaught on Thursday. The military also found itself under attack, with at least one senator accusing the Joint Chiefs chairman of peddling falsehoods.

Faced with repeated questions about where units were during the attack and what they were doing, Dempsey said the military is taking steps to deal with the next crisis.

"We've asked each of the services to examine their capability to build additional reaction-like forces, small, rapidly deployable forces," Dempsey said. "A small MAGTF for the Marine Corps, for example, a Marine air-ground task force. And the Army is looking at some options as well to increase the number of these resources across the globe, where the limiting factor, though will always be basing."

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, put it in layman's terms: "So you are moving the fire stations nearer the ...?"
"We're trying to build more firemen. The question is whether I can build the stations to house them," Dempsey answered.

In more than four hours of testimony, Panetta and Dempsey described a military faced with not a single attack over several hours, but two separate assaults six hours apart; little real-time intelligence data and units too far away to mobilize quickly. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attacks.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Big Media mislead public on guns most responsible for murder of American kids, average citizens.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 7, 2013

Don't know why, but I've had a feeling all along that the assault weapons media circus was a phony emergency. Just seemed reasonable that the news would prove that, as scary as the "shock and awe" rifles were, these guns ran a distant second when it came to murder and assault against Americans. I figured that, once the mass shootings died down, we'd realize that handguns were actually the main villains.

Turns out I was right and days ahead of breaking news from the mainstream. I'm kind of proud of that scoop. Here's a USA DOT COM piece I wrote on Jan. 31, 2013:


"I may be on the wrong track, but I don't think so. It is clear that competition is now getting heated between assault rifles and handguns. Over the past few days, there has been a rash of killings, hostage actions, and mass shootings involving handguns. Media concentration on the weapon(s) used has been close to non-existent. My point is that, as Obama crows a death knell for high-capacity automatic weapons, a dismaying phenomenon is emerging -- handguns have been wielded in a wide assortment of violent attacks in the U.S. resulting in deaths, injuries, kidnappings and the like. The "media" play this down, in some cases not mentioning the type of weapon used at all, and, in delayed coverage, minimizing the attention focused on handgun use. What then? While we move toward banning of the fearsome assault weapon, we find death and destruction continuing apace via guns deemed as "household" defensive devices. There is a manipulated left-wing media black-out here and it should be widely and intensely publicized."

This is an Obama cover-up. The weapon surely was a handgun, but the gun-ban radicals don't want you to know that smaller weapons can also kill and maim numerous victims in short order. This news would stop the assault weapons ban in its tracks. 
If the alleged killer was found dead in a vehicle of suspected suicide does it not make sense that the weapon he used to kill himself, and his victims, would be inside?
VS: I won't risk offending you by telling you how brilliant I am, because it's not true. However, as I sift through the news each day, and scan the predictions of the professional pundits, I am forced to note that my prognostications are many times a step ahead of the big boys. And lots of times I get it right. However, playing in the sandlot league as I do, my occasional scores are rarely recognized. Nonetheless, I enjoy seeing through the news smog on big issues to second-guess how the left-wing politicians and their fawning media shills play us like puppets. This is a case in point.

 HUFFPOST  Feb. 4, 2013
"The maneuvering around the assault weapons ban underscores how delicate the process of putting together a bill has become. Facing legislative hurdles, top lawmakers are gaming out procedural steps to placate both longtime gun control advocates and those more wary of an ambitious package of reforms.

"When the assault weapons ban comes to the floor, proponents including us will have to contend with the fact that very few assault weapons are actually used in a crime," Jim Kessler, a former director of policy and research at Americans for Gun Safety and co-founder of the centrist-Democratic organization Third Way. "That’s the challenge with passing this law. On the one hand, it seems that in a civil society we should draw a line on what kind of weapon a person can own. And weapons designed for warfare belong on the other side of that line. On the other hand, if you are going to die at the hands of a criminal with a gun, it’s going to be a handgun."


U.S. is big and exceptional. But we can't carry full burden of climate change "fixes" alone.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 6, 2013

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:
One of the Grand Old Party's brightest young stars claims he's still not convinced climate change is a real problem. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), spoke at the inaugural BuzzFeed Brews event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night. The conversation eventually turned to environmental reforms.
Speaking with BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, Rubio said that climate change was not a proven fact, and that even if it was, it would not be cost-effective for the U.S. to take action.

Rubio's skepticism contrasts with a study, published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that surveyed 1,372 climate researchers and found that "97–98 [percent] of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Furthermore, several of the world's most prominent national science academies have acknowledged that the world's climate is changing as a result of man-made causes.

Regardless, Rubio mainained that "The U.S. is a country, not a planet. On the other hand if we unilaterally impose these things on the economy it will have a devastating impact. There has to be a cost-benefit analysis to everyone of these principles people are pushing on. The benefit is difficult to justify when it’s only us doing it, no one else is doing it."

Rubio added that while the "climate is always changing," he said he is not convinced that it is changing because of man-made activity.

"I know people said there’s a significant scientific consensus on that issue, but I’ve actually seen reasonable debate on that principle," Rubio said.

The junior Senator was a popular name in the GOP party this year, and was rumored to have been considered for Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential election, according to Mother Jones. His record on environmental issues is complicated, the magazine reports: While still in the state legislature, he helped pass a greenhouse emissions bill; but once he took his current seat in the U.S. Congress, he supported a pro-oil campaign.

In February of 2010, Rubio told Florida's Tampa Tribune that there wasn't "scientific evidence to justify" environmental reforms.
ThinkProgress reports that one study in Rubio's home state shows climate change may cause more economic damage than it would cost to try and cut down on climate change causes.

A recent analysis by the World Economic Forum found that the world must spend an additional $700 billion annually to reduce the use of fossil fuels and curb the effects of climate change. According to a study from the Climate Vulnerable Forum, climate change is already costing the world over $1.2 trillion, or 1.6 percent of global GDP, and contributing to almost 400,000 deaths annually.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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Domestic Drone Surveillance -- "CAUSE DU JOUR" of some nervous Americans. Lighten up!

Verne Strickland / February 5, 2013

Domestic surveillance drones have apparently become the cause du jour for a clutch of Americans who react with shock and disdain at use of the technology here.

It's a knee-jerk reaction, and much of the argument against drones seems sophomoric, alarmist and reactionary.

What I am going to offer here is sure to coax a chorus of rabid criticism against me. No problem. I've survived that before.

I'm a gun guy, a hawk, a promoter of American exceptionalism, and of a strong U.S. military, and always have been. I don't deny that much of my philosophy in that regard was taught me by the late patriot and statesman U.S. Senator Jesse A. Helms. As a matter of fact, I am proud to claim that connection to the gritty North Carolina, who told me once -- "I never won a public approval poll, and I never lost an election."

God bless the legacy and memory of our Jesse Helms.

"Senator No" prided himself in what that derisive description revealed when we saw the other side of that coin. If he was against deficit spending, he was for fiscal sanity. If he was for states' rights, he was against a behemoth federal bureaucracy. If he was against the United Nations, he was for an America free to make its own way in support of Democracy. And so on. On the other side of "Senator No" was "Senator Yes". He was revered worldwide for his iron-clad principles and high character. One of a kind.

Senator Helms was falsely criticized for paranoia, sometimes saying, "There is much to be paranoid about." As head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he fiercely guarded the reputation and efficiency of our intelligence communities -- the vanguard of our defenses in the "shadow wars" of espionage and terrorism.  Since his era, and on the "watch" of President Obama, we have seen and acknowledged the decline and implosion of our clandestine services -- CIA, FBI, and like agencies. Conservative Helms was spot-on here. Liberal and questionable patriot Obama was dead wrong, and still is.

This whole piece is not presented in tribute to Jesse Helms. But this link between him and drones is buttressed by his memory, his solid reasoning, his 100 percent belief in his America.And his understanding of  the work and world of spies.

So where are we going with this? I've seen several hints in all this incendiary and hysterical ballyhoo about domestic surveillance drones to know I am looking at fairly transparent international propaganda planted on our networks and in the press.

Why is it there? The picture painted is one of "Big Brother" U.S. government drones prying into the everyday lives of innocent Americans and watching every move we make. That is a great big wad of anti-American baloney sausage. And I won't eat it.

I have followed with growing impatience the spooked-out histrionics of Americans who are so upset over drone use here. These people are not unpatriotic. I just think they have the whole business figured out wrong.

And I am suspicious of their selective indignation over this surveillance technology.

I'll wager that the overwhelming majority of anti-drone radicals have never complained about cities (like Wilmington) which are adding safety lighting to sidewalks and parking lots. Recently we had an innocent young man murdered by pistol thugs near the Historic USO Club building. More powerful lighting is in the plans there. Does that make anyone nervous? Only the robbers, killers and drug peddlers.

I live downtown, and it gives me a sense of  heightened security when I hear our WPD helichopper overhead, usually in response to a 911 about a crime committed, and a criminal on the loose. Many of these enemies of a safe city have been corralled and put in the slammer, convicted, and sent to prison. Good riddance. Anybody want to ground these surveillance aircraft?

Our city is networked now with street-level crime-fighting surveillance cameras which are effective in making would-be criminals nervous, and preventing many crimes which would otherwise have been committed. Who's in favor of trashing this important crime-fighting equipment? Huh?

Look around you -- anywhere. You'll see, and benefit from, technology that keeps you safer than you would be without it. Just one example -- the blinking signals at the railroad intersections that warn us of oncoming trains. Your approaching vehicle triggers them. You stop. You live. Who gets nervous over that?

Well, as usual, I have gone far afield on this mainline sermon. I have given plenty of evidence that drones -- which do exactly what these other electronic devices do, only better -- are vital to the health, security and safety of our Cape Fear Region. But our selective indignation zones in on drones. Doesn't make sense.

Finally? I'll bet you enjoy GOOGLE EARTH, an astounding surveillance system which brings the whole world to our computers. I have seen their fancy wide-angle camera systems around Wilmington shooting updated material. One guy (not in Wilmington) claimed his privacy was invaded when he was caught urinating in somebody's yard. Was that you? That satellite system is so highly sophisticated that the North Koreans complain that it is exposing their missile-launching silos and causing them considerable embarrassment. Got a problem with that?

All of the machinations over drones is misplaced. And it plays into the hands of governments and ideologies which want to work harm for America. Just tonight, there was a hyped-up story on complaints around the U.S. of the evils of surveillance drones.

Bull Pie! Know what this is really all about? This is expertly generated and publicized propaganda placed in the public eye, depicting American "concern" and fear over the "eye in the sky". If they can stampede our citizens into deploring and complaining about our drones, our enemies -- communists, socialists, radical Islamists, Majia, and others without names -- they will dampen enthusiasm for systems that are our own, working for us, working against mobsters and jihadists, and perhaps create uneasiness about drone application.

Recall President Reagan's brilliant "Space Missile Shield" planned as an umbrella of protection from ICBMs? This was vehemently derided by liberals in the U.S. press as "Star Wars", and this propaganda was effective in slowing its development. It was planted by Russian propaganda professionals. In more recent years, we have seen another initiative along these lines. Russia's Medvedev bristled and complained. If the Russians shake their nuclear arsenals in mock anger, we're on the right track. 

There's lots more to be said about this drone issue. But I cranked this out in a hurry. I'll do a better job later. But just let up a bit, guys and gals. Please. Let's remember who the enemy is.

Charlottesville, Va., has become the first city in the United States to formally pass an anti-drone resolution.
The resolution, passed Monday, "calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court," and "pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones."

The resolution passed by a 3-2 vote and was brought to the city council by activist David Swanson and the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group based in the city. The measure also endorses a proposed two-year moratorium on drones in Virginia.
Councilmember Dede Smith, who voted in favor of the bill, says that drones are "pretty clearly a threat to our constitutional right to privacy."
"If we don't get out ahead of it to establish some guidelines for how drones are used, they will be used in a very invasive way and we'll be left to try and pick up the pieces," she says.

VS: If Councilmember Smith hands off our drone surveillance to crooks and communists, she may actually be one of the pieces.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another potential school shooting tragedy avoided -- by an armed guard

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 4, 2013

 02-01-2013 5:10 pm - Bobby Eberle - The Loft

So here's the news story that those on the left don't want you to hear. Whenever someone goes crazy or someone with evil intentions starts shooting, the result is usually tragic, and the reaction of the left is to disarm the population. However, at an Atlanta middle school, after one child was shot, the shooting came to an end... because of an armed guard.

That's right. There was not a mass killing spree in Atlanta on Thursday, but there could have been. We'll never know. And thankfully so, because an armed guard stepped in.

As reported by USA Today, "A 14-year-old student was shot at an Atlanta middle school Thursday afternoon, and another student was taken into custody, police said."

An armed guard disarmed the shooter moments after the 1:50 p.m. shooting in a courtyard at the Price Middle School in southeast Atlanta.

Atlanta Public Schools public information officer Steve Alford said the teen's wound was more toward the back of the neck, WXIA-TV reported.

An armed off-duty Atlanta police officer who works at the school subdued the shooter and had him drop his weapon, Police Chief George Turner said.

Several shots were fired, Turner added. He did not identify the gun.

It appears that the shooting could have been gang related, but here's the point. Rather than having a shooter run amok, this school had an armed guard. Rather than disarming law-abiding Americans, shouldn't the real focus be on providing a safe and secure environment for our kids?

Barack Obama's children go to a school with armed guards, but that's not acceptable for the rest of America? If children are really the focus, then let's protect them. These so-called "gun free" zones do nothing but invite violence. It's like putting up a sign that reads, "Come in. Stop by. Rob or shoot this place. Everyone is unarmed."


There are too many guns on the streets in the hands of criminals and too few in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

    The police dept. in my city had to lay off personnel due to budget cuts. The Sheriff was on the news saying, you ned to be more pro-active in defending yourself against criminals, calling 911 will not help when the response time is 4 minutes, and someone is holding you at gunpoint Now.There are too many guns on the streets in hands of criminals and not enough in the hands of law-abiding citizens. There is no problem whatsoever with a law abiding citizen packing a concealed weapon. that has just never been an issue. BUT THEN: the mayor gets on the news as cutting down the sheriff, saying things like 'We don't need a city full of Dirty Harrys running around killing people. So What does the mayor expect the sheriff to do? tell everyone to call 911? the manpower cuts have doubled the response time. Like I said, there just are not any problems with law abiders carrying heat. But there are a lot of dangerous situations that have been averted by same.


  • VERNE STRICKLAND -- USA Dot Com We run around in circles, ignoring the only clear answer. Good citizens will not misuse their guns (few at least.) Nor will the police and other professional keepers of the law (but rarely.) Then the rest of the guns are in the hands of aggressive people with no regard for the law -- many criminals who have not yet been imprisoned. They kill every day. Want to wrest the guns from them? That will only be by force of arms. Or perhaps we could "buy" the guns back? Tried and failed. Finally there are the masses -- protectors of the Second Amendment. Are we talking about insurrection? We can let the fuse burn down. What then? Violence and a round-up of those who respond by resisting (opening fire.) Are we ready for this? I honestly couldn't say. But it's clear that decisive action is called for, with a clear show of force by free-thinking Americans. I think we'll choose inaction. Until the inevitable is the last choice left.


The Problem(s) of Women in Combat -- Part 3

The Problem(s) of Women in Combat – Part 3

by Jude Eden, Jane of Trades
The Invisible War is a 2012 documentary showing the shocking prevalence of sexual assault in the military, and worse, the cover-ups that tend to follow.  The rate of assaults against women is completely unacceptable as it is.  We should not put women in infantry and special forces where the risk will be even great to them because there is less supervision, more pressure, and everyone does everything together and in front of each other.  It will be totally destructive of women and combat readiness both.
theinvisiblewarAccording to the documentary which sites government studies, 20% of women in the military have been assaulted, fifteen thousand in 2011 alone.  They estimate half a million women have been assaulted over the years.  The testimonies of rape victims are horrendous.  But it shows that neither the boot camps, nor the deployment training, nor the Feminist theories on women’s equality we’ve been fed since the mid-sixties equipped these rape victims to fight off the men who raped them, or to avoid dangerous situations in the first place.  Besides exposing a very dark problem in the military branches, what The Invisible War shows without intending to is that breaking down the age-old standards of behavior and of separating women from men doesn’t empower them – it makes them more vulnerable to attack.  This is the truth the Feminists don’t want you to know.  They’ve been lying about it for the past fifty years.
Women have served in the military since World War I, beginning with separate units for women in nursing and administrative roles that “freed the men to fight.”  Today everything is integrated: We train together, eat together, we socialize and often drink together (one of the common avoidable circumstances that leads to rape), and single servicemen and women sleep in the same barracks together.  These all become high-risk activities for a woman, as the documentary shows.  Some were raped while on duty, or in the offices of their attackers.  Some were having a few drinks, bonding with their fellows who in some cases drugged them.  Where all that stands between a woman and an attacker is a locked door, we’re already too late.  And in special forces in the combat zone, there aren’t even any doors to lock.
We’re putting the sexes together as if eros and human passion don’t exist.  All the steps that for thousands of years have been in place to protect women have been destroyed by Feminists who see these protections and standards as oppression.  They are in fact the opposite.  It takes a village to protect women – with both men and women holding each other to high standards of behavior.  The differences in how we treat the sexes not only exist, they are essential.  We don’t expect women to be treated like men – that would be barbaric.  We don’t expect men to be treated like women - that would be pathetic.  In the age of “friends with benefits” and “dress like a slut” day, everybody instinctively knows that how a woman dresses affects men.  They can’t turn it off.  That’s why dress and other behaviors in our own control matter.  The Feminist’s assumption that we can presto-chango transform our natures is absurd, and when tested is proven false.  They give themselves the lie by adding double standards – women can be sluts but you have to respect them as if they were chaste, women can do what men can do except you need to gender-norm the testing standards to manufacture equal results.  There’s no way they can create sexless uniformity among men and women, so they have to propagate a huge deception.  They falsely frame the issue as one of civil rights and liberation, making it all but impossible to discuss the real issues.
Anu Bhagwati, a female veteran advocating for women in combat roles, was in this documentary giving “expert” testimony.  Even knowing the horrifying rates of assault, she wants women in elite units where there is no separation of the sexes, where there is not just less, but no protection of women.  Put the sexes in close quarters, under pressure, tell them their biology is artificial and their previous sense of decency something to just get over.  Anyone who doesn’t want to share their junk with the opposite sex (the spouses are cringing), is just a prude trapped in a bygone age.  Martha McSally continually claims common decency standards are nothing, and that the lack thereof doesn’t hurt unit cohesion at all.  The media claim outrage at the prevalence of violent rape in the military.  Yet in the combat roles debate, rape is nothing.  The female proponent in this debate asserts that if women are willing to risk capture and rape by enemy combatants, they should be allowed to do so.  Just another choice.  Would she say the same to women joining the military in the first place?  Big Lies, perpetrated by big-time Feminists.
The pressure of combat missions is already unbelievably high.  What if an assault happens the day of a mission?  We know there’s at least a 20% risk.  Suddenly there are opposing needs – to complete the mission and to deal with the assault.  If reported, the command acting rightly would have to destroy the mission by taking both rapist and victim off the battlefield.  There would be even more pressure not to report the assault – even self-imposed by the victim herself - because there’s a mission at stake.  We are, after all, at war.  That is a decision no woman nor any commander on the ground should have to face.  Until Leon Panetta’s act of tyrannical fiat, the infantry and special forces did not have to consider it.
Women with men is not an equal opportunity.  The standards of conduct and degrees of separation have existed for women’s own protection, but Feminists have bullied us into abandoning them in favor of fake constructs that end up hurting women most of all.  The appalling rate of sexual assault and the lack of prosecution in the military are serious problems that The Invisible War brings to light.  These should be dealt with before putting women at greater risk in combat units on the battlefield.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dems' Medicare lie -- Why granny should be afraid!

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 4, 2013
  • Last Updated: 8:38 PM, August 21, 2012
  • Posted: 11:06 PM, August 20, 2012
President Obama is criss-crossing the country, warning that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it.” Attention, New York’s 3 million seniors: Don’t be fooled. It’s the Obama health law that destroyed Medicare, though the impact will not be felt for another year or more.
Scientific evidence indicates that the changes made by ObamaCare will shorten the lives of some elderly hospital patients and make it hard for Medicare enrollees to get treated. The only thing left of Medicare is the membership card.
ObamaCare cuts future funding for Medicare by over half a trillion dollars in the next 10 years. Most cuts are made by slashing what hospitals, physicians, hospice care and dialysis centers will be paid. Doctors will get less to care for a senior than for a patient on Medicaid and only a third of what a doctor will be paid to care for a patient with private insurance. New York, the hospital capital of the nation, will be especially hard hit.

Pressure rising: Tough times ahead for American seniors once ObamaCare destroys Medicare, rewarding hospitals for skimping on treatment.
Pressure rising: Tough times ahead for American seniors once ObamaCare destroys Medicare, rewarding hospitals for skimping on treatment.
Last year, Richard Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, warned Congress that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors and institutions to accept Medicare. Doctors who do accept Medicare will not want to spend time doing procedures such as hip replacements, when the pay is so low. Yet the law bars them from providing the care you want for an extra fee. You’re trapped.
Foster also warned that within a decade, 40 percent of health-care institutions could be forced to operate at a loss. New York hospitals are bracing for the hit.
When hospitals run in the red, they can employ fewer nurses and buy less diagnostic equipment.

Cutting hospital payment rates has been tried before, with deadly results. When Medicare cut payments to hospitals in 1997, hospitals hit with the biggest cuts saw death rates for elderly heart-attack patients go up relative to higher-spending hospitals. A $1,000 reduction in what hospitals could spend on a heart-attack patient led to a 6 percent to 8 percent higher death rate, due to fewer nurses and other staff, according to a 2011 National Bureau of Economic Research paper.
Apply that to the Obama health law. In 2019, according to Medicare’s actuaries, the program will spend $1,431 less per enrollee than if the health law had not been enacted. But that’s on average. The one in five enrollees who will need hospital care that year could see it fall by $6,000 or more.
When partisans for ObamaCare say cutting hospital payments will not impact care, don’t believe it. Cuts will result in fewer elderly patients surviving their hospital stays.
Seniors also risk losing access to colonoscopies and other preventative services. The Obama health law empowers the secretary of Health and Human Services to eliminate preventative services for seniors based on the recommendations of the US Preventative Services Task Force (the panel that recommended women over 74 not get routine mammograms). A half page later the secretary is empowered to “increase” preventative services for Medicaid recipients. The winners and losers are clear.
As of October 2012, hospitals that spend the least on seniors will get rewarded; those that spend more will get whacked with demerits. The government calls it “efficiency,” but it’s stingy care.
Data from all hospitals in California show that seniors treated in hospitals providing lower-intensity, lower-cost care have a higher risk of dying instead of recovering and going home. Yet, the Obama administration is pressuring all hospitals to imitate the low-spending ones.
The election should not turn on the lie that Obama will protect Medicare as we’ve known it. Unless the Obama health law is repealed, seniors will have difficulty getting the care they need, and some will die sooner.
Repeal is the key issue in the presidential election, not the merits of Paul Ryan’s alternative proposals. If the Romney-Ryan ticket wins, these proposals will go through many changes during the lawmaking process. But ObamaCare is already the law, and it’s dangerous.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It.”

Huge Chinese expo center planned for Cancum riles Mexican businesses, environmentalists

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / February 3, 2012

Dragon Mart Cancun
An artist's rendering of how the Dragon Mart Cancun will appear once it is built, perhaps by mid-2014. | Dragon Mart Cancun/McClatchy
It’s a big dream: A massive complex near the resort of Cancun that would be the largest trading center for Chinese products in the Western Hemisphere.
The proposed complex would house 3,040 showrooms, divided among 14 industrial sectors and targeting wholesalers from across Latin America. Projections estimate that it would draw 1 million people a year to a resort that already is the most popular beach destination in the Western Hemisphere.
But just one month ahead of its expected groundbreaking, the $180 million Dragon Mart Cancun is drawing loud objections from an odd alliance of Mexican environmentalists, who worry about the predicted surge in visitors, and business interests, who fear competition from inexpensive Chinese imports.
“We categorically and overwhelmingly oppose the initiative to install a Dragon Mart on our national territory,” the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico, the nation’s largest industrial group, said in a statement last month.
The group said it was worried about China’s past practices of “under invoicing, fake receipts, price subsidies, weak tax collection, almost null labor requirements and zero commitment to the environment.”
“The project may represent a beachhead for the massive arrival of Chinese products in conditions of unfair trade that may affect national industry and production chains,” the group added.
A business-supported think tank, the Center for Economic Studies of the Private Sector, said this week that it agreed with those concerns. It noted in a statement that China has chalked up 643 anti-dumping complaints through mid-2012, more than any other member of the World Trade Organization. Mexico has lodged 19 of those complaints.
It called on authorities to conduct “a serious and urgent investigation” of the business plan of Dragon Mart Cancun to ensure that competition will be fair.
Already, the overseers of Dragon Mart Cancun have made concessions. For one, Juan Carlos Lopez, the director general of Dragon Mart Cancun, said the expo had decided to ban exhibits by Chinese sellers of shoes and clothing.
“These two industries are very sensitive in Mexico,” he said.
Another concession, Lopez said, is that the expo center will no longer be only for Chinese vendors but also for vendors from around the world.
On the same parcel as Dragon Mart Cancun will be warehousing and 722 villas where vendors may live.
“It’s not just for Chinese people. Anybody who leases a booth can lease a home,” Lopez said.
He said he expected 400 to 600 agents of mainland Chinese companies to work at Dragon Mart Cancun, part of the 8,550 direct and indirect jobs he said the project will generate.
If the project goes ahead as planned, it would follow the rough model of Dragon Mart Dubai, the first effort by Chinese business and industry to set up a massive showroom center abroad to promote Chinese products. Dragon Mart Dubai, which measures more than 1,300 yards from end to end, opened in 2004.
Dragon Mart Cancun will contain sectors that offer home appliances, communication equipment, lighting, household furnishings, jewelry, building materials, furniture, toys, machinery, medical equipment, auto parts, foodstuffs and general merchandise.
“Latin Americans, instead of going to China or Asia, or going to different international fairs or expositions, will go to Cancun,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the Chinese government has no stake in Dragon Mart Cancun. Rather, a Chinese entrepreneur, Hao Feng, who is also behind a third proposed Dragon Mart in Bahrain, holds a 10 percent stake through a Netherlands-based private company, Chinamex, he said. The other 90 percent of Dragon Mart Cancun is in the hands of Mexican investors from Merida and Monterrey, he said.
Chinamex considered a series of other cities for the Dragon Mart, including Los Angeles, Miami, Panama City and Sao Paulo, as well as other locations in Mexico, including Tijuana, according to promotional literature.
Cancun won because its airport has more international flights than any other in Latin America, Lopez said, and its world-class hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions also will draw buyers.
“It’s a nice place to go,” he said.
Moreover, the exposition center will broaden the regional focus from tourism: “This is an opportunity to diversify the economy,” he said.
Most of the merchandise ordered through Dragon Mart Cancun will never come through the Yucatan Peninsula. Instead, it will be shipped directly to the port nearest the buyer, Lopez said. Volumes may be huge. Lopez said Dragon Mart Dubai last year traded the equivalent of 52,000 20-foot containers.
Environmental groups also have taken aim at Dragon Mart Cancun, which would sit on a 1,367 acre site about four miles from Cancun’s airport.
“There is environmental concern because it is nearly along the coast and only 3,400 meters (2.1 miles) from a protected area, the reefs of Puerto Morelos,” said Alejandra Serrano, a representative of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law.
Serrano said Dragon Mart Cancun has not been transparent about its long-term plans nor has it complied with zoning laws on protecting green areas.
Lopez responded that the project will have its own water treatment plant and will make extensive use of solar energy.
“We will not chop any vegetation, any trees. Zero,” Lopez said. “There are very few projects in all of Mexico that are so green.”
Lopez said the project already has received the green light from the surrounding state of Quintana Roo and only awaits a building permit from the Benito Juarez municipality, which he expects next month.
The project should be completed by May 2014.

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