Why A Secure Border Matters

Evidently China has been dealing with the coronavirus since December of last year. The virus has had a serious impact on the country in both economic and health areas. The restriction on Chinese citizens traveling to America that began in January has probably helped prevent a widespread epidemic in this country. However, the risk is still there.

The Daily Wire is reporting today:

“Some 328 illegal immigrants from China have been nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border so far this year, according to Homeland Security data that raises the prospect a coronavirus carrier could sneak into the country via the border,” The Washington Times reported. “Three other people from South Korea — another country with rapidly spreading cases — have also been arrested at the border, as have 122 people from the Dominican Republican, where the coronavirus has now been detected.”

…Border Patrol agents told the Times that in addition to the 1,000 illegal aliens who are caught every day entering the United States through the southern border with Mexico, which is also dealing with an outbreak of the coronavirus, a significant number of illegal aliens are managing to sneak into the country undetected.

“The journey to the U.S. border puts migrants in poor conditions,” a Homeland Security official told The Washington Times. “We don’t know if they have come into contact with someone who has the flu, there is no passport, medical history, or travel manifest.”

The article concludes:

Another senior administration official told The Examiner, “We have a unique public health threat posed by individuals arriving unlawfully at the border. Any halting of MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols –the remain in Mexico policy) would exacerbate that threat.”

DHS acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told The Examiner that the department’s top objective was protecting the American people, and that Trump’s efforts have gone a long way toward achieving that goal.

“The American people can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to protect our homeland. While the general risk to the American public remains low, DHS has mobilized a departmentwide response to keep Americans safe, secure, and informed,” Cuccinelli said. “Fortunately, we were able to engage DHS assistance early to prevent the spread of this virus in the U.S. We remain locked arm-in-arm with our interagency partners, HHS and CDC health professionals, and state and local officials acting as one to safeguard the health and safety of the American people.”

An open border represents both a security risk and a health risk. It is time to stop playing politics with the lives of American people and secure the border.

The Scandal In New Jersey Grows

Yesterday the Washington Post posted an article about Senator Robert Menendez and his relationship with Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen. The headline of the article reads, “Sen. Menendez contacted top officials in friend’s Medicare dispute.”

At the center of this controversy is a federal investigation into the billing practices of Dr. Melgen. The article details a history of federal inquiries into the billing records of Dr. Melgen culminating with an FBI raid on the doctor’s office at the end of January this year.

The article reports:

But a Menendez aide said Wednesday that the senator did not know Melgen was under formal investigation for possible fraud until the well-publicized raid last week.

“Senator Menendez was never aware of and has not intervened in any Medicare fraud investigation on behalf of Vitreo Retinal Consultants,” his office said in a statement.

The senator’s conversation with federal officials about Melgen’s case was unrelated to the current investigation, Menendez aides said.

“On a separate issue regarding Medicare reimbursement, he has in the past raised concerns with CMS about conflicting guidelines and ambiguity in CMS rules that are difficult for providers to understand and can lead to judgments after the fact,” the statement said. “His interest was in making sure providers were not penalized if CMS clarified or changed the rules of the game retroactively.”

Alan Reider, Melgen’s attorney, said Wednesday that his client has returned the government money in dispute but is contesting the CMS audit finding so he can reclaim the money. Reider said Melgen believes he was following Medicare guidelines. Reider added that Melgen was not aware that his practice was under investigation until federal agents arrived at his clinic last week.

At issue in the reimbursement dispute is Melgen’s multiple use of individual vials for eye injections to treat macular degeneration. Federal auditors have said Melgen often billed the government three to four times for injections from a single vial, according to two federal officials and lawyers familiar with the case.

The government’s Medicare program reimburses providers $2,000 for each vial, so Melgen was billing $6,000 to $8,000 for each vial.

There is also an incident in the article where another doctor criticized Dr. Melgen, and Dr. Melgen threatened the other doctor with a Medicare investigation.

There are a few aspects of this story. There is the salacious part about the underage girls and the private jet trips, but there is also the implication that Medicare fraud is a significant problem. I understand that a Medicare investigation is probably a major pain in the neck for a doctor, but it disturbs me that it could be used as a threat by a doctor who was seen as being able to carry out the threat. That really does not say a lot about the integrity of either our government or of Medicare.

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The Double Standard At Work

There is a really ugly scandal evolving about New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. It seems that he had a close friendship with a major Democratic donor named Dr. Salomon Melgen. The two of them frequently flew on the Doctor’s private jet to the Dominican Republic where the Senator spent time with underage prostitutes.

The story can be found at Breitbart.com and in the Daily Caller. Recently the Doctor’s offices were raided by the FBI and records removed from the office. So what is this all about? News reports state Menendez has denied published reports he improperly lobbied on behalf of Melgen’s interest in a Dominican Republic Port security contractor.

To be very honest, this scandal is going nowhere. (I would love to be wrong about this.) The Senator did something gross outside of the country, and I don’t even know if what he did is illegal in the Dominican Republic. There is an ethics violation if he accepted free flights, but that will be corrected by paying for the flights. Essentially, I believe that this is much ado about something that will actually have no impact on anything. Unfortunately this man was legally elected to the Senate and the cronyism in the Senate (particularly among Democrats and the media) will keep his dishonesty and shameful behavior from causing him any problems.

Until we elect honorable men to Congress and the press actually reports the news accurately, this sort of thing will continue unpunished.

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Homeland Security’s Worst Nightmare

Yesterday the New York Daily News posted a story about the arrest of a suspected terrorist. The terrorist, Jose Pimentel, was an American citizen, inspired and guided by the internet, and was a follower of Anwar al-Awlaki.

The article reports:

Pimentel, who went by the alias Muhammad Yusuf, told an informant posing as an Al Qaeda sympathizer he would show “there was mujahedeen in the city ready to fight jihad here.”

When the police arrested Mr. Pimentel, he was about an hour away from successfully finishing a powerful pipe bomb.

Mr. Pimentel is an American citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic.

The article reports:

“I don’t know anything,” said his uncle Luis Severino, adding that his nephew moved in with him about two years ago after getting a divorce. “The only change I noticed in him is that he started following the Muslim religion.”

Mr. Pimentel is described as a ‘lone wolf’ in terms of terrorism. A lone wolf is difficult to detect because theoretically he is the only person aware of the terrorist plot he is planning. However, in the age of the internet, I am not sure there really is any such thing as a lone wolf terrorist. At some point, Mr. Pimentel began reading the on-line Al Qaeda magazine INSPIRE. When he was caught, he was using a bomb-making recipe he found in the magazine. Without the inspiration and instruction found on the internet, I am not sure Mr. Pimentel would have been radicalized. The other question I have in this case is, “What mosque did Mr. Pimentel attend and what was taught at that mosque?”

We have always had violent people among us–the unibomber comes to mind–but we seem to be dealing with a different sort of danger here. If we have mosques in this country teaching violence, we need to know where they are and keep an eye on the people who lead them and the people who attend them. I sounds to me as if this was a man who went through a divorce and was searching for his purpose in society. He found it in the idea of blowing up his fellow Americans. We need to look at how he arrived at that point and see what can be done to prevent others from taking that journey.

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