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Seniors put health care on the line with Congressman Bilbray

A group of concerned seniors gathered at La Costa Glen retirement resort to discuss health care and their futures. When Congressman Brian Bilbray-R –CA greeted the seniors something extraordinary happened – a civil debate ensued.

There was nothing angry about this group and they definitely did their homework. These seniors were well-armed with all the facts and insisted their concerns were addressed one by one.

As the microphone was passed around the room it was clear they did not want to take the brunt of the so-called waste, fraud and abuse of Medicare. “We want to keep our supplements,” one said and heavy applause followed.

A lot of these retirees are a product of the Great Depression and know the value of a nickel. “You can’t tell me that we are going to insure 50 million new people and there is not going to be a shortage of doctors and facilities,” Paul Cook said. “Why isn’t anyone in Washington talking about this obvious severe shortage on the horizon?”

The Congressman had an answer. “I’m working on a program that will encourage war veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq to enter into the medical profession. If we have federal grants in place we can re-train our veterans, cover their tuition expenses and put their experience to work.”

Another issue of contention with seniors is the fact that this bill will be conveniently operational in 2013 when they say the President will be a lame duck. “We like to hold our elected officials accountable and if this plan is so great and we can’t wait until passes, then get it up and running next year,” said one skeptical senior.

Other topics on tap included the government-made drought in California’s Central Valley. Seniors were specifically concerned about the government purposely turning the state’s bread basket into a dust bowl.

“In the case of the Central Valley, the Endangered Species Act is wrong. They should never put a fish before farmers’ rights to survive,” said Bilbray.

Although this was a fairly friendly crowd for the Congressman, some remained skeptical as to just what one politician can do in a state and federal government dominated by the left.

“We need to stop looking at the differences that divide us and zero in on issues we have in common. Once we start working together it becomes easier to pass legislation all parties can live with,” Bilbray explained.

The La Costa Glen residents were wily enough to not let the Congressman wiggle out of any questions. “You’re right, California is big on recycling – recycling their elected officials,” Bilbray said.

As the Congressman prepared to conclude the town hall he pointed out the fact that America is an incredibly resilient country and he defied anyone who counted America down and out. “The age of miracles is on the horizon,” he said.

If the August town halls were any indication as to how frustrated voters are, California politicians may find their way into the recycling bin. These Americans are paying attention.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

Freedom of Information Act gleans erroneous data regarding Military LRADs at town hall

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department was rocked with controversy for placing military Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) at August town halls discussing health care. The device targeted Congresswoman Susan Davis-D and Congressman Darrell Issa-R, neither had any comment regarding the deadly LRAD misuse.

Now we know why Issa was silent – he has endorsed Sheriff Bill Gore who is in a dog fight with three other candidates to keep his job.

At a recent debate, all three candidates called Sheriff Gore on the carpet for placing military equipment used to repel terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan in the parking lot where U.S. citizens were invited by their elected representatives to engage in a discussion about health care.

That being said, Sheriff Candidate Jim Duffy explained he was present at the sales pitch for the LRAD and could not believe this military sonic weapon was on site. “I question why the LRAD would be at the event at all.”

After learning the LRAD military device required a fair amount of training and according to the manufacturer shouldn’t be operated within 75 meters of people because the weapon could cause permanent hearing loss or death, a Freedom of Information Act was filed with the Sheriff Department.

Once the training manuals and logs were requested, this reporter received some interesting documents via email from Sheriff Gore’s office. First, a four-page purchase order from a local San Diego company that sold the LRAD device for American Technologies seemed normal.

Second was a PDF copy of how the LRADs operate. This document appeared to be photocopied and came from the website http://science.howstuffworks.com/lrad. Anyone can find this on a LRAD Google search. This was far from impressive and completely unexpected when it came to what was expected from the Sheriff Department request.

The third and final document the Sheriff’s Department produced was a 55-page LRADx training manual from the manufacture. This manual discussed the usage of LRADs; crowd control was not mention within this manual.

In fact, the document was more of an overview of the LRAD device. More importantly the first page explains the LRAD weapon was developed specifically in response to the USS Cole terrorist attack in October 2000.

“The LRAD fulfills the capability to hail, warn and notify approaching vessels with prerecorded messages,” the manual reads. Photographs within the LRAD manual show an easy to operate on/off switch and a simple round knob used to adjust the decibel-sound levels.

The LRAD uses a sonic sound wave to deter or flush out the enemy. As the acoustic decibel-level intensifies, operational personnel must wear protective ear gear. LRAD sound decibels range from 20, noticeable, to 160+ which results in permanent hearing loss and/or loss of life.

Research gleaned from the Sheriff’s documents indicated the LRAD device had complaints from human rights groups and hearing specialists. They concluded the LRADs “are still weapons and have caused deaths in some circumstances.”

An email from Sheriff Gore read, “Attached are records in the possession of the Sheriff’s Department that concern the LRAD device. The Sheriff’s Department does not maintain any ‘logs.’”

However, Jay LaSuer, who is a former Sheriff Deputy and is running against Sheriff Gore, couldn’t disagree more with the Sheriff when it comes to training manuals or logs. “When I worked at the Sheriff Department Academy we keep very detail training logs for each deputy. These meticulous logs were kept just in case anything transpired with any deputy on the force.”

The company that sold Sheriff Gore the American Technologies LRAD revealed they no longer sell the device because there is better equipment on the market. The company spokesperson admitted that 95 percent of the devices sold were to military outlets.

Another interesting detail is American Technologies doesn’t require a license to purchase the military LRAD device. It was up to the good standing of a company to ‘check out’ potential customers.

“We definitely used good judgment when it came to selling the LRAD; it’s our fiduciary responsibility to do so. Plus, the company was founded by retired military veterans,” a company spokesman said. “Training is essential with this type of equipment.”

This detail leaves one wondering with Sheriff Gore’s background of missteps, can San Diego expect another Ruby Ridge-type accident to happen under Sheriff Gore’s less-than-stellar record. It also questions the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, who appointed Gore to the Sheriff post when Kolender retired, whether they did any homework during the hiring process.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

San Diego Sheriff deployed military crowd control device at Congressional town halls

The increasing frustration with politicians and overflow crowds attending August town halls led San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore to place military-type crowd control devices at two area town hall meetings.

Rep. Susan Davis-D Calif. and Rep. Darrell Issa-R Calif. held town halls that exceeded capacity (10,000+ total attendees) and prompted the Sheriff’s Department to have Long-Range Acoustic Devices(LRADs) standing ready.

Both town halls took place without incident; however the use of the military device concerned San Diegians. The LRAD crowd control is primarily used in Iraq to control insurgents and can cause serious and lasting harm to humans.

According to the manufacture, American Technology Corporation, the LRAD provides “military personnel the capability to transition through the rules of engagement to determine a target’s intent and also provides greater assurance that innocent lives on both sides of the device are not lost due to miscommunication.”

That being said why would local law enforcement feel the need to have such drastic measures on standby? Did the Sheriff Department have reason to believe a catastrophe was in the making?

In an interview with East County Magazine, Sheriff Gore answered a couple of questions. When asked about the use of sonic cannons directing a deterrent sound and the fact they are used in Iraq, Sheriff Gore replied; “That’s a precaution in case you need it.”

Gore also stipulated that his deputies had all the training required to use the LRADs.

The possible use of military arsenal against American citizens drew fire from both sides of the political fray. It was Liberty One Radio, a San Diego-based station that led to the uncovering of the LRAD use.

A spokesman from Congressman Issa’s office had no comment on the LRADs being placed at the town hall in Vista, CA. where Issa spoke.

Also, behind the scenes Americans are skeptical that Sheriff Gore should be using anything of this magnitude in light of his connection to the Ruby Ridge, Idaho incident.

Gore was part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation team and was believed to have issued the order to kill on sight – any member of the family who showed themselves, according to a source close to the case. This mishandling and loss of life resulted in Gore leaving the FBI. Two civilians were killed, an unarmed woman holding a baby as well as a minor child.

The debacle cost the American taxpayer $3.1 million dollars when a wrongful death suit was brought against the federal government. In August of 1995 the government paid the Weaver family of Ruby Ridge an out-of-court settlement.

To read the complete East County Magazine story; http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

Congressman Hunter talks health care in Ramona

Main town USA lurks at every corner in Ramona, California. The neighbors are nosey, the cars remain unlocked and it’s sweltering past the 100 degree mark in this quaint town, but that didn’t stop the locals from packing the Ramona Mainstage venue to capacity leaving many outside hoping to at least shake the young congressman’s hand.

They were not disappointed. Duncan Hunter Jr., a self admitted conservative, replaced his father, who made a run for the White House last year, but Hunter Jr. was not given the seat. He had to earn it the old fashion way – beat his competitor.

This was no small feat as Hunter Jr. was busy fighting in Afghanistan for the U.S. Marines much of the campaign season. Luckily he had a strong family to conduct a large part of the race without him being present. Hunter won and now calls Washington D.C. home much of the year.

Today, Hunter Jr. shows up in his big Chevy pickup truck, dusty shoes and a few minutes late due to a shaving injury. Not to worry, he quips, “I’m bleeding for you.” He takes his time entering the venue and shakes the hand of each and every person who waited in the heat to see their congressman.

Once inside, it’s a little cooler, until the conversation turns to health care and what this small town expects of Hunter when he returns to D.C. next week.

He starts with a semi-apology. “It seems the conservatives were eclipsed by the Obama star, but we are no longer voices in the wilderness. Because of you our power is coming.”

This is a good part of the district for the freshman Congressman, says Michael Harrison, deputy chief of staff for Duncan Hunter Jr.

Growing up in strict family, goals were always set and now that the Congressman is in Washington D.C. nothing has changed. “We (Republicans) are trying our hardest to rebound.”

A smile comes across his face when he talks about the ‘team’ of Republicans. “We all voted against the stimulus package. That was an accomplishment because there were some who wanted to vote for it, but in the end we all agreed.”

It was the tragedy of 9/11 that would alter Hunter Jr.’s path and lead him away from a technology career to join the Marines and fight for his country. He served two tours in Iraq and was recalled to active duty in Afghanistan for a third.

With his experience in the military, Hunter Jr. is a natural to fight the illegal immigration invasion of our southern borders and he also gravitates toward National Security issues. It bothers him that this administration is cutting defense spending while the country is fighting two wars.

“We are always playing catch up when it comes to artillery and body armor,” Hunter expresses his frustration for the first time. “I don’t get it; we are cutting our missile defense program by $1.2 billion when we know it works.”

Hunter explains there are some in the Obama administration who believe America will never fight another real war, with an opponent of equal standing; “That’s just not rational.”

Eventually the town hall event heads into the firestorm of health care. Hunter admits that elections have consequences, but sometimes the partisanship is too much. “I could walk into a meeting and tell the Democrats that I have a cure for cancer and they would say no.”

Perhaps, Hunter will get used to this type of D.C. tactics, but something tells you he is just not that guy, plus his father who was a well-respected congressman for 27 years would probably kick his butt.

The health care industry needs reform, says Hunter, “it just doesn’t need a massive government overhaul. I think we can fix it little by little.”

Ramona resident, Ted Trout, retired from the Navy and wanted to make sure his Tricare/health care was not going to be tinkered with by Washington. “They won’t touch it,” Hunter quickly responds. “It’s completely exempt.’

Not all problems will be as lucky, Medicare has a lot of meat on the chopping block. This is another point of contention with the Congressman. “If there is a public option, any punishment for small businesses or excessive Medicare cuts, I will not vote for the bill.”

That being said does the Congressman think this legislature will pass? “You never know,” he pauses. “Most blue dogs (conservative Democrats) will roll over and have their belly tickled for a treat.”

However, the health care discussion has not been in vain and four Republican amendments have been added to the extensive 1,200-page bill. One of them was offered up by Hunter.

The House Education and Labor Committee accepted his amendment to protect small businesses from a broad employer mandates. “As part of the legislation’s ‘pay to play’ provisions, businesses are required to provide employees with health care coverage or risk incurring a penalty tax equal to eight percent of annual payroll expenses.”

This amendment would kick in when an employer requests a hardship exemption that would result in firing employees due to the cost health insurance.

It’s something.

Other options Hunter would like to see in a redesigned health care bill would include, inter-state health insurance portability, tort reform, good oversight, less regulation, cost cutting measures and fraud prevention.

Unless the current bill HR3200 is scrapped, none of those options will be invited to sit at the Democrat table.

In the end, all were glad to hang out with Hunter on their day off from everyday life and most left knowing they would be represented in Washington D.C.

The event was hosted by Orrin and Cheryl Day, the owners of Ramona Mainstage. “We just wanted our community to hear from our Congressman first hand where he stands – not the TV sound bites we all hear from the main stream media.”

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

Congresswoman Davis’ town hall gets rowdy

A ruckus crowd in California confronted Democrat Congresswoman Susan Davis on health care. The noticeably ‘no’ on HR3200 audience grilled Davis and held her accountable about her forthcoming vote on the health care issue.

The town hall began with a short speech reiterating the need for health care reform; this would be the last time Davis had control of the conversation as questions spurning the $1.6 trillion health care proposal in the House were front and center.

A robust debate ensued with tough questions like; “Are you going to vote how your constituents want? A poll you put up on your website about health care asked ‘Do you want health care reform?’ 85 percent of the voters said no.”

With all due respect this poll is not scientific.

Davis danced around the topic but eventually she indicated that she was in favor of a public option. The standing-room only crowd erupted with boos at the prospect of another congressperson not voting the will of the people.

The district which Davis resides is an upscale neighborhood of La Jolla. Several attempts to reach Davis were fruitless as her San Diego and Washington D.C. offices did not want to wade into her health care vote.

When a constituent asked how Washington D.C. expects to pay for this expensive plan when the national debt and deficit stand in the trillions of dollars? “We will raise taxes on the wealthy.”

That must be music to the ears for the rich folks who live along the prestigious California coastline in Davis’ district.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

Constituents focus on health care despite Obama’s attempt to redirect to CIA matters

While the President enjoys his time away from the health care quagmire taking place around the country, town hall attendees continue their push to enlighten their lawmakers.

In a veiled effort to change the country’s talking points, the White House decided to announce that a special prosecutor would be named to investigate a dozen CIA interrogations during the Bush Administration.

Political pundits say this is just another ploy to change the topic from health care. This particular witch hunt into the CIA could backfire because the majority of American’s do not want this investigation, according to Rasmussen Polls.

Many questions remain direct and focused on health care issues. A biggie is, ‘Will the health care reform bill include coverage for those in this country illegally?’ The President continues to say absolutely not.

However, there have been many attempts to add safety measures to ensure illegal aliens do not receive care and all have been voted down. A plan known as the Heller amendment was written by Rep. Dean Heller, R-NV, and wanted to include clauses that mandated checks similar to E-Verify in order to qualify for government subsidized health insurance.

The Heller amendment went down on party lines.

This amendment would include prospective applicants to pass through two programs the government already uses. The two identification processes the Heller amendment would use are programs the federal government already employ; The Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS) and the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE).

The Heller amendment author said, “It would better screen applicants for subsidized health care to ensure they are actually citizens or otherwise entitled to it.”

A recent Rasmussen reports poll states, 80 percent of Americans oppose covering illegal immigrants in the $1.6 trillion health care bill.

Lawmakers have being telling constituents Section 246 of the House health care bill states; “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payment for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

However, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates there are more than 8 million illegal immigrants have legitimate jobs in this country.

Leading one to question why not add the two verification processes the government already uses for entitlements programs in order to quell the concern?

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

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