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Trump to North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un: My Nuclear Button is ‘Bigger and More Powerful’

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President Donald Trump joined Kim Jong-un in a nuclear threat just days after Kim Jong-un issued an ominous nuclear threat.  And the President hasn’t held back.

During a televised New Year’s Day speech, Kim Jong-un said the U.S. would never be able to start a war with the rogue nation after it had developed the ability to hit all of the American mainlands with its nuclear weapons.

“The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat,” Kim said.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday night, Trump, seemingly not content with allowing North Korea’s leader to have the last word on nuclear capability fired off a bizarre tweet saying his button is “much bigger and more powerful.”

Attacking Jong-un on his regime, he wrote, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime, please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

The threatening tweet followed an earlier post during which Trump sounded open to the possibility of an inter-Korean dialogue.

During his New Year’s address, Kim made a rare overture toward South Korea that he was willing to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics, which will be hosted by South Korea next month.

Trump alluded to sanctions and “other pressures” and Kim Jong-un’s offer in a tweet Tuesday morning, which also referred to the dramatic escape of at least two North Korean soldiers across the heavily militarized border into South Korea.

“Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not — we will see!” Trump said, using his derisive moniker for the young North Korean leader.

Trump sent an earlier tweet saying the U.S.-led campaign of sanctions and other pressure were beginning to have a “big impact” on North Korea.

In response to Kim’s overture, South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks on January 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic co-operation and how to improve overall ties.

North Korea did not immediately react to the South’s proposal. If there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015.  Relations have plunged as the North has accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile development that now poses a direct threat to America, South Korea’s crucial ally.

The White House administration, voiced suspicions that Kim Jong-un was seeking to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. Pyongyang could view a closer relationship with Seoul has a way for reducing its growing international isolation and relief from sanctions that are starting to bite the North’s meager economy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivering a New Year’s speech at an undisclosed location. Picture: AFP/KCNASource:AFP

“We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters at the United Nations. “We consider this to be a very reckless regime. We don’t think we need a Band-Aid, and we don’t think we need to smile and take a picture.”

In his New Year’s address, Kim repeated fiery nuclear threats against the United States. He said he had a “nuclear button” on his office desk and warned that “the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

North Korea has been punished with unprecedented sanctions at the UN over its weapons programs, and Haley warned Tuesday of more measures if the North conducts another missile test.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert did not express opposition Tuesday to South Korea holding talks with North Korea, but voiced deep skepticism about Kim’s intentions, saying he may be “trying to drive a wedge of some sort” between the U.S. and its ally, which hosts 28,000 American forces.

South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in has supported Trump’s pressure campaign against North Korea, but he’s less confrontational than the US president and favors dialogue to ease the North’s nuclear threats. Moon has long said he sees the Pyeongchang Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. would continue to put “maximum pressure” on North Korea to give up its nukes. She added that South Korea shares that goal.

 

#LeNoraMillen       01-02-18

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Health Care

Medicare Takes Aim at Medical Identity Theft: Protecting Seniors From Fraud

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Criminals are increasingly targeting people age 65 or older for personal identity theft. In 2014 alone, there were 2.6 million such incidents among seniors, according to the Department of Justice.

A growing offshoot of identity theft is healthcare fraud, which can result when someone unlawfully uses another person’s Medicare number. Medical identity theft can lead to inaccuracies in medical records, which in turn can result in delayed care, denied services and costly false claims.

That’s why Medicare works with the Department of Justice, taking aim squarely at would-be thieves. In the largest law enforcement action against criminals fraudulently targeting the Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare programs, 412 people around the country, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, were charged in 2017 with bilking U.S. taxpayers out of $1.3 billion.

New Medicare Card for 2018. (Video Courtesy of YouTube)

The next big fraud-fighting push is well underway — and its focus is protecting the personal information of senior citizens by removing their Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.

People with Medicare don’t need to take any action to get a new Medicare card. Beginning in April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail out newly designed Medicare cards to the 58 million Americans with Medicare. The cards will have a new number that will be unique for each card recipient. This will help protect personal identity and prevent fraud because identity thieves can’t bill Medicare without a valid Medicare number. To help with a seamless transition to the new cards, providers will be able to use secure lookup tools that will support quick access to the new card numbers when needed.

Healthcare fraud drives up costs for everyone, but healthcare consumers can be an effective first line of defense against fraud. Follow these tips to help protect yourself:

Do

  • Treat your Medicare number like a credit card.
  • When the new card comes in the mail next year, destroy your old card and make sure you bring your new one to your doctors’ appointments.
  • Be suspicious of anyone offering early bird discounts, limited time offers or encouraging you to act now for the best deal. That’s an indicator of potential fraud because Medicare plans are forbidden from offering incentives.
  • Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds too good to be true.
  • Only give your Medicare number to doctors, insurers acting on your behalf or trusted people in the community who work with Medicare, like your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
  • Report suspected instances of fraud.
  • Check your Medicare statements to make sure the charges are accurate.

Don’t

  • Don’t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email or approaches you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance. Medicare will never contact you uninvited and request your Medicare number or other personal information.
  • Don’t let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.
  • Don’t allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
  • Don’t let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don’t need.
  • Don’t accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman.

Learn more about how you can fight Medicare fraud at Medicare.gov/fraud, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can also visit a local SHIP counselor, who can provide free, one-on-one, non-biased Medicare assistance.

With a common sense approach to protecting health information, senior citizens can be effective partners in fighting Medicare fraud.

 

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

@LeNoraMillen       01-19-18

 

 

 

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Politics

Trump Children’s Health Insurance Tweet Contradicts White House Administration

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Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump contradicted his own administration on Thursday when he tweeted that funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program  (CHIP) should not be included in a short-term plan to fund the government.

Trump’s tweet sent on Thursday morning, seemingly undercut the “Stopgap Spending Bill,” leaving many confused at what could be construed as an “Anti-Chip” tweet.

Read more here

@LeNoraMillen     01-18-18

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Politics

What If a Government Shutdown Occurs? Five Things to Know

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The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

The federal government faces a partial federal shutdown threat Friday without a $1.1 trillion appropriations spending budget or a temporary stopgap spending measure in place.

Here’s what could happen in the Miami Valley if a shutdown occurs:

FURLOUGHS: A Wright-Patterson Air Force Base spokesman said this week the base had not received guidance on what actions to take. But the last time a federal government shutdown occurred in 2013, thousands of Wright-Patterson civilian employees were furloughed temporarily. Among those exempted were police, fire, medical and airfield operations. Military service members remained on the job.

MUSEUM: The region’s biggest tourist attraction, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, would close until a funding deal is reached, according to a spokesman.

MAIL SERVICE: The U.S. Postal Service, which is considered self-funded, would continue operations, including home delivery and post offices, would stay open, a spokesman said.

DAYTON VA: The Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities would remain open. The VA operates on a two-year budget cycle, exempting the department from the latest funding skirmish in Washington.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: NPS sites in the Dayton region closed during the last shutdown in 2013. An NPS directive issued in September 2017, said parks would close if a lapse in federal government appropriations occurs.

Source: Dayton Daily News

@LeNoraMillen    01-18-18

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