Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

-Luke 15:20

Recently, the United Kingdom appointed a Minister of Loneliness to attend to the growing public health crisis of loneliness reported by 9 million people in their country. Our culture has mastered the art of relational distance. Too many of us are content to view one another from a long way off. Our past hurts, pains, disappointments and biases keep us so isolated and alone. But like this father who saw his son and became proximal to him, we are being nudged to close the chasm of difference and remember our shared humanity.

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.

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Stephen King on Trump’s Fanatics:“Jesus, man ….You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.”– “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people…”

From Stephen King {MID-320340}
Stephen King
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Bestselling author Stephen King on Monday weighed in on President Trump’s recent warnings to the migrant caravan moving through Mexico toward the United States. King’s criticism came in response to a tweet Trump shared on Sunday stating that “full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Souther (sic) Border.” “Jesus, man,” King said in response to the tweet. “You act like the Red Chinese army was invading.” “They’re just a bunch of scared and hungry people,” the author said.

Read the rest of the story HERE:

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A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs

The Pew Charitable Trusts
Antibiotic Resistance Project
Inside NIH’s Fight Against Superbugs
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses some of the greatest superbug threats—and what the agency is doing about them.
In Superbug Fight, ‘Victory Is Not at Hand’
“It’s a long road from exciting things happening in the lab to getting through a clinical process to the patient’s bedside,” Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project, explains in a Chicago Tribune editorial.
A Dad’s Work to Stop Superbugs
For Men’s Health Month—June—get to know Chris Linaman. After his heartbreaking superbug experience, he’s working to help others avoid the trauma he endured.
Antibiotics Weren’t Used to Cure These Patients. Fecal Bacteria Were.
Superbugs Could Render Even the Most Routine Procedures Deadly, Warns Chief Medical Officer
Stanley Falkow, Microbiologist Who Studied Bacteria and the Diseases They Cause, Dies At 84
Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs Are on the Rise Around The World
Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones
Was this forwarded to you? Don’t miss the next email!
Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine, essential for treating everything from routine skin infections to strep throat, and for protecting vulnerable patients receiving chemotherapy or being treated in intensive care units.

Pew’s antibiotic resistance project is working to ensure both the prudent use of existing drugs and a robust pipeline of new drugs in order to meet current and future patient needs.

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Even if John Stewart is Gone, We all Need to Keep taking on FOX and all the Media

I am going to put a lot of John Stewart videos in the comment section, like this one:

You probably heard the great news – after a few years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show–but the Boycott Must Go On!!

Ten years ago, Media Matters launched with a revolutionary mission: to systematically monitor the U.S. media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. We’ve been calling out right-wing lies for a decade — and we’re not done yet. Will you contribute now to help us raise $10,000 for our 10th anniversary?

Media Matters Timeline

For ten years, we’ve successfully fought back against the bad actors that poison our media with right-wing lies and smears. It’s been an amazing beginning, and we couldn’t have done it without your support.

We’re in this for the long haul. Make an anniversary gift today to kickstart the next ten years of media accountability.

Dear Kevin,
You probably heard the great news – after two years of progressive activism, FOX finally cancelled Glenn Beck’s show.
Beck was targeted after he slandered President Obama by saying, “This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is… This guy, I believe, is a racist.”
Activists at ColorOfChange, Media Matters, StopBeck, FoxNewsBoycott, and of course responded with a boycott of advertisers on Glenn Beck’s show. Ultimately over 300 advertisers pulled their ads from Beck, costing FOX over $40 million.
Advertiser boycotts work! And it’s time to boycott all FOX News advertisers:
We’re starting our boycott of all FOX News with Proactiv, which sells acne medicine to teenagers and young adults. Why?
First, there are lots of other acne treatments. Second, young adults above all are hurt by FOX News, which promotes right-wing policies on race, education, healthcare, the environment, and war. Let’s get our future leaders to lead the fight against FOX News!
Sign the petition to Proactiv and enter the email address of every young adult over 18 you know:
Beyond President Obama, FOX regularly slanders nearly everyone: Democrats, unionized workers, the unemployed (including veterans and 99ers), environmentalists, feminists, blacks, Hiics, Jews, Muslims, progressives, scientists, and any other group it disagrees with.
FOX News broadcasts rightwing extremist slander, incitement to violence, political propaganda, and outright lies to promote its rightwing political agenda. This is not “news,” but rather a never-ending “war on news” – and it’s all documented in our petition.
Why would any decent company want to fund it? Tell Proactiv to stop advertising on FOX News:
Thanks for all you do!
Bob Fertik

GLEN BECK ADMITTED in 2007, “I Am RACIST and Barack Obama is very White” THIS MAKES Boycotting FOX NEWS needed NOW

By Kevin Stoda

Dear, American supporters of the Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) news networks.

AMERICANS are getting less tolerant of your racism and stronghold on our major media.

For example, we have noted that in his 2007 TV program from FOX (See on You-Tube), Glen Beck admitted he himself was racist. Further, Beck then, in contrast to 2009, called Barrack Obama much more white than black. (Apparently, Beck now he has other nonsense to mush men’s minds.)

Using a major news platform to promote racism and to tell people to disrespect a whole presidential administration through mixed truths, outright lies, and xenophobia, is not to be tolerated any more.

On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman asked Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP what he thought of Wal-Mart’s pull-out from advertising on the Glen Beck program on FOX.

NOTE: Goodman had simply asked , “The whole attack by Glenn Beck that drove this (resignation)? In your response from the NAACP to Van Jones, it says, ´The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.` Do you support the continued boycott of companies like Wal-Mart of Beck’s show on Fox?”

This is a particularly important point because Glen Beck´s HATE CAMPAIGN ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION led recently to a great American policy maker, Van Jones, quitting the government this week.

Mr. Jealous said, “We certainly support them (Walmart) choosing with their dollars who they’re going to support. I mean, it’s—Glenn Beck is somebody who’s told a seven-year-old girl, a seven-year-old black girl, that he would buy her a ticket back to Africa, that she needed to go back to Africa. And then he comes out, and he says that healthcare is the beginning of reparations. I mean, this guy plays the race card on a weekly basis. He does it very aggressive—you know, in a very hateful way.”

Recall, first, that Van Jones is one of the most important and thoughtful men in America—however, the FOX (Fascist Oddball Xenophobic) news network chose to support a man, like Glen Beck, rather than seeing that tens of millions of Americans need to get health care from promoters like Jones and that our America economy needs to move starting today to the kind of economy that its competitors worldwide are already doing.

Let’s quote the wisdom and influential words of Van Jones on the absolute necessity to green the American economy NOW!

“I think it’s really important to point out that we’re sort of at the end of an era of American capitalism, where we thought we could run the economy based on consumption rather than production, credit rather than creativity, borrowing rather than building, and also, most importantly, environmental destruction rather than environmental restoration.”

Jones continued, “We’re trying to make the case in this book that that era is over. We now have to move in a very different direction. And key to that will be basing the US economy not on credit cards, but based on clean energy and the clean energy revolution that would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy and put up so much carbon, building wind farms and wave farms, manufacturing wind turbines. We argue you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines, 8,000 finely machine parts in each one, twenty tons of steel in each wind tower, making wind turbines to help save the world.”

Finally, Van Jones wisely noted, “So we think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time. We think that you can actually power our way through this recession by putting people to work, but we’re going to have to start building things here and re-powering, retrofitting, retooling America, and that that’s the way forward both for the economy, for the earth and for everyday people.”

Note: These statements came from a program on DN from October of last year:

Van Beck has written a book of the same title, The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems.

America needs such voices as Van Jones in government leadership in America—not Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) types.

Clean up the American airwaves of all its fascism and racism, today.

NOTE: One way to change the noise of Fascist Oddball Xenophobic (FOX) media moguls is to support alternative media organizations

and alternative monitoring websites.

Another way, is to demand that local radio and TV channels put better programming on, such as Democracy Now or news sources promoted by serious progressive journalists:

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Major University Study Finds “Fire Did Not Bring Down Tower 7 On 9/11”

Fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse. The secondary conclusion of our study is that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.

The results of this study cannot be dismissed. It completely destroys the narrative that has been shoved down the throats of Americans for nearly two decades. What’s more, this study backs up thousands of other researchers, scientists, and engineers who have been pointing this out for years.

September 11 2001 just collapsed.

September 11 2001 just collapsed.
(Image by Wikipedia (   DetailsDMCA
Read the rest of the story HERE:


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Is VA Health the best HealthCare in America?

The Veterans Health Administration is the Best Healthcare Anywhere!

By David William Pear

According to study after study, such as the Rand Corporationand the Annals of Internal Medicine, show that the Veterans Health Administration provides the best healthcare, has the best medical outcomes, the shortest wait-times, and does so at the lowest cost of any other large healthcare program anywhere. The VA healthcare system (VHA) has only one mission: to provide the best healthcare.


Cross Posted with The Greanville Post

Save the VA healthcare from privatization

Save the VA healthcare from privatization
(Image by Veterans for Peace)   DetailsDMCA

According to study after study, such as the Rand Corporationand the Annals of Internal Medicine, show that the Veterans Health Administration provides the best healthcare, has the best medical outcomes, the shortest wait-times, and does so at the lowest cost of any other large healthcare program anywhere. The VA healthcare system (VHA) has only one mission: to provide the best healthcare.

The success of the VHA is owed to its being socialized medicine, and its dedicated doctors, nurses, medical personnel and employees. The dedicated men and women of VHA prove that not everybody is motivated by profit. In fact, most people are not.

The VHA is a federally-funded government healthcare system. Unlike Medicare, Obamacare, and Medicaid it is not a health insurance program, which depends on the for-profit medical industry for healthcare. At VHA the government owns the “bricks and mortar”: the hospitals, clinics, etc.

VHA owns all the medical equipment. It negotiates prices with suppliers and pharmaceutical companies. All the doctors, nurses, medical staff and employees are government employees. If that is not shocking enough to neoliberals, then consider that VHA employees are unionized by The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

The plot to kill the Veterans Health Administration

In a sane world one would think that when something is so successful as the VHA, it would be embraced by the establishment as one solution to the nation’s healthcare crisis. Instead the establishment has been trying to destroy VHA since its inception by President Lincoln in 1865.

Over VHA’s 150 years it has had many ups and downs. The current war against VHA began with President Ronald Reagan in 1987. While Reagan was trying to kill the VHA, his soulmate in the UK, Margaret Thatcher had her daggers out for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Reagan was slashing VHA benefits even as he went around pinning medals on Vietnam era veterans.

Both the VHA and NHS have survived, but the war to kill them is still on. The legendary journalist John Pilger is fighting now to save the NHS in the UK. In the US, Veterans for Peace has taken up the challenge to save the VHA from privatization. Many other legitimate veterans groups are also speaking out, and acting-out to save the VHA, such as Veterans Say No to Privatization.

The VHA is setting a “bad” example for neoliberals. All of the neoliberals’ privatizations of government enterprises, austerity for the middle-class and poor, and easy-money for the banks called “quantitative easing” have proved to be disasters.

After over 10 years since the Great Recession of 2008, failed neoliberal economic policies have worsened inequality, wages have been stagnant, and the US economy continues to sink in its ability to provide the basic necessities of life to the American people. Obamacare turned out be an insurance fraud and a flop.

If the continued push of neoliberalism does not make sense, then it is because you do not recognize corruption. Privatization of state-owned enterprises is a conspiracy between corrupt politicians and corrupt corporations to defraud the public.

Socialized medicine at the VHA works great, even according to NATO’s think tank the Rand Corporation. In a 2018 study it admitted that the VHA did better than all other large US healthcare programs:

“VA hospitals generally provided better quality care than non-VA hospitals and the VA’s outpatient services were better quality when compared to commercial HMOs, Medicaid HMOs and Medicare HMOs”. Consistent with previous studies, our analysis found that the VA health care system generally provides care that is higher in quality than what is offered elsewhere in communities across the nation.”

So, study after study consistently finds that socialized medicine does best. The only reasons they want to kill the VHA is so that corporations can raid its $200 billion a year budget, and to destroy a good example that makes neoliberalism and capitalism look bad.

The corporate lobbyists for the private healthcare and health-insurance companies have been circling Washington like vultures. They don’t care about veterans, and neither do the corrupt politicians. All they care about are bribes and corrupt profits.

The mainstream media is part of the conspiracy to kill the VHA. Six major corporations own 90%of the mainstream media: General Electric, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Not only are some of these companies in the healthcare business, but they have interlocking boards of directors with other corporations that are.

The corporate mainstream media can be counted on to sensationalize any scandal, real or imagined, at the VHA. They can also be depended on to not cover any good news about the VHA, such as the Rand Corporation study. None of the mainstream media outlets covered the demonstrations of veterans across the country for “Veterans Say No to Privatization”.

All veterans and their families should have access to VHA

The politicians, capitalists, and patriots all say they love veterans. It is a lie meant for war propaganda and to brainwash the public. Wars are for profits, and the soldiers and veterans are cannon fodder. As Henry Kissinger infamously said:

“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy”.

Kissinger’s slip of the tongue was one of those moments when a power elite told the truth. Not willing to be sacrificial pawns of US foreign policy themselves explains why so many warmongering neocons are chickenhawks.

All US wars have been based on lies. US foreign policy and war goals are to protect the interests of US corporations. Wars are not fought in the interest of the American people. Wars are how capitalism raids the resources of the world for profiteers. Wars make the American people less safe, not more.

Historically, veterans benefits were always viewed by the power elite as handouts. After wars, veterans’ benefits are usually cut, as Ronald Reagan did in 1987.

Now with the US in perpetual war, veterans’ benefits are seen by the power elite as a necessary part of war propaganda, but still as just handouts to be snatched away if peace ever comes. Even for current era Gulf War veterans, 80% of their claims for Gulf War associated illnesses are denied. In 2016 the VHA had its budget cut by $690 million, depriving about 70,000 veterans of VHA care.

As it is, of the 20 million living veterans from all wars, only about half qualify for access to the VHA. There is a priority system for qualifying for access. Those veterans with a permanent disability from their military service are in a top priority. For those with less than a 50% service-connected disability they must pay copays for VHA healthcare. The copays are set by Congress, and are charged to veterans because of the mentality that VHA benefits are a handout.

Of the 10 million veterans that do not qualify for access to the VHA, it is estimated by the National Institute of Health that about 2 million have no access to healthcare coverage whatsoever. The immediate family members of all veterans generally do not qualify for access to the VHA, either.

So, while the VHA provides excellent care for many veterans, there are many gaps where large numbers of veterans and their families are not eligible. In a rational world where the VHA is recognized as the best healthcare alternative, has the best medical outcomes, and does so at the lowest cost, then it would make sense to expand it to all veterans and their families.

Capitalism is not rational. It has only one priority, and that is profits. Best medical practices, patient outcomes, and helping people do not fit the capitalist mold. It is no mystery why making profits and the practice of medicine are a conflict of interest. Under socialized medicine there are less conflicts of interest that put other interests ahead of providing healthcare.

Since VHA is not profit driven, it can focus on conservative medicine. As the Hippocratic Oath says, “do no harm”, and it is a guide to VHA. Unnecessary tests and procedures expose patients to harmful radiation and have other long-term risks.

Unnecessary surgeries and hospitalizations increase the risk of errors, infections and other complications. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of patients die every year due to medical errors and malpractice. It may be higher when deaths from unnecessary treatments and medications are included.

Unnecessary surgeries, procedures and tests are recognized as a serious problem by the National Institute of Health,:

“Patient safety in surgery has historically suffered from a lack of physician-driven initiatives aimed at recognizing, preventing and mitigating medical errors and surgical complications”This unrecognized problem has escalated so far that medical errors currently rank as the 3rd leading cause of deathin the United States”What do we mean by unnecessary surgery? We define this as any surgical intervention that is either not needed, not indicated, or not in the patient’s best interest when weighed against other available options, including conservative measures”.

It deserves repeating with emphasis: Medical errors currently rank as the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. A study at Johns Hopkins confirmedthe results of the NIH study.

Imagine a system that reduces medical errors, thus saving lives. VHA has done it by following proven conservative medical practices, instead of the profit motive. When the VHA’s preventive medical care is included, then the superior outcomes of the VHA are even higher than studies show.

How privateers are trying to destroy VHA Healthcare:

Highly publicized isolated scandals at VHA open the door for privateers to claim that VHA is a broken system. While nothing could be further from the truth, the media and bribed politicians have been able to use VHA as a whipping-boy, a phrase that came out of slavery when Africans were literally “whipping boys”. Capitalism has always seen human beings as a commodity to be exploited.

It is easy to convince the public, which has already been brainwashed that government doesn’t work, that the VHA doesn’t work either. Oligarchs such as the Koch brothers, Walton family, and the Bill Gates of the world set up phony “non-profit” organizations to further their cause of profiting by privatizing VHA. The oligarchs create phony veterans’ groups to go along with privatization, always called “reform” or “choice”.

Donald Trump used the VHA as part of his platform in his 2016 presidential campaign. All during 2016, Trump’s stump speech repeated that veterans had long wait-times at VHA, and that the VHA could not get rid of overpaid, incompetent and lazy doctors. His flag waving stump speech went like this:

“Four years ago, our entire nation was shocked and outraged by stories of the VA system plagued by neglect, abuse, fraud and mistreatment of our veterans”and there was nothing they could do about it. Good people that worked there, they couldn’t take care of the bad people — meaning ‘You’re fired, get the hell out of here”.

In a less flamboyant, but just as corrupt way, Barack Obama raided the VHA budget with a program of private for-profit healthcare. In 2014 he signed the “Veterans Choice Program“.

Under Veterans Choice a veteran who lives more than 40 miles from a VHA facility and experiences over a 30-day wait-time to see a VHA doctor can see a private doctor instead. The VHA of course picks up the tab. Veterans Choice drained $5.2 billion from VHA.

Trump fulfilled his campaign promise by getting the VA MISSION Act of 2018 passed. The VA Mission Act is estimated to drain $55 billion from VHA over 5 years.

Under the VA Mission Act, veterans who have a wait-time of more than 14 days for an appointment, or must drive for over 30 minutes may seek private care. Who doesn’t have to drive over 30 minutes unless they live next door to VHA facility?

Unmentioned is that according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), wait times of for-profit private care for veterans would likely jump to 70 days. At the VHA, the issue of wait-time is a phony issue. A January 2019 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the average VHA wait-time was 17.7 days, while the private-sector average was 29.8 days.

The privatization of VHA is all about profits and ripping off veterans. It has nothing to do with the quality of care, the medical outcomes, the wait-time, or cost. VHA beats the private healthcare platform in every category.

The VHA is a comprehensive, holistic, healthcare system

The Veterans Administration healthcare is the best healthcare anywhere because it is a comprehensive and holistic healthcare program. It strives not only to treat sick and injured veterans, but to keep them well through preventive healthcare.

The VHA has a lifetime relationship with veterans. So, VHA saves money in the long-run by keeping veterans healthy. Veterans have better outcomes by staying healthy. The VHA is on a mission to provide the best healthcare.

Preventive care is not profitable for private healthcare providers. That is why for-profit healthcare and health insurance does not focus on preventive care. Preventive care is not a big-ticket profit center for doctors and hospitals. Since employee benefit plans change providers often, even HMO’s find preventive care unprofitable.

As an example, for a private practice cardiologists there is no money in advising a patient to eat healthy, lose weight, quit smoking, exercise, and take aspirin. The VHA has preventive programs to help veterans with healthy eating, weight loss, smoke cessation, and physical fitness. You will not find those programs even at the best of private HMOs.

Here is what one typical private cardiologist says, and you be the judge of the medical conflicts of interest in private healthcare:

“I put in over 200 stents per year. I work for a group of 4 cardiologist. The cost of a stent is anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. The overall cost to do the procedure, what the hospital charges is anywhere from $16,000 to $22,000.”

Other private doctors approach healthcare the same as the cardiologist above. The private healthcare industry makes its big money by doing expensive procedures, surgeries, hospitalizations, and ordering a lot of expensive tests, and writing prescriptions for expensive medicine. There is no profit motive in conservative and preventive healthcare.

The doctors, nurses, staff and employees at VHA are salaried, so they are free to focus on healthcare. There still are many dedicated doctors and healthcare professionals who go into medicine for the right reasons, instead of for a golden brick road to riches.

Important contributions to healthcare and reducing medical errors is VHA’s dynamic medical records technology, conscientiously following best medical practices, and providing preventive healthcare. The VHA has no incentive to risk veterans’ lives by doing unnecessary procedures and irresponsible surgeries.

Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA)

The VHA was an early pioneer in electronic health records (EHR). Four decades ago a group of VHA doctors working on their own time, and unauthorized, invented a computerized health record keeping system. They named it Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).

With VistA doctors, nurses and medical staff could keep veterans’ medical records on a computer network, instead of on the old-fashioned paper records. On VistA a veteran’s medical records and medical history is updated with new medical information, doctors’ orders, hospitalizations, immunizations, lab work, x-rays, etc. and medications. In the 1980’s VistA was revolutionary. It was also open-source technology, meaning all health organizations could use it free.

VistA improved the efficiency of veterans’ medical treatment, reduced medical errors, updated preventive care needed, and provided for pharmacists to review all medication. With VistA a veteran can go to any VA facility anywhere and get the same quality of follow up medical care.

Unexpectedly, VistA turned into a revolutionary medical research tool. With long-term records of veterans, VHA was able to research which treatments had the best outcomes, track the cause of medical errors, reduce unnecessary surgeries, and isolate the source of hospital acquired infections. VistA improved the development of best medical practices.

Decades later when the private healthcare industry caught on to EHR, their concern was to use it for billing. That speaks volumes about the priority of private healthcare. It has only been in the last decade that the private healthcare industry has started struggling with electronic medical recordkeeping. The private sector is still struggling because most private healthcare is disjoined, scattered and ad hoc. Private healthcare does not have a comprehensive medical record keeping capability.

In the 21st century, private healthcare is still in the clipboard era, and healthcare providers expect patients to check off the boxes and fill in the blanks of their medical history. Even HMO’s such as Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are trying to catch up to the VHA on EHR. Even those private medical facilities which have comprehensive medical recordkeeping, they are using systems that were originally designed top-down for billing.

Many dignitaries from foreign national health care services beat a path to VHA, so that they could emulate the VistA free open-source technology. They came from Germany, France, Japan, and many other countries. They still are coming. In 2018 Open Source EHR Alliance (OSEHRA) announced that it is launching VistA internationally.

Sadly, VHA which invented VistA will not be a party to the international initiative. The Trump administration has decided to scrap VistA. Instead, the VHA will be privatizing its EHR-system with a commercial off-the shelf electronic health record keeping system.

The privatization of VHA electronic health records

The corrupt politicians and commercial IT vendors have succeeded in destroying VistA at VHA. Trump and Congress have decided to spend billions of dollars from VHA’s budget on installing a top-down off the shelf commercial EHR.

In May of 2017 the Secretary of the Veterans Administration David Shulkin announced that the VHA is seeking to “build private-public partnerships to improve veterans’ care”. A private-public partnership is where the public pays, and the privateers profit. Said Shulkin at the announcement:

“Twenty percent of our system is running on out of date IT. And 75 percent of the IT budget is spent on just maintenance. Our legacy systems are old and crippling, while our schedule and maintenance systems are outdated.”

In June of 2017 Shulkin announced that VistA would be replaced with Cerner, a hybrid medical billing and EHR system.

In March of 2018 Shulkin resigned after the Inspector General reported that Shulkin was “improperly accepting gifts, misrepresenting travel plans, and using a VA worker for personal travel.” Anyway, regardless of the corruption—

On May 18, 2018 the VA signed a no-bid $10 billion contract with Cerner. Cerner is the same system that Trump’s Department of Defense gave a $4.3 billion no-bid contract to for an EHR-system, and it has been a disaster implementing. Cerner has already had 60% in price overruns for VHA, and it has not even started. The original no-bid price tag has gone from $10 billion to $16 billion.

In explaining the price overrun, Executive Director of the federal government’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization John Windomtold Congress that:

“We have to have highly qualified subject matter experts to grade the implementation efforts of Cerner. Those people in the industry cost money.”

In other words, kaching-kaching, it is going to take years, many snafus and big cost overruns to get Cerner up and running. The target date for a pilot program of Cerner is March of 2020, but don’t hold your breath or your wallet.

In July 2019, VHA announced that it would have to spend another $5 billion to transition VistA to Cerner:

“As the nationwide Cerner rollout progresses, VA will decommission VistA instances as necessary,”

Dr. Paul Tibbits, executive director of the office of technical integration in the VA’s office of information and technology said at a hearing, adding:

“During the transition period VA must maintain VistA to ensure current patient-record accessibility and continued delivery of quality of care.”

In 2019, the VHA reported to the GAO that from 2015 to 2017, the marginal cost of operating VistA was only $2.3 billion. That is a big difference than the tens of billions of dollars being churned by the appropriately named Cerner. The lower cost to VHA for VistA was because it is internally maintained.

For a fraction of the cost of Cerner, VistA could be updated. It could also join the international initiative to take VistA international. Can you imagine the advantages of being able to go anywhere in the world and healthcare providers have access to all of you medical records if needed?

Yep, as noted above, John Windom said about Cerner:

“Those people in the industry cost money”.

They sure do, and Niam Yaraghi of the Brookings Institution predicts that Cerner will be a failure:

“VHA’s legacy EHR system, VistA, has been ranked amongst the best EHR system by physicians. VHA was the pioneer of patient-mediated exchange solutions: their [My HealtheVet] Blue Button technology allows consumers to access a single, downloadable file with their available health data. It is disappointing to see VA adopting outdated solutions [Cerner] while the rest of the industry is finally implementing the exchange solutions [My HealtheVet] invented by VA many years ago.”

My HealtheVet

My HealtheVet is another information technology invented by the VHA. It was launched in 2003 by VHA so that veterans can access VHA services and their medical records online by interfacing with VistA.

My HealtheVet empowers veterans to be proactively involved in their healthcare. In 2018, My HealtheVet received the Top Public Sector Innovation Award.

With My HealtheVet, a veteran can get all of his medical records online. He can review his appointments, make and cancel appointments, send and receive messages with any of his doctors. He can contact all the departments of VHA, order prescription refills, add non-VA medicines to his records, and keep all sorts of healthy living and preventive healthcare journals.

With My HealtheVet, a veteran can share all of his medical records with trusted family and guardians, and with non-VHA health providers. So, no matter where in the world a veteran may be, he can access his medical records for himself or for a non-VHA healthcare provider.

One example of a benefit of My HealtheVet is that for an aging veteran with dementia, he can have one of his trusted children keep up with his medical records. She can make sure that her father takes the red pill in the morning and the blue pill at night.

The future of My HealtheVet is limited only by one’s imagination. VHA has some damned good people with lots of imagination, too.

Save the Veterans Health Administration from privatization

Corrupt politicians, for-profit private healthcare businesses, peddlers of information technology companies, Wall Street financial institutions, pharmaceutical corporations, phony “non-profit” foundations, and the corporate mainstream media are conspiring to privatize the VHA.

The Koch brothers’ phony “Concerned Veterans of America” and the other privateers say that they just want to give veterans a choice. It is a lie. They want to get a rake of the $200 billion public budget for VHA. They have done the same with other government functions such as public education, transportation, infrastructure projects, prisons, and even military mercenaries such as Blackwater.

The neoliberal economic policies of capitalism have proven over and over that they are failures. Capitalism is an unstable corrupt economic system. Neoliberalism has destroyed nations and in the process it has ruined the lives of millions of people. The only ones who have benefited from neoliberalism have been the profiteers. As they got richer, the rest of humanity has gotten poorer. The 18th century capitalist experiment of Adam Smith has degenerated into neo-feudalism.

Socialism has proven over and over again that it is the best system for delivering the necessities of life such as healthcare, education, mass transportation, food security and vital infrastructure. The success of socialism is why capitalist USA is always militarily attacking socialist countries. The success of socialism is seen as an existential threat to capitalists.

The countries that have strong government social programs for human development rank at the top of the UN Human Development Index. Those countries that are destroying their government social programs keep falling further behind. The US now ranks at 24th of the developed countries. The trend is going further down.

The VHA has proven that it is the best healthcare model. Socialized insurance programs such as Medicare in the US and Canada have proven that they are a good second-choice solution to the healthcare crisis. The worst possible healthcare is for-profit insurance-based healthcare. Neoliberals, capitalists and profiteers keep pushing the worst profit-driven healthcare system because they are greedy.

Veterans Healthcare for all

It is not VHA’s fault that many veterans are denied benefits or that it takes too long to process claims to qualify for veterans’ benefits. Congress and the President deserve all the blame since they control access to VHA. They are stingy because they still consider VHA benefits a handout.

The priority ranking and the benefit claims system should be eliminated. All veterans should automatically have lifetime access to the VHA as soon as they are discharged from active military service. All copays should be eliminated. Only Congress and the President have the power to grant and fund expanding VHA benefits.

The privatization of healthcare is all about profits and ripping off the public. It has nothing to do with the quality of care, the medical outcomes, the wait-time, information technology and cost. VHA proves that socialized medicine beats the private healthcare platform in every category.

Expanding the VHA to cover all veterans and their families would help in tackling the healthcare crisis in the US. Healthcare coverage like VHA should be considered a human right for everybody.

Submitters Website:

Submitters Bio:

David William Pear is a Senior Editor for, and a Senior Contributing Editor for The Greanville Post. David is a journalist, columnist, and commentator for TV and radio. His articles, essays and interviews have an emphasis on U.S. foreign policy, and he also focuses on economic and social issues. He is an advocate for peace, ending US wars of aggression, and promoting economic, political and social justice. He has been writing for The Real News Network, OpEdNews, The Greanville Post and other publications since 2009, after he retired as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He is a member of Veterans for Peace, Saint Pete (Florida) for Peace, CodePink and the Palestinian-led non-violent organization International Solidarity Movement. His articles are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, and they may be republished as such without obtaining any other or prior permission.

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Review by Kevin Stoda

Image result for RACISM IN KANSAS CITY by G.S. Griffin  chandler lake books

G.S. Griffin’s RACISM IN KANSAS CITY: A Short History (  2015, Chandler Lake Books) should be required reading in all public schools and universities in the greater Kansas City, KS, Johnson County and Kansas City metropolitan areas. In a short 183 pages, Griffin covers not only the story of an important Mid-West Community in a nutshell but also places it in context of how anti-black racism in America as a whole has not been dealt with in social studies classes across the 50 states and other territories.

RACISM IN KANSAS CITY connects well all the dots–from the arrival of slavery in 1619 in North America to the continued imbalance in wealth and opportunity for blacks and many minorities in our society in 2019.

Moreover, RACISM KC does so by starting with the Kansas City area being first visited by slave owners, including the likes of William Clark (of the Lewis in Clark fame) at the turn of the 18th to 19th Century. On their two year odyssey West, Clark brought his prized slave named York on the entire mission to the Pacific Ocean and it might be said that York saved the life of his owner on at least one occasion while carrying out many other heroic deeds. At the end of the journey York asked for his freedom but Clark denied him this for at least 20 more years.

Griffen does an excellent but concise job of showing how southernized Jackson and Clay County Missouri life was lived out at the time of the Civil War. In fact, not only was Missouri a slave state but even after the Civil War, KC would continue to legally segregate blacks and whites in schools and in living conditions up through the mid-1960s. Thereafter, it failed to improve things better, instead sought to hollow out the inner city and sent stable new black communities throughout the segregated metropolitan area to face scrupulous lenders and realtors on their own.


The era that preceded the U.S. Civil war in 1861–i.e. the era we know as Bleeding Kansas saw both sides of the Missouri line on war footing from 1854 through 1865. Plantation owners and leaders in Jackson and Clay Counties fought to make the Kansas City, Missouri area the capital for Slavery overlooking all the western territories. They sought to expand their southern culture west into Kansas through raids and skulduggery.

There were certainly anti-slavery proponents active in the same region at this same junction. These would include some residents in what have become Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Johnson counties on the Kansas side. It includes Indian tribes who helped freed blacks. Many blacks crossed either the Kansas or the Missouri rivers to gain their freedom–often with partial assistance from prohibitionists of slavery. Meanwhile, free blacks resided in both what became KC, Kansas area and the KC, Missouri at this time.

According to Griffin, “By the time the Confederate States of America was conquered in 1865, Missouri had seen over 1,000 battles, third only to Virginia and Tennessee.” In the days before the end of the Civil war and the years that followed, Griffin continues, “Tens of thousands of former slaves fled the South and headed for Kansas, idealized as the Promised Land. Benjamin “Pap” Singleton (who is buried in Kansas City) traversed the South encouraging this migration, which passed through Kansas City. Some white Kansas Citians formed charities and relief to provide black migrants, whom they called exodusters, with food, clothing, and money. The Kansas Freedmen’s Relief Association formed to help blacks find housing and work.”

As in much the South, the Reconstruction had its successes. Across the South blacks were elected to leadership and representative government. In the KC areas similar temporary progress was made in the way of integrating blacks into the American society. “A black college, Freedman’s University (later Western University), was established in Qindaro, where slaves had previously escaped to freedom. A black paper, the Freedman’s Record, [also] appeared in 1876.” The first black school and later high school was founded in KC Missouri. It was named naturally, Lincoln High School. According to Griffin, by 1885, a higher percentage of blacks than whites were going to public schools in the city.

Sadly, however, a great Southern (and northern) backlash against blacks and those who supported by black rights and opportunities in post-Civil War in America enfolded. Kansas City soon joined this black stain of a trend in USA history. Almost from the start Kansas City greatly underfunded it black schools. Test scores were lower than whites and often these scores became worse as segregation efforts in the city and across Missouri continued for over a hundred years.

The white press in the Kansas City quickly began to ignore all stories of blacks, except those articles involving crime–or editorials loaded with racism and stereotypes of blacks. Kansas City area police were known as more racist than even in the rural areas of the states of Kansas and Missouri. Meanwhile, the number of show-lynchings of black men by out-of-control area mobs (running into the thousands in over taking a local jail from police) were present on both sides of the Kansas and Missouri borders up until the end of WWII.

20th Century

Between 1890 and 1950 Whites owned 99% of the property in the Kansas City area . “One study conducted in 1912 found that 20% of the houses” where many blacks lived, though, “lacked any water supply at all. Moreover, in 1915, “one [tiny] 22-block area had 4295 people”. Therefore, “rows of privies lay just outside the shacks; human waste and flies were everywhere”. Then the real estate powers-that-be really went to work on the black and the poor of Kansas City.

“A real estate tycoon named J.C. Nichols perfected the art of keeping darker people out of white neighborhoods. From 1910 to the 1940s, Nichols built the most beautiful and expensive areas of Kansas City, such as the Country Club Plaza, Mission Hills, and Prairie Village. He made membership in his neighborhood associations mandatory upon buying a home, and all members were legally required to enforce racial restrictions: homes could not be sold to minorities. He also ensured that those restrictions renewed automatically” with each sale decade after decade.

In addition, “Nichols advertised to scare whites” who found their status in society threatened by the middle class blacks in town. Meanwhile, for the city proper, keeping “white neighborhoods clean was important, too. In 1926, the city installed a garbage dump in a black area on the east side, at 20th and Woodlawn.” Soon, from all over the city arrived “trucks dripping with swill and drawing clouds of flies….Classrooms at Lincoln High and the living rooms of surrounding homes were said to be almost unendurable.”

Meanwhile the student-to-teacher ratio at the few black schools in the city were 60 to 1 or higher. This meant that educational quality was low. It wasn’t until the mid-1930s, when New Deal moneys were made available, did the powers sitting on Kansas City’s school board agree to build an new Lincoln High structure. (Recall that the first one was built over 60 years earlier and had become quite worn.) It wouldn’t be till 1963 that blacks in Kansas City would be allowed to be on the local school board at all. Through the 1950s, blacks were prohibited from teaching white children.

1950 Onwards

Fast forward to life in Kansas City in the wake of the Great Society campaigns, and we see that real estate moghuls certainly continued to write the implementation of HUD housing and demolishing slums and encouraging whites to move to the suburbs. Local blacks and poor in Kansas City were not consulted.

NOTE: Only in the 1950s and 1960s did Kansas Counties across the Missouri line also finally allow integrated schools and housing. (Johnson County in Kansas tried to be minority free through segregation laws and housing manipulations until the late 1950s.)

Only in the 1980s did first the federal government and then the state of Missouri step in to try and end the segregation of schools in metro Kansas City proper. Meanwhile, Kansas City schools went down in quality as monies for education were absent after the era of Urban Renewal had chased the growing middle classes to the suburbs. Currently, the Kansas City, Missouri public schools have been non-certified by the State of Missouri for nearly 30 years. Anti-Black and racist mentalities still infect Kansas City as it does the entire American society.

However, to some degree Kansas City has changed from what the late Roy Wilkins, a 20th Century executive director of the NAACP, described Kansas City as: “A Jim Crow Town that nearly ate my hear out as the years went by….schools, hospitals, churches, theaters, and just about everything else were as anything was in Memphis. In its feelings for race, Kansas City might as well have been Gulfport, Mississippi.”

In contrast, since 1991, Kansas City has had a string of 4 white mayors since 1991. Coalitions have arisen to fight racism. Neighborhoods are slowly beginning to feel a renaissance. Blacks and poor have been demanding fairness in the courts and fairer treatment from the police.

However, like most USA cities, Kansas City has a long way to go.

RACISM IN KANSAS CITY: A Short History introduces the undercovered side of Midwest history in an easy-to-read fashion, and along with hundreds of endnotes, which make it both easy to use in schools and college. Read this short history and then join me in demanding that it be taught in all Kansas and Missouri schools. The continued segregation of peoples and society in Kansas City is bad for our health and for all our people.[1]


[1] See: A Segregated Kansas City is Not Good for Our Health

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On the world of over-scheduled kids…..

The start of the school year is a good time to re-watch Rita Pierson’s TED Talk, Every Kid Needs a Champion. She died in 2013 but she continues to inspire teachers around the world. Here is a sketchnote tribute from @sylviaduckworth. You can find Rita’s TED Talk here.
 Three Things Overscheduled Kids Need More of in Their Lives Playtime. Downtime. Family time.According to Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, these three factors — or PDF as she calls them — protect kids against a host of negative outcomes, strengthen resilience, and bolster students’ mental wellness and academic engagement.One way to give children more agency over their lives is by asking them what they want to explore before signing them up for classes and activities, says Pope. If you allow them to pursue their interests, it will increase their motivation. Remember, 10-year-olds “don’t need to specialize.”LEARN MORE
 Praise, Don’t Tease, And Other Tips To Help Kids With Their Weight Even well-intended comments about weight and dieting can actually harm children. Here’s advice for how to set kids up for a healthy life and a positive self-image.LEARN MORE
 The Scientific Debate Over Teens, Screens And Mental Health What’s the link between smartphone use and teens’ mental health? Experts disagree, with some arguing that the threat is overblown.
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Suing Trump

Guardians sues Trump over attacks on Endangered Species Act Chaco still being fracked; Guardians sues again Rio Rancho, water managers, pueblos, Guardians come to agreement for living Rio Grande 

Every dollar counts. Donate today >Trump administration reauthorizes cyanide bombs despite strong oppositionTrump administration turns back on Joshua treesGuardians protests expanded fossil fuel development in southwestern ColoradoGuardians calls on Polis for “timeout” on new Colorado frackingSupport our ongoing mission. Become a Monthly Donor >
20SEPTSixteenth Annual Guardians GalaSanta Fe Farmer’s Market Pavilion | Santa Fe, NMJoin Guardians as we celebrate our successes for the wild and our 30th anniversary! Start planning your trip to Santa Fe today!Buy tickets >
5DECAnnual Treehugger BashThe Grove Market | Albuquerque, NMJoin us at the 2019 Treehugger Bash! Indulge in some delicious vegan food, a silent auction for last-minute holiday shopping, and live entertainment.Buy tickets >
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Bethel Ranked 12th in Nation

Bethel is ranked highest of any Kansas college or university in one of Washington Monthly’s annual lists of exemplary U.S. institutions of higher education.

Bethel is #12 among the “Top 200 Bachelor’s Colleges.”

According to Washington Monthly, their rankings “consist of three equally weighted portions: social mobility, research, and community and national service. This means that top-ranked colleges needed to be excellent across the full breadth of our measures, rather than excelling in just one measure.”

Read more here.

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Forgiveness is an Expectation

Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’”—Matthew 18:21

This admonition from Jesus to Peter comes on the heels of the Parable of the Lost Sheep. It seems fitting, then, to think of the personal, private work of forgiveness in light of the idea of things being lost and found. As long as you withhold forgiveness, you’ll both be lost—both you, and the one who hurt you. Forgiveness is a way of letting yourself be found by God.
Breanna Randall is a writer and a perpetual student of language and cultures. She lives in Myanmar with her family. Find more of her words at on her blog. You can follow her on Twitter at @randallbreanna 

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Wrongheaded with or Wrong Ideas about God?

“Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw his Glory and the two men who were standing with Him. As the two men were departing from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said.”

Luke 9:32-33

Until the kingdom of God comes in its fullness, we will always have wrong ideas about God—each and every one of us. Our theology will always be a bit cracked in this life, because our capacity to comprehend God’s view of things is limited. Our theology is not immune to brokenness. The best news of all is that, like Peter, we are not saved because of our theology—we are saved in spite of it.

Breanna Randall is a writer and a perpetual student of language and cultures. She lives in Myanmar with her family. Find more of her words at on her blog. You can follow her on Twitter at @randallbreanna

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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I think of this wisdom from philosopher George Santayana when I look at the proposed whistleblower rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Hi Kevin,”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I think of this wisdom from philosopher George Santayana when I look at the proposed whistleblower rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which apparently cannot remember the financial crisis of 2007-09 and thus risks sending us into yet another crisis with its proposal to radically scale back whistleblower protections.  

Widespread, undetected securities fraud was a key reason for the 2007-09 financial crisis. After the crisis unfolded, we learned that mortgage originators had sold loans they knew were likely to default, banks had misrepresented the quality of their loans, and issuers and underwriters of mortgage-backed securities bet against them even as they sold them to trusted clients. Lying to shareholders about these practices was widespread. In the subsequent Great Recession, millions of people suffered from these frauds as U.S. housing prices fell 32 percent, more than the price plunge during the Great Depression.Fortunately, we at the National Whistleblower Center and our hundreds of thousands of volunteer supporters have the power to help prevent another financial crisis. We know that protecting and rewarding whistleblowers is the best way to help law enforcement officials detect and prosecute securities fraud.  We know the critical importance of “blowing the whistle” on the pending SEC rulemaking, which would take away critical protections and rewards from securities fraud whistleblowers. If you are one of our many supporters who have responded to our action alert by expressing concern to the SEC and your Congressional representatives, thank you! If you would like to join our Million Message Campaign, it’s not too late, scroll down further and get involved. Through teamwork, we can stop this damaging rulemaking and help expose the massive frauds that harm so many people.Sincerely, John KostyackExecutive Director We’re Well on Our Way to a Million MessagesOne of the National Whistleblower Center’s top priorities this year is to send a million messages to lawmakers and agency heads in support of whistleblowers. Ever since we launched our Million Message campaign on June 26th, thousands upon thousands of letters have poured in from supporters across a range of topics: wildlife, social media accountability, and the impending SEC rule making changes to name a few.One of those supporters was Sherron Watkins, the whistleblower who exposed multi-million dollar accounting fraud at Enron months before its collapse. She sent letters to her representatives and the SEC Chairman and Commissioners about why the proposed changes to the SEC whistleblower program must be reconsidered. You can read her letter here.However, it’s going to take all of us to protect the SEC whistleblower program and to demand stronger protections for whistleblowers generally. These brave people put their livelihoods on the line to expose fraud and corruption. Join our Million Message Campaign and support them today.JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN  
Take Action to Support Federal Employees Access to a federal trial is one of the most significant protections that private sector whistleblowers have at their disposal, but current laws don’t allow federal employees the same protection. Instead, federal employees are relegated to a non-responsive system for reporting wrongdoing that rarely works. Juries of everyday citizens, who easily recognize wrongdoing when they see it, are the people most likely to give whistleblowers a fair hearing.Those who put their livelihoods on the line to stop federal corruption and fight for our democracy must be protected. Take action today and urge Congress to push for legislation to grant federal employees access to federal trials. TAKE ACTION TODAY
FEDTalk: Whistleblower ProtectionOn August 22nd,our Executive Director John Kostyack went on FEDTalk to discuss the importance of whistleblower protections.During the broadcast he touched on key recent developments in whistleblower policy and commented, “I think it’s important to step back and think about the revolution in whistleblower law and policy we’ve seen in recent years.” He encouraged everyone to celebrate the recent enactment of whistleblowers laws that provide both protections against retaliations and rewards for helping to deliver successful prosecutions.LISTEN HERE
 Guest Blog: Wildlife Crime in the Remote Alaska-Yukon RegionThis month we had the pleasure of sharing a guest blog from Dr. Katarzyna Nowak, a fellow at The Safina Center in New York. A brief excerpt is below:”Before wildlife crime escalates in the Alaska-Yukon region, trade analysis and monitoring, developing capacity, boosting resources, setting mandatory wildlife values, establishing and supporting forums for communication and cooperation with other Arctic countries, would also be complemented by empowering whistleblowers to report wildlife crimes.”READ MORE 
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Info on Cancer (to Download)

Cancer can take a toll on everyone in the family from patients and caregivers to family members and friends. What are the best ways to take care of yourself and those that you love before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis? We combed through the latest research in exercise, nutrition, and wellness to bring you our newest guide, The Science of Living Well, Beyond Cancer.While 5-10% of cancers, usually the most aggressive, are due to factors like inherited gene mutations, some 42% of cancer cases are now thought to be preventable with the right lifestyle changes.We encourage you to download or order a print copy and then share this information with your network. It is never too late (or early!) to develop a personalized wellness plan.
Sincerely,Prostate Cancer Foundation

Prostate Cancer

1250 Fourth St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: 310.570.4700 | 800.757.CURE(2873)
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