Donald Trump’s political jamboree

(CNN)New White House communications czar Anthony Scaramucci wasn’t joking when he said he wanted Donald Trump to “be himself.”

The President offered a fresh exhibition of his unorthodox, unchained approach to politics on Monday night at the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.
To be fair, he did pay lip service to the idea that some occasions should be immune from politics.
    “We put aside all of the policy fights in Washington DC you have been hearing about with all the fake news and all of that. We are going to put that aside,” Trump told a rowdy throng he called “young patriots,” who periodically broke into cheers of “USA, USA.”
    “Who the hell wants to talk about politics when I am in front of the Boy Scouts?” Trump asked the crowd of around 40,000.
    But then, Trump proceeded to turn one of the more worthy and non-partisan presidential duties into a stark political rally.
    The President raged against the Washington “cesspool,” boasted about the big Midwest swing state wins that got him to the White House, slammed the “fake news” media and mocked Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

      McCain returning to Senate for critical vote

    He even joked about firing Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price if he didn’t round up the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare this week. At least it looked like he was joking.
    It was the latest occasion in which the President has used what have traditionally been seen as non-partisan, ceremonial aspects of the commander-in-chief’s role to lash his enemies in an explicit and deeply political way.
    In a commencement speech at the US Coast Guard Academy in June, the President complained that “no politician in history” had been treated worse or more unfairly than him.
    Shortly after being inaugurated, he gave a strikingly political speech at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, that offended some sectors of the agency’s workforce.
    Trump did offer some uplifting stories Monday including a moving discourse on the need to keep up momentum in life and in business and implored the young scouts never to give up working and advised them to find a career they loved.
    But he seeded the inspirational content of his speech with sharp jabs that contrasted with the more neutral tone of the remarks by the last two presidents to address the scout jamboree in person, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
    Trump played off the scout loyalty pledge to criticize those in Washington who he feels are showing insufficient allegiance to him.
    “We could really use some more loyalty, I will tell you that,” Trump said, without saying to whom he was referring.
    In recent days, the President has accused Republicans of showing him insufficient loyalty over their failure to move quickly to pass a health care bill.
    On Monday, he tweeted about his “beleaguered” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after saying last week he would never have nominated the former Alabama senator had he known he would recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation.
    In his aside at Price, who was on stage, Trump said he hoped the HHS chief would get the votes to kill “this horrible thing known as Obamacare.”
    “He better get ’em, otherwise I will say ‘Tom, you’re fired,'” Trump said, using humor with a suggestion of an aggressive undercurrent in a way that is fast becoming his trademark Washington persona.
    Trump walked back to put his arm around Price — but then added: “You better get Senator Capito to vote for it.” Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, is a holdout against the repeal and replace bill.

      New White House comm director is full of love

    Campaign rally themes

    Trump, who is holding a traditional campaign rally Tuesday in Ohio, returned to his familiar campaign tropes Monday — claiming television channels would not show the size of the crowd.
    “The press will say it’s about 200 people,” he said, even as news networks covering the event panned their cameras over the vast crowd.
    He got the scouts to boo his predecessor, Obama, when he reminded them that the former President hadn’t addressed the jamboree in person.
    He mocked his former Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, for not working hard enough to win the midwestern swing states where he pulled off shock wins during the election.
    And he slammed “fake” polls and “fake news” while mocking political commentators who once argued that he had no path to 270 electoral votes.
    “You remember that incredible night with the maps?” Trump asked.
    “That map was so red it was unbelievable and they didn’t know what to say.”
    “We won Florida, and we won, South Carolina, we won North Carolina, we won Pennsylvania, we won and won.”
    “And then Wisconsin came in … Michigan came in,” Trump said, paying tribute to millions of people in his political base who helped him get elected at a time of personal political peril where his loyal supporters are more important to him than ever.

    Comparisons to Bush, Clinton

    Trump’s speech contrasted sharply with the tone of speeches by Bush and Clinton to the Boy Scout Jamboree.
    In 1997, Clinton offered a meditation on the importance of “doing a good turn” and duty and service, and national unity, in a speech devoid of partisan political comment.
    “We need you if we’re going to have a country where every person, without regard to race or station in life, who is responsible enough to work for it, can live out his or her dreams,” Clinton said in Bowling Green, Virginia.
    Eight years later, at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, Bush, at a time of war, gave a speech about faith and values and the importance of embracing a cause greater than oneself.
    “In the years ahead you will find that indifferent or cynical people accomplish little that makes them proud. You’ll find that confronting injustice and evil requires a vision of goodness and truth,” Bush said.
    “For your sake, and for the sake of our country, I hope you’ll always strive to be men of conviction and character,” said Bush in a speech that also avoided overt electoral or political content.
    Trump did make several paeans to the values of the Scout movement.
    “Through scouting, you also learn to believe in yourself, so important, to have confidence in your ability and to take responsibility for your own life.”
    But often, such sentiments seemed like a sideshow to the main event.

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    Women ‘unsure how much to eat while pregnant’ – survey – BBC News

    Image copyright PA

    Most women do not know how much they should be eating while pregnant, a survey has suggested.

    The National Charity Partnership found only a third of the expectant mothers questioned got the correct answer.

    Health watchdog NICE advises that in the first six months of pregnancy women do not need any extra calories.

    But in the last trimester they require 200 extra calories a day – equivalent to two pieces of wholegrain toast with olive oil spread.

    The National Charity Partnership (NCP), made up of Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco, says information on what pregnant women can eat is not reaching them.

    Eating for two myth

    Its research of 2,100 UK women suggests more than one in three expectant mothers think they have to eat 300 or more extra calories every day.

    Meanwhile, 61% of the 140 women who were pregnant when questioned believed they should start taking on extra calories in the first or second trimester.

    The NCP is working with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to debunk the myth of “eating for two” and make dietary requirements for pregnant women easier to understand.

    Eating for two is the idea that women need to eat for both them and their unborn child when they are pregnant.

    Over a quarter of pregnant women admitted they used “eating for two” as an excuse to eat unhealthy food all the time.

    Alex Davis, head of prevention for the NCP, said the myth was “very unhelpful” for getting the right information out to mums.

    “Eating healthily and consuming healthy portion sizes are important before, during and after pregnancy to increase the chances of conceiving naturally, reduce the risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications and stave off health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease in the long-term.”

    So how much can I eat?

    A woman normally needs to have 2,000 calories a day – this includes food and drink. But when you are in the last trimester of your pregnancy, you should eat 200 extra calories a day.

    There is no need for any additional calories in the first six months.

    What should I be eating?

    • Have a balanced diet – this is eating a variety of food from the five main groups of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates such as pasta and potatoes, protein like pulses, fish, eggs and meat, dairy such as milk and yoghurt and fats
    • Have a healthy breakfast every day to avoid snacking on high fat and sugar foods
    • Get at least your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables
    • Get fibre from wholegrain foods and nuts
    • Make carbs just over a third of the food you eat. Carbohydrates, including bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and oats, are an important source of energy
    • Have protein every day which can include fish, eggs and pulses
    • Eat two portions of fish a week, only one should be oily fish like salmon or mackerel
    • For dairy – try and choose low-fat options of milk, yoghurt and hard cheese
    • Limit food and drinks high in fat and sugar like fizzy drinks and biscuits
    • Choose healthy snacks such as salad vegetables, hummus, and vegetable soup

    Source: NHS Choices

    Professor Janice Rymer, vice president of education for the RCOG, said eating too much while pregnant “can be detrimental” to mother and baby.

    “Women who are overweight during pregnancy are at an increased risk of having a miscarriage and developing conditions such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.

    “They are also more likely to have a premature baby, require a Caesarean section, experience a haemorrhage after birth or develop a clot which can be life-threatening.

    “In addition, overweight women have bigger babies who are themselves more likely to become obese and have significant health problems as a result.”

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    VCs love insurance, even if you dont

    Most people hate shopping for insurance, and they dont enjoy talking about it either. Thats probably why youre unlikely to hear about the industrys current transformation in conversation, even in startup circles.

    But make no mistake, there are vast sums of venture dollars going into insurance deals. Investment has risen dramatically, with VCs betting that, in the coming years, well see major shifts in both how we buy insurance and what types of items we insure with it.

    So far this year, insurance-focused startups (excluding the Asian continent*) have raised more than $700 million, almost as much as they raised in all of 2016, which was itself an especially busy year for the space. Much of the funding boom comes from big insurers themselves, who are backing and leading more rounds for insurance startups, as well as companies in related areas like financial services. In the chart below, we look at funding growth over the past four years:

    Insurance investment totals are heavily driven by a few large rounds. Over the past year, the two biggest funding recipients are tech-enabled health insurer Bright Health and pay-by-the-mile auto insurerMetromile, which raised$160 millionand$153 million, respectively. In 2016, health insurance providerOscar Healthtook in$400 millionin growth funding, more than 40 percent of all insurance startup investment.

    At first blush it may seem like insurance and venture capital make an odd couple.

    There are plenty of smaller and mid-sized rounds getting done, too. Over the past year, at least 75 companies in the insurance space have raised rounds of $1 million or more, and about a quarter of those were for $20 million or more. They cover a big range of business models, as well, including new insurance categories, online platforms for comparing and purchasing coverage and tools for providers to better assess risk.

    One might be inclined to call these startups industry disruptors except that their biggest supporters seem to be long-established players in the space.

    We hear you like insurance

    As mentioned, a sizeable chunk of the financing comes from insurance companies themselves, many of whom have dedicated venture arms. The most active by round count looks to beAXA Strategic Ventures, the VC arm of French multinational insurer AXA. The two-year-old fund has invested intwo dozen companiesover the past two years, including a$6.5 millionround it led this month forQLoo, a celebrity-backed developer of AI-powered tools for mapping cultural tastes.MassMutual Ventures, the VC arm of insurance giant MassMutual, has also been keeping busy,backing 16 companiesover the past three years. In the chart below we look at a few:

    Well-known venture firms are also leading significant rounds.New Enterprise Associates, for instance, backed both Metromile and Bright Health, along withIndio, a seed-stage commercial insurance startup.AccelandBessemerhave also each made three insurance-focused investments in the past couple of years. And over the years, most of the biggest Silicon Valley firms have at least one investment in the space.

    But while it looks like large sums are going into insurance deals, the figures may underestimate the breadth of activity. One reason is that many fast-growing players in the insurance space operate in other industries too, such as financial services. A case in point isCredit Karma, the credit score unicorn that now offers auto insurance quotes alongside offers for credit cards and other financial products.

    What next?

    At first blush it may seem like insurance and venture capital make an odd couple. Venture capital is all about taking big risks for the potential of even bigger payouts down the road, while insurance is all about quantifying and mitigating risk.

    In small allocations, however, venture can actually be a strategy for reducing risk, as it allows large, entrenched players to track and take stakes in the upstart ventures that could reshape their industries. Its worth noting that many of todays largest insurance companies have histories that date back a couple of centuries. They didnt last this long without some ability to adapt to changing times.

    * Crunchbases tally of insurance investment totals excluded Asia, which sees fewer deals but some large ones. The biggest to date is Zhong An, a China-based online insurance company that raised more than $900 million two years ago.

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    Eight former CBO directors defend the agency amid Republican criticism

    (CNN)Eight former directors of the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to congressional leadership Friday to underscore the agency’s importance and respond to criticism from Republican lawmakers and the White House.

    “We write to express our strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency and on the agency’s role in the legislative process,” the letter said.
    The nonpartisan agency has come under fire in recent months for its analyses of several versions of the Republican House and Senate health care bills.
      Most recently, the CBO estimated Wednesday that the Senate bill to repeal but not replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 32 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under current law. A report Thursday estimated 22 million more would be uninsured under a full repeal and replace bill.
      Republicans have been openly critical of the CBO’s numbers. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday called the CBO’s estimate “bogus” and “not credible.” Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, and National Economic Council aide Brian Blase published an op-ed in The Washington Post on Sunday calling the CBO’s methodology “fundamentally flawed.”
      The White House even tweeted a video last week criticizing the CBO for inaccurately estimating ACA enrollment numbers. In May, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney questioned the agency’s very existence, asking the Washington Examiner, “Has the day of the CBO come and gone?”
      According to the signers of the letter to congressional leaders, the answer to Mulvaney’s question is no: The CBO has served the American people well for 42 years, the former directors contend.
      “As the House and Senate consider potential policy changes this year and in the years ahead, we urge you to maintain and respect the Congress’s decades-long reliance on CBO’s estimates in developing and scoring bills,” the letter said.
      Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
      The former directors include a number of scholars and executives of both conservative and liberal leanings: Dan Crippen, former executive director of the National Governors Association; Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the Kennedy school of Government at Harvard University; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum president; June O’Neill, Baruch College economics professor; Peter Orszag, managing director of Lazard; Rudolph Penner, Urban Institute fellow; Robert Reischauer, Urban Institute president emeritus; and Alice Rivlin, Brookings Institution senior fellow.
      Current CBO Director Keith Hall, a former staff economist for President George W. Bush, was chosen by GOP leaders in 2015. He did not sign the letter.
      While the signers acknowledged that not every CBO estimate is accurate, they argued that “such analysis does generate estimates that are more accurate, on average, than estimates or guesses by people who are not objective and not as well informed as CBO’s analysts.”
      The letter comes as McConnell plans to hold at least one vote on a Republican health care plan next week.

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      D-IDs tech protects your privacy by confounding face recognition algorithms

      D-IDs founders Eliran Kuta, Gil Perry, and Sella Blondheim

      Unless you literally wear a mask all the time, it is almost impossible to completely avoid cameras and face recognition technology. Not only is this a privacy concern, but it also presents a potential liability for companies that need to protect personal data. D-ID, a startup currently taking part in Y Combinator, wants to solve the problem with tools that process images to make them unrecognizable to face recognition algorithms, but still look similar to the original picture.

      D-ID (its name stands for de-identification) was founded last year by CEO Gil Perry, COO Sella Blondheim, and CTO Eliran Kuta. Perry and Blondheim met when both were in the Israeli Special Forces about a decade ago, while Kuta served in the Israeli Intelligence Corps. At that time, photo-sharing on social media was relatively new, but they already needed to be mindful of face recognition technology.

      We couldnt share our photos and profiles over the web because of sensitive positions. Even after we finished our service, we couldnt share our photos when we traveled in South America, Perry says. We felt bad because we are very social and everyone was sharing photos, but we couldnt.

      Perry and Blondheim realized that people in the security industry were also forbidden from sharing photos online. They started brainstorming ideas to protect pictures from face recognition tech and came up with a basic algorithm. After an interlude of a few years, during which each of them worked on separate startups, they regrouped, added Kuta to their team, and launched D-ID.

      Finding a way to deal with face recognition technology has become even more imperative. ATMs that use face recognition technology have already been deployed in Macau and are being tested by border control agencies in several countries. In China, its even been used to identify jaywalkers.

      We started thinking about it when only people who worked in security or the government were very aware of face recognition technology, says Perry. Now everyone needs to be aware of it. Streets today are covered by cameras, we all carry smartphones. We are being photographed all the time. When you combine all the cameras and face recognition technology, privacy is actually gone.

      The growth of D-ID will also be driven by new data privacy regulations like the European Unions General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will become enforceable in May 2018 and require companies to guard personal data, including biometric data, more stringently or risk heavy fines. D-ID claims that its technology is designed to be difficult for artificial intelligence to overcome. Perry declined to go into detail about how the startups algorithms accomplish that, but said its goal is to be the standard of image protection, protecting every photo containing biometric data that is shared online.

      D-ID serves three verticals: companies that need to protect images of their employees or customers, health management organizations, and government and security agencies that want to secure biometric data. It will launch a pilot program with cloud-based image management service Cloudinary to protect more than 14 billion media assets, Perry says.

      Other companies that are developing ways to protect data from face recognition tech include ones that specialize in helping organizations comply with privacy regulations or offer data protection on a SaaS basis. Many of their tools work by making faces completely unrecognizable, but Perry says D-ID differentiates because their changes are much less detectable as possible, at least to the human eye. This element means that D-IDs tech can appeal to individuals who just want to protect photos they put online. Perry says a consumer app may be released if there is enough demand. D-IDs founders also say they welcome more competition because that means more companies are finding ways to help people protect their personal data.

      Its an important point in time right now, with the progress of deep learning and every place being covered by cameras and regulators understand that, Perry says. More competitors are going to come and thats a good thing. we need to move fast in order to make an impact and we want to make as large an impact as possible in order to restore and protect privacy.

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      Sen. John McCain has brain cancer, aggressive tumor surgically removed

      (CNN)Sen. John McCain, 80, has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, Mayo Clinic doctors directly involved in the senator’s care told CNN exclusively. The doctors spoke directly to CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

      The senator underwent surgery to remove a blood clot on Friday at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix. Lab results from that surgery confirmed the presence of brain cancer associated with the blood clot.
      Glioblastoma is a particularly aggressive tumor that forms in the tissue of the brain and spinal cord, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.
        A pathologist was in the operating room during the procedure, a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision, said his doctor, who added that the surgery lasted about three to four hours. Post-surgical brain scans show the tissue causing concern has been completely removed.
        McCain is recovering “amazingly well,” according to a statement from his office.
        The senator showed no neurological problems before or after the operation, said his doctors. Though not identified by name, at McCain’s request, his doctors were given permission to speak with Gupta, who is also a practicing neurosurgeon.
        McCain is now recovering at his Arizona home. He and his family are considering treatment options, which will likely include radiation and chemotherapy, his doctors said.
        “The news of my father’s illness has affected every one of us in the McCain Family,” tweeted Meghan McCain on Wednesday. “It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father.”

        Routine exam

        Doctors discovered the clot during a routine physical exam last week. They said he is very diligent about coming in for scheduled exams and is seen every four months for skin checks due to his history of skin cancer.
        He arrived at his early morning appointment, Friday before 8 a.m. and as per usual, looked good, according to a doctor who has been involved in his care for nearly a decade. McCain, described as not being a complainer, did report feeling fatigued, which he attributed to a rigorous travel schedule.
        He also told his doctor he had, at times, felt foggy and not as sharp as he typically is. In addition, he reported having intermittent double vision. These symptoms and doctor intuition prompted a CT scan.
        When the results came back, McCain, who had already left the clinic, was asked to return for an MRI. Before the operation, his neurological exam was normal, according to his doctor.
        The operation began in the late afternoon and the senator was recovering in the ICU by evening. His doctors told Gupta they were amazed at how sharp McCain was when he awoke. He knew what year it was and started cracking jokes. He also made it clear that he wanted to leave the hospital and get back to work, his doctors said.
        Showing no signs of cognitive delays, McCain was discharged Saturday and has been recovering at his home since then.
        His doctors would not reveal details but said his post operative care is standard.

        ‘Aggressive tumor’

        His doctor said McCain was oriented, with good balance and no headaches or seizures.
        The clot was over the senator’s left eye, not far from the left temple where he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2000. Previously, McCain had three other malignant melanomas removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002. None of these melanomas were invasive. All were declared Stage 0.
        However, McCain has been regularly screened by his doctors since 2000.
        Gupta was one of a select group of reporters who reviewed McCain’s medical records in 2008 when he was campaigning for president.
        The surgical procedure McCain underwent is “a significant operation,” said Gupta, explaining that a bone underneath the eyebrow had to be removed to do the procedure and then later put back.
        “It’s a very aggressive tumor,” said Gupta. He explained that average survival for malignant glioblastoma tends to be around 14 months with treatment. In McCain’s case, additional therapy, including radiation, could not begin until the incision heals, which would be in the next three or four weeks.
        Still, one 2009 study reported that almost 10% of patients with glioblastoma may live five years or longer, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        “This is the same tumor that Ted Kennedy had,” said Gupta.
        McCain’s diagnosis is the latest chapter in a storied life. Tortured as a Vietnam prisoner-of-war, the maverick politician fell short of the pinnacle of politics with two failed presidential runs. His absence from Washington in recent days has come at a politically inopportune time for a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare. This week, McCain broke ranks and called for discussions with Democrats and a full committee process to finally provide “Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.”

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        Wisconsin boy with rare disease sworn in as police officer in New Jersey beach town

        When members of the Wildwood, N.J., community heard that Ethan Kranig, a sick 9-year-old who always wanted to be a police officer was planning on visiting their beach town, locals pulled out all the stops.

        Kranig from Prescott, Wis., who was diagnosed with the rare disease ectrodactyly ectodermal dysplasia, was officially sworn-in Monday as an honorary police officer with the Wildwood Police Department.

        Police Chief Robert Regalbuto gave Kranig the oath of office and was touched by the emotional event.

        Regalbuto said hes seen nothing like this before… and Ive been with the department for 28 years.

        A Wildwood resident, Christine Six Brown, helped to coordinate Kranig’s trip, but it was John Lynch, a local who works with the citys tourism department and is known for giving back to the community, who spearheaded the event.


        When he heard that Kranig, who would be in the area for follow-up treatments at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, wanted to be a police officer, he called up the Wildwood Police Department to see how they could help.

        In addition to becoming a police officer, Kranigs one wish was to visit the ocean for the first time.

        Nearby Middle Police Department also wanted to help, so they gave Kranig and his family a police escort straight to the beach, which made Kranig ecstatic, according to Lynch.

        And when other local residents heard what was going on, they, too, wanted to help. A sightseeing helicopter business called up looking to give the Kranigs a free ride. The boardwalks iconic Sightseers Tramcars offered Kranigs family free tram rides.


        When we as a community can do that, can do something so special, its incredible, Lynch said of the city coming together for Kranig. With so much discord going on this is what America is all about.

        The Wildwood Police Department concluded the ceremony by including Kranig in the force’s yearly staff photograph.

        Ethan Kranig is collecting police department patches. Departments interested in sending him a police patch to add to his collection can visit

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        Mike Pence’s two misleading Medicaid claims

        Washington (CNN)Vice President Mike Pence was sent to the National Governors Association’s meeting in Rhode Island on Friday to convince skeptical Republican governors to back the Senate GOP’s health care bill.

        But two of his claims — one broad defense of how the GOP bill would handle Medicaid, and one much more specific comment about waiting lists in Ohio — have Pence facing criticism from his own party.
        In both cases, Pence omitted critical context.
          Those omissions go to the heart of the concerns about the bill among many within the GOP. In at least two cases, Republicans cited Pence specifically in voicing their displeasure with the bill in recent days.

          ‘Strengthens and secures Medicaid’

          Pence’s broad defense of the bill included this line: “President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society, and this bill puts this vital American program on a path to long-term sustainability.”
          Behind closed doors, Pence and top Trump health officials who met with governors stuck to the technically true claim that Medicaid spending would continue to increase under the GOP bill.
          However, the Senate Republican plan would spend $772 billion less on Medicaid over the next 10 years when compared to current law, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That’s a 26% cut in the year 2026 from what would be spent under current law.
          And starting in 2025, it would attach growth in Medicaid spending to the Consumer Price Index instead of tying it to medical inflation. Standard inflation has grown at a much slower rate than medical inflation.
          The CBO projected this would force states to shrink their Medicaid programs — leading to 15 million fewer Medicaid enrollees within the next decade. Many Republicans are preemptively discrediting the CBO’s analysis, though, ahead of a new score expected this week.
          The plan maintains many of Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual insurance and provides money to stabilize the Obamacare market over the next few years. And, Pence and other top Republicans have argued, the Trump administration would grant states much more flexibility to make cost-saving changes to the traditional Medicaid program. Pence cited a plan he expanded in Indiana as one example.
          “States across the country will have an unprecedented level of flexibility to reform Medicaid and bring better coverage, better care, and better outcomes to the most vulnerable in your states,” Pence said.
          However, Democratic governors mocked the notion that increased flexibility could make up for major cuts in federal spending.
          “They repeatedly pretended that the federal government saving hundreds of billions of dollars won’t translate to actual cuts,” Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy told CNN on the sidelines of the NGA meeting, after governors met privately with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. “I was told that I’ll innovate sufficiently to save them hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars.”
          Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins also took issue with Pence’s claims on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
          “I would respectfully disagree with the vice president’s analysis,” Collins said. “This bill would impose fundamental, sweeping changes in the Medicaid program, and those include very deep cuts. That would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including disabled children, poor seniors. It would affect our rural hospitals and our nursing homes. And they would have a very difficult time even staying in existence.

          ‘Stuck on waiting lists’

          Pence cited by name another Republican who has criticized the GOP bill — Ohio Gov. John Kasich — while claiming his state, which is among the 31 states and the District of Columbia to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, now faces steep waiting lists for coverage.
          Here’s what Pence said: “Obamacare has put far too many able-bodied adults on the Medicaid rolls, leaving many disabled and vulnerable Americans at the back of the line. It’s true, and it’s heartbreaking. I know Gov. Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years.”
          Experts from the Kaiser Family Foundation say that waiting lists for these services are longer in states that have not expanded Medicaid under Obamacare than they are in states that have expanded.
          Kasich didn’t attend the meeting. But back in Ohio, his aides lashed out, noting that the waiting lists are related to Medicaid’s home and community-based services and have nothing to do with Ohio’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
          “The claim is not accurate. It’s been fact checked twice,” Kasich’s communications department said on Twitter, linking to fact-checks from The Los Angeles Times and the Columbus Dispatch.
          Kasich consultant John Weaver took to Twitter to urge Pence to “stop spreading Fake News to further dishonest sales pitch on health care bill which hurts millions!”
          Pence’s office has not responded to CNN’s request for comment on the Kasich camp’s criticism.

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          Pastors sue Coca-Cola, claiming company deceives consumers of soda health risks

          Two pastors filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association, claiming the soda manufacturers knowingly deceived customers about health risks through its advertisements. 

          William Lamar and Delman Coates claimed Coca-Cola executives ran campaigns that intentionally confused consumers on the link between the soft drinks and obesity, The Washington Post reported. D.C. Superior Court filed the complaint on behalf of the pastors and the Praxis Project, a public health group. 


          “Its become really clear to me that were losing more people to the sweets than to the streets,” Coates, the pastor at Marylands Mount Ennon Baptist Church, told the newspaper. 

          Lamar, the senior pastor at D.C.’s historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, also echoed the same sentiment. 

          Coates added that he previously saw members of his congregation feeding infants Coca-Cola in baby bottles. 

          “Theres a great deal of misinformation in our communities, and I think thats largely a function of these deceptive marketing campaigns,” Coates said. 


          The lawsuit alleges that millions of dollars were spent on research, blog posts and advertising campaigns to disprove or confuse the link between consuming sugary soda drinks and obesity. 

          Coca-Cola, however, said in a statement to the Washington Post the allegations were “factually meritless,” adding that it will “vigorously defend against them.” 

          “The Coca-Cola Company understands that we have a role to play in helping people reduce their sugar consumption,” the statement read. 

          The American Beverage Association also disputed the claim that there is a link between soda consumption and obesity. 

          “Beverages are not driving obesity rates,” the organization said. “Obesity has been going up steadily for years while soda consumption has been going down steadily. Shouldnt obesity rates have gone down with the reduction in soda consumption if the two are connected?

          The lawsuit comes after a similar suit was filed in California last January, but later withdrawn. That claim also said Coca-Cola and ABA were downplaying sugar’s role in the increase in obesity cases. 

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          A farm shouldnt be a factory

          Most of todays food is produced by industrial agriculture and thats a problem.

          Industrialized agriculture essentially turns farms into a factories, requiring inputs like synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, large amounts of irrigation water, and fossil fuels to produce outputs like genetically modified crops (corn, soy, wheat) and livestock (meat, poultry, pork) by mechanized production means.

          All of this leads to a unsustainable and outdated system thats heavily dependent on fossil fuels and chemical pesticides, which has dangerous hidden costs. Industrialized agriculture is depleting our nations topsoil at such an extreme rate, experts warn we have fewer than 60 harvests left if we dont shift to more sustainable farming practices.

          Plus, the continued use of pesticides on our farmlands is poisoning our soils, water systems and the air we breathe a recent study found that 93% of Americans test positive for glyphosate, the most heavily sprayed herbicide in the world and one the World Health Organization has categorized as a possible carcinogen.

          But it doesnt have to be this way, a shift to technologically driven organic farming practices could save our topsoils, lessen our dependence on synthetics and even capture 100% of todays CO2 emissions.

          How we eat determines to a considerable extent how the world is used.

          Wendell Berry

          Here are three suggestions that will help us get back to basics, but better.

          Organic Farming

          A primary driver of industrialized farming is to make farms more productive by growing more food per acre. To do this, in addition to reliance on synthetic inputs and mechanization, farmers use genetically modified (GM) seeds that are less prone to failure and can withstand heavy doses of chemical pesticides.

          Theres a common misnomer that organic farming, without the aid of synthetic ingredients or GM seeds, simply cannot produce equal yields to their industrialized counterparts. This is untrue, a recent long-term study not only found that yields between industrial and organic farms were similar across a variety of crops, on average, organic crops returned nearly double the revenue of the conventional crops.

          Additionally, genetically modified crops are designed to tolerate very high levels of toxic herbicides, specifically glyphosate which is the active ingredient in Monsantos Roundup. Over 2.6 billion pounds of glyphosate have been sprayed on US crops in the past 20 years. Since GM crops (94% of soybeans and 89% of corn grown in the US) are able to withstand high levels of glyphosate, the plants absorb this toxic chemical, introducing it into the food supply, water systems, air and eventually into our bodies.

          A switch to modern organic techniques will not only boost farmer profitability, but will create superior nutrient dense produce that is not genetically modified a tremendous boon for our environment.

          The Farmers Business Network is a professional social network and data-sharing platform for agronomists.

          Efficient Energy and Water Usage

          There are tremendous wins to be had when combining organic farming with 21st century tech. Innovative irrigation techniques, like using solar powered wireless tags, can water crops with extreme precision resulting in dramatic water savings with zero effect on yield. In sourcing organic tomatoes for our Thrive Market Collection products, we found a partner that saves 2,750,000 gallons of water per day and 4 million kilowatts of electricity annually by leveraging similar technology in the name of efficiency.

          There are some farmers in California using dry farming techniques to nourish plants without water using existing water content and nutrient density in healthy soil to sustain crops.

          By focusing on sustainable farming practices and a transition to more innovative uses of technology to increase water efficiencies, sustainable farms can not only survive but thrive in a future where water becomes more scarce.

          The Arable Pulsepod is installed on a farm to gather data about crops from the ground.

          Soil Stewardship

          Theres a climate component to this industrialization of our agricultural systems, its destroying our topsoil. Experts estimate that we have fewer than 60 harvests remaining if we dont move away from destructive industrialized farming practices marked by concentrated production of a single crops, reliant on fossil fuel fertilizers and chemical pesticides to more sustainable farming techniques.

          And thats where modern organic comes in. When most people think organic organic theyre usually thinking about the virtues of the produce itself, it has more flavor and is generally more ethically produced. This is true, but organic farming is also good for the environment as it promotes healthy soil.

          When soil is healthy, free from pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, its able to produce a series of vital functions nutrient cycling, water filtration and water retention. The nutrient cycling piece is primarily why organic produce tastes so much better than conventional produce its packed with nutrients. Plus, healthy soil retains significantly more water than soil laden with synthetics each 1 percent increase in soil organic matter helps soil hold 20,000 gallons more water per acre.

          Healthy soil also has the ability to filter carbon from the atmosphere. Its so good in fact, that according to research published by the Rodale institute, if we shifted the worlds farms tomorrow to organic farming practices we could sequester all the carbon being emitted today.

          If you consume food youre an active player in todays agricultural system, and hold the key for our farming future. By shifting your purchases from unsustainable products born of industrialized farming techniques, to organic products, we can drive resources into expanding sustainable farming infrastructures that will not only improve access and affordability, but will help create a more sustainable future for everyone.

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