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Friday, August 17, 2018

Trio Of Mar-A-Lago Cronies Secretly Overseeing Veterans’ Care

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida.

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Trump’s EPA Bringing Back Deadly Asbestos — From Russia

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.


The Trump administration has gutted environmental protection rules so drastically that asbestos — one of the most dangerous carcinogens ever used in construction — is now once again legal for new uses in U.S. manufacturing.

Asbestos was once widely used in building materials until it was directly linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Every year, asbestos still kills 12,000 to 15,000 people in the United States.

The U.S. is one of very few countries worldwide that haven’t yet banned asbestos completely. Its use is, instead, heavily restricted in the U.S.

But now the Trump administration is dramatically loosening those restrictions, which will risk thousands more lives.…

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Privatizing PTSD Care? A Hedge Funder’s Controversial Foray Against VA

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.


Steve Cohen Is Spending Millions to Help Veterans. Why Are People Angry?

At a House hearing last year on post-traumatic stress disorder, a private organization showed up with an ambitious plan to help suffering veterans. The Cohen Veterans Network was opening a chain of free mental health clinics across the country, backed by $275 million from hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen.

By contrast to the high-profile scandals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cohen Network claimed 96 percent client satisfaction. In a statement for the hearing, the organization said its clinics “provide a desirable alternative” to the VA — a clear echo of President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to let veterans skip the VA for “a private service provider of their own choice.”

But at that same moment, across the country, the Cohen Network was closing its clinic in Los Angeles less than a year after it opened.

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