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Rev. Jesse Jackson discloses Parkinson’s disease diagnosis



U.S. civil rights leader the Reverend Jesse Jackson disclosed Friday he has Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition that affects body movement.

In a  letter to supporters, the 76-year-old civil rights icon said family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago and he could no longer ignore symptoms.

He says the diagnosis isn’t a sign to stop working but a “signal” to make “lifestyle changes” to slow progression of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.

“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” he said. “For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.”

Jackson has been a leader of the U.S. civil rights movement since the mid-1960s and was with Martin Luther King when he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

He twice sought the Democratic presidential nomination and has acted as an emissary to secure the release of Americans held abroad.

Parkinson’s disease occurs when certain nerve cells break down and reduce the amount of the chemical, dopamine, that sends signals to the part of the brain that controls movement, according to But the disease progresses slowly, and treatments can slow it down even more, it said.

Jackson said he planned to advocate to find a cure for the disease, which he said “bested my father,” strikes 60,000 Americans a year and afflicts 7 to 10 million people worldwide. He also said he is writing his memoir.

“I will continue to try to instill hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world,” he said.

Read the letter below:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

 On July 17, 1960, I was arrested, along with seven other college students, for advocating for the right to use a public library in my hometown of Greenville, S.C. I remember it like it was yesterday, for that day changed my life forever. From that experience, I lost my fear of being jailed for a righteous cause. I went on to meet Dr. King and dedicate my heart and soul to the fight for justice, equality, and equal access. In the tradition of the Apostle Paul, I have offered myself – my mind, body and soul – as a living sacrifice.

Throughout my career of service, God has kept me in the embrace of his loving arms, and protected me and my family from dangers, seen and unseen. Now in the latter years of my life, at 76 years old, I find it increasingly difficult to perform routine tasks, and getting around is more of a challenge. My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago. For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor. But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced.

After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.

Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it. For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression.

I am far from alone. God continues to give me new opportunities to serve. This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that. It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts 7 to 10 million worldwide. Some 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year.

I will continue to try to instill hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world. I’m also spending some time working on my memoir so I can share with others the lessons I have learned in my life of public service. I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out.

I want to thank my family and friends who continue to care for me and support me. I will need your prayers and graceful understanding as I undertake this new challenge. As we continue in the struggle for human rights, remember that God will see us through, even in our midnight moments.



Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.


By LeNora Millen                 11-17-17

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Making Mistakes & Never Giving Up



Making Mistakes

In today’s society, we are taught to strive for perfection but the reality is we’re all going to make mistakes along the way and that’s okay! The important thing is to deal with mistakes in a healthy and positive way. When dealing with mistakes, most punish themselves in some form. Either they quit on a project or resort to pleasures like food, alcohol, sex, drugs to numb the pain. That’s only temporary relief and the pain/guilt eventually returns. We need to learn to deal with mistakes in a much healthier way.

Here are a few tips you can use the next time you make a mistake:

•Know you are human and making mistakes is inevitable.

•Analyze your mistake and work hard at not repeating the mistake.

•LET IT GO and work on doing better in the future.

Never Giving Up

Thomas Edison had to try over 10,000 times to invent the light bulb. Had he given up, we would have never been gifted with light. Some people would have given up after ten tries and thought they failed, but not Mr. Edison. He was determined to make it work and because of his perseverance millions of people benefited. The next time you are working on a new business, new dream, and new project, don’t give up the first time you encounter an obstacle. Keep going and never give up! Success is always right around the corner if you just persevere.

Here are a few tips you can use the next time you feel like giving up:

•Stay positive throughout the day by saying positive affirmations like: “With God all things are possible.”

•Think of new ways you can make your project/dream possible.

•Contact possible mentors who can help you get through hard times.

For more information on Elvira Guzman visit her websites and Add her on social media @elviraguzmanla

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Discover Your Purpose In Life



We are all purpose-driven people and children of God. He sends us here to achieve a Purpose for the betterment of the world. When we are not busy working on that we are here to enjoy life!

One person’s purpose may be to discover the cure for cancer, and another may be to spread the message of love. It varies! The harder the purpose, the tougher the life, because you will inevitably gain strength, confidence, and resilience with each obstacle. And each obstacle attracts new people to your journey towards your purpose. It is extremely important that we know exactly who we are. At our core, we are all children of the Divine and we all experience pain, joy, disappointment, love, and obstacles to build our strength.

God created each of us with a special gift that we must use to help others. That special gift is our purpose. When we don’t follow our life’s purpose, God sends us signs to let us know we must get back on track. A great example is: if you are a truck driver and God’s purpose for you is to be a preacher, God will send you obstacle after obstacle so you change jobs and fulfill your purpose.

Love is the same way. If we are not supposed to be with someone, God will send us signs and hints to move us away, and towards the person we truly belong with.

In the game of life we are all players, and God is our coach. When a life trauma happens, like the loss of a parent, a car accident, a divorce, or near-death experience, God must substitute in a stronger player to survive in our shell, even if we have to skip a phase. This explains why you sometimes meet a 7-year-old girl who talks and acts like a 15-year-old. The child had to overcome tough obstacles, and to ensure her survival, God has made her more mature, knowledgeable, and wise than most children her age.

The silver lining in being forced to grow up too soon is that those kids often become very successful adults. They had to start working, hustling, and figuring out life before their peers. They have a head start on the rest of the players in this game.

Take the play-by-play of my life, for example. I was only 14 when my parents were sent to jail. As a teenager, I had to transition to an adult. Instead of worrying about boys and school, my focus shifted to worrying about work and bills. Suddenly, I was a 35-year-old woman in a 14-year-old girl’s body because I had so many responsibilities and no time. I didn’t get to truly enjoy high school or college.
However, now I am able to go to high schools and speak about my experiences I have lectured at colleges like USC and UCLA. In this way, I am able to enjoy and spend time in those places again. In addition, I also find time now to do things I wish I had time to do growing up, like painting or hiking. Years later, I am finally catching up on all the things I had missed. Life is about perspective, and I choose to think positive. I’ve had the ability to work for some of the wealthiest and most famous people in the U.S. and through their mentorship I’ve read a lot of books and I’ve gained wisdom.

My deepest desire is to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained so that you too can be truly successful! In doing research I found the most important thing you can do if you want to be happy and successful is to find your purpose in life. Without knowing that you will never attain major success and you will not feel true happiness. You will always feel like something’s missing or something is wrong. It’s only when you find your purpose in life and start to actively pursue it that you attract all of your blessings to you!

Every person has a purpose and it’s up to us to dig deep and find it so that we can fully awaken and be of service to our creator.

For further information on discovering your purpose in life read my book “Purpose Awaken and Succeed” available on Amazon and and follow her on instagram @elviraguzmanla

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Health Care

Trump’s Move to End Subsidies for Health Insurers Expected to Drive up Costs for Middle Class



President Trump discusses an executive order on Thursday of last week to seek ways for employers to offer health insurance. Later, the administration announced halting subsidy payments to insurers. Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump’s controversial decision on last Thursday to end subsidy payments to health insurance companies is project to raise premiums for middle-class families, which will cost the federal government billions of dollars.

The White House administration announced it would stop reimbursing insurers for discounts on co-payments and deductibles—which are offered to low-income consumers and required by law. The reimbursements known as cost-sharing reduction payments, or CSRs if halted, will place the lives of millions of Americans who rely on Obamacare at risk.

The subsidies known as cost-sharing reduction payments sent to insurance companies to keep health insurance premiums down for pre-existing conditions and the elderly has sounded the alarm for both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Ohio Governor John Kasich—outspoken for his views on health care voiced concerns to the GOP supporting Trump’s decision to end health insurance subsidies that kept premiums down.

“What are they doing? Are they just passing these things and people are praising what the president did because of politics?” Kasich asked, on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

“Do they understand the impact this has on families? On people? Read the stories of what these people are saying. What is the purpose of this? I’ve got to say…. this whole issue is about people. It is not about politics. It is not about numbers. It is about people.”

The Republican Governor, a critic of Republicans who want to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, remains consistent in his stance on preserving some key aspect of Obamacare while fixing areas that need fixing.

Attempting to analyze Trump’s reasoning for halting the subsidies, Kasich said he couldn’t determine if Trump did so, to harm President Obama’s signature legislative achievement by dismantling his predecessor’s legacy.

“I can’t read people’s minds, but what I can tell you is to cut these payments off—the people are saying, oh, well these are some big bonus to insurance companies,” Kasich said. “No, these were payments to insurance companies to make sure that hard working Americans who don’t make a lot of money can have their copayments taken care of. It’s a subsidy to do that. And what this — what this decision’s leading to are higher prices.”

Insurance companies will continue to offer discounts to low-income customers. When insurers are not reimbursed by the government, the insurance companies make up the cost by charging higher premiums for coverage.

The subsidy cut to dismantle Obamacare speaks to the strategy of the White House to suck the oxygen out of the Affordable Care Act insurance markets. The looming threat to end Obamacare, and the events unfolding on Thursday points to what many critics say is a deliberate campaign to destabilize the insurance markets—reliant upon the subsidies with hopes of forcing Congress to repeal the law.

President Trump uses the “executive pen” to chip away at dismantling Obamacare. Alex Wong/Getty Images

“Ending the CSR payments is another sign that President Trump is doing what he can to undermine the stability of the individual market under the ACA,” wrote Tim Jost, professor emeritus of law at Washington and Lee University who contributes to the Health Affairs blog.

Trump’s decision to end subsidies will more likely affect middle-class families purchasing insurance without financial help from the government. Consumers earning more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level — an individual with income of about $48,000, or a family of four that makes more than $98,400 — will likely see their costs for coverage increase next year by an average of about 20 percent nationwide.

Individuals with lower incomes will not be affected since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, provides government subsidies — in the form of tax credits — that ensure out-of-pocket insurance costs for people with lower incomes remain stable. When premiums rise, the tax credits rise in tandem.

“We now know what ‘Trumpcare’ looks like, and it’s pretty ugly,” Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist who chairs the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania said when speaking about the fall-out from the administration’s announcement.

“The people who are particularly going to hurt are the people who don’t get any subsidies. They just have to buy their own insurance,” Emanuel, one of the architects of the ACA, told Morning Edition on Friday.

According to the Congressional Budget Office the decision to end the $7 billion-a-year cost-sharing payments will likely cost the federal government more, with estimated figures of nearly $200 billion moreover 10 years.

One way to explain the CBO’s projection—the ACA requires that premiums don’t exceed a set percentage of a person’s income. As premiums set by insurance companies rise over time, the government has to boost its tax credits with the goal of the cost to the consumer remaining the same.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, approximately 85 percent of people opting for Obamacare insurance got a tax credit in 2016.  The cost-sharing payments have been at the center of a political debate over the Affordable Care Act before Trump took office.

Amid the political debate over Obamacare—House Republicans opposed to the health law sued then-President Barack Obama, citing the payments were illegal because Congress hadn’t appropriated money for them. A federal judge ruled in favor of House Republicans, but allowed the administration to continue making the payments during an appeal.

Threatening to cut off the payments on the campaign trial and during his presidency, Trump referred to as a bailout, he repeated that characterization on Twitter last Friday.

The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2017

The White House cited that legal dispute about insurers having concerns about receiving subsidies—when it announced the end of the payments late Thursday in an official statement:

“The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system.”

The administration’s decision to end the cost-sharing payments came just hours after Trump signed an executive order for individuals and small businesses to purchase cheaper health insurance policies through trade groups and professional associations.

Those plans according to some health care analyst would likely have fewer benefits and appeal to healthier, younger people.

The president’s decision to halt subsidies risk splitting the health care market. Individuals with pre-existing conditions, low-incomes, or medical conditions like diabetes would remain in the ACA marketplaces, while healthier, wealthier people would seek coverage elsewhere. The result would be higher costs for people who need health care most.

By LeNora Millen     10-16-17


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