SNAP & CHIP

“The budget will recommend tightening restrictions on eligibility for assistance programs — like food stamps — in an effort to increase the number of people
in the workforce and grow the economy. The SNAP program better known as food stamps is up for a $193 billion cut.

“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney said. “If you’re on food stamps and you’re able bodied we need you to go to work. If you’re on disability insurance
and you’re not supposed to be — you’re not truly disabled — we need you to go to work. We need everybody pulling in the same direction.”

 

Could we get just one thing straight here?  SNAP (food stamps) serves a large number of people who work;  CHIP is for children of people who work and still live in poverty or near poverty.

 

Social Security Disability is based on earned income called quarters of coverage and is not all that easy to get on.  Once enrolled, each beneficiary is re evaluated every other year, so staying on if not “truly disabled” is pretty difficult.

 

In short, the number of people who live in or near poverty in the United States WORK!  … Or did:  They’re retired and barely making it on Social Security Retirement Benefits.  Many of these people get SNAP, Meals on Wheels ( another program Trump wants to eliminate) and Medicaid (Medicaid will pay the premium for Medicare if a person’s income is low enough.)

 

The notion that people receiving “food stamps” and other assistance are lounging around, sucking up benefits when they could be supporting themselves  Is the unfortunate result of a propaganda campaign in the 1980’s to paint a picture of Welfare fraud that has never existed.  Yes, there are people who take advantage of the system, but let’s not give them more clout or press than we have to.  Instead, let them be dealt with according to the provisions in place.

 

I have known a lot of people who are enrolled in SNAP and/or other poverty relief programs.  Of all of them, there are maybe 2 or three who were “mooching.”  At that, there is something about these people that isn’t quite right…they never seem to get on their feet.  I’m not sure I would want to kick them out of the system.

Defunding services most certainly is not the answer.

 

One idea I have:  Hire people who live in or near poverty to work on a solution that works.  The fat cats trying to make the policies don’t know what they’re talking about.  Mulvaney and Trump are two great examples of that.

 

One more point about SNAP:  The part that the Trump budget would eliminate is a provision that was included during this last recession.  It allows people who live in parts of the US where unemployment is high to receive benefits.  Many of these people are under employed or unable to find work, in spite of their efforts.  If the Trump Administration wants to help, find ways to create jobs in these regions.

An Interesting Thing

In today’s news, there is an article saying that Hillary Clinton is starting her own organization to encourage people to take political action.

That now makes three powerful people:

Hillary

Barack Obama

Bernie Sanders

 

What intriques me most is that this is so in keeping with what seems to be an awakening in the United States.

For so many years, people were sure they were not being heard; that anything they had to say made no difference at all.  The result:  we became cynical and apathetic.

Not these days!  When representatives go back to their  home States and have town halls, they get an earful.

I do wonder if Congress is paying attention.  People are stirred up; they are pushing for responsible policy making.

If Congress doesn’t take us seriously, they will find out that they made a grave error in 2018:  Voting does have consequences!

Hm, loyalty to Trump or to their constituants…now there’s a tough one!

 

I will have to check out Hillary’s site.  I already drop in on Obama.org and get emails from ourrevolution.org.

 

It’s too soon to tell how Barack and Hillary will do at listening as much as they promote candidates or specific viewpoints on issues.

Our Revolution doesn’t seem to listen all that well.  Most of their messages are solicitations so I don’t give them much time.

There are so many important issues; Trump seems to make more of them.

Right now, the matter of keeping him from doing further harm is my priority.  He isn’t just a bull in a china shop; he is more like a baboon in an operating room.

 

Trump’s First 100 Days

This is a list from a memorandum produced by the White House, touting Trump’s accomplishments in his first 100 days as President.  I found it on

http://www.cnn.com

Let’s have a look:

•Energy Independence Executive Order
•Revocation Of Federal Contracting Executive Orders
•Reexamination Of CAFE Standards
•Review Of Waters Of The United States Rule
•Creation Of Regulatory Task Forces
•Eliminating Stream Protection Rule
•Eliminating Regulations On Extraction Companies
•One-In-Two-Out Regulation Reform
Hmm, accomplishment?
JOB CREATION

•Buy American, Hire American I would say he tore things down, instead of building them up.
A lot of Trump’s activity is more about dissing Barack Obama than it is creating forward momentum.

•Dakota Access Pipeline
•U.S. Material In Pipeline Construction
•Partnering With Private Sector

I would say that Trump is taking credit for things he didn’t do.  Companies have largely made their choices, regardless of what he says; many things were already in place when he took office.
The Keystone Pipeline was largely finished, except for the stretch through Native American lands.  I don’t know how it got that far without being thwarted, but Trump only contributed the last nail to the coffin.

TRADE

•Withdrawal From The Trans-Pacific Partnership
•Trade Enforcement
•Comprehensive Reports On The Causes Of U.S. Trade Deficits

I’ll give him withdrawal from the TPP.  That was a no-brainer.
ETHICS

•Federal Hiring Freeze
•New Ethics Commitments On Political Appointees

Okay, I have to laugh at this one.  A freeze on hiring has nothing to do with ethics and and “new ethics commitments”?  Yeah.  That’s why we have Bannon, Flynn and Trump’s own conflicts of interests.  Right…

•Strike On Syrian Airfield
•Travel Restrictions On Select Countries
•New Iran Sanctions
•Defense Spending In Budget
•F-35 Cost Savings

Defense spending in budget?  So what else is new????
The only thing in this list would be the F-35 cost reduction.
As for the rest, they caused much more damage than benefit.  As a matter of fact, Trump’s “ban on select countries” is still hung up in court because it violates the US Constitution.  Perhaps worse than that, it alienates people at home and abroad and weakens relationships with allies.
Trump’s “strike on the Syrian airfield was more of a kneejerk reaction than a strategic move.
•Immigration Enforcement, Including Constructing A Wall
•Sanctuary Cities Funding
•New Hiring To Enforce Immigration
•Prioritizing Criminal Immigration Enforcement And Hiring More Immigration Judges

Could we define “accomplishment?”
Trump has not built a wall…yet; may he never succeed.
His “crack down” on immigrants has hurt innocent people and stands to bring down producers of food, meat and meat products and other industries in the US.  IT also strains our relationship with Mexico – I don’t think we want Mexico for an enemy.  By the way, there goes more food supply:  Most of our winter produce comes from there.
He hasn’t succeeded in defunding sanctuary cities yet, either; in fact, two of them have sued his administration.

There is permission to hire more immigration workers; however, ICE has not been able to fill positions that existed before Trump’s order.  Moreover, Trump pretty well emptied out the Department of Justice, so there are no judges to hear all those immigration cases.

I would call these ideas or wishes; not accomplishments

Here’s the rest of the list…before it gets redundant, that is:
PUBLIC SAFETY

•Commission On Opioid Crisis
•Protecting Law Enforcement Officers Crime
•Tackling International Cartels

HELPING WOMEN AND MINORITIES

•HBCU Initiative
•Canada-United States Council For The Advancement Of Women Entrepreneurs
•Promoting Women In Entrepreneurship Act
•Women And Space Exploration

SUPREME COURT

•Nominating And Confirming Gorsuch

Nominating Gorsuch…Trump didn’t confirm him; the Senate did by bending the rules.  Okay, accomplishment, but a bit soft.
“Protecting Law Enforcement Officers Crime”?
What on earth is this about???????

The rest of the list?  Again, more wishes and ideas; more taking credit that Trump doesn’t deserve
But not really accomplishment.

So, what does this reduce his list to?
Ruining a number of people’s lives by deporting them, even though they were contributing to the prosperity of the US and by separating parents and children
Promoting racism and bigotry by villifying Mexicans and Muslims
Withdrawal from the TPP
Nominating Gorsuch
Partially dismantling and weakening environmental research and protection at a time when we really need both
Hurting women and minorities by defunding such programs as Planned Parenthood and wanting to do away with agencies that help honeless and low income Americans
Gutting Federal agencies so that work can’t get done.

I’m not sure I call these accomplishments.

Patriot: Not a Conservative word

I try to keep ranting on my blogs to a minimum.  Having said that, there is one thing that riles me:  When “patriot” and all of its related forms are attributed to conservatism.

While I tend to disagree with a fair amount of conservative thinking, I don’t have anything against the people themselves.  They are entitled to their point of view.

So, too, are progressives and those of us who don’t really fit in a specific camp.

All of that to say:  Whether you are progressive, conservative, radical, independent, nonaffiliated or something that doesn’t fit a category, you are a patriot.

I remember the hippy movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  There was a lot of accusation that hippies and the rest of their generation were not patriotic because they refused to say things like, “My country, right or wron.”  They disliked wearing red, white and blue; they protested and had sit ins…  Their response:  “We are patriotic; just not in the same ways as our parents.”  I agree with them.  If you have your nation’s best interests at heart; if you join to build stronger community and a better life for your people, you are a patriot.  This designation is inclusive, not limited to a particular bent.

 

Really, “patriot” and “citizen” are the same thing.  Do you vote, work, pay taxes, keep your home up, shop in your community and obey the laws of the land?  Congratulations:  You’re in.

Okay, enough ranting on this for now!

Patriots All

When  I registered to vote, I chose “nonaffiliated” as my party association.  The main reason for doing this is that I often see bits of the truth “on both sides of the aisle.”

I am discovering a couple of other reasons as well:
*I am an American first.  When it comes to the welfare of the nation, I want all people to prosper, from the most wealthy to the poorest; conservatives, centrists, progressives and those of us who don’t seem to fit any category.  Oh that the powers that be in Washington D.C. would hold to this value!  Perhaps they would stop bickering, manipulating and posturing so that they could get some real work done!!!

*In times as chaotic as these, I need to be true to myself.  I find that I am less willing to jump on a particular bandwagon or pick up the latest catch phrase, just because it is being promoted.  Integrity is a quality that strengthens and heals all around me.

So, who are you?  Regardless of your nationality, partisanship, specific bents or position in life, you are a person and a patriot – A fellow citizen in the land where you live.

Why does this matter?  Each of us needs the other.  I need you to step up to the plate and do your part in seeing to the welfare and safety of my country; you need me to do the same.  When we all stand and work together, we get something wonderful.

A very wise piece of advice I heard recently is that we are most effective when we join in building our local community.  I like this:  One of the biggest causes of apathy is the sense that we have no say.  On the national level, there is some truth to this; on the local level, however, we have lots of power.
Fellow patriots, I challenge you to join in building a great nation, one community at a time:  Recognize and honor your leaders; ask questions, make suggestions; voice concerns.  Most of all, roll up your sleeves and help out.  That is how we build a strong, prosperous land for all.

Thank you.

Setting the Tone

When Barack Obama was first elected in 2008, the mood of the nation was hopeful, cooperative and quite inclusive.

This time, however, anger, violence, racism, prejudice and aggression are in the forefront.
Here are headlines, just from today and yesterday:

Letters To California Mosques Praise Donald Trump, Promise Genocide – Huffington Post

“3 shot while hanging Christmas lights amid fight with driver” – Tulsa World

“White Man, 62, Kills Black Teen: ‘Piece of Trash Off the Street'” – Newsmax

“Young Couple, Grandma and 8-Week-Old Infant Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide in Alaska: Cops” – PEOPLE.com

“Coral Springs Police reopens mall after 2 shot” – Local 10

I never really thought about it until the recent headlines, but one very important consideration for choosing a leader must be the tone that person will set.  The United States is learning this lesson the hard way.

There is a widespread misconception that the President has absolute power when it comes to policy and laws, but I’m thinking his or her real impact is in this whole matter of setting the standard and trend – the tone.

I will be paying close attention to this from now on.