Showing posts with label Trump Anti Poor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump Anti Poor. Show all posts

March 14, 2020

Republicans Trying to Sneak Anti Abortion Legislation on The Corona bill-Where is the media on This?

Anti-choice lawmakers are stalling emergency legislation


As lawmakers neared a deal on a coronavirus rescue package that would include paid sick leave and free virus testing, a few roadblocks emerged. Among them: Republican attempts to wedge anti-choice restrictions into the House's relief bill, turning—if momentarily—a public health crisis into an abortion debate.
The tensions reportedly revolved around the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old provision that blocks federal funds from going to abortion services, preventing millions of low-income Americans on Medicaid from accessing abortion care.  
According to conservative media, some top Republicans believed a stipulation in the House bill requiring the government to reimburse private laboratories doing coronavirus testing could effectively overturn the Hyde Amendment by establishing a government funding stream not subject to the restrictions. In response, anti-choice lawmakers insisted on including language in the legislation that would reaffirm the principles of the amendment. When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Thursday that negotiations over the coronavirus response bill would go into next week, he accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of turning the legislation into an “ideological wish list.”  
“Instead of focusing on immediate relief to affected individuals, families and businesses, the House Democrats chose to wander into various areas of policy that are barely related if at all to the issue before us,” McConnell said. 
Yet it is often Republicans who use unrelated legislation as a vehicle for their anti-abortion agenda. And it’s not the first time they’ve used legislation tied to public health emergencies to do it: Amid the spread of the Zika virus in 2016, anti-choice lawmakers added a caveat blocking Planned Parenthood health care providers from accessing any of the designated emergency funds. 
Conservative lawmakers also tried to wedged a sneaky anti-abortion provision into Trump’s 2017 tax plan, giving expectant parents the option of creating a college savings account before their child is even born. The measure included fetal personhood language, referring to fetuses as “unborn children,” and defining “unborn child” as any “child in utero.”  
And abortion restrictions have been a sticking point in spending bills, which both parties use to push for policies they’re having trouble advancing by other means. In 2018, the White House pushed Republicans in Congress to slip measures that threatened to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood into a bill to prevent the third government shutdown of the year—even though government dollars never went to funding abortion services at the clinics because of the Hyde Amendment. A little less than a year later, Democrats used their new House majority to pass a spending bill that challenged the one of the Trump administration’s most wide-reaching abortion restrictions: the global gag rule, a law that bans U.S. funding from going to international organizations that provide abortion services or even discuss abortion as a form of reproductive health care. (This version of the spending bill did not make it past Senate Republicans.) 
But while government shutdowns can, at a point, become national emergencies, none so far has compared to the scale of the current global coronavirus pandemic, which could leave the U.S. worse off than countries like Italy—which put a quarter of its population on emergency quarantine—the longer it delays decisive action
The unemployment benefits and free testing that are at the core of the coronavirus rescue package mean preventing further spread of the virus, and making sure that low-wage workers can afford to pay for food, rent, and other necessities if they get sick, or if their workplaces shutter to mitigate harm, or as a result of government mandates.  
Neither of those things have to do with abortion—they’re urgent health matters that require the fastest possible response from elected officials. 

February 23, 2020

These People Work But Have Problems Buying The Food Most People Buy

Corin picks up food at the food pantry
 "Rent has jumped so dramatically you can't even stay on your two feet," says Corin

Corin Kealoha and Shaun Karagory both work full time - but cannot afford food without the help of a food bank.

"We can't even live off our wages," says Corin, 46, who works as a hotel receptionist. "That's why we come here."

The couple is at St Vincent's Food Pantry, in Reno, Nevada, where they have picked up cardboard boxes containing cereals, bread, milk, peanut butter, and some meat. 
And their story offers a glimpse into the complicated reality behind the economic recovery lauded by President Donald Trump.

In his January State of the Union, President Trump hailed the "great American comeback", stating: "Jobs are booming. Incomes are soaring. Poverty is plummeting… the years of economic decay are over." 

US economy under Trump: The greatest ever?
Trump's State of the Union speech fact-checked

It's a narrative he hopes will help him win November's presidential race - including in Nevada, a swing state that supported Hillary Clinton by a margin of just 2% in 2016. 

The western state, home to Las Vegas, was one of the worst-hit by the 2008 financial crisis. House prices dropped up to 60%, unemployment soared to 14%, and the state had the highest number of home foreclosures nationwide. 

More than a decade on, Nevada's home values have recovered, the state came first for job growth in the US in 2018, and unemployment now hovers at a 20-year low of 3.8%.
But to get a sense of some of the limits of the recovery, you only have to take a walk in downtown Reno.

Down North Virginia Street, there are glittery high-rise hotels and casinos, river walkways, and tourists taking selfies at the iconic Reno Arch, which proudly welcomes visitors to "the biggest little city in the world"

Yet if you take a different turn, and walk down East Fourth Street, the city looks very different. Instead of high-rises, there are smaller, weekly motels, and instead of tourists, you can see queues outside shelters and soup kitchens, and homeless people sitting, chatting, or doing push-ups near the railway tracks.

"Unemployment is low, but unfortunately unemployment is not a great indicator of how many people are hungry," says Jocelyn Lantrip, from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, which supplies charities, including St Vincent's Food Pantry.

And often, those going hungry - or temporarily homeless - are people who already have jobs.
"We have anything from 350 to 450 new families per month," says Carlos Carrillo, program director at the St Vincent's food pantry, in between packing boxes with food.
"We used to have a lot of clients who were unemployed or on social security, but nowadays most of our clients are working families."

The food bank has even started offering dog and cat food to 1,500 families a month - a practical step after they realized that clients would often go hungry in order to feed their pets.
A majority of clients say they are forced to use the food bank because rents have soared.
"They take money out of their food budget to pay for rent, so that's where we come in, to provide a bit of the food that they're not buying anymore," Mr. Carrillo says.

Carlos Carrillo
 Carlos says St Vincent's Food Pantry serves about 300 families in Reno each day

Carlos says St Vincent's Food Pantry serves about 300 families in Reno each day
Elliott Parker, chair of economics at the University of Nevada, Reno, argues that "recovery is in the eye of the beholder"

The latest data from the Census Bureau suggests that median household income is still just below 2008 levels, he adds.

"We are finally at the end of a very long recovery - but wages have risen nowhere near as fast as housing and rental prices."

Nevada has the nation's worst shortage of affordable housing for low-income families, according to an advocacy group, only 19 homes for every 100 low-income renter households.
There are various reasons for the house prices - including stalled construction from the 2008 financial crisis that has been slow to pick up.

And Reno residents complain about the "Tesla effect" - as tech workers and retirees from the more expensive neighboring state of California cross the border into Nevada, they push up rental prices for locals.

"Fifty percent of people in Nevada rent, and half of them are rent-burdened - meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing," says state Senator Julia Ratti, whose district covers the Reno-Sparks area.

"This means they become very vulnerable to anything happening in their life - if you get a flat tire, or your child needs medical care, you'll be late on your rent."
"Rent has jumped so dramatically you can't even stay on your two feet," says Corin
It's something Corin and Shaun, 39, experienced last year, after Shaun, who works as a security guard, developed fibromyalgia and had to take some time off work.
"We became homeless because I couldn't afford to pay the rent," says Corin. "We basically ended up living in our car."

They have since moved into a studio apartment - although the rent, which is $900 a month, takes a significant bite out of their wages - they both earn $10 per hour.
"We're not stable yet - we're not even sure what's going to happen," Corin says with a laugh. "We just live day by day for now."

John Restrepo, an analyst at RCG Economics in Las Vegas, says it is both true that the economy overall has grown - and that many working families are still suffering.
Those with equities in the stock market and small businesses have come out as winners from the economic recovery, he says, but wage earners have lost out.
Las Vegas is experiencing record unemployment

"About 60% of our households are not invested in the stock market - they depend on wages - and a large percentage of those folks, particularly lower-income workers, haven't benefited from the recovery at all," says Mr. Restrepo. "The challenge is that wages have been pretty stagnant after you adjust for inflation."

He believes that many companies, "as a result of the great recession, decided to do business differently" - hiring more contractors and gig workers.

Nevada was also coming out of a particularly deep recession, which means "we've been growing for 10 years now, but it's also one of the slowest recoveries in terms of the rate of recovery".
The other issue that comes up again and again when you speak to Nevadans is the cost of healthcare.
Jim Eaglesmith spent four years caring for his mother, who had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and eventually lost his job in a physical therapy clinic after he had to reduce his hours to look after her.

"The expenses of rent, home, healthcare, hospice, and prescription needs meant I depleted my savings… in the last three years, I used up her savings and my 401K. I spent everything I had thinking she was going to have some money left over, but I ended up having to spend almost all of it," he says.

Jim lives at the Village on Sage Street, in a dormitory in a modular unit
After that, he says he was effectively homeless for two months, couch surfing with different friends until he was able to move into Village on Sage Street - a dormitory built by a community foundation, which is designed to help working poor individuals and offers single rooms for as little as $400 a month.

"I can't afford a lot of things, but I'm not here to make money," says Jim, who now works part-time as a performance artist. "My value isn't based on my economic worth."
US healthcare costs are amongst the highest in the world - which means even middle-income families can feel vulnerable.

Adrielle Hammon, 35, works in a pre-school, making $9 an hour. Last year, she and her husband qualified for Medicaid, a public healthcare scheme for poor Americans - which meant when her son had a medical emergency, the $40,000 hospital bill was covered.

This year, her family's income has grown - Adrielle believes they are now "roughly middle class" - but it means they no longer qualify for Medicaid, and neither of them receives health insurance through work.

"We can afford food, gas, and bills now," she says. "But you throw in things like hospital bills, and that's something worrisome... I don't go to the doctor for anything unless someone's literally dying."

Adrielle and her children
"I don't see it ever being the case that we can afford to buy a house" - Adrielle Hammon
And the American dream of owning their own home seems like a remote possibility, which she admits bothers her because "we always figured that by the time we were this age, we'd be able to afford to buy a house."

For many lower-income families, housing and healthcare costs can combine, to make them more vulnerable to unexpected emergencies.
Angel Mcceig-Escalante, 44, says most of her family's income is spent on rent, and dealing with problems with their car.

"We've not been able to save any money at all - we have really been struggling," she says.
She lives with her husband, her mother, and one of her three children in a two-bedroom apartment costing $1,270 a month - "and one person doesn't have a bedroom, - my mother sleeps on the couch."
"I only use the system when I need it" - Angel Mcceig-Escalante
She visits St Vincent's Food Pantry for fresh and canned fruit and vegetables and visits several other food banks for help as well - particularly because, as a diabetic, she has to have a low-carbohydrate diet.

"We could buy food, just not the sort of food I should be eating. I'm supposed to be low carb, but that's the stuff that is the cheapest."
She also chooses the food carefully, hoping that this will help ensure her teenage son doesn't develop diabetes when he's older.

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In politics, and in the media, it can be tempting to generalize - whether it is about the economic recovery or the plight of lower-income families.

But the reality is often more nuanced - especially as the working class doesn't necessarily want to see themselves as poor.

I met Kayshoun Grajeda, 33, at the Culinary Academy in Las Vegas - a training center that has built-in kitchens, a restaurant, and bedrooms for hospitality staff in training.

She's beaming with pride as she explains it's her last day on the guestroom attendant course, and as she demonstrates how to make a bed in five minutes while keeping the sheets perfectly smooth.
"If you really want something, and put your best foot forward, you can accomplish it," she adds. "There's help - you've just gotta want it. You can't put the blame on somebody else." 

Kayshoun says her three children are extremely proud that she is about to graduate from the Culinary Academy
The single mother of three has just been offered a job with a hotel and believes it will be a significant step up from her previous job as a hairdresser.

"I want things for my kids, so this is definitely a good start, you know? I'm starting at $15.35, but it's a start! It's above minimum wage," she says with a grin.
It's a sense of positivity that is partly shared by Deidre Hammon, who lives with her daughter Brianna in a mobile home in a trailer park in southern Reno.

Deidre (who is also Adrielle's mother) works three jobs - as a contractor at a law firm, as an advocate at a center for children with disabilities, and as a carer for Brianna, 36, who lives with cerebral palsy.
"We're all very optimistic about our lives, we don't want to see ourselves as poor people who can't afford anything," she says.

But she adds that the difficulties that working families face are very real. Her car just broke down, so she's been forced to spend $250 per week on a rental car since she needs to drive for work and to transport Brianna around.
Brianna and Deidre Hammon

While she would rather work in a full-time role with benefits, "it's easier to have low-wage jobs I can quite easily, and then find another low-wage job" - because she sometimes needs time off at short notice to care for her daughter.
She also can't afford a wheelchair van - which means she has to manually help Brianna in and out of the car.

"I have to swing the wheelchair into the back of the car, break it down, put it together, and transfer Brianna into the car, two to three times a day. I have amazing upper body strength right now, but who knows how long that's going to last? I'm almost 60!"
She says she has to look after Brianna herself because there aren't enough service providers in northern Nevada.

She says she meets other mothers caring for adult children with disabilities, and they all find the prospect of their children living without them "terrifying".
"We all feel like we can't die, ever - because who's going to take your place?"
Chris says he plans to vote Republican: "I prefer to go by my standards - I'm pro-life"
Meanwhile, Christopher Ripke lives with epilepsy and works full time as a dishwasher at the University of Nevada, Reno - sometimes working seven days a week, as he often offers to work overtime. He also leads People First, a non-profit that helps people with disabilities.

He makes $9.30 an hour - sometimes making $13.50 per hour for overtime - and also received some rental assistance and food stamp assistance, but says he still falls below the poverty level.
Despite that, he feels pleased to have medical coverage in his job - and says he "absolutely" feels optimistic about his future. "I'm setting money aside for future plans - I plan to move to Texas because the healthcare's better."

Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)   

At Wednesday's Democratic debate, several candidates made overt appeals to the working class
Nevada is third in the Democratic primary race - and the state bills itself as more ethnically diverse, and more working-class, than either Iowa or New Hampshire.

At Wednesday's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar all made specific appeals to working families or talked about the need to raise wages.

But voting patterns can be personal - and unpredictable - and politicians take the working-class vote for granted at their peril.

Deidre, Brianna, and Adrielle all support Bernie Sanders because of his Medicare for All proposals - and do not want to see President Trump win. Brianna says bluntly: "If Trump gets re-elected I'm probably dead. He plans to cut all the programs that make my life possible."

Meanwhile, Christopher and Angel both support President Trump - Christopher because he disagrees with the Democratic candidates' stance on abortion, and Angel because "when he says something, he does it".

Chris Ripke
 Chris says he plans to vote Republican: "I prefer to go by my standards - I'm pro-life"

Christopher uses food stamps and is not convinced by reports that Mr. Trump's proposed budget would cut food stamps and the safety net. "That's one thing I don't believe - if I see it, I see it, but I've heard nothing about that." ("You heard it now stupid!".. Adam)

Meanwhile, Angel believes Mr. Trump's proposal to reduce the safety net is a good idea. "I've been working since I was 13, and… I only used the system when I needed it. People don't do that anymore, now they use it because there's free stuff."

And while Kayshoun's "best foot forward" attitude chimes in with how the Republicans say they help working families, she's actually unimpressed with both Mr. Trump and the Democratic candidates.
"We need a new president and not the one we've got," she says, adding that she plans to vote independent this year "because I'm not really feeling nobody". 

January 17, 2020

This is What Happens When Trump Made Food Stamps Harder To Get

Credit...Andrew Spear for The New York Times

MILTON, W.Va. — In the early mornings, Chastity and Paul Peyton walk from their small and barely heated apartment to Taco Bell to clean fryers and take orders for as many work hours as they can get. It rarely adds up to a full-time week’s worth, often not even close. With this income and whatever cash Mr. Peyton can scrape up doing odd jobs — which are hard to come by in a small town in winter, for someone without a car — the couple pays rent, utilities, and his child support payments.

Then there is the matter of food.

“We can barely eat,” Ms. Peyton said. She was told she would be getting food stamps again soon — a little over two dollars’ worth a day — but the couple was without them for months. Sometimes they made too much money to qualify; sometimes it was a matter of working too little. There is nothing reliable but the local food pantry.

Four years ago, thousands of poor people here in Cabell County and eight other counties in West Virginia that were affected by a state policy change found themselves having to prove that they were working or training for at least 20 hours a week in order to keep receiving food stamps consistently. In April, under a rule change by the Trump administration, people all over the country who are “able-bodied adults without dependents” will have to do the same.

The policy seems straightforward, but there is nothing straightforward about the reality of the working poor, daily life of unreliable transportation, erratic work hours and capricious living arrangements. 

Still, what has happened in the nine counties in West Virginia in the last four years does offer at least an indication of how it will play out on a larger scale. 

The most visible impact has been at homeless missions and food pantries, which saw a big spike in demand that has never receded. But the policy change was barely noticeable in the workforce, where evidence of some large influx of new workers is hard to discern. This reflects similar findings elsewhere, as states have steadily been reinstating work requirements in the years since the recession when nearly the whole country waived them.

Since 1996, federal law has set a time limit on how long able-bodied adults could receive food stamps: no more than three months in a three-year period, if the recipient was not working or in training for at least 20 hours a week. But states have been able to waive those rules in lean times and in hurting areas; waivers are still in place in roughly one-third of the country.

Under the new rule from the Trump administration, most of these waivers will effectively be eliminated. By the administration’s own estimate, around 700,000 people will lose food stamps. Officials say that there are plenty of jobs waiting for them in the humming economy.
This was the thinking as West Virginia began lifting waivers four years ago, starting in the counties where unemployment rates were lowest. 

The reimposition of work requirements for food stamps in Cabell County, W.Va., and eight other counties appeared to have no impact on the number of people there who were working, only on the number receiving aid.

One of the first signs of the change came in the dining hall of the Huntington City Mission, about half an hour’s drive from little Milton. Suddenly, the hall was packed.

“It was just like, ‘Boom, what’s going on here?’” said Mitch Webb, the director of the 81-year-old mission. In early 2016, the mission served an average of around 8,700 meals a month. After the new food stamp policy went into full effect, that jumped to over 12,300 meals a month. “It never renormalized,” Mr. Webb said.

That was true all-around Huntington.

“A few years ago, at the first of the month we would be slow and toward the end of the months we would be busy,” said Diana Van Horn, who runs the food pantry at Trinity Episcopal Church. “Now we are busy all the time.”

Cynthia Kirkhart, who runs Facing Hunger, the main food bank in the region, said people started just showing up at the warehouse, asking if they were handing out food. There was no telling where else they were now turning. “People who are surviving do not approach the world the same way as people who are thriving,” she said.

That the number of people receiving food stamps would drop significantly was, of course, by design. The question was what would become of them. 

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a research group that focuses heavily on social safety-net issues, there was no evidence of a big change in the job market. While around 5,410 people lost food stamps in the nine counties, the growth in the labor force in these counties over the ensuing three years significantly lagged the rest of the state. Average monthly employment growth in the counties actually slowed, while it nearly doubled in the rest of West Virginia.

“We can prove it from the data that this does not work,” said Seth DiStefano, policy outreach director at the center.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources initially acknowledged as much. “Our best data,” it reported in 2017, “does not indicate that the program has had a significant impact on employment figures.” 

Jerome Comer, 47, who left rehab last year, is now working in the warehouse of Facing Hunger, a food bank in Huntington, W.Va. Credit...Andrew Spear for The New York Times
In an email message last week, a spokeswoman for the department said that the available data “does not paint a clear picture of the impact” of the changes in employment in the nine counties.

Delegate Tom Fast, a Republican lawmaker who sponsored a bill in 2018 that restored work requirements for food stamps statewide, said he considered the policy a success. “The information I have is that there have been significant savings overall,” he said, coupling that with a low unemployment rate as evidence that the policy was working.

“If a person just chooses not to work, which those are the people that were targeted, they’re not going to get a free ride,” he said. Of people who are facing concrete obstacles to steady work, like a lack of transportation, he added: “If there’s a will, there’s away.” 

This is a popular sentiment, even among those who have had to rely on food stamps. The Peytons expressed little sympathy for people “just getting things handed to them.” At dinnertime at the city mission, men complained about people who were too lazy to work, who were sponging off the system.

“Not giving people food stamps because they don’t work is probably the best course of action,” said Zach Tate, who had been at the mission before, but now, with a place to stay, was just back for a meal. “It’s like training a puppy.”

He returned to his turkey Alfredo for a few moments and then clarified.

“But taking it away indefinitely doesn’t work either,” he said. “It creates a sense of despair.”

To move from talk of what is right policy to the reality of daily life is to enter a totally different conversation, one about the never-ending logistics of poverty: the hunt for space in a small house with 10 other people, the ailing family members who are wholly dependent without technically being “dependents,” the tenuousness of recovery while living among addicts, the hopelessness of finding decent work with a felony record.

One man in Milton spoke of losing a job loading trucks when the employer looked up his bad credit report. A woman who lives some miles out in the country said it was nearly impossible to work as a waitress in a town when the last bus comes and goes at 7 p.m.

“You see people in these hills around here that can’t get out to a job because they have no vehicle,” said Jerome Comer, 47, who left rehab last year and is now working in the warehouse of Facing Hunger. “You say, ‘Well, they’re able-bodied Americans.’ Yeah, but they live 40 miles out in the holler. They can’t walk to McDonald’s.” 

Mr. Comer moving a pallet at Facing Hunger. Credit...Andrew Spear for The New York Times
Mr. Comer had been raised by a disabled mother reliant on food stamps and had relied on government assistance himself when he was a younger man with a family, even though he was working two jobs. That is the thing: Most working-age adults on food stamps are either already working or are between jobs. 

But the jobs are unstable and inconsistent — as in the Peytons’ case, paying too much to qualify for benefits one month, offering too few hours to qualify the next. That is the root of the problem, Mr. Comer said. But addressing it would be a lot more expensive than food stamps.

“If they could come up with a work program for these people to give them jobs and transportation and everything, I’d agree with that,” Mr. Comer went on. “If you’re an able-bodied American and you ain’t got a job and they’re going to give you one and give you the means to get back and forth to it, that’s great. But then what’s that going to cost you?”

July 23, 2019

Trump Wants to Cost Food Stamps by 12% or $2.5 Billion on People Already Proven are Beyond Poor

Does he want the money for the wall or just more traveling by his government supported family?

                   Image result for trump hates the poor


Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.

But the agency wants to require people who receive TANF benefits to pass a review of their income and assets to determine whether they are eligible for free food from SNAP, officials said.

If enacted, the rule would save the federal government about $2.5 billion a year by removing people from SNAP, according to the USDA.

U.S. President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans now using SNAP do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment, and should be removed as a way to save taxpayers as much as $15 billion.

“Some states are taking advantage of loopholes that allow people to receive the SNAP benefits who would otherwise not qualify and for which they are not entitled,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters on a conference call on Monday. 

SNAP provides free food to some 40 million Americans or about 12% of the total U.S. population.

A Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill was blocked by Congress last year, following a months-long, partisan debate.

The USDA does not need congressional approval, however, to stop states from automatically allowing recipients of TANF benefits to become eligible for SNAP, said Brandon Lipps, a USDA acting deputy undersecretary.

Current rules allow people to access SNAP benefits worth thousands of dollars for two years without going through robust eligibility reviews, he told reporters on the call.

“Unfortunately, automatic eligibility has expanded to allow even millionaires and others who simply receive a TANF-funded brochure to become eligible for SNAP when they clearly don’t need it,” Lipps said.

The USDA will accept public comment on the proposed rule change. 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in December estimated the rule could save the federal government $8.1 billion from 2019 to 2028, lower than the USDA’s estimate.

In 2016, the CBO said arguments against the change included concerns that it would eliminate benefits for households in difficult financial situations and increase the complexity and time involved in verifying information on SNAP applications.

Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Peter Cooney
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

March 16, 2019

The NZ Attacks are Not Enough For TRUMP to Stop His Punt on White Supremacy

Related image
 These are the invaders, the white, young killers. Do You have mass killers on race of any other color? But Trump keeps saying are poor Mexican and brown people.

Once again, President Donald Trump is having a tough time calling out far right-wing white nationalism.
His response to the carnage in New Zealand, where 49 people died in an attack on two mosques, is also raising fresh questions about his attitude toward Islam following a long history of anti-Muslim rhetoric -- and about the extent to which the President has a responsibility to moderate his language given the rise in white supremacy movements across the world.
On Twitter and in remarks in the Oval Office, Trump was clear in condemning the killings. But he did not deliver a message of empathy and support to American Muslims, who may feel scared as security is stepped up at US mosques.
"I spoke with Prime Minister Ardern of New Zealand to express the sorrow of our entire nation following the monstrous terror attacks at two mosques," Trump said in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon after first condemning the attack as "a horrible massacre in the Mosques" on Twitter.
    "These sacred places of worship were turned into scenes of evil killing," the President said. "We've all seen what went on. It's a horrible, horrible thing."
    But asked whether he saw a worrying rise in white supremacy movements around the world, Trump said he did not, blaming a small group of people "with very, very serious problems." He also told reporters that he had not seen the manifesto linked to by a social media account that's believed to belong to one of the attackers, which mentioned Trump by name and saw him as a symbol of renewed white identity.
    While the President did not reach out to Muslims around the world, his daughter offered the kind of language that might have been expected from a more conventional commander in chief.
    "We join New Zealand and Muslim communities around the world in condemnation of this evil as we pray for the families of each victim and grieve together," Ivanka Trump tweeted on Friday morning.
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked in a news conference early Saturday what she had told Trump in their telephone call.
    "He asked what offer of support the United States could provide. My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities," Ardern said.
    White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called the Christchurch killings a "vicious attack of hate," though she did not specifically mention that the attack was against Muslims.
    Trump's failure to do more to point out that the worshipers who died in Christchurch were Muslim represents a double standard, given that he has been much clearer in ascribing a religious motivation to other killings.
    Last year, after an attack on a Jewish temple in Pittsburgh, Trump spoke of an "anti-Semitic" motive in the attack, which itself sparked a debate over whether his inflammatory rhetoric was to blame for a rise in hate crimes.
    When 28 Coptic Christians died in suicide bombings in Egypt in May 2017, the President decried the "merciless slaughter of Christians" and warned that the "bloodletting of Christians must end."
    As a candidate, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the United States, and as President, he eventually succeeded in using executive power to ban travel to the US by citizens of seven nations, five of them mainly Muslim.
    Trump has often been quick to wade in when a Muslim extremist has been a perpetrator of an attack and Muslims are not the victims, or to use such attacks to further his political arguments.
    "Incompetent Hillary, despite the horrible attack in Brussels today, wants borders to be weak and open and let the Muslims flow in. No way!" Trump, for instance, tweeted in March 2016.
    And when he was running for office, he excoriated Democrats as dishonest about the motivation of Muslim extremists who conducted terror attacks.
    "These are radical Islamic terrorists, and she won't even mention the word, and nor will President Obama," Trump said at a presidential debate, referring to Hillary Clinton. "Now, to solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is, or at least say the name."

    Equivocation on white nationalism

    Trump has many times been accused of using rhetoric that emboldens extremists and dehumanizes his targets. He has used vulgar language to criticize NFL stars who took a knee during the National Anthem. In announcing his campaign, he said Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border into the US. On Friday, at the same event in which he bemoaned the attack in New Zealand, he warned of "invasions" of undocumented migrants coming across the southern border.
    And Friday was not the first time that Trump has sought to downplay the threat of white nationalism.
    The question of whether the President's rhetoric has emboldened white supremacists erupted into a multi-day controversy in 2017, when he said there were some "very fine people on both sides" after white nationalist marchers were met by counterprotests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
    Trump's moral leadership also came into question when he initially equivocated after he was endorsed by white supremacist David Duke during the 2016 campaign.
    The President's comment Friday that white nationalism is not a growing problem contrasted with the vehemence with which other world leaders reacted, and their clear condemnations of white supremacist rhetoric and ideology.
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said there was no place in society for "the vile ideology that drives and incites hatred and fear."
    Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned a "violent, extremist, right-wing terrorist attack."
    Ardern said the alleged perpetrator of the attack had "extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact, have no place in the world."
    In a tweet that posted before Trump's comments in the Oval Office, Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden -- a possible White House candidate in 2020 -- appeared to have Trump on his mind.
    "Whether it is antisemitism in Pittsburgh, racism in Charlottesville, or the xenophobia and Islamophobia today in Christchurch, violent hate is on the march at home and abroad. We cannot stand by as mosques are turned into murder scenes," Biden tweeted. 
    "Silence is complicity," he added. "Our children are listening. The time to speak out is now."
    Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas condemned Trump for what he styled as extremist rhetoric.
    "There is a cost to that. And the cost is part of what we saw today. There are people out there who are unstable that will be inspired by that and take action," Castro told Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."
    White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp told reporters Friday that it was "outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime to the President, who has repeatedly condemned bigotry, racism."
    Trump's dismissal of the idea that white nationalism is on the rise contradicted warnings of his own government, and it was a characteristic example of how he ignores statistics that do not suit his political arguments.
    In a May 2017 intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy magazine, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned of "lethal violence" from white supremacist extremist groups.
      Trump's view also does not take into account the rise of white nationalist groups in politics in Europe, which has seen large marches in some cities.
      According to the Anti-Defamation League, 71% of the deaths linked to extremism in the United States between 2008 and 2017 were committed by far-right attackers.

      June 22, 2018

      Welcome to America Nasty Little Girl


      The image of a crying toddler that has become a symbol of immigrant families was used in TIME Magazine's new cover, which is edited to show President Donald Trump looming over the girl.

      The cover says simply, "Welcome to America." 
      In the cover story, TIME examines the president's rhetoric and the ideals associated with it.

      "For the first 240 years of U.S. history, at least, our most revered chief executives reliably articulated a set of high-minded, humanist values that bound together a diverse nation by naming what we aspired to: democracy, humanity, equality," TIME's Karl Vick wrote in the cover story that goes along with the photo.

      "With each passing month [Trump] is testing anew just how far from our founding humanism his "America first" policies can take us. And over the past two months on our southern border, we have seen the result," he wrote.

      The photo of the little girl was taken by John Moore, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for Getty Images. He took it during a ride-along with a Customs and Border Patrol agent on June 12. The girl was among a group of women and children gathered on a dirt road that the agents stopped near McAllen, Texas.

      An agent asked the mother to put the child down, and the little girl immediately started crying. That's when Moore snapped the now-famous photo.

      TIME's editors said they chose the image because it was so powerful.

      "This one was tough for me. As soon as it was over, they were put into a van. I had to stop and take deep breaths," Moore told TIME. "All I wanted to do was pick her up. But I couldn't."

      Moore said he was able to speak to the mother briefly and learned that the little girl was a 2-year-old from Honduras.

      Moore, who as a photojournalist has been covering the U.S.-Mexico border for a decade, said he did not see the pair separated but that policy at the time would indicate their separation.

      "All that happens behind closed doors... We'll never see that," he told ABC News.

      On Wednesday President Trump signed an executive order that he said would end the separation of children from their parents when families cross illegally.

      "Trump may have backed down on the specific practice of family separation, but the larger question remains," Vick wrote in the cover story. "In the balance between the integrity of the U.S. border with Mexico and a parent's love for a child, where will we come down?"

      [ABC news]

      June 9, 2018

      A Large Part of Senior LGBT's Are On Food Stamps If Trump Bill Passes They Will Go Hungry

      Editor’s note: What will the future hold for LGBTQ rights and representation? With this year’s Beyond Pride series, Mic looks forward to see how the radical changes in recent years will continue to transform our culture in the worlds of politics, business, entertainment and more. You can receive all these stories in your inbox by signing up here.
      LGBT people are disproportionately food insecure — meaning a larger percentage of this group doesn’t have enough money to feed their family or themselves, relative to the general population. Research from a 2016 report by the Williams Institute found that 27% of LGBT adults — or 2.2 million people — went through a period of food insecurity that year, while a much smaller 17% of non-LGBT adults experienced the same. 
      The report also revealed that more than one in four LGB adults participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is still colloquially known as “food stamps.” The program is often misrepresented as giving handouts to freeloaders, and it’s one that President Donald Trump has alluded to as being rife with fraud and laziness. In the Trump administration’s 2018 Farm Bill proposal, which has yet to successfully pass, LGBT people are even further disadvantaged. 

      How Trump’s farm bill hurts LGBT people

      In regards to SNAP, the new bill would require tighter work requirements for those who receive assistance from the program. More specifically, “it would institute a policy that would require able-bodied adults under the age of 60 without young children to prove monthly that they are working or participating in a work program for 20 total hours each week in order to qualify for assistance, with a month’s buffer between losing a job and sanctions,” the Atlantic reported. 
      “People at odds are going to do what they need to do to feed themselves — eating is a part of survival.” — Tyrone Hanley, NCLR 
      Expanding work requirements under SNAP doesn’t adequately help people seek jobs, nor does it address the systemic reasons why LGBTQ people have trouble getting work in the first place, Tyrone Hanley, policy counsel at the National Center for Lesbian Rights said in a phone interview. “Employment discrimination is a significant factor that directly contributes to LGBTQ poverty and unemployment rates,” a group of 56 queer and allied organizations, including NCLR, wrote in a letter to Congress opposing the Farm Bill. “Over half of the U.S. population lives in a state without explicit nondiscrimination laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” 
      Supporters listen as Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., holds a news conference with faith leaders to “urge lawmakers to reject proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Farm Bill” on Monday, May 7.
      Supporters listen as Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., holds a news conference with faith leaders to “urge lawmakers to reject proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Farm Bill” on Monday, May 7.  Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
      These work requirements would increase the likelihood that more LGBT people will be food insecure, Hanley said. Even more, “there’s no question that by limiting the number of people that can access food assistance, more people are going to seek money through the underground economy,” Hanley said, explaining that criminalized work in either the drug trade and the sex trade is more likely to be sought out.  
      “People at odds are going to do what they need to do to feed themselves — eating is a part of survival,” he continued. In interviews conducted in New York City with LGBTQ youth, the Urban Institute found that “almost all of those who engaged in survival sex did so in order to make ends meet,” according to a report published by the Social Justice Sexuality Project.  
      “SNAP, for a lot of people, is the difference between literally starving and not starving,” Meghan Maury, policy director at The National LGBTQ Task Force, said over the phone. “Putting work requirements [onto SNAP] is shameful to me. I can’t say it another way — I know what it’s like to be hungry. Everyone should have access to the food they need to function.” 
      LGBT people are, of course, not the only ones who will be hurt by the proposed bill. Virtually any marginalized group that is disproportionately affected by poverty will be put at a greater disadvantage with the work requirements. LGBT poverty and hunger issues are not often discussed in mainstream media, however, because of “positive stereotypes” that lead people to assume LGBT communities are well off, despite the data that shows otherwise, Hanley said.  “Media portrayals like ‘Will and Grace’ lead the public to believe that all gay people are white, wealthy and doing just fine.” — Meghan Maury 
      In reality, LGBT people, particularly women and people of color, face poverty at significantly higher degrees than their non-LGBT counterparts. “I think there’s a myth of gay affluence which still persists,” Maury said. “Media portrayals like Will and Grace lead the public to believe that all gay people are white, wealthy and doing just fine, and what we’re fighting for is cake at our wedding and not basic human rights and human dignity.”
      Kate Bratskeir

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