We know BIG AG is located in mostly Clinton neo-liberal states and we know that Clinton and Obama spent these several years trying to push developing nations to give up public subsidy for food and health care as they move the Bush Trans Pacific Trade Pact forward----so this recent fight in Congress over cutting Food Stamps is a tag-team effort. As this article states the cuts are coming as poverty grows---just as the Clinton Welfare to Work came as unemployment soared. Neo-liberals want the US to be a food importer as do Republicans---remember, Trans Pacific Trade Pact allows global corporations to come to the US and operate as they do overseas complete with wages and injustice.
Maryland has always been one of the lowest in funding for social services and with fraud and corruption much of that funding does not make it to the poor----and Clinton neo-liberals work hard to label Maryland progressive and BLUE.
Not as well the move to tie energy subsidy reduction to Food Stamp reduction. It seems those crazy poor people are using a loophole to boost some subsidy and that can't happen say the MOST MASSIVE CORPORATE SUBSIDY CONGRESS IN HISTORY! The goal of course is to end both energy and food subsidy and tie Smart Meters to rationing.
I always like to remind----there is no national debt or budget deficit----the massive corporate frauds of last decade are these deficits and a REAL DEMOCRAT would have spent several years recovering corporate fraud not pretending to need austerity. Fraud recovery pays for itself.
Republicans Just Won the Food Stamp War Congress is set to approve $9 billion in cuts to the food stamp program even as a record number of Americans live in poverty.
—By Erika Eichelberger
| Wed Jan. 29, 2014 12:06 PM ES
On Wednesday morning, Republicans won a years-long battle over whether to slash or spare food stamps when the House passed the farm bill, a $500 billion piece of legislation that funds nutrition and agriculture programs for the next five years.
The farm bill has been delayed for more than two years because of a fight over cuts to the food stamp program, which is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Last June, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) forced a vote on a bill that would have cut $20 billion from SNAP. But conservatives said the cuts were not deep enough, Democrats said they were far too deep, and the bill failed, 234-195. That September, House Republicans drafted new legislation slashing $40 billion from the food stamp program. That bill passed the House with Republican votes only. After months of negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate, which wanted much lower cuts of around $4 billion, the House finally passed a farm bill 251-166 Wednesday that contains a "compromise" $9 billion in reductions to the food stamp program.
Both the Senate and President Barack Obama are expected to approve the legislation.
Here's why the compromise level of cuts is a Republican win: In addition to the $9 billion in food stamp cuts in this five-year farm bill, another $11 billion will be slashed over three years as stimulus funding for the program expires. The first $5 billion of that stimulus money expired in October; the rest will disappear by 2016. In the months since the first $5 billion in stimulus funding was cut, food pantries have been struggling to provide enough food for the hungry. Poverty remains at record high levels, and three job applicants compete for every job opening.
And yet, despite the $5 billion in cuts that already happened and the guarantee of $6 billion more, Republicans succeeded in getting their Democratic peers to cut food stamps further. This is the first time in history that a Democratic Senate has even proposed cutting the program. Now the upper chamber is expected to pass cuts twice the level it approved last year.
"It's a net loss for Democrats," Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tells Mother Jones. "It's absolutely a GOP win," agrees a House Democratic aide.
How did the GOP do it? In November, Dems said that Boehner was interfering with House-Senate negotiations on the farm bill, rejecting proposed legislation that contained shallower food stamps cuts. (Boehner's office denies this.)
But Dems deserve much of the blame, the Democratic aide says. Last year, House liberals were scheming to get progressives to vote against any farm bill that contained SNAP cuts. The idea was that if enough progressives voted no along with the House conservatives who think the cuts are too low, Democrats could defeat the bill. In that case, food stamp funding would be preserved at current levels. A "$9 billion [cut] is too much…It hits in the gut," Rep. Gwen Moore (R-Wis.) told Mother Jones earlier this month.
When the final bill came up for a vote in the House, the Congressional Progressive Caucus advised its 76 members to vote against the bill. But not enough Dems voted to block the cuts. One hundred three Democrats voted against the farm bill, but 89 voted in favor. If 43 more Democrats had voted no, the farm bill would have failed. "Dems are…complicit in changing [the] law, when they could just [block the bill] and let that status quo continue," the Democratic aide says.
Democrats in the House and Senate agreed to cut nutrition aid for poor Americans because they "have shifted to the right on SNAP politically," the staffer adds. "If Dems were as absolutist as the tea party, this bill would be dead on arrival and SNAP would continue as is."
But the assault on the food stamp program "could have been much, much worse," argues Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. Stacy Dean, the vice president for food assistance policy at the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), agrees. Democrats succeeded in stripping many draconian GOP provisions from the bill. Republicans wanted to impose new work requirements on food stamp recipients; allow states to require drug testing for food stamps beneficiaries; ban ex-felons from ever receiving nutrition aid; and award states financial incentives to kick people off the program. None of those measures were in the final legislation, Dean notes.
The cuts to the food stamp program come from closing a loophole that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed needed to be addressed. A household's level of monthly food stamps benefits is determined by how much disposable income a family has after rent, utilities, and other expenses are deducted. Some states allow beneficiaries to deduct a standard utility charge from their income if they qualify for a federal heating aid program called the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, even if they only receive a few dollars per year in heating aid. The arrangement results in about 850,000 households getting a utility deduction that is much larger than their actual utility bill. Because the deduction makes these families' disposable income appear to be lower than it actually is, they get more food stamp money each month. The farm bill that passed the House on Wednesday saves $9 billion by closing that loophole.
The savings from closing the heating aid loophole could have been returned to the food stamp program. Instead, Republicans succeeded in prodding Dems to accept $9 billion in new cuts on top of the $11 billion in expiring stimulus funds. That extra $9 billion in cuts means that close to a million households will see their benefits slashed by about $90 a month—enough to pay for a week's worth of cheap groceries for a family of four.
We know in Baltimore most attempts at community gardens are geared towards corporations donating for tax credit and many of the projects are hit and run installations that do not last since they are not tied to a public agency to maintain and promote. Citizens in these communities are not given time to develop interest ----they are recruited for these one-time-installations and then fade away. This is not how you build a Food Justice platform. We have a cycle of build it/rebuild it/rebuild it just as is done in developing nations where NGOs spend hundreds of billions of dollars and all of it collapses into disuse or poor building. When I first moved to Baltimore and became involved in greening a friend told me she never takes grants because those projects just become abandoned. Again, it is because Baltimore refuses to hire public sector employees to maintain and promote these community gardens for the long-term. That's not to say that there are no successes in community gardening in Baltimore.....and lot's of people want to see it successful. When you have Baltimore Development Corporation and Johns Hopkins devoted to moving all public money to profit and getting rid of the working class and poor in Enterprise Zones where much of this activity takes place----it all becomes money spent for development and less about Food Justice. So, Baltimore is starting to end Food Stamps with no meaningful support for after its gone---with growing unemployment and an economic crash right around the corner. It is a recipe for disaster for progressive labor and justice!
WHO SUPPORTS CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND JOHNS HOPKINS AND BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT? LABOR UNIONS AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATION LEADERS. IT IS LABOR IN BALTIMORE THAT OFTEN WORKS FOR POVERTY SUPPLEMENTED WITH FOOD STAMPS.
One big partner in Baltimore is Home Depot--they donate wood for a tax credit----they donate employee time for a tax credit-----and they get a large tax credit as a green corporation. From all I see Home Depot donates wood that they cannot sell because of poor quality. Within two years much built in these projects is gone.
Since Home Depot is a do it yourself store you do not need any inexperienced help.As a contractor I ask for contractor discount at Home Depot says their prices are low enough.
I buy products at mom and pop stores and the prices are much cheaper with experienced help. Case and point... Anderson 5 foot sliding glass door Home Depots price $2800 local lumber store $1700 exact same product. Manufacturers produce cheap products for box stores so they can sell cheaper than specialty stores but but break down quicker.
It looks like the same product but with inferior raw materials.
Solid brass verses plated, metal verses plastic, solid wood verses veneer, that is why you will never see the same model number on a Home Depot product as you see in a specialty store.Keep your community revenues local and buy from specialty stores.
Just a quick introduction to what I will speak later----what we see with the Obama HUD policies that change the way low-income housing looks is directly tied with Trans Pacific Trade Pact. Below you see how US global corporations in China handled their factories and employees. They keep saying they don't have control over conditions but of course they do. What Apple and Microsoft found to maximize profits was to have the factories with housing for the workers and those often included crop gardens for these mostly former agrarian peasants to grow their own food. Forget that these factories exuded the worst of toxic materials into the soil----these workers now have high levels of disease associated from working and living in these US Tech factories. Fast-forward to TPP and bringing global corporations back to the US to allow them to operate as they did overseas-----we are seeing HUD move to the same worker living where they work model complete with a centralized garden for food. This is where Baltimore is going----corporate non-profits are leading the way and Baltimore Development and Johns Hopkins have partnered with developers as low-income housing is planned for along the current Baltimore City line. As with China, farming beside industry never bodes well for Food Justice......
Now, if TPP wasn't bringing global corporations back to the US to work under third world conditions---this model would be fine....progressives have always tried to tie these together both in rural areas and cities. The difference is that
ALL CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AS CITIZENS, RULE OF LAW, AND BILL OF RIGHTS WILL BE GONE WITH TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT AND PEOPLE WILL BE EXPLOITED AND ABUSED.
THAT IS NOT PROGRESSIVE----IT IS CLINTON WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERAL AND NEO-CON REPRESSIVE.
Citizens of Baltimore may consider what FOXX did to create a campus----and Johns Hopkins and its sucking of all real estate in Baltimore city center-----they are indeed building their FOXX campus.
A Chinese factory outsources worker dorms
Sci-tech | David Barboza, NYT News Service | Updated: June 26, 2010 14:53 IST
Shanghai: Under intense scrutiny after several suicides at its factories in southern China this year, Foxconn Technology, a major supplier to Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, has decided to stop operating its own dormitories for workers.
On Friday, the company said that it was essentially outsourcing its living arrangements to two Chinese real estate companies. The firms will take over the operations of 153 dormitories that house half of its 420,000 workers in Shenzhen.
The decision is the first time one of China's biggest exporters has pledged to abandon what most manufacturers say is an integral part of China's factory model -- a system that depends on housing migrant workers near factories that specialize in low-cost, around-the-clock assembly line operations.
Some of the world's leading electronics brands are investigating the circumstances surrounding the spate of suicides at Foxconn, one of the world's largest contract electronics manufacturers. Many companies are pressing Foxconn to improve living and working conditions at its huge operations in Shenzhen.
Health experts say the suicide rate at Foxconn is not above the national average of 14 suicides per 100,000 people this year, but the 10 deaths were a sharp increase from each of the last few years, when there were only one or two suicides. Labor rights groups said they believed that Foxconn's military-style management system and the company's highly regimented and even abusive working conditions were contributing factors in the deaths.
A group of prominent Chinese sociologists released an open letter this month calling for China to "put an immediate end to a development model that sacrifices basic human dignity." The letter was written in response to the suicides at Foxconn.
Whether Foxconn is really abandoning worker dormitories, however, is unclear. Some analysts are skeptical that Foxconn, a division of the Hon Hai Group of Taiwan, can afford to surrender control of its dormitories. They say the company may simply be trying to evade responsibility for poor living conditions by outsourcing the dorms to other companies.
"That's the logic apparel companies relied on 15 years ago when they said 'it's not our manufacturing plant so it's not our problem' if working conditions are poor,' " said Pietra Rivoli, a professor of international business at Georgetown University and the author of "The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy."
"But it didn't work then," she said. "And I don't see how this is going to absolve Foxconn of responsibility in the eyes of most observers of the supply chain."
In the aftermath of the suicides, Foxconn has been forced to cope with a wave of bad publicity at home and overseas. Since then, the company has hired sociologists, psychiatrists and Buddhist monks to advise the company's managers and counsel its assembly line workers. The company has also announced three separate wage increases and promised radical reforms. The company's chairman promised to do everything possible to stop the suicides, and Foxconn even placed safety nets on tall buildings at its two Shenzhen campuses to prevent workers from taking their own lives.
In recent weeks, Foxconn executives have repeatedly said the company was ill equipped to manage such huge factory towns or the social lives of so many young migrant workers. Many of them are between the ages of 18 and 25 years old and have come from some of the country's poorest provinces.
In its announcement Friday, Foxconn went even further, saying it would give up its "college campus style" dormitory system in Shenzhen in the hope that outside management companies could better integrate its workers into the local community and relieve some of the pressures of factory life.
"Providing employees with basic necessities including a safe and convenient place to live at the work site might have been sufficient in the past," Terry Cheng, an executive vice president said in a statement released late Friday. "But this arrangement no longer satisfies the needs of the young migrant workers of today."
The decision is a sharp turnabout for Foxconn, which has an extensive one-square mile campus in Shenzhen with high-rise dormitories, restaurants, banks, recreational facilities and a hospital.
Professor Rivoli at Georgetown said she would be surprised to see factories in China move away from control over their factories because, despite poor conditions, it was considered a highly effective and efficient way to lower costs and meet export production controls.
"It's the command and control model that has been very effective for China," she said in a telephone interview Friday.
US global corporations devastated China's environment and as this article shows-----the wealthy Chinese want their food from better environments. Well, if you look at what Trans Pacific Trade Pact does---it allows global corporations to ignore US environmental law and as such---we will see exactly what this article says---we just saw a merger of Smithfield Ham with a Chinese corporation and nothing is worse for Food Justice and labor justice than factory industrial meat.
This again threatens our good soil for growing local and ties American workers to more BIG MEAT. Remember, I try to order a Maryland crab cake and find quite often it is not Maryland crab-----much is being sent to Asia while we are eating food from less safe environments. This is what globalization and turning the US into developing world status is all about.
All HUD development around economics and low-income housing are taking these Chinese models as the footprint being built in cities like Baltimore. Johns Hopkins certainly has the Chinese ethos of anything for profit to make this happen!
Are We Becoming China's Factory Farm? US hog operations are feeding more than a billion people's growing appetite for pork.--
By Tom Philpott
| November/December 2013 Issue
So where is China looking to supply its demand for chops, ribs, loins, butts, and bellies? Not Southeast Asia or Africa—more like Iowa and North Carolina. US pork exports to China surged from about 57,000 metric tons in 2003 to more than 430,000 metric tons in 2012, about a fifth of all such exports. And that was before a Chinese company announced its intention to buy US pork giant Smithfield Foods in 2013. The way things are going, the United States is poised to become China's very own factory hog farm. Here are a few reasons why:
It's now cheaper to produce pork in the US than in China. You read that right: Our meat industry churns out hogs for about $0.57 per pound, according to the US Department of Agriculture, versus $0.68 per pound in China's new, factory-scale hog farms. The main difference is feed costs. US pig producers spend about 25 percent less on feed than their Chinese counterparts, the USDA found, because the "United States has more abundant land, water, and grain resources."
Americans are not as fond of "the other white meat" as we once were. You wouldn't know it from the menus in trendy restaurants, but US consumers' appetite for pork hit a peak in 1999 and has declined ever since. Yet industry, beholden to shareholders demanding growth, keeps churning out more. According to its latest projections, the USDA expects US pork exports to rise by another 0.9 metric tons by 2022—a 33 percent jump from 2012 levels.
Much of China's arable land is polluted. Fully 40 percent has been degraded by erosion, salinization, or acidification—and nearly 20 percent is tainted by industrial effluent, sewage, excessive farm chemicals, or mining runoff. The pollution makes soil less productive, and dangerous elements like cadmium have turned up in rice crops.
Chinese rivers have been vanishing since the 1990s as demand from farms and factories has helped suck them dry. Of the ones that remain, 75 percent are severely polluted, and more than a third of those are so toxic they can't be used to irrigate farms, according to a 2008 report by the Chinese government. According to the World Bank, China's average annual water resources are less than 2,200 cubic meters per capita. The United States, by contrast, boasts almost 9,400 cubic meters of water per person.
Chinese consumers are losing trust in the nation's food supply—and will pay for alternatives. A spate of food-related scandals over the past half decade has made food safety the Chinese public's No. 1 concern, a 2013 study from Shanghai Jiao Tong University found. Judith Shapiro, author of the 2012 book China's Environmental Challenges and director of the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development program at American University, says she expects Smithfield pork to command "quite a premium" in China, because it's perceived as safer and better than the domestic stuff. Already, "US pork is particularly popular and commands premium prices, as it is viewed as higher quality due to our strict food safety laws," a Bloomberg Businessweek columnist reported last July.
But what's good for pork exporters may not be good for the United States: More mass-produced pork also means more pollution to air and water from toxic manure, more dangerous and low-wage work, and more antibiotic-resistant pathogens. And that's just the beginning. In addition to ramping up foreign meat purchases, China is also rapidly transforming its domestic meat industry along the US industrial model—and importing enormous amounts of feed to do so. The Chinese and their hogs, chickens, and cows gobble up a jaw-dropping 60 percent of the global trade in soybeans, and the government may soon also ramp up corn imports—because while Beijing currently limits foreign corn purchases, meat producers are clamoring for more. And where does a third of the globe's corn come from? You guessed it: The good old USA.