Are You Hungry?

When I was a mere boy I recall when the government had a give-a-way……my grandmother would take us kids and wait in long lines for a couple of pounds of butter and some cheese….those were the days before food stamps and such…..

What made me think of those days gone by was something I read about another surplus the government has on its hands…..

There’s a lot of uncertainty these days. So here’s a comforting thought: The United States of America will not run out of cheese or meat anytime soon.

US dairy producers now have a 1.39 billion-pound surplus of cheese, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. As the Washington Post has noted, that’s the largest domestic reserve of cheddar, Swiss, American, and other cheese varieties on record.

It means there’s enough excess cheese to arm each American citizen with a hefty 4.6 pounds of the crumbly, melty, salty good stuff. Why is this happening? Simply put: US dairy producers have been overproducing milk. Thanks to selective breeding, American cows are more productive than ever. And when demand for milk and dairy goes down in the summer, dairy producers store their excess milk as cheese, which has a longer shelf life in cold storage.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/7/24/17606958/meat-cheese-surplus-visualized

You read that right……2.5 billion (with a “B”) pounds of surplus meat.

What is wrong with having more of these give-a-ways from the past?

My Saturday has started with a bang…..August in the Deep South…..100+ heat and humidity at about 90% or higher…..a joy to behold …..we have another 2 maybe 3 months of heat….I cannot wait for cooler temps……I miss my days in the garden sipping wine and watching the wildlife go by…..my property has become an unsanctioned refuge….I have many many birds, squirrels, raccoons, and who knows at night….anyway fun to watch them all interact….

Have a good day my friends and thanx for the visits this past week…..much appreciated…..be well, be safe……chuq

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The People’s Budget

First those tax cuts that the GOP shoved down the throat of Congress….well these do very little for a peon like me about $35 a month and did everything it was suppose to do…make the wealthy more so and explode the deficit (so much for all GOP crap about fiscal responsibility)…..

Well it was so successful for the wealthy that they are planning another round of help for the Fat Cats……

Despite the profound unpopularity of the Republican Party’s tax law, pushed through last December amid loud protests directed at President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers, party leaders on Tuesday unveiled framework for their “tax cuts 2.0” package—signaling that they are doubling down on their plans to benefit the rich at the expense of working Americans.

The framework, which House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released, claims that it would permanently extend tax cuts for individuals that were set to expire in 2025, help families to save for college, and help small businesses create retirement plans for their workers.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/24/no-evidence-goptaxscam-has-benefited-most-americans-republicans-unveil-plan-double

A subject that gets little attention these days……poverty.  These days it seems the being poor makes one a criminal and most legislation rewards greed and wealth…..

In addition to padding the bottom lines of America’s largest corporations by cutting their taxes and eliminating scores of longstanding regulations, President Donald Trump is also protecting major companies’ profits by refusing to punish them for ripping off consumers and trampling federal rules that safeguard the planet.

That is the central conclusion of a new Public Citizen analysis out Wednesday, which finds that corporate America has largely been exempt from Trump’s so-called “law-and-order” agenda. Titled Corporate Impunity (pdf), the report shows that enforcement actions carried out by major government agencies declined drastically during Trump’s first year in the White House.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/25/poverty-criminalized-wealth-immunized-report-shows-corporate-crime-enforcement-has

I brought up this expansion of the deficit because that Progressive Caucus has released the “People’s Budget”…….

Offering an ambitious alternative to the House GOP’s “morally bankrupt” 2019 budget proposal—which demands over $5 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and other life-saving programs—the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Tuesday unveiled a budget that calls for massive investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and education while proposing significant cuts to the completely “out-of-control” Pentagon budget.

Titled The People‘s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward (pdf), the CPC’s plan also calls for a ban on “any expansion of U.S. combat troops in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many other countries,” demanding an immediate end to “the policy of funding endless wars.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/24/putting-common-good-over-billionaires-and-war-profiteers-house-progressives-unveil

This addresses the “Common Good” which any legislation should do…..

Now in reality this “Budget” will go nowhere….simply because it does little to benefit those that own the members of Congress.

The Coming “Farm Aid”

It will not be Willie Nelson and John Mellenkamp…..no music….no foot long hot dogs…..no crappy beer on tap……

The story making the rounds is the tale of the American farmer and how he/she is losing markets and money thanks to the policies of Our Dear Leader……but not to worry….there is relief coming from DC…..

President Trump showed off a new campaign hat on Monday—it’s green with yellow letters, reminiscent of the John Deere logo, and it reads “Make Our Farmers Great Again,” notes Politico. (See Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sporting one here.) The message is a calculated one as the White House seeks to ease farmers’ concerns that a US trade war will hit them hard. On Tuesday, the White House put the word out that its efforts will go well beyond hats, however—it’s rolling out $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers, especially those dealing with dairy, pork, and soybeans, reports CNBC. Details:

  • The money: It will come partly from a program set up in the Depression to help farmers called the Commodity Credit Corporation, reports the Washington Post. Because it’s an existing program, congressional approval isn’t necessary. Trump had asked Perdue to explore options months ago, and more details are still to be released.
  • Short-term: Perdue said the “one-time” program would help farmers dealing with “illegal retaliation” to US tariffs, reports the Wall Street Journal. “This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration time to work on long-term trade deals.”
  • The politics: The rollout comes as Trump travels to Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa ahead of the midterms, states where the agricultural community has voiced concern about the fallout of retaliatory tariffs from other nations. “The farmers will be the biggest beneficiary,” Trump said of his trade disputes in Missouri on Tuesday, per USA Today. “Just be a little patient.”
  • Criticism: The new plan isn’t sitting well with members of Trump’s own party who are worried about the longer-term picture. “What is our future down the road?” asks Senate Agriculture Committee chief Pat Roberts of Kansas. “We are trying to make the point that we don’t want aid, we want trade.” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse: “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches.” But it wasn’t only politicians: “This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs,” Brian Kuehl of the trade group Farmers for Free Trade tells the New York Times.
  • ‘Welfare’ theme: Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Rand Paul of Kentucky both hit upon the same phrase in their criticism: “If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers—the answer is remove the tariffs,” Paul tweeted. “Our farmers have been in nonstop, saying they want trade, not aid, and now they’re being put on welfare,” said Corker. “Hopefully soon this ill-thought out policy will end.”

No end in sight: Most stories point out that the emergency aid is a good sign that Trump doesn’t intend to stop the trade disputes anytime soon. He extolled them again on Tuesday morning with a “Tariffs are the greatest!” tweet. And in Missouri, he said, “What the European Union is doing to us is incredible, how bad. They sound nice but they’re rough.”

There you go…the answer to crippling tariffs……agriculture welfare!  WAIT!  According to dim wits that would be creeping socialism (Humor!)…..I believe  Our Dear Leader fell asleep in the Wharton School when they taught trade and tariffs……never fear he is a genius.  (wink wink, nod, nod)

Poverty Creeps

The political slogans of the day are all about how well the country is doing….how well the workers are doing….and that a better future is on the horizon…..

The news does not bear out the “good news” that all the Right politicos want you to believe….how shall I say that so there is NO confusing?

They are LYING!

The U.S. poverty rate in 2016 was between 12.7 and 14.0 percent. But the poverty threshold is based on an outmoded formula from the 1960s. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the threshold should be THREE TIMES HIGHER today. And it could be even higher if the true nature of poverty is considered.

There is poverty in the diminishing quality of life for Americans who are unable to pay for medical treatment during years of declining health, and instead turn to life-threatening opioid painkillers, readily available in a nation with less than 5 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of the world’s opioid consumption. Poverty is the lack of community support in a winner-take-all society; the stress of overwhelming debt; the steady decline of jobs that pay enough to support a family; the inability to afford a move to a desired neighborhood; the deadening impact of inequality on physical and mental well-being. The United Nations describes America as a nation near the bottom of the developed world in safety net support and economic mobility, with the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world, the world’s highest incarceration rate, and the highest obesity levels. Low-income Americans are often surrounded by food deserts, with insufficient access to clean water and sanitation, and with the pollutionlevels of third-world countries. The poorest among us are even susceptible — unbelievably — to rare tropical diseases and once-eradicated scourges like hookworm.

http://theantimedia.com/half-of-americans-poverty/

This should be unacceptable to the Right….but as usual they cannot see past the rhetoric of their leaders…..leaders that owe their souls as well as their politics to the people with the deep pockets….for lobbying, not for worker wages.

This article is just an FYI……sad that it occurs in the greatest country on the planet…..and contrary to popular Right wing beliefs….these people are not lazy or slackers or any other insult they want to throw…..they are Americans.  Period!

https://southerlymag.org/2018/07/05/the-rural-souths-invisible-public-health-crisis/

Markets do not make the economy strong….it makes those crooks running corporations wealthy….not the people.

3-D Printing

Hopefully my Sunday will be better than my Saturday…..for my time in the garden was cut short by monsoon rains all afternoon and into the evening…..

Homelessness is a big problem for many of our cities and towns and local governments have treated it like the plague…..they have made sleep illegal, made so benches could not be used for naps and put in spikes in places that would be good for napping….in other words a problem with these “bums” as so many like to call them….

While doing my reading I came across an article that I found very interesting……and it involves 3-D printing……

Food, water, and shelter are basic human needs, but 1.2 billion people in the world live without adequate housing, according to a report by the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Today at SXSW, an Austin-based startup will unveil its approach to combat that deficiency by using low-cost 3D printing as a potential solution.

ICON has developed a method for printing a single-story 650-square-foot house out of cement in only 12 to 24 hours, a fraction of the time it takes for new construction. If all goes according to plan, a community made up of about 100 homes will be constructed for residents in El Salvador next year. The company has partnered with New Story, a nonprofit that is vested in international housing solutions. “We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story, tells The Verge.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/12/17101856/3d-printed-housing-icon-shelter-housing-crisis

A fascinating way to use 3-D printing and it would provide a much needed service to the community…..

Please let me have your thoughts on this…..

Why Do Some Americans Stay Poor

There is one aspect of American society that confuses many people especially those in other countries…..American poverty.

Many sociologists, economist and other social scientists have tried to explain this situation….few succeed.  This blogger tried to answer the question of Why Poverty 10 years ago….as I said….tried.

https://lobotero.com/2008/09/29/why-is-poverty-a-dirty-word/

It is a nagging question.  There are many myths to go with the question….the biggest of these is the answer that these poor people are freeloaders that do not want to work and all they do is take from the taxpayer.

It is a simple explanation that fits the narrative from the Reagan conserv years.  It was a myth then and it remains a myth today.  So why do some Americans stay poor?

In his State of the Union address, President Trump said “there has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.” But the new 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard and its accompanying report says that isn’t so for low-income Americans.

“The system is, by just about all measures, stacked against those with low incomes and low wealth for the benefit of the wealthiest,” says the report from the nonpartisan but left-leaning Prosperity Now nonprofit, which provides research and recommendations regarding Americans with limited incomes.

One example: low-income people are ineligible for federal programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) if they amass “even modest savings,” the report noted. Prosperity Now calls policies like this “a roadblock on the path to saving.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-the-real-reason-many-americans-stay-poor-2018-02-13

There is a considerable controversy about poverty and its relationship within inequality. From one point of view, any society with inequality is bound to have poverty. In other words, poverty is more likely to occur in a society which accepts inequality. Sociologists who adopt a relative definition of poverty accept that for the eradication of poverty, it is necessary to first abolish all inequality in income.

Now we know that the abolition of inequality in this country is never going to occur under this governmental standard.  Not too damn many Americans are poor because they want to be so…the system is the problem and a system change is not very damn likely.  Ergo the poor will remain poor and the wealthy will just continue to be exploitative and wealthier.

Closing Thought–08Feb18

After many decades of social activism there is one problem that could have been eliminated but there was never any seriousness to do so…..poverty.

And the poverty that irks me the most is child poverty……and the fact that it still exist is indefensible…..

The Trump administration’s proposals on the annual budget, the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and restructuring of the tax system all point to a sad and even tragic conclusion. The poor will be poorer, dilapidated towns will continue to crumble, and crime will rise; but worst of all, our underprivileged children will be weaker, suffering from a lack of medical care and malnutrition with little or no prospect for better and brighter tomorrows.

The state of poverty in the United States, particularly among children, is abhorrent and scandalous, putting America, the richest and most powerful country in the world, in a shameful light. Successive American administrations are guilty of outrageous negligence toward poor children and have inflicted incalculable damage to millions who continue to suffer, causing a tremendous loss of human resources and productivity to the country.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/child-poverty-in-america-is-indefensible_us_59f21fabe4b06acda25f485c

I wish that I could have help end child poverty but all my hard work did little……sad to say that all everyone’s hard work has done little to eliminate the scourge of poverty.

Bye now…..until tomorrow……be safe, be well…..chuq