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Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program is a Revolutionary Idea

Trump’s latest insulting proposal

 

What a truly horrific idea President Trump has come up with in calling for an end to the provision of food assistance money under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which he’d supposedly like to turn into a “surplus food” type operation where people are provided with canned goods and other packaged foods instead of cash.

First off, consider that we’re talking about 45 million people — about one-seventh of the entire population of the United States — who in any given month are receiving this assistance because they have been deemed at risk of being unable to buy enough food to survive on their own.

Just try and imagine the Trump administration, that was and still is unable to provide food to people starving in Puerto Rico in the wake of two back-to-back hurricanes that devastated that island half a year ago, and that’s just three million people. There are over eight million SNAP recipients just in California and Texas alone and they and the rest of the other 38 million recipients are spread across the country, in cities, suburbs and rural regions alike. Getting all these people cash cards that they can use in supermarkets and local shops to buy their own food is a cheap, fast and easy way to get these hard-up individuals and households the food they need, especially as the program is administered not by a federal workforce, but by state agencies close to where the needy people are. Distributing food to that many people, in contrast, would require a colossal effort, a huge bureaucracy, and would entail unimaginable costs.

Switching from offering struggling families SNAP cash cards to distributing canned goods will lead to rebellion by the poor as during the Depression eraSwitching from offering struggling families SNAP cash cards to distributing canned goods will lead to rebellion by the poor as during the Depression era (USDA and archival photos)
 

Maybe Trump is thinking of hiring Amazon to do the job, in hopes of winning over the support of the owner of the Washington Post, currently one of his media antagonists.

As things now stand, SNAP costs about $70 billion a year. The cost of administering the program relatively low, with the bulk of the funds going to provide about $125 worth of food assistance per person per month in aid. Because the cards are electronic, when used at computerized stores using bar-code scanners, the system helps keeps spending limited to food items, and not liquor, toys or other unneeded items. That might seem like a lot of money, even it it is keeping 45 million people from starving, but there's something else to consider: It's a direct stimulus into the communities using the cash cards, since it is all spent in local stores where it then is turned into actual cash that circulates through struggling economies.

Switching over to actual delivery of food to recipients would reverse the equation, with most of the cost going to actual delivery of the goods, and to a vast bureaucracy to organize the purchase, shipment and delivery of those goods to where they’re needed. And switching to providing surplus food would also have the exact opposite and perverse effect of sucking that much money out of those economies since people getting surplus food wouldn't be spending money for food in local stores. Brilliant move, right?

Worse yet, instead of letting people buy what they and their families are accustomed to preparing and eating, as SNAP does, a system involving providing foodstuffs to recipients is an open invitation to scammers who will predictably start providing defective goods, products that have passed their sell-by dates, and items that recipients will reject. Just imagine the number of Muslim and Jewish families that will find themselves receiving canned ham, Buddhist families that will receive meat, Hindu families that will get unwanted beef products and families with members who have allergies who will be stuck with foods that cannot be consumed. It’s madness!

Then again, switching from SNAP cash cards — a program that, because the cards include a photograph of the owner, reportedly has virtually eliminated fraud in the program — to providing actual food products offers huge corporations, whether Amazon or Walmart or whatever enterprising enterprise wants to jump in, an extraordinary opportunity to feed at the federal trough. Just wait for it.

Memo Exposes both the Danger Posed by FBI and NSA and that FISA 'Court' is a Joke

unes issue isn't possible 'damage' to FBI:

 

Days after the release of the so-called Nunes memo the Democrats are insisting on the release of their memo, which might be considered a minority rebuttal, but it’s time to take a look at the big picture. What does this whole incident say about the FBI, its power, its capacity for abuse and misconduct, and the history of an organization that has played such a decisive and often repressive and even unconstitutional role in American politics over many, many decades. Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of the Sputnik radio program "Loud and Clear" in Washington, DC, speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, London Review of Books, Extra! and Salon.com, (and founder of this news site, ThisCantBeHappening.net), and with David Cobb, campaign manager of the 2016 Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka presidential campaign.

Hear the half-hour interview please go please click here or click on the image below.

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Our Racial and Ethnic Roots in all their Tangled Diversity are What’s Best about this Country

Trumpian White Supremacy has it All Wrong

 

I’m a white American, but like a majority of us, that’s only small part of the story.

In a country where the federal government is currently in the hands of so-called “nativists” like Trump and his white mostly male Republican Party backers only celebrate white roots, I like many of us have various genetic strands that include a little of what might best be called “diversity.” There is a touch of Native American on my mother’s side — hardly enough to qualify for inclusion in the Algonquin Nation, but enough to remind me and my siblings that our ancestors include both conquerers and the conquered.

Then too, while there is a direct line on both my mother’s side and my father’s side tracing back to the same Warren family that arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, there are also immigrants who came from Scotland (the Stewart Clan) and Ireland on my mother’s side, and from Germany (Kerpol) and England (the Plymptons and Lincolns) on my father’s.
America's diversity is to be celebrated, not viewed as a threat (Creative Commons share alike 2.0)America's diversity is to be celebrated, not viewed as a threat (Creative Commons share alike 2.0)
 

For me, one of the most interesting roots is my great great grandfather, a Lindorff who left Sweden for Germany, marrying a German woman. According to family lore I’d always heard while growing up, this Scandinavian immigrant had been chased out or fled from Sweden because he was a thief or something, though I later learned it was more likely that he was hounded out as a “red” or socialist undesirable.

That seems to be correct because his daughter — my great grandmother — who with her German husband immigrated to the US in the early 1900s with her young children so they wouldn’t get caught up in Europe’s wars, according to my father proudly voted Socialist in US elections all her life — first for Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for president and then, after he died, for Socialist leader Norman Thomas. (Her sister, though, was a Nazi sympathizer during the 1930s, hosting gatherings at her home in New York City, to the consternation and embarrassment of my great grandmother.)

As an aside, there’s an irony in the family’s having moved to escape Europe’s wars: Both my grandfather and his older brother ended up fighting in WWI — my great uncle as a bi-plane pilot, and my grandfather as an ambulance driver on the front lines in France, where he won a Silver Star for heroism under fire saving countless lives of wounded soldiers.

I mention all this because it’s important to think about all of this rich complexity — racial, social and political — when we talk about the historical and cultural roots of the United States.

I Nominate Donald Trump For Best Actor in a Reality Drama

The Oscars Need a New Acting Category

 
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

          - MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5
 
He may not be a very honorable man and he may not lead the most efficient or wisely-run White House, but he sure knows how to act and how to play a fascist on TV. I think this would be the conclusion of the great, deceased playwright Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman, The Crucible and a brilliant little book titled On Politics and the Art of Acting. Miller’s little gem was published in 2001 and was inspired by the election debacle of 2000, an election that a comedian recently pointed out did not suffer from Russian interference; the thumb-on-the-scale interference in that election was home-based and patriotic, provided by a conservative United States Supreme Court.

Playwright Arthur Miller and his 2001 gem on politics and actingPlaywright Arthur Miller and his 2001 gem on politics and acting

I watched the Trump State Of the Union speech on a large cinematic screen at a bar on the Mainline in Philadelphia, part of a “watch party” put on by an environmental activist group my wife works with. With a couple tequilas under my belt, let me tell you, it was total theater of the sort Miller and Shakespeare would appreciate. In this case, it was also a bit like a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with hoots and boos and wisecracks from the assembled audience, all of whom scorned the leading man on the stage. As was often done in the old days of theater, in this case, no one threw rotten tomatoes at the performance. One woman did don earmuffs.

Imagine this world

 
 
Can you imagine a world without elephants?
Imagine a world without people-
who-can't-live-in-a-world-without-elephants.
Now imagine a world without people-who-can’t-
imagine-a-world-without-people-who-
can’t-imagine-a-world-
without-elephants.
Imagine a world of elephants without people-
who-can-live-in-a-world-without-elephants.
Imagine a world of people-
who-can’t-imagine-a-world-of-people-who-can’t-imagine-
elephants-without-a world.
Now imagine a world
without elephants-without-a-world.
Now imagine that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
within a world with people-who-
can-imagine-a-world-with-elephants-
without-people-who-can’t-imagine-a-world-without-elephants.
Now imagine that that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
is within a world of people-who-not-only-can-
imagine-a-world-with-elephants,
but can’t-imagine-a-world-of-people-who-can’t-imagine
elephants-without-a-world-
of-people-who-can’t-imagine-a-world-without-elephants
is this world.
Imagine this world.
 
 
--Gary Lindorff

If Melania Trump's Facebook Is Being Moderated, She's Sending a Strong Anti-Donald Message!

Does Trump ever look at his wife's Facebook page?

 

The following image, posted on the anniversary of Trump's inauguration, and the folliowubg comments were copied verbatim directly from her Facebook page's public forum. They suggest that FLOTUS is pretty seriously pissed at The Donald.
 

First Lady Melania Trump
January 20 at 11:16am · 
This has been a year filled with many wonderful moments. I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet throughout our great country & the world!

Melania Trump Facebook page showing her with Marine Escort (sans hubby) posted on anniversary of Trump's InaugurationMelania Trump Facebook page showing her with Marine Escort (sans hubby) posted on anniversary of Trump's Inauguration
 

Konstantine Anthony Thank you for not posting a photo with your soon-to-be ex-husband.
You deserve so much better than him and the American people support you dumping his @$$!

Dee Dee Bronnier I'm not a fan but God woman, you speak 5 languages. You're smart, cunning, and know ALL the secrets — get your dignity back and leave the pig!!

Dave Ullrich Melania, you know what to do. #DivorceDonnie for cheating on you with #Stormy. Think about your son being raised to be just like daddy. #Cheater

Ricky Lee if she can put up with that piece of shit she is an amazing woman..

Weaponizing Absurdity

Raunchy Russian Cadets Set Off Wave of Political Solidarity

 
Laughter is a biological imperative, a complex cognitive and physiological response to the human condition that is as necessary for survival as water, air, and freedom.
            -Ron Jenkins, Subversive Laughter: The Liberating Power of Comedy
 
When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.
            -Hunter Thompson
 
Recently I wrote about the nature of our more and more regimented society and the expanding social media culture and how it can be liberating in the area of masculinity and femininity, given that "identity" is a complex, significantly artificial thing. The idea of shifting gender as a personal choice is not such a strange idea when you think of the effects i-phone culture and the internet have on human beings, especially the young who are born into a world of i-phone networks as if they were a part of nature. The reality is people can and do choose to be anonymous on social media. Many people regularly don't use real names and totally control their identity. A telling example might be the 35-year-old cop playing a 14-year-old girl to entrap adult male pedophiles. In the cyber world, one can assume an amazing array of identities broadcasted (Tweeted at 5AM?) to a vast formation of possibly millions of anonymously connected human beings that one might look at metaphorically as a giant swarm of birds or a giant school of minnows subject to chaos theory. As we know, with a long history of disinformation, the Russians are particularly good at this kind of thing.

Master clown Ron Jenkins' book and Vladimir Putin showing off his physique and his rodMaster clown Ron Jenkins' book and Vladimir Putin showing off his physique and his rod

In this light, consider the latest subversive, post-Pussy Riot cultural phenomenon in Russia. An on-line video of air transport cadets dancing to the song "Satisfaction" went viral. It's an all-male parody of a rock video by Benni Benassi called "Satisfaction" that featured half-naked, buxom and sweaty women brandishing masculine power tools to a dorky Euro-drone disco beat. The air transport cadets' parody -- kids wearing military-style hats and boots in their BVDs -- is unabashedly homoerotic. The rightist, hypermasculine and homophobic gangster government in Russia was not happy. But once the state tried to crack down on the parody, solidarity videos from school dorms and other places broke out all over the internet like an aggressive rash. And they keep on coming. The state backed away. There’s a lot with males, one of guys in the snow, one of bare-chested young men in riding pants "horsing around" in a horse stable grooming the horses, etc, some feature girls, even one with two humping old babushkas in a spartan apartment kitchen. All to the same drone beat with the lyrics: “Push me. And then just touch me.”

South Korea Slips Off the US Leash

Standing up to empire

 

The mainstream US media, when it comes to the idea of talks between the governments of North and South Korea, are focused on the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is trying to drive a wedge between the Republic of Korea and the United States. No doubt that is true, but this focus misses a major part of the story.

What we’re really seeing here is South Korean President Moon Jae-in making a bold move to assert South Korea’s independence from the United States.

Nobody should be surprised that Moon, who was swept into power thanks to a surge of voters (he won by 41.1% against two conservative parties which received 24% and 21.1%) last year on a promise to reach out to North Korea and attempt to bring the two warring halves of the Korean Peninsula (they are still technically in a state of war that began in 1950, nearly 68 years ago) back together.

Taking the seeming baby step that he has taken of inviting North Korea to compete in the Winter Olympics being held next month in South Korea might seem like a small thing, but it was actually a bold step for Moon. What most Americans don’t know is that South Korea is technically a kind of colony of the US, given that its military is still under the control of the United States. This is thanks to a UN Security Resolution passed in 1950 authorizing a UN military action against the North and designating the US as the lead authority of the UN operation — a controlling role that the US still clings to.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, leaders of North and South Korea, are talking, and Trump and the US are not amusedKim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, leaders of North and South Korea, are talking, and Trump and the US are not amused
 

That situation explains the bizzare warning given about North/South two-party-only negotiations by former Obama-era US State Department Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Russell, who is quoted in a Jan. 3, 2018 article in the New York Times by Mark Landler as revealingly saying, “It is fine for the South Koreans to take the lead, but if they don’t have the US behind them, they won’t get far with North Korea…And if the South Koreans are viewed as running off the leash [my emphasis], it will exacerbate tensions within the alliance.”

Imagine US diplomats telling NATO allies UK, Germany or France not to “run off the leash” in bilateral discussions say, with Russia! Sure, they too are on a leash to some extent, but nobody associated with the US State Department, would ever stick it in their faces like that.

Leo Chang Soon, a Korean-American historian who was a teenager during the Korean War, and whose father faced an assassination threat for standing up, as vice president, to Korean dictator Rhee, says “South Korea has been under the US leash since Syngman Rhee flew into Korea on General Douglas MacArthur’s plane to become the first president of South Korea (ROK) on September 2, 1945.”

Sleepwalker

 
 
He committed murder.
He burned down a house.
He didn’t know what he was doing.
Let him go.
 
We can’t wake him up.
 
The sleepwalker is bulding a big bomb
To blow up a church.
In his sleep now
He is weaponizing his unconscious hatred.
 
The defense: He doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Judgment: Let him go.
 
Now the sleepwalker
Votes in a racist.
Abuses women.
Embraces violence like a lover.
 
In a rare lucid moment
He pleads innocent:
 
I didn’t know what I was doing.
 
The sleepwalker
Asks the judge,
Can I go now?
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know anything.

 
Judge: Let him go.
 
Prosecution: Let there be nuclear war.
Let there be the end of things.
Let the sea rise.
Let the homeless wander the earth.
 
The sleepwalker walks out.
He walks down the middle of the street.
Cars swerve around him.
He is innocent.
 
Leave him be.
 
 
--Gary Lindorff

Rep. Gabbard Speaks Truth to Power about the Real Reason North Korea has Nukes

One Congresswoman who tells it like it is

 

We already knew that Tulsi Gabbard was courageous, when the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii resigned from her position as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in disgust during the primary season in 2016, declaring publicly what we now know to have been true — that the DNC was manipulating the primaries to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders — was courageous. Now as basically the only member of Congress with the guts to call out the US as the cause of our current knife-edge threat of a nuclear war, she’s demonstrated her courage again.

Gabbard, interviewed on ABC News, declared unambiguously that the reason that North Korea has worked so diligently to develop nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them to the US is that the United States over several decades and under a number of presidents, has had a policy of “regime change,” and a history of violently attempting to overthrow governments that it doesn’t like. As she put it in an interview over the weekend with ABC news host George Stephanopolos, “Our country's history of regime-change wars has led countries like North Korea to develop and hold on to these nuclear weapons because they see it as their only deterrent against regime change.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on ABC, Click image to go to interview (sorry for the ad at the start)Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on ABC, Click image to go to interview (sorry for the ad at the start)
 

Rep. Gabbard, who has been calling for the US to negotiate directly “and without pre-conditions” with North Korea to resolve the crisis, says the US also needs to recognize the reality that North Korea already has nuclear weapons and is not going to give them up unless it feels secure from US attack.

She is firm in saying that the US history of overthrowing Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi after first convincing him that if he dropped his efforts to develop a nuclear weapon they would not attempt to overthrow his government, and then invading and overthrowing him, and of invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein after trumping up a fake claim that he was attempting to develop nuclear weapons, will make it all the harder to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to agree to halt or scale back, much less eliminate his nuclear weapons and missile arsenal. She adds that President Trump’s current threat to cancel an agreement reached by his predecessor, President Barack Obama and the leaders of Iran to terminate their nuclear fuel enrichment program in return for the US dropping sanctions on that country will also undermine any future efforts by the US to reach negotiated agreements on weapons and nuclear disarmament with Kim and any other countries that might seek to go nuclear.

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Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

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