Archive | May 4, 2015

How for-Profit-Colleges Bankroll the Electoral Elite*

How for-Profit-Colleges Bankroll the Electoral Elite*

By Lee Fang

The spectacular crash of Corinthian Colleges after years of systematically deceiving thousands of students into enrolling into low-quality, high-cost education programs has once again raised questions about how the for-profit college industry staved off stronger rules governing the $1.4 billion per year in federal loans that helped keep Corinthian afloat.

Some hints emerged today in the giant chain’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. It shows that Corinthian made secret payments to an array of political consultants, think tanks, and political dark money groups.

The filing doesn’t list amounts, but shows that Corinthian made payments to Crossroads GPS, a group co-founded by Karl Rove that has raised over $300 million to elect Republican members of Congress through campaign advertising. Crossroads G.P.S., a 501(c)(4) non-profit, does not disclose any of its donors.

Crossroads G.P.S. spent over $700,000 to help elect Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during his 2010 election. As Bloomberg News revealed, Rubio later filed a letter with the Department of Education, requesting that the agency “demonstrate leniency” with Corinthian.

Corinthian registered only two lobbying firms last year — Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Akerman LLP. But the filing shows that Corinthian also paid a myriad of other consulting firms that work to influence the political process.

Corinthian’s creditor list includes: The Group DC LLC, a public affairs firm founded by Art Collins, an advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 election; Stanton Communications Inc., a firm that specializes in “crisis management”; and Strategic Partnerships LLC, a Virginia-based public affairs company founded by Kenneth Smith, a former Reagan administration advisor who now serves as the president of Jobs for America’s Graduates, Inc.

APCO Worldwide, a lobbying firm, is among the Corinthian creditors, though the firm never registered to represent Corinthian under the Lobbing Disclosure Act.

The listing reveals a number of payments to influential D.C. groups that have battled regulations on the for-profit college industry. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is listed multiple times as a Corinthian creditor. The Chamber has run campaign advertisements on behalf of opponents of the Department of Education’s “gainful employment” regulation, which would measure the performance of vocational programs. The Chamber made defeating the rules a top priority.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-profit that helps corporate interests draft model legislation, is listed as a creditor. As Republic Report reported, although for-profit colleges are far more expensive for programs offered by community colleges and other public institutions, ALEC drafted a resolution calling for state officials to “recognize the value of for-profit providers.”

Another gainful employment regulation opponent, the American Enterprise Institute, is listed as a Corinthian creditor. AEI scholars have repeatedly attacked the rules, calling them an example of the Obama administration’s “crusade against for-profit colleges.” Last October, Andrew Kelly, AEI’s resident scholar on higher education reform, specifically defended Corinthian and criticized the “Obama administration’s bloodlust for such schools.”

Payments are listed for current and previous board members to Corinthian, including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Urban League president Marc Morial, and Sharon Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the non-profit American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Payments are also listed directly to the Panetta Institute and Morial’s National Urban League.

Corinthian allegedly lied to students by providing bogus job-placement statistics, misled accrediting agencies by claiming unemployed graduates were employed, and steered students to in-house loans for bachelor’s programs with a price tag as high as $75,384. Though Department of Education rules state that students do not have to make loan payments while attending school, the Miami Herald reported that Corinthian “frequently demanded that its students pay while attending classes” and were publicly shamed through classroom removals if they did not pay.

“This is public money that’s going into a for-profit college, that then is used to fund organizations that do lobbying work and other PR work on behalf of this company,” says Ann Larson, an organizer with the Debt Collective, a group pushing for loan forgiveness for Corinthian students who say they were defrauded.

“In the end, Corinthian can file for bankruptcy while tens of thousands of students, most of them low-income, are stuck with this debt.”

It’s certainly not surprising that the corporate and political elites managed to come up with this scam,” Larson said.


Related Topics:

Students Loan Strike against for Profit Colleges*

For Profit University of Phoenix Loses Half its Students*

How Students Transformed $6 Billion Corporatization of their University*

U.K. Students March for Free Education*

U.K. Arms Maker Enters the Corporate Education Industry*

Canada: 75,000 Students Strike Back*

Amsterdam Revolts against the Neo-liberalism in Education

Russia Stands up for Traditional Values Blocks Porn Sites to Protect Children*

Russia Stands up for Traditional Values Blocks Porn Sites to Protect Children*

A district court has ordered Russia’s federal communications agency to block 136 pornography websites, explaining that the sites “harm the development of children, can cause them to want to engage in prostitution and impel them to commit acts of violence against people, propagandize non-traditional sexual relations, and foster disrespect toward parents and other family members, controverting family values.”

Under the court order, the sites – some of the most popular porn websites in the world, including some based in the U.S. – were to be blocked throughout the Russian republic of Tartarstan if they did rid themselves of pornographic material within three days of the April 13 ruling. “Total traffic to these sites is in the millions of visits,” Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

The court said it was responding to a complaint by the district prosecutor. However, the federal agency that oversees the internet and broadcasting, Roskomnadzor, said it had received more requests to block pornography than any other medium.

Russia’s criminal code forbids the preparation and/or import of pornographic materials.  Additionally, in stating the legal basis for its ruling, the Russian district court pointed to two international treaties that ban the production, possession, and distribution of pornographic materials — the Agreement for the Repression of Obscene Publications, which the Russian Empire signed in Paris in 1910, and the subsequent Convention for the Suppression of the Circulation of, and Traffic in, Obscene Publications, which was signed by the Soviet Union in Geneva in 1923.

Many Christians consider it a welcome move from the Putin administration, which has become publicly bold in seeking to strengthen Biblical morals.

In 2014, the Russian government hosted an International Conference on Family and Christian Values, in which 1,000 delegates from around the world confronted the “social crisis” threatening “all key spheres of human development and civilization.”

The conference discussed “the destruction of moral standards…goodness, truth and beauty, and destruction of faith in a creative natural order that distinguishes good from evil.” Speakers provided solutions based on pro-life and pro-family teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church.
It recognized “marriage between man and woman, with many children” as “the foundation of civilization.

” The conference concluded that attendees must oppose all threats to the family – whether from abortion, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, secular humanist education, atheistic evolution, and degenerate entertainment culture.

Russia has passed two laws in the last few years strengthening the penalties for “propagating homosexuality amongst minors, and for insulting peoples’ religious convictions in public.” The so-called Gay Propaganda Bill introduces fines for propagandizing of minors, including on the media and on the internet.

In 2012, the Russian government started giving cash payments and other benefits to mothers having more than one child. Current birth-rates show an average of 1.7 children are born to Russian women, but the president urged a huge leap in family-building.

“I am convinced that the norm in Russia should become a family with three children,” Putin explained later.

Last year, abortion advertising and abortions after 12 weeks were also banned.

Other European countries are also beginning to realize the devastating impact of internet pornography on families. Iceland is considering installing blocks on internet porn.

Last year, the UK persuaded all internet service providers to automatically block pornography on all their users’ internet-enabled devices. This action came in the wake of government-commissioned research projects on the sexualization of children and a shocking survey which found that nine percent of boys as young as 13 watch porn online daily. Other research found that 562 children have sexually abused other children.

In a speech last year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged decisive action to protect children:

“In the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children, and that must be stamped out. I’m not making this speech because I want to moralize or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.”

Russia has also begun appointing chaplains for the military and printing Bibles for distribution in hotels.


Related Topics:

Egypt Court Rules against Banning Porn Websites*

Bertrand Russell on the Manipulation of Society*

Sex Education, the Key to Social Engineering*

Russia: Call to Boycott the Corrupting Influence of Valentine’s Day*

Russia Says No to One-World Government*

Traditional Marriage in D.C. has become a March*

Why the West Destroys and Humiliate Peoples

Why is the Legalization of Gay Marriage so Important to the Queen?*

Religious Schools Face Closure if they don’t Promote Homosexuality*

Canada: The Effect of Homosexual Parenting on One Child*

Ontario Teacher Disciplined for Criticizing Child Sex Ed. – Paedophilia Program*

Gay Commissioner Cracks Down on Churches*

Gay Activist Admits our Goal is to Indoctrinate Children*

Kids in Same-sex Households at Greater Risk of Mental Health Problems*

Cultural Marxism in Action: Special Needs Sisters Taken from Homeschooling Family*

What Do you Do When Your Civil Rights are Violated?*

What Do you Do When Your Civil Rights are Violated?*

By Makia Freeman

Legal corruption in the US has been exposed by a brilliant woman whose name is Tamah Jada Clark. She recently served a most unusual notice upon the courts in Georgia. It is highly unlikely you will ever have seen something like this! Clark’s legal Notice, entitled “To F*ck This Court and Everything that it Stands For“, is a highly entertaining and knowledgeable piece of writing. It displays a great depth of knowledge of law, the American legal system, natural and unalienable rights, the history of the United States and other principles of sovereignty, mixed with raw emotion and colorful expletives. It is fueled with tremendous knowledge and righteous anger, directed against a high-up representative of a system that is seeking to enslave the overwhelming majority of mankind. To some, it may seem unnecessarily crude or not academic or dry enough; but the reason I love it is because it encapsulates exactly the kind of spirit humanity needs to rise up, kick out the impostors, and attain global peace and freedom.

(Warning: Graphic Language)

US Federal Citizenship is a Trap to Strip You of Your Sovereignty

US Federal citizenship may seem like a dandy idea until you read the fine print. By accepting that title, you immediately give up sovereignty, rights and freedoms. Why? Because the real power and authority in American society (and any society for that matter) comes from The People. The People got together and formed States. The States then got together and formed a union to create a loose, weak, decentralized Federal Government, bound by the Constitution. That Federal Government then creates citizens. Here is an (abridged) chain of authority (there is more to the story than this, because the Federal Government has also created fake States etc. under its corporate jurisdiction, but this will do for illustration):

We The People v States v Federal Government v 14th Amendment “federal citizen”

It is a maxim of law that he who creates, controls. The Federal Government is inviting you to step out of your role as one of “We the People” or your title as state citizen, and to step into being a federal citizen. You are then moving from being one of the owners, masters and creators of society, to one of the lowliest employees/slaves in the hierarchy.

Some Excerpts from Clark’s Notice

Clark nails the judge for trying to get away with dismissing her case on a faulty legal basis. Here are some excerpts from it:

“You have presented federal rights and laws to defeat unalienable human rights and laws that supersede them both.”

“The federal government was not created to replace the state governments by any means … after having been oppressed by the King of Great Britain, is that what the Founding Fathers did? They went through Hell and fought the War for Independence just to relinquish their citizens to the federal government and set it up to be more oppressive than the King of Great Britain could ever have been? I think not.”

“Any idiot can take a look into the history of American jurisprudence through studying congressional records, U.S. Supreme court cases, etc. – as I have done – to realize that these United States of America have been overthrown. The American people – due to their own neglect of civic duty and responsibility to educate themselves and their children – have allowed this to happen.”

Beware of Giving Up Unalienable Rights for Civil Rights and Privileges

The moral to the story in all of this is simple: don’t give up your inherent, unalienable, natural rights for Government-granted privileges. The Founding Fathers and all who fought in the battles to break free of King George and the European bankers (the Rothschilds) were striving to set up a society where people “came with” intrinsic rights attached, just by virtue of being alive. These rights could never be legislated or regulated out of existence.

Whether a society shines with freedom or descends into tyranny hinges on matter such as rights vs. privileges, and state citizens vs. federal citizens. Make sure you know the difference, and don’t fall for the legal corruption trying to convince you otherwise.

Tamah Jada


Related Topics:

FBI Admits Falsifying Evidence for Decades*

Detention in the U.S. without Sunlight

Woman Cites Religious Freedom Law to Defend Her Right to Feed the Homeless​*

Thousands of Students Boycott Common Core Testing*

Cultural Marxism in Action: Special Needs Sisters Taken from Homeschooling Family*

Widespread Police Brutality has Thousands March in Solidarity with Baltimore*

Fracking Companies Free to Use 70 Million Gallons Of Clean Water in the Midst of U.S. Record Drought*

Where else, but U.S.: Vaccine Bills That Remove Consent and Incarcerate the Infected

Traditional Marriage in D.C. has become a March*

Demonizing Teachers, Privatizing Schools: The Big Lies for Big Plans*

Foreign Countries Held Hostage by the Federal Reserve*

Charlie Chaplin’s Final Speech in the Great Dictator*

Cultural Marxism in Action: Special Needs Sisters Taken from Homeschooling Family*

Cultural Marxism in Action: Special Needs Sisters Taken from Homeschooling Family*

Veteran David Owens holds pictures of his daughters

Throughout history, people have taken a stand for their faith which oftentimes resulted in unfavorable consequences for the individuals. For disabled veteran David Owen and his wife Teresa, their refusal to stop practicing their Christian faith was ultimately used as a rationale in Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) seizing custody of their two special needs daughters, Angel and Catrina. According to Teresa Owen:

Our daughters were wrongfully removed from our home because we refused to stop attending church and teaching our daughters about Christ. Angel and Catrina are being wrongfully kept out of our home, abused, and medically neglected. We are still fighting for our daughters and trying to help other families.”

Their children were taken at the beginning of 2011. To this day, they are not home, and Teresa and David are fighting to regain custody of their daughters.

Mitochondrial Myopathy, Autism, and Seizures

Both the Owen daughters, along with their mother, suffer from Mitochondrial Myopathy, the same disorder that doctors diagnosed in Justina Pelletier. Her medical kidnap case made national news in 2014. Three of the Owen family were diagnosed with the disorder by a military clinic in 2001.

In addition, Angel, the older sibling, also has autism and suffers from seizures.  Their mother has learned that disabilities like theirs often result in increased funding for the school district in which the students reside as long as they are in public school.

Angel began the school year in August of 2009 at the El Dorado Middle School, much like any other school year. Teresa Owen reports having many concerns for her daughter’s safety at the school after the semester began. Once when visiting the school, Teresa reports witnessing Paraprofessionals (Paras) slapping the hands of children. She promptly reported the incident and filed a complaint with the school.

Another visit to the school on February 22, 2010, became the turning point for Angel’s education. Teresa reports that a gym teacher told her that her daughter had fallen down the stairs on at least four separate occasions, and one of those times, she was actually pushed down the stairs. They were not notified. This was alarming to her because Angel’s doctor had previously sent a note to the school, ordering that she was to use the elevator, not the stairs. The doctor had also ordered Angel to be accompanied by a Para when walking to and from classes. Her mitochondrial condition and her seizures place her at increased risk for falls.

Family Decides to Homeschool

Teresa reports withdrawing Angel from the middle school shortly after, choosing instead to homeschool. She reports filling out the required withdrawal form and informing the district of her intent to homeschool, per Kansas protocol. She researched her curriculum options, and put together an eclectic program of resources specifically designed for special needs students.

Before Teresa began homeschooling Angel, she read at a 2nd grade level. By mid-summer, under her mother’s teaching, Angel had already progressed to reading at a 4th grade level.

As she connected with other families of special needs children through the Special Olympics that spring, she reports:

That appears to the Owens to be exactly what happened. In June of 2010, the Kansas DCF took the Owen family to court for truancy of Angel, accusing the Owens of not having Angel enrolled in school, even though they were legally homeschooling. The judge ordered the Owen family to have their daughter enrolled in either an approved homeschool program or a public school for the upcoming school year. Teresa and David Owen made the decision to enroll her in a different school than the one where she had previously experienced so many problems. Angel was accepted to Haysville District Middle School, and Teresa submitted the required documentation on August 30, 2010.

Special Needs Child Removed From the Home by Court Order

The very next day, on August 31, 2010, a court hearing took place in which DCF evaluated Angel’s current school enrolment status. Teresa Owen explained that her daughter had been accepted and enrolled in a local school, but the truancy officer in the court reportedly stated on the record that Angel Owen was not enrolled in any school at that time. The court ruled that Angel was truant. She was immediately seized by DCF and placed in foster care.

Since she was taken from her home, Angel experienced an increase in seizure activity. On September 17, 2010, Angel’s physician ordered lab tests and an EEG. The physician called Teresa Owen at 11:00 pm that same night with concerns over her test results.

Teresa reports that the physician submitted a letter to the judge stating that if Angel is kept out of her home environment, she is at risk for status epilepticus, which can result in a fatal seizure.

Because of these safety concerns, an urgent hearing to review the case was scheduled for September 28, 2010. Angel was sent home with her parents at this hearing. However, she remained in State’s custody, and case managers were ordered to make several visits weekly to the home. This was the last court hearing at Butler County. The case was then moved to Sedgwick County when the Owens purchased a home and relocated. The girls were both enrolled in public school at this time.

Case Manager Tells Family to Stop Attending Church

Because of the girls’ mitochondrial condition, Teresa says that they require a full 10 hours of sleep per night. The family is devoutly Christian, and has always attended church services on Sundays and Wednesday nights, and some Sunday night services. The next day after any evening service is often more difficult for them than it would be for someone without their condition. Previous schools had reportedly had no problem excusing tardies on the basis of religious activity. However, in October, one case manager told the Owen family that they were to no longer attend church because of the tardies.

More Issues with Public School

By late November of 2010, mounting concerns with incidents in the public school caused the family once again to consider homeschooling the girls. These included neglect by school officials in following the girls’ individual education plans (IEPs), as well as Angel’s ongoing fear and reluctance to go to school. Her mother says that Angel was even experiencing anxiety attacks about attending school.

Homeschooling Again

In December of 2010, the Owens pulled the girls out of public school once again. This time the Owen family decided to use a tried and true faith-based homeschool curriculum called Alpha Omega. Angel and Catrina were enrolled in Owen Family Home School and began on December 15, 2010.

Disagreement, Corruption, and Threats from Case Workers

A case manager showed up early in December. According to Teresa, she informed the family that she had learned they were still attending church. She threatened that, if they kept going to church, they would take their kids.

Another case manager reviewed the homeschool curriculum and materials in early December and she was satisfied. According to the family, she explained that one of the positive aspects of the Alpha Omega curriculum was that it offered many ways to teach lessons, and Alpha Omega has special education staff to help parents.

The case manager who took issue with the kids attending church showed up unexpectedly just before Christmas, even though by this time they were only supposed to have visits from the other case manager. She looked at the homeschool curriculum and reportedly told the Owen family that this program would never fly because of the faith based teaching. She told the family they would be removing the kids right away.

Teresa protested the decision and claimed the state had no just cause for removal, only to be told by the social worker that she could simply make up an accusation and have her kids removed. Teresa Owen told Health Impact News that one thing that stuck out most in her mind about the case was that:

”They constantly told us they could make up believable lies to take the children.”

When she addressed her concerns with the case manager and the issue of church attendance to her superior, she allegedly received a chilling response:

I was told by the head case manager in charge of making the final decision regarding our girls, that your children are never coming home, another victory for me.”

Even so, the girls remained in the home through Christmas and New Years, but that didn’t last long.

Children Seized by DCF, and DCF Ignores Angel’s Sickness

In late January of 2011, Angel became very ill, experiencing frequent vomiting and sickness that seemed to be getting worse. On January 20, Teresa and David Owen were preparing to take her to the doctor for evaluation when social workers and the police showed up with a court order to remove the children from the home. The concerned parents protested, stating that Angel was sick and needed immediate medical attention. The case managers told the police that they would take the girls directly to the hospital. So the parents agreed and drove to the hospital and waited.

The case managers never showed up with their two daughters.

A few days later Kansas DCF took the family to court on January 25, 2011 . It was determined in court that Angel was truant from school for too many days, and both children were ordered into state care. Teresa Owen reports she was using a homeschool curriculum compliant with state regulations at the time Angel was charged of being truant.

According to Kansas law, a child can only be removed from a home on the basis of truancy if they are at least 13 years of age. Catrina, age 11 at the time of removal, was also taken. The Owen’s were told she was being removed under Angel’s case.

A family drawing by Catrina in 2014. Source: Owen family


Controversial Diagnosis and Unsafe Foster Care

Within the first couple of months the girls were in foster care, Angel was hospitalized on two occasions. During one of the hospitalizations, the physician reported a multitude of medical issues, including dehydration, poor kidney function, and grand mal seizures – even though the parents were informed that all tests came back normal. There was a court order in place which prevented Teresa from visiting her in the hospital or she would be arrested. A broken-hearted Teresa told Health Impact News:

“My daughter Angel told me, ‘You don’t love me. You couldn’t possibly love me, because you didn’t come visit me in the hospital.’”

Angel also had an emergency room visit after a large TV reportedly fell on her head while in foster care. Despite her seizure history, no CT scan was ordered following the head injury.

Munchausen by Proxy!?

Teresa Own has treated both her daughters for their symptoms related to Mitochondrial Myopathy for a number of years. Despite the daughters’ specialist reports, the diagnosis of Mitochondrial Myopathy was removed from both of the girls’ medical charts. Teresa states that, to this day, the girls are still suffering from symptoms of this disorder that are being ignored. The state has accused Teresa of making up this medical condition and charged her with having Munchausen by Proxy, even though all three received their diagnosis from a military clinic back east, when David was still serving in the Army National Guard, following a long career in the Air Force.

Along with separation from their parents, the girls have also been separated from their therapy dogs, Blacky and Tippy. Teresa reports that they still cry for their pets.

The last court hearing was held in Sedgwick County in January 2012, with no future plans to reunite this family, despite the family reporting that they have met all conditions. While David is allowed some visitation, Teresa has been forbidden to see her beloved daughters since November 2013.

Teresa and David insist that they will not give up the fight for their daughters. They believe that the bottom line for their children being taken is that they represent a great deal of money to the state by being in state custody. The Owens are currently taking three actions in hopes of regaining custody of Catrina and Angelica:

  1. They have filed an appeal in Kansas Appeals Court.
  2. They have filed a federal lawsuit.
  3. They have filed a petition with the United Nations offices for Human Rights – CIDH, Office for High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) based on violation of human rights.

If you watch the emotional video below at the end of this article, you will hear Teresa explain that she felt like “a traitor” by having to file a complaint in the UN against her own country. But because Congress and the federal government is doing nothing to help them with the abuses and corruption in Kansas, they felt they had few options remaining.

Reaching Out To Help Others

Teresa Owen has reached out to others who are dealing with Children Protective Services, including the Verzosa family, whose story was originally covered by Health Impact News here. She is happy to offer her help and advice, and blogs regularly about CPS corruption.

She is also going to Capitol Hill on June 18 to talk to legislators about Mitochondrial disorders, as well as about children being unjustly taken by CPS.

Teresa offers the following advice for any parent in a situation with Child Protective Services (CPS):

”Parents need to keep documentation. If social workers don’t allow you to videotape encounters, take pictures before and after they come. If you feel threatened, you can use video for your protection, but it won’t be allowed to be submitted in court. Keep a journal! Keep all court documents.”

Finding legal help has always been a challenge for this family. When the state involvement began for the Owen family, Teresa reached out to the Disability Rights Center Kansas (DRCK) for legal assistance, only to be denied help with her case involving her daughters with disabilities. Teresa also reports that doctors and attorneys have been threatened that if they help this family, they could lose their license to practice. At this time, they are pursuing all legal matters representing themselves with free Christian attorneys’ legal advice.

Teresa has also reached out to help others who are in similar situations and started the Facebook page Protect America’s Children from the Hidden Predators.


Related Topics:

Seven Children Removed from Parents for Being Homeschooled*

Hospital Takes Baby because Family Asked for a Second Opinion*

A New Illinois Law Threatens to Take away Home Alone Children*

The Bush Syndicate: Kansas Children for Sale*

Parents Blackmailed By Doctor: Vaccinate or We Take Your Child*

Scotland: The State Take-over of Children*

British Family Courts: Protecting Children from the Baby Snatchers*

Australia Still Stealing Indigenous Children*

Australia: To Sterilize, Electroshock, and Restrain Children Without Parental Consent*

NWO Next Step in Making the State Warden of Your Child*

350,800 Missing Children Found in Mass Graves in Ireland, Spain, Canada*

Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Art*

Child Protection Services Kidnapping Thousands of Children within the Law*

Being Driven Insane, Mentally Ill Children Kept in U.K. Prisons*

Child Protective Services Stealing Vaccinosis Children*

The Netherlands: When Child Traffickers Rule a Nation‏

Michigan Farmers Markets—Helping Families and Local Businesses through Food Stamps*

Michigan Farmers Markets—Helping Families and Local Businesses through Food Stamps*

The USDA is putting $31 million behind a program that helps low-income families take home twice the veggies, and local farmers make twice the money.

Photo by Chuk Nowak for Fair Food Network

By Araz Hachadourian

Vicki Zilke is a farmer in Ypsilanti, Mich., population 20,000, where more than a quarter of residents live below the poverty line. Every week, she sells her vegetables at Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers Market, one of two in the city. Nearly 40 percent of the shoppers at both hubs are on some form of food assistance funding from the government.

The two farmers markets first started accepting payment through food assistance programs  back in 2006. But that year, they only received $378 from the program.

But in 2010, an incentive program called Double Up Food Bucks expanded from Detroit to Ypsilanti. The program matches SNAP money (formerly known as “food stamps”) dollar-for-dollar when people spend it at farmers markets. That means shoppers can double up to $20 in spending on fruits and veggies. By 2014 customers spent more than $39,000 at these markets through initial SNAP dollars combined with Double Up’s supplement.

So instead of a customer base with $20 of SNAP money to spend, farmers like Zilke had a customer base with $40 to spend.

“I make more money, I expand my business, and then I can hire more people,” Zilke said.

“If I hire more people I then improve the bottom line of my community. It’s a ripple effect.”

That’s why the USDA is providing $31 million in grants to finance organizations around the country that, like Double Up Food Bucks, provide SNAP incentives. The grants were announced March 31 and were authorized under the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program in last year’s Farm Bill. Double Up Food Bucks will receive $5.1 million and will be matched in full by private donations.

Photo by Chuk Nowak for Fair Food Network

Photo by Chuk Nowak for Fair Food Network

“The fact that we now see this national funding program from the USDA is really a testament to the legislative process…” said Oran Hesterman, CEO and president of Fair Food Network, the organization behind Double Up Food Bucks.

It’s a bright spot in the world of sustainable food and healthy food access.”

Here’s how the program works: People bring their SNAP cards, which function much like a debit card, to the local farmers market. They tell the market manager how much they want to spend—let’s say $5—and then they are given tokens for that amount—plus $5 more in Double Up Bucks. You can get up to $20 doubled, which means customers take home extra food, and farmers earn more revenue. This allows shoppers to stretch their food budgets and include nutritious options they might not otherwise find in their diet.

It also keeps money circulating in the local economy, supporting farmers who, like Zilke, may in turn create jobs. In fact, SNAP sales at Michigan farmers markets went from nearly $300,000 in 2009 to more than $1.2 million in 2013. By working at different levels of the food system—with producers, distributors, and consumers—SNAP incentives approach problems holistically.

Double Up began as a pilot project of the Fair Food Network, a national organization that works to improve accessibility to healthy food. It started in 2009 at Detroit farmers markets and has grown to more than 150 sites state-wide. Hesterman said they hoped that by offering SNAP users double their money when they spend it at farmers markets, it would be more affordable for them to eat healthy food and they would be less inclined to buy processed foods.

Hesterman worked on other SNAP incentive programs across the country and saw how effective they were at bringing people to farmers markets. Nationwide, more than 46 million Americans—almost half of them children—currently receive benefits to improve access to food. Finding healthy food can be especially hard for recipients who live in food deserts.

He said that when the program started, Detroit was one of the worst food deserts in the country, with more than 30% of the population receiving food assistance of some kind. There was not a single SNAP incentive program in the state.

But Detroit also has Eastern Market, the largest and oldest continuously functioning farmers market in America. “I saw all these features in place,” Hesterman said.

“Really ingredients for what I thought would be a really successful SNAP incentive program.”

While food availability has improved across Detroit, the Double Up program has successfully spread to markets and farms across the state. Hesterman credits this in part to the increasing demand for local food. It’s a way for families on limited incomes to support and participate in the movement for local production and consumption, he said.

Gordie Moeller is a retired social worker and activist. He works in the eight counties around Grand Rapids, Mich., trying to get farmers to transition from cash-only transactions to accepting SNAP benefits, something they don’t usually have the technology for. He was moved to do this when he found out that, of the millions of dollars that come into the area in food assistance, only a small portion goes to farmers and farmers markets. The rest goes mostly to supermarkets.

“I tell them [farmers], Muskegon County gets $63 million a year in food stamps,” Moeller said. “Right now you’re not getting any—it’s all going to Walmart.”

Part of the problem is that farmers aren’t set up to accept SNAP. Another part is that many people don’t know their options.

To spread the word, Moeller goes to food pantries frequented by SNAP users and informs workers and shoppers about the program. He said that when shoppers walk into the food pantry, they often say they would like to eat things like strawberries, but can’t afford them. Pantry workers then inform them they can spend some of their money on fresh food at the farmers market.

Once pantry workers understand the Double Up program, they are able to help SNAP users learn how to get double their money’s worth in food. According to Moeller, the results are worth it. “That’s how we got 49 new families in one week to go to the farmers market,” he said.

Now, with the support of the USDA, Hesterman said he hopes programs like Michigan’s can move to more states, and more locations. The next steps for the program include using the grant money to spread awareness and get the Double Up dollars accepted at grocery stores so shoppers can have access to fresh, Michigan-grown food year-round.

“We need solutions that hit on different facets of an issue at the same time,” he said. “This kind of incentive does that.”


Related Topics:

The Food Deserts of America

Curse on the American Food Supply*

American Family Farm and Access to Healthy Food Under Attack

U.S. 17 Million Running Short of Food!*

Blind Obsession = $22 Billion to Fight ISIS Minus $8.7 Billion in Food Stamps*

Pricing Us Out of Food

Food Revolution: Taking Control of One’s Food Supply

Synthetic Proteins: Cascading Effects of U.S. Unhealthy Food

One Hospital Uses Organic Food as Medicine*

Big Bank Food Speculation: U.K. Blocks Move to End Rising Prices*

U.K: From Welfare to Food Banks!

Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins

The British Cafe that has Fed 10,000 People, using 20 Tonnes of Unwanted Food*

TPP: Controlling the Worlds Food Supply*

Curse on the American Food Supply*

Curse on the American Food Supply*

It takes the presence of life to generate life. But what if you are busy contaminating and eradicating life?

By Michael Snyder

Why are so many catastrophes hitting U.S. food production?

This week, we have learned that more than 7 million turkeys and chickens have already been killed as the result of a devastating bird flu outbreak here in the United States.

This particular strain of the bird flu has already spread to the states of Minnesota, Iowa, California, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin, and scientists are mystified as to why it is moving so rapidly.

But what we do know is that this flu has the potential to kill an entire flock of chickens or turkeys in just 48 hours.

This pandemic is quickly becoming a major national crisis all by itself, but when you combine this with all of the other disasters hitting our food supply, a very troubling picture emerges.

Could it be possible that the U.S. food supply is cursed?

Before we talk about the bird flu some more, let’s first review some of the other ways that our food supply is under assault.

  • Due to the worst drought in the recorded history of the state, much of California is turning back into a desert. And considering the fact that California produces nearly half of all the fresh produce grown in the entire nation, that is a very frightening thing. Prices for many fruits and vegetables have already gone up substantially in our grocery stores.
  • The multi-year drought in the southwest United States has also had a crippling impact on many ranchers. At this point, the size of the U.S. cattle herd is the smallest that it has been since the 1950s, and the price of beef has doubled since the last recession.
  • Over the past couple of years, porcine epidemic diarrhea wiped out approximately 10 percent of the entire pig population in the United States. This particular plague seems to have subsided at least for now, but scientists tell us that it could come back strong at any moment.
  • As my friend Mac Slavo wrote about the other day, the sardine population off the west coast has declined by 91 percent since 2007. This is having a devastating affect on the food chain in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Down in Florida, citrus greening disease has hit the citrus industry extremely hard.
  • The price of Florida oranges has approximately doubled over the past 12 years, and crops keep getting even smaller every year…
  • The big squeeze is on in citrus industry, and it isn’t expected to lessen anytime soon.

Florida growers have yielded far fewer oranges over the past decade due to citrus greening, resulting in less juice in the market and fewer dollars in their pockets.

“Everything starts and ends with citrus greening,” said Fritz Roka, a University of Florida agricultural economist at the Southwest Florida Research & Education Center in Immokalee. “For the next several years, citrus greening will still be the focus of attention.”

-A plague known as the TR4 fungus has hit global banana production in a big way.

According to CNBC, this nightmare fungus may eventually completely wipe out the variety of bananas that we commonly eat today…

Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.

“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

On top of all that, now we have a major bird flu outbreak to deal with

According to USA Today, 3.8 million hens will be destroyed at one farm in Iowa alone in an attempt to keep this flu from spreading even more…

Poultry producers in several states are bracing for more losses as a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza forced producers to kill millions of chickens and turkeys in the USA in recent weeks.

The fast-moving H5N2 virus was confirmed on Monday at a chicken laying facility in Osceola County, Iowa. Some 3.8 million layer hens at the farm affiliated with Sonstegard Foods Company will be euthanized to try to prevent the spread of the disease, according to the company.

If this bird flu continues to spread in states such as Iowa, we could have a nightmare scenario on our hands.

Most people don’t realize this, but almost one out of every five eggs that we eat comes from that state…

Because of avian influenza, the state’s $2 billion commercial egg-laying industry has been on high alert this spring. Iowa, the nation’s largest egg producer, has about 50 million hens and supplies nearly 1 in every 5 eggs consumed in the United States.

“Anybody that has a poultry operation – whether large or small, whether you’ve got hundreds of birds or one bird – this should be a wake-up call,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association.

Unfortunately, this new outbreak is extremely puzzling to our scientists.

At this point, they really don’t know why it is spreading so fast

The deadly flu virus that has wiped out nearly 5 percent of Minnesota’s turkey industry is a part of a global disease outbreak, but scientists still don’t understand it.

After emerging in Asia, the avian flu spread to poultry farms in the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Germany.

Its quick arrival in North America has alarmed scientists who are trying to unravel the mystery of how these deadly bugs have infected so many turkey farms in such a short period of time.

“It’s been really troubling to understand how in the world this can possibly be happening,” said Carol Cardona, a professor of avian medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Have we ever seen a time when so many major catastrophes have hit our food production all at once?

It appears that this is a “perfect storm” of sorts, and we all get to feel the pain of this onslaught when we visit our local grocery stores.

So are we witnessing a convergence of unrelated coincidences, or could it be possible that there is another explanation?


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Battle to Hide What Goes in Your Food Continues!

Texas Texas Water Radiation Cover-Up!

The Hopi Call for Water Rights

Diet and the Sacrifice of Child Potential!

U.S. 17 Million Running Short of Food!*

When Would You Eat Old Food!

Left to Beg or Steal on the Streets of America!?

Nature Bites Back at GM Corn!*

GM Crops Entrench U.S. Drought

The American Food Hoax*

GM Potatoes: They Keep Finding Ways to Poison or Kill Us*

Are You a Chicken Nugget Lover?

Where Children are Imprisoned and Sexually Abused*

Where Children are Imprisoned and Sexually Abused*

From Alexandra Bruce

Imagine a military prison where the inmates include children as young as 12 in shackles, prisons where security forces kill, sexually abuse or confine in solitary cells children.

This is the West Bank, in Palestine, today.

Australian TV news looks into how 2.5 million West Bank residents live among 350,000 Israeli settlers 40 years into the occupation.

UNICEF says Israel interrogated, detained and processed 700 children in 2014.

Related Topics:

Israel Uses Child Slave Labour to Plant and Harvest its Agriculture*

Tools of Israeli Torture of Palestinian Children*

The Desecration of Childhood

Love Even Affects the Size of a Child’s Brain*