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Monthly Archives: January 2019

Did Trump Order FEMA to ‘Send No More Money’ for California Wildfire Aid?

Claim

In January 2019, President Donald Trump ordered FEMA to stop or cancel funding for its disaster assistance efforts in California.

Rating

President Trump has threatened to end federal funding for California wildfire assistance.

It’s not clear whether Trump has in fact ordered FEMA to take any action with regard to its disaster assistance efforts in California, or whether such an order would be permitted by law if he did.

Origin

President Donald Trump repeatedly blamed state officials in California for the extent and frequency of devastating wildfires in 2018, pointing the finger at what he called poor “forest management” and threatening to cut off federal disaster assistance to the state, whose incoming and outgoing governors erre Democrats, and whose state legislature was controlled by the Democratic party.

Experts have concluded that these claims — that forest management policies and techniques were solely or primarily to blame for the historically-damaging 2018 wildfire season — are highly misleading and a gross over-simplification of the true causes, not least because the majority of California’s forests are owned by the federal government, not the state.

On 9 January 2019, Trump resumed his rhetorical attacks on California authorities and prompted inquiries from readers as to whether he had ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to stop providing financial assistance to wildfire aid efforts in California.

President Trump wrote in a tweet that “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen.” The president added “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!

 

Trump has in the past threatened to end federal wildfire assistance to California, warning in November 2018 that the state should “Remedy now, or no more [federal] payments!”, and his January 2019 tweet appeared to constitute at least another similar threat.

However, it’s not clear whether the president had actually given any order to FEMA in January 2019. He wrote “I have ordered FEMA to send no more money,” but prefaced this with a condition: “Unless they [California authorities] get their act together …”

We asked FEMA whether they had received any recent order from President Trump regarding the disaster assistance program in California, or funding for it, but we did not receive a substantive response in time for publication. Similarly, we asked the White House whether they could provide a copy of such an order, when it was issued, and what precisely it instructed FEMA to do or cease doing, but we did not receive a response in time for publication.

FEMA’s website still stated that the agency was “actively contacting California Wildfire survivors to determine their housing needs and working diligently to identify additional short-term and long-term housing options.” However the web site also featured a disclaimer that “Due to the lapse in federal funding, this website will not be actively managed.”

It was clear that President Trump has threatened to end federal assistance for California’s wildfire emergency, but it was uncertain whether he had actually given FEMA an order to that effect as of 10 January 2019.

Even if Trump were to attempt to follow through on his repeated threats (and it’s not clear that he has), such efforts might be prohibited by federal law, which places certain restrictions on the President of the United States once he or she has declared an emergency, something Trump did for California in November 2018.

Title 42, Section 5192 of the United States Code sets out the powers and obligations of the president after a state of emergency has been declared:

In any emergency, the President may —

(1) direct any Federal agency, with or without reimbursement, to utilize its authorities and the resources granted to it under Federal law (including personnel, equipment, supplies, facilities, and managerial, technical and advisory services) in support of State and local emergency assistance efforts to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, and lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe, including precautionary evacuations …

(8) provide accelerated Federal assistance and Federal support where necessary to save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate severe damage, which may be provided in the absence of a specific request and in which case the President —

(A) shall, to the fullest extent practicable, promptly notify and coordinate with a State in which such assistance or support is provided; and

(B) shall not, in notifying and coordinating with a State under subparagraph (A), delay or impede the rapid deployment, use, and distribution of critical resources to victims of an emergency.

On 8 January, the day before Trump’s “send no more money” tweet, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington sent the president a joint open letter requesting “immediate attention and increased efforts to responsibly manage the lands owned by federal agencies in our states.”

 

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Man takes flowers to dead wife’s bench every day – discovers stranger’s actions and begins to shake

 

Bud Caldwell’s deep love for his wife Betty transcended decades, continuing to burn brightly after she passed away.

His wife’s favorite song was “Daisy a Day”, and he ensured it was played many times during the course of their 56-year-long marriage.

Bud used to try and surprise his wife with bouquets of daisies when he could, sometimes breaking into the song as he handed them to her.

Sadly one day in 2013, Betty passed away. Bud was left alone.

CBS / YouTube

Yet Betty always remained on his mind; he always kept her close to his heart.

As a way of showing his lasting love and admiration for Betty, Bud bought a memory bench at Lakeside Park in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin.

The bench includes a small plaque with Betty’s picture, and some information about the woman Bud was proud to call his wife.

CBS / YouTube

Every day, Bud visited this memorial bench to honor and cherish his wife. Often he would just sit, singing her favorite song. He talked to her about the ongoings of his life; about the weather, what was going on in the world and how much he missed her.

But when snow began to fall and winter arrived, it was made harder for Bud to visit Betty’s bench. It became difficult for Bud to lay flowers or even show his love as he would like.

CBS / YouTube

On one particularly snowy day, Bud could only stand on the sidewalk and watch the bench from afar; the snow was simply too much for him to manage.

Little did he know that two strangers had noted Bud’s daily ritual and decided, in secret, to help.

Just watch the CBS news report below to see the selfless action that left me in tears.

It’s a story of love, kindness and two park staffers who will restore your faith in humanity.

There remain wonderful people out there after all. These guys didn’t have to strive to clear a lonely road in the middle of a deserted park, but they did it for Bud. 

We need more everyday heroes like Jerrod and Joe – like and share if you agree!

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The answer to Trumps shutdown: Government cheese!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Government cheese is processed cheese provided to welfare beneficiaries, Food Stamp recipients and the elderly receiving Social Security in the United States, and is still provided to food charities. The processed cheese was used in military kitchens since World War II and in schools since as early as the 1950s.

Government cheese is a commodity cheese that was controlled by the U.S. federal government from the time World War II ended and into the early 1980s. Government cheese was created to maintain the price of dairy when dairy industry subsidies artificially increased the supply of milk and created a surplus of milk that was then converted into cheese, butter, or powdered milk. The cheese, along with the butter and dehydrated powder, was stored in over 150 warehouses across 35 states.[1]

History and impact[edit]

The cheese was bought and stored by the government’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Direct distribution of dairy products began in 1982 under the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program of the Food and Nutrition Service. According to the government, it “slices and melts well.”[2] The cheese was provided monthly, in unsliced block form, with generic product labeling and packaging.

The cheese was often from food surpluses stockpiled by the government as part of milk price supportsButter was also stockpiled and then provided under the same program. Some government cheese was made of kosher products.[3] This cheese product is also distributed to victims of a natural disaster following a state of emergency declaration.

This cheese became an important topic for the press in the 1980s when the press learned about the milk products that were being stored across the nation while millions of Americans felt food insecurity. During the same time in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan’s administration cut the budget on the national food stamp program in the United States.[1]

On December 22, 1981 President Ronald Reagan signed and authorized into law that five hundred and sixty million pounds (250,000 metric tons) of cheese that the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) had been stockpiled should be released, saying that it …

“… will be distributed free to the needy by nonprofit organizations.” Ronald Reagan, in his official statement about the distribution of the Cheese Inventory of the Commodity Credit Corporation, said, “The 1981 farm bill I signed today will slow the rise in price support levels, but even under this bill, surpluses will continue to pile up. A total of more than 560 million pounds of cheese has already been consigned to warehouses, so more distributions may be necessary as we continue our drive to root out waste in government and make the best possible use of our nation’s resources.”[4]

As the bill stated, any state that would ask for the cheese would get 30 million pounds (14,000 metric tons) of it, in 5-pound (2.3 kg) blocks. The bill was approved in the House by a margin of two votes; in the Senate it had a much larger approval rate. The logic behind the distribution was to effectively remove waste and to use all possible resources available in the United States. One representative from the USDA remarked that, “Probably the cheapest and most practical thing would be to dump it in the ocean.”[5]

Distribution[edit]

The distribution of government cheese was claimed to not have an adverse effect on commercially available cheeses, as the government was required to purchase dairy products like cheese to keep the commercial companies afloat. The government could then sell or give the cheese away to foreign countries. At the time of Ronald Reagan’s signing of the 1981 farm bill, the cheese stockpile equaled to more than 2 pounds (1 kg) of cheese for each person living in the United States.[6] Government cheese was frequently moldy.[1] Those who received the cheese did not lose any food stamps and were not required to trade their food stamps in for the cheese. California was the first state to take the cheese; the first delivery that they received was for three million pounds (1,400 t) of cheese.[1] Government cheese was provided to welfare, food stamp, and Social Security recipients at no cost to them. Government cheese was colored orange. It was distributed to low-income families through the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program. Government cheese was nominally removed in the 1990s when the dairy market stabilized.[7]

Ingredients[edit]

Like traditional processed American cheese, it consists of a variety of cheese types and other ingredients such as emulsifiers blended together, and may be made of any of Cheddar cheeseColby cheesecheese curd, or granular cheese.[3]

Nutritional value[edit]

Government cheese has become a symbol for American innovation and industrialization, although the nutritional value of the cheese has been in question.[7]It has been argued that people in poverty, such as those entitled to government cheese, are more likely to become obese. Between 1988-1994, those individuals below the poverty line had an obesity rate of 29.2 percent.[8] The Food Security Act of 1985 (the 1985 farm bill) attempted to reduce milk production, but has been labeled as a “hodgepodge of misdirected political compromise.”[9]

The nutrition facts on government cheese suggests a serving size of 1 ounce (28 g), or two slices, of cheese per serving. It also notes that the nutritional information represents the average nutritional value of “Processed American cheese” which was offered by the commodity food program. Per serving, the total fat content is 9 grams, of which 6 grams are saturated fat. Per serving, there are 30 mg of cholesterol and 380 mg of sodium.[2]

Government cheese in the 21st century[edit]

On August 23, 2016, the U.S Department of Agriculture released that they planned to purchase approximately eleven million pounds (5,000 t) of cheese,[10]worth $20 million,[11] to give aid to food banks and food pantries from across the United States,[10] to reduce a $1.2 billion[11] cheese surplus that has been at its highest level in thirty years, and to stabilize farm prices.[11] This purchase also added revenues for the dairy producers. Regarding the purchase, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “This commodity purchase is part of a robust, comprehensive safety net that will help reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high while, at the same time, moving a high-protein food to the tables of those most in need. USDA will continue to look for ways within its authorities to tackle food insecurity and provide for added stability in the marketplace.”[11]

Currently, as part of the USDA Food Nutrition Service Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), [12] eligible Seniors over age 60 are provided one 32-ounce block of processed cheese food each month, supplied by participating dairies.

See also[edit]

 

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