Possible Changes to the SNAP Program

27 Feb 2018

Earlier this month, Trump suggested a change in the food stamp program.

Trump wants to cut back on food stamps for the poor and substitute with packaged food deliveries – CNBC, 2018/02/13

The program would be a vast logistical undertaking for a federal bureaucracy that President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized as unwieldy and wasteful. The White House said the new boxes would go to households qualifying for $90 or more per month in food stamps, representing about 81 percent of those participating in what is formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Currently, SNAP recipients can choose what they spend the money on while shopping at any approved retailer.

There are numerous sectors of the economy that would be affected… but maybe they had this in mind…

USDA: 35,891 Retailers Engaged in Food Stamp Fraud – CNS News Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a report estimating that 35,891 food retailers around the country engaged in food stamp fraud, illegally “trafficking” more than $1 billion in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits annually over the three-year period from 2012 through 2014.

Of the 35,891 food retailers the report estimated engaged in food stamp trafficking, only 30 were categorized as “supermarkets” and only 42 were “large groceries.”

By contrast, 1,700 were medium-sized groceries; 4,850 were small groceries, and 25,954 were “convenience stores.”

While only 0.07 percent of supermarkets engaged in food stamp trafficking, according to the report, 23.32 percent of small groceries did and 19.42 percent of convenience stores.

“Trafficking was most likely to occur in the most urban areas,” the report said.


DHS To Spend $1 Billion on Facial Surveillance

2 Jan 2018

DHS to Spend $1 Billion to Expand Illegal Facial Scanning Program at Airports – The New American, 2018/01/02

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is setting aside $1 billion for a biometric scanning program to capture the faces of those leaving the country at airports. That scanning includes the faces of American citizens, even though DHS has no legal authority to conduct that surveillance.

This program is not an anomaly, either. In July 2015, The New American reported that DHS had developed a video surveillance program to be used at airports to predict the behavior of passengers and guests based on their facial expressions, posture, and body language.

Now, as 2018 begins, the surveillance state is pushing even beyond that with plans to turn every international airport into a hub of biometric surveillance. Because when it comes to surveillance hawks, too much surveillance is never enough.

Trump Denies Funds to Pakistan

2 Jan 2018

Is Trump admin giving up on Pakistan? US to deny military aid worth $255 million – Hindustan Times, 2017/12/30

The Trump administration on Friday announced the United States will deny Pakistan military aid amounting to $255 million as it expects Islamabad to take decisive action “against terrorists and militants on its soil”.

The amount, $255 million, is left over from $1.1 billion aid earmarked for Pakistan in 2016, and which included non-military aid as well. It was cleared for handing over in August, just days before it would lapsed as unspent money.

The Trump administration was clear from the start it wouldn’t countenance continuity in ties and aid without real changes. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” President Donald Trump had said unveiling his new South Asia strategy in August. “But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”

Great…more please…


Duke Univ. Received $119M From EPA Based on Falsified Data

5 Jul 2017

2017/07/02 – Responding to whistleblower’s claims, Duke admits research data falsification – Durham Herald Sun

In-house investigators at Duke University believe a former lab tech falsified or fabricated data that went into 29 medical research reports, lawyers for the university say in their answer to a federal whistleblower lawsuit against it.

Duke’s admissions concern the work of Erin Potts-Kant, and a probe it began in 2013 when she was implicated in an otherwise-unrelated embezzlement. The lawsuit, from former lab analyst Joseph Thomas, contends Duke and some of its professors used the phony data to fraudulently obtain federal research grants.

The committee reviewed at least 36 research reports, and in many cases found that she’d tinkered with data before sending it along other investigators. In a few, she simply made things up, Duke said.

Duke, UNC, and NC State received EPA grants over $100 million to each school based on this bogus information.

These are the experts that people quote for information and policy purposes. I know they are all not dishonest, but some of them are.


White Payroll Expected to Decrease By $22 Million Over Term

3 Jul 2017

2017/07/03 – Trump’s Leaner White House Payroll Projected To Save Taxpayers $22 Million – Forbes

Projected four-year savings on the White House payroll could top $22 million. Savings come from President Trump’s refusal to take a salary as well as big reductions in other areas including the absence of czars, expensive “fellowships,” and spending on FLOTUS staff.

  • There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.
  • $5.1 million in payroll savings vs. the Obama FY2015 payroll. In 2017, the Trump payroll amounts to $35.8 million for 377 employees, while the Obama payroll amounted to $40.9 million for 476 employees (FY2015).
  • Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).

Trump is also mandated to take a salary, even though when he was campaigning from president he said he wouldn’t. He has donated the first quarter of his pay to the Dept. of Interior for construction and repair needs at military cemeteries.


This info comes from openthebooks.com.


EPA Chief Cuts $900K of Gym Memberships

20 Jun 2017

2017/06/20 – EPA scraps $1 million in gym memberships for employees – Washington Examiner

The Environmental Protection Agency is scrapping the agency’s nearly $1 million in gym memberships as an abuse of taxpayer funds.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt vowed to get rid of the gym memberships after the newspaper reported earlier this year that the agency had paid $15,000 per year for employees in Las Vegas to upgrade to premium fitness memberships at 24 Hour Fitness. This was done even though the employees already had complimentary gym memberships at the University of Nevada’s campus in Las Vegas.

This is the common sense stuff that got Trump elected.


Trump Looking At Big Cuts in Government Energy Renewables

12 Jun 2017

2017/06/08 – Trump’s renewable energy cuts alarm former officials – CNN Money

Trump wants to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy like solar and wind power. The administration’s 2018 budget would slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by a stunning 71.9%.

Budget documents published by the DOE argue that the spending cuts to the renewables office will focus resources on early-stage research & development. The DOE added that it also “reflects an increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development and commercialization of energy technologies.”