Food is Power


Congratulations America!

You have officially elected the most callous, irresponsible, and inhumane representatives in the history of the country. Today the House Republicans pushed thorough legislation that would cut Nutrition Assistance from the Agricultural Bill.  The House of Representative’s did exactly what the Heritage Foundation, who describe themselves as “a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense”,  recommended.

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This bill doesn’t actually end the food stamp program, it separates it from agriculture and puts it in with other “entitlements”.  I’m not a fan of the food stamp program myself, for one reason and one reason only – only certain foods qualify and they are the one’s produced by, you guessed it, the same corporations that are getting subsidies under the Farm Bill. If it was really designed to help needy people they would be able to use food stamps with local food sources, SCA shares, for required cooking classes in public education, the government would raise the income cap to at least three times the federal poverty level, and they would provide subsidies to food banks and community gardens.  Would these changes cost any more money? Maybe, but it’s not a problem, all we would have to do is stop subsidizing sugar beet farmers to find some spare change.

The 608-page bill keeps the changes that were in the version that failed last month, and amendments were not allowed. The bill would save about $20 billion by consolidating or cutting numerous farm subsidy programs, including $5 billion paid annually to farmers and landowners whether they plant crops or not.

The money saved from eliminating those payments would be directed into the $9 billion crop insurance program, and new subsidies would be created for peanut, cotton and rice farmers. The bill adds money to support fruit and vegetable growers, and it restores insurance programs for livestock producers, which expired in 2011, leaving thousands of operations without disaster coverage during last year’s drought. The bill also made changes to a dairy program that sets limits to the amount of milk produced and sold in the United States. NY Times

I spent some time trying to find out who the subsidies in this bill actually goes to. Taxpayer.net says this:

Aside from recipients of nutrition assistance programs, the primary beneficiaries of Farm Bill programs are large farm businesses growing five main crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice. Since farm subsidy and crop insurance programs were originally written to satisfy a few special interests, it is no surprise that 90 percent of these subsidies go to growers of only five main crops. According to USDA, the largest farm businesses receive the majority of farm subsidy payments. In 2009, the top 12 percent of farm businesses took in 62 percent of all federal farm payments; the average payment to large, commercial farms (with annual sales over $250,000) was $31,700 while farms with lower sales received only $4,500 per year. Those reaping the most benefits also have incomes twice as high as the average U.S. household.

US News says this: Most farm bill benefits go to large commercial farmers who are wealthy and successful even without those benefits. It takes money from taxpayers with average incomes and transfers that money to farmers. We are continuing to waste taxpayer money on politically protected subsidy programs to farmers.

Now lets not fool ourselves with the word “farmer”.  Most “farmers” who receive these subsidies have names like Wal-mart, Monsanto, Kraft and Tyson foods. So try re-reading those two statements again, replacing the word “farmer” with the words “Monsanto Corporation”.  In essence, this bill is subsidizing companies like McDonald’s (which gained 1% in profits, despite falling sales, and made $1.27 billion in profits last year) and punishing the people that work for McDonald’s for $7.25 and $9.19 (Washington State has the highest minimum wage) an hour.

My question to you is this: You live in the richest fucking country in the world, so what the fuck do you need a $.99 Cheeseburger for? Unless of course, you are one of those fast food workers on strike for a living wage….

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The meaning of compassionFrom the dictionary: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another’s suffering or misfortune, accompanied by a desire to alleviate the pain or remove its cause.

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Grilled Veggie Wraps
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When you roast asparagus, bell pepper, and squash for this recipe, you’ll be making extra veggies and squash that can be added to salads, pasta, or rice dishes later in the week. If you happen to live in Oly, you can get a lot of these veggies at the Community Garden on the east side for free if they have cut your food stamps.
  • 12 thin asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips (1 cup)
  • 1 small yellow summer squash or zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • ½ cup white beans
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (½ tsp.)
  • ½ tsp. red chile sauce, such as sriracha
  • 2 8-inch whole-grain tortillas
  • 6 small whole basil leaves
  • 8 thin slices red onion
  • 1 cup baby arugula leaves

1. Preheat grill or broiler. Toss together asparagus, bell pepper, squash, and oil on large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Grill or broil vegetables 4 to 6 minutes per side, turning once.
2. Mash together beans, garlic, and chile sauce in small bowl until smooth.
3. Spread half of bean mixture over each tortilla. Top each with 3 basil leaves, 1/2 cup roasted vegetables, 4 onion slices, and 1/2 cup arugula. Fold bottom third of tortillas over vegetables, and roll up tightly, tucking in sides as you go. Cut wraps in half on diagonal. Serve immediately, or wrap each half in foil or wax paper, and chill until ready to eat.

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