News Update Dec 11th 2017

December 11th, 2017

  1. The Next Coming Attack on The Poor
  2. American Farmers Are Killing Themselves At An Alarmingly High Rate
  3. Farmworkers Forced To Work Through So Cal’s Raging Fires: Where To Donate Assistance for Fire Victims

The Next Coming Attack on The Poor

White House Prepares To Shred Safety Net


Politico: “The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are hoping to make the most sweeping changes to federal safety net programs in a generation, using legislation and executive actions to target recipients of food stamps, Medicaid and housing benefits.


The White House is quietly preparing a sweeping executive order that would mandate a top-to-bottom review of the federal programs on which millions of poor Americans rely. And GOP lawmakers are in the early stages of crafting legislation that could make it more difficult to qualify for those programs


 In the meantime, the Trump administration has already begun making policy shifts that could have major ramifications.


Federal health officials are encouraging states to impose work requirements on able-bodied adults on Medicaid — a major philosophical shift that would treat the program as welfare, rather than health insurance.


The Agriculture Department said last week that it would soon give states greater control over the food stamp program, potentially opening the door to drug testing or stricter work requirements on recipients of the $70 billion program long targeted by fiscal conservatives.


Another initial move has already backfired — the Veterans Affairs Department announced it would redirect hundreds of millions of dollars from a program for homeless veterans to local VA centers, but it reversed course after fierce blowback from advocates.”

American Farmers Are Killing Themselves At An Alarmingly High Rate

Record Suicides Among U.S. Farmers



People working in agriculture are killing themselves, a lot,  in America and all over the world. There is a lot of speculation as to why but the crushing debt that many farmers find themselves in, plus having an occupation dominated by factors one can’t control---weather, food prices, energy prices---no doubt contribute much to the stress.


Data from a study last year  suggested that the suicide rate for agricultural workers in 17 states was nearly five times higher compared with that in the general population.


From The Guardian: “After the study was released, Newsweek reported that the suicide death rate for farmers was more than double that of military veterans. …The US farmer suicide crisis echoes a much larger farmer suicide crisis happening globally: an Australian farmer dies by suicide every four days; in the UK, one farmer a week takes his or her own life; in France, one farmer dies by suicide every two days; in India, more than 270,000 farmers have died by suicide since 1995.”


Farms are disappearing, with many being sold for other purposes or lost as the older farming generation dies out. The US lost 95,000 farms from 2007 to 2012 (USDA Census of Agriculture, see

California alone lost about 600 dairy farming operations from 2006-2016.

Farmworkers Forced To Work Through So Cal’s Raging Fires: Where To Donate Assistance for Fire Victims

Reports from last Thursday as the Thomas fire blazed in Ventura County say that some farms as close as a mile to the fires remained open, and that farmworkers labored in the fields without proper equipment while hazardous cancer-causing wildfire ash saturated the air.


From ThinkProgress: “Dozens of volunteers with Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) — an organization working to improve the lives of low-income and immigrant youth communities — handed out about 500 N95 masks Thursday to farmworkers on various farms across the Ventura and Santa Barbara regions to guard against the cancerous wildfire ash. But some CAUSE volunteers were reportedly kicked off farms despite workers asking for those masks, according to CAUSE policy director Lucas Zucker.”


Reportedly these farms contract to Driscoll’s whose blueberries and strawberries you’ve seen in the grocery stores.


Ventura County Star: “Oxnard City Council member Carmen Ramirez said she couldn't make employers do anything but she hoped they would treat their workers fairly. The city closed its offices because of the poor air quality, she said.“Let’s just do the right thing for the people who are really out there doing the hard work,” said Ramirez, who had reached out to county officials about the situation. “I would assume the growers want to have a healthy workforce.”


“Metabolic Studio, an organization out of Los Angeles, donated 500 masks, said Red Rotkopf. His organization easily found the masks in Los Angeles. "It needed to happen. People are choking up here, especially indigent farmworkers," he said.”


Thomas Fire Fund

· The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund.

· Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation, call 805-485-6288, or go online to United Way of Ventura County's website.

· Checks with "Thomas Fire Fund" in the memo line can be mailed to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100 Ventura, CA 93003.

The Salvation Army

· The Salvation Army is accepting food and water at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

· You can donate cash by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting the website.

The Red Cross

· The Red Cross of Los Angeles will update its social media accounts with information about volunteer opportunities.

· Make a cash donation on or over the phone by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

The Humane Society of Ventura County

· The Humane Society of Ventura County has taken in over 100 animals.

· Drop off any of the following items at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai: Alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, cat chow, rabbit food, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses, and power generators.

· Donate food and water for volunteers, or make a cash donation on HSVC's website.

Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation

· Donate to Noah's Legacy Fund, which provides supplies, training, and equipment to first responders charged with rescuing animals from areas stricken by natural disasters.

· Mail donations to P.O. Box 100515, Pasadena, CA 91189-0515 or through the LACACF website.

GoFundMe campaigns

· Dozens of families who've already lost their homes have turned to GoFundMe for donations.

· Here is a list of all the verified campaigns.

Direct Relief

· Santa Barbara-based organization Direct Relief is donating 100% of designated funds to victims of the wildfires.

· Donate money for supplies online and make sure you direct your donation to " Southern California Wildfires."

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