Sunday, March 31, 2013

CA Social Services Update


I have found that people are loathe to throw money at the problem of poverty- as evidenced by the mountain of red tape and sheer number of bureaucracies developed to micromanage social services.   


I just wanted to share my personal experiences with the process of applying for, qualifying for and recieving social services.  I think that most states are falling prey to budget cuts- which has created grave consequences in the efficacy of processing applications- especially for those in absolute poverty.


Jan 18
Mailed benefits application for cal-fresh (foodstamps) TANF (“Clinton’s” welfare) and Medi-cal (Medicaid).

Feb 4

Received letter advising of Feb 8 appointment at HSA (Human Services Agency).  HSA insists the application was received on Feb 1st- extending the 45 day processing limit by 13 days (March 17th instead of March 4th)  
**This action would create even more difficulty in the days that followed.
Feb 8

Required to RE-sign all application papers, effectively changing the application date to reflect 8th Feb rather than 18th Jan, extending the 45-day processing time limit by a new total of 21 days (March 25 instead of March 4th).  I was sent home with some more paperwork and “proof of” requirements.  
1) proof daughter is attending school 
2) proof of bank balance (most recent bank statement)  
3) proof of WA social services cancellation  
4) must come back to be FINGERPRINTED  
5) “statement of living plan” (form filled and signed by room mates, stating that we do not share food cost etc.

My appointment was for 10:00 and I waited for 1.5 hrs in the lobby before I was admitted and interviewed.  It ran so late that I had to leave before completing the process, and had to return on the 15th for fingerprinting.  

Yes- that’s right I had to submit my fingerprints to HSA in order to receive foodstamps. Apparently my social security card and multiple legal forms of ID are not enough for a thorough background check. If I began to list all of the reasons that this is illegal and unconstitutional, I would have no room for the rest of this update.


Feb 15
I delivered the paperwork- and gave up my liberty in the form of finger prints.   

** I had to ask my bank to fax January’s bank statement to a free internet fax service account I created for this purpose- the mail would not arrive for several more days due to forwarding from the old address in WA.
Feb 22
Letter: "Unable to determine benefits due to failure to send a copy of february's bank statement." 

February's bank statement is NOT MAILED UNTIL MARCH. It does not even EXIST until March.  HSA denied cash benefits because of a requirement that it be presented to them by Feb 18th.  This is not physically possible, unless/ until we perfect time travel sciences.  Where’s Doctor Who when you need him?
Feb 26
I called HSA.  Or I tried to.  The 800 number does not accept calls from my “out of area” cell phone number.  It took three calls to agencies just to get the local (650) number.  After being disconnected four times during an accumulative of two hours waiting on hold, I reached someone and explained the issue about time travel and the impossible bank statement.  I was told I would be referred to a supervisor and should expect a call.  The time limit of sending the proof of balance would be extended because of the issue.
Mar 1

I received the call from a supervisor.  She said there was nothing she could do because the statement requirement was LAW.  She confirmed the extension.  I called my bank and begged for another fax without charge (free online fax service only allows 3 free faxes before charging, this was the second).
Mar 3
I walked to the mailbox closest to the house.  It’s about ⅓ mi away.  The freshly printed document was placed in the envelope provided by HSA. It would be picked up and date stamped on on Monday, Mar 4th (the last day of the original time limit).  In this neighborhood, there is no way to leave outgoing mail for pick-up.  The mail comes through slots in the garage doors, there is no part of the device that can hold letters being sent.
Mar 15

Received thick envelope from HSA.  Determination had been made on march 6th due to failure to return impossible bank statement by march 4th (which was supposed to be extended)

1) Calfresh denied for february, dated 3-8-2013   
2) Calfresh approved for march,  dated 3-8-2013 
3) Tanf denied for march, as of march 7th, dated 3-8-2013 
4) Tanf denied as of feb 1, dated 3-7-2013 
5) Not a peep about MediCal.  Meanwhile- my prescriptions are running out and I am looking forward to a world of hurt. 
6) A thick stack of papers - a printed revision of the application, re-printed in a duplicate document I was required to sign.  It was riddled with mistakes.  I spent the afternoon crossing out text and writing in the correct information.  I wrote a letter explaining the mistakes and pointed out the february bank statement impossibility (again) and mailed it on Mar 14.
 **Although I had received approval for food stamps, I did not actually receive the EBT card, which is like a credit or debit card that holds both food stamp and TANF cash benefits.  The majority of retail does not accept EBT payments, but most grocery stores and large chains like Target and Walmart do accept it.


Mar 17
I received a post card, with no markings about where it came from, delivering a pin number.  I was not sure if it came from my bank for online account purposes- later I discovered it was from HSA.
Mar 19
I called HSA (again) and asked a few questions.  
>Q: I had approval for CalFresh, and had called the FAQ line which confirmed that our account had been credited on March 7th with just over $350 in food stamps, but I had not received the actual EBT card- Has the EBT card been mailed and could the PIN postcard be from HSA?   
<A: both the post card and the EBT card had been mailed on the 7th of March.  (We decided to trigger a new card to be sent since it had been almost 2 weeks, which seemed long enough to allow for mistakes and return service.  They had no record of the card having been returned.)
>Q: I sent the impossible (now possible) document which had been responsible for the denial determination almost 2 weeks ago, had they received it and had it been processed?
<A:  Even if they had received and processed the document, they would not be triggered to act on it unless I alert them to the existence of it.    
** Let me explain that - though I don’t really think it can be logically understood. Unless I call and tell HSA that I have sent the documents they requested, no action is taken even if the document has been received and entered into their database, it just sits there in my file, gathering cyberdust.
**Also, one of the documents had been misfiled and it took several minutes to find it for processing. ALL necessary documents were now accounted for and accepted. No further action from me is necessary.
>Q: Now that I had called and reported the document, would it be acted upon (Including Medical which had as yet not been determined in any of the paperwork)?
<A: Yes.  The whole application would be expedited as urgent, but there is a backlog for MediCal determination- they are currently working on September’s applications.
One of the requirements for application is proof that I no longer received benefits from WA.  CA requires me to drop my insurance, but is not able to replace it until....  (doing math on fingers) ...6 months from now?  
March 28  
I received approval for All three benefits,backdated to the “received” accepted date of Feb 1.  Still no EBT card.
UPDATE:
I received the EBT card and MediCal cards in the mail today- 4-1-13. EBT was postmarked from Texas. Medical was from San Diego.


**There is no housing available anywhere in the country. All Section 8 vouchers have been dispersed, and the waiting lists are closed.  TANF does NOT provide enough funds to cover rent.  Total benefits add up to just over $750 per month (family of 2), about half of which can only be spent on food products.

HUGE shout-out to the community and my family for stepping in and helping out!!! WE WOULD HAVE STARVED THIS MONTH WITHOUT THEM.

FOOD BANK:


Friday, March 29, 2013

Who Wrote the Monsanto AG Rider?



I believe there is a good reason that no-one has taken credit for the Ag rider recently passed by the senate and signed by the president.  


Recently, several reports have cited the Center for Food Safety’s petition claiming that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) MD attached the “Monsanto Rider” to H.R. 6083  (sections 10011, 10013, 10014) Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012.  Mikulski’s spokeswoman said  “it wasn't the senator who added the language”, and Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety stated :
“the language did not originate with Mikulski. Rather, it was included in legislation that had been developed before she took the chairmanship.” 
"Her hands were tied by the negotiations that had previously happened," O'Neil said of Mikulski. "We recognize that the tough spot she was in."
The person who I believe added the AG rider can’t take credit for it because he is no longer alive. After many health problems, he passed away on December 17, 2012.  Mikulski recently inherited the chair from Senator Daniel Inouye (D)  Hawaii, who was openly “pro-biotech”.

Monsanto openly funded Inouye, as did many unscrupulous investors..  According to Open Secrets.org , for the 2010   election campaign, Inoyue received $90,750 from “Agribusiness”, $343,050 from “defense” and $699,560 from “lawyers and lobbyists”.  Despite his illness, during the 2012   campaign, he collected $89,750 from “Agribusiness”,  $379,550 from “defense” and $705,060 from “lawyers and lobbyists”.  His total campaign funding amounted to over $5.2 million in each campaign year, including donations from insurance companies, real estate companies, commercial banks, entertainment industry, securities & investment, (to name a few), including a $7,000 donation directly from Monsanto. 


In fact, Big AG has been paying off legislators all over the country:

GM FOOD: Corporate agriculture wins in Congress:


  • Current members of Congress have received $7,450,434 from the PACs of these organizations.
  • Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee have received $371,925 from the PACs of these organizations.
  • Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the Appropriations Committee, has received $70,592 from the PACs of these organizations, the most received by any member of the Appropriations Committee and the second-most received by any senator.
Citizens of Hawaii have recently been “ploughed over” by legislators, lawyers, big investors, and law enforcement. A post from Save Hawaii from Monsanto exposed plans for a new  police station  funded by the USDA slated to be built at the gates of Monsanto itself.



    Recently, Hawaiians tried to pass a GMO labeling bill, which failed to even reach a vote.  Honolulu Civil Beat reports:
~Rosalyn Baker, chair of Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection... said the Senate would push a concurrent resolution that will ask state agencies and the University of Hawaii to research the matter and report back to the Legislature.
~Electing to call for further study of an issue rather than pass a measure into law is an oft-employed maneuver to kill something that's controversial
~Baker said the Senate's concurrent resolution would ask the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources "to provide information on farming practices in Hawaii as well as do a search of the literature and any studies regarding long-term safety of GMO crops grown in Hawaii."

But the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is funded by Monsanto, Plant Sciences Student Fellowships  are granted by Monsanto,  and UH Mānoa CTAHR Scholarships are awarded by Monsanto.  It’s not difficult to infer a conflict of interests between the giant money involved in every level of government and the “checks and balances” of the UH science study.

In an act (in the least) of distraction or (at worst) sin-washing, Monsanto benevolently funds local science fairs  while hypocritically ignoring the public schools [6, 1, 1] near their corn and canola fields using chemicals known to have adverse health effects (especially on mothers and children), whose labels warn against prolonged or repeated exposure. Their science programs for grade-schoolers have been packed with propaganda ~as reported by Examiner.com, grist, Spread Liberty News, Natural News and many (many) more.


Not only are Monsanto and their cohorts directing the legislature, they are also directing the water. In a letter  to West Hawaii Today, Tlaloc Tokuda, Project & Report Writer for  Center for Water resource Management  reports:

  To put things in perspective, the County of Maui controls only about 9 percent of the water on the island of Maui – Big Ag controls the rest.
   
    “It is inexplicable that with respected UH professors, literally hundreds of trained geologists and watershed experts, that the Senate would appoint a partisan, multinational corporate lobbyist instead,” said, petition organizer, Karen Chun.
    
    “... Ag corporations know how to use water — they are not experts in the skills required to manage and protect water supplies.”   

    Residents may not be aware that Monsanto and other genetically modified organism and agricultural chemical companies have picked Hawaii for their experiments.

The thinking is that if something goes horribly wrong, the effects will be confined on a small chain of islands 2,400 miles from any continent.

Evidence points to other Monsanto cohorts-

The Daily News reports:
"One of the rider’s biggest supporters was Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who worked with Monsanto to craft the language in the bill.
“What it says is if you plant a crop that is legal to plant when you plant it, you get to harvest it,” Blunt told Politico. “But it is only a one-year protection in that bill.”"
Truthout reported:
"Congressmen Jack Kingston and Frank Lucas , each of whom sponsored a Monsanto rider, were listed in August as national co-chairs of a new general election committee called the Farmers and Ranchers for Romney coalition, which also includes all eleven members of the March group and Roy Blunt."



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Here are some links to more information.  
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Connect with Hawaii’s activists, and learn some more about HOW big AG was able to get a free pass while the majority of American citizens decry their deplorable business practices (polling that shows nine out of ten American consumers want GMO labeling).

"Hawaii is ground zero for GMO testing . . . all of our future resources and health are at stake."

The Hawai'i GMO Justice Coalition

Occupy Monsanto

video:
STOP MONSANTO FROM POISONING HAWAI'I | Trailer

Boss GMO
Filling the space left by pineapple and sugar, a new plantation economy--based on experimental seed corn--has taken root. But why take up precious acreage where we could be growing food?

Obama Gives Monsanto Get Out of Jail Free Card





Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fighting on Two Fronts

North Dakota has a bustling fossil fuel economy  and has allocated one million dollars  to defend it’s anti-abortion legislature.  

Despite the overflowing coffers, ND has failed to pass  funding increases in medicaid or social services to help pay for pregnancy and childbirth for women who can’t afford medical care.  




The bills have also cut off all public funding  for any entity which even discusses abortion as an option.  





The ACLU reports  that in the past two years alone, states have passed almost 140 laws legislating abortion.  Some of these “laws” are in fact, illegal. In December 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation re-worked it’s definition for the crime of rape:



Why is this important?  

It removes the requirement of the victim to physically and or verbally defend herself (or himself) against the perpetrator.  Saying “No” and not saying (or not being able to say) “Yes” are now nearly interchangeable in the eyes of the law.  

It allows prosecutions against sexual assaults if a victim is unconscious, disabled, intoxicated, married to the defendant,  or previously disallowed because the “wrong” orifice was penetrated.  

It also makes the “Heartbeat Bill”  illegal.  In order to detect a fetal heartbeat within a 6 week time limit, the patient is required to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound .  That’s right- REQUIRED


These bills have turned the pro-life vs pro-choice issue into a larger debate. “You can have an abortion as long as your doctor commits (forced?) vaginal penetration”. The recent VAWA  reauthorization is not enough to sin-wash this.


~ W0rld Health Organization

“The inclusion of the word ‘‘power’’... broadens the nature of a violent act and expands the conventional understanding of violence to include those acts that result from a power relationship, including threats and intimidation... Thus, ‘‘the use of physical force or power’’ should be understood to include ...sexual and psychological abuse....” ~quote

Can there be legal carte-blanche consent if the State demands submission?  This is why many have referred to such legislature as “state sanctioned rape".  Women’s pro-choice advocates  all over the country have been staging protests, writing articles and signing petitions, but what’s exciting are some new voices chiming in dissent. 

 Some pro- life advocates  have been distancing themselves, stating the new laws have “gone too far”.  This may be good news for Roe v Wade after all.  If the issue has become coerced consent, maybe I yet have a reasonable chance to get the government out of my vagina.


watch:

voice your concern:

~artramp, 3-26-13

Sunday, March 24, 2013

North Dakota has the money and political backing to take on Roe v Wade

UPDATED 3-26-13

Due to a bustling fossil fueled economy, North Dakota has the money and political backing to take on Roe v Wade.  

That is exactly what Sen. Margaret Sitte intends to do, according to an article by James MacPherson of Associated Press.  Sitte and abortion foes seek to shut down North Dakota’s only abortion clinic by enacting several draconian proposals including friday’s personhood resolution.   

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has not yet signed into law, women's rights advocates call for a veto.



North Dakota has set aside one million dollars to defend contest, but failed to pass legislature to raise spending limits on funding for pregnancies through Medicaid or Department of Social Services.

Most controversial of all is the “heartbeat” bill, which forces women to have a vaginal ultrasound to detect the heartbeat- because if it is- abortion is banned.  This is one of the hot points for women’s advocates, because the requirement of vaginal penetration without the consent of the female is actually,  well it’s rape.


A few years back, the FBI changed it’s definition of rape to be more specific, as well as accept a wider range of acts.  

This includes any penetration without the consent of the victim.  This has also been a hot topic recently due to several legal battles in the news.  The difference between “forced” or “violent” penetration, and penetration “without consent of the victim” has feminists in an uproar- as well it should.


The worst part is, North Dakota is not alone.  In fact, it’s part of an ongoing trend which includes at least  16 states.   

ACLU reports  almost 140 new provisions restricting abortion in the last two years alone.  Medical professionals   and women all over the country are up in arms.  Even the GOP thinks they have stepped over the line.   


What can you do to help?   
Find local pro-choice groups; donate time, energy, voice, and love.



Text SB 2305  ~Any doctor performing an abortion must be licensed to do so by the state as well as have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility.
~Sets aside $1,000,000.00 to defend if it should be contested.
Passed
Text SB 2368  ~No abortions after 20 weeks unless in the case of a medical emergency
~public funds may only be used to support childbirth, may not be used to promote or pay for abortion unless necessary to prevent death.  
~No funding for agencies which provide or promote abortion unless required by federal law.
Passed
~right to life of every human being at any stage of life must be recognized and protected
Passed
~Expands medicaid coverage to cover pregnancy to maximum allowed under federal law
~Expands Dept. Human Services to cover expenses not paid by medicaid
Failed
~Abortion after heartbeat detect



North Dakota Statewide Protests Monday, 3-25

Bismark


Grand Forks



Fargo


Minot


UPDATE

Dalrymple's press release/statement on the matter:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2013

GOVERNOR PROVIDES STATEMENT ON SIGNED BILLS

BISMARCK, ND – Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed HB 1305, HB 1456 and SB 2305 and provided the following statements to the Legislature:

North Dakota House and Senate presiding officers:

I have signed HB 1305 which would ban abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities.

I have signed HB 1456 which would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction in HB 1456, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question. The Legislative Assembly before it adjourns should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General.

I have signed SB 2305 which requires admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital for any physician who performs abortions in North Dakota. The added requirement that the hospital privileges must include allowing abortions to take place in their facility greatly increases the chances that this measure will face a court challenge. Nevertheless, it is a legitimate and new question for the courts regarding a precise restriction on doctors who perform abortions.