Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Ivanka snubbed?

There have been several reports -- e.g. here -- that Ivanka took part in a conversation with world leaders in which she was snubbed. In fact there was only one person who snubbed her -- Christine Lagarde, who is NOT a national leader. Lagarde is just an ugly old crone who was showing her jealousy of a young and beautiful woman.  That's all that happened.  Lagarde was being ageist and lookist, something she would decry in others.

Piers Morgan has more on the subject


After Legally Receiving Food Stamps, This Millionaire Is Trying to Change the System

Rob Undersander, a retired engineer in Waite Park, Minnesota, wasn’t eager to go public about being a millionaire, but he wanted to expose a loophole that would allow wealthy—or at least those not needy—to qualify for food stamps.

So, in June 2016, he filled out an application form at the Stearns County social services office, and said he used an “abundance of honesty and caution” in applying for food stamps.

He recalled even talking to a top county official regarding social services, and told him about his assets upfront. 

“I begged him to find some reason to deny my application for food stamps,” Undersander, 66, told The Daily Signal after a congressional hearing Thursday. “He said there is nothing he can do, because he doesn’t make policy.”

Undersander intentionally set out to expose the systemic flaw in the “broad-based categorical eligibility” policy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly referred to as the food stamp program.

The policy allows applicants to bypass an assets test, so someone could qualify for food stamps even if he has property and bank accounts, as long as his income is low enough.

Minnesota is among 34 states that, along with Washington, D.C., use the “broad-based categorical eligibility” loophole to avert the need to check assets, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability, a Naples, Florida-based fiscal watchdog group.

Three weeks after applying, Undersander received the electronic benefits transfer card in the mail that he said he hoped would be denied. It came with a letter informing him he had $278 per month of benefits on it to spend.

He notified a local newspaper, the St. Cloud Times. After the newspaper published a piece, he said, two women from the county’s fraud and abuse investigation unit came to his home, asked a few questions, and left.

Although he’s retired, he doesn’t yet collect Social Security, which would be enough income to make him ineligible.

Over 19 months, Undersander received $6,000 from the government—which he donated to charity.               

Undersander contends that an asset test that ensures only the needy can access food stamps would ensure that needy people will be helped.

The Agriculture Department, which administers the food-stamp program, is considering a regulation that would eliminate the broad-based policy, to ensure the program would measure whether someone is genuinely in need.

At a Thursday hearing of the House Agriculture Committee’s nutrition, oversight, and department operations panel, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said that Undersander “intentionally defrauded the federal government.”

Because he was just attending the hearing, and not testifying, he couldn’t respond to majority Democrats on the subcommittee who excoriated him as a fraudster or to minority Republicans who praised him as a whistleblower.

“These were not the first Democrats that wanted to send me to jail,” Undersander said, recalling he testified several times before the Minnesota state Legislature on bills. “The problem is, I was following their rules and the laws that they support.”

Undersander had been a volunteer for the Central Minnesota Council on Aging, where he helped seniors with annual Medicare re-enrollment and with various social services.

All other state and federal programs measure income and assets, he said, but he discovered the food stamp program considers income only.  “I was shocked,” he said. “I don’t like it when taxpayer money is wasted.”

The loophole is “egregious and unnecessary,” said the subcommittee’s ranking member, Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. “A man with assets in the millions—who was able to receive more than a nominal SNAP benefit month after month because of Minnesota’s abuses of their administrative flexibility—Mr. Undersander is not alone,” he said. 

“Mr. Undersander didn’t lie on his forms. He exposed the flaws of a failed system,” Johnson said. “It’s not his fault that we in D.C. haven’t done our job. Receiving a welfare check shouldn’t be easier than applying for a job. If millionaires are receiving those benefits—as they have—this committee has work to do.”   

The “broad-based” policy also allows states to make decisions outside the federal guidelines. For example, Johnson noted that Vermont determined that receiving a mailer about public assistance can convey food stamp eligibility.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the “broad-based categorical eligibility” also allows someone to qualify for food stamps based on receiving a heating assistance flyer in the mail.       

However, subcommittee Chairwoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, rejected the notion that there is a need for any reforms to the system and instead targeted Undersander.     

“I heard about that ridiculous millionaire stuff,” Fudge said, looking at Undersander. “You willfully and maliciously gamed the SNAP system. You, an alleged millionaire, used mischaracterizations of your finances.

“You took benefits from the very citizens you serve in your volunteer work. You did all this to continue your right-wing crusade against poor people,” the Ohio Democrat said.

During the hearing, Fudge said of Undersander’s donations of his food stamp benefits to charity: “It wasn’t yours to give.”

Undersander countered in an interview after the hearing that he “did a better job of distributing that money than the government did.”

“I didn’t give it to millionaires,” he said.

Fudge also questioned why Republicans chose this particular program to oppose giving states more flexibility.

“Republicans love talking about states’ rights, promoting state flexibility, and handing over to states the administration of federal safety net programs,” Fudge said. “But when it comes to putting that rhetoric into practice for SNAP, they want something very different.”

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, a Democrat, was among those testifying for the need to maintain the program.

“If the broad-based categorical eligibility were to be eliminated, it would have a profound impact on the health and well-being of children in Wisconsin,” Barnes told the subcommittee. “Roughly 24,000 children in the state would lose access to nutritious food under the proposed rule change. That’s 41% of those who qualify for SNAP under broad-based categorical eligibility.”

Fudge cited a Congressional Budget Office estimate that eliminating the “broad-based” policy would result in 400,000 fewer people eligible for food stamps.

Johnson referenced an Agriculture Department report that estimated most food stamp income-eligible homes have financial resources that exceed the federal limit of $20,000 in assets. One in five had more than $100,000 in assets, while tens of thousands had more than $1 million in assets, the South Dakota Republican said.

A Congressional Research Service report from January said eliminating broad-based categorical eligibility would save roughly $12 billion over the next decade.

With regard to fraud, a separate Congressional Research Service report last year found 11% of food stamp overpayments resulted from fraud. However, it found just 5% of food stamp recipients were overpaid.

However, a Government Accountability Office report from 2012 “found that a greater percentage of SNAP households eligible under broad-based categorical eligibility that had incomes over the federal limits had errors than other households (17.2 percent compared to 6.7 percent) in fiscal year 2010.” It warned that fraud could rise.

Undersander told The Daily Signal he’s glad he didn’t testify because of the criticism he thinks would have been leveled against him. Still, he would have preferred the chance to tell a fuller story.

“I wish I could have told the committee I never told anyone in the county something that wasn’t true,” Undersander said. “I wasn’t trying to become famous.”



Gallup: Americans Radically Overestimate LGBT Population

Although U.S. adults think LGBT persons make up nearly 24% of the U.S. population, this is a dramatic overestimation, according to Gallup, which asserts that the LGBT population is in reality closer to 4.5%. Gallup also reports that the percentage of Americans identifying as LGBT is most prevelant among millenials.

In its survey, Gallup asked, "Just your best guess, what percent of Americans today would you say are gay or lesbian?"

From the respondents' answers, the average was 23.6%. In other words, American adults think LGBT people make up nearly 24% of the population, which is more than 5 times the real percentage of 4.5%.

"[A]ll available estimates of the actual gay and lesbian population in the U.S. are far lower than what the public estimates," said Gallup, "and no measurement procedure has produced any figures suggesting that more than one out of five Americans are gay or lesbian."

"Overestimations of the nation's gay population may in part be due to the group's outsized visibility," said the survey firm. "An annual report by GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, found that representation of LGBT people as television series regulars on broadcast primetime scripted programming reached an all-time high of 8.8% in the 2018-2019 television season, which is nearly twice Gallup's estimate of the actual population."

Gallup added that it has "seen the percentage of self-identifying LGBT people grow among millennials, who are making up an increasing share of the U.S. adult population. It is, therefore, possible that Americans' perceptions of the gay population may be influenced by the greater representation they see among young people.

"This also likely explains why younger adults produce higher estimations, as LGBT self-identifiers make up a larger share of their peers than is the case for older Americans."



Cuccinelli: 'The Liars Are Getting in the Way of...True Asylum Seekers'

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the nation has a backlog of more than 300,000 asylum cases, as more and more people flood into this country, expecting to stay.

"We're doing everything we can to knock that backlog down," Cuccinelli told "Sunday Morning Futures" with Maria Bartiromo. "But until Congress fixes the loopholes, meaning gets rid of them...we are not going to see an end to this crisis."

Cuccinelli said many people are coming here for economic reasons -- they want a job, but that is not a valid reason to grant asylum.

"Well, overwhelmingly, they just want opportunity. Plenty of them are lying and saying they want asylum and trying to make up cases for asylum. It is our job to filter through those...and vet those cases to find only the true ones.

"And what's happening here is, the liars are getting in the way of America's historic and continuing merciful approach to true asylum seekers...The whole system is clogged, including for the good ones." "They are jumping the line," Cuccinelli said.

Cuccinelli just returned from the border, where he saw Border Patrol agents doing what he called a "phenomenal" job, despite the overcrowding pressures.

"I mean, you think about the logistics of screening these people who come across uncontrolled into our country. You have medical screening. They've got to be held.

"And, remember, the Border Patrol was designed and their facilities were designed basically to intercept, capture, process and return adult Mexican males. And they can do that in hours, literally in hours."

But Cuccinelli noted that the rules are different for Central Americans and for people claiming to be families. Those people cannot be immediately returned to their home countries until their cases are heard.

At last week's second Democrat debate, every one of the ten candidates raised their hands when they were asked if they would provide health coverage for illegal aliens.

"And it's those incentives that are the problem here that Congress refuses to fix," Cuccinelli said. "We can't just issue memos, like President Obama did. Courts strike those down when President Trump does it. And they defend the memos of President Obama, even when they were illegal, even acknowledged to be by the president, meaning President Obama himself, like DACA. So we don't have these options.

"Congress has to fix these loopholes. And that means closing them."



The True Story of Two Dead Migrants

“Photo of drowned migrants triggers fight over Trump asylum clampdown.” That’s how Reuters headlined the fallout following this week’s revelation that two Salvadorans, a father and his two-year-old child, failed in their attempt to traverse the Rio Grande. The photo is unequivocally heartbreaking. It’s the kind of picture that makes one sick to his stomach. But like most things in life, emotional incidents without proper context inevitably result in irrational knee-jerk reactions.

According to The Daily Mail, the family’s journey began on April 3, when they departed El Salvador. For the next two months, the family — which was seeking asylum in the U.S. — was lodged in a migrant camp in southern Mexico. Restless and intent on engineering a more expeditious asylum process, they jumped onto a bus that took them to the U.S. border this past weekend. “When they arrived, the consulate was closed but they also learned they were far down a list of hundreds of migrants in line for interviews,” the Mail reports. “They decided to make the crossing illegally rather than wait — a decision that led to their deaths.”

Bad choices have consequences. Furthermore, as The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh observes, “This was not a family turned coldly away as it fled violence and oppression. They were not turned away at all. They simply grew impatient waiting for the bureaucratic wheels to turn. Indeed, family members confirm that the family was not being persecuted in its home country.”

Which gets us to the other half of the story. The Mail goes on to reveal that the father had been employed at Papa John’s Pizza. Granted, his income of $350 per month was paltry, but seeking entry based on low or insufficient income, as Walsh explains, “isn’t how the asylum program is traditionally meant to be used.”

Yet Democrats are hell-bent on hanging the incident around President Donald Trump’s neck. Sen. Bernie Sanders bellowed, “Trump’s policy of making it harder and harder to seek asylum — and separating families who do — is cruel, inhumane and leads to tragedies like this.” And according to NBC News, presidential candidate Julian Castro “pointed to the Trump administration’s metering policy as what ‘prompted’ the father and daughter who were found dead Monday to cross the Rio Grande illegally.” (Side note: An NBC “fact check” absurdly labeled this assertion as “true.”)

Actually, to Sanders’s point, other countries’ failure to enforce their own borders is what leads to tragedies like this. And to Castro’s point, Democrats are prompting this behavior — both with open-borders advocacy and legislative malfeasance. As Trump put it, “If they fixed the laws you wouldn’t have that. People are coming up, they’re running through the Rio Grande. They can change it very easily so people don’t come up, and people won’t get killed.”

But that would mean losing an important narrative leading up to the 2020 elections. Can’t have that.

Part of the Democrat effort to push Trump out of the Oval Office and to take over both chambers of Congress is to suggest that “Republicans don’t care about kids.” They point to this week’s photo of two drowned people as proof. Yet it’s Democrats who won’t budge on fixing the laws. And that’s to say nothing of the people who really don’t care about kids — the ones trafficking them. The Department of Homeland Security has so far flagged 316 fraudulent families. Sadly, our lawmakers have also perpetuated this fraud.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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