Electronic Benefit Transfer

All posts tagged Electronic Benefit Transfer

louisiana ebt

By Daisy Luther

Remember last month when EBT cards in Louisiana showed no limits?  Remember how all of those EBT users had a chaos-fueled shopping spree and emptied store shelves within hours?  Remember how that one woman with only 49 cents left on her card tried to leave with $700 worth of food?

English: Governor Bobby Jindal at the Republic...

Well, the governor of Louisianna remembers too, and he has taken the unprecedented move of canceling the benefits cards for every person suspect of participating in the fraudulent free-for-all.

… Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal’s office will cancel food stamp benefits for anyone who participated in a fraud and shopping spree catalyzed by an EBT malfunction.

More than 12,000 people were sent an insufficient funds notice when the problem with the EBT cards was fixed on Oct. 12; those who transgressed may lose their EBT cards for a year.

Suzy Sonnier, the secretary of state at the Department of Children and Family Services, released a statement saying: “We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law. We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system.” (source)

It all started on October 12, when technical problems plagued the EBT system across the country.  17 states were affected.  Most of the benefits recipients couldn’t use their cards at all, causing mini-riots across the country when they were unable to buy food for their families. Within a few days, the USDA had sent notices to the states ordering them to freeze SNAP funds as a contingency plan because of the government shutdown.  Meanwhile, in a few places in Louisiana, the EBT malfunction caused the cards to show no limit, and many stores allowed users to shop anyway.

And shop they did.  Even though the accepted policy is to allow benefits recipients to purchase $50 worth of groceries in the event that cards malfunction, many stores did not limit purchases.  Grocery carts were filled with reckless abandon and users gleefully left the stores with hundreds of dollars worth of ill-gotten supplies.

It looks like dishonesty was not the best policy, however.

Governor Jindal’s move comes after public urging from the office of the Louisiana Attorney General, David Vitter.

Louisiana Senator David Vitter. An official ph...Sen. David Vitter urged Louisiana officials Wednesday to pursue charges and strip food stamp benefits from Wal-Mart shoppers in north Louisiana who turned a technical glitch into a free shopping spree.

Vitter, R-La., called for state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the Jindal administration to take action against shoppers who generated national headlines, spawned YouTube videos, and created a Twitter frenzy after a failure in the electronic benefit transfer system — the process for using food stamps — allowed them to spend beyond their balances in mid-October.

Smartphones captured images of carts piled high with groceries that were abandoned once the system came back online.

Taxpayers did not lose money because of safety measures built into the food stamp system.

“It should be clear that someone who tried to buy massive amounts of groceries purposely attempted to exceed the program limits. That sort of fraud should be met with disqualification from the program at the very least,” Vitter wrote.     (source)

Those whose cards have been cancelled may appeal the decision in hopes of having their benefits restored, but if they lose the appeal, they could lose their benefits anywhere from one year all the way to…forever. Suzie Sonnier wrote,  “Louisiana’s current SNAP policy allows a one year sanction from the program for a first offense, a 24 month suspension for a second offense and a permanent disqualification for a third offense.”

Let’s hope, for their sakes and that of their innocent children, that the fraudulent shoppers purchased long term storage foods, because it looks like they are going to need it. As always, it’s the children who will really pay the price for the irresponsible actions of their parents. Through greed, dishonesty, and an entitlement mentality, these folks have just created their own SHTF event.

See more at: The Organic Prepper 

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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Riot Control Tactics

Posted by P. Henry

The headlines are predicting doom on November 1st when the USDA projects that the average monthly food stamp payment of approximately $272 per household will be cut by $36 dollars. Experts are saying to expect food riots as people all over the country suddenly learn that either they aren’t able to feed their family anymore or become angry with the news that this entitlement has been taken away from them. Is it really possible that people will riot over this news? I think it could happen, but usually when experts in the media are forecasting riots and pinning a date to it, this has the feel of a staged event. I guess we’ll know if certain community leaders start heading for the cameras.

Riots are certainly possible even over something as seemingly minor as this. We saw just recently what happened when a glitch in the EBT system caused a run on Wal-Mart in two towns in Louisiana. In a short time, the looters with an alibi I’ll call them, had cleaned out the food section of the store leaving nothing for anyone else to eat. The Washington times reported:

“It was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town. There was no food left on any of the shelves, and no meat left. The grocery part of Wal-Mart was totally decimated,” said Springhill Police Chief Will Lyn.

This foreshadowing of what a crowd out of control can do was under different circumstances than what is predicted to happen on Friday. These EBT owners at Wal-Mart were being told that the magic cards that give them a monthly budget for groceries suddenly had no limits. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, they figured that they should take advantage of their lottery winnings and stock up the freezer. Imagine what would happen if the EBT card said instead of “get anything you want”, the message was “you can’t get anything at all”. Do you think the results would be better or worse?

All of this talk of riots got me to thinking about large protests and the eventual destruction we have seen for a long time played out in large cities and foreign countries. Get enough angry people together, the riot-police will come out and then things will get broken and people will get hurt. We have not heard a lot of riots in the news recently; perhaps the global outrage has cooled off with the onset of fall. The Arab Spring is now the quiet of Autumn or maybe the news simply stopped reporting it. Regardless, I do anticipate riots in our future and apparently so does the Department of Homeland Security. Riots are social protest taken to another level and they can be dangerous places to be.

Obviously, riots can get out of hand and even our armed forces train to control riots. Army publication FM 3-19-15 even lists as potential causes of a riot, events that seem eerily similar to the food riots predicted above.

Community unrest results in urban conflicts that arise from highly emotional social and economic issues. Economically deprived inner city residents may feel that they are treated unjustly or ignored by people in power and authority. Tensions can build quickly in a community over a variety of issues, such as hunger, poor employment opportunities, inadequate community services, poor housing, and labor issues. Tension in these areas creates the potential for violence. When tensions are high, it takes a small (seemingly minor) incident, rumor, or act of injustice to ignite groups within a crowd to riot and act violently.

I came across a manual when I went looking for more information about Riots and Riot control tactics. I wanted to see if I could understand the perspective of the police and military Riot control units and learn what they are trained to do when they are called out to put down these mini rebellions. One manual I found is called the “Warrior Crowd Control and Riot Manual” which you can purchase for $5 on this site. I don’t know who wrote it and I haven’t been in a riot so I can’t vouch for the information but it is an interesting read. If you search for it, you might be able to find a free version to download. Everything in it points to a source advocating for rioting and this book seems to be a guide for how to carry out a riot, not how to manage one.

The manual is broken into two sections. The first deals with Crowd Control and this is written from the perspective of the police or military CCU (riot squad) team most of the time. I think the manual flows back and forth between the Crowd Control being directed at you and others. The second section is called Riot training and goes into some pretty interesting details about how protestors should conduct a riot. Maybe, more accurately the section deals with how to stage a riot without getting hurt or captured. I think this information is valuable if you are faced with a WROL scenario and find yourself dealing with a large and hostile group who may be trying to riot outside your home or neighborhood. It could also be useful if you find your self caught up in the middle of a riot in your city.

IndRiot

Individual Riot Control/Protection gear

Before I continue, I would recommend that you DO NOT get into any of these situations. Avoid riots at all costs unless your own values tell you that there is no other option. This manual and others dealing with the rioter side of the confrontation usually advocate violence in some fashion. In all of the cases I have seen at least in the US, that violence is taken out on businesses by the agitators listed in this guide. You don’t want to be the loser busting in the window of a department store and stealing clothes if you are mad at a politician.

The flip side is that if you are in a WROL situation, these tactics might quickly go out the window. If I am defending my home from a mob who is intent on taking our lives, I won’t be as concerned with showing restraint if you understand what I mean.

Crowd Control

Crowd control is a generic term for getting a large group of people to do what you want them to do. In a riot, this is usually to stop what they are doing or to move away. The people responsible for crowd control have to make decisions based upon what the crowd is doing, the energy of the crowd and what direction the crowd is heading. If the crowd is heading for your home, the objective would be to stop them before they get there and send them off where they came from without any violence.

Crowd control weapons – There are a lot of weapons and equipment to consider if you are part of the riot squad in charge of dispersing the crowd. Primary to any offensive weapons would be defensive in the form of protection. Helmets are vital to protect your head from flying objects like rocks or bottles and be anything from Military Kevlar to skateboarding helmets. You can easily pick up a surplus Kevlar helmet at your local army navy store or on EBay. Shop around because prices are all over the place.

Once your head is protected, you move down to shin and forearm guards, heavily padded gloves, face shields and a striking weapon. Usually the weapon is a large baton which

can be made from any good solid piece of wood. You can get inch and a half poles at your local hardware store or the old standby – a baseball bat. Pepper spray is also a good close quarters deterrent if people are coming towards your line. Lastly you would round out your personal protection with a firearm in most cases.

Crowd behavior and Psychology – Crowds are living breathing animals and their moods change based upon a lot of factors like how long they have been protesting, the injustice they are railing against, weather, frustration. Most of the riots we see on TV are comprised of a lot of people watching, even more taking photos and a small percentage acting up. It is the agitators that you have to be mindful of and that is who the CCU’s will try to take out of the equation.

The agitators are the ones who will instigate the crowd to action and these are the de facto leaders. If you remove the agitator, in many cases, the crowd will lose its steam. Riots by their definition are large and unorganized. A well-organized riot control team can manage a much higher number of protestors. I will point out that this concept correlates directly with the reason the crowd is rioting in the first place. If there is a piece of legislation that the crowd wants passed, the violence is likely to be low. Kill a few people or take away freedom and liberty and then you have a different dynamic. At a certain point, when people have nothing else to lose, all bets are off and the crowd could easily go on a rampage destroying everything in its path.

Lethal Over watch

Lethal Over watch

Communications during a riot – It is vital that you are able to maintain communications with the rest of the riot squad or your group during the course of the event. Radio communications might not work so hand signals should be your fall back. Having hand signals for how to line up and constrain the crowd will make communicating even in a highly noisy environment possible.

Lethal Over watch – Controlling the high ground offers time tested advantages over almost any opponent. Governments will always have snipers on the roof tops to monitor the situation of any riots. That is great news if they are protecting you, bad news if they aren’t. The lethal part of this element is the ability for the sniper to take out anyone who poses a threat to life or safety of the Riot Squad. Snipers are also able to help watch over the crowd from a better advantage point and see actions that the people on the ground aren’t able to. If you find yourself in a riot, take a look around and see how many places you are being watched. With drones now, there is virtually no way to keep yourself out of the eyes of someone.

Containment vs. Dispersal – The person responsible for running the CCU will make the call in a riot as to what the goal is of the riot squad. Usually, the intended result is to either disperse the crowd or contain them for arrest. There are various methods of containing crowds but in most cases, the CCU wants the riot to disperse. For this reason they will leave an escape route and start driving people out away from the primary zone.

If you are in a riot and find yourself getting backed into a dead end, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a whooping.

Snatch Squads – Snatch squads are 4-6 man teams designed to run out from the line of riot squad or come from behind, grab protestors, usually leaders or agitators and remove them from the protest. This is a highly psychological move meant to intimidate and disorganize the protestors. Snatch squads are usually in the back of the line and they don’t have shields or weapons.

SnatchSquad

Snatch Squads for quickly arresting agitators

Constructing Barricades – The last line of defense is usually a barricade and are used by smaller forces to funnel the action of a larger crowd. Barricades are best placed at choke points to block passage of the riot and can be constructed from all manner of items. Barbed wire or concertina wire is a great deterrent for a barricade as is cars, downed trees, or fences. You can also use virtually any other large item like wood, stairs, doors, refrigerators, etc.

The goal of any type of riot control should be to disperse the crowd peacefully, but violent and even lethal force is allowed in the right circumstances. Don’t find yourself on the wrong side of a riot and keep an eye out Friday for what may happen. I think I’ll hit the grocery store tonight just in case. – The Prepper Journal

DHS Prepares for Food Stamp Riots

By Mac Slavo

A few weeks ago we saw what happens when the Electronic Benefit Transfer system is threatened in any way. When access to food stamps went offline for just a few hours, the masses began to panic in what were essentially isolated hot spots where law & order totally broke down.

This Friday, because of guidelines set forth in the American and Recovery Investment Act, the 48 million Americans receiving nutritional food assistance from the government are going to see cuts to their monthly distributions.

According to the USDA, the average monthly food benefit for an American family is about $272. Come November 1st, that will be reduced by $36 – or about 13%.

Now, that may not seem like a big number, until you consider that the people depending on these distributions are already struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

The government is, in essence, reducing their food availability by 13% overnight.

Most people aren’t even paying attention, but one organization certainly is, because they know exactly what can happen when you start taking food out of peoples’ mouths.

(Video follows excerpts)

November 1st could be a very, very iffy day.

This could be ‘all hell breaks lose’ day.

The Department of Homeland Security is spending $80 million on a wrath of armed guards to protect the IRS and other government buildings in New York, not from terrorist threats mind you, but from American citizens because on November 1st the food stamp program is set to start decreasing the amount that is allocated to food stamp recipients… and they’re worried that violence will ensue.

I guess they’re preparing for the worst…

If we do not radically change our economy and revamp so that those nearly 50 million people have an opportunity to be liberated from food stamps to get $75, versus $70, versus $65. What these people need is economic opportunity and a good job so they can put food on their own table.

You know, the slaves had food stamps too. It was called scraps from mazza’s table… we have a crisis within our country right now when you have 50 million people, nearly the entire West Coast, on food stamps.

That’s the real outrage.

While we don’t anticipate any serious riots or violence following the food stamp cut backs, this shows in unambiguous detail what the government and the Department of Homeland Security have been planning for.

For years they have been simulating the collapse of the U.S. financial system and its after-effects. And their simulations have concluded that any breakdown which leaves people without money, food, or access to government support will lead to widespread violence, looting and riots on the streets of America. The control grid has been put into place to handle what they know is coming.

Why else would they spend $80 million beefing up security to deal with the blow-back from this relatively minor food stamp cut?

Because they know what can happen – and they know what WILL happen!

They’ve spent billions of dollars stockpiling food, guns, ammunition, and militarizing our domestic police forces to deal specifically with riots and mass demonstrations.

We can pretend that FEMA refugee internment camps don’t exist, but any sensible police state would have designed, built and staffed these facilities well in advance as well.

The United States government, as well as governments around the world, are fully expecting that the game will soon come to an end and confidence in the entire global economic, financial, monetary and political systems will be lost.

And when that happens you can be assured that all of those supplies they’ve stockpiled will be used to support their policing efforts, not for the benefit of the people.

This means you and yours will literally be on your own and left to fend for yourselves.

It’s time to make and finalize preparations, because these are not the activities of a government expecting peace and stability.

They are expecting madness and pandemonium, so you’d better have your plans in place, including your food, water, gold, and other supplies that will help you survive when others will be left to deal with the horrific consequences.

This won’t be a short-term event, but rather, a sustained long-term decline that could potentially affect us for decades – thus we need to be thinking sustainability, and not just prepping for a single isolated emergency.

You best get ready. The government’s giving us a head’s up on what will soon come to pass. – SHTFplan.com

sandy-trash

(Pictured: Help is not coming. Sandy victims rummage through trash for food in Bayonne, NJ)

By Mac Slavo

Over coming weeks millions of Americans will be tuning in to NatGeo’s new American Blackout film about surviving in a post-power grid collapse environment that lacks electricity, fresh water and the normal flow of commerce.

For most it will be nothing more than standard evening entertainment, but what if such an event turns out to be a future American reality?

Such a scenario may seem improbable, but just in the last several years we’ve seen it play out time and again all over the world, albeit in situations limited in time and scope. Hurricane Katrina and over 50,000 people stranded at the New Orleans Super Dome with no water, Hurricane Sandy and starving individuals rumaging through garbage cans to find a morsel of food, and various other natural and man-made disasters are an eye-opening testament to what happens when the improbable becomes reality.

Just a few weeks ago we saw what the panicked hive mentality can lead to when thousands of people stormed Walmart grocery stores following a breakdown in the Electronic Benefit Transfer system for food assistance.

We’ve become so dependent on others – namely our governments – to assist us when crisis strikes, that this “learned helplessness” in our society has left people in major cities totally unprepared to cope with disasters.

Via ABC News Australia:

“What people have got to know is that they’re on their own, literally on their own,” he said.

“We can’t have a truck or a car at your door when you ring triple-0 in a disaster situation.”

Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.

But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.

“If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?” he said.

“When we put to people, ‘Can you survive for 72 hours without external help?’, the reaction is their jaw drops.”

Such a disaster could mean a loss of refrigeration, no tap water or air-conditioning, as well as transport failures and traffic chaos.

Mr Winter says cities are particularly vulnerable to these failures.

“We are more vulnerable in our big cities because we’ve got transport, we live in high rises, evacuations – talk to people about Katrina, in New Orleans, getting people out of the city,” he said.

In 2009, a heatwave in Melbourne killed more people than the Black Saturday bushfires.

Triple-0 emergency lines were overwhelmed, hospitals overflowed and the ambulance service was near breaking point after 12 days of temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius.

“When flooding was occurring, people went to the grocery store and bought frozen goods,” he said.

“Frozen goods are the first things that you have to throw out. You want people to understand that they’ve actually got to live without the capacity to flick on the light switch or the electric stove or the gas stove.

“People misunderstand what is likely to occur when they are affected by the disasters.”

Mr McGowan warns that the Government’s emphasis on cash handouts after disasters is part of the problem.

“Some of the more recent concentrations on hardship payments and those things have actually started to increase the learned helplessness that many feel during these issues,” he said.

Just 14 per cent of compensations payouts after the Brisbane floods was spent fortifying homes against similar disaster in the future.

Given the number of natural and man-made disasters that strike areas of the globe on a yearly basis, there’s a strong likelihood that one day it may happen to you, too.

Hopefully the disaster will be limited, but even in those cases the government is often overwhelmed. If you think about the possibility of a larger scale emergency, for example a cyber-attack that cripples our power grid as former DHS Secretary Napolitano suggested will happen in the future, there is simply no possible way for first responders to assist everyone who will need help.

Consider that FEMA has stockpiled at least 140 million emergency food rations in their regional emergency response centers. If a large earth quake, Tsunami or rogue terrorist attack struck a population of 1 million people, those supplies would likely be gone within a month – and that’s a best case scenario because FEMA would have to tap regional distribution centers to acquire supplies from all over the country.

It took them 3 days to get water to the Super Dome, if that gives you any ideas of how disorganized emergency response will be.

Given that the United States has over 50 metropolitan areas with populations exceeding 1 million people, you can see how the situation would quickly become untenable if disaster struck just a single major city or region. If it were to go national, striking multiple cities simultaneously, we’d have complete and total pandemonium within a few days.

The only plausible solution, and one that FEMA and DHS fail to support in any significant manner, is personal preparedness. Every household in this country should be urged to develop a personal preparedness plan by stockpiling food rations, potable water, survival tools, and even precious metals like silver bars to help them cope for at least a few weeks should our power grid go down and traditional commerce exchange mechanisms become inoperable. Those who fail to do so will have to deal with the horrific consequences.

Americans have been given a false sense of security through the learned helplessness of government assistance programs and the belief that the billions of dollars being invested into emergency planning is somehow going to provide the necessary supplies they’ll need if crisis strikes.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

We’re not immune from a massive destabilizing event. In fact, we’re likely more vulnerable now than ever before. – SHTFplan.com

Let’s Bring Back Victory Gardens

Posted by Linda Holliday

As the U.S. government begins scaling back its Food Stamp Program, I wonder how 48 million recipients (almost 1 of every 6 Americans) are being advised to make the transition to reduced or discontinued benefits. Cuts loom ahead, too, for Social Security and other programs.

Is home gardening ever encouraged as a way to offset the escalating cost of, well, just about everything?

Some say it would be cruel to ask people to grow some of their own food as Americans did during the first two world wars. Literature from those eras, however, indicates people felt good about contributing, they saved money, enjoyed better health and had fun gardening with their families and communities.

We can certainly attest to all those rewards. Also, we are assured our food is organic. How did gardens (and clotheslines!) ever become symbols of poverty anyway? We consider them icons of abundance, fitness and good stewardship.

One of my favorite gardening guides is a World War II booklet put out by International Harvester Company that covers everything from cold frames to compost, pest control and root cellars.

“Get at the garden in time. Make a plan for it. Hang it on the wall. Talk about it … Make up your mind when you will plant the different things — then plant them,” the booklet advises.

Now, here’s the part I really like:

“Take care of it; it won’t take care of itself. Anything worth having is worth working for. What isn’t worth working for isn’t worth anything. A good garden will make the home more homelike.”

I found the 80-page booklet among some old cookbooks. It had obviously been referred to many times through the years, and even has a carefully mended front cover. Although the photos are tiny, Page 3 compares a bountiful garden in North Dakota to another where people have lived for years “and still no sign of growing anything to eat.”

“Grow Your Living,” the booklet warns. “It May Not Be Available for You to Buy.”

Imagine a garden like this at your school.

Imagine a garden like this at your school.

When International Harvester composed the booklet, the food stamp program was new, initiated as a temporary benefit that was discontinued two years before the war ended.

EBT snafu

We hope last week’s Electronic Benefit Transfer system debacle in Louisiana does not reveal how people will behave if they fear their benefits might cease or food becomes scarce.

During a two-hour glitch that temporarily disabled EBT card limits in several states, Walmart shoppers in two Louisiana stores filled their carts to overflowing. Some customers reportedly pulled trains of 8 to 10 carts through the store or returned for more free groceries after bringing one load home, according to online reports.

When the system was restored, people abandoned their full carts in store aisles and checkout lines. One Springhill woman walked away from her $700 bill at the checkout as she had only 49 cents on her card.

Meanwhile, we wonder – what were people thinking? Did they fear the system was down for good and they needed to stockpile? (Hoarding food is never a sustainable solution.) Have people become utterly dependent on the system?

End of surpluses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Stamp Program has been reworked a few times since it was created in May 1939. It was discontinued from 1943 to 1961 “since the conditions that brought the program into being—unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment—no longer existed,” according to the USDA website. So, it is not unthinkable the program could disappear again.

Originally, recipients bought stamps that came in two colors: orange for any food product and blue for surplus. For every dollar of orange stamps bought, the buyer received 50 cents of blue stamps for free, which were exchanged for agricultural surplus items, such as milk, eggs or cheese.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy introduced a food stamp pilot program that no longer included surplus foods. The stamps still were purchased, although the cost was incrementally reduced. The USDA maintained that stamps should continue to be sold so as not to undermine the dignity of recipients. Three years later, Congress made the Food Stamp Program permanent.

512498(4-P-59)_largeThe next major change came in 1977 when food stamps were no longer required to be purchased. The move to stop selling stamps disappointed many who had supported the program as a means to help the poor help themselves, not as a direct government handout.

Food Stamp budget cuts

Last month, the government announced a $4 billion food stamp budget cut that will affect everyone on the program now and for future applicants. An estimated 4 million people will be cut from the program in 2014. It is estimated that at least 1 to 3 million will be cut each consecutive year for the next decade.

FoodStamp.org posted some reconstruction solutions, which includes removing illegal immigrants from the program. Currently, children born to illegal immigrants in the United States are entitled to benefits, as are their illegal alien parents. Is it any wonder we can no longer support this program?

Proposed agricultural solutions include farmers markets, donations and co-ops where recipients work for their food. FoodStamp.org says these solutions “seem barbaric to some progressives and others.”

A few quick online searches revealed little practical preparation ideas for recipients to wean themselves from the program. FoodStamp.org suggests that single, able-bodied participants find work or create a nutrition plan such as vegetarianism or a sustainable and self-reliant food lifestyle.

Another option is to combine vegetables with meat, grains, dairy, or other foods to make them last longer throughout the week. FoodStamp.org goes on to recommend ways to make vegetables more interesting, especially for children, by smothering them in dips and sauces. Or, coat celery sticks with peanut butter and decorate with raisins. Also, exchange recipes with Facebook friends.

Some of this seems silly to me, but is actually more advice than I found on the USDA’s site. To its credit, FoodStamp.org also included a short blog about gardening as a suggestion. The food stamp program now allows recipients to buy seeds. Finally — an idea for sustainability.

Teaching people to grow food

The USDA was not initially keen on promoting home gardening. When First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a vegetable garden on the White House grounds, USDA leaders worried her example would hurt industrial agriculture.

Eventually, however, the government endorsed household and community food plots and supplied gardening literature. The USDA also issued a 20-minute film to promote and train people how to plant victory gardens.

Have a good garden.

Have a good garden.

The call to plant a Victory Garden was answered by nearly 20 million Americans during World War II.  Those backyard plots produced up to 40 percent of all that was consumed. When prosperity resumed, however, many gardens were abandoned.

Today, as food prices continue to climb and more people are unable to feed their households as before, it is time to relearn those skills. As they did in Cuba when their economy collapsed, we should be planting food anywhere we can – on rooftops, in window boxes, along the sidewalk, next to the garage – anywhere there is dirt. Even without soil, a couple big jars of sprouts growing on the kitchen counter are an excellent source of nutrition.

Modern gardening experts such as Marjory Wildcraft and John Jeavons say we don’t need to plow up the whole back 40 to feed our families. Marjory laughs how she made the mistake of tilling an entire acre for her first garden and ended up with an acre of weeds. Instead, she says now, start small – and keep growing.

Perhaps it is time to bring back Victory Gardens.

Source: The Prepper Journal

Frequent contributor, Linda Holliday lives in the Missouri Ozarks where she and her husband formed Well WaterBoy Products, a company devoted to helping people live more self-sufficiently off grid, and invented the WaterBuck Pump. A former newspaper editor and reporter, Holliday blogs for Mother Earth News, sharing her skills in modern homesteading, organic gardening and human-powered devices.

crash-2014

(Image courtesy Dees Illustration)

By Mac Slavo

If there’s one thing that should be clear, it’s that nothing the government or their banking partners have done to solve the economic crisis has been for your benefit. They’ve enriched themselves, yet again, on the backs of the American people.

All the while, they’ve told us that everything is getting better. But anyone who’s paying attention know that nothing of the sort has happened.

We continue to shed jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people are still losing their homes. Personal debt is rapidly approaching 2007 levels. The U.S. government has borrowed more money than what we can ever hope to repay.

We are still in the middle of it and it’s only going to get worse.

If you think it’s over, that they saved us and we’re out of the woods, then you’ve got a lot of pain coming your way.

And if you think you still have plenty of time to prepare, that it’s decades or years away, you’d better think again.

Trend forecaster Gerald Celente predicted the collapse of 2008 in remarkable fashion. And now he’s warning of a similar crisis to come next year.

There’s fear and hysteria running through the entire global financial community, because as everybody knows all they did was postpone the inevitable.

[They’re going to] turn more of America into Slavelandia as well, where people can get those part-time jobs, have no insurance, no benefits, and not enough money to live on, and they’ll have to go on food stamps and other assistance…

I’m saying to everybody out there, If you don’t have your money in your pocket it’s not yours.

Any self-respecting adult that hears McConnel, Reid, Boehner, Ryan, one after another, and buys this baloney… they deserve what they get.

And as for the international scene… the whole thing is collapsing.

That’s our forecast.

We are saying that by the second quarter of 2014, we expect the bottom to fall out… or something to divert our attention as it falls out.

It’s the militarization of the United States… because of the grand scheme. And that is, these people may be stupid – the people running government – but they’re very shrewd. And they know… that there’s no way to solve these economic problems.

The mayhem that went on at Walmart when people couldn’t cash in their food stamps.

Multiply that by tens of millions. Multiply that by a breakdown in society.

Look what they did in Boston. To me that was a test. They closed down a hundred square miles… to hunt for a 19-year old kid.

Look at America’s most feared criminal of this last year. A 19-year old kids, Snowden, and Bradley Manning. Now there’s three faces of disaster you never want to meet in a dark alley.

So, you can see how this society is being controlled because they don’t want anyone to get out of line.

Watch Gerald Celente and Alex Jones discuss the coming trends and our future:

(Video via Infowars)

Make no mistake. It’s coming.

And when it hits, it’ll make the crisis of 2008 look like a picnic.

We survived that one, barely, but it took trillions of dollars just to stabilize, not fix, the system.

This time around, our creditors and the people as a whole may well lose confidence. And once that is lost, look out, because as Gerald Celente notes, the happenings at Walmart when the EBT system crashed were just a prelude.

Imagine that next time around it happens to not just EBT cards, but ATM’s and bank accounts, or that the U.S. dollar itself crashes to such an extent that it is no longer feasible as a mechanism of exchange.

In such a scenario you can fully expect disruptions to food supplies and the normal flow of commerce.

The only saving grace you’ll have are the physical assets in your possession – your arable land, long-term food stores, gold and silver, and the post-collapse labor skills you’ve developed.

The time to prepare is now or you may well experience the horrific effects to come. – SHTFplan.com

Riot Control - Photo by James McCauley

By Michael Snyder

It may not happen this month, or even this year, but food stamp riots are coming to America.  In fact, we got a small preview of the coming food stamp riots this past weekend when a “temporary system failure” caused food stamp cards to stop working in 17 U.S. states.  Within hours, there were “mini-riots” at Wal-Marts and other retailers that rely heavily on food stamp users.  So what would happen if food stamp benefits were cut off or reduced for an extended period of time?  As you will see below, if Congress had not pushed through a “deal”, the USDA would have started cutting off food stamp benefits on November 1st.  Considering the fact that 47 million Americans are on food stamps and more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government, that could have sparked massive rioting.  So the good news is that the coming food stamp riots will probably not happen in November.  The bad news is that the “deal” in Congress only delays the political fighting until after Christmas.  In just a few months we will be dealing with a potential “government shutdown” and a debt ceiling deadline once again.

Most Americans have no idea what almost just happened.  According to Reuters, the state of North Carolina had already cut off some welfare benefits for the month of November…

North Carolina has become the first state to cut off welfare benefits to poor residents in the wake of the partial federal government shutdown, ordering a halt to processing November applications until a deal is reached to end the federal standstill.

More than 20,000 people – most of them children – receive monthly benefits aimed at helping them buy food and other basic supplies through North Carolina’s welfare program, called Work First, which is fully funded by the federal government. Recipients must reapply each month.

And as Mac Slavo recently detailed, the USDA was already planning to cut off food stamp assistance to millions of Americans on November 1st…

We say next month because the USDA, which oversees the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has just issued an order to SNAP agency directors calling for their respective States to implement an emergency contingency program because of government funding issues. In a letter obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center food pantry, the USDA is directing state agencies to, “delay their November issuance files and delay transmission to State Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”

What this means is that should Congress fail to increase the debt ceiling this week, come November there will literally be millions of people in the United States who will have exactly zero dollars transferred to their EBT cards.

What will happen to the nearly 50 million people who depend on these benefits to survive?

In fact, there have been quite a few news reports that have confirmed this

In Utah, Fox News 13 in Salt Lake City reported that a local provider recently received a letter from the USDA sticking to the November 1 cut-off date.

“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,” Bill Tibbits, Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center, told Fox News 13.

“What this means [is] if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp benefit,” added Tibbits.

The USDA letter says in part, “in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice.”

So what would have happened if tens of millions of Americans suddenly had their food stamp benefits cut off without warning?

Well, what happened last weekend can give us a few clues.  Just check out what happened at one Wal-Mart in Mississippi

Customers staged a disturbance then walked out of a Mississippi Walmart store with groceries that hadn’t been paid for Saturday night after a computer glitch left them unable to use their food stamp cards.

People in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a temporary system failure.

Shortly after the mini-riot, managers decided to temporarily close the store, citing customer safety.

Due to this technical glitch, many parents were left wondering how they were going to feed their families.  If this is the kind of anger that is unleashed over a single failed trip to the grocery store, what would we see if this kind of thing went on for an extended period of time?

At some Wal-Mart stores down in Louisiana, EBT cards were not showing any limits on Saturday night, and within two hours many store shelves in the grocery section were completely cleared of merchandise…

Shelves in Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA were reportedly cleared Saturday night, when the stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though they were not showing limits.

The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, “It was worse than any black Friday” that he’s ever seen.

Sadly, this was only a very small preview of the massive food stamp riots that are eventually coming to America.  I like how Mike Adams explained what we are likely to see in the future…

Why does any of this matter? Because this is exactly the same way these people will behave when the federal government goes into default and nearly 50 million EBT cards stop working nationwide.

Fifty million. Consider that for a moment. Most of those 50 million people live in high-density cities. Many are proud owners of Obama phones, Obama food stamps, Obama unemployment checks and Obama subsidized housing. They have absolutely no clue that the government upon which they wholly depend to put food on the table is teetering on the verge of permanent collapse. (Seriously, they cannot conceive of the idea of government “running out of money” because they do not understand where money comes from.) Because of this distorted belief, they do not prepare for any future events other than more Obama handouts. Their entire “preparedness” plan is to vote for Democrats, because that’s who they know will give them the most handouts. And they will always win the popular vote, too, because any politician promising to restore responsible fiscal spending to the government by cutting programs will be viciously accused of being “mean” or involved in “hating poor people.” So the government handouts will only ratchet higher and higher, ensnaring more and more people, until the entire system is unsustainable and collapses under its own weight.

When that system of dependence fails, those who depend on it will panic in mere hours. As proof of this, consider the fact that this mass looting of Wal-Mart stores happened in less than three hours after the Saturday EBT card glitch struck. Police had to be called in to prevent the situation from getting completely out of control, and it was offline for only part of one day.

Now imagine what will happen when EBT cards go offline for 24, 48 or even 72 hours. And imagine it happening in every U.S. city simultaneously.

Of course not all Americans would go wild when food stamp benefits are cut off.

Other Americans express their desperation in other ways.  According to Bloomberg, an increasing number of people are starting to sell hair, breast milk and their own eggs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet…

Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans such as April Hare.

Out of work for more than two years and facing eviction from her home, Hare recalled Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel and took to her computer.

“I was just trying to find ways to make money, and I remembered Jo from ‘Little Women,’ and she sold her hair,” the 35-year-old from Atlanta said. “I’ve always had lots of hair, but this is the first time I’ve actually had the idea to sell it because I’m in a really tight jam right now.”

The mother of two posted pictures of her 18-inch auburn mane on www.buyandsellhair.com, asking at least $1,000 and receiving responses within hours. Hare, who also considered selling her breast milk, joins others exploring unconventional ways to make ends meet as the four-year-old economic expansion struggles to invigorate the labor market and stimulate incomes.

We have moved into a time when things are becoming increasingly unstable and when people are becoming increasingly desperate.

In an attempt to keep order, the authorities will become increasingly forceful in the years ahead.  At this point, many law enforcement officers already believe that there is very little that they cannot do to exert their “authority” over the rest of us.  Just check out video of a drunk off-duty police officer “arresting” a woman that refused to go out on a date with him right here.  Sadly, this type of behavior is becoming way too common these days.

And it looks like major financial institutions are getting ready for the chaos that is eventually coming as well.  In fact, according to an article by Paul Joseph Watson, Chase Bank is now placing a limit on cash withdrawals and is banning business customers from sending wire transfers out of the country…

Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States by imposing capital controls.

Numerous business customers with Chase BusinessSelect Checking and Chase BusinessClassic accounts have received letters over the past week informing them that cash activity (both deposits and withdrawals) will be limited to a $50,000 total per statement cycle from November 17 onwards.

Fortunately, the chaos that would have been unleashed if Congress had not made a deal has now been delayed for a few months.

But by kicking the can down the road, our politicians continue to make our long-term problems even worse.  Either we are going to have tremendous pain now, or we are going to have even worse pain later.  Peter Schiff explained the choice that we are facing this way…

If Republicans were to inexplicably prevail, and the federal government were to cut spending so that its expenditures matched its tax revenues (a truly radical idea) the country’s financial mess would be laid bare. The government would have to weigh the relative costs and benefits of making interest payments on Treasury debt (primarily to foreign creditors) or to trim entitlements promised to U.S. citizens. But those are choices we will have to make sooner or later anyway. In fact we should have dealt with these issues years ago. But generations of mechanistic debt ceiling increases have allowed us to perpetually kick the can down the road. What could possibly be gained by doing it again, particularly if it is done with no commitment to change course?

The Democrats’ argument that America needs to pay its bills is just hollow rhetoric. Paying off one’s Visa bill with a new and bigger MasterCard bill can’t be considered a legitimate payment of debt. At best it is a transfer. But in the government’s case, it doesn’t even qualify as that. Treasury debt is primarily bought by the Fed, foreign central banks, and major financial institutions. None of that will change with a debt ceiling increase. We will just go to the same people for greater quantities. So it’s like paying off your Visa card with a bigger Visa card.

We are living on borrowed time that has been purchased by stealing money from future generations.

We are literally destroying the future in order to make the present more palatable.

But whether it is this year, or next year or the year after that, at some point we are going to experience the pain that results from decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

I hope that you are getting ready. – The Economic Collapse