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Worst Farm Bill Ever – Tell Congress to Fix it!

July 24, 2012

Please let your voice be heard and stop the attacks on small farms!!

Worst Farm Bill Ever – Tell Congress to Fix it!.

Monsanto’s attacks on the law’s ability to protect farmers and consumers from unwanted, dangerous GMO contamination may be the boldest example of its power over Congress. But there’s a lot more in the House Farm Bill that benefits biotechnology and Big Ag at the expense of family farmers and organic and sustainable food and agriculture. The House Farm Bill includes:

  • $16.1 billion in cuts to food assistance
  • Eliminates the Organic Certification Cost Share Program
  • Tens of billions in corporate welfare for the largest commodity crop growers, insurance companies, and agribusinesses
  • $6 billion in cuts to programs to protect natural resources, invest in beginning and disadvantaged farmers, revitalize local food economies, and promote health and food security
  • Unlimited subsidies to mega-farms that continue to drive small family farmers out of business
  • Incentives for growers to drop conservation practices, plow up marginal areas and intensify fencerow-to-fencerow cultivation of environmentally sensitive land
  • Nearly eight times more support for corn, soy, cotton, rice and wheat than for healthy fruits, nuts and vegetables
  • Guts the common-sense rules that protect water quality and wildlife from agricultural pesticides
  • Undermines progress made at the state level for animal rights
  • Ends fair competition and contract protections for livestock producers

Take a moment and please,
Tell Congress to fix this horrible Farm Bill!

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California Voters to decide on GMO Labeling in November (Yeah!)

June 15, 2012

California voters to decide on GMO labeling

Polls show overwhelming support for historic labeling initiative

June 12, 2012 — Last night, the California Secretary of State’s office announced that the Right to Know initiative to label genetically engineered foods will be on the state’s November ballot. The historic initiative would be the first law in the United States requiring labeling of a wide range of genetically engineered foods.

“We’re thrilled that Californians will have the opportunity this November to vote for the right to know what’s in our food,” said Stacy Malkan, a spokesperson for the California Right to Know campaign. “This initiative is pretty simple. It’s about our fundamental right to make informed choices about the food we eat and feed our families.”

The initiative requires labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – which are plants or meats that have had their DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration occurs in a laboratory and is not found in nature.

Polls show nearly unanimous support across the political spectrum for labeling of genetically engineered foods. Nine out of ten voters in the U.S. and in California back labeling, according to recent polls (see Mellman 2012Reuters 2010Zogby 2012). An April poll by San Francisco TV station KCBS found 91% backed labeling.

The California Right to Know initiative is backed by a broad array of consumer, health and environmental groups, businesses and farmers. Major endorsers include Public Citizen, Sierra Club, American Public Health Association, United Farm Workers, California Certified Organic Farmers, Organic Consumers Association, Consumer Federation of America, Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, Organic Valley, Dr. Bronner’s, Eden Foods, Mercola.com, Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now! and the California State Grange.

Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg Family Farms in the Sacramento Valley, noted that the United States stands out as one of the few developed nations that does not provide consumers with simple labels to inform them if their food has been genetically engineered. “More than 40 other countries — including all of Europe, Japan and even China — already label genetically engineered food. Californians deserve to be able to make informed choices too,” Lundberg said.

“As a doctor committed to the health of people and the environment, I strongly believe that people have a right to know, and to choose for themselves, whether to eat foods that have been genetically engineered,” said Robert Gould, MD, president of the SF-Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Susan Lang, a Sacramento mother of two who was one of thousands of volunteers who worked to place the initiative on the ballot, said passing the Right to Know initiative is in the best interests of everyone in the state. “I want to know whether the food I’m buying contains genetically engineered ingredients. All the parents I know want to have this information too,” Lang said.

The California Right to Know initiative is widely regarded as the best chance to achieve GMO labeling in the United States, and the campaign has generated significant national interest in the growing movement for transparency in our food system, as reported in a recent front-page New York Times story.

In March, more than one million people submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a petition for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, more than any other petition in FDA history. Twenty states have tried to legislate GMO labeling, but none have succeeded due to intense opposition from corporate special interests.

“All eyes are on California, and the voters of this state will support our right to know what’s in our food when they vote this November,” said Stacy Malkan from the Right to Know campaign.

More info: Contact Stacy Malkan, 510-542-9224; Stacy@carighttoknow.org

For more information about the California Right to Know campaign, see www.CARighttoKnow.org.

Final Push to make insurance companies cover autism services in California

September 7, 2011

Dear Friends,

A thousand thanks – literally – to the over 1,000 of you who’ve emailed Assembly Speaker John Perez asking him to allow a vote on the bill to require insurers to cover autism behavioral therapy.

We have three more days to convince Speaker Perez to act. The Legislature adjourns for the year at the end of the day this Friday.

If you haven’t emailed Mr. Perez yet, please do it now. It only takes one minute of your time. Here  is a link to the ARC page where you can  fill in the information to send the email:  http://capwiz.com/thearc/ca/issues/alert/?alertid=53192636&queueid=%5Bcapwiz:queue_id%5D

Whether or not you’re already emailed him, also please forward this Action Alert to anyone you know who might be willing to take the 45 seconds to help.

The bill will help the entire developmental disability community, not just people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. It will save the state conservatively hundreds of millions of dollars that the state now pays for this therapy, and it will relieve some of the pressure to make still more cuts in community services next year.

Senator Darrell Steinberg, the bill’s author, is continuing to try to convince Mr. Perez to release the bill. So are the autism groups, the bill’s sponsors, and The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy, who are supporting them. And we need more help from the entire community.

Thank you for your advocacy,

Greg deGiere

Public Policy Director

The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California

1225 Eighth Street, Suite 350

Sacramento, CA 95814

916-552-6619 x 16 (office)

916-223-7319 (mobile)

 

 

 

Time to get back on the phones and tell Congress “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!”

September 7, 2011
Time to get back on the phones and say “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!”

Congress is returning from its August recess this week and between now and Thanksgiving, Members will make momentous decisions about next year’s federal budget and deficit reduction due to the recent debt ceiling deal.

We are urging you to welcome Congress back to Washington with a reminder that we want them to support a fair and responsible budget and plan that protects programs vital to people with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.  They must not balance the federal budget on the backs of people with I/DD – “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!”

It only will take you a few minutes to call your Senators and Representative and deliver this crucial message.

Now is the time to speak to your representatives in Congress. All Members of Congress need to continue hearing from their constituents on this critical issue.  Click to find the district office phone number for your Members of the House and Senators.

What should I say?
•    The budget cannot be balanced on the backs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
•    Medicaid and programs that serve low-income people must be exempt from deficit reduction plans.
•    New revenues must be part of the solution.  It’s not possible to reduce the deficit fairly by cutting programs that provide critical supports to people with disabilities and others in need.
•    Share your story!  There is nothing more powerful than sharing your personal experience, so please tell your elected official about your support service needs.
•    Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!

Thank you for letting Congress know that a range of federal programs are truly a “lifeline” to you and your family.

-from the ARC

Calling all California Food Activists – Stand up for NO GMOs

September 7, 2011

Do you live in California and care about your food safety? Do you want labeling for GMOs? Do something about it!

The Organic Consumers Association says:

Hello California Food Activists,

October is right around the corner. That’s the month for us to start gathering signatures to get the California Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act on the ballot in November 2012.

Folks, we need your help! This is a unique opportunity, something totally new for California. What we do here will change the face of GMO policy in the whole country.  If you care about your right to know what’s in your food, then NOW is the time to ACT.  We are at a crossroads with both GMOs and this campaign. If we want to see labels on GMOs, we need to amp it up in September with meetings and in October gathering signatures. The future of our food and the future of biodiversity depend on it!

While we are growing every week, we still need contacts and organizational “Seed Meetings” in some key areas of the North and Central State.  If you live in any of these areas please help us organize a meeting so we can find others who want to gather signatures.

Arcata/Eureka
Monterey/Carmel/Salinas
Oakland to Fremont
Richmond
Stockton
Walnut Creek to Pleasanton

The week of September 26 is wide open, let’s fill it up with meetings!
Contact Pamm at plarry@labelgmos.org

Scheduled Northern California Events

***Please see below for a very special offer to attend the Biosafety Alliance Conference in San Francisco, September 16-17 and help the Label GMOs campaign, too!***

Sacramento-Activist Meeting
Wednesday, Sept 7th
7 pm
The Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd in Sacramento
Look for the table reserved in the back patio area.

Yuba City-Activist Seed Meeting with Pamm Larry
Wednesday, September 7th 
5pm-6:30 pm
Sunflower Natural Food Store
Teegarden at Sutter Street

Quincy-Tabling event at farmer’s market then Activist Seed Meeting with Pamm Larry
Thursday, September 8th
Farmer’s Market earlier, then meeting at 7:30
Quincy Natural Foods Learning Center, 248 Main Street
Adjacent to the Farmer’s Market and right across the street from Quincy Natural Foods.
Local Contact Linda: 530-283-3989.

San Rafael-Screening of Robyn O’ Brien TED talk followed by GMO allergen discussion
Friday, September 9th
7 pm
First United Methodist Church of San Rafael, 9 Ross Valley Drive
Film @ 7:00, 8:00-Discussion and presentation of the GMO
Labeling Project Wheelchair accessible, plenty of parking. For more info 454-9898
Robyn shares her personal story and how it inspired her current path as a “Real Food” evangelist. Grounded in a successful Wall Street career that was more interested in food as good business than good-for-you, this mother of 4 was shaken awake by the dangerous allergic reaction of one of her children to a “typical” breakfast. Her mission to unearth the cause revealed more about the food industry than she could stomach, and impelled her to share her findings with others.

Fresno-Activist Seed Meeting with Pamm Larry
Friday, September 9th
6PM
110 El Camino Fresco, Fresno 93720
The best way to describe it is that it’s the sitting area behind Borders in River Park.  Come learn about the initiative and get your community hooked up with the state that’s organizing to gather signatures this fall. It’s time to label genetically engineered foods…let’s get this job done!
Local Contact: Royce 559- 708-5291
roycesanders2006@yahoo.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=277629472262968#!/event.php?eid=277629472262968

Modesto-Activist Seed Meeting with Pamm Larry
Saturday, September 10th
Time and location TBA as soon as available.  Keep your calendar open!

Santa Cruz-Activist Meeting- GMO-Free Santa Cruz
Sunday, September 11th
4-5pm
Westside New Leaf Community Classroom , 1101 Fair Ave.
Please come and participate in anti-GMO activism!!! We need volunteers willing to do Tabling events to help spread GMO awareness and find other anti-gmo community members who would like to help. Come find out more information on tabling (we even have tabling manuals!) as well as help plan the other BIG events coming to SC: the Rally Oct 16, and Jeffrey Smith in Oct. We’ll update on what’s new with the Label GMOs Initiative Movement, and also treat you with some organic homemade cookies made by one of the best bakers ever, Vickie B.! 🙂
Tarah Locke gmofreesc@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=195263577208295

Chico-Screening The World According to Monsanto
Monday, September 12th
7:30-10:00pm
GRUB Cooperative, under walnut tree, 1525 Dayton Rd, Chico.

Lotus-Activist Seed Meeting
Tuesday, September 13th
6:30-7:30pm
Gringo’s Mexican Cafe: 7310 Hwy 49 #4, Lotus CA 95651
Tawni Taylor: labelitnow@yahoo.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Label-GMOs-El-Dorado-County-Group/208432749213443

Santa Rosa-Tabling Event at the Heirloom Seed Exposition
September 13th-15th
11AM-5PM
The Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Road
Dr. Vandana Shiva-Keynote Speaker Thurs. Sept, 15th 7:00PM
Jeffrey Smith-Keynote Speaker Tue. Sept, 13th 7:00PM
Alice Waters-Keynote Speaker Wed. Sept, 14th 7:00PM
Pamm Larry will be speaking at 1PM on Thursday, September 15
http://theheirloomexpo.com/
****WANT TO VOLUNTEER FOR OUR BOOTH???  Also if there are any IRT folks out there who want to cover Jeffrey’s booth, please contact Pamm for either opportunity at plarry@labelgmos.org ****

South Lake Tahoe– Activist Seed Meeting
Wednesday, September 14th
6pm
Sprouts Natural Food Cafe: 3123 Harrison Ave., South Lake Tahoe CA 96150
Tawni Taylor: labelitnow@yahoo.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Label-GMOs-El-Dorado-County-Group/208432749213443

San Francisco -Tabling at Justice Begins With Seeds
Conference Summit: September 16th-17th
The Women’s Building and other locations in the Mission District, San Francisco
The purpose of the upcoming conference is to address the many layered implications of genetically engineered food, build strategic coalitions and deeper collaborations amongst diverse stakeholders for more widespread action in varying levels throughout the state of California to shift away from the industrial food regime.
GMO Awareness Week September 12-17- please see website below for all the events during the week
For more information and to register, visit: http://biosafetyalliance.org/

***NOTE!!! The Biosafety Alliance has offered to help us raise money for the Label GMOs campaign. If you make a $25-50 donation to this campaign, you will get into the conference for free!!! Simply go to our website (www.labelgmos.org/donate) make your donation, then write plarry@labelgmos.org so Pamm can track your donation. The conference sponsors will send you your confirmation to the event.***

Don’t see your city listed?  Contact Pamm at plarry@labelgmos.org to coordinate a meeting near you.

Join your local OCA chapter and keep up to date on the food and farming news in California here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/state/CA.cfm

 

Stand Up for Medicaid and SSI at a Town Hall Meeting!

August 14, 2011
Stand Up for Medicaid at a Town Hall Meeting!
Congress’ August recess is in full swing, and Members of the House and Senate are setting up town hall meetings throughout their districts to hear from their constituents. This is your chance to tell your Members of Congress in person “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!”Now is the time to speak to your representatives in Congress because part of the recently signed deficit reduction law requires further Congressional action this fall.  All Members of Congress need to continue hearing from their constituents on this critical issue.  Click on the Take Action link above to find the district office phone number for your Members of the House and Senators to ask when their next town hall meeting will be, and attend their upcoming meetings to tell them “Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!”

What’s in the debt deal?

On August 2nd, President Obama signed a bill into law to put into place a three step process to raise the debt ceiling and place spending caps on discretionary programs, reducing spending by $840 billion over ten years in the first step.  These cuts must be balanced between defense and non-defense spending, which could include important disability-related programs like housing, education, employment, and transportation. Entitlement programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are protected from cuts in this first step.  Over the next two months, committees in Congress will finalize what programs bear the brunt of the cuts.

What’s next?

This fall, Congress is charged with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by 2021.  This will be initiated by a twelve-member bipartisan Congressional “super committee” (Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) that proposes specific spending cuts by November 23rd.  The Committee’s plan must get the support of at least 7 of its members to be voted on by the full Congress.  Congress will then hold an up-or-down vote, with no amendments allowed, on the spending cuts legislation by December 23rd.  Cuts to important disability-related discretionary and entitlement programs, like Medicaid, could be proposed by the Committee and enacted by Congress.

If this committee fails to obtain agreement from at least 7 of its Members to cut $1.5 trillion or if Congress fails to enact it, then automatic, across-the-board spending cuts will be triggered for 2013-2021.  However, any automatic, across-the-board cuts would exempt the low income entitlement programs, such as the Medicaid and SSI programs.  Small Medicare cuts are allowed but will fall on the providers.  The bottom line is Medicaid and other programs that serve people with I/DD are still extremely vulnerable to cuts. 

What Can I Do?

Now is the time for you to contact your Members of Congress and ask when and where they are holding town hall meetings you can attend. We need advocates like you to let Members know that Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of Americans.

These in-person interactions leave a lasting impression, especially when it makes elected officials stop seeing Medicaid as an entitlement program and start picturing the people whose lives it changes.

If you don’t know who your Representative or Senator is click here and enter your zip code.  Then call and ask when their next town meeting is, and attend – your voice can make a difference, so get out there and engage your elected officials!

Suggested Questions to Ask at a Town Hall Meeting

• Can I count on you to support Medicaid services for people with disabilities, seniors, and low income Americans?
• Can I count on you to protect Medicaid so that families aren’t forced to quit their jobs, stop paying taxes, and go on to public assistance to care for their loved ones?
• Can I count on you to protect Medicaid so that community services aren’t cut and people aren’t forced to return to institutions?
• Can I count on you to support Medicaid and talk to the members of the Super Committee about protecting the program?

-From the ARC

Your opinions matter – let them be heard!

 

No to Medicaid Cuts! Please spread the word as widely as you can!

July 21, 2011

 

From The Arc

Last week, there was a very powerful, nationwide response to our calls for action to protect Medicaid from significant cuts. While there has not yet been a resolution to the immediate crisis (deciding what federal programs will be cut to resolve the federal debt ceiling crisis), a plan must be devised and will happen in the next several days. Thus, it’s absolutely critical that we do everything possible this week to tell Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) by making cuts to Medicaid, a program that truly is a lifeline for so many.

If you have not contacted your two US Senators and House Member, please do so promptly. Phone calls are the most effective means to do this, and it only takes a couple of minutes per call.

Once you have made you own calls, we urge you to spread the word to your network of friends, relatives and other connections:

  1. Email contacts: Who do you know who might make calls to their federal legislators to protect Medicaid if you asked them? Think about all of your networks, including other friends, family members, leaders of organizations to which you belong, people where you worship, and so on. Send your contacts an email, briefly telling them why protecting Medicaid from devastating cuts is important to your family. Include a link to The Arc’s page that provides background and instructions on calling Congress – http://capwiz.com/thearc/callalert/index.tt?alertid=50781796.
  2. Facebook: If you have a Facebook page, please post a status update asking your friends to act to protect Medicaid and link to The Arc’s take action page.
  3. Twitter: Do you Tweet? A short post to your Twitter account can reach all your followers. (Suggested Tweet: Medicaid: a lifeline for people with disabilities. Tell Congress, No to cuts! http://bit.ly/qJ2646)
  4. Blogs: If you blog, The Arc has a model posting that you may use for inspiration (and add your own voice, if you’d like) and post to spread the word to your blog audience.
  5. Spread the word even further: Finally, ask your friends who use Facebook, Twitter and who blog to share this message with their friends, followers and blog audiences, too. This can spread the word even more far and wide!

Thanks for your effort and persistence!

Sincerely,
Dee Dee Eberle and Ralph Scott
Chapter Organizing and Advocacy
The Arc of the United States