Chinese-owned company qualifies for Trump’s anti-China farm bailout

From the Washington Post

A Chinese-owned pork producer is eligible for federal payments under President Trump’s $12 billion farm bailout, a program that was established to help U.S. farmers hurt by Trump’s trade war with China.

Smithfield Foods, a Virginia-based pork producer acquired in 2013 by a Chinese conglomerate now named WH Group, can apply for federal money under the bailout program created this summer, said Agriculture Department spokesman Carl E. Purvis.

JBS, a subsidiary of a Brazilian company by the same name, is also eligible to apply for the federal money. The two companies are the biggest pork producers in the United States, according to the National Pork Board, a quasi-government agency.

Read More from the Washington Post

From Alternet

rade wars are a lot harder to win than Trump promised.

Donald Trump’s plan to defeat China on trade is a complete disaster. His tariffs against China have devastated the agricultural sector, killing jobs in parts of the country that voted for him, and forcing him to implement a billion-dollar bailout of American farms.

But nothing better underscores Trump’s incompetence than a new report in the Washington Post, detailing an embarrassing oversight in the eligibility for that bailout program

Read More From Alternet

Todd County– Get Out and Vote

We approach election day on November 6th with a great sense of division in our country.  Americans have grown reluctant to discuss policy and governance out of fear of alienating or offending neighbors and friends, or have instead embraced the rhetoric of division and tribalism.  For some this translates to a sense of weariness with our national experiment of democracy, or at least the way democracy is embodied in our political system.

Todd County holds one of the lowest voting rates in Minnesota, along with a cluster of other rural counties.  This matters not just for the high profile national and state races, but also for how engaged people are in their local governance.  Many have given up on voting because of our dysfunctional discourse and a sense that the individual doesn’t matter.  Those of us working toward political solutions need to earn their trust, not just in our ideas but in the value of our democratic system.

On Election Day consider voting as something that we do for each other to live in a free society, rather than a question of whether or not our single vote shifts the balance in the final tally.  Voting is both a ceremonial recognition of our patriotism as well as a system that only works when large majorities participate.

The coming months and years will surely present us with many more discouraging moments of vitriol in our national dialogue, but for those with good faith in our country let this election be a moment to adjust course toward more civil approaches.  Set an example that you would hope to see, rather than cultivating grievances over offenses from political celebrities.  Consider discussions with those who differ from you as opportunities to explain a perspective rather than to convert the person to your view, and listen to others of good faith with your own good faith.

Vote with the passion of your convictions, but also with the joy of citizenship.

Alan Perish

Front Porch Politics

From the website Creators

If you despair that a mysterious plague of incurable political knuckleheadism has swept our country, turning previously progressive white working-class people into mindless Trump worshippers, check out “The Promise of a Progressive Populist Movement” (PeoplesAction.org/the-promise-of-a-progressive-populist-movement). This report is the work of People’s Action, a multiracial, grassroots coalition. This year, its volunteers knocked on more than 5,000 doors, had nearly 2,500 phone conversations and visited scores of local events and churches in “Trump Country” — dozens of rural counties in 10 swing states including Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin that went for the yellow-haired corporatist in 2016. The door-knockers simply had open conversations asking folks in economically distressed rural communities what mattered to them politically. The most common initial response was, “No one’s ever asked me before.”

the full page for the full article

 

McConnell Urging ‘Bipartisan’ Cuts In Social Security And Medicare

Less than a year after Republicans passed their scam to give massive tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy — adding more than $1 trillion to the deficit — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now pushing for cuts to Medicare and Social Security to make up the difference. See More from the National Memo

http://www.nationalmemo.com/mcconnell-urging-bipartisan-cuts-in-social-security-and-medicare/?utm_source=sd&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MM10182018

Drivers For Elections

You Can Get Out To Vote

If you or someone you know, in Todd County, needs to be provided transportation to vote on November 6th, call Joh at 612-419-4033. This is completely non-partisan. We will not discuss any candidate or position before during after the drive.If John does not answer, please leave your name and address and approximate time you would like to vote.

If you wish to drive someone to the polls and willing to be non-partisan, you can call John and you will be added to a list of drivers. Please let him know which community you are willing to cover and what times you are available.

A John Peters
33854 251stAvenue
Browerville, MN
612-419-4033
ajpeters@outlook.com 

Give the Devil His Due (With Reservations) NAFTA

NAFTA did need to be renegotiated. It is over 20 years old and out of date. The new deal is somewhat better than the old, not as revolutionary as touted. I think what is important to Todd County is the Dairy and to me personally is the Internet Commerce.

The following is from Marketwatch.

Is the new Nafta a modern trade deal for the 21st century or just a politically palatable do-over for President Trump that’s of little consequence?

Only time will tell. But the new agreement struck by the U.S. and Canada on Sunday night does include major changes on disputed topics such as autos, dairy, drugs and the Internet.

Wall Street reactively positively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.49%  jumped more than 250 points and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.19%  also advanced.

 

Here are key points of what’s tentatively being called the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

Autos

The new deal requires 75% of the contents of any auto imported into the U.S. to be made in North America in order to avoid tariffs. That’s up from 62.5% under the old North American Free Trade agreement that originally took effect in 1994.

The aim of the Trump administration is to help American manufacturers of auto parts.

Auto Workers

For its part, Canada won concessions giving it the right to effectively continue exporting cars and trucks to the U.S. at current levels — and then some — free of any other major regulatory hurdles.

The contents of as much as 45% of any auto imported duty-free into the U.S. must be made by workers making at least $16 an hour. What’s more, the new deal includes language meant to strengthen the ability of unions in Mexico to strike.

These provisions are unusual for a Republican administration and represent a victory of sorts for U.S. labor unions that chafe at lower wages in Mexico.

If anything, Canada will also benefit from this new wrinkle.

Dairy

Canada will open up more of its domestic market to American producers. It will also drop several controversial rules enacted recently that blocked U.S. products derived from dried milk and other dairy derivatives.

The dispute over dairy had been one of the biggest holdups to a new deal.

Drugs

Canada will extend patent protection for certain prescription drugs to 10 years from 8 eight years.

Internet commerce

The deal sets new rules for online shopping and Internet commerce, neither of which existed at the time of the 1994 agreement.

U.S. goods costing up to C$150 or less, for example, will no longer be subject to Canadian duties. That’s up from C$20. The higher threshold should help boost online stores in the U.S. selling to Canadian customers.

Lumber

The U.S. gave in to Canadian demands to retain several mechanisms to resolve trade disputes between the two countries. The concession protects Canadian lumber producers in a long-running dispute with the U.S. over charges of dumping.

One old provision that allowed companies to sue governments over alleged trade violations was scaled back, another surprising win for liberal critics of Nafta.

Steel

U.S. tariffs on foreign steel will remain in place and are subject to further negotiation between the three countries, but the expectation is that they will come to an accord in the near future. The White House has sought to protect American steel on national-security grounds

The new trade agreement could end after 16 years if the countries don’t extend the deal, a change demanded by Trump.

A senior U.S. official told reporters the sunset clause “will ensure that we never end up in this position again, with an agreement that is stale and outdated and unbalanced in a way that is not beneficial to the United States.”

The U.S., Mexico and Canada will review the agreement every six years, and if fresh problems arise, they’ll have to negotiate a fix or face the threat of the deal eventually lapsing.

“In a nutshell, Canada has made concessions, but is coming out quite clean considering the array of potentially negative options or threats that were on the table,” said Robert Kavcic of Toronto-based BMO Capital

Fraud Waste and Abuse by Sue Stine

“Fraud, waste, and abuse, fraud, waste, and abuse…”

Republicans claim “fraud, waste, and abuse” as reason to cut taxes (current GOP candidate for governor), but neither he nor they ever identify the “fraud, waste, and abuse.” They seem to accept “fraud, waste, and abuse” as a given, that “everyone” knows there’s “fraud, waste, and abuse” in state government (because they would engage in “fraud, waste, and abuse” if they worked in state government?) So, the candidate for governor wants to reduce taxes by 1%, to reduce “fraud, waste, and abuse.” He still hasn’t told us where the “fraud, waste, and abuse” is to be found in state government, he just knows it’s there. Identify this “fraud, waste, and abuse” so we can take care of it! I want to know where the fraud, waste, and abuse is so I can point it out as something to be eliminated. For the life of me, I don’t see the “fraud, waste, and abuse” in our state government that would be eliminated by reducing our taxes by 1%.