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Tobita Chow

We Need A Real Trade Deal With China, Not Just A Truce

Trump crows that the “Phase One” trade agreement with China is a “promise kept” to supporters to rebalance trade between the two nations. But it is really just a temporary truce in his trade war, one which may not last long or deliver anything close to the outcomes he has promised. In the deal, the U.S. will reduce some of its tariffs in exchange for a pledge from China to restore trade levels to where they were when Trump started the trade war, and to buy billions more in goods and services over two years. But Trump’s China trade deal may blow up well before 2022, because it leaves the deeper sources of tension between the two countries untouched. This means a renewed escalation is likely after the 2020 elections, if not sooner. Trump’s two-year trade war has already been immensely destructive to the U.S. economy. Rather than reviving U.S. manufacturers and creating an avalanche of new jobs, as Trump promised, it has pushed the manufacturing sector into a recession. Farming communities, too, have suffered billions in losses, causing the highest number of farm bankruptcies since 2011. In order to avoid more harm to the U.S. economy, farmers and workers, we must bring a permanent end to the trade war and set the U.S.-China relationship on a fundamentally different path based on progressive priorities that favor workers, confront our climate crisis and counter Trump’s nationalism with a spirit of international solidarity.

'Overwhelming' Evidence In Trump Impeachment Trial

Dems unload 'overwhelming' impeachment case on the Senate — even as they press for more. Politico: "One by one, the seven House impeachment prosecutors seeking President Donald Trump’s removal from office reconstructed a case against the president so dense — at times, head-scratchingly complex — that it was hard for senators new to the material to keep up. After a lofty introduction by the House’s lead manager, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Democrats shed any pretense of offering a streamlined, made-for-TV version of events meant to captivate the Senate or the nation. For much of the day, they cast aside any attempt to make a narrowly tailored case to Republicans that they should support calls for additional witnesses. Instead, they decided to hammer senators with everything they had: an all-day torrent of intricate information, peppered with screenshots of deposition transcripts, emails, text messages and about 50 video clips — nearly three times more than House Republicans used during the entirety of their arguments in the 1999 Clinton trial. It was a presentation that seemed designed to demonstrate what Democrats have long professed: that the facts of the Ukraine scandal threatening Trump’s presidency are so overwhelming as to be almost infallible. As Republicans harangued Democrats for failing to 'do their homework,' the House managers were intent to emphasize just how much 'homework' they did. “We have some very long days yet to come,' Schiff warned the Senate as he kicked off the House’s arguments on Wednesday. He added, 'Over the coming days, we will present to you and to the American people the extensive evidence collected in the House's inquiry into the president’s abuse of power, overwhelming evidence... despite his unprecedented obstruction into that misconduct.'"

Trump Cuts Protection Of Rivers And Streams

Trump removes pollution protections for America’s rivers and streams. Slate: "The Trump administration is set to continue its dismantling of Obama-era environmental protections for the country’s waterways on Thursday, issuing new rules that remove federal protections for half the nation’s wetlands and hundreds of thousands of small waterways. Trump repealed Obama’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” regulation in September, a set of rules restricting dumping and development that impacted the country’s rivers, streams, and wetlands. Now, the Trump administration is finalizing its own set of water rules that will, for the first time in decades, allow for pesticides and fertilizers to be dumped in waterways and open up wetlands to new development. The Obama water rule was loathed by farmers, a crucial vote bank for Trump in 2020, as well as developers and the fossil fuel industry. It covered 60 percent of American waterways, including large waterways like the Chesapeake Bay or Mississippi River and smaller rivers and streams, as well as seasonal waterways. Those protections limited, for example, the pollution runoff from fertilizers and pesticides from nearby farms, the dumping of industrial chemicals by extraction companies, and wanton development on real estate that impacted nearby waterways. Golf course developers, of which Trump is one, were vocal opponents of the Obama rule. 'Legal experts say that Mr. Trump’s replacement rule would go further than simply repealing and replacing the 2015 Obama rule — it would also eliminate protections to smaller headwaters that have been implemented for decades under the 1972 Clean Water Act,' according to the New York Times. 'That could open millions of acres of pristine wetlands to pollution or destruction, and allow chemicals and other pollutants to be discharged into smaller headland waters that eventually drain into larger water bodies, experts in water management said. Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat.'"

Visa Restrictions For Pregnant Women

U.S. to impose visa restrictions for pregnant women. NBC: "The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting 'birth tourism,' in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport. The State Department planned to publicize the rules Thursday, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The rules would make it more difficult for pregnant women to travel on tourist visas. In one draft of the regulations, they would have to clear an additional hurdle before obtaining the visas — convincing a consular officer that they have another legitimate reason to come to the U.S. The Trump administration has been restricting all forms of immigration, but the president has been particularly plagued by the issue of birthright citizenship — anyone born in the U.S. is considered a citizen, under the Constitution. He has railed against the practice and threatened to end it, but scholars and members of his administration have said it's not so easy to do."

Overdose Deaths Among Older Americans Soar

Overdose deaths among people over 55 increased 17-fold between 1999 and 2017. Truthout: "According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, reported overdose deaths for people 55 and older was just 518 in 1999. In 2017, however, that number had soared to 8,877 and continues to rise. At a time when the average senior could be retired and dealing with the usual illnesses associated with age — cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, osteoarthritis, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease — the quiet scourge of addiction and sudden deaths is flying under the radar. For baby boomers, drug misuse can be related to other health issues, in addition to being a problem in and of itself. Original Medicare, the government-sponsored health insurance for adults 65 and over, offers coverage for in-patient drug rehabilitation, as does the Affordable Care Act. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is effective in treating opioid addiction, and while MAT is more available today than it was a decade ago, barriers to access remain. Medications to treat alcohol and opioid addiction need to be more accessible and affordable. Every year, hundreds of thousands of families lose brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, to substance abuse and addiction. A societal commitment to improving treatment and prevention of drug dependence for those who have reached old age will remove the stigma of addiction and encourage those who struggle to seek help.

Sanders Doubles Support In New Hampshire Poll

Sanders nearly doubles his support in New Hampshire poll. Politico: "Bernie Sanders has nearly doubled his support among Democratic voters in New Hampshire since December, with a new WBUR poll showing the Vermont senator with a healthy lead just three weeks from the state's primary. Twenty-nine percent of Democratic primary voters in the battleground state said they would 'support or lean toward' Sanders — an increase of 14 percentage points since last month. Pete Buttigieg, who led the poll in December, followed behind Sanders at 17 percent, a slight dip of 1 point. Joe Biden, who typically polls better than or neck-and-neck with Sanders, dropped to 14 percent in January, a 3-point change since last month. Elizabeth Warren trailed behind Biden at 13 percent, a 1-point increase from December. It’s been a successful stretch for Sanders, who raked in $34.5 million in fundraising for the fourth quarter of 2019 — putting the Democratic primary contender near President Donald Trump’s fourth quarter total of $46 million. Two other polls this week also showed Sanders and Biden ahead, and other polls show Sanders in the top ranks in Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders' polling and fundraising have remained steady since he suffered a heart attack on Oct. 1. The 78-year-old senator continues to do well with younger voters, with the WBUR poll showing he has the support of 52 percent of Democratic voters under 30."

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