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Trump keeps funneling money to farmers and rural America ahead of the election — topping out at $46 billion

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Farmers. (Shuterstock)

President Donald Trump is continuing to try and funnel money to rural America and to farmers as the election approaches.

During Trump’s trade wars, farmers and manufacturing took a brunt of the hit. As the administration continued it’s war on the Affordable Care Act, funding to rural hospitals dried up and they began to close. Funding cuts to the Postal Service means rural post offices are also closing. Trump’s only option left is to continue flooding farmers with cash in hopes he can buy their loyalty.

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“Federal payments to farmers are projected to hit a record $46 billion this year as the White House funnels money to Mr. Trump’s rural base in the South and Midwest ahead of Election Day,” the New York Times reported Monday.

The American Farm Bureau calculated debt in the farming sector is expected to increase by 4 percent, reaching a record $434 billion. Farmer bankruptcies have been record-setting as well with another 8 percent increase charted August 2019-2020. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, throwing money at the problem hasn’t stopped the bankrupcies.

“The pandemic has pressured prices for many commodities, squeezing farmers who raise crops and livestock, and prolonging a six-year downturn in the Farm Belt,” the Journal explained at the time.

Trump’s pledges to save rural America have not only turned out to be another in his line of broken promises.

“Farmers are not the only constituency benefiting from the president’s largess: He has promised $200 prescription drug cards to millions of seniors, approved $13 billion in aid to Puerto Rico, which could help his prospects in Florida, and he directed his Agriculture Department include letters signed by him in millions of food aid boxes that are being distributed to the poor,” the Times recalled.

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It’s remarkably similar to the empty promises Trump made just weeks before the 2018 midterms in which he swore there would be a “middle-class tax cut” after the election. It never came either.

“There are both economic and political motivations for these payments,” said University of Missouri’s Patrick Westhoff, who directs the agriculture research center.

Democrats and ethics groups are concerned that the move is another attempt for Trump to bribe voters ahead of an election.

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“For the first time in history, a president has repeatedly usurped congressional authority in order to personally dispense tens of billions of dollars in federal farm subsidy payments that would not otherwise have been paid,” said Ken Cook, president of an organization that tracks the spending. “This is an authoritarian power grab used to buy political support from voters who are essential to his re-election.”

Trump has only made it worse, announcing at a Wisconsin campaign rally that he’d be delivering another $13 billion in aid to farmers. Trump even shifted $100 million from an account that barred subsidies to the tobacco industry to a fund that could help prop up the North Carolina industry as it’s appearing more and more like a swing state with a crucial Senate election.

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The Government Accountability Office also took issue with $14.5 billion in farm aid from 2019 when they published a report in September. They found that the aid was being allocated with politics taken into consideration, with “the bulk of the money went to big farms in the Midwest and southern states, including Mr. Perdue’s home state of Georgia.”

Read the full report from the New York Times here.


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Moon may be richer in water than thought — and it could help propel humans farther from earth

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There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment -- and maybe even fuel -- on the lunar surface.

The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbour has traces of water trapped in the surface.

Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy on Monday suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed "cold traps" at lunar polar regions.

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Asymptomatic coronaagvirus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

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Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people's immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.

"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.

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