Weekly Review Nov 16

CLIMATE ACCORD NOTICE

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On November 4th, Donald Trump gave the United Nations official one-year notice that the U.S. plans to officially to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord Agreement by November 4th, 2020.

Actor, Director, Environmentalist, Robert Redford responded on CNN.com: “I only hope now that the rest of the world understands that the American people, including many of our leaders at the state and local levels, are still engaged in the fight against climate change, and still committed to the principles laid out together in Paris just four years ago.”

“We can’t allow one unqualified authoritarian’s depraved indifference to the climate crisis define Americans’ commitments or the character of our nation,” argues Redford.  “The clock is ticking loudly, the rest of the world can hear it.  With enough outrage, enough action, and enough voices rising together, we might just have a chance to compel a reversal of this nonsense.

“I’m not sure if it will work, but I know without question that we will all suffer if we don’t try.”

Dozens of scientists published a statement in BioScience that was subsequently endorsed by 11,000 scientists.  The Guardian relays the stark warning: “The world’s people face ‘untold suffering due to climate crisis’ unless there are major transformations to global society.”

“Though American participation in the Paris Agreement will ultimately be determined by the outcome of the 2020 election,” the NY Times ironically points out, “supporters of the pact say they have to plan for a future without American cooperation.”

Let us hope it doesn’t come to that.

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Impeachment Hearings Begin

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The House Intelligence Committee is now officially holding hearings to investigate whether or not President Trump has committed impeachable acts.

In the past 50 years, the only two other impeachment inquiries each occurred after a president had been reelected for a second term.

By contrast, in a little over 30 days, the next presidential-election year, 2020, begins.  These impeachment hearings, regardless of outcome, will have crucial impact on the upcoming November contest.

In fact, the very nature of the hearings is tied to the coming campaign as Trump is accused of withholding financial aid to influence a foreign government.

The Guardian explains: “Democrats allege that Donald Trump engaged the power of his office in an attempt to extort from Ukraine an announcement about investigations of Joe Biden, a domestic political rival, and 2016 election tampering.”

The president denies the charges whereas career foreign-service witnesses are starting to pile up testimony that substantiates them.

While the former ambassador to the Ukraine, a distinguished career diplomat testified, Trump reacted impulsively and directed a caustic tweet storm directly at her.  In doing so, he may have, according to committee chairman Adam Schiff, applied undue pressure on a witness in an attempt to influence her testimony.

His actions may, in fact, constitute another act to be added to the list of his potential articles of impeachment.

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NO DEAL, MORE TARIFFS

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President Trump is threatening the Chinese with an increase in tariffs if phase one of a trade war agreement can’t be reached.

The Chinese, however, are extremely good at the game and certainly don’t appear to be the ones who will blink.

The NY Stock Exchange reacted as expected and dropped 100 points on the announcement made by Trump at a recent cabinet meeting.

There is natural concern over the price of Chinese imports including hi-tech products and the Chinese retaliation making U.S. agricultural products prohibitively expensive for the Chinese market.  Unfortunately, we cannot afford to keep subsidizing the farmers for their subsequent losses.

It maybe time to reconsider and reevaluate the policy.  The Chinese seem content to import soybeans from South America.

What’s more the Chinese global economic influence has become greater and greater with its Belt and Road initiative, involving 152 countries and international organizations.  This modern-day silk road looks to remake the global trade map.

The initiative partners countries from every continent throughout the world in a broad assortment of trade, transportation and infrastructure projects.  It is a way China is gaining power and influence by investing heavily in emerging markets and securing support of those nations.

With current U.S. “America First” policy favoring an isolationism of sorts, the nation is going to be hard-pressed to regain a fraction of the influence it wielded last century.

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