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Joe Biden Plan to Revitalize Rural America Through Investments

Doesn't matter if you live in skyscraper in Manhattan or here in Manning, your child is entitled

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Joe Biden, Rural. America
Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrives to speak at a house party at former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's house, July 15, 2019, in Waukee, Iowa. VOA

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday sought to build on his appeal to rural voters with the release of a broad plan to revitalize rural America through investments in agriculture, rural economies and infrastructure.

“We have to ensure we bring along everyone,” the former vice president said in Manning, an Iowa town of about 1,500 residents. “Doesn’t matter if you live in skyscraper in Manhattan or here in Manning, your child is entitled” to every benefit America has to offer.

The plan builds on policies Biden has already released on health care and climate change and expands on a number of policies first introduced in the Obama administration. It sets the ambitious goal of making America’s agriculture industry the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, by expanding a program that incentivizes farmers to engage in conservation and by allowing farmers to participate in carbon markets in which companies can essentially pay them to offset their own emissions. The plan pledges to invest in “bio-based manufacturing” to bring jobs back to rural America by using agricultural byproducts in manufacturing.

It also includes a $20 billion investment in rural broadband infrastructure, a commitment to prioritize the poorest rural counties for federal investments and a promise to create a federal working group to help rural communities figure out how to apply for federal funds and resources. And it features a raft of policies aimed at bolstering rural health care access, including doubling the funding for community health centers and expanding the use of telehealth services and rural medical residency programs.

Joe Biden, Rural. America
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday sought to build on his appeal to rural voters with the release of a broad plan to revitalize rural America . Pixabay

Biden’s plan is one of a series of rural-focused policy proposals released by 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have released policies focused specifically on the agriculture industry, while Klobuchar has also released a proposal to invest in rural infrastructure. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper have all released broader rural-focused plans that, like Biden’s, include planks aimed at an array of rural issues.

Biden is aligned with a number of other candidates in pledging to enforce antitrust laws to crack down on agriculture monopolies and bolster small family farms and to negotiate U.S. trade laws to help American farmers. But his plan already has one major backer in former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who called it a “clearly-stated and comprehensive vision” for rural America.

Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, remains beloved in the state, and his endorsement would be influential in the state’s caucuses, where Biden needs to make a strong showing if he hopes to have a shot at the nomination. But while he praised Biden’s plan — and hosted an event at his home for the former vice president on Monday night — he stopped short of endorsing Biden outright because he wanted to see more of the candidates’ plans.

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“I think it’s a good solid plan, however, I think other candidates no doubt will come out with their plans,” he said in an interview. “Hopefully, what comes from all of this is a Democratic Party that is now perceived by people in rural areas and small towns as a party that is once again reengaging with rural folks.” (VOA)

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North Korea Slams Joe Biden as “Imbecile” and “Fool of Low IQ”

North Korean media often lash out at world leaders who criticize members of the ruling Kim family

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Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a rally, May 1, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. VOA

North Korean state media slammed Joe Biden as an “imbecile” and a “fool of low IQ” Wednesday, Pyongyang’s first substantial comments on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The commentary in the state-run Korean Central News Agency criticized Biden for recently referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a thug and a tyrant.

“[Biden] reeled off rhetoric slandering the supreme leadership of the DPRK,” KCNA said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name. “What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician.”

The statement does not represent a formal endorsement of Trump; North Korean media often lash out at world leaders who criticize members of the ruling Kim family. “What is interesting this time is that the North Koreans may be attacking who they figure is Trump’s main domestic rival to curry favor with the president,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

Polls indicate Biden leading his Democratic rivals, as well as Trump, in the 2020 race. The former vice president often criticizes Trump’s diplomatic outreach to authoritarian leaders. He recently slammed Kim as a thug.

“He’s the same guy (who had) his uncle’s brains blown out sitting across a desk,” Biden said earlier this month, referring to Kim’s 2013 execution of his uncle and mentor, Jang Song-thaek. The un-bylined KCNA editorial did not mention Trump. But it did appear to give a nod to Trump’s newly rolled out nickname for Biden: “Sleepy Joe.”

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrives for a campaign rally at Eakins Oval in Philadelphia, May 18, 2019. VOA

​”In April 2011 when the then President [Barack] Obama was in the middle of making a speech, [Biden] was fast asleep in the auditorium,” the commentary said, adding Biden became a “laughing-stock of the media.”

Trump, who is 72 years old, has attempted to portray Biden, who is 76, as not having enough energy to become president. KCNA also hit at Biden’s reputation for making verbal gaffes. “Yet, he is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate,” the editorial said. “This is enough to make a cat laugh.”

It isn’t the first time North Korean media have weighed in during a Trump presidential run. In 2016, an editorial in the DPRK Today, a China-based North Korean mouthpiece, called Trump “wise” and “far-sighted,” while slamming his opponent Hillary Clinton as “dull.”

Even though North Korea has recently taken a more aggressive stance toward the United States, state media have been careful not to criticize Trump. One North Korean official said Kim’s relationship with Trump remains “mysteriously wonderful,” even though nuclear talks have broken down.

Instead, North Korean state media have slammed other U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

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North Korean state media slammed Joe Biden as an “imbecile” and a “fool of low IQ” Wednesday, Pyongyang’s first substantial comments on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Wikimedia Commons

“Whether the person is Democrat or Republican, North Korean media will always react against someone who insults their leader,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies. “And unless Trump calls Kim a dictator or says something harsh, North Korea will not directly criticize the president.”

Soo Kim, a North Korea watcher and former CIA analyst, agrees that Pyongyang doesn’t typically endorse U.S. presidential candidates. But Pyongyang clearly wants Trump to remain in office so that negotiations can continue, she said.

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Nuclear talks broke down following a Trump-Kim summit in February in Hanoi, Vietnam. The two leaders were unable to agree on how to match the pace of sanctions relief with steps to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program.

Kim has said he will give the United States until the end of the year to change its approach, and has begun testing ballistic missiles for the first time in a year and a half. Trump has shrugged off Kim’s deadline and the missile launches, saying he is in no hurry for a deal. (VOA)