Category Archives: “What’s past is prologue.”

Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke face off in first debate


Coverage of Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke meeting for the first time to debate in the Texas Senate race. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video:


George Strait – Amarillo By Morning (Live From The Astrodome)


To Curb Illegal Immigration, DHS Separating Families At The Border

Immigrants make their way towards the border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico.

Gregory Bull/AP

The Department of Homeland Security has undertaken its most extreme measure yet to discourage asylum seekers from coming to the U.S. — family separation.

A 39-year-old mother is named as Ms. L in a lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by the American Civil Liberties Union. Ms. L traveled with her 7-year-old daughter, named as S.S., from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Mexico. They surrendered to immigration agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego in December and asked for asylum. They said they were fleeing violence in DRC.

The mother is being held in the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, Calif. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement; her daughter is 2,000 miles away at a youth shelter in Chicago run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. They are only able to speak by phone.

“When the daughter was taken, she (Ms. L) could hear her daughter in the next room, screaming, ‘Mommy, don’t let them take me!'” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.


Willie Nelson Talks Supporting Beto O’Rourke, Friendship With Frank Sinatra | The View






Beto for Texas


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Beto O’Rourke: We Don’t Need A Wall

Official campaign site for Beto O’Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas.







In 1964, I was a junior attending Cheltenham High School in Wyncotte, PA. In 2001, I returned.









In 1964, I studied the Prophet Jeremiah at Gratz Hebrew College in downtown Philadelphia.













Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

MOSCOW — By Russian standards, the few lines that Melania Trump used from Michelle Obama for her speech at the Republican National Convention this week would barely tip the plagiarism scale.

— The New York Times, July 22, 2016

By Russian Standards, Melania Trump Would Be a Plagiarism Amateur


I had been hoping to awake in this state of mind. It is hours before 5 A.M. when I am scheduled to leave my bed, drink coffee, toast bread, smear the toast with butter and consider whether to add marmalade.

The truth is I found myself writing about Bashir Gemayel (given the odd situation the current Prime Minister of Lebanon is experiencing) and as a matter of course mentioned Evelyn Waugh. One thing led to another.  I found myself searching the Internet for a public domain copy of Scoop, a truly wonderful book–although “wonderful” is a word I do not like using because doing so requires unnecessary elaboration. Here it is. Wonderful enough.


Scoop is a 1938 novel by the English writer Evelyn Waugh. It is a satire of sensationalist journalism and foreign correspondents.
















Even though Evelyn Waugh’s black comedy novel requires no introduction, I am introducing it anyway because doing so makes it possible to tell you about my romance with Pola Negri (clearly not her real name).

This is the wrong Pola Negri.
The right one (who would never have consented to her photograph) [much as I had wanted to] to call her MINE.
Regarding my living PN, I first met in her October of 1973 at one of the offices of the House of Representatives where she was a receptionist for Rep. Ella T. Grasso.














My story may have some truth in it. I am not the only one Scoop has influenced. Tina Brown was sufficiently influenced by the novel that she called her real news institution The Daily Beast based on the Scoop newspaper.


Chapter One

While still a young man, John Courteney Boot had, as
his publisher proclaimed, achieved an assured and enviable
position in contemporary letters.  His novels sold fifteen
thousand copies in their first year and were read by the
people whose opinion John Boot respected.

Between novels he kept his name sweet in intellectual circles with un-profitable but modish works on history and travel His
signed first editions sometimes changed hands at a shilling
or two above their original price.

He had published eight books – (beginning with a life of Rimbaud written when he was eighteen, and concluding, at the moment, with
Waste of Time , a studiously modest description of some
harrowing months among the Patagonian Indians) – of
which most people who lunched with Lady Metroland could
remember the names of three or four.

He had many charming friends of whom the most valued was the lovely Mrs Algernon Stitch.

Like all m her circle John Boot habitually brought his
difficulties to her for solution. It was with this purpose, on
a biting-cold mid-June morning, that he crossed the Park
and called at her house (a superb creation by Nicholas
Hawksmoor modestly concealed in a cul-de-sac near Saint
James’s Palace),

Algernon Stitch was standing in the hall, his bowler hat
was on his head; his right hand, grasping a crimson, royally
emblazoned despatch case, emerged from the left sleeve of
his overcoat; his other hand burrowed petulantly in his
breast pocket. An umbrella under his left arm further in-
convenienced him. He spoke indistinctly, for he was holding
a folded copy of the morning paper between his teeth.

‘Not in Wasters. On Arthur’s ceiling I put it in the Prime
Minister’s bedroom ’

‘Did he read it?’

‘Well I don’t think he reads much.’

‘Terracotta is too long, madam, and there is no r.’

‘Try hottentot It’s that kind of word. I can never do
anagrams unless I can see them. No Twisbury , you must
have heard of it.’

‘Flonbus Austrum,’ Josephine chanted, ‘perditus et
liquidis immisi fontibus apros; having been lost with flowers in the South and sent into the liquid fountains* apros is
wild boars but I couldn’t quite make sense of that bit.’

‘We’ll do it tomorrow. I’ve got to go out now. Iis “hotten-
tot” any use?’

‘No madam,’ said Brittling with ineffable gloom.

‘Oh, dear. I must look at it in my bath. I shall only be
ten minutes. Stay and talk to Josephine.’

She was out of bed and out of the room. Brittling followed.
Miss Holloway collected the cheques and papers. The
young man on the ladder dabbed away industriously.
Josephine rolled to the head of the bed and stared up at

‘It’s very banal, isn’t it, Boot?’

‘I like it very much.’

‘Do you? I think all Arthur’s work is banal. I read your
book Waste of Time

‘Ah.’ John did not invite criticism.

‘I thought it very banal.’

‘You seem to find everything banal.’

‘It is a new word whose correct use I have only lately
learnt,’ said Josephine with dignity. ‘I find it applies to
nearly everything* Virgil and Miss Brittling and my gym-

‘How is the gymnasium going?’

‘I am by far the best of my class although there are
several girls older than me and two middle-class boys.’

When Mrs Stitch said ten minutes, she meant ten min-
utes. Sharp on time she was back, dressed for the street ; her
lovely face, scraped clean of clay, was now alive with

‘Sweet Josephine, has Mr Boot been boring you?’

‘It was all right really. I did most of the talking.’

‘Show him your imitation of the Prime Minister.’


‘Sing him your Neapolitan song ’


‘Stand on your head. Just once for Mr Boot.’


‘Oh dear. Well we must go at once if we are to get to
Bethnal Green and back before luncheon. The traffic’s

Algernon Stitch went to his office m a sombre and rather
antiquated Daimler; Julia always drove herself, in the latest
model of mass-produced, baby car, brand-new twice a year,
painted an invariable brilliant black, tiny and glossy as a
midget’s funeral hearse. She mounted the kerb and bowled
rapidly along the pavement to the corner of St James’s,
where a policeman took her number and ordered her into
the road.

‘Third time this week,’ said Mrs Stitch. ‘I wish they
wouldn’t. It’s such a nuisance for Algy.’

Once embedded in the traffic block, she stopped the
engine and turned her attention to the crossword.

‘It’s “detonated”,’ she said, filling it m.

East wind swept the street, carrying with it the exhaust
gas of a hundred motors and coarse particles of Regency
stucco from a once decent Nash facade that was being
demolished across the way. John shivered and rubbed some grit further into his eye. Eight minutes close application was
enough to finish the puzzle. Mrs Stitch folded the paper and
tossed it over her shoulder into the back seat, looked about
her resentfully at the stationary traffic.

‘This is too much,’ she said, started the engine, turned
sharp again onto the kerb and proceeded to Piccadilly, driv-
ing before her at a brisk pace, until he took refuge on the
step of Brook’s, a portly, bald young man; when he reached
safety, he turned to remonstrate, recognized Mrs Stitch, and
bowed profoundly to the tiny, black back as it shot the corner
of Arlington Street. ‘One of the things I like about these
absurd cars, 5 she said, ‘is that you can do things with them
that you couldn’t do in a real one.’

From Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus the line of
traffic was continuous and motionless, still as a photograph,
unbroken and undisturbed save at a few strategic corners
where barricaded navvies, like desperate outposts of some
proletarian defence, were rending the road with mechanical
drills, mining for the wires and tubes that controlled the
life of the city.

‘I want to get away from London,’ said John Boot.

‘So it’s come to that? All on account of your American

‘Well, mostly.’

‘I warned you, before you began. Is she being fright-

‘My kps are sealed. But I’ve got to get far away or else
go crazy.’

‘To my certain knowledge she’s driven three men into
the bin. Where are you going?’

‘That’s just what I wanted to talk about.’

The line of cars jerked forwards for ten yards and again
came to rest. The lunch-time edition of the evening papers
was already on the streets; placards announcing


were fluttering in the east wind.

‘Ishmaelia seems to be the place. I was wondering if
Algy would send me there as a spy.’

‘Not a chance/


‘Foregonners. Algy’s been sacking ten spies a day for
weeks. It’s a grossly overcrowded profession. Why don’t
you go as a war correspondent?’

‘Could you fix it?’

‘I don’t see why not. After all you’ve been to Patagonia.
I should think they would jump at you. You’re sure you
really want to go?’

‘Quite sure.’

‘Well, I’ll see what I can do. I’m meeting Lord Copper
at lunch today at Margot’s. I’ll try and bring the subject up.’


When Lady Metroland said half-past one she meant ten
minutes to two. It was precisely at this time, simultaneously
with her hostess, that Mrs Stitch arrived (having been
obliged by press of traffic to leave her little car in a garage
half way to Bethnal Green, and return to Curzon Street by
means of the Underground railway). Lord Copper, however,
who normally lunched at one, was waiting with some im-
patience. Various men and women who appeared to know
one another intimately and did not know Lord Copper, had
been admitted from time to time and had disregarded him.
His subordinates at the Megalopolitan Newspaper Corpora-
tion would have been at difficulties to recognize the uneasy

figure which stood up each time the door was opened and
sat down again unnoticed. He was a stranger m these parts;
it was a thoughtless benefaction to one of Lady Metroland’s
chanties that had exposed him, in the middle of a busy
day, to this harrowing experience, he would readily, now,
have doubled the sum to purchase his release. Thus when
Mrs Stitch directed upon him some of her piercing shafts
of charm she found him first numb, then dazzled, then
extravagantly receptive.

From the moment of her entrance the luncheon party was
transformed for Lord Copper; he had gotten a new angle
on it. He knew of Mrs Stitch; from time to time he had
seen her m the distance, now for the first time he found
himself riddled through and through, mesmerized, in-
ebriated Those at the table, witnessing the familiar pro-
cess, began to conjecture m tones which Lord Copper was
too much entranced to overhear, what Julia could possibly
want of him ‘It’s her model madhouse , 5 said some, ‘she
wants the caricaturists to lay off Algy , 5 said others; ‘Been
losing money , 5 thought the second footman (at Lady
Metroland’s orders he was on diet and lunch time always
found him in a cynical mood); ‘a job for someone or other , 5
came nearest the truth, but no one thought of John
Courteney Boot until Mrs Stitch brought him into the
conversation. Then they all played up loyally.

‘You know , 5 she said, after coaxing Lord Copper into
an uncompromising denunciation of the Prime Minister’s
public and private honesty, ‘I expect he 5 s all you say, but
he’s a man of far more taste than you’d suppose. He always
sleeps with a Boot by his bed . 5

‘A boot ? 5 asked Lord Copper, trustful but a little be-

‘One of John Boot’s books.’

The luncheon party had got their cue.




4 Dear John Boot/ said Lady Metroland, ‘ so clever and
amusing. I wish I could get him to come and see me more

‘Such a divine style/ said Lady Cockpurse

The table buzzed with praise of John Boot. It was a new
name to Lord Copper. He resolved to question his literary
secretary on the subject. He had become Boot-conscious.

Mrs Stitch changed her ground and began to ask him in
the most flattering way about the chances of peace in
Ishmaeha. Lord Copper gave it as his opinion that civil
war was inevitable. Mrs Stitch remaiked how few of the
famous war correspondents still survived.

‘Isn’t there one called Sir Something Hitchcock?’ asked
Lady Cockpurse (This was a false step since the knight m
question had lately left Lord Copper’s service, after an
acrimonious dispute about the date of the battle of Hastings,
and had transferred to the Daily Brute camp )

‘Who will you be sending to Ishmaeha?’ asked Mrs Stitch.

‘I am in consultation with my editors on the subject.
We think it a very promising little war. A microcosm as
you might say of world drama. We propose to give it
fullest publicity. The workings of a great n jwspaper/ said
Lord Copper, feeling at last thoroughly Rotarian, ‘are of
a complexity which the public seldom appreciates. The
citizen little realizes the vast machinery put into motion for
him in exchange for his morning penny.’ (‘Oh God/ said
Lady Metroland, faintly but audibly.) ‘We shall have our
naval, military and air experts, our squad of photographers,
our colour reporters, covering the war from every angle and
on every front,’

‘Yes/ said Mrs Stitch. ‘Yes, yes. I suppose you will . . .
If I were you I should send someone like Boot. I don’t
suppose you could persuade him to go, but someone like






‘It has been my experience, dear Mrs Stitch, that the
Daily Beast can command the talent of the world. Only last
week the Poet Laureate wrote us an ode to the seasonal
fluctuation of our net sales. We splashed it on the middle
page. He admitted it was the most poetic and highly paid
work he had ever done.’

‘Well, of course, if you could get him, Boot is your man.
He’s a brilliant writer, he’s travelled everywhere and
knows the whole Ishmaelite situation inside out.’

‘Boot would be divine,’ said Lady Cockpurse loyally.

Half an hour later Mrs Stitch rang up to say ‘O.K.,
John. I think it’s fixed. Don’t take a penny less than fifty
pounds a week.’

‘God bless you, Julia. You’ve saved my life.’

‘It’s just the Stitch Service,’ said Mrs Stitch cheerfully.


That evening Mr Salter, foreign editor of the Bea$t 9 was
summoned to dinner at his chief’s country seat at East
Finchley. It was a highly unwelcome invitation 5 Mr Salter
normally worked at the office until nine o’clock. That even-
ing he had planned a holiday at the opera; he and his wife
had been looking forward to it with keen enjoyment for
some weeks. As he drove out to Lord Copper’s frightful
mansion he thought sadly of those carefree days when he
had edited the Woman’s Page, or, better still, when he had
chosen the jokes for one of Lord Copper’s comic weeklies. It
was the policy of the Megalopolitan to keep the staff alert
by constant changes of occupation. Mr Salter’s ultimate
ambition was to take charge of the Competitions. Mean-
while he was Foreign Editor and found it a dog’s life.

The two men dined alone. They ate parsley soup, whiting,
roast veal, cabinet pudding, they drank whisky and soda.





Lord Copper explained Nazism, Fascism and Communism;
later, in his ghastly library, he outlined the situation m the
Far East* ‘The Beast stands for strong mutually antagonistic
governments everywhere, ’ he said. ‘Self sufficiency at home,
self assertion abroad.’

Mr Salter’s side of the conversation was limited to expres-
sions of assent. When Lord Copper was right, he said,
‘Definitely, Lord Copper’; when he was wrong, ‘Up to a

‘Let me see, what’s the name of the place I mean?
Capital of Japan? Yokohama, isn’t it?’

‘Up to a point, Lord Copper.’

‘And Hong Kong belongs to us, doesn’t it?’

‘Definitely, Lord Copper.’

After a time* ‘Then there’s this civil war in Ishmaeha. I
propose to feature it. Who did you think of sending?’

‘Well, Lord Copper, the choice seems between sending
a staff reporter who will get the news but whose name the
public doesn’t know, or to get someone from outside with
a name as a military expert. You see since we lost Hitch-
cock . .

‘Yes, yes. He was our only man with a European repu-
tation. I know . Zinc will be sending him. I know . But he
was wrong about the battle of Hastings. It was 1066. 1 looked
it up. I won’t employ a man who isn’t big enough to admit
when he’s wrong.’

‘We might share one of the Americans?’

‘No, I tell you who I want; Boot.’


‘Yes, Boot. He’s a young man whose work I’m very much
interested in. He has the most remarkable style and he’s
been m Patagonia and the Prime Minister keeps his books
by his bed. Do you read him?’

‘Up to a point, Lord Copper.’





‘Well get onto him tomorrow. Have him up to see you.
Be cordial Take him out to dinner. Get him at any price.
Well, at any reasonable price/ he added for there had lately
been a painful occurrence when instructions of this kind,
given in an expansive mood, had been too literally observed
and a trick-cyclist who had momentarily attracted Lord
Copper’s attention, had been engaged to edit the Sports Page
on a five years’ contract at five thousand a year.


Mr Salter went to work at mid-day. He found the Managing
Editor cast in gloom.

‘It’s a terrible paper this morning/ he said. ‘We paid
Professor Jellaby thirty guineas for the feature article and
there’s not a word in it one can understand. Beaten by
the Brute m every edition on the Zoo Mercy Slaying story.
And look at the Sports Page

Together, m shame, the two men read the tnck-cychst’s
Sports Page.

‘Who’s Boot?’ asked Mr Salter at last.

‘I know the name/ said the Managing Editor.

‘The chief wants to send him to Ishmaelia. He’s the
Prime Minister’s favourite writer.’

‘Not the chap I was thinking of/ said the Managing Editor.

‘Well, I’ve got to find him.’ He listlessly turned the
pages of the morning paper. ‘Boot/ he said. ‘Boot. Boot.
Boot. Why! Boot — here he is. Why didn’t the chief say he
was a staff man?’

At the back of the paper, ignomimously sandwiched
between Pip and Pop, the Bedtime Pets, and the recipe for
a dish named ‘Waffle Scramble,’ lay the twice-weekly half-
column devoted to Nature. LUSH PLACES edited by
Wilham Boot 9 Countryman <





‘ Do you suppose that’s the right one?’

‘Sure of it The Prime Minister is nuts on rural England.’

‘He’s supposed to have a particularly high-class style*
‘ Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing
vole ’ . . . would that be it?’

‘Yes/ said the Managing Editor. ‘That must be good
style. At least it doesn’t sound like anything else to me. I
know the name well now you mention it. Never seen the
chap I don’t think he’s ever been to London Sends his
stuff in by post. All written out in pen and ink.’

‘I’ve got to ask him to dinner.’

‘Give him cider.’

‘Is that what countrymen like?’

‘Yes, cider and tinned salmon is the staple diet of the
agiicultural classes.’

‘I’ll send him a telegram. Funny the chief wanting to
send him to Ishmaelia.’



Given the Impact P.–decades later P would have (still has on my internal life—what surprises israel the casual nearly routine nature of our first meeting



Economic sanctions will hurt U.S. farmers for a generation at least

U.S. Presidents, during my 70 year lifespan, have been working overtime to endanger the U.S. agricultural economy.

The  summer of 2017, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, one of the few “adults” making domestic policy in the Trump Administration, was in China praising the Peoples Republic of China for its increased purchases of meat. Now our livestock farmers, who voted heavily for the President, must face the prospect that Trump’s economic saber rattling will make it more difficult for them to pay for their children’s college education.


Rice Research and Extension personnel are constantly working to refine and create new recommendations and practices to improve Arkansas rice production.


The economic disaster the Trump Administration has wrought already on our agricultural economy is considerable.

Consider rice farming in Arkansas and Louisiana and chicken farming in Perdue’s home state of Georgia. On January 17th, The Arkansas News Bureau reported, “Arkansas lawmakers slam Trump’s Cuba policy.” Arkansas is a keystone in our self-destructive President’s insistence on catering to his 34 percent supporters among the American people. The press has been scrutinizing Trump’s hard core supporters for evidence this support might not be as solid. Unfortunately, our “fake news” reporters have ignored the fissures in the agricultural community– a community instrumental in putting Trump in office.

The Arkansas News Bureau highlighted the comments of the state’s senior senator. “Republican Sen. John Boozman said in a statement Friday he shares Trump’s desire to see democracy take hold in Cuba but believes that ‘a return to embargo-like policies is the wrong approach.

“’By rolling back reforms that have benefited U.S. citizens, everyday Cubans and our economy, we are taking a step backward, not forward. It would be more effective to continue an open line of communication and working relationship with a government in need of democratic assistance, instead of shutting them out,’ he said.”

In November, over 60 percent of Arkansas voters chose Donald Trump. Tom Cotton, Arkansas’ junior senator, flush with campaign funds, of course a Republican, is rumored to be contemplating a Presidential run in 2020. Notable among the intellectual lightweight Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee, is Rep. Rick Crawford who has emerged as one of the few members of Congress who know anything about agriculture policy. Sixty-five percent of Crawford’s constituents in the First Congressional District voted for Trump.

On June 1, 2017, Crawford issued the following statement, “I strongly oppose President Trump’s decision to reinstate a failed, outdated, and isolationist posture towards Cuba. This policy change is … a missed opportunity for rural America, which would greatly benefit from increased access to the island’s $2B agricultural imports market.”

A key member of (what I grandiously refer to as) my kitchen cabinet on agriculture is an unfortunately anonymous Georgia economics professor. Professor X warned me not to publicly oppose the wastefully expensive farm bill unlikely to be renewed in 2018.


As soon as convenient, I plan to have a return visit to Stuttgart, Arkansas.

There Riceland Foods, in the company of such grain trading giants as Cargill and Bunge (sadly experiencing business problems) are actually making our country’s food policy. This is rightfully so given the failure of Congress and the Administration to know anything about the subject.

“The farmers and the folks at Riceland will not talk to you,” my professor said. My friend is overstating the case. Our farmers, whose presence and future are dependent upon exports, continue to talk to me because I am a globalist, very much concerned about agriculture’s future.

U.S. agriculture policy is at a crossroads similar to the crossroads the British experienced in the 19th Century when repeal of the Corn Laws was a necessary requirement for Britain to become an empire. Today, our farmers have been the victims of disastrous decisions by Republican and Democratic Administrations and Congresses who continue the folly. Beginning with the soybean embargo against the Japanese in 1973, our politicians have worked effectively (i.e. disastrously) to make America the supplier of last resort. Today, Brazil has supplanted the U.S. as the principal exporter of soybeans.

On September 6, 2017, The Financial Times reported  Russian President Vladimir Putin, who opposed U.S. economic sanctions against his country, also opposes sanctions against North Korea.

Putin noted, “Russia’s skepticism about sanctions is shared by China, North Korea’s fellow Communist neighbor and largest trading partner by far. China fears the collapse of the Pyongyang regime and the humanitarian and geopolitical chaos that could ensue.”

Rarely did I think I would agree with Vladimir Putin, Russian Stalinist dictator. His view on sanctions affirms this reality. Economic sanctions do not work. Twenty Eighteen’s knee jerk reaction to the global,economy  has resulted already resulted in This continues last year’s food sanctions against Iran and threats to our agricultural exports under Trump’s protectionist anti-NAFTA rumblings.

Hard as it is to believe,  I fear the day will approach when (as a consequence of our political folly) within 25 years ( if not sooner) the U.S. may  have to rely on the world for the food we eat.

–Joel Solkoff

State College, PA

Joel Solkoff is the author of The Politics of Food.

Are Farmers in PA Spilling Milk Because the Price is Too Low?

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) reports farmers in her district are spilling milk because the price is too low. When I was 19, I worked on a dairy farm. The work is hard. After milking twice a day (sometimes more), I cannot imagine spilling it. I have a mental picture of my grandmother at the dinner table urging me to finish saying, “I can’t send it to the starving people of Europe.”


"No cows were harmed during the making of this video."


Now Europe too is awash in milk it cannot consume. Throughout the developed world surplus is the curse of our time. Meanwhile, there are reports of tens of millions starving in southern Africa. A child in Yemen dies of starvation every 10 minutes. Despite Trump’s proposal to halt international food relief, the continuing resolution the President signed recently increases food aid by $1 billion.

After a visit with dairy farmers in Wisconsin, the President ordered trade measures to punish Canadian milk producers. Canada’s dairy farmers also are blessed/cursed with this bizarre reality: In my lifetime genetic research has vastly increased production.

In April, I spoke with Rep. Glenn (GT) Thompson (R-PA-5). Thompson, Deputy Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, says, “It is likely Pennsylvania farmers in are spilling milk in manure ditches.”

Rep. Glenn (GT) Thompson–R, PA,5–is ready for any fire. It is a good thing too because as Deputy Chair of the House Agriculture Committee he must be prepared for any emergency when trying to pass the Farm Bill next year.

One consequence of Trump’s dairy experience is he nearly began a major trade war with Canada. Trade with Canada is critical to the U.S. economy. It is especially critical to our farmers’ dependence upon exports for sustenance. Fortunately, a cooler head than Trump’s prevailed. Trump’s agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue convinced the President to abandon his original plan to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Cancellation would have meant grain and soybean farmers in the Mid-West would lose badly needed income were exports to Canada (and yes, Mexico) consequently reduced.


The President’s economic advisers would do well to prepare our President with such basic information as this.


In August, my younger daughter Amelia Altalena married a sergeant in the Spanish Army. Last month, I spoke with Rachel Bickford, our agricultural attaché at the Madrid embassy. Bickford said that as in Pennsylvania, dairy farming in Spain is characterized by the dominance of farmers with large herds. This summer, my occupational therapist told of his visits to elderly Pennsylvania dairy farmers and their widows and widowers. After a lifetime of hard work, they do not receive the health benefits available to retired urban workers.


My occupational therapist (who is based in central PA) tells me that this dated photograph conveys the misery he experiences in 2017 when working with elderly dairy farmers.


Agriculture Secretary Purdue’s predecessor Thomas Vilsack (who supported Perdue’s nomination) now works as an executive for dairy agribusiness. Meanwhile, small dairy farmers—dependent on inadequate payments under the current farm bill cannot make ends meet (to put it mildly). The farm bill currently being drafted for renewal next year will not change that.

Government payments are not the solution. Protectionist measures severely limiting imports (including foreign cheeses–a favorite of the urban coffee house set) only raise consumer prices. Required are pensions and health assistance to elderly dairy farmers who must perform work neither needed nor appreciated in areas remote to health care. Required are training programs, such as Rep. Thompson has been establishing, that train the children and grandchildren of dairy farmers for work in a global economy.

–Joel Solkoff, author The Politics of Food.


Related Posts

Exclusive Interview with Rep. GT Thompson on his Rehabilitation Background

News from Turkey: July 24, 2016

I was about to turn the computer when I decided to give Twitter one last look. Exploding before my eyes was this Amnesty International site. Suddenly, I realized that my casual inquires into Turkey had taken a strong hold on me. The future of this country--whose strategic position is essential to U.S. military defense--is in the midst of human suffering on an alarming scale.
I was about to turn off the computer when I decided to give Twitter one last look. Exploding before my eyes was this Amnesty International site. Suddenly, I realized that my casual inquires into Turkey had taken a strong hold on me. The future of this country–whose strategic position is essential to U.S. military defense–is in the midst of human suffering on an alarming scale.


News from Turkey

Turkey Could Be Taking A Big Step Backwards In Human Rights

Amnesty International


Turkey's Anti-Terrorism Law Tramples on Human Rights






July 2016 Motto

John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes

“In the long run we are all dead.”


Appeal to Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt: Please correct Medicare violations at Mt. Nittany Medical Center and Health

Donations for going to my daughter’s wedding and seeing my granddaughter for the first time