What I've been munching, like a big fat pig, while uploading this. Toothsome. (Photo by me.)
by Dan Burns
Aug 14, 2019, 10:30 AM

Trump hireling insults Minnesota farmers

I’m something of a student of humor, and I acknowledge that this is far from the worst joke, in and of itself, I’ve seen a politician try to put over. But it was still a stupid, asshole thing to say.

At a Farmfest listening session with farmers in Minnesota, (U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny) Perdue hit back at the complaints with his joke: “What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.”

As he pounded the table in mirth, some of the thousands of farmers at the event laughed nervously — which was followed by boos.

“It was definitely not an appropriate thing to say,” Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish told HuffPost. “It was very insensitive. It took everyone by surprise. He doesn’t understand what farmers are dealing with, and he’s the head of the Department of Agriculture. He’s supposed to be working for farmers.”
(Huffington Post)

It was also a very revealing thing to say. Yeah, the source is a Trump underling, so you know right away that he’s far from the brightest streetlight on the boulevard. That said, the unthinking, uncaring disdain for a big part of Trump’s base is something that, though it’s certainly real, Trump’s crew has generally been careful to conceal.

Just a few representative data points, about where things really are at:

– Minnesota’s dairy farmers are getting crushed. Way too much milk is being produced in the U.S., especially given its climate footprint. But it’s corporate ag that should be getting trimmed. Not (relatively) small farmers, who are indeed a key part of the proverbial “backbone” of rural communities.

– Sales of farm equipment are plunging.

– Farm bankruptcies are still rising, with Minnesota one of the worst-hit states.

All that said, federal farm policy has been bad policy since long before Trump. The basic idea is to force overproduction of a handful of products, especially animal feed, sugar, and milk. (Even more so since ethanol came along. But that’s another matter.) This assures low prices for Big Processing, which turns huge profits encouraging the less-than-ideal eating habits of a large majority of Americans – including, I readily admit, myself. (cf. the “Featured Image.” And the packaging’s not what you’d call environmentally friendly, either.)

There’s not enough data yet, to determine whether farm country is politically abandoning Trump (or better yet, Republicans in general) in numbers that will make a real difference. What is known is that there is probably no better example than farmers, of people who generally have a lot of common sense, exhibiting atrocious judgment, time and time again, when they go to vote. Old habits die hard, and old, bad habits die hardest of all.

Comment from Mac Hall: Oh, those Trump Administration jokesters … led by our Commander in Humor Donald J. Trump …. who said yesterday that he believes we have a trade imbalance with Japan.

President Trump said: “They send us thousands and thousands — millions of cars, we send them wheat. Wheat. That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we’re OK, you know, they do it to make us feel good.”

Wow … insult wheat growers … a commodity that Minnesota farmers are increasing production ( 92,630,000 bushels in 2018 versus 75,710,000 in 2017) … and likely to increase more with Trump’s Trade War changing China’s buying to other countries.

Seriously, there isn’t anything funny about the Trump Administration.
Actually, clueless and incompetent are more appropriate descriptions.
Case-in-point … after a couple of decades, Wilbur Ross is offering a new tomato suspension agreement proposal with Mexico. The proposed agreement would require that every lot of fresh tomatoes imported from Mexico be inspected at the border. Inspection data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that there is no legitimate commercial purpose for a 100 percent inspection mandate on imported Mexican tomatoes. The inspections would serve as an artificial barrier to trade … adding roughly $270 million in costs, but the Mexican government is likely to impose reciprocal inspections on U.S. exports, further hurting American jobs. Do we really need a full-inspection mandate when the land ports of entry are facing delays from staffing ?

Trump, Purdue, Ross … are no laughing matter.

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