FROM Jerry Hagstrom
The Farm Bill and America's Food Supply The Farm Bill dates back to the Great Depression, when family farms were in trouble and many Americans could not afford what they needed to eat. It gives taxpayer support to a huge range of Americans, from the poor who survive on food stamps to wealthy farmers insured against losses. New versions have passed roughly every five years on a bipartisan basis, but the latest effort is more evidence that there is no bipartisanship any more. Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate have passed different versions, and compromise may fall victim to competing interests and ideologies. A conference committee with 41 members from both sides is meeting behind closed doors to work out a compromise. If there's no agreement, farm policy could revert back to 1938, driving an increase in the price of some foods.
Does the Farm Lobby Really Want to Cut Subsidies? Last Friday was the deadline for suggestions to the bipartisan supercommittee on debt, which received more than 175,000 ideas from other lawmakers, think tanks, lobbyists and the public. Among them was a proposal from farm-state legislators to reduce agricultural subsidies by $5 billion. But that's not all they wanted. Is it pulling a "bait and switch?"
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
100 days of executive action: Accomplishment or posturing? President Trump's first 100 days have featured a flood of high-profile executive orders. Which ones do what he says they do, and which ones don't? How are Trump voters feeling now?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.