By Brit Hume, ,
Published May 18, 2015
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is being criticized for saying that John McCain's military background makes him dangerous.
Harkin told reporters on a conference call Friday, "He comes from a long line of just military people, so I think his whole world view, his life view, has been shaped from a military viewpoint and he has a hard time thinking beyond that and I think he's trapped in that. And I think that can be pretty dangerous."
A McCain spokesman called Harkin's remarks offensive and said they showed that Democrats are out of touch with American values.
Hillary Clinton is comparing the uncounted primary votes in Michigan and Florida to the deadly electoral conflict in Zimbabwe.
Clinton told a crowd in Sunrise, Florida, Wednesday, "People go through the motions of an election only to have it discarded and disregarded. We're seeing that right now in Zimbabwe — tragically an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people. So we can never take for granted our precious right to vote."
Dozens have died in the aftermath of elections in Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe lost, but the government says the margin of defeat was close enough to force a runoff.
Senator Clinton also compared the Florida and Michigan situations to the struggles for civil rights and voting rights and warned that disenfranchised Democrats might vote for John McCain in the fall.
Britain's foreign secretary says he is concerned by anti-trade rhetoric from the two Democratic presidential candidates. The Financial Times reports David Miliband said the United Kingdom is troubled by the protectionist stance taken by Barack Obama and Senator Clinton.
Miliband says America must be committed to global trade and that the problem is not too much trade, but too little. Both candidates have promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement if elected.
NAFTA of course was created during the Bill Clinton administration in 1994.
A provision in the farm bill vetoed by President Bush — but made law when the veto was overridden by Congress — calls for up to $16 billion more in crop subsidies than previously projected. The program is called Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE.
The Washington Post reports it gives farmers the option of trading in their traditional subsidies for a government pledge to give them 90 percent of the difference between what they make in a given year and their usual income. The hitch is the formula for determining benefits pegs the payments to current — record — prices for grain. So if prices fall back to normal levels, huge subsidies will result.
One farming blog is urging readers to sign up for the program, calling it "lucrative beyond expectations."
Defenders of the farm bill say grain prices will not come down much in the five years the legislation is in effect — meaning food prices will stay close to their current record high levels.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.