● Four of life’s misfits have been charged in Georgia with murder and other crimes. All army personnel (one from Cashmere, Washington), the four allegedly had formed an anarchist militia group with plans to blow up a dam in Washington State and poison the state’s apple crop. Later, they would overthrow the government and assassinate the president. Setting aside the question of whether any four people would be able to overthrow our national government, it is incredible to me that the entire state’s apple crop could be poisoned. But you can be assured that refreshed attention now will be paid to food defense as called for by the Bioterrorism Act of 2002.
● Last week Russia joined the World Trade Organization, having been the last big national economy outside the Geneva-based WTO. Many (including our tree fruit industry) now want the United States Senate to pass legislation that would allow exporters from the United States to benefit fully from this trade liberalization. Consideration of PNTR (permanent normal trade relations) for Russia may be one of the few things actually considered by Congress before its adjournment for this fall’s elections.
● A sign of the commercial importance of Mexican fruit and vegetable cross-border trade to Texas is the announcement that the Texas Produce Association, led by my friend John McClung, has been renamed the Texas International Produce Association.
● On Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I am set to take a flight from Seattle to Hong Kong, via Tokyo, to attend an international produce trade show, Asia Fruit Logistica. A foray with Todd Fryhover of the Washington Apple Commission from Hong Kong into mainland China is also planned. There we intend to visit the mega city of Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton. This will be my first time to Hong Kong since 1997, when I participated on a trade mission led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray.
● Last Friday’s Seattle Times reported in its “Politics Northwest” column that the chairman of the United States Apple Association, Dale Foreman of Wenatchee, had publicly endorsed U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell for reelection. Apparently the Seattle Times came across this man-bites-dog story (Mr. Foreman once served as chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, while the senator is a Democrat) through some unacknowledged, convoluted reporting chain—one that probably originated with the Good Fruit Grower’s coverage of USApple’s 2012 Outlook Conference in Chicago.
● For those wanting to learn more about the U.S. Senate of the 1950s and the Johnson Administration in the 1960s, search out a copy of Harry McPherson’s A Political Education: A Journal of Life with Senators, Generals, Cabinet Members and Presidents. First published in 1972 and very well-written, it is one of the best political insider books I have read.