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Woody Guthrie had a lot to say about the greed of bankers who made crop loans at usurious interest rates to hardscrabble farmers, then foreclosed on them when they couldn’t pay off the loans, leaving thousands of farm families homeless. Woody mocked them with a sarcastic anthem, singing “I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.” He also penned a stinging verse about their thievery: “Some’ll rob with a six gun/ some with a fountain pen.”

But even this populist poet of the people would be astonished by the shameless grabbiness of today’s farm lenders. After decades of systemic, scandalous discrimination by bankers against Black and other minority farmers, the Biden administration is now moving to pay off the onerous level of long-term bank debt that has shackled these good farmers, thus giving them a fair shot at getting ahead.

“Oh no!” squawked the American Bankers Association and other groups of ag lenders. Why? After all, they’d be getting back the money they had loaned out. Yes, say the fountain pens, “but we would lose the interest payments each of those farmers would have had to send to us over the months ahead. We want American taxpayers to cover the total interest income we would’ve gotten from gouging Black, Latino, Native and other minority farmers.”

They insist that their profits and the financial interests of their rich investors must take priority over the needs of a bunch of non-white dirt farmers.

But wait, the bankers’ greed intensifies! If the government doesn’t fully compensate them for their so-called “lost interest income,” the ag lenders (backed by Wall Street barons) are openly threatening that they will cut off future loans to farmers and ranchers of color.

So, the jolly bankers’ drumbeat of rank discrimination keeps pounding. To help stop it, connect with the National Black Farmers Association: BlackFarmers.org.

Meanwhile, in texas... the state’s agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, is the one top official in the state willing to take a bold stand against racial discrimination. Miller proudly went to court in April, claiming that Biden’s loan pay-back program discriminates against a particular group of disadvantaged agriculture producers. Namely, his group — white farmers and ranchers like him!

So Sid, a rancher and former rodeo performer, is braying and snorting through his big white cowboy hat that the way to stop racial discrimination is to let white discriminators also get anti-discrimination money from the Feds. That’s what passes for logic when you’re wearing a $1,000 hat like Sid struts around in. But, as a real cowboy once told me, “It ain’t the hat, it’s the head.” And right there is Miller’s problem — he’s got a thousand-dollar hat on a 10-cent head.

However, he’s not the actual “thinker” behind this screwball legal claim. That distinction goes to another Miller, one named Stephen. He’s a Trump political operative, anti-immigrant extremist, and a fanatical promoter of white nationalism — one who specializes in frivolous lawsuits. Indeed, Stephen wrote Sid’s plaintive legal plea to provide “racial justice” for rich and powerful white ranchers like him, and just days before filing the suit, Stephen set up a political front group called America First Legal Foundation to push the case.

You’d think this ridiculous racial bigotry would be laughed out of court, but the case has gone to a hyper-partisan, right-wing judge who has backed such Republican legal ploys in the past. So, yippy-ti-yi-yo, off to another right-wing rodeo we go!