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Bachman and Steve King (R-Ia) Attack Black Farmers

First – black people were better off under slavery. Now – black farmers are frauds, and ill deserving of “Reparations” for generations of¬†discriminatory¬†practices by the US Agriculture Department which all too often cost them their livelihoods and farms while subsidizing white farmers to the tune of hundreds of billions, if not several trillion…

We already knew Steve King is a bigot – turns out Bachman is “one” too.

You got your mule - now you want a loan to buy a tractor?

Bachmann: Settlement with black farmers would be better used for Missouri River flooding

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann pointed to one program in particular Monday when talking about wasteful government spending: a multibillion dollar settlement paid to black farmers, who claim the federal government discriminated against them for decades in awarding loans and other aid.

The issue came up after Bachmann and Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa toured flooded areas along the Missouri River. During a news conference, they fielded a question about whether farmers affected by the flooding also should be worried by proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture cuts.

The two responded by criticizing a 1999 settlement in what is known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. Late last year, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing a new, nearly $1.2 billion settlement for people who were denied payments in the earlier one because they missed deadlines for filing.

King has likened the Pigford settlement to “modern-day reparations” for African-Americans. He said Monday a large percentage of the settlement “was just paid out in fraudulent claims” and criticized the Obama administration’s plan to resolve separate lawsuits filed by Hispanic and female farmers.

“That’s another at least $1.3 billion,” King said “I’d like to apply that money to the people that are under water right now.”

Bachmann seconded King’s criticism, saying, “When money is diverted to inefficient projects, like the Pigford project, where there seems to be proof-positive of fraud, we can’t afford $2 billion in potentially fraudulent claims when that money can be used to benefit the people along the Mississippi River and the Missouri River.”

John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which represented black farmers in the Pigford settlement, called the criticism unfair.

“Why continue to take from those people who haven’t taken part in federal programs equally and give to another group of farmers who have taken part in federal programs?” Boyd asked. “I think taking resources from a group of people who have been historically denied any relief at the Department of Agriculture is a bad idea. For the flood victims that deserve redress … they should provide those people with relief, too.”

Boyd said he and others worked to put anti-fraud provisions in the legislation signed last year. They require each claim of discrimination to be judged individually to determine its merit _ a process that Boyd said has not yet even begun.

“We worked with Republicans … to get those issues addressed,” he said. “Even after we got them addressed, Ms. Bachmann and Mr. King have continued to look at black farmers in a very negative way.

 

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Republicans Block Black Farmer Settlement… Again

Your name is big brotherYou say that you're watching me on the tele,Seeing me go nowhere,Your name is big brother,You say that you're tired of me protesting,Children dying everyday,My name is nobodyBut I can't wait to see your face inside my door...You've killed all our leaders,I don't even have to do nothin' to you, You'll cause your own country to fall

Senate leaves without funding black farmers suit

A Republican senator blocked a measure on Thursday that would have compensated black farmers in one of the largest civil rights settlements in U.S. history, again delaying action on a decades-old bias lawsuit.

The settlement, agreed to in February, would provide $1.25 billion to compensate black farmers who were left out of federal farm loan and assistance programs for years due to racism.

Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan requested unanimous consent to approve funding for the settlement but an objection from Republican Senator John Barrasso scuttled the attempt.

This was the last opportunity to finalize the settlement before the Senate breaks for the August recess.

While the 2008 farm bill earmarked $100 million for the farmers, the remaining $1.15 billion to uphold the deal requires approval from Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives twice passed legislation that would appropriate the funds, but equivalent action stalled in the Senate.

Measures for the funding have come to the Senate floor seven times, and each time failed to pass due to partisan squabbles, said John Boyd Jr, head of the National Black Farmers Association.

Boyd likened the delays in funding the settlement to the discrimination experienced by black farmers involved in the lawsuit.

“It shows that some of the same treatment that happened to the black farmers at the Department of Agriculture is transpiring with the Senate’s inaction to help black farmers,” he said.

The unanimous consent request also sought to appropriate funds for American Indians in the Cobell class-action lawsuit against the Interior Department over the mismanagement of Indian trust fund accounts.

Previous objections to the funding requests have centered on the mega-spending bills they were attached to, as well as a lack of clarity on how the compensation would be paid for.

The measure brought to the floor on Thursday was solely about the settlements, and included offsets required under congressional ‘pay-as-you-go’ rules mandating new spending be offset with cuts elsewhere so not to add to the deficit.

Barrasso objected to portions of the Cobell settlement and called for a full chamber vote when the Senate returns from the August recess in September.

With an August 13 deadline for the black farmers settlement looming, Boyd said he would seek an extension from the Obama administration as well as more engagement in speeding up the funding process.

“This is a shameful situation,” Boyd said. “(Senators) can’t put aside their political bickering and pass a bill so that the black farmers can get on with their lives.”

Boyd said the pressure is on President Barack Obama to step forward with more concrete plans to help since “the Senate dropped the ball.”

The original Pigford class-action lawsuit, named after North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford, was settled in 1999.

The first case awarded more than $1 billion in payments and debt relief to black farmers, but tens of thousands of farmers missed the filing deadline. The new settlement allows these farmers to pursue their claims.

Boyd said earlier in the week that black farmers would turn their attention to midterm elections and look to oust the senators not supporting the measure, especially in southern states where they represent a large portion of the voting block.

“Why do we want to send somebody back to the Senate that won’t help us at a time of need?” he said.

This is a real picture of Mary, a Circus Elephant which was lynched by an angry mob in 1916.

 

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Congress to Black Farmers…”The Check is in the Mail”

Looks like the black farmers got shafted again –

The USDA for decades denied black farmers loans they freely gave to white farmers.

Congress misses deadline for payments to black farmers

The federal government promised last month to pay more than $1 billion by the end of March to tens of thousands of black farmers who had filed decades-old discrimination complaints against the U.S. Agriculture Department.

But Congress headed home for a two-week recess without appropriating the money, and the farmers are frustrated that the agreement’s March 31 deadline was not met. The White House and congressional leaders say they want to pay the restitution, but farmers in the case say the government has been slow to deliver.

“The administration announced this settlement like this was all over, but we haven’t gotten a dime,” said John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association. “Right now, it’s planting time, and we thought we would have the funds in time for this season.”

Boyd said he is sure the government and the farmers will be able to agree on an extension to the settlement, which compensates black farmers who were unfairly denied farm operating loans. But he is worried that with a tight budget and busy schedule, the farmers’ case — known as Pigford — will continue to be overlooked when Congress returns.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sent letters last month to congressional leaders, who have been embroiled with health care legislation, asking them to appropriate money for the settlement, and said this week that resolving cases of discrimination is a department priority.

The White House is also “working with Congress with some urgency to get this done as fast as possible,” deputy press secretary Bill Burton said.

Native American farmers, who filed an unresolved lawsuit alleging discrimination against the USDA in 1999, are watching the Pigford settlement closely. Court proceedings in the case of Native American farmers, known as Keepseagle, have been put on hold while they negotiate with the government. The deadline for a settlement in their case is April 21.

Late last week, Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) — co-chairmen of the Congressional Native American Caucus — sent a joint letter to Vilsack and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking for an update on the case and saying Native American farmers and ranchers had “lost substantial revenues and lands that had been in their families for generations” because of years of “offensive discrimination.”

The Keepseagle case is not contingent on congressional approval, unlike Pigford, and if the settlement deadline is not met, the case could go to trial in district court.

“All our clients seek is to have their claims compensated at a level that is comparable to the settlement in the Pigford case,” said Joe Sellers, lead attorney for the Native American farmers. “There’s still several weeks before the stay is due to expire where we can make progress. I know our clients are frustrated, [but] they haven’t given up hope.”

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2010 in American Genocide, Black History

 

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Black Farmers Win Settlement… Maybe.

After the infamous Pigford case failed to pay black farmers for nearly 15 years – I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one until the check is in the bank.

Black farmers win $1.25 billion in discrimination suit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of black farmers who were discriminated against by the U.S. Agriculture Department will be eligible to receive $1.25 billion in a settlement, the government said on Thursday.

The settlement of the case, known as Pigford II, is contingent on Congress approving $1.15 billion for the farmers, in addition to $100 million already provided in the Farm Bill.

For decades, black farmers said they were unjustly being denied farm loans or subjected to longer waits for loan approval because of racism, and accused the USDA of not responding to their complaints.

The original Pigford lawsuit, named after North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford, was filed against the USDA in 1997, and settled two years later when the government compensated black farmers left out of USDA loan and assistance programs.

More than 13,000 farmers able to provide proof of their claims of discrimination were awarded $50,000 each and given debt relief in a package worth more than $1 billion.

But tens of thousands of claims were denied for missing the filing deadline. The settlement in Pigford II would allow these farmers to again make their claims.

“We have worked hard to address USDA’s checkered past so we can get to the business of helping farmers succeed,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

“The agreement reached today is an important milestone in putting these discriminatory claims behind us for good,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2010 in Black History

 

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