Wednesday, April 11, 2012

$1.25 Billion of Tax Money to Black Farmers - And Only Black Farmers!

According to the e-mail that I just received, this is sort of an old story - but it sort of slipped under the radar when it first took place. So have a seat and find out how far Reverse Discrimination can go!

Called the:
Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement

Formally known as the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement, (case number, 08-mc-0511 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), it is also known as "the Black Farmers case" or "Pigford II".

This settlement was the Obama Administration's idea to give $1.2 Billion of Taxpayer money to Black Farmers - and only Black Farmers.

The Department of Agriculture has everything to do with this. Through the Department of Agriculture, President Obama's administration authorized $1.25 Billion of our tax money to go to black farmers as payback for past discrimination from 1981 to 1996.

Yes, this has nothing to do with the Civil War years or even Slavery.

It's all about Affirmative Action. The Agriculture Department said that this was necessary in "addressing an unfortunate chapter in USDA's civil rights history."

On October, 27, 2011, Judge Paul L. Friedman of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted final approval of the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement that he had preliminarily approved in May 2011.

"This agreement will provide overdue relief and justice to African American farmers, and bring us closer to the ideals of freedom and equality that this country was founded on," Obama said in a statement at the time.

The Court Order provides that the Claim Submission Period will begin on November 14, 2011 and end on May 11, 2012.

The history behind this goes back to 1997 when it was originally called the Pigford Case. And no, I don't know if or when the National Black Farmers Association got involved in this.

In 1997 and 1998, two class-action lawsuits entitled Pigford v. Glickman ("Pigford") and Brewington v. Glickman ("Brewington"), respectively, were filed on behalf of groups of African-American farmers.

Those lawsuits asserted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "USDA", had systematically discriminated against African-American farmers on the basis of race, in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

After the Pigford and Brewington cases were consolidated, they were settled by the parties in 1999 and became The Largest Civil Rights Settlement In History.

The terms of the settlement were outlined in a Consent Decree entered by the Court on April 14, 1999, which stated that eligible claimants were required to file their claims with the case administrator by October 12, 1999.

The Consent Decree also stated that claimants who could show "extraordinary circumstances" for missing the October 12, 1999 deadline could file at a later date. At that time, September 15, 2000 was set as the "late-filing" deadline.

While approximately 22,700 claimants filed claims before the October 12, 1999 claims deadline, approximately 61,000 additional individuals requested permission to file claims after the October 12, 1999 claims deadline - but before the September 15, 2000 "late-filing" cut-off date.

Fewer than 3,000 of the 61,000 "late-filers" were found to have demonstrated the required "extraordinary circumstances" for receiving extra time to file their claims.

As a result, more than 58,000 "late-filers" did not have their discrimination claims heard. In addition, thousands of additional potential claimants filed late-filing petitions after the September 15, 2000 late-filing cut-off, but before June 18, 2008, the date of final enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill.

So where does the 2008 Farm Bill come in to play here?

Well, if you remember, Democrats controlled Congress in 2008 and on June 18, 2008, they passed and President Bush signed, a law providing claimants with a right to pursue their discrimination claims if they had petitioned to participate in Pigford, but did not have their petitions considered because they were filed late.

This law was passed as Section 14012 of the Farm, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill. It was conveniently tucked away in Section 14012 of the Bill.

The Farm Bill did not "re-open" the Pigford case. Instead, the Democrats in Congress provided a new right for Black Farmers to sue the Federal Government.

Although the 2008 Farm Bill created a cause of action for thousands of Black Farmers, the total amount of funding provided in that bill for valid claims was set at $100 Million.

But then again, $100 Million is not enough for some folks!

Enter the February 18, 2010 Obama Administration Settlement Agreement, where the Obama administration believed that $100 Million would certainly not be enough to pay out for all the claims - they decided to raise it.

After all, it isn't their money is it?

On February 18, 2010, attorneys for tens of thousands of Black Farmers and attorneys for USDA entered into a Settlement Agreement that would require Congress to fund an additional $1.15 Billion over and above the $100 Million for successful claimants - which brought the total funding for valid claims to an amazing $1.25 Billion of Taxpayer dollars.

On December 8, 2010, President Barack Hussein Obama signed into law the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which provided $1.15 Billion to be added to the $100 Million already provided in the 2008 Farm Bill so that all claims from Black Farmers can be funded under the February 18, 2010 Settlement Agreement.

The Claims Resolution Act of 2010 also prescribed several new terms for incorporation into the Settlement Agreement.

So what's the current status of the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement?

Well, the Settlement approved by Judge Friedman on October 27, 2011 resolves that all of the claims asserted in the 23 lawsuits that were consolidated into the single case called In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, 08-mc-0511 (D.D.C.).

Judge Friedman’s October 27, 2011 Order approving the Settlement provides that the 180-day period for submitting claims under the Settlement runs from November 14, 2011 to May 11, 2012. Claims that are postmarked after May 11, 2012 will not qualify for an award.

The judge who approved this allowed for Reverse Discrimination by way of giving the Taxpayer money to people of only one ethnic background.

This is supposed to be a redress of wrongs done to Black Farmers. But how about the wrongs done to Asian, or Hispanic, or Italian, or Irish, or Portuguese Farmers? How about your average White American farmer who was wronged in the same way? Why is this group pulled out from the rest of the population to be used as the model of injustice?

Can anyone tell me that a Settlement based on race and color of skin is not wrong on the face of it, especially when there has been many ethnic groups who have been wronged in one way or another over time in the same way?

This Settlement stems from a lawsuit called Pigford v. Glickman (“Pigford”) was settled in 1999. The lawsuit involved claims by African American farmers that the USDA had discriminated against them between 1981 and 1996 based on race, wrongfully denying them farm loans, loan servicing, and other benefits, or giving them loans with unfair terms.

The basic premise is that no other race, white, yellow, or brown, were ever denied farm loans, loan services and other benefits, or given loans with unfair terms from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

If anyone believes that, than they are obviously living in somewhere other than the real world. Many people who are not Black have experienced those same problems. But no, they are not on the list to receive some sort of compensation - only Black Farmers are.

Something like this does nothing but act as more divisiveness among Americans. 

Remember Judge Friedman’s October 27, 2011 Order approving the Settlement provides that the 180-day period for submitting claims under the Settlement runs from November 14, 2011 to May 11, 2012.

So if you are a Black Farmer and want to submit a claim, remember that claims postmarked after May 11, 2012 will not qualify for an award  - and because the popular myth is that black folks are the only ones in the world who have ever experienced discrimination or problems with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, White, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic farmers need not apply!

Unless of course it happens and yes other ethnic groups do apply, and when they are turned down - then they too can maybe claim some sort of discrimination just like the Black Farmers did! 

Story by Tom Correa

1 comment:

  1. your post is very informative ie Billion of Tax Money to black framers and only black farmers


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