Wednesday, July 21, 2010



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shirley Sherrod: Another Community Organizer Enjoying her Reparations?

O'Brien by Teri O'Brien

As usual, the talking heads on television discussing the Shirley Sherrod matter are missing a huge part the story.

When I first saw the now ubiquitous video, which Andrew Breitbart released yesterday, featuring United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) now-former, for the time-being, official Shirley Sherrod’s provocative comments at an NAACP meeting in March and her subsequent immediate termination, I wondered whether Ms. Sherrod had considered trying to save her job by telling Secretary Vlisack that she is a member of the New Black Panther Party. Granted, like many of the ruling class, he may not have heard of that organization and their thuggery at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008, but she could have referred him to Attorney General Holder.

It was not surprising that, with their approval numbers falling faster than Nancy Pelosi’s last facelift, the Obama administration would fall into a flop-sweating, heart-racing panic over any discussion involving its, shall we say, race consciousness, especially one coming out on the same day that we received confirmation of what we have known for years, that the supposed objective journalists who claim to be bringing us the truth were engaged in an all-out effort to suppress the story of Barack Hussein Obama’s enthusiastic 20-year membership in a church led by an openly-racist, anti-Semitic, American-hating screeching loon of a preacher.

I also found it a bit curious that Ms. Sherrod’s defenders were asserting that her statements happened 24 years ago, but then I remembered that there is a statute of limitations for democrats who engage in “hate speech,” even in the service of organizations that engage in race-based murder, and vote against civil rights legislation. (See the late Sen. Robert Byrd.)

It was frankly stunning, though, that the administration led by the guy who, without knowing the facts and circumstances, pronounced that a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer acted “stupidly” strictly based on one unspoken factor, the race of the people involved, would so swiftly give the heave-ho to a member of one of his mascots, an African-American female.

Here’s another part that didn’t add up. Yesterday on CNN, Ms. Sherrod claimed that Glenn Beck’s plans to cover the story on his show led to the swift falling of the ax, once again demonstrating that no matter what people say about Obama’s lack of cajones, he’s willing to stand up to one group of enemies, who he sees as a clear and present danger to America, specifically, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other commentators who expose the truth about him and his policies. Still, during that interview, she stated that her supervisors couldn’t even wait for her to get back from a weekend trip out of town. They called her 3 times during her drive home. During the third call, they insisted that she pull over to the shoulder so that they could fire her over the phone!

Now, thanks to the Washington Examiner, we have an explanation for Ms. Sherrod’s abrupt termination. Tom Blumer writes about the Pigford case.

An announcement of Ms. Sherrod's July 2009 appointment to her USDA position at gives off quite a few clues:

RDLN Graduate and Board Vice Chair Shirley Sherrod was appointed Georgia Director for Rural Development by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on July 25. Only days earlier, she learned that New Communities, a group she founded with her husband and other families (see below) has won a thirteen million dollar settlement in the minority farmers law suit Pigford vs Vilsack.


The news that follows at the link, which appears to pre-date the announcement of Ms. Sherrod's appointment, provides further details:

Minority Farm Settlement

Justice Achieved - Congratulations to Shirley and Charles Sherrod!

We have wonderful news regarding the case of New Communities, Inc., the land trust that Shirley and Charles Sherrod established, with other black farm families in the 1960's. At the time, with holdings of almost 6,000 acres, this was the largest tract of black-owned land in the country.

... Over the years, USDA refused to provide loans for farming or irrigation and would not allow New Communities to restructure its loans. Gradually, the group had to fight just to hold on to the land and finally had to wind down operations.

... The cash (settlement) award acknowledges racial discrimination on the part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the years 1981-85. ... New Communities is due to receive approximately $13 million ($8,247,560 for loss of land and $4,241,602 for loss of income; plus $150,000 each to Shirley and Charles for pain and suffering). There may also be an unspecified amount in forgiveness of debt. This is the largest award so far in the minority farmers law suit (Pigford vs Vilsack).

The Pigford matter goes back a long way, and to say the least has a checkered history, as this May 27, 2010 item at Agri-Pulse demonstrates (bolds are mine):

As part of a April 14, 1999 class action case settlement, commonly known as the Pigford case, U.S. taxpayers have already provided over $1 billion in cash, non-credit awards and debt relief to almost 16,000 black farmers who claimed that they were discriminated against by USDA officials as they “farmed or attempted to farm.” In addition, USDA’s Farm Service Agency spent over $166 million on salaries and expenses on this case from 1999-2009, according to agency records.

Members of Congress may approve another $1.15 billion this week to settle cases from what some estimate may be an additional 80,000 African-Americans who have also claimed to have been discriminated against by USDA staff.

... Settling this case is clearly a priority for the White House and USDA. Secretary Vilsack described the funding agreement reached between the Administration and advocates for black farmers early this year as “an important milestone in putting these discriminatory claims behind us for good and in achieving finality for this group of farmers with longstanding grievances."

However, confronted with the skyrocketing federal deficit, more officials are taking a critical look at the billion dollars spent thus far and wondering when these discrimination cases will ever end. Already, the number of people who have been paid and are still seeking payment will likely exceed the 26,785 black farmers who were considered to even be operating back in 1997, according to USDA. That’s the year the case initially began as Pigford v. (then Agriculture Secretary) Glickman and sources predicted that, at most, 3,000 might qualify.

At least one source who is extremely familiar with the issue and who asked to remain anonymous because of potential retribution, says there are a number of legitimate cases who have long been denied their payments and will benefit from the additional funding. But many more appear to have been solicited in an attempt to “game” the Pigford system. (emphasis mine)

This must-read story also reveals that Ms. Sherrod’s husband is a former honcho in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee back in the 1960’s. You can read more about it in Bill Ayers book “Fugitive Days.” Yes, that Bill Ayers. He was involved in SNCC as well.

No wonder Ms. Sherrod had to go immediately, particularly on the day of the Journo-Rev. Wright story. As Mr. Blumer says, not so fast.

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