Patterico's Pontifications


Republican Chuck Grassley is Pigford Fraud Enabler #1

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 5:10 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

I contacted the office of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley today about his support for John Boyd. Here’s the response I got from Grassley’s press secretary, Beth Levine.

Senator Grassley’s support for Pigford II isn’t about John Boyd, it’s about the thousands of black farmers who were unable to have their cases heard before a neutral arbiter.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the courts and the Congress have all said that these farmers deserve to have their cases heard based on the merits.  Pigford II simply enables the farmers, or those who attempted to farm, to plead their case in front of a neutral party and be judged on the merits.   The law was also specifically written with extra protections to help ensure that fraud is kept out of the program.  Those changes have been made to the settlement agreement that will enhance the Department’s ability to fight fraud including requiring adjudicators to be a truly neutral party; allowing that neutral adjudicator to ask the claimant for additional documentation if he or she suspects any fraud; requiring the claimants’ attorneys to certify that there is evidentiary support for the claims; and requiring the Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office to evaluate the Department’s internal controls and audit the process in adjudicating the claims. (emphasis mine.)

This is all standard runaround that Pigford II somehow has higher standards – and it’s not true. A person who is willing commit perjury – as they are being trained to do in meetings across the country – can still file a claim and easily collect a $50,000 check because the system is so simple to game.

I’m willing to fly out to Washington and go over all of this with Senator Grassley and I’ll bring whistleblowers like Jimmy Dismuke and Eddie Slaughter with me. This stuff is not difficult to prove…if Senator Grassley will only listen.

But that’s not the point.

I wasn’t asking about Senator Grassley’s support for Pigford II. I was asking about his support for Boyd. And despite her claim that “Senator Grassley’s support for Pigford II isn’t about John Boyd” – look at what Grassley said about John Boyd from Grassley’s own website…

I also want to thank John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), for his help in getting us where we are today.  Without his dedication to this issue, I don’t think we’d be passing this legislation today. My hope is that the Department will work with groups like NBFA to conduct outreach to the black community and claimants.  No one wants to see fraud in the administration of these claims and stakeholder groups such as John’s can be a valuable resource to getting that message out.

I pointed this out to Ms. Levine – here was her response.

John Boyd and several other people were very good advocates for the black farmers.

Official response from Grassley’s office – John Boyd is a very good advocate for black farmers. Read my recent posts and decide if that’s true.

– Lee Stranahn

This Makes Me Want To Blog At HuffPost Again

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 12:40 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

After watching Arianna being attacked by James Rucker from Color of Change for admitting Andrew Breitbart isn’t racist, this new class action lawsuit against Arianna is another clear reason why I suggested Arianna Shrug.

I blogged at HuffPost for years. I stopped blogging there because I wasn’t happy with their treatment of (their personal friend) Andrew Breitbart, who they threw under the bus at the hopes of appeasing the left. My choice not to blog there while that situation continued – and to write about my decision – is plenty. This lawsuit is beyond stupid; it’s evil. I’ll explain that in a minute.

Here’s what Jonathan Tasini – a HuffPost blogger – screeched today…

In my view, the Huffington Post’s bloggers have essentially been turned into modern-day slaves on Arianna Huffington’s plantation,” he said. “She wants to pocket the tens of millions of dollars she reaped from the hard work of those bloggers….This all could have been avoided had Arianna Huffington not acted like the Wal-Marts, the Waltons, Lloyd Blankfein, which is basically to say, ‘Go screw yourselves, this is my money.’”

In other words, it’s personal.

“We are going to make Arianna Huffington a pariah in the progressive community,” Tasini vowed. “No one will blog for her. She’ll never [be invited to] speak. We will picket her home. We’re going to make it clear that, until you do justice here, your life is going to be a living hell.”

This is the face of liberalism in 2011. It’s appalling. Let’s review – money grubbing + vows of activism to destroy people + attacks on success + race-baiting + entitlement + petulant whining + anger over the feeling that somehow, somewhere, somebody is making a profit.

Mr. Tasini – go screw yourself. It’s her money.

– Lee Stranahan

Two Momentous Anniversaries

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:39 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

First, exactly 150 years ago, the War of Northern Aggression* Civil War began with the firing on Ft. Sumter.  The Other McCain has a note sent to Major Robert Anderson, commander at the fort:

The text reads:

Fort Sumter, S.C.

April 12, 1861. 3:20 a.m.

Major Robert Anderson

U.S. Army

Comdg Fort Sumter


By authority of Brig General Beauregard commanding the provisional forces of the Confederate States we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his Batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time.

We have the honor to be

Very Respectfully

Yr obt servts,

James Chesnut Jr., Aide de Camp

Stephen D. Lee, Capt., S.C. Army, Aide de Camp

McCain said to me on Twitter: “What is interesting is the courteous tone[.]”  Well, with respect, I interpreted it as sarcasm.  But I suppose my sarcasm detector might be a mite too sensitive.

What do you think?  Courteous or sarcastic?  Sound off in the comments!

Also, exactly a year ago today this happened:

Yeah, that is the Double Down, from Kentucky Fried Chicken and it also started on April 12…  just like the Civil War.  Holy crap, the Kentuckians** are trying to kill us with delicious fatty food!  It’s a neo-Confederate conspiracy!


* Please note that I was truly joking.  In my opinion, the South was wrong, and they were indeed the aggressors.

** Yes, I know Kentucky never joined the Confederacy, but clearly they are trying to make up for that oversight!

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Japan: Yeah, Um, That Nuclear Disaster… Is in the Chernobyl Zone Now

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:38 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

From the first moment I heard about the nuclear reactors in Japan, I had a bad feeling about the whole thing.  And I was convinced that the authorities were not telling us the truth.  Now we hear this:

Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to a severity on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing high overall radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.

Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 – the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency – after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami.

The new ranking signifies a “major accident” that includes widespread effects on the environment and health, according to the Vienna-based IAEA. But Japanese officials played down any health effects and stressed that the harm caused by Chernobyl still far outweighs that caused by the Fukushima plant….

But Edano told reporters there was no “direct health damage” so far from the crisis. “The accident itself is really serious, but we have set our priority so as not to cause health damage.”

Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear physicist at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said the revision was not a cause for worry, that it had to do with the overall release of radiation and was not directly linked to health dangers. He said most of the radiation was released early in the crisis and that the reactors still have mostly intact containment vessels surrounding their nuclear cores.

The change was “not directly connected to the environmental and health effects,” Unesaki said. “Judging from all the measurement data, it is quite under control. It doesn’t mean that a significant amount of release is now continuing.”

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, in a national television address, urged the public not to panic and to focus on recovering from the disaster.

“Right now, the situation of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant has been stabilizing step by step. The amount of radiation leaks is on the decline,” he said. “But we are not at the stage yet where we can let our guards down.”

One report, which I can’t locate now, said that radiation levels were still less than one tenth that of Chernobyl.  And let’s not forget that Chernobyl hasn’t exactly screwed up the whole planet, either.  It wasn’t the end of the world.  So even though this is bad news, we are not justified in freaking out.

That is, unless Japan still isn’t telling the whole truth…

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Trump: Give Me the Republican Nomination or I Will Give Obama a Second Term (Update: “Rawhide” Video Added)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:23 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

It’s really hard to understand this comment in any other way:

Donald Trump will “probably” run as an independent candidate for U.S. President in 2012 if he does not receive the Republican party’s nomination, he told the Wall Street Journal in a video interview on Monday.

“I hate what’s happening to the country,” said Mr. Trump, a real estate tycoon and host of the NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice.” He will not formally make a decision until June, however, when this season of his television show is over. “I can’t run during the airing of that show,” Mr. Trump said, “I’m not allowed to.” But he said he would make an announcement “by June” and his candidacy looks increasingly likely.

You might remember in 1992 how Ross Perot served as a spoiler.  Many political observers believe that Clinton would not have become president if Ross hadn’t taken so many votes from Bush “Sr.,” and this data seems to back that assertion up, although to be fair one can never be sure where those votes would have gone, otherwise.   And that is what Trump is threatening us with.

As for whether Trump should be the nominee.  Well, on paper he looks … okay.  I do prefer a person with executive experience and he does have that but … can I say something…?

God help me, the comb over is a problem for me.

Look, people go bald.  It happens.  It doesn’t reflect on them as persons.  And of course many good presidents have gone bald…

I am sure a full head of hair helps a person to win votes, but Donald doesn’t have that.  He has this:

And every guy who has looked at his father’s balding head and worried that this was his destiny, can definitely understand the impulse that leads you there.  I have thankfully been spared the experience of losing my hair, and I am frankly unsure how well I would take it if I did.

But still, it just says something about Trump as a person, that he allows himself to look like this.  He can’t help the fact he went bald, but he can control how he reacts to it — and a comb over is just about the worst way to do so.  It says he has a bad combination of uncontrolled vanity and lack of self-awareness.  Seriously, look at his picture and instead try to imagine him with typical male pattern baldness.  Does it really look so bad?  Doesn’t it actually look better than what he is doing to himself now if only because it is more dignified?

So, in a way I have a problem with Trump’s combover for the same reason I had a problem with this:*

All people try to look good.  Besides the fact that most people have a normal and excusable level of vanity, it helps us in our business and in life because other people respond better to good looking people.  It’s not fair, but it’s life.  But there are reasonable limits and that comb over, combined with a general sense that Trump is a loud, garish, and shallow man, makes me dislike his character.

I won’t say I wouldn’t support him if he was the nominee against Obama.  But I would be holding my nose some as I pulled the lever.  And this comment about running independently only increases the stench.

Update: GMTA. Ed Morrissey sees the same Perot angle and points out that Trump may have business experience, but some of it is pretty negative.

Update (II): And Ed links, writing: “Aaron Worthing says it’s all about the combover.” Heh.


* There was a version intercut with an image of Bush doing a quick pat on his head to fix his hair, all to the tune of the theme from Rawhide, which in my opinion was much funnier, but I couldn’t track that one down.  If you guys can find a link to that one, let me know.

Update: We found the video! (If it doesn’t play, go here.)

A big thanks to madawaskan in the comments for the catch. It was not an easy find and I thank everyone who looked.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

How “Dr.” John Boyd Spins Pigford To The Press

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 12:09 am

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

I’m back in Pigford mode, kids…

First, here’s a rough cut of a sequence from my documentary Pigford Blues. I’ve put up clips – but look! – this seems like a real movie.


And Boyd continues to manipulate the press. Like, today.

Here’s a story from today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch called For black farmers, the struggle continues that is a case study in how “Dr.” John Boyd twists the truth about the Pigford settlement. Read the whole article but I want to highlight a few of Boyd’s tricks.

The article starts with a few paragraphs about the history of Pigford and then…

Last year, the USDA reached a new settlement called Pigford II to resolve claims by late filers who said they were not notified and were unfairly left out of the earlier settlement.

But since Obama signed the appropriation bill, no money has been paid for Pigford II claims. Meanwhile, conservative bloggers, lawmakers and media personalities are alleging fraud by black farmers.

No. Wrong. Nobody is alleging fraud by black farmers. This is a crucial error that the article makes over and over again. They want to make it seem like critics of Pigford are beating up on farmers. Nothing could be further from the truth and Boyd knows it.

The fraud is by people who claim to have “attempted to farm”, a claim that required almost no proof. If you want some more information on the attempted to farmers, watch this video clip.

Then the article beats up on Andrew Breitbart and the GOP congressmen who are trying to help  the real farmers. Again – not how the article twists reality to make it appear that farmers are being attacked.

Breitbart is a guy who should have zero credibility, but he’s not alone. Reps. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia’s 6th District, Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Steve King, R-Iowa, have also accused the black farmers of fraud.

The next quotes are from Boyd himself – doubling down on the lie about the farmers being attacked when he knows full well it’s  frauds not farmers who are being attacked. It’s the people who never farmed a day in their life but collected $50,000 who are being questioned.

Boyd knows.

And he knows that the real criminals aren’t the people who lied to get a $50,000 check – but the real bad guys are people like Boyd and Al Pises who made that fraud possible and got rich while the real farmers suffered. That’s who Breitbart and I are going after.

 Listen to what Boyd says…

"To call black farmers frauds who have not had the chance to have their cases heard and arbitrated … here again, has some racial undertones to it," said Boyd, a Mecklenburg County farmer.

"They’re wasting time beating up on poor black farmers," he said. "We don’t have anything anyway. Why waste your time beating up on black farmers proven to have been discriminated against by the government.

You know who is beating up on real farmers? John Wesley Boyd, Jr., that’s who.

I confronted Boyd at a press conference earlier this year. Watch how pissed off he is to be questioned. Is it just me or does it look like he wants to punch me? And watch how the press buys into his B.S.

I just want to remind you of the truth about Pigford, from one of the real black farmers who was one of the original claimants: Lucious Abrams of Georgia, who tells you adamantly that Rep. King and Bachmann are the ones telling the truth.

– Lee Stranahan

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