CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER

 

 BLACK FARMERS MEETING;

CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER,

Say Lawyers, Their Own

___________________________________________________________________

 1. TO OUR FELLOW SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN EGYPT    

Supporters of Egypt

 

 

 

 

Supporters of Egypt

On Friday, February 11, 2011, civil rights history was again repeating itself. That day, in one of the oldest civilizations known to the human race–Egypt–its citizens and all who love and believe in democracy, watched with enthusiasm and glee, as the people of that ancient land finally achieved freedom.

All those who stood, fought and died for freedom in this early land should always be remembered by their fellow citizens, and other human rights supporters.

Accordingly, every U. S. citizen should remember the sacrifices of those who, fought and died to advance our country’s cause for freedom and pursuit of a “more perfect union.” Some during the Revolutionary War, some during the Civil War and still others during the war and battles of civil rights.  

More importantly, what happened and eventually “came to pass” in Egypt on February 11, 2011, was not then and will never be totally–free.          

Freedom is the quotient, result and bonus check to the beneficiaries and posterity of those who are willing to engage and remain engaged in the theater and battleground of demonstrations; marching and patrolling the fields, bridges, highways and suburbs of oppression and subjugation,” states this Blogger. “More importantly, lovers of freedom must always be vigilant and prepared to “stay on the battlefield” (until I die) and battle against the forces of evil arrayed against them. This is the lot, portion and calling to the soldiers, comrades and warriors chosen by God to preserve the promise of–“inalienable rights”.          

History is replete with senses throughout the world where the remittance of struggle and sacrifice is opposed, thwarted and thumbs down, by other individuals, special interest groups, and even their own government–local, state and federal.    
 
Governments, their employees, committees, cabinet executives–even the guardians of their constitutions–judicial officials–have on occasion, taken side with the oppressors and opponents of freedom and civil liberties against their own citizens.      
    

Notwithstanding the fact that these government servants will have, in most cases, taken a solemn oath before their God–to protect, preserve and defend the laws and constitutions of their government and country.          

2. TO THE HEROES AT THE BATTLE OF SELMA         

One such incidence, still being rehearsed and celebrated  annually and in the immediate memory of countless Americans, happened in this country in the Spring of 1965.  On Sunday, March 7, 1965,  a group of U.S. Citizens, assembled "peaceably" and prepared to march across a bridge in a state suburb called Selma, Alabama. This peaceable gathering and association of citizens, otherwise demanding, through freedom of speech and the petitioning  of their government for redress of grievances, was also opposed by local, state and  government officials.

    Edmund Pettus Bridge March 7, 1965

These grievances declared, among other things,  that state and local officials were denying them their constitutional right to vote as codified in the 15th Amendment of the the United States Constitution.  We, and most of the world, have well remembered  what happened on that–"Bloody Sunday."   

Several days later, to a special session of Congress, the then President of the United States of America, Lyndon Baines Johnson, delivered one of the most moving addresses ever given in that Legislative Chamber. The night of March 15, 1965, he stated, among other things:

"There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of  millions of  Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy in what is happening here tonight. 

For the cries of pain and  the hymns of protest of oppressed people have summoned  into convocation all the majesty of this great Government-the Government of the greatest Nation on earth.     

Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve  man." 

"Yet the harsh fact  is that in many  places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes. "Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this  right."

Pres. Johnson speaks to Joint Session

"…experience has clearly shown that   the existing process of law cannot  overcome systematic and ingenious  discrimination. No law that we  now  have on  the books–and I have  helped to put three of them  there–can ensure  the right to vote when  local  officials  are  determined  to  deny  it.  In  such  a case  our  duty must  be  clear to all of us. The Constitution says  that  no  person shall  be kept  from voting because of his race or  his color.  We have sworn an oath before God  to support  and  to defend that Constitution.   We must now action obedience to that oath."                                         

http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/speeches.hom/650315.asp    

 
3.  TO THE CASUALTIES OF THE BLACK FARMERS CAMPAIGN
 
In August of 1997, a group of African American farmers and their heirs filed a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging that, among other things, the United States Government, acting through and by the  Department   of Agriculture (USDA), had  indeed  engaged  into—systematic and ingenious discrimination—against them.
 
As was the case in Selma in 1965, Congress also acted and came to the rescue of this group of aggrieved citizens.  However, unlike Selma in 1965,  these farmers and their heirs were able the get  Congress to allow them to sue USDA for money damages. On October 21, 1998 these farmers and their heirs were,  indeed given the right (Appropriations Act of 1999, Section 741) to sue (USDA) in either (a) Federal Claims Court or (b) Federal District Court for–money damages–to be paid out of the Judgment Fund plus, "Other Relief [1].See Timothy C. Pigford et al., v. Tom Vilsack, Secretary, The Department of Agriculture, Civil Action No. 97-1978  (PLF).

 

However, for whatever reason, unlike the exultation and celebrations surrounding the legislation granting, Negro citizens the right to vote in 1965, few if any of us paid noticed to and actually comprehended, in this Bloggers opinion–the dynamics and potential effect of the "money damages portion" of this lawsuit. This provision, rightly understood, could have made this lawsuit one of the most prolific and fertile compensated agreements in the history of the African American community.

Moreover, the October 21, 1998, legislation did something for Black farmers/heirs which Congress had never done in its entire history. It granted the Courts the right (emphasis added) to "Tolled and Waived THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS" for all African Americans who believed that they (or ancestor [2]) were one of the victims of the racial discrimination committed by USDA against them. See Public Law 105-277, Section 741 (Codified at 7 U.S.C., Section 2279).    

The money damages paid from the Judgment Fund to these victims of racial discrimination ranged from $50,000.00 to over $13,000,000.00–plus other relief in the form of grants of land, low interest rate loans to buy land (approximately $1,000.000.00) and (approximately $1,000,000.00) for operating expenses for the production of that land.

Wait, there's more: the forgiveness of any debts otherwise owed to the government that were effected by the discrimination, against the farmer/heir. The average debt was estimated to be $187,000.00 per Track B Claimant [3].   

President Johnson, could, "every device of which human ingenuity is capable"  have been far behind.      

4. DEVICE NO. 1: DEPRIVE THEM OF PRECEDURAL DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW  THE      

TRACK "B" AMBUSHMENT:    

The Pigford lawsuit made available two (2) avenues for Black farmer/heirs, to receive  "money damages"  in addition to the other relief (debt forgiveness and Class-Wide-Injunctive-Relief etc.) which was otherwise identical and the same for either avenue.    

The first, and more familiar avenue was the $50,000.00 cash settlement for claimants who prevailed under Paragraph No. 9 (Track "A") of the Consent Decree. However, Paragraph No. 10 (Track "B") of the same decree made available cash monies approximating the farmer/heirs' actual losses resulting from the government's (USDA) discrimination (not to be confused with the $187,000.00 mentioned above). 

Accordingly, these individuals received an average cash payment of about $550,000.00 (over a half of a million or 11 times more dollars) more than Track A claimant [4].    

What is so unfortunate in this situation, however, is that less than 180 of the tens of thousands of Black Farmers and their heirs, who otherwise had a Track "B" claim ($550,000.00) were allowed to file under the Track "B" paragraph. Instead, these individuals were persuaded, coerced, restrained and outright refused the assistance necessary for them to complete the Track "B" Claim Package–by their own attorneys.

Again, these farmers were persuaded instead to file under Track "A" ($50,000.00 settlement) because they and USDA did not have the necessary "records and documents" to prevail under Track "B" and: 'they would automatically' receive the $50,000.00 anyway," said their lawyers.

However, these same farmers/heirs were, nevertheless, denied even the relief ($50,000.00) that was otherwise promised and assured to them by their lawyers. That is to say "these farmers/heirs got absolutely nothing–but the "shaft" from USDA in this settlement". No money damages or other relief whatsoever.    

Many of these unsuspecting individuals subsequently lost their farms, homes, families and, it should go without saying, their health, sanity, and above all– pride.    

Interesting enough, the reasons given by the Lawyers, Adjudicators, Arbitrators and Court appointed Monitor as to why this category of claimants (Track "A" converts) were denied relief and money damages  from the lawsuit was because, (1) they could not and did not provide the correct answer to the question pertaining the, "White farmer information" necessary to prevail under Track "A" and (2) USDA did indeed have and produced "records and documents" showing where the farmers/heirs had received loans and credit assistance from USDA and, therefore, disproving these group's, otherwise "admitted to"—claims of discrimination by USDA to them in the first place.   

First Ten Amendments

This group was not  afforded the Constitutional and Procedural Due Process right to "rebut, refute and/or cross-examine" the witnesses and documents USDA uses to deny them as otherwise guaranteed by the 5th Amendment to the Constitution

Guess who would have performed the "cross examining"of USDA's witnesses for these farmers/heirs. You're  right–their USDA paid lawyers.      

 As if this act of trickery and subterfuge was not enough, the lawyers then told this group that; "Oh by the way, you can not have your case heard again by any other Court or Tribunal because–when you agreed to have your case heard the first time, it contained a provision "waiving your rights to appeal"–too bad!     

These individuals were tricked, duped, lied too and deprived of their liberty and property interest in the vocation of agriculture by USDA, their lawyers, the Adjudicators and Arbitrators–while the Court, The Black Caucus,  Black leaders and Civil Rights organizations looked on–in the other direction.      

Virtually all of the remaining Black farmers (sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters) who have survived for the last four centuries, were included in this group and, therefore, at the stroke of a pen, summarily severed and released from the business of land ownership and food production by this single process.

This was done by design people. This group was the target of an economic and political assignation by USDA and its willing partners, herein above referenced, all along. We should know now that USDA's "sudden and uncharacteristic" admission of discrimination in 1998 by the then Secretary of USDA, Dan Glickman, against Black farmers to the Congress, Courts and the African American community was nothing more than a pretext.

This pretext was intended to cover up USDA's ungodly and diabolical scheme of rounding up all the remaining Black farmers and corralling them into a "shut and bullpen" for their economic and political slaughterhouse and killing zone."

This lawsuit was never ever about compensating this group for being the victims of USDA' systemic and ingenious discrimination. This was about Black farmer's and Black landowner's "extermination."         

5. DEVICE NO. 3: LABEL THEIR EFFORTS A DANGER TO SOCIETY AND TRY TO RESTRAIN THEM

On Friday, February 11, 2011, again, the same day where Egyptian citizens still on the Continent of Africa were celebrating newly gained freedoms and civil liberties; Americans, brought from the continent of Africa, were themselves subjected and caused to be subjected to having their freedoms and civil liberties–free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and the right to seek redress of grievances —taken from them.

On Wednesday, February 9, 2011, BFAA, Inc. sent an e-mail to its members announcing the fact that it would be conducting a Workshop at the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church located on 9700 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. See the Blog (BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA WORKSHOP–posted at www.mybfaa.com on February 23, 2011)).

Two days later; Friday the 11th, 2011, at approximately 3:02 (ET) BFAA, Inc. received a facsimile from an Attorney, Michael W. Lieberman of the Law Firm of CROWELL & MORING, LLP of Washington, D.C., stating that he had perfected the following:

    (a).   MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) on behalf of CERTAIN PLAINTIFFS–(other Black Farmers) who were maintaining, among other things….(1) That BFAA, Inc has invited farmers who do not have a claim in the current lawsuit, (2) That the dissemination of information by BFAA, Inc is "sowing confusion," causing them to expend time and resources in a fruitless quest for relief, and lead to profound disappointment and frustration, (3) the public would be better off if BFAA, Inc was stopped from holding the planned workshop and last but not least, (4) that Judge Friedman had admonished them (lawyers), in a Conference Hearing on November 14, 2008 to protect the farmers from "misleading and confusing information," etc, etc, etc.

    (b).    A [PROPOSED] TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER to be signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman.     See CERTAIN PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER and PROPOSED ORDER on BFAA, Inc's Home Page under Downloads–Temp. Restraining Order.      

This RESTRAINING ORDER, simply put, is asking Judge Friedman to prevent Black farmers/heirs (successful or otherwise) who have already been through the first lawsuit (Pigford I) from assembling, associating and meeting—in church—with other Black farmers/heirs who are about to go through the second lawsuit (Pigford II). "To do so, according to this lawyer, would constitute, "confusion," on a level otherwise warranting, a declaration by the Government of, "CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER."     Has Baton Rouge been declared a War Zone?      

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_and_present_danger      

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/clear&pdanger.htm            

However, BFAA, Inc did indeed hold the schedule workshop in Baton, Rouge without any member, to include yours truly, being seized or searched for the trafficking, bootlegging, black marketing and distribution of Black farmer's contraband–"confusing and misleading information."

Again, unlike Selma in 1965, the Baton Rouge meeting had no semblance and/or air of dogs, fire trucks, water hoses and/or tear gas being readied by local and state police neither on the church grounds, roof tops and/or surrounding bridges. More importantly, on the following Monday, February 14, 2011, BFAA, Inc. received a facsimile from Attorney Lieberman stating that Judge Friedman was out of his office during that week and otherwise unavailable to sign the [PROPOSED] RESTRAINING ORDER–anyway.      

6. CONCLUSION AND CALL TO ACTION     

One of the things that the African American community most do, necessarily, is to wean and otherwise reconcile itself to: the fanciful and gingerbread notion is that other groups will place our interest first–even in your own lawsuits. They will not- .  Save the honey and molasses for your Thanksgiving and Christmas pies–our own lawsuits and the Constitution, notwithstanding.     

The mere fact that this government (USDA) has divided its discrimination lawsuits up by ethnicity (Native American farmers; (Keepseagle et al., v. Vilsack), Hispanic farmers ; (Garcia et al,. v. Vilsack) and White Women farmers (Lover et al., v. Vilsack) is facial evidence that it's (USDA) still in the business of racial discrimination. What better proof is left behind? 

This segregation of victims of its discrimination can only mean that USDA and lawyers (Arbitrators, Adjudicators and Monitor) intend to have different methods for both; processing claims and a different process by which farmers/heirs you will paid on those claims of discrimination. If this is indeed the case, as this Blogger is betting that it is, then the group populated with African Americas will get the least (shafted) in constitutional guarantees and the least in monetary damages.  Any taker?     

DIVIDE AND CONCUR:     The intent to restrain Black farmers from meeting, peaceably was also premised upon divisions within the Black community itself–"this group went first",  "now you can not go", "he might be in the way", "she won't understand", "they might run out of money", "but this", "but that"… so forth, and so on and so up to." These "frivolous and beside the point" arguments are merely "badges of slavery" designed to create hostility within the Black community—dividing it against itself.

However, these inferior and trifling messages will explain how any why so many African American farmers/heirs were discouraged from participating in the lawsuit the first time. That is to say–they worked–$50,000 to $550,000–money damages aside. 

On pages No. 4 and 5 of his MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, Attorney Lieberman states the following:

     (1)   "The Notice advises black farmers who "received the $50,000.00 [Pigford] settlement in 1999 and/or 2000" that they "should attend" the Workshop. But Section 14012 expressly excludes any farmer who received an award in Pigford. 

     (4)    "The Notice advises black farmers who "had a Track B Claim [in Pigford] but were persuaded to file under Track A" that they "should attend" the Workshop. But Section 14012 expressly excludes any farmer whose claim was determined in Pigford, and provides no exception for farmers who could have, but did not, file a Track B claim in this action.  See items # (1) and (4) on pages 4 and 5 of MEMORANDUM.

Remember the "Track B Claimants" who Mr. Lieberman is now saying shouldn't be allowed to meet "in church" with other Black farmers/heirs in Baton Rouge. Well, these are the selfsame claimants that USDA and other lawyers "shafted and barred"out of the average $550,000.00 opportunity in Pigford I in the 1999 lawsuit. These individuals were banished from the lawsuit by their lawyers and now; being marked, tacitly, as pariahs, lepers and untouchables deserving of excommunication and dismissal from, of all places–Black churches.

Folks, this is not simply a misguided attempt in trying to explaining the law and regulations by some over zealous first year law student. This is an "in-your-face–sacrilegious display" of contempt and utter disdain for the civil rights of Black citizens, everywhere, by a veteran lawyer working at an otherwise well established Washington D.C., law firm.

However, what is all the more foreboding regarding Mr. Lieberman's pomp and vanity for our rights, is the inherent air of security in his knowing that the overall African American Civil Rights community will say and do nothing about–this ungodly display of contempt.

For this, ladies and gentlemen is really the "nub" of the problem for Black farmers/heirs, Black homeowners, Black hair care providers or any other African American engaged or wanting to be engaged in any economic endeavor in this country. Defrock them of their hereditary and ancestral rights to farm  then criminalize their efforts to assemble, associate and speak out to regain those rights.

Black leaders, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the N. A. A. C. P., should speak out and condemn this egregious and repugnant display of disdain for our rights and liberties. More importantly, every Black church leader should be all the more outraged for the insolence and disrespect being manifested in this groups' ungodly attempt to ban freedom of speech and assembly in our houses of worship. He who is silent, is also–consenting.

"Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, spoil his   goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house."   —Matthew 12:29

More foreboding at least, is this attorney's implied sense of security that Judge Friedman will allow this bareface and offensive maneuver/assault on our rights, in his Court. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear, regarding this Blogger's hunch—that for Black farmers and their heirs—-he will.

The mere fact that Congress had to hold a hearings and subsequently pass legislation to force the parties (Attorney Alexander J. Pires and Attorney Michael K. Lewis) and the Court–Judge Friedman– to allow Late Filers into the lawsuit is an indictment of sorts against this Court for depriving these same individuals of the Due Process and Equal Protection Under the Law.  There is no other way to look at it.

But wait:The worst is yet to come. When you see what the parties (lawyers, arbitrators, adjudicators and USDA) have planned for the Late Filers under the Pigford II SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT you will understand why they didn't want them (CERTAIN CLAIMANTS) talking and meeting in Baton Rouge with their "Track B Cousins"———it's going to be CERTAIN CLAIMANTS "extermination" this time.

BFAA, Inc will announce its plans to combat what can only be described as the "shot across the bow," to the mighty ship of economic development and restitution available to countless sons and daughters of those who have helped to create this great democracy–IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM–within days.           

                                            **********************     

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances is ingrained and orthodox in our democracy–it has ancient roots.     

"…….At the heart of the Federal Constitution's First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for himself or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration, and adherence; government action that stifles speech on account of its message, or that requires the utterance of a particular message favored by the government, contravene this essential right."  Turner Broadcasting Systems v. FCC, 512 US 622, 114 S Ct. 2445.                  

Thank you!          

Thomas Burrell     

BFAA, Inc.  President         

 ________________________________________          

[1] See Paragraph No. 11 of Consent Decree (BFAA, Inc) under Downloads, regarding CLASS-WIDE-INJUNCTIVE-RELIEF.     

[2] See Paragraph 2 (a) of the herein above referenced Consent Decree.     

[3] See Transcript of Fairness Hearing dated March 2, 1999 (not available at BFAA, Inc Downloads).     

[4] See Monitor Report (Reports & Recommendations) at www.pigfordmonitor.org report dated 8/19/04 on page 7, Line I.     

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