Saturday, May 22, 2021

Farming Up Old History

Rural white farmers across America are growing increasingly hostile toward the idea of a Biden administration program that pays Black farmers a damn thing and that it's "reparations", and if they don't get money too, they'll make sure nobody gets a dime.

Shade Lewis had just come in from feeding his cows one sunny spring afternoon when he opened a letter that could change his life: The government was offering to pay off his $200,000 farm loan, part of a new debt relief program created by Democrats to help farmers who have endured generations of racial discrimination.

It was a windfall for a 29-year-old who has spent the past decade scratching out a living as the only Black farmer in his corner of northeastern Missouri, where signposts quoting Genesis line the soybean fields and traffic signals warn drivers to go slow because it is planting season.

But the $4 billion fund has angered conservative white farmers who say they are being unfairly excluded because of their race. And it has plunged Mr. Lewis and other farmers of color into a new culture war over race, money and power in American farming.

“You can feel the tension,” Mr. Lewis said. “We’ve caught a lot of heat from the conservative Caucasian farmers.”

The debt relief is redress set aside for what the government calls “socially disadvantaged farmers” — Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and other nonwhite workers who have endured a long history of discrimination, from violence and land theft in the Jim Crow South to banks and federal farm offices that refused them loans or government benefits that went to white farmers.

The program is part of a broader effort by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress to confront how racial injustice has shaped American farming, which is overwhelmingly white. Black farm advocacy groups say that nearly all the land, profit and subsidies go to the biggest, most powerful farm operations, leaving Black farmers with little. But in large portions of rural America, the payments threaten to further anger white conservative farmers.

The plans have drawn thousands of enraged comments on farm forums and are being fought by banks worried about losing interest income. And some rural residents have rallied around a new slogan, cribbed from the conservative response to the Black Lives Matter movement: All Farmers Matter.

If you thought the politics of white resentment was going to cost Democrats any shot at rural states before, wait until Republicans are running ads with camera shots where money is given from white hands in suits to black hands in work shirts, and the white hand in the work shirt in the shot gets nothing. Run that for 2022 and even California will lose multiple House seats.

Support for Black Lives Matter among white voters has cratered in the last year (and it's fallen among Latino voters too.)


It's only going to get worse, too. This will absolutely be a rallying point in every rural community and things are going to go very, very badly for Black farmers. Granted, it just means Republicans will win rural House districts by 30 instead of just 20, but it could very well cost Dems seats in 2022 on top of everything else.

Really what I'm afraid of at this point is more violence. And Republicans are already suing in multiple states to block the program.

No, I quickly foresee Black farmers quietly telling the Biden administration that they don't want the money, because it comes guaranteed with the hatred of neighbors. And Black farmers in general are only going to suffer more in the months and years ahead.

Because we always do.

This is America.

The Big Lie, Con't

The Big Lie moves from Arizona to Georgia, from Phoenix to Atlanta, as a GOP judge has ruled that the state's new GOP voter suppression laws now allow for a "citizen recount" of November's mail ballots with the intent of overturning Biden's win there.

A Georgia state judge on Friday ordered Fulton County to allow a group of local voters to inspect all 147,000 mail-in ballots cast in the 2020 election in response to a lawsuit alleging that officials accepted thousands of counterfeit ballots.

The decision marks the latest instance of a local government being forced to undergo a third-party inspection of its election practices amid baseless accusations promoted by President Donald Trump that fraud flipped the 2020 contest for President Biden.

The inspection in Fulton County, home to Atlanta, is likely to proceed differently than an audit underway in Maricopa County, Ariz., where Republican state senators ordered county election officials to hand over equipment and ballots to a private company called Cyber Ninjas for examination. That process has come under widespread criticism for lacking security measures and failing to follow the rigorous practices of government recounts. On Thursday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) urged local officials to toss their machines after the audit is complete because their security is now in doubt.

In Georgia, Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ruled on Friday that the nine plaintiffs and their experts could examine copies of the ballots but never touch the originals, which will remain in the possession of Fulton election officials. Further details of how the inspection will proceed are expected next week, said one of the plaintiffs, Garland Favorito.

The order for the new ballot inspection comes after Georgia officials did three separate audits of the vote last year, including a hand recount, which produced no evidence of widespread fraud.

Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts said it was “outrageous” that the county “continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election.”

“The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health pandemic,” Pitts said in a statement. “It’s a shame to see that the ‘Big Lie’ lives on and could cost the hardworking taxpayers of this county.”

A spokesman for Pitts said he plans to meet with the Fulton County attorney to “review all legal options” to block “this waste of taxpayer resources.”

Fulton County is one of numerous communities where local residents have recently pushed to revisit the 2020 election results, echoing Trump’s false claims of fraud.
I'm sure another lawsuit will be filed to force the county to hand over the original votes, and will continue for months. Expect other blue urban areas in red states to be force-audited again and again as well, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Milwaukee, the list will go on and on.
The entire point of the Big Lie remains to justify the coming GOP nullification of Democratic party wins in 2022. Period. 

Count on it.

Things get very nasty from there.
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