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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2013/ 20 Iyar, 5773

The Obama/Clinton reparations

By Rich Lowry




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Abraham Carpenter Jr., a farmer in Grady, Ark., has more insight into human nature than the average sociologist. "Anytime you are going to throw money up in the air," he told The New York Times, "you are going to have people acting crazy."

Carpenter is quoted in an astonishing 5,000-word Times expose on the federal government's wildly profligate program to compensate minority and women farmers for alleged discrimination. The government rigged the game against itself and in favor of anyone claiming taxpayers' dollars. It was like a gambling house that fixed its slot machines to always come up triple cherries (and pay out other people's money).

The enormous scam was set in motion by a 1997 class-action lawsuit called Pigford v. Glickman, with black farmers alleging that the Department of Agriculture discriminated against them in allocating loans. The Government Accountability Office and the Agriculture Department found no evidence of ongoing discrimination, but black farmers had been treated unfairly in the past. This injustice became the predicate for officially sanctioned fraud amounting to reparations for non-white, non-male farmers.

The Clinton administration decided on a $1 billion settlement, "more a political decision than a litigation decision," one lawyer told the Times. The presiding judge expanded the definition of claimants to include anyone who had "attempted to farm," and no written complaint of discrimination was necessary. The judge wanted to set up a mechanism to provide "those class members with little or no documentary evidence with a virtually automatic cash payment of $50,000."

He succeeded brilliantly. Staff from lawyers' offices filled out forms for claimants at mass meetings. People filled out applications for their kids. Entire families filled out applications. Most applicants had never received any loans, making it impossible to check the record to verify their claims.

The Times examined 16 ZIP codes in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina, and found that "the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race in 1997, the year the lawsuit was filed. Those applicants received nearly $100 million." In Little Rock, Ark., 10 members of one extended family reaped a cool half a million dollars.

Tens of thousands of applicants missed the 1999 deadline of the original suit. Their claims were probably even weaker than the original ones. But as a senator, Barack Obama supported paying the late applicants, and as president, he successfully sought another $1.15 billion for the purpose.

Other groups felt left out of the bonanza. Lawyers at the Justice Department thought that they were winning a court battle with Hispanic and female farmers. That didn't matter. "Political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments," the Times writes, "engineered a stunning turnabout: they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court."

The government settled for another $760 million with Native Americans, even though it appeared to have a strong case. Even with the lure of this cash, the government could only give away $300 million. Another $400 million will go to Native American nonprofits, if appropriate ones can be found. And $60 million to the plaintiffs' lawyers for the service of helping fleece the U.S. government.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Times that the blowout means at his department "we celebrate diversity instead of discriminate against it." Couldn't he find a cheaper way to do it? The settlements altogether could cost more than $4.4 billion.

The Pigford case is like something out of a Tom Wolfe novel. It would be hard to invent a more damning fable of modern government. It is a tale of special-interest pleading and of the politicians who give in to it (at first, Barack Obama wanted to pander to rural blacks, then he needed to do catch-up pandering to Hispanics). It is a story of greedy lawyers and hapless bureaucrats. It is equally ludicrous and dismaying. Take a good long look, and then recoil.

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© 2012 King Features Syndicate

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