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GOP Rep. accuses Obama of advancing ‘slavery reparations’

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A Republican congressman from Iowa has accused has accused President Obama of publishing “slavery reparations” through Congress.

“Figure this out, Madame Speaker: We have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he’s going to run for president, and what does he do?” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked on the House floor Monday night. “He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.”

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As senator, Obama pushed for a settlement with black farmers and Native Americans who were discriminated against.

King argued that the claims of African-American farmers and American Indians who were discriminated against in the 1980s and 1990s by the Department of Agriculture are fraudulent. However, the Senate last week approved a $1.2 billion settlement for the Pigford II and Cobell claims. A federal judge approved the settlement in February after an investigation by the FBI.

Still, King ignored the fact that because of USDA denied the loans to the claimants in a discriminatory fashion — the settlement’s basis — most of the black farmers lost their livelihoods.

“We’ve got to stand up at some point and say, ‘We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,'” he said. “That war’s been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood and it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees, especially. And there’s no reparations for the blood that paid for the sin of slavery. No one’s filing that claim.”

A USDA spokesperson replied to King’s accusations, noting that they are “nothing more than an attempt to derail an effort to provide long-overdue compensation to thousands of farmers who were discriminated against over several decades.”

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“Current census numbers on black farmers are not the proper guide for the number of claimants, and certainly no basis for allegations of fraud,” the spokesperson said. “Out of the 15,000 claims processed under Pigford I, the FBI determined that only 3 claims were fraudulent, and this Administration is committed to ensuring that the new claims process has integrity and provides justice to those who have suffered discrimination.”

The Pigford settlement has been mired in controversy which crested earlier this year with the firing of  USDA appointee and Pigford claimant Shirley Sherrod, due to a right-wing blogger’s doctored video of her at a March 2010 NAACP event.

King’s media profile rose last week for his request that WikiLeaks be deemed a “foreign terrorist organization.”

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2020 Election

Militia leader denies that flying a Confederate flag is racist in NBC News exposé

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On MSNBC's Deadline White House Tuesday, correspondent Cal Perry spoke with a militia leader in Kentucky who denied that carrying a Confederate flag was a form of racism.

"There are photos of you carrying Confederate flags," Perry said.

"Some people don't. People in my group are Puerto Rico, Blacks, Cubans, I've got a mixture," said Tara Brandau of the National Patriotic Defense Team militia.

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White House science office boasts Trump ‘ended’ COVID-19 pandemic

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On Tuesday, Politico reported that the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy is touting "ending the COVID-19 pandemic" among the list of supposed accomplishments of President Donald Trump's first term.

"The list, included in a press release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, credits the administration for taking 'decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease,'" reported Brianna Ehley. "It’s the latest inaccurate claim from the administration on the severity of the pandemic, which Trump has downplayed throughout his reelection campaign, and as Vice President Mike Pence’s office is dealing with an outbreak."

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Nxivm sex cult leader Raniere sentenced to 120 years in jail

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A "self-help" guru convicted of running a cult-like organization of sex slaves who were branded with his initials was sentenced to 120 years in prison by a New York judge Tuesday.

The effective life sentence for Keith Raniere, 60, comes after he was found guilty of coercing women into having sex with him as the charismatic leader of Nxivm, a life-coaching group that attracted a coterie of rich and famous devotees.

Followers signed up for $5,000, five-day self-help courses, but some were then financially and sexually exploited and forced to follow a restrictive diet, as Raniere -- known as "Vanguard" -- exerted control, his six-week trial heard.

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