It's Columbus Day and We're Still Screwing Over the Natives:
Among the over 400 bills being held up by the renegade Republicans in the Senate is a simple matter: the approval of a negotiated settlement of a class action lawsuit filed in 1996 by a group of American Indians charging that the Department of the Interior had, for over a hundred years, dicked over Indians for their share of leases to natural resource usage on Indian land. The Cobell v. Salazar settlement (named for the first plaintiff, Elouise Cobell, and the current Interior Secretary) is for $3.4 billion dollars, far, far less than what is actually owed, a bargain, really. The case was settled in December 2009. All that was needed was congressional approval by the original deadline of April 16.
Twice, it was possible for the matter to be taken care of. Twice it failed due to Republican obstructionist tactics. It passed the House in May after the deadline was extended. It passed again in July as part of another spending bill. The deadline for Congress now looms on October 15, this coming Friday, while it has floundered in our dysfunctional Senate.
Initially, Senator John Bareasshole...er, Barrasso of Wyoming had a problem with the lawyers' fees, which amounted to about 3% of the settlement for 13+ years of work. But that was settled, and, indeed, it seemed that Republicans were going to stop being fuckbags about it (and about another settlement in the matter of the government dicking over black farmers, which has been linked to the Cobell case because, see, one minority is the same as another). In late September, when Harry Reid was going to ask for unanimous consent on Cobell, Oklahoma's Tom Coburn said he would object, as he did in May. His reasons? "He wants the settlement costs to be offset so they don't add to the deficit and to ensure that the remedies go to the people who were wronged."
Think about that for a moment. He doesn't want to add to the deficit even though the money that is owed to the Indians was, in essence, stolen from them and already spent. As far as it going to the right individuals, well, that was all negotiated and litigated for the last, you know, 13 fucking years. By the way, of the 300,000 people who will get something from the Cobell settlement, 50,000 are in Oklahoma.
So, as stupid marches for a stupid man go on today, remember that in ways large and small, the ongoing degradation of indigenous peoples that the stupid man unleashed continues, with his stupid mantle being carried by others who wallow with pride in their own stupidity.