An end of the week round-up:
First let’s take a non-hysterical look at the news about ACORN. The Anonymous Liberal writes, You Can Tell a Lot About People By Who They Choose to Demonize
But even if you take these film-makers at face value and assume the worst, the reality is that ACORN has thousands of employees and the vast majority of them spend their days trying to help poor people through perfectly legal means (and receive very little compensation for doing so). Even before yesterday’s Senate vote, the amount of federal money that went to ACORN was very small. This is a relatively insignificant organization in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an organization that has unquestionably fought over the years to improve the lives of the less fortunate in this country.
Let me address an attitude expressed in one of A.L.’s comments. ACORN has had a few employees dismissed over the years for wrong doing, thus ACORN is a corrupt organization that should be dismantled. Let’s extend that logic to the police. Every year we can find corrupt and blatantly criminal activity by a few members of most police departments. Thus we should do away with police altogether. The few define the many, the few make the entirety guilty. If we apply this new ethical standard to the Republican Party we could easily fill up a few federal penitentiaries with Republican and disband the Republican Party. More typical then ironic Michelle Malkin in a diatribe advocating more corporal punishment in public schools called Abu Ghraib-i-fying America’s Schools
Of course educators must use common sense when punishing bad apples. Of course they should be held accountable if they cause undue harm. But the agenda of these outfits is not to ensure the safety of everyone in the classroom. Their agenda is to demonize unapologetic enforcers of order and to impose international dictates on American public institutions.(emphasis mine)
Her general argument is spurious, but note the appeal to differentiate between entire organizations and “bad apples.” There might be a few bad apples in ACORN and they should be dealt with accordingly, but how about some of that institutional respect Malkin cheerleads for kid beaters, for ACORN. Joe Conason gets at the root of what the rabid Right sees as ACORN’s real crime, In defense of ACORN
Yet ACORN’s troubles should be considered in the context of a history of honorable service to the dispossessed and impoverished. No doubt it was fun to dupe a few morons into providing tax advice to a “pimp and ho,” but what ACORN actually does, every day, is help struggling families with the Earned Income Tax Credit (whose benefits were expanded by both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton). And while the idea of getting housing assistance for a brothel was clever, what ACORN really does, every day, is help those same working families avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.
Perhaps the congressional investigation now demanded by some Republican politicians would be a useful exercise, if conducted impartially. A fair investigation might begin to dispel some of the wild mythology promoted by right-wing media outlets.
Among the most popular canards on the right, repeated constantly by conservative pundits and politicians, is that ACORN has been found guilty of engaging in deliberate voter fraud, using federal funds. In reality, ACORN has registered close to 2 million low-income citizens across the country over the past five years — a laudable record with a very low incidence of fraud of any kind.
Over the past several years, a handful of ACORN employees have admitted falsifying names and signatures on registration cards, in order to boost the pay they received. When ACORN officials discovered those cases, they informed the state authorities and turned in the miscreants.
ACORN has gotten poor Americans to vote and acted as their advocates. On the Conservative tablet of great sins, there are few more grievous there empowering low income Americans. That is one of the reasons liberals and many independents find the signs with the saying “Don’t tread on me” so laughable in the context of the tea baggers parties. They’re at these protests to protect the interests of the corporate elite and are positive America’s working class is out to rip off their hard earned money. The undercover weenies that made those videos of ACORM employees might well have gotten a couple of legitimate wrong doers, but they have also lied and the ACORN worker who claimed she shot her ex-husband definitely punked them. Those old enough to remember the deranged right-wing attacks directed at President Bill Clinton probably remember those were the glory days of the American Spectator. They are proof that wisdom does not always come with age and experience. Glenn Greenwald writes in The distracting benefits of ACORN hysteria
UPDATE II: The American Spectator’s Joseph Lawler responds by claiming that the tea-party movement is every bit as devoted to combating the extreme corporate influences I highlight here as it is the likes of ACORN (“it is the same right wing that uncovered ACORN’s crimes that opposed the same marriage of state and big business that Greenwald complains about”). Sorry, but that’s just ludicrous. I have no doubt that there are people attending these protests who are non-partisan, non-discriminating and principled in their opposition to government corruption, expansion and excesses. That’s because there’s no real coherent message to these protests; it’s just amorphous anger which likely has numerous causes among the various participating constituents: Ron-Paul libertarians, paleoconservatives, LaRouchians, Southern race resenters, social conservatives, GOP operatives, standard dittohead liberal-haters, etc. Each group has a different agenda, often wildly divergent. The only thing they seem to have in common is that they hate Obama.
But look at who the lead supporters are: Rush Limbaugh, the Murdoch-owned Fox News, Glenn Beck, the right-wing blogosphere and talk radio generally, business groups led by Dick Armey. Does anyone actually believe that what motivates them is concern over the excessive, corrupting influence of Wall Street and large corporations in government? Please. They are pure GOP partisans who are exploiting citizen anger to undermine Democratic politicians in order to return the GOP to political power. It’s nothing more noble or profound than that. In fact, many of the movement leaders are among the most vocal advocates for unfettered corporate power.
What’s beyond hypocrisy. Vitterocrisy: DC Madam Customer David Vitter Is Outraged By The ACORN Prostitution Scandal
Vitter’s outrage over the latest ACORN scandal seems extraordinarily hypocritical, in light of what he went through in 2007:
A woman accused of running a Washington prostitution ring placed five phone calls to David Vitter while he was a House member, including two while roll call votes were under way, according to telephone and congressional records.
Vitter, a Louisiana Republican now in the Senate, acknowledged Monday that his number was on the woman’s call list and apologized for a “very serious sin.”
Vitter, of course, kept his federal funding, and remains in the Senate.
Vitter is also a recipient of tax payer subsidized health-care. A corrupt, serial lying hypocrite in the party of hypocrites. Maybe like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, when you’re found to be a corrupt lying hypocrite just claim God is one your side and start shouting ACORN ACORN to distract everyone.
Many of us may not live long enough to see the end of the investigations into Republican Bush era corruption, Former Interior Secretary Gale Norton is focus of corruption probe
The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department.
The criminal investigation centers on the Interior Department’s 2006 decision to award three lucrative oil shale leases on federal land in Colorado to a Shell subsidiary. Over the years it would take to extract the oil, according to calculations from Shell and a Rand Corp. expert, the deal could net the company hundreds of billions of dollars.
So what where is Obama’s birth certificate, Obama is going to put us all in concentration camps, chop off our heads and harvest the organs and fly the hammer and sickle over our graves while ACORN employees vote Democrat in our names.