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In Defense of Acorn-SALON Nut Alert
Salon.com ^ | 09/18/2009 | Joe Conason

Posted on 09/18/2009 2:24:14 PM PDT by machogirl

Sept. 18, 2009 | For many years the combined forces of the far right and the Republican Party have sought to ruin ACORN, the largest organization of poor and working families in America. Owing to the idiocy of a few ACORN employees, notoriously caught in a videotape "sting" sponsored by a conservative Web site and publicized by Fox News, that campaign has scored significant victories on Capitol Hill and in the media.

Both the Senate and the House have voted over the past few days to curtail any federal funding of ACORN's activities. While that congressional action probably won't destroy the group, whose funding does not mainly depend on government largesse, the ban inflicts severe damage on its reputation.

In the atmosphere of frenzy created by the BigGovernment videos -- which feature a young man and an even younger woman who pretend to be a prostitute and a pimp seeking "advice" from ACORN about starting a teenage brothel -- it is hardly shocking that both Democrats and Republicans would put as much distance as possible between themselves and the sleazy outfit depicted on-screen.

Like so many conservative attacks, the crusade against ACORN has been highly exaggerated and even falsified to create a demonic image that bears little resemblance to the real organization. Working in the nation's poorest places, and hiring the people who live there, ACORN is not immune to the pathologies that can afflict institutions in those communities. As a large nonprofit handling many millions of dollars, it has suffered from mismanagement at the top as well -- although there is nothing unique in that, either.

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. (That was why the Bush Justice Department's blatant attempt to smear ACORN with rushed, election-timed indictments became a national scandal for Republicans rather than Democrats.) The proportion of fraud is infinitesimal. For example, a half-dozen ACORN workers were charged with registration fraud or other election-related crimes in the 2004 election. They had completed fewer than two dozen false registrations -- out of more than a million new voters registered by ACORN during that cycle. The mythology that suggests that thousands or even millions of illegal registrants voted is itself a fraud.

If only the Republicans who have worked up a frenzy over ACORN's alleged crimes were so indignant about real and damaging voter fraud -- such as the amazing case of Young Political Majors, the firm that ran GOP registration efforts in California, Massachusetts, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere before the authorities in Orange County, Calif., busted its president, Mark Anthony Jacoby, and sent him to jail last year. He had built a lucrative partisan career by teaching his minions to deceive thousands of voters into registering as Republicans rather than Democrats, among other scams. Of course, the only on-air mention of the Young Political Majors scandal on Fox News was made by blogger Brad Friedman -- and the national media, mainstream and conservative, generally ignored it. They were too busy generating "controversy" over ACORN.

So now the overhyped voting registration tales are metastasizing into wild accusations about ACORN's finances and programs, including claims that the group will receive billions in federal bailout funding and that it is a hotbed of corruption, perhaps even murder. In fact, ACORN affiliates -- those not involved with voter registration -- have received a few million dollars annually in federal funding. The group is not scheduled to receive any bailout money (although working people would probably benefit more from subsidizing ACORN than greasing AIG and Goldman Sachs).

The fans of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck regard ACORN as a criminal enterprise that fosters tax fraud, prostitution, child prostitution and even murder (thanks to a satirical "confession" by an employee filmed surreptitiously in the San Bernardino ACORN office). But ACORN chief organizer and CEO Bertha Lewis swiftly dismissed the employees caught on those videotapes and set about reforming the flawed processes that enabled those individuals to speak for the organization. No overt acts were committed by any of the people caught on those tapes -- and so far nobody has found that any of those theoretical "crimes" ever took place.

To claim that the stupid behavior of a half-dozen employees should discredit a national group with offices in more than 75 cities staffed by many thousands of employees and volunteers is like saying that Mark Sanford or John Ensign have discredited every Republican governor or senator. Indeed, the indignation of the congressional Republicans screaming about ACORN and the phony streetwalker is diluted by the presence of at least two confirmed prostitution clients -- Rep. Ken Calvert and Sen. David Vitter -- in their midst. Neither of those right-wing johns has been even mildly chastised by their moralistic peers. Nobody is cutting off their federal funding.

ACORN has pledged to institute reforms, with the appointment of a distinguished outside panel to oversee that process. Let us hope they succeed. Even now they seem far more likely to improve their performance -- and to be more sincere in their intentions -- than the Washington hypocrites who are trying to destroy them.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: acorn; conason; cultureofcorruption; healthcare; obama; salon
I was checking my YAHOO MAIL Account, and at the bottom YAHOO Buzz and YAHOO News pops up, I clicked on the link and of course, almost all, save 1 article were links to liberal hacks/liberal articles/liberal nut jobs.

Did a search on FR, couldn't find this posted.

1 posted on 09/18/2009 2:24:14 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl

No barf alert needed - Joe Con-ason as author suffices.


2 posted on 09/18/2009 2:25:14 PM PDT by dirtboy
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To: machogirl

I can’t believe that this writer uttered the “RR” (Ronald Reagan) word. I thought that was almost sacrilegious to the libs to utter the name of the Great President.


3 posted on 09/18/2009 2:25:56 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl
ACORN has pledged to institute reforms, with the appointment of a distinguished outside panel to oversee that process.

Just putting lipstick on a pig.


4 posted on 09/18/2009 2:26:51 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: dirtboy

If this is an insight into the mind of a lib, are they truly insane?


5 posted on 09/18/2009 2:27:03 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl

I can’t believe crazy Joe is still around and that anyone actually cares about anything he has to say.


6 posted on 09/18/2009 2:29:33 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Americans! "Behaving badly" since April 19, 1775!)
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To: machogirl

We got them on tape showing people how to start a business, dodge the tax, and launder the money from an operation that would smuggle under-age Salvadoreans for the purposes of forced prostitution.

Conason wants to defend that?

I say let him. His career.


7 posted on 09/18/2009 2:29:52 PM PDT by RinaseaofDs
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To: machogirl

Could it be that COI/ACORN is spending money like a drunken sailor for press that will (they hope) save their little nuts?


8 posted on 09/18/2009 2:30:36 PM PDT by the anti-liberal
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To: machogirl
ACORN has pledged to institute reforms, with the appointment of a distinguished outside panel to oversee that process.

"Distinguished" in that it includes the president of the SEIU, joined at the hip to ACORN. Funny how Joe didn't mention that.

9 posted on 09/18/2009 2:30:56 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: dirtboy

Salon has this little tidbit on their site; below the email signup. This gave me a laugh.

“And stay tuned to the best source of independent journalism.”


10 posted on 09/18/2009 2:31:11 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: the anti-liberal

No double meaning here? ;)


11 posted on 09/18/2009 2:32:48 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: darkwing104

Distinguished, outside panel. Wonder whom that could be?


12 posted on 09/18/2009 2:33:25 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: Billthedrill

Must have just “slipped” his little mind.


13 posted on 09/18/2009 2:34:24 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: RinaseaofDs

Probably defends NAMBLA too.


14 posted on 09/18/2009 2:35:07 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl

No, no - not all! ;) (Keep pressing them nuts guys!)


15 posted on 09/18/2009 2:37:36 PM PDT by the anti-liberal
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To: machogirl

ACORN is a criminal enterprise which uses the Poor as a front.


16 posted on 09/18/2009 2:38:11 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: machogirl

Conason is so consistently over-the-top angry it’s actually funny. His articles are the journalistic equivalent of a temper tantrum. I can just see him stamping his feet and threatening to hold his breath while he was writing this one, LOL.


17 posted on 09/18/2009 2:41:00 PM PDT by DemforBush (Somebody wake me when sanity has returned to the nation.)
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To: machogirl
In a right-side-up world...

Sept. 18, 2009 | For many years the combined forces of the far left and the Democrat Party have sought to strengthen ACORN, the largest criminal organization of welfare cheats and election riggers in America. ...
18 posted on 09/18/2009 2:42:38 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: machogirl
While that congressional action probably won't destroy the group, whose funding does not mainly depend on government largesse, the ban inflicts severe damage on its reputation.

He knew he was lying when he typed that, and he didn't care.

Whatever non-government money they had is also finished. Like General Mills or Coca Cola are going to keep handing over money to an organization that counsels those who run child sex slave operations on how to hide their income from the government.

ACORN is done. Conservatives killed it because it needed killing.

The children rejoice.

19 posted on 09/18/2009 2:44:45 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead

i still suspect a back door, re-infusion of monies via some obscure amendment to an unrelated, 1000 page bill.


20 posted on 09/18/2009 2:46:08 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: DemforBush

kind of like a two year-old?


21 posted on 09/18/2009 2:47:24 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl
Distinguished, outside panel. Wonder whom that could be?

Heidi Fliess, Charlie Sheen, Billy Idol, Elliot Spitzer, Sydney Biddle Barrows, Rep. Barney Frank, and Bill Clinton


22 posted on 09/18/2009 2:47:58 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: Venturer

So they call ACORN a black/brown organization. So do they discriminate against white skin? While receiving Federal Funds?


23 posted on 09/18/2009 2:48:25 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl
Alot of the suspects will jump ship and land on some other corrupt liberal island. But ACORN, as an entity, is sunk.

The FBI should be standing in all of their offices as we speak, guarding evidence, but the Obama Justice Department is giving them all the time they need to shred everything.

24 posted on 09/18/2009 2:48:35 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: darkwing104

I like Billy Idol’s tunes. Is he a nut?


25 posted on 09/18/2009 2:49:22 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: SpaceBar

Funny how Joe forgot that. I suppose in his mind the founding fathers put ACORN in the Constitution.


26 posted on 09/18/2009 2:50:34 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: dead

Sort of how Patrick Fitz hurried to arrest Blago before Obama could be tied in?


27 posted on 09/18/2009 2:51:32 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl
He was a regular customer of Heidi Fleiss’s services.


28 posted on 09/18/2009 2:54:09 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: machogirl

SALON
Chief Executive Officer
Richard Gingras
rgingras@salon.com

Editor in Chief
Joan Walsh
jwalsh@salon.com

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Norman Blashka
nblashka@salon.com

New Project Editor
Kerry Lauerman
klauerman@salon.com

Editorial
Managing Editor
Jeanne Carstensen
jeanne@salon.com

Cover Editor
King Kaufman
kaufman@salon.com

Associate Managing Editor
Ruth Henrich
ruth@salon.com

Writer at Large
Gary Kamiya
kamiya@salon.com

Project & Content Manager
Page Rockwell
prockwell@salon.com


29 posted on 09/18/2009 2:59:27 PM PDT by TET1968 (SI MINOR PLUS EST ERGO NIHIL SUNT OMNIA)
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To: machogirl

30 posted on 09/18/2009 4:05:36 PM PDT by Bobalu (I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: Bobalu

lol

check this out, lefty wing-nut cartoonist

http://ltsaloon.org/archives/category/cartoons/page/2

right out of the “Kooksacks” and the “DUmmies”.


31 posted on 09/18/2009 4:24:31 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: TET1968

I’ll bet (no money, no tengo dinero) that every one of them is not “independent” but a flaming left wing-nut.


32 posted on 09/18/2009 4:25:39 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: darkwing104

Billy Idol? say it aint so. i used to think Billy was cool.


33 posted on 09/18/2009 4:26:41 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: machogirl; FlingWingFlyer; altair; stephenjohnbanker; youturn; little jeremiah; ~Kim4VRWC's~; ...
ACORN Ping!

FReep mail me if you want on/off the list.


34 posted on 09/18/2009 4:27:55 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (A mob of one.)
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To: machogirl
Billy Idol? say it aint so. i used to think Billy was cool.

He maned up to it and admitted it. I respect him for it and he is still cool.


35 posted on 09/18/2009 4:30:31 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: darkwing104

I guess I must have missed his confession. I really thought he was funny in the “Wedding Singer”.


36 posted on 09/18/2009 4:40:23 PM PDT by machogirl
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To: darkwing104

“ACORN has pledged to institute reforms, with the appointment of a distinguished outside panel to oversee that process.

Just putting lipstick on a pig.”

Man! ACORN must think we are as stupid as they are ;-)


37 posted on 09/18/2009 4:45:30 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: TET1968; All

SALON
Chief Executive Officer
Richard Gingras
rgingras@salon.com

He must guzzle gin, and smoke grass.


38 posted on 09/18/2009 4:47:42 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: dirtboy

This guy could yap up a defense for Hitler. What a nut.


39 posted on 09/18/2009 9:37:41 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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