09/19/2009 (7:04 pm)
Puns aside, I was shocked and a little amazed when a commenter on a recent thread insisted that the only criminal behavior exhibited by ACORN has been from a handful of employees going overboard in collecting voter registrations. It appears that the mainstream press has succeeded in misleading at least one seemingly intelligent Democrat into ignoring a veritable flood of damning evidence. It’s not the first time.
I’ve said for years, and believe it to be profoundly true, that the proper definition of “Democrat” is “an American voter who still believes that what he reads in major newspapers and hears on television news programs is accurate.” Once a person has learned that the press is systematically lying to them in order to make them support their agenda, which is written for them by the Democratic party, they tend to find alternative sources for the truth — after which, it’s pretty difficult to remain a good Democrat.
So, for all you Democrats out there, and for Republicans and Libertarians who have not been keeping up with the evidence, here are a handful of pithy links that will apprise you of the fuller picture of the organization calling itself the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Notice that it is an association: there are actually more than 300 separate organizations in the network, all carefully organized in such a way as to defeat any efforts to penetrate the maze and understand how they interact. It’s actually a deliberately structured shell game that enables a group of people who describe themselves in their own internal documents as “central and indispensable to the Progressive enterprise of gaining and using political power” to present themselves to the IRS and the Federal Election Commission as a non-profit enterprise engaged in non-partisan efforts to register voters and obtain housing loans.
ACORN, in short, is a criminal enterprise.
Here are the opening paragraphs from the Staff Report of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued July 23, 2009, entitled “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured as a Criminal Enterprise?”
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has repeatedly and deliberately engaged in systemic fraud. Both structurally and operationally, ACORN hides behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy on the part of its directors, to launder federal money in order to pursue a partisan political agenda and to manipulate the American electorate.
Emerging accounts of widespread deceit and corruption raise the need for a criminal investigation of ACORN. By intentionally blurring the legal distinctions between 361 tax-exempt and non-exempt entities, ACORN diverts taxpayer and tax-exempt monies into partisan political activities. Since 1994, more than $53 million in federal funds have been pumped into ACORN, and under the Obama administration, ACORN stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.
Operationally, ACORN is a shell game played in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia through a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities, to use taxpayer and tax-exempt dollars for partisan political purposes, and to distract investigators. Structurally, ACORN is a chess game in which senior management is shielded from accountability by multiple layers of volunteers and compensated employees who serve as pawns to take the fall for every bad act.
The report, which is 88 pages long, goes on to document how ACORN has failed in its fiduciary responsibility to contributors and employees, violated IRS regulations, violated its own corporate charter, engaged in activities forbidden to not-for-profit enterprises, and engaged in voter registration fraud, embezzlement, and organizational mismanagement. You can read the report here. If you don’t want to wade through 88 pages, you can read the release from the Republicans on the House Oversight Committee here.
By the way, notice, at the end of the quote block, above, that designating a few employees to take the fall for the criminal behavior of the entire organization is actually a strategy.
Here’s a link to an article discussing a plea agreement made by a senior ACORN employee at the national level, in response to an indictment brought in Las Vegas, NV, indicating a nationwide conspiracy by directors of ACORN to engage in widespread voter registration fraud and illegal remuneration of registration workers.
Here’s a link to an article documenting that the instructions for the quota system that produced the “handful” of violations is actually in ACORN’s instruction manual that gets used nationwide. The author of this article is a former ACORN employee, and is not a Republican.
Here’s a link to an article citing previous ACORN involvement in union-related embezzlement and fraud.
Here is a discussion of ACORN’s corporation shakedown process, which I regard as a clear violation of the RICO statute.
ACORN was in fact begun as a spin-off from the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). The NWRO was created deliberately to overload the welfare system in an attempt to bring capitalism to its knees and instigate a revolution; that was the stated intent of the founders. ACORN’s conduct in voter registration makes an astonishing parallel; they don’t seem to be attempting to stuff the ballot box, but they do seem to be attempting to overload the system in such a way as to make it unworkable. The recent sting operation reported by Big Government blog reveals that they also do what they can to game the system for the benefit of illegals of various sorts. And, the core operation of the organization is itself a huge fraud: by creating a false front of voter registration and home loan counseling organizations, they obtain federal funds and tax exemption, which they then put to partisan, political purposes in a systematic fashion.
ACORN/Obama fusion image borrowed from Michelle Malkin. Ms. Malkin gives Photoshop credit to Leo Alberti, so I will, too.
UPDATE: I knew when I posted this that there would be lots of links that added bits of information, and I determined in advance that I was content with the sketchy details I’d provided. However, one reader added a link to the Cloward-Piven strategy put into play by the National Welfare Rights Organization, which was the organization from which ACORN spun off. This, I think, is crucial information regarding the organization, so I’m going to add the link here.
Read about the Cloward-Piven strategy at Smart Girl Politics (and your monitor will look like a gift for a baby shower, but that’s what you get for visiting a site called “Smart Girl Politics.” )
I’m also adding the link to my own article that explains President Obama’s connection to ACORN, for anyone that has not read it.
18 Comments »
Comment by suek
I’ve just discovered that you do have a topical index with which to search your blog. Maybe “ACORN” should be added to it?
I appreciate having that option, by the way.
Comment by Joseph Huster
I’ll look at this Phil.
Comment by turfmann
To those who had never heard of it prior to 2008 and dismissed it as conspiratorial nonsense, I believe there is a great deal of truth in the Cloward Piven Strategy of Manufactured Crisis. As detailed by James Simpson last September at American Thinker (easily googled) it lays out the argument that what we are now in the midst of is not an accident but rather the culmination of many years of careful organization by those on the radical left to use the system of governance in place to bring about its own destruction, leaving the leftists no obstacle to implementing their political doctrine.
Nary a day goes by without a story from some quarter of the government that details the success of their long sought goals. This past week, I think the abandonment of the missile defense system was that item. One can debate the merits of one type of missile system over another, etc., but what is beyond debate is the political fallout of the decision. Allies cry betrail and express great fear of a rersurgent Russia. Putin smiles having won the encounter by default.
Barack Obama is inextricably linked to ACORN. Not only was he a trainer for the organization, he served as their attorney. He was endorsed by the organization. The Obama campaign gave $800,000 to the organization last year for voter registration efforts. Post election videotape of the President-elect exists of him proclaiming that they will have a seat at the table in his White House.
What we witnessed on those tapes by O’Keefe and Giles represents the norm at ACORN, in my opinion, not the exception. I believe the proof of that is the actions of Congress in the wake of these revelations – a full sprint away from ACORN.
Just as ACORN protested that the employees were the victims of a gotcha video scheme, they fired the employees. If they did nothing wrong then why did they need to be fired? Likewise with Congress, long a patron of ACORN to the tune of millions in the past and billions in the future. If there was nothing rotten about the organization, why the rush to defund?
I have long believed that Obama represents a danger to our Republic that cannot be framed by the normal give and take of the Democrat/Republican paradigm. He is not of that. His political ideology was not formed in the same crucible as was ours. We can rightly conclude that he is indeed a citizen of the United States, but he is most certainly not an American. By that I mean he does not hold the same values as do mainstream Americans. He, himself, has stated that he is a blank slate upon which other project their own concept of what he is. He is not the least bit interested in revealing to us now what his true ideology is, but a retrospective of speeches, employment, memberships, associates gives great insight into what is actually bouncing around in his skull.
I don’t think that the O’Keefe/Giles episode will be the last we will hear on this subject. I believe we are about to embark upon the greatest scandal to his Washington since Watergate.
And to think that all of this information, and more, was readily available for all to see long before election day.
This was so easily avoidable.
Comment by John Cooper
turfmann: Well said. Thanks.
Comment by Phil
You can also simply type “ACORN” into the search bar, and you’ll get every article that contains the word.
Comment by suek
>>your monitor will look like a gift for a baby shower, but that’s what you get for visiting a site called “Smart Girl Politics.”>>
Yeah. Well, it was a good article. I have the site bookmarked for now – we’ll see. I’m put off by the site appearance as well, but will just bear with it until I decide whether it’s worth it or not.
Comment by suek
Re: the search bar…
You know – I overlooked it entirely. I think I mentally boxed it with the ad above it and overlooked it. I _know_ it’s big. I _know_ it’s as plain as the nose on your face. But I overlooked it.
Thanks for pointing it out…!
Comment by Phil
“Smart Girl Politics” has been a worthwhile site for at least a year. I was just kidding about the “baby shower gift” look; Shel (my wife) and I razz each other about guy and girl stuff, and it spills over to here.
Comment by suek
About those “lower level” workers. Velly intelesting…
Comment by suek
Still more. Very tangled web, Acorn is. Or maybe it’s just Soros who is the master spinner. Some of the links are probably duplicates, but it seems to me that as time goes on, we’re getting a clearer picture of what’s actually going on, and that necessitates the inclusion of links to clarify as well as remind.
You know…Soros is getting up there in age. What does he expect to gain from this destruction of the USA? What is his motivation? I don’t understand…
Comment by Horatius
We do have to be clear here. The people who lobby for what we consider socialism or communism for that matter or who engage in Alinsky type methods are not doing so out of a desire to destroy anything (unless whatever it is gets in their way.)
They are doing this because the system they envision bringing about is a fairer one for their idea of “everyone”. They are wrong. It does not change the fact that the system they work to bring about would be responsible for a huge cornucopia of Evil. However, it is important in that in order to defeat them in the marketplace of ideas we have to understand where they are coming from and how they are getting to where they are mentally.
I remember I disagreed with a Professor in college during a viewing of “Triumph of the Will.” (Background: She was a visiting Prof from Tel Aviv.) She said during the discussion afterwards that she had wanted to show it to us as an object lesson, so that we would understand… and here she fumbled and said she hoped we would not understand the themes and so forth present in the film.
My point was that this completely misses the mark of what the study of History should be about. The what of history is very important. The dates, exactly what happened, and who did what. My point is that of equal importance is the why, the reasoning that went in to what people did that turned out one way or another.
Why did Lee attack the Union center at Gettysburg when almost everyone who looks at it rationally knew it was a mistake?
Why did so few people seemingly discount the Rise of Stalin during the 20′s in the Soviet Union?
Why did Emperor Valentinianan kill Flavius Aetius, one of the last men holding the Empire together?
How was Hitler able to get such a grip on the hearts and minds of his people, so that they went along with clear insanity and evil?
If you do not learn these things, you cannot prevent them in the future.
Comment by suek
Ok, Horatius…assume you’re correct. Their motives are good, their hearts are pure – but in order to establish the society they believe will benefit everybody, they have to destroy the society we are – don’t they?
And we happen to think that the society we have is the better choice – and that the one they want is actually detrimental…
How does that affect how we approach them?
Comment by Horatius
As I said before, it changes how we approach them. What is different from us assuming that their ultimate goal is the destruction of the US, than their assumption that we are Racist homophobes that want to kill gays, chain women to stoves, and put Blacks back on plantations?
The point is that what we envision as the end result or consequence of what they are doing is not what they intend. If you cannot decipher why someone is going to do something, it means you cannot accurately predict what they are going to do and move to counter it.
They believe that what they are doing will bring about something far different than what we foresee. We are basing a lot of our predictions on past history (the history of socialism and communism where such things have been attempted in the past.) So we are saying, if you do this, this is what happened here, here, and here. They are not proceeding from that same history base. They are looking and making decisions based on the world they envision, not the world the way it is and has been in the past.
One of the fundamental problems with Communism/Socialism is it’s misunderstanding of human nature… or rather it’s only partial understanding. It seizes upon one component usually-Envy. The system does very well at pointing out class disparities and inequalities and then holding up an example of how a society, at least on it’s face, could operate in order to redress these grievances. That the system does not work does not enter into it, because one it is in place, it is very difficult to get rid of.
That is why we have to work to persuade people in a way that does not turn them off so that we can defeat it before it is put in place. That means we have to work to persuade them with past performance, but also by not assuming their ultimate goal or intent is the destruction of everything we hold dear. For some of them this may well be the case, but for the greater mass it is more that they are unwitting allies. We must supply them with the wit.
Nothing turns us off faster, and hence we stop listening, than being called Fascist pigs (which as I have said before is just hilarious coming from the left these days.) We just have to make sure we do not fall into the same sloppy thinking.
Comment by Phil
Horatius, I disagree with the claim that most desire no destruction. If the Cloward-Piven material I added in the update is correct, destruction is actually a strategy.
Besides that, I do not find “they think they’re doing good” particularly ennobling when what it is they’re doing is, say, jailing me or my family. To paraphrase CS Lewis, there is no tyranny so oppressive as a tyranny exercised by those who believe they are doing good.
I understand the desire to find something to praise in our adversaries — I do it, too, we all do — but at some point we have to realize that “they mean well” is not virtue. Stupidity is vice; and self-indulgent stupidity, even more vicious; clear thinking is an obligation to God. And for an awful lot of them, what they intend is not to do good, but to look like they’re doing good, which is vanity.
However, I do agree that polite discourse is more winning than angry discourse. You can’t save people from their sins while denouncing their sins, most of the time. I’m learning that the hard way, it seems.
Comment by suek
1)>What is different from us assuming that their ultimate goal is the destruction of the US>
2)>>If the Cloward-Piven material I added in the update is correct, destruction is actually a strategy.>>
3)>>I understand the desire to find something to praise in our adversaries — I do it, too, we all do — but at some point we have to realize that “they mean well” is not virtue.>>
Trying to work my way through this, and these are the sentences that stand out for me.
First, I think I want to eliminate 3). I don’t think horatius has any desire to “find something to praise” in our opponents. I think rather he’s approaching this as a propaganda problem, where you have to determine the mindset of the opponent in order to affect it. I know that I have a problem with this approach – maybe I just haven’t learned the technique, but it seems to require a skill I don’t have. It’s also interesting because it’s also a skill required by interrogators, and in a discussion that included a military interrogator, he acknowledged the difficult of maintaining one’s core personality/beliefs when immersing oneself in the prisoner’s mindset(for want of a better term).
The other two statements are the two points to consider…one assumes that there is the possibility of a perfect society and the present society has to be removed in order to the perfect society in place. The 2) statement has some perception of this, but it seems to me it includes the possibility of such focus on the present society removal that the destruction part becomes the primary focus. Sort of the difference between the landscaper who says “your beautiful new landscape requires the removal of that tree” and the worker who says “I’ve _got_ to get that damn tree out of there – whatever it takes – axe, chainsaw, dynamite…whatever”. They’re both saying the same thing, but there’s a difference in attitude and approach.
It could be just the difference between the concept developer and the person who puts it into practice. I’m not sure.
The end result is the destruction of the society though, and _my_ goal is to do what I can to stop that. Is that best done with direct opposition, or is there some other means? Conversion would be good – but how to achieve it?
Comment by Horatius
Suek hit on what I was trying to say. I am not trying to find anything praiseworthy in what they are doing. I am more about effect than intent as well. However, in order to combat what they are doing we have to understand what and how they are doing it. We have to dissect just as carefully how they are actually getting people to go along with the dog and pony show in order properly to interfere with their information stream, which has been pretty effective up to this point.
As Suek pointed out it is sort of like a propaganda program. I think a more exact analogy would be like deprogramming a cult member.
I also disagree with the contention that a large majority of our opponents want the destruction of the US. I think there is a small core for whom that is their ultimate goal (or consequence of their plans.) The main mass however, as I said before, are unwitting dupes. “Useful Idiots” as has been used to describe similar phenomena in the past.
This was the case for the majority of people in Germany and the Soviet Union. China I have not studied as throughly so I cannot say for sure, but it has always seemed that the brutality inherent in the system was more visible on the surface there from the very beginning.
The people who are being duped are the people we have to persuade. The core believers we do not worry about trying to persuade, but we have to figure out what they are doing and how.
Comment by Dale Jackson
When I think of a vandal the picture that comes into my mind is that of a teenager with droupee pants, wearing their hat sideways, a sneer on their face, and a baseball bat on their shoulders and, standing in the middle of a beautiful living room. However, there is another kind of vandal that I call Suit Vandals. It took me a long time to believe in them. I never had any trouble believing in the kid with a baseball bat, but the Suit Vandals had me fooled for years, and I kept giving them the benefit of the doubt. As for “unwitting dupes”, don’t kid yourself most of them understand at some core level what they’re selling out, and what they expect to get in return. As for the rest who are truly duped, our concern for them must not extend to letting them secede; not only for our good but for theirs as well. I don’t see how we can fight evil while we are still afraid to apply the word. Anyway that’s my two cents worth. Dale…
Comment by Horatius
And the word loses all meaning when you use it too freely. The core believers? Evil. The Weathermen? Evil. The other like minded individuals who calmly discussed the idea that in America you would have to “eliminate” 25 million “hardline conservative” people who would not go along with the socialist paradise? Evil.
The main number of people who are used by these people? Ignorant or unwise. There is a big difference here, and it has to be understood as different by us or else we are no different than they are. We cannot simply cede the hearts and minds of these people to the Core Believers. Eventually we would have enough and ride off into the sunset and secede, the useful dupes would be the real casualties because they are the poor bastards who get ground in the mill of making the Worker’s Paradise (that exists only in the minds of it’s adherents) by the real Evil Bastards.