Sounds lovely... sounds - - GOOD. Right? Social justice... stronger communities.
Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online wrote an article detailing much of ACORN's actions and policies. In this article, he states, "Acorn's tactics are famously 'in your face.' Just think of Code Pink's well-known operations (threatening to occupy congressional offices, interrupting the testimony of General David Petraeus) and you'll get the idea. ACORN protesters have disrupted Federal Reserve hearings, but mostly deploy their aggressive tactics locally. Chicago is home to one of its strongest chapters, and ACORN has burst into a closed city council meeting there. ACORN protesters in Baltimore disrupted a bankers' dinner and sent four busloads of profanity-screaming protesters against the mayor's home, terrifying his wife and kids. Even a Baltimore city council member who generally supports ACORN said their intimidation tactics had crossed the line."
ACORN is huge. Actually, huge doesn't even begin to describe them. People think of WalMart as a big business... WalMart is an ant next to ACORN. They have offices in 42 states - which could appear to be a just a large social justice, community organizing foundation. But ACORN is the foundation for numerous other ventures. According to NPR, "The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has dozens of affiliated entities, from a home-buying assistance corporation to community radio stations to liberal research and training institutes. The giant web of ACORN organizations, primarily based in Louisiana, has been funded by a mix of labor union money, government grants (which really drive conservatives crazy) and charitable contributions from large foundations."
The Washington Examiner says, "While the organization's complicated structure makes it difficult to determine how many affiliates and subsidiaries are tied in with ACORN's vast apparatus, its connection with organized labor, especially the Service Employees International Union, is well-established, Vadum observed. SEIU Locals 100 and 880 are identified as allied organizations on ACORN's web site. U.S. Department of Labor LM-2's (financial disclosure forms) point to over $600,000 in transactions between these same SEIU locals and other ACORN operations. A 2007 LM-2 form shows SEIU Local 880, which is active in Illinois and Minnesota, donated $60,118 to ACORN for "membership services." Organized labor has kicked it back in the form of gifts and grants to ACORN totaling $2.4 million, the LM-2's reveal."
It becomes impossible for little old me to figure out where ACORN starts and ends... or if it ends at all. But it clearly does NOT end before it hits the White House. One would think we could at least relax a little bit at the news that the U.S. Census Bureau has "cancelled its agreement calling for ACORN to work on the 2010 census." This, of course, "in the wake of devastating video reports revealing corruption at local offices..." But don't relax too soon -- because ACORN has been, for months, working to change their name to COI (Community Organizations International). I would take this to mean not that they are stepping out of the program, but look for them to grow bigger... and be involved even more heavily in our government under an international banner.
In speaking with a friend last night, I realized that there are plenty of people out there who know nothing of what's going on with ACORN. The story is brilliant. It's just... so much fun. And it only keeps getting better. But I'll start at the beginning...
James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, two young adults (aged 25 and 20, I believe) have managed to pull off quite the sting operation on ACORN. They went from office to office, posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend -- or pimp, if you will. Their story continued to escalate as they spoke with employees of ACORN to the point where they were not only a pimp and his hooker looking to buy a house, but they were also planning to "ship in" thirteen under-age girls from El Salvador and force them to work the streets as well. Never batting an eye, these ACORN employees assured the couple that at ACORN they don't discriminate... and that the prostitute should be "proud" of what she does.
Every time O'Keefe and Giles stepped up their program, the ACORN employees were right on it. Educating the pimp and prostitute as to how to file her taxes as a "performing artist," how to shelter income, how to avoid paying taxes, how to deal with her incoming shipment of girls, how to avoid an ex-pimp... you name it, they covered it. They ended their time together with hugs all around, and fully expected O'Keefe and Giles to return the next business day with cash for membership into ACORN and a fee for filing the fraudulent tax returns. (Tax returns were necessary to purchase the house to be used as a brothel.) OH - and part of the story was that O'Keefe was in law school and was planning a political career - and the ACORN staffers were more than happy to advise him on how to get ahead politically without being tarnished by his imperfect associations as well.
O'Keefe and Giles released tapes obtained from the Baltimore offices of ACORN. And ACORN responded by saying this was a hatchet job done by their opposition and the offending employees were acting on their own... against ACORN policy. The offenders were canned, it was a one-shot deal, etc... at which point O'keefe and Giles released tape number two from the Washington D.C. offices of ACORN.
Then comes the following release (in part) from ACORN on September 12:
Statement from Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer, ACORN Regarding Recent News Reports
The relentless attacks on ACORN's members, its staff and the policies and positions we promote are unprecedented... if ACORN did not exist, the right-wing would have needed to create us in order to achieve their agenda, their missions, their ideal, retrograde America... This recent scam, which was attempted in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia to name a few places, had failed for months before the results we've all recently seen... I am appalled and angry; I cannot and I will not defend the actions of the workers depicted in the video, who have since been terminated. But it is clear that the videos are doctored, edited, and in no way the result of the fabricated story being portrayed by conservative activist "filmmaker" O'Keefe and his partner in crime. And, in fact, a crime it was - our lawyers believe a felony - and we will be taking legal action against FOX and their co-conspirators..."
Baaaaad FOX News, to report on a story such as this! None of the other networks have reported it -- with the exception of CNN, but they at least reported the ACORN talking points! And yes, the videos are edited - you can go see for yourself at this location. But they also have posted full audio for your listening pleasure, unedited -- and a full transcript so you can read along.
But it gets better. Because today - after Bertha's indignant response - the co-conspirators of FOX News have released yet another tape... from ACORN's New York office. I guess Bertha was misinformed about a "failed attempt" there, huh? And don't you just want to know if the New York employees butts have been puckered up, waiting for their fall? And don't you wonder how many other offices have people going to work with puckered butts -- wondering when their tape will emerge?
Inquiring minds want to know, though... where is the MSM in all this???