Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If There Is Anything the Powers That Be Hate More Than Poor People, It's Poor People with a Political Voice

Today's news carries the obituary of ACORN.

Just who is ACORN?  Well, the picture above should give you some idea, and below is/was ACORN's Mission Statement:
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) aims to organize a majority consituency of low- to moderate-income people across the United States.  The members of ACORN take on issues of relevance to their communities, whether those issues are discrimination, affordable housing, a quality education, or better public services.  ACORN believes that low- to moderate-income people are the best advocates for their communities, and so ACORN's low- to moderate-income members act as leaders, spokespeople, and decision-makers within the organization.
This doesn't sound so bad to me ...but then I'm neither a right wingnut nor a vulture capitalist.

Anyway, today's report of ACORN's demise follows the January 21, 2010 Supreme Court Decision that corporations have First Amendment rights and so can spend as much money as they choose to back their favorite "business friendly" candidate for high office.  I put "business friendly" in quotes here, because I'm not talking about the typical business that provides quality goods and services at competitive prices.  I'm totally in favor of this sort of business.

Rather, I have in mind "businesses" like the health insurance industry, which want to charge high premiums with no anti-monopoly restrictions and then deny the services in the event their customers get seriously ill ...and the "too big to fail" banks who run Ponzi schemes and Credit Default Swap casinos destined to destroy the economy but profit the banksters because those now in high office have guaranteed them tens of trillions of dollars of taxpayer "bailout" money.

So within a span of just three months "big business" has been given all the voice their money can buy, and poor people have been robbed of what little voice they've had up till now.

So here is the Associated Press's obituary for ACORN, which is not atypical of all the other selectively worded versions failing to mention the "mainstream media's" roll in stripping it of its life support:
ACORN disbanding because of money woes, scandal
The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 23, 2010; 7:41 AM 
CHICAGO -- The once mighty community activist group ACORN announced Monday it is folding amid falling revenues - six months after video footage emerged showing some of its workers giving tax tips to conservative activists posing as a pimp and prostitute.
"It's really declining revenue in the face of a series of attacks from partisan operatives and right-wing activists that have taken away our ability to raise the resources we need," ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan said.
Several of its largest affiliates, including ACORN New York and ACORN California, broke away this year and changed their names in a bid to ditch the tarnished image of their parent organization and restore revenue that ran dry in the wake of the video scandal.
ACORN's financial situation and reputation went into free fall within days of the videos' release in September. Congress reacted by yanking ACORN's federal funding, private donors held back cash and scores of ACORN offices closed.
Earlier this month, a U.S. judge reiterated an earlier ruling that the federal law blacklisting ACORN and groups allied with it was unconstitutional because it singled them out. But that didn't mean any money would be automatically be restored.
Bertha Lewis, the CEO of ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, alluded to financial hardships in a weekend statement as the group's board prepared to deliberate by phone.
"ACORN has faced a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era," she said. "The videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress."
ACORN's board decided to close remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1 because of falling revenues, with some national operations will continue operating for at least several weeks before shutting for good, Whelan said Monday.
For years, ACORN could draw on 400,000 members to lobby for liberal causes, such as raising the minimum wage or adopting universal health care. ACORN was arguably most successful at registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters, though that mission was dogged by fraud allegations, including that some workers submitted forms signed by 'Mickey Mouse' or other cartoon characters.
Now, folks, please focus on the last phrase of the last sentence above.  The "mainstream media" in general -- and Fox News in particular -- have been hammering ACORN for years for committing "voter fraud" (despite the fact that no ACORN member has been charged with such a thing).  The fact is that, if an organization carries out a voter registration drive, it would be a felony not to turn in all voter registrations, even ones signed by "Mickey Mouse" ...occurrences of which were likely due to political operatives bent on sabotage, like for example that committed recently by James O'Keefe (go here and scroll through the entire series of photos).

What IS a felony, however, is to register voters and then tear up the registrations of those who declare themselves members of the party you want to loose.  And the people who were actually charged with doing this very thing in the run-up to the 2004 Election were operatives employed by master dirty trickster Nathan Sproul who was paid over $8 million for his efforts ...by the GOP.

Question of the day (purely rhetorical, of course):
Why didn't the "mainstream media" put this story ahead of the simultaneously unfolding frame-up of ACORN?
 Blogger's PS: Please see the reader comment below.


Mark E. Smith said...

You've summed it up very nicely, Dave:

"So within a span of just three months 'big business' has been given all the voice their money can buy, and poor people have been robbed of what little voice they've had up till now."

The fact that over a decade of investigation by the FBI turned up no criminal activity by ACORN, didn't stop our government from continuing to spend millions of dollars on that investigation, just as the fact that hundred of cases of fraud by big defense corporations have been proven, hasn't stopped our government from continuing to award them billions of dollars in contracts.

We have a reverse Robin Hood government that steals from the poor and gives to the rich. And it isn't just coincidence that most Americans are poor while most Members of Congress are rich.

éminence grise said...

Thank you, Mark, for this instructive filling in of some of the blanks.