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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 14, 2009

RIGHT WINGERS SCARE SENATE OUT OF FUNDING ACORN

Reuters - A poverty-rights group that has drawn the ire of conservatives suffered another setback in Washington when the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to deny it access to federal housing funds.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which helps poor people fight foreclosures and fix tax problems, has received more than $53 million in U.S. funds since 1994, but conservatives' charges of widespread fraud have begun to impact its reputation in the capital.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau told the group it did not want its help boosting participation in next year's census.

The Senate measure, which passed 83 to 7 in the Democratic-led chamber, was included in a must-pass spending bill that funds housing and transportation programs for the fiscal year that starts October 1

Republicans say ACORN engaged in widespread fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign when it launched a massive voter-registration drive in minority communities, which typically support Democrats and ended up voting overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama.

ACORN says less than 2 percent of its 1.3 million voter applications were fraudulent, stemming from canvassers who sought to boost the number of forms they turned in. Independent analysts say any actual impact on the election was negligible.

The group has also suffered an embezzlement scandal involving the founder's brother.

ACORN more recently has been embarrassed by conservative activists who secretly taped employees in several cities giving tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute.

The group has fired several of those taped while denouncing the actions as a smear campaign.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly absurd sting operation. FUNNY VIDEO. Hilarious. Hard to believe ACORN is so jaded by their day-to-day business behavior that they did not bat-an-eye, cal the cops, etc.

The undercover video, showing ACORN providing tax advice to the pimp & prostitute. Advice is given on how to obtain a fraudulent home mortgage, from which the dozen, underage, illegal-immigrant El Salvadorian girls would repay their debt (sex slavery?). Tax advice is given on how to claim some but not all of the underage girls as dependents.

Strike One: Baltimore ACORN Sting Video Link ... http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/10/chaos-for-glory/

Strike Two: Washington DC ACORN Sting Video Link ... http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/11/washington-dc-acorn-video-child-prostitution-investigation/

Strike Three: New York City ACORN Sting Video Link ... http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/14/acorn-video-prostitution-scandal-in-new-york-ny/

September 15, 2009 2:32 AM  
Anonymous hawkwind said...

Yeah. Hilarious. Now, the reality: if those same people had gone to any wealthy law firm in America with the same story they would have been given the same advice and treated the same way by the same people who would later in the day sip wine with the same congressmen who just defunded Acorn. I saw John Stewart making fun of this story last night and was disgusted. The Acorn advisers live in a real world, where most people have friends or family that are working in the underground economy to get by; they were giving advice without judgement because it will make lives better. Not just for the people getting the advice, but for people around them. It reminded me of the "Hamsterdam" storyline on "The Wire" (based on a real case) where the cops turned a blind eye to dealing in one area of the city in order to make life better in the other areas. It worked (in real life as well) but the outrage, Outrage! killed the program and life went back its previous nasty brutishness.

September 16, 2009 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful "hawkwind" ... don't engage in the whitey "Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations" for people down on their luck, living in the ghetto.

If anything, ACORN employees not calling law enforcement within 24-hours of hearing of a plan to traffic in underage illegal immigrant 'performing artists' (slaves? wink wink wink) must be beyond disgusting and untenable. No excuses. Spare us the saccharin morality tale about "ghetto-life". Importing underage de-facto slaves is just plain wrong. No excuse is acceptable. None.

Here's an idea if you really, truthfully believe the "wealthy law firm" canard. Do your own sting operation of a "wealth law firm" - remember to keep it funny, absurd, and blatantly over the line immoral and wrong (i.e. underage illegal immigrants imported for 'performing arts')

September 17, 2009 12:29 AM  
Anonymous hawkwind said...

Hey 'anonymous';

Ever lived in one of 'those' neighborhoods? I have. Some mornings I'd get up and sweep empty crack vials from my lawn. It's not 'low expectations'... it's reality as life is lived. My neighbors were great people and I'd choose them over any white neighbors I've had (the 'trouble houses' were up the street; everyone knew where and who but kept their mouths shut); the fact is that at this level of society the police are the enemy and any interaction with them is likely to result in more harm than good. There's an old Jules Feiffer cartoon that's very illustrative: two (white) characters are talking about class, and one (drawn to look like Michael Madsen about forty years too early) says to the other (papraphrasing from memory) "The difference between us is that your people hear a siren and it means 'Help is on the way' and to people like me it means 'hide'!" The issue is class, not race. White rural poor behave the same way. And it is not unreasonable for them to do so.

But I apologize for allowing my own soft-whitey bigotry of low expectations to color my opinion of rich law firms.

September 17, 2009 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

Your opinion of corporatised law firms was shared by at least one very fine and perceptive author: the late Donald Westlake (if you haven't read his Dortmunder series, you're missing some truly choice political snarkiness in the books written during the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush era. Not at the level of the late Ross Thomas (why do the best die so young?) but nevertheless some truly beautiful throw-away lines)

September 17, 2009 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I wrote - if you really, truthfully believe the "wealthy law firm" canard (seems like you don't really) then do your own sting operation of a "wealthy law firm" - remember to keep it funny, absurd, and blatantly over the line immoral and wrong (e.g. import underage 'performing artists' from whom you'll harvest their organs in a multi-level marketing scheme associated with Amway. Include an Acai Berry juice angel.)

The reality is most of y'all are talkers rather than doers.

Get to work. Let the creative juices flow.

Watch the videos again to get ideas:

Strike One: Baltimore ACORN Sting Video Link ... http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/10/chaos-for-glory/

Strike Two: Washington DC ACORN Sting Video Link ... http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/11/washington-dc-acorn-video-child-prostitution-investigation/

Strike Three: New York City ACORN Sting Video Link ... http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/14/acorn-video-prostitution-scandal-in-new-york-ny/

September 17, 2009 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we hold all organizations to a strict standard where Federal Funding would be denied for aggregious behavior.

How about XE.

-DaTheorist

September 18, 2009 10:40 AM  

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