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Why did ACORN do it?

What was in it for ACORN to advise clients to break the law, evade taxes, be prostitutes, smuggle in illegal child prostitutes, and the whole rest of the tired litany of offenses that right-wing videographer James O’Keefe nailed them with.

And nail them he did. Let’s get that straight. ACORN, for whatever good it may have done in the past, has been totally compromised. Liberals and progressives should aid in the investigation of what happened and why, rather than attempt to defend ACORN or remain silent.

The transcript of the New York video provides some clues, I think. ACORN advises them to set up a fraudulent mortgage (and thus evade taxes) by attending seminars apparently run by them. It appears they will help set up the mortgage too. Aha. Financial motive. Who was ACORN referring these clients too? And they they get paid for doing so? As always, follow the money.

  • Michael Pugliese

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Michael Hirsch
    Date: Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 2:49 PM
    Subject: Re: [DemocraticLeft] Why did ACORN do it? |
    To: DemocraticLeft@yahoogroups.com

    Michael,

    Instead of posting right-wing hysterical tripe about “child prostitution” and what “ACORN” did, based on information from Murdoch’s NY Post, why not ask a question to those of us who know ACORN. Why pose it in terms of guilty until proven innocent, and expect those of us on this list either to respond defensively or attack ACORN.. Frankly. Michael, even I am getting tired of your playing the list’s moral conscience. Jeremiah at least was the weeping prophet; you’re the sneering one. Get over yourself. Do it today.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: michael pugliese
    Sent: Sep 15, 2009 4:20 PM
    To: DemocraticLeft
    Subject: [DemocraticLeft] Why did ACORN do it? |

    http://polizeros.com/2009/09/15/why-did-acorn-do-it/

    –>

    Why did ACORN do it?

    Tue Sep 15 2009 12:53 pm by Bob Morris.

    What was in it for ACORN to advise clients to break the law, evade taxes, be prostitutes, smuggle in illegal child prostitutes, and the whole rest of the tired litany of offenses that right-wing videographer James O’Keefe nailed them with.

    And nail them he did. Let’s get that straight. ACORN, for whatever good it may have done in the past, has been totally compromised. Liberals and progressives should aid in the investigation of what happened and why, rather than attempt to defend ACORN or remain silent.

    The transcript of the New York video provides some clues, I think. ACORN advises them to set up a fraudulent mortgage (and thus evade taxes) by attending seminars apparently run by them. It appears they will help set up the mortgage too. Aha. Financial motive. Who was ACORN referring these clients too? And they they get paid for doing so? As always, follow the money.

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    And these words shall then become
    Like oppression’s thundered doom
    Ringing through each heart and brain,
    Heard again — again — again–
    `Rise like Lions after slumber
    In unvanquishable number–
    Shake your chains to earth like dew
    Which in sleep had fallen on you–
    Ye are many — they are few’
    —-Shelley, “The Masque of Anarchy: Written on the Occasion
    of the Massacre at Manchester” [Peterloo, 1819]

    How terrible to read Shelley’s poem (not to mention the Egyptian
    peasant songs of 3,000 years ago), denouncing oppression and exploitation.
    Will they be read in a future still filled with oppression and exploitation,
    and will people say, “Even in those days…”
    —-Bertolt Brecht in 1938 on reading “The Masque of Anarchy”

    For our demands most moderate are,
    We only want the earth
    —-James Connolly (1907)

    Ourselves are all we know of heaven
    —–Margaret Fuller (1840)


    Michael Pugliese , Cadre of the Ranting, Raving, Nutcase Tendency.

    • Maybe they should watch the videos and read the transcripts? Because I bet they haven’t. And I have. Because they may end up getting blindsided by all of this if they aren’t careful.

      Interesting that both of us are far more to the left than the liberal defenders of ACORN, isn’t it?

  • Woody

    I’m a little confused on why this is being tacked on ACORN as a whole. It sounds like one office, of the hundreds they have, had “a few bad apples”. I’m all for going after the individuals, and for doing a probe to see where that came from and if (as is being howled by the right) it was coming from “the top” of the organizaion.

    If it’s corrupt, then fine, kill it. But let’s not forget that they have done good things in the past. Even then, it would be like discrediting the NAACP because their top leadership pilfered funds (which they did just a decade ago). The concept on paper is a good one, the people implimenting it (top, bottom, or both) are the ones that are flawed and need to be cleaned out.

    • So far it’s three offices. DC, Baltimore, and Brooklyn. Seems too widespread to be a just a rogue employee or two. Also, as mentioned, who were they referring the clients to?

      Pilfering funds is one thing. Encouraging tax evasion and fraud while apparently funneling clients to your own seminars and mortgage handlers is a whole different level. Plus, the “rogue employees and management oversight” routine is too often just a cover for complicity.

      ACORN’s reaction has been to say it was a political attack. Well, yeah. A very effective one too. They fired four employees, have said nothing about the contents of the tapes, then said they might sue the filmmakers. I doubt that. Because it means all sorts of stuff would get entered as evidence.

      How deep is the rot at ACORN? We’ll be finding out soon enough. Yes, they’ve done good. But their response to the current firestorm has been to stonewall. Which is not encouraging.

      • Eric Kirk

        But the couple were booted out of offices in NY, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, and played for idiots in San Bernadino. It’s obviously not universal.

  • cheryl

    They were talking about this on NPR and Acorn is going to be suing the film maker. Something about doctored films. Also, it was brought up that most of the people who work at Acorn are volunteers and many are from the same socio-economic group that they are helping. Different mores and lack of training, especially in ethics played into this. Something the head of Acorn said should be taken into account. These film makers were thrown out of offices too but they don’t show film of that. In other words there are two sides to every story. Yes Acorn needs to get it together and make sure it’s people – hired and volunteers alike, know what they are doing and what is right and wrong and what will be acceptable and not. However, there are those on the right that will do anything to destroy them and that has to be taken into account also.

    • So, because someone is poor and works at ACORN then they would be ok with fraud, tax evasion, and prostitution? Because that’s what a defense like that implies.

      I’m interested in seeing if ACORN was referring clients to their own seminars and to mortgage brokers and who profited from that and, if so, how much did they get. Because then there’s motive and money involved. And that’s the only way this makes sense.

      Also, aiding and abetting income tax evasion is a federal crime.

  • Gary

    ACORN does have a mess; those employees were wrong. If they broke the law, prosecute them.

    However, I do want to point out that ACORN apparently has hired people down on their luck, including convicted felons. This is no excuse for what these people did, but how many people actually would hire poor people perhaps with little good experience or actually would hire convicted felons? I have no idea the background of these people who were caught in the sting, but just something to consider.

    Now, if ACORN management encouraged or instructed these individual employees, that’s a different story. Right now, I see it as a case of hiring bad people and probably doing so without background checks; I also see it as a case of management not properly training their employees and enforcing company policies and ethics.

    It should be noted that Fox News, who is really hammering ACORN, once had a producer Aaron Bruns who was convicted on child pornography earlier this year. Bruns actually had a prior conviction of child porn before he was hired by Fox. At the time he was hired, Fox was not doing background checks. Does this incident make all of Fox News bad and evil? How many other corporations and organizations have hired people who have committed crimes?

    Yes, ACORN needs to clean up its act in a big way, but there are many on the right who just want to destroy it, and bring down Obama in the process.

    • Hmm, Are you saying an ex-con who might well be on parole hasn’t the sense to not tell people to engage in tax evasion, something he could back to prison for doing?

      Why would ACORN employees give such bizarre and illegal advice? At first glance, it makes no sense. But it happened at three four offices that we know of. So my assumption is they or someone was somehow making money from it.

      We shall see.

      I generally assume the “our employees were badly trained and we didn’t have proper oversight” excuse is just that, a cover-up for something else.

  • DJ

    I always try to err on the side of “innocent until proven guilty.” That said, the videos (four offices!) suggest a culture of criminal activity. Whether the upper echelons knew about it remains to be seen– I would not assume it until it is shown.

    I would also point out that criminals have often justified their actions by pointing to their good works From robber barons to dictators to fraudsters, some criminals have done a lot of good hand in hand with their crimes. But it’s no justification to anyone but themselves.

    I’d also point out the brilliance of drawing this out– whoever had control of the videos released them one at a time, prolonging the news cycle and making it progressively more damning. Were there more offices involved? We don’t yet know.