September 19, 2009

Cracking ACORN Requires Comprehensive Election Reform in 2010


The rogue group and its related organizations will hold power as long as they can manipulate the electoral process.


Note: This went up at Pajamas Media and was teased at BizzyBlog on Thursday.


James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles have rocked our world like no two twenty-somethings I can recall.

As of when this column was finished on Wednesday afternoon, as chronicled at Andrew Breitbart’s breakout site since September 10, multiple ACORN offices had been caught on tape providing guidance to O’Keefe and Giles, who are 25 and 20, respectively(!), on how to obtain home financing for a prostitution business that would include Giles and 13 illegal-immigrant girls, with the ultimate purpose of generating funds for a future congressional run by O’Keefe. Helpful instruction from ACORN employees, many of whom are now ex-employees, included how to maximize tax benefits by claiming dependent exemptions and child tax credits for a few of the underage girls (not too many, so as not to raise red flags), how to hide the money (in a tin can, in the back yard, covered with grass), and how to keep the business covert (i.e., never talk about business, because “loose lips sink ships”).

Meanwhile, the establishment media, with the exception of Fox News, has only very belatedly been dragged kicking and screaming into recognizing the story’s existence. On Tuesday morning, ABC’s Charles Gibson, asked why “no one’s covering the story,” stunned a Chicago morning show’s co-hosts when he nervously laughed and said that “I didn’t even know about it” (full audio is accessible here). It seems that even Comedy Central’s left-leaning fake journalist Jon Stewart felt that he had to deal with the story or risk losing his credibility with his youngish audience — and he is still ahead of most of the media elite.

Lo and behold, on September 11, the Census Bureau ended ACORN’s involvement with the 2010 census. On Monday, despite the establishment media’s near-blackout of O’Keefe’s and Giles’s relentless barrage, and a mere four days after the persistent pair’s first video debuted, the United States Senate, which usually moves at a pace that would make snails laugh, rushed through a bill to block ACORN from Housing and Urban Development funding by a shocking 83-7 margin. As of Wednesday afternoon, a serious move was afoot in the House to totally deny all federal funding to the organization, and ACORN itself, according to the Washington Times, had “suspended advising new clients.”

Keeping taxpayers’ and unwilling workers’ money entirely away from this monster and its hundreds of related tentacles will be a monumental task — one I believe that the leftists who dominate Congress and this administration have no intention of permitting to succeed. In addition to the estimated $53 million it has received from the federal government since 1994 (an estimate that I believe is woefully low, because there are so many hard to track entities), ACORN has obtained significant funding from state governments, from local governments, from labor unions (probably illegally, based on the Supreme Court’s 1988 Beck ruling), and from shaken-down financial institutions.

But ACORN and its offshoots are about much more than money; they are all about power, and wielding it ruthlessly. Consider this about the organization’s “Muscle for Money” efforts:

Muscle for Money includes multiple techniques for creating highly aggressive, organized efforts both to pressure businesses and officials to support the activists’ agenda or to discredit and intimidate opponents of their agenda, according to present and former ACORN members.

…. Some of the more prominent Muscle for Money targets to date have included the Carlyle Group, Sherwin-Williams, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Liberty Tax and Money Mart ….

…. “The idea is to go to private homes where wives and children are present and stand outside so the family members of a company official could be harassed and subjected to intimidation …. Protestors would also go to company functions like banquets where they would be as disruptive as possible.”

The ultimate source of ACORN’s power is the manipulated ballot box. Decades of weakened controls over the voting process throughout the country have given it the ability to steal elections, and it has done so. Among others, ACORN-inspired vote fraud and political contributions to those who decide on ballot-counting procedures almost definitely explain why Minnesota’s junior Senator is Al Franken, and likely explain why Christine Gregoire was elected governor of Washington in 2004.

Though they will inconvenience legitimate voters and voter-registration collectors, the following four reforms are absolutely required to maintain the integrity of the elections system against the onslaught of ACORN and any potential successors:

  1. End fraud-susceptible “early voting,” and replace it with limited-excuse absentee balloting. The absentee system functioned quite effectively for two centuries until leftists won over the unwitting with bogus and irresponsible arguments of “convenience.” Unless you have a valid, approved in advance excuse permitting you to vote absentee, you must find a way to vote in person on Election Day, period.
  2. Permit only the voter wishing to register to turn in a voter-registration card, and only to an employee or designated agent of the board of elections. No intermediaries are allowed, period. I know that the political parties won’t like this, but too bad, so sad, I’m sick and tired of being had. Election boards concerned about the ability of immobile, elderly, or heavily-traveling voters to register should expand their outreach efforts at places like retirement homes and personal visits, and should periodically expand their hours of operation into evenings and weekends.
  3. Systematically clean up the voter rolls at least every four years.
  4. Limit provisional balloting to disputes over whether or not a person is validly registered. It’s not too much to insist that a voter show up at the proper polling location on Election Day.

Separately, states like Washington and Oregon that are handling their elections largely or completely by mail must stop doing so.

If the growing Tea Party movement is looking for an outlet for its remarkable energy, I can think of none better than fixing our elections system one sovereign state at a time. ACORN’s web must be fully investigated, prosecuted, and permanently stopped. For that to happen, and to prevent additional imitators, electoral reform initiatives — or, if necessary, state constitutional amendments — that include provisions similar to those described above need to get onto the November 2010 ballot in as many states as humanly possible.

Ohio Congresspersons Wanted: For Voting to Enable a Criminal Enterprise

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:08 am


Here’s the House’s ACORN defunding roll call vote.

Yes, Dennis Kuncinich really is a member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. You really can’t make this stuff up.

RIP, Irving Kristol (Related: Comparing AP Kristol and Kennedy Obits)

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:47 am

IrvingKristol0909(Originally posted earlier this morning, and carried to the top).

Here’s the reaction from House Republican Leader John Boehner:

“Today, America has lost one of its finest thinkers and greatest patriots. Irving Kristol added intellectual rigor and heft to the conservative movement by redefining how we apply the values and principles our nation was founded on to the challenges of the modern era. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”

Here’s the best excerpt at the Wall Street Journal’s compendium (bolds are mine):

Income Inequality Without Class Conflict, Dec. 18, 1997

It is often said that capitalism—that is, a market economy—is morally obnoxious because its “trickle-down economics” inevitably creates inequality of income and wealth. Now it is certainly true that “trickle-down economics” has that effect. It is also true, however, that if you want economic growth and greater affluence for all, there is simply no alternative to “trickle-down economics,” which is just another name for growth economics.

The world has yet to see a successful version of “trickle-up economics,” an egalitarian society in which the state ensures that the fruits of economic growth are universally and equally shared. The trouble with this idea—it is, of course, the socialist ideal—is that it does not produce those fruits in the first place. Economic growth is promoted by entrepreneurs and innovators, whose ambitions, when realized, create inequality. No one with any knowledge of human nature can expect such people not to want to be relatively rich, and if they are too long frustrated they will cease to be productive. Nor can the state substitute for them, because the state simply cannot engage in the “creative destruction” that is an essential aspect of innovation. The state cannot and should not be a risk-taking institution, since it is politically impossible for any state to cope with the inevitable bankruptcies associated with economic risk taking.

Related: The Associated Press’s Kristol obituary is here (saved here at host) It uses the term “neoconservative” or equivalent nine twelve times, including three times hyphenated, in about 1,400 words, accompanied by eight uses of forms of “conservative.” AP Writer Hillel Italie referred to Kristol as a “radical” before he moved to conservatism twice.

Ted Kennedy’s AP obituary (saved here at host) used the term “liberal” three times in about 2,000 words. The word “radical” does not appear.

I expanded my reaction to the AP’s obit at a NewsBusters post this morning.

Positivity: Florida high school officials’ prayer did not violate court order, judge rules

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:48 am

From Pensacola, Florida:

Sep 19, 2009 / 05:47 pm

A judge ruled on Thursday that a rural Florida panhandle high school principal and athletic director did not violate a federal court order barring prayer at school events.

Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman could have faced up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines if convicted of violating a 2008 settlement the Santa Rosa County District had reached in the lawsuit.

During a luncheon to honor those who contributed toward the public school’s athletic Field House, Principal Lay reportedly asked Freeman to offer a blessing for the meal. Students were not present at the time of the blessing. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.