September 21, 2009

ACORN ‘Independent Advisory Council’ Member Andy Stern Lets Loose on ACORN’s Critics; Press Mum

alg_sternLast Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, in the wake of James O’Keefe’s and Hannah Giles’s embarrassing video barrage, went into damage control mode:

As a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees, I am, in consultation with ACORN’s Executive Committee, immediately ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review. I have also communicated with ACORN’s independent Advisory Council, and they will assist ACORN in naming an independent auditor and investigator to conduct a thorough review of all of the organization’s relevant systems and processes.

The Politico entry from Ben Smith linked above reports that the (cough, cough) “Independent Advisory Council” consists of the following eight members:

  • John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Board Member, RFK Foundation, former MD Lt. Governor
  • Andrew Stern, International President, Service Employees International Union
  • Henry Cisneros, Executive Chairman, Cityview
  • John Banks, Vice President of Government Relations Con Ed
  • Eric Eve, Senior VP of Global Consumer Group, Community Relations, Citigroup
  • Harvey Hirschfeld, President, Lawcash
  • Dave Beckwith, Executive Director, Needmor Fund

Concerning the first four, I’ll quote from Karl at Hot Air’s Green Room:

  • “Podesta runs the (George) Soros-funded Center for American Progress, which has been coordinating the public defense of ACORN this summer.”
  • “Townsend is so independent that she called the stories of ACORN’s frequent involvement in voter fraud a ‘desperate smokescreen maneuver’ masking an extensive coast-to-coast GOP push to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in 2008. “
  • “Stern heads SEIU, which has a very cozy relationship with ACORN. How cozy? ACORN controls or significantly dominates several SEIU chapters.”
  • “Cisneros, who worked regularly with ACORN as HUD Secretary, would later plead guilty to lying to the FBI to cover up a political embarrassment.”

Thus, half of the people on this board appear to be personally vested in a whitewash audit, and should have recused themselves from the selection of an outside auditor, but more than likely haven’t. The the other four gentlemen may be compromised because their entities have had dealings with ACORN. I’ll look at them later in the post.

In other words, not a single person on the “Independent Advisory Council” may be truly independent. Yet this motley crew is supposed to pick an independent auditor. If the selection is not a very large public accounting firm upon which ACORN has imposed no scope limitations, look out below.

SEIU’s Stern wasn’t even able to keep his mouth shut for the sake of appearances for 48 hours, issuing a scathing press release on Friday that began as follows:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Andy Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union, issued the following statement today regarding recent attempts of right wing extremists to silence working families by attacking progressive individuals and community organizations:

“This is a moment of profound change for this country — from kitchen tables to town halls to the floor of the Senate, this nation is engaged in a vigorous and heated debate about how we rebuild our economy, solve our national healthcare crisis and restore the American Dream.

“As has always happened when progressive change is in the air, the backlash gets fierce, ugly and anti-American. This time is no different. Right now, there is an insidious and coordinated effort on the part of the extreme right to target individuals and grassroots community groups as a way to silence the voices of women and men who have suffered the most under 8 years of right wing policies.

“These extremists will attempt to shut down and shout down anyone with a different point of view.

“Let’s be clear who we are talking about — call them attack dogs, call them Teabaggers, call them Glenn Beck — these are the same folks who cheered the policies that crashed our economy. Who make up lies about death panels to try to kill healthcare reform. Who scream about democracy while denying workers a voice on the job. Who target anyone who poses a threat to a status quo that for too long has rewarded greedy CEOs while leaving people who work out in the cold.

“This is not the America we believe in.

“Their lies, their stunts and their smears will not silence us. ….

Media coverage of Stern’s press release as a news story demonstrating his likely unfitness to serve on the Board non-existent. A Google News search at 3 p.m. on “Andy Stern” (in quotes) from September 18-21, with duplicates included, came back with 32 items (the page header claiming over 700 is incorrect). 22 of those items  were unrelated to the press release. Seven of them were the press release itself. The three items that remain were commentaries by the Examiner’s Byron York, the Examiner’s Kimberly Morin, and the Chicago Daily Observer’s Pat Hickey, who deliciously described the Board as “the ACORN 8-Balls.”

Hickey, as far as I can tell uniquely, reveals the following about the Board’s four other members:

  • John Banks – Up and Coming New York Government Relations fizer with MTA and Con Ed. Traffic and lights.
  • Eric Eve another Clintonista who found a home with CITI Group who made out handsomely on bad loans and Federal Bailouts!
  • Harvey Hirschfeld is Pay-to-Play Player in the Easy Loan Get Fed Money Finance World now with Litigation Lawyers CashLaw!
  • Dave Beckwith is an AllStar Community Organizer Like Jesus Was! Like Jesus, Dave plays to win Dig it!”

Among other contributions to Democrats in 2008, Banks gave $1,000 to Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel and $3,300 to Obama campaign funds in 2008.

Eve gave $6,000 to Democratic candidates in the 2008 election cycle, including $2,500 to the Obama Victory Fund.

Hirschfeld’s contributions are more bi-partisan, with $4,737 of his $7,737 in contributions going to Democrats. But note that $2,000 went to New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who not only voted against defunding ACORN last week, but called the vote a “flatly unconstitutional” bill of attainder.

Beckwith’s Needmor Fund is actually a community organizing outfit based in Toledo, Ohio; it seems that Beckwith is considered a bit of a community organizing guru.

If a conservative lashed out as Stern did on Friday, or if a conservative group had shady insiders with a history of prior affiliations involved in the selection of an auditor in a scandal situation, I daresay you would see the Associated Press, the New York Times, and the Washington Post covering it in negative terms.

But the establishment media’s ACORN protection game just goes on, and on, and on, and on.

(Image is from the December 30, 2008 New York Daily News).

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Breitbart on ACORN: Big Media Would Have Worked to Kill Story, Attack O’Keefe and Giles

abreitbartto Andrew Breitbart’s column yesterday at the Washington Times has to do with the BigGovernment.com proprietor’s promise that “It ain’t over yet.”

Fair enough. But Breitbart asserted what I believe is a bigger point. It isn’t just that the establishment media would have ignored the story if James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles had attempted to put it out there on their own. Breitbart believes that Big Media would have actively worked to bury it and to discredit its authors. There’s little doubt that Andrew is absolutely correct.

Here are the passages from his Times column where Breitbart makes this point (bolds are mine):

In the past, Mr. O’Keefe created brilliant social satire that rocked his college campus and even made its way on to the talk-radio and cable-news shows, but the magnitude of his latest adventure had the potential to rock the political establishment.

I was awed by Mr. O’Keefe’s guts and amazed by the footage, but explained that the mainstream media would try to kill this important and illuminating expose about a corrupt and criminal political racket, and that the well-funded political left would go into “war room” mode, with 25-year-old Mr. O’Keefe and 20-year-old cohort Miss Giles in the cross hairs. I felt I had a moral obligation to protect these young muckrakers from the left and from the media, and to devise a strategy that would force the media’s hand.

…. By dripping the videos out, we exposed to anyone paying attention that ACORN was lying through its teeth and that the media would look imbecilic continuing to trot out their hapless spokespeople.

…. If they invested in the story, I told Mr. O’Keefe, they would do ACORN’s defense work. I told him the focus needed to be on the message, not the messenger. Otherwise, the mainstream media would attempt to direct attention away from the damaging video evidence.

Exactly.

Though Breitbart gives props to Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart for ridiculing the establishment media’s failure to get the story in the first place, the systemic media failure is much worse than that. It isn’t that they are lazy, though they often are; it’s that they’re openly hostile to breaking news that discredit’s leftist causes or candidates.

It used to be that they could bury bad news on their own. As the American Spectator’s Jeffrey Lord recounted last week, there’s a history going back almost 50 years of establishment media cover-ups of news that would hurt Democratic presidents.

The New Media Age eventually changed that. Since legitimate competition in determining what the news really is arrived on the scene, the establishment media’s response has been to double-down on its support of Democrats and leftists and on its hostility towards Republicans and conservatives, while treating anyone outside their club who dares to break a story with ridicule and shoot-the-messenger tactics.

Breitbart’s strategy in rolling out the ACORN story has been as brilliant as O’Keefe’s and Giles’s original work. Thanks to the trio, the alleged leading journalists at the Big 3 networks, the Associated Press, and major newspapers have been exposed as leftist hacks and Democratic Party apparatchiks.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (092109, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:58 am

This is a stick-up, via the U.K. Guardian — “Swine flu ‘could kill millions unless rich nations give £900m’ (about $1.8 bllion).”

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BOOHOO-OUCH redux, via Fox News’s Chris Wallace (video is at link) –

(This administration is) the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington.

…. They constantly are on the phone, or emailing me complaining, well, you had this guest.

…. Or you did this thing. I mean, they are working the umps all the time. I think it works for the others. It doesn’t work with me

For those relatively new to the blog, Obama’s long-form name during the election campaign was “Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH” “Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH” (Barack O-bomba Overseas HusseinObambi“ Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters).

Note how well the acronym still fits Obama, and, according to Wallace, the President’s peeps.

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CNN’s Wolf Blitzer appeared on Jeopardy’s Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational, and left $4,600 in the hole. I think he overachieved.

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On Friday at the “Values Voters Summit,” NBC’s Brian Mooar and MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell showed the world what self-important, self-absorbed blowhards they are:

…. as Mooar was giving his report to MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell, he was making it difficult for people in the back of the hall to hear whoever was on stage at the time.

It’s probably fair to say that he didn’t realize the problem he was causing at first. But if you follow the vid’s progression, it becomes obvious that even after he clearly understood, he didn’t care, he didn’t stop, and he didn’t move.

The petty O’Donnell blamed the meeting’s organizers for putting the press so close to the audience. Even if true, Brian’s legs weren’t broken. He should have moved to a hallway or some other location outside of earshot.

To Mooar and anchor Norah O’Donnell, it was all about their his precious little news segment, and the h*ll with everyone else. This type of arrogance is one of a gazillion reasons why viewers are saying “The h*ll with you.”

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From the Washington Independent“Romney Slams Bailouts That He Used to Support.”

That’s a very good catch, but it’s worse than that. In the case of his current criticism of the auto bailouts, we should never forget that when President Obama extra-constitutionally engineered the sacking of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner (i.e., “at Obama’s behest“), neutered GM’s board, and put his car-czar crew firmly in control of the company, Romney was fine with that, congratulating Obama on “expressing some backbone.”

Obama’s power grab set the stage for two state-managed bankruptcies, where first the contractual rights of the secured creditors of Chrysler and the then the unsecured creditors of GM were abrogated through intimidation, fear-mongering in the courts, and excessive haste. At crunch time, Romney gave Obama political cover, and went to CNN, an apparatchik media outlet, to do it.

Romney also indirectly received heaps of praise from Massachusetts Democratic Governor Deval Patrick in the Wall Street Journal on Friday for how “great” the statist health care in Massachusetts that Romney created would be for the rest of the nation.

This sad chronology noted here is bad enough, but these transgressions are actually minor in relation to the mountain of baggage Romney has already accumulated. Yet the “Values Voters Summit” — er, the Value$ Voter$ $ummit — just had Romney as an honored guest, Sean “Sanitize This” Hannity continues his softball Romney interviews on a weekly basis, and conservative pundits like Ann Coulter continue to give Romney a free pass while insulting those who chronicle his critical mistakes.

These people need to awaken from their trance, and quickly.

Positivity: Pro-Life Students Win Prizes in California Essay Contest on Abortion, Bioethics

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Redondo Beach, California:

Sept. 21, 2009

“Today’s youth want to save unborn babies and end abortion,” said J.T. Finn today in announcing that three students in Los Angles-area Catholic high schools have won cash prizes in the LoveMatters.com “Abortion Is Deadly” pro-life essay contest.

“Abortions are truly deadly, physically, emotionally and spiritually,” said Finn, the editor of LoveMatters.com. “Abortion has taken the lives of one-third of their generation. But these students see through the deadly lies of the abortion industry. They each accurately and persuasively tell the truth: Abortions kill babies and devastate women, families and society.”

Finn added, “The students clearly love babies. They revere the sanctity of human life and express that very well.” LoveMatters.com publishes a 32-page, pro-life, pro-chastity print newspaper and web site whose mission is to educate, inspire, and encourage youth to save sex for marriage and choose life rather than abortion.

Fr. Sal Pilato, superintendent of Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, last spring authorized the voluntary essay contest and asked the principals of 48 Catholic high schools to distribute copies of the publication to some 30,000 students to foster study and reflection. The distribution and essay contest were so successful, Finn says, that he is working to duplicate the effort and reach thousands more students in other dioceses.

“We’re calling pro-life leaders across America, and many are very interested,” he said. “Any diocese or anyone in the general public who wants to sponsor a LoveMatters.com distribution and pro-life essay contest can contact me.”

Go here for this and other pro-life stories at LifeNews.com.