Does ACORN compromise Barack?

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Financial markets welcome Barackonomics

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN, Obama, and the Mortgage Mess

The financial markets were teetering on the edge of an abyss last week. The secretary of the Treasury was literally on his knees begging the speaker of the House not to sabotage the bailout bill. The crash of falling banks made the earth tremble. The Republican presidential candidate suspended his campaign to deal with the crisis. And amid all this, the Democrats in Congress managed to find time to slip language into the bailout legislation that would provide a dandy little slush fund for ACORN.

ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a busy hive of left-wing agitation and "direct action" that claims chapters in 50 cities and 100,000 dues-paying members. ACORN is where Sixties leftovers who couldn't get tenure at universities wound up. That the bill-writing Democrats remembered their pet clients during such an emergency speaks volumes. This attempted gift to ACORN (stripped out of the bill after outraged howls from Republicans) demonstrates how little Democrats understand about what caused the mess we're in.

ACORN does many things under the umbrella of "community organizing." They agitate for higher minimum wages, attempt to thwart school reform, try to unionize welfare workers (that is, those welfare recipients who are obliged to work in exchange for benefits) and organize voter registration efforts (always for Democrats, of course). Because they are on the side of righteousness and justice, they aren't especially fastidious about their methods. In 2006, for example, ACORN registered 1,800 new voters in Washington. The only trouble was, with the exception of six, all of the names submitted were fake. The secretary of state called it the "worst case of election fraud in our state's history." As Fox News reported:

"The ACORN workers told state investigators that they went to the Seattle public library, sat at a table and filled out the voter registration forms. They made up names, addresses, and Social Security numbers and in some cases plucked names from the phone book. One worker said it was a lot of hard work making up all those names and another said he would sit at home, smoke marijuana and fill out the forms."

ACORN explained that this was an "isolated" incident, yet similar stories have been reported in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado -- all swing states, by the way. ACORN members have been prosecuted for voter fraud in a number of states. (See www.rottenacorn.com.) Their philosophy seems to be that everyone deserves the right to vote, whether legal or illegal, living or dead.

ACORN recognized very early the opportunity presented by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. As Stanley Kurtz has reported, ACORN proudly touted "affirmative action" lending and pressured banks to make subprime loans. Madeline Talbott, a Chicago ACORN leader, boasted of "dragging banks kicking and screaming" into dubious loans. And, as Sol Stern reported in City Journal, ACORN also found a remunerative niche as an "advisor" to banks seeking regulatory approval. "Thus we have J.P. Morgan & Co., the legatee of the man who once symbolized for many all that was supposedly evil about American capitalism, suddenly donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to ACORN." Is this a great country or what? As conservative community activist Robert Woodson put it, "The same corporations that pay ransom to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton pay ransom to ACORN."

ACORN attracted Barack Obama in his youthful community organizing days. Madeline Talbott hired him to train her staff -- the very people who would later descend on Chicago's banks as CRA shakedown artists. The Democratic nominee later funneled money to the group through the Woods Fund, on whose board he sat, and through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, ditto. Obama was not just sympathetic -- he was an ACORN fellow traveler.

Now you could make the case that before 2008, well-intentioned people were simply unaware of what their agitation on behalf of non-credit-worthy borrowers could lead to. But now? With the whole financial world and possibly the world economy trembling and cracking like a cement building in an earthquake, Democrats continue to try to fund their friends at ACORN? And, unashamed, they then trot out to the TV cameras to declare "the party is over" for Wall Street (Nancy Pelosi)? The party should be over for the Democrats who brought us to this pass. If Obama wins, it means hiring an arsonist to fight a fire.

- Mona Charen


Congress puts lipstick on ACORN pig

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

ACORN Will Still Reap Windfall from Financial Crisis

James Terry, Chief Public Advocate for the Consumers Rights League (CRL), released the following statement today expressing disappointment that the compromise bill before Congress does not protect taxpayers by repealing the previous bailout provision that ensures hundreds of millions of dollars for organizations like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) which is engaged in questionable practices and the potential misuse of public funds:

James Terry, Chief Public Advocate, Consumers Rights League (CRL):
"Even with the removal of the ACORN provision from the current compromise bill, ACORN will still reap a windfall from this financial crisis. The first bailout bill passed a few weeks ago is already pumping what will eventually be billions of dollars into a slush fund to benefit organizations like ACORN and its affiliate, the ACORN Housing Council (AHC).

"I am disappointed that, as part of the latest economic rescue package, the House and Senate negotiators did not safeguard tax dollars by demanding full repeal of language -- currently law -- that rewards the questionable practices of ACORN at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.

"These groups must be held accountable for not only their histories of questionable practices but for how they will spend this massive cash influx funded by American taxpayers. Appropriate oversight has not been established and the opportunities for fraud within ACORN are rampant.

"In recent months alone, the chief organizer of ACORN was forced to resign over the cover-up of a $1 million embezzlement scandal involving his brother. As internal whistleblower documents recently revealed, ACORN and its offshoots may have reaped substantial financial gains by misusing taxpayer dollars for political ends and by attacking lending corporations for the same so-called 'predatory' lending practices ACORN regularly engages in. In 2008 alone, ACORN's voter registration activities have spawned investigations in almost a dozen states, sometimes involving tens of thousands of invalid or fraudulent registrations.

"The continued existence of this slush fund is an insult to all of the consumers who have lost so much in this crisis. ACORN and its affiliates should be investigated, not rewarded."
Read CRL's full whistleblower report: http://www.consumersrightsleague.org/UploadedFiles/ACORN_AHC_Report.pdf, CRL's Congressional testimony on voter fraud: http://www.consumersrightsleague.org/uploadedfiles/JamesTerryACORN9-24.pdf, and learn about the latest ACORN embezzlement scandal: http://www.consumersrightsleague.org/news/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=23025

About The Consumers Rights League:

The Consumers Rights League is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to protecting consumer choice and access to the marketplace. Through investigative analysis, CRL produces quality research that thoroughly documents the real-world choices and challenges consumers face and reports on the benefits enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of consumers. Learn more about CRL's mission at www.consumersrightsleague.org.


ACORN advances swing-state objective

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Banner year for union-backed voter fraud group

With perhaps the most important presidential election in US history just over five weeks away, the NC Democratic Party says its gearing up to make sure that the rights of voters at the polls are not violated or unduly challenged by the Republican Party.

Already there are published reports from Michigan, a key battleground state, about the Macomb County GOP there originally planning to employ ''voter caging,'' a practice where Republicans would challenge the voter registration eligibility of black and other people of color at the polls on Election Day using a list of foreclosed homes to determine who no longer lives at an address from which mail was returned.

When word of the GOP plan hit the press, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee filed suit in federal court against the Michigan Republican Party, calling the voter caging practice ''false and illegal.''

In their suit, the Obama campaign noted that in Ohio, another key battleground state, over 11,000 Democrats were targeted by the same tactic in July.

An outraged Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan), wrote a strong letter to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, demanding that he denounce his fellow GOP'ers.

''It is beyond disgraceful that the Republican Party now seems to be targeting those who are suffering the most, '' Conyers, who also chairs the House Judiciary Committee, wrote. ''It appears that individuals who can't recall how many houses they own don't understand how awful it is to lose your home to foreclosure, and don't know that you don't need to own property to vote in the United States of America.

Conyers' scathing letter continued, ''Senator McCain needs to step forward now and halt the Republican Party's efforts to profit politically from the economic misery of others.''

Republican voter caging has a long tradition, even here in North Carolina.

During the 1990 US Senate race between Sen. Jesse Helms and black challenger Harvey Gantt, the US Department of Justice filed suit against the NC Republican Party after the NCGOP sent out so-called ''ballot security'' cards to black Democrats across the state, warning them that if they tried to vote on Election Day but were not properly registered, they could be criminally prosecuted.

The GOP goal was to either frighten or confuse enough African-American Democrats to keep them home on Election Day, thus suppressing Gantt's black support base.

As a result, a judge issued a consent decree barring the NCGOP from ever engaging in ballot security tactics again with court permission, but the Republicans have insisted they did nothing wrong, and, because of the successful efforts by the Democrats this year in registering thousands of new voters in North Carolina, the GOP has vow to continue to challenge what they call ''voter fraud'' this campaign season.

Just this week, the US Justice Dept. announced that it would not station criminal prosecutors at the polls across the nation on Election Day to monitor voter activity. Civil rights groups requested the move so that black and other voters of color would not be intimidated. Justice officials did commit to maintaining a close eye on the process, however, to make sure there are no problems.

NC Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Meek is well aware of what the Republicans are capable of, and has been mindful of what to prepare for since before the North Carolina primaries last spring.

In an interview conducted with The Carolinian last December, long before anyone could know that a black man would in serious contention to be elected Commander-in-chief, Meek said based on the historical debacle during the 2000 Florida presidential race, and the GOP's past record of voter intimidation in North Carolina and elsewhere, the Democratic Party would be pro-active during the 2008 elections to protect the rights of all voters.

''The rhetoric of voter fraud is a political tool that…the Republican Party currently is using for the purpose of disenfranchising black voters, and [they may] succeed in getting away with something that would turn the clock back,'' the chairman said.

The prospect of possible Republican-sanctioned ballot shenanigans in North Carolina is heightened because of the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama for president. The African-American senator from Illinois is seeking to make history in his run for the White House, and he has poured millions of dollars in staff, advertising and resources into North Carolina in an effort to steal the traditional red state from Republican opponent Sen. John McCain.

With the Arizona Republican and Obama in a virtual tie according to the latest NC polls, every vote is going to count on Election Day, Nov. 4.

And that means if the GOP can either successfully challenge, confuse or even scare away a significant number of black Democratic voters, that could make the difference in defeating Obama here.

Thus, they shield their tactics under the guise of rooting out ''voter fraud.''

Meek says the Republican Party tends ''to exaggerate the significance of voter fraud'' in order to justify challenging black voters. But because most counties and states have now electronically calibrated their voter records systems, even to the point of matching their information of US Dept. of Health and Human Services death records, it is much harder to perpetrate the kind of fraud the GOP consistently alleges is rampant, he says.

''We have technologically a lot more safeguards than we've ever had, and that has enabled us…to broaden the inclusion of more people without increasing the danger of voter fraud,'' Meek said.

Still, many Republicans continue to allege fraud in voter registration efforts.

The GOP frowns, for instance, at efforts like Sept. 27th's
''Highway to History Voter Registration Campaign,'' where at least 100 NCCU undergraduates law students will travel to Smithfield, Goldsboro, LaGrange and Kinston in Eastern North Carolina this Saturday in an effort to register people to vote before the Oct. 10 deadline.

''This effort will place students in these communities for the entire day,'' said NCCU Law Professor Irving Joyner. ''In the communities, students will team with local volunteers to conduct a door-to-door effort to identify and register unregistered individuals and encourage them to cast their votes during the early voting period.''

The GOP may also have concerns about Oct. 16, the first day of One Stop Early Voting/Same-Day Registration in North Carolina.

Because that date also coincides with the thirteenth anniversary of the historic 1995 Million Man March, several churches and civic groups across the state are discussing plans to have car and vanloads of African-American voters marching in unison on that day to cast ballots at their county Board of Election offices.

Republicans may also challenge the right of ex-felons to register and vote. Many who have served their time and have been released are unaware that their voting privileges have been restored, and all they have to do is register at their county board of elections.

The GOP has insisted that some black voters are able to fraudulently vote twice because photo ID is not required in certain states.

The GOP believes that if black and Hispanic voters are compelled to show photo ID, they are not likely to vote.

As a result, as least 23 states have some form of minimum voter ID requirement, with 18 states requiring ID of all voters, and just three states, including Georgia and Florida, requiring photo ID at the polls.

Earlier this year, Republicans celebrated the US Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's right to require voter photo ID. The ruling now opens the doors for other states to follow.

North Carolina does not require voter ID so far, except if someone wants to take advantage of One Stop Same-Day Registration and Early Voting, in which case they would need a valid ID to prove their residence.

According to the report, The Politics of Voter Fraud by Lorraine C. Minnite, Ph. D, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Columbia University, statistically, between 2002 and 2005, there were only 24 people in the entire nation that either pled guilty to, or were convicted of voter fraud.

''The available state-level evidence of voter fraud, culled from interviews, reviews of newspaper coverage and court proceedings, while not definitive, is also negligible,'' the report adds.

Defining the rare crime as the ''intentional corruption of the electoral process by the voter,'' Dr. Minnite's report goes on to note that historically, where there was clear evidence of corruption, it was usually by those attempting to either suppress or deny African-Americans their right to vote.

''In the late nineteenth century when newly freed black Americans were swept into electoral politics, and where blacks were the majority of the electorate, it was the [Southern] Democrats who were threatened by a loss of power, and it was the Democratic party that erected new rules said to be necessary to respond to alleged fraud by black voters,'' Dr. Minnite's report states.

''Today, the success of voter registration drives among minorities and low income people in recent years threatens to expand the base of the Democratic party and tip the balance of power away from the Republicans,'' the report continues. ''Consequently, the use of baseless voter fraud allegations for partisan advantage has become the exclusive domain of Republican party activists.''

Chairman Meek noted how the infamous ''poll tax'' - which was a per head taxation used in the South to disenfranchise poor and black voters at the turn of the century, was one of the earliest forms electoral fraud.

Meek says there is clear evidence that North Carolina Republicans are zealously still pushing the voter fraud theme.

Last year, when the state Senate was discussing the bill to establish same-day voter registration and early voting, state Auditor Les Merritt, a Republican, alleged that he and the US Dept. of Justice were looking into ''damming information'' about alleged instances of voter fraud in the North Carolina.

The state auditor alleged in a preliminary report that there was evidence that 17-year-olds had illegally voted in the 2006 primaries, and that a further scan of the voter rolls revealed that some of the people who voted were dead.

After further examination, however, it was determined that every 17-year-old who voted in the 2006 primaries did so legally, because state law allowed then to do so just as long as they would turn eighteen before the general election.

And as for those ''dead'' voters, a closer look revealed all of them had legally cast absentee ballots before their demise.

Because Republican Merritt's preliminary report proved to be both false and clumsy at best, Chairman Meek said at the time, ''Either Les Merritt is incompetent, lacking even a basic understanding of election law, or he's using his position as State Auditor to pursue the partisan agenda of the national Republican Party. Either way, voters should be worried.''

In Durham, election officials are currently probing whether 80 of some 4,000-voter registration applications collected by the community activist group ACORN are fraudulent. The Republican National Committee alleges that the community activist group ''has a history of gathering fraudulent or incomplete voter registration forms,'' and maintains that the group is partisan.

Meanwhile in Elizabeth City this summer, several black students attending Elizabeth City State University had their voter registration status challenged by a white Republican voter who felt they had no business voting in local elections since they were ''temporary residents.'' The county Board of Elections, however, ruled that the students did nothing wrong.

Still, the NCNAACP asked the US Justice Dept. to probe the matter, concerned that the complaint was really a Republican effort to intimidate other black student voters at ECSU.
''We're going to be vigilant through the election cycle that all the rules are followed,'' Brent Woodcox, assistant legal counsel for the NCGOP, told Bloomberg News in August.

Because North Carolina is such a key battleground state in the Obama campaign strategy, protecting the integrity of every voter registration effort statewide is a priority.

Reportedly, attorneys for the Obama campaign have been in the state for months monitoring any possible challenges.

They won't be alone.

The Democratic National Committee, along with the DNC Voting Rights Institute and the National Lawyers Council, kicked off its unprecedented ''50 State Strategy'' election protection program months ago, surveying every county board of elections in the nation, including in North Carolina, to assess what their voter procedures were in order to determine any operational inconsistencies with state or federal law long before the November general election.

The list of key concerns include making sure there is no disparity in voting equipment between predominately white and predominately black voting precincts; that provisions are made to guard against untenably long lines that would discourage voters from waiting; and that state law is enforced regarding electioneering at the polls.
NC Democratic Party Chairman Meek said the DNC has organized a national network of attorneys ''that we hope will combat any problems that will develop.''

The DNC's North Carolina attorneys will be paying close attention to how voters are treated when North Carolina's One Stop Early Voting/Same Day Registration period begins on Thursday Oct. 16.

''Those lawyers will respond to any complaint we have,'' Meeks said, especially if the Republicans attempt to challenge any voter's right to cast a ballot.

''They raise the specter of voter fraud without an substantiation, as is usually the case,'' Meek said, ''to achieve a political objective.''


Why ACORN matters

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Labor unionists have it all wrong

More collectivism stories: hereMore ACORN stories: here

Collectivism is not the answer to America's problems

No matter how many times Barack Obama repeats this rhetoric about corporate greed and lack of oversight, it will still be Democrats who blocked John McCain's reform bill in 2006, Democrats who denied President Bush's increased oversight in 2003, Democrats who pressured banks to give loans to people who could not afford them, and Democrats, especially Barack Obama, who took huge campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on their way down. Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) created this mess. More government control is not the solution; it's the problem.

How dare Obama go on TV and pretend that Democrats just want to protect regular people while their opponents just want to protect Wall Street when the only thing keeping the people at risk are unacceptable Democrat ploys to, for instance, steer money from the bailout to corrupt left-wing activist groups like ACORN, even as they face criminal charges in several states for fraud.

In addition to lower taxes, fiscal reforms and reversing the Democrat ban on American energy supplies, McCain advocates ending liberal policies that pressure banks to give mortgages to people who can't afford them with the safety net of taxpayer-funded bailouts.

But Barack Obama continues to smear him as having no ideas, avoiding the issues, and adopting the failed policies of the past. Yet it is the candidate of "change" himself who comes from the corrupt Chicago political machine and spends his time clinging to the repeatedly failed policies of higher taxes, more government and no American energy supplies.

And it is the candidate of "ideas and issues" who runs ads ridiculing McCain for assuring us that Democrats have not completely destroyed our economy yet and for his inability to use computers due to his torture as a POW.

- Robert Moon is a Cincinnati resident.


Barack sprouted from ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

An ACORN Falls from the Tree

As negotiations over Congress’s emergency rescue bill continued over the weekend, repeated rumors leaked out that the Democrats were trying to funnel money to a hyper-partisan organization involved in criminal voter fraud. I’m speaking of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — known by its acronym, ACORN. Although ACORN was cut from the final legislation [N.B. This is disputed. See: "Congress puts lipstick on ACORN pig"], it’s important to understand this organization and its long history with, of all people, Barack Obama. And it’s important to see how partisan this emergency legislation has become.

As the weekend progressed, reports were constantly emerging of the sticking points preventing a final agreement. One of these reputed points of contention was whether 20 percent of the profit proceedings for asset sales in the future would go to what is called the Housing Trust Fund, subsidizing certain groups for ostensibly nonpartisan activity. One of these groups that this trust supports is ACORN.

ACORN has often been in the news since 2004. Officially, they work to register voters and support housing. In reality, everyone in public life knows that they are hardcore supporters for the Democratic Party, and employ bare-knuckle tactics. Their organization is plagued by repeated investigations of voter fraud and other crimes.

In Ohio, where as secretary of state I oversaw elections for eight years, ACORN has been busy. One ACORN man in Reynoldsburg was indicted on two felony counts of voter fraud, and another was indicted in Columbus. Other such problems surfaced in Cuyahoga County, where criminal investigations are ongoing.

It’s not just Ohio. ACORN personnel are facing criminal charges in over a dozen states. In Washington State, for example, seven ACORN leaders had felony charges filed against them for voter fraud.

And there’s an unexpected twist. One of the organizations accused of pushing banks into making many of the unwise loans at the heart of the current crisis is … ACORN. Now that’s ironic. An organization that possibly contributed to our current financial profits is now being considered to make money off of it. And by “money,” I’m referring to your tax money.

Twice already this year Congress has funneled money to ACORN. Some report that February’s economic stimulus included funds for ACORN, as did the bill to help people struggling with mortgages passed this April.

What deserves closer scrutiny is Barack Obama’s history with ACORN. Obama cites Saul Alinsky, a self-acknowledged radical who advocated extreme acts to achieve social goals, as one of his inspirations. ACORN follows the Saul Alinsky model. After Obama graduated from Harvard, he went to work for ACORN in Chicago. Mr. Obama then became a trainer for ACORN, teaching others how to employ ACORN tactics in voter registration drives.

This ACORN involvement coincides with the increasing partisanship of this situation.

Congressional Democrats, and specifically Mr. Obama, are now saying that the problem underlying all this is “deregulation,” pushed by the Republicans. There are two fundamental flaws with this allegation.

First, this is not deregulation. This is not the private sector. Fannie and Freddie are government creations, that pay their executives millions of dollars but are shielded with your tax money from suffering the downside risk of the market. Engage in racetrack-style financing, they must be strictly controlled. Deregulation is about keeping government from hobbling the private sector and hamstringing its ingenuity and productivity. Deregulation does not apply.

Second, Republicans have tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie. Republican attempts to reform them in 1999 failed. In 2003, when Alan Greenspan testified about how Fannie and Freddie’s loose practices could endanger our financial system, it was Democrat Barney Frank who said these institutions were fundamentally sound, and should be more aggressive in getting loans to low-income people. In 2005, a Republican reform passed the Senate Banking Committee on a party-line vote, only to be blocked by Democrats from passing the full Senate. And in 2006 when John McCain spoke on the Senate floor of the need to reform Fannie and Freddie immediately, Democrats (including Barack Obama) would not respond.

You can also see where Fannie and Freddie look for protection by where they direct their money. Public records show that the top two recipients of Fannie/Freddie campaign contributions are Sens. Chris Dodd and Barack Obama, taking $165,000 and $126,000, respectively. Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, and Mr. Obama, who says he’s going to remedy the whole situation.

It suddenly seems so clear why Democrats want ACORN to get some of the taxpayers’ money. I have unapologetically criticized Republicans, some by name, for out-of-control spending, lack of accountability, and other inexcusable actions that have tarnished the GOP and disserved the nation. And there are other issues that are either both parties’ fault, or no one’s fault.

But here, the Democrats are squarely to blame. They have resisted all attempts at reforming Fannie and Freddie, and pushed those organizations to become ever more reckless in their policies. This made the investments on Wall Street carrying those tainted mortgages go from bad to worse, and now we’re in a crisis and on the verge of a meltdown.

This is inexcusable. And if independent voters figure this out, their outrage over this situation will suddenly be directed against the party that pushed these disastrous policies. So Democrats want ACORN to get as much funding as possible, because they might need some new votes in their column on Election Day.

Voter fraud is in one sense the worst crime against democracy. The sole means of democratically choosing leaders is through voting. Every voter gets an equal vote. Every citizen who is a law-abiding adult has an equal voice in who will govern us. Our vote is sacred. Those engaging in voter fraud are in one sense no different than who intimidated voters at the polls in years past. Voter fraud may not be attended by the suffering that accompanied the beatings and water hoses of those days, but the assault on democracy is no less real.

ACORN is a discredited organization, and far too many of its leaders and workers have been prosecuted for felonies against democracy. The idea that a single dime of taxpayer money would ever go to such a group is an outrage.

And Mr. Obama needs to explain his involvement with them.

- Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state, is a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union. He has also served as an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Keeping up with Barack

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Obama Directly Tied To Union-Backed Voting Fraud Group

In case you-like most of us-have difficulty keeping up with Democrat Presidential candidate Barack Obama's ties to corrupt, terrorist and anti-American groups and individuals a new one has emerged. The mainstream press-as with Obama's other associations-is working overtime to cover this latest one up. Obama is directly tied to a group that has been both accused of and its members convicted of National Voter Fraud, embezzlement and misuse of tax payer funds-ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

What are Obama's direct ties to the voter-fraud group? Let's take a look. Obama was not only ACORN's attorney but, actually trained the group in "community activism!" And, while Obama was Chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, he arranged funding for the voter-fraud group through the CAC. McCauley's World reports: "In Philadelphia alone ACORN has raised over $800,000 Dollars for Barack Obama's Campaign." In politics, scratching each other's back is always the order of the day.

The voter-fraud group is working almost non-stop-except when its members are arrested and taken into custody-to get Obama elected POTUS. If Obama is elected, we could actually have the least experienced, most corrupt and first Socialist/Communist POTUS in world history. And the other Obama direct ties to corruption and anti-Americanism? Let's take another look-shall we?

"William Ayers-former head of terrorist group the Weather Underground-was Obama's colleague at the Woods Fund of Chicago and Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Note: Ayers lobbied to have Obama named Chairman of the CAC. Ayers is also a major fundraiser for Obama

"Obama's acknowledged over 20 year minister and mentor, Jeremiah Wright, has made and continues to make anti-American, anti-white and anti-Semitic "sermons"

"Obama has direct ties to Saudi Arabian funders and the Black Panthers"

"Depending on one's sources, Obama was either the #2 or #3 Fannie Mae (Democrats' personal slush fund) funded politician"

"Obama is directly ties to now-convicted felon Antoin Rezko"

"Obama wants to work with the very leaders of countries who want to destroy us"


Soros, SEIU $$ push Barack ahead

More collectivism stories: hereSEIU stories: here
George Soros stories: here

Democrat unlikely to forget the collectivists who made him President

As the presidential election nears, parties and outside groups are dumping more of their own money into commercials and other campaign activities that increasingly favor Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain .

Since it became clear in early June that the two senators would face off in the general election, national party committees, unions and other interest groups have spent $31.3 million on independent expenditures to influence the presidential election, according to a CQ MoneyLine analysis of Federal Election Commission data. During that time, outside groups dropped $18.1 million in support of Obama, while others supporting McCain ponied up $13.2 million.

McCain held a distinct advantage over Obama during June and July. But the latest FEC filings for September show that 75 percent of the outside spending in support of the two candidates now favors Obama. So far this month, $7.6 million has been spent in behalf of Obama, while $2.4 million has gone to promote McCain.

Most of the Obama gain can be attributed to a stepped effort by pro-Democratic groups, particularly the Service Employees International Union. Since June, SEIU has spent $9.6 million in support of Obama’s campaign. The union spent $4.3 million this month alone.

These independent expenditures — which are not coordinated with the campaigns — are separate from the millions also being spent by outside groups, including nonprofits and 527 groups, on so-called “issue ads” that don’t specifically advocate the election or defeat of a candidate, but still can have a big impact on a campaign.

“PACs and party committees,” said Steve Weissman, associate director for policy at the Campaign Finance Institute, “are only a part of the universe of groups that are opposing or supporting Obama and McCain.”

In addition to SEIU, the groups that have spent the most on presidential independent expenditures since early June include MoveOn.org and the Republican National Committee. The RNC has shelled out $5.8 million in support of McCain while MoveOn.org has invested $3.6 million in Obama.

“Our members are very excited about electing Barack Obama ,” said SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette. “We’re really at a crisis point with the economy crashing, flat wages and jobs (not) growing . . . At the end of the day, the next president is going to make it or break it for working families in this country.”

The service employee funds spent on independent expenditures are part of the union’s $85 million commitment to electing Obama, as well as pro-labor candidates. The union has spent a large amount so far, but still has more than $21 million in the bank ready to go if needed.

That’s great news for Obama because the Democratic National Committee has made very few independent expenditures on his behalf — only $467,000. At the end of August, the DNC still had $17.7 million in the bank but the RNC was sitting on a bankroll of $76.5 million.

Approximately half the independent expenditures related to the presidential race has been pumped into an ongoing TV, radio, Internet and print advertising war supporting Obama or McCain. But large amounts have been spent as well to help fund their ground campaigns, including get-out-the-vote drives and publicity efforts. The outside groups and parties spent $6.9 million voter canvassing and $3 million on phone calls, mailings and e-mail pushes. They even dropped $2.7 million on T-shirts, campaign buttons and bumper stickers.


ACORN's crime spree spans the U.S.

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: hereWade Rathke stories: here

Union-backed ACORN makes a difference

Barack Obama's Campaign is using ACORN, a national organization representing the poor, to register new voters to vote for him. The senator's familiarity with ACORN began in Chicago when he was a community organizer and worked with ACORN staffers. ACORN's history is marked by acts of voter fraud and subsequent criminal convictions arising from these frauds, embezzlement, violent protests and union busting,

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is ostensibly a community organization that addresses housing, schools, neighborhood safety, health care, job conditions and voter registration. With a membership of more than 350,000, ACORN is organized into more than 850 neighborhood chapters in more than 100 cities across the United States.

The organization was founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke, George Wiley and Gary Delgado. Wade Rathke's brother embezzled $948,607 from the group and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000, but ACORN executives did not inform law enforcement. A whistleblower revealed the fraud in 2008, leading to the departure of both Dale and Wade Rathke. The National Labor Relations Board also found that ACORN attempted to thwart union organizing efforts within its own organization by firing two workers attempting to unionize ACORN.

In Ohio, in 2004, four ACORN employees were indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms. In January 2005, two Colorado ACORN workers were sentenced to community service for submitting false voter registrations. On Nov. 1, 2006, four part time ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City, Mo., for voter registration fraud. Prosecutors said the indictments are part of a national investigation. ACORN was investigated in 2006 for submitting false voter registrations in St. Louis, Mo. Fraudulent voter registrations numbered 1,492.

In 2007, five Washington state ACORN workers were sentenced to jail. ACORN agreed to pay King County $25,000 for its investigative costs and acknowledged that the national organization could be subject to criminal prosecution if fraud reoccurred. In 2008, the Michigan Secretary of State office told the Detroit Free Press that ACORN had been submitting a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications to vote. On Sept. 17, the Bernalillo County clerk in New Mexico notified prosecutors that the office had received fraudulent registration cards.

ACORN receives significant funding by "persuading" local business owners to contribute to it. Its main source of funds, however, is the federal government. It receives federal funds for various community organizing efforts. The revenues from these programs are in the tens of millions of dollars. There is little government oversight over its use of the funds, which is why the founder's brother was able to embezzle almost a million dollars without detection.

Mr. Obama's connection to ACORN began in Chicago. Madeleine Talbot, the leader of Chicago ACORN was so impressed by Mr. Obama's organizing skills that she invited him to help train her own staff. Ms. Talbot was a key leader in an attempt by ACORN to storm the Chicago City Council during a living-wage debate. According to the Chicago Daily Herald, ACORN demonstrators pushed over the metal detector and table used to screen visitors, backed police against the doors to the council chamber, and blocked late-arriving aldermen and city staff from entering the session. Ms. Talbot was led away handcuffed, charged with mob action and disorderly conduct. This was the woman who first drew Mr. Obama into his alliance with ACORN and whose staff Mr. Obama helped train.

Mr. Obama served on the boards of two charitable foundations in Chicago, the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation. According to The New York Times, Mr. Obama's memberships on those foundation boards, "allowed him to help direct tens of millions of dollars in grants" to various liberal organizations, including the Chicago ACORN, "whose endorsement Mr. Obama sought and won in his state Senate race."

As late as August 2008, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported criminal investigations against at least six ACORN workers who tried to add dead, imprisoned or imaginary people to the voter rolls. The ACORN effort is part of a massive national voter registration drive aimed at the fall presidential election. Democrats have opposed any measures requiring photo identification to register to prevent fraud. In the current financial bailout negotiations going on in Washington, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., are trying to include ACORN as a recipient of federal funds as part of this program.

Mr. Obama's repeated calls for reform and integrity in government obviously excludes the street politics and hooligan tactics of ACORN. His campaign and the Democratic Party have adopted an "anything goes to win the presidency" attitude. The absence of major news media coverage of Mr. Obama's relationship with ACORN is equally distressing.

- Abe Bernstein is a retired business executive


ACORN fulfills Barack's swing-state mission

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Banner year for union-backed voter fraud group as one of its own preps for The White House

Terry Baccus stood with his clipboard at the 30th and Downing transit station. Wearing jeans and a red T-shirt that said, "Raise your voice! Raise the vote! Raise the wage!" the 27-year-old asked a group of passengers whether they'd registered to vote.

About 10 people said they already were signed up or were too young. Then Baccus found 18- year-old Jo Nassia Martin, of Aurora. Martin filled out the registration form and checked the Democratic circle.

She said she wanted to vote "because everybody's opinion is very important . . . I might as well make it count for my generation."

New voters like Martin are signing up in droves in Colorado and across the country. Voter registration drives mounted by parties and interest groups are a huge factor in that surge.

Statewide, nearly 215,000 people between Jan. 1 and Sept. 1 registered as a new voter or because they moved to a different county, according to Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies in Louisville.

That's 26,000 more than in the same period in 2004.

Of those newly registered voters, 78,013 are Democrats, compared with 48,451 Republicans. New unaffiliated voters outnumber both major parties, with 85,795 registrations during that eight-month period, according to the political consulting firm.

More than 40 percent of new voters are opting for mail ballots.

Baccus works for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, one of nearly 300 groups in Colorado mounting voter drives before the Oct. 6 registration deadline for the Nov. 4 election.

Minorities targeted

ACORN is second only to the Campaign for Change - the Barack Obama voter registration campaign - as the most active in Colorado.

ACORN targets minority communities and has submitted more than 65,000 voter forms, including first-time voters and already registered voters who are updating their information or requesting a mail ballot, said state director Ben Hanna.

The Obama campaign won't say how many voters it has signed up, but has obtained 100,000 forms - far more than any other voter drive group - from the secretary of state.

Pat Waak, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, attributes the high voter registrations to enthusiasm about the presidential race.

"I think it's much more intense than we've ever done before because we're a battleground state, and the sheer number of people who are coming out to work on these campaigns means we are able to do a lot more work on voter registration than we have done in the past," Waak said.

The McCain campaign, working in concert with the Republican Party, also has been working to sign up voters.

"We're registering (voters) in a very targeted way, making sure we're using our resources the best we can," said Tom Kise, regional campaign spokesman.

Kise said the campaign is using a variety of lists to find new residents and young voters and others who are likely to support John McCain.

No official complaints

He said that Republicans still outnumber other parties in total voter numbers in Colorado.

The Republican Party has been critical of the practices of some voter registration drive groups, like ACORN.

But Hanna said his organization has improved its quality control to make sure workers are turning in legitimate forms.

The secretary of state's office has received no official complaints about registration drives.

Denise Lieberman, a voter protection lawyer with the national civil rights group Advancement Project, said she is more concerned about the backlog of voter forms at the local election offices than allegations of fraud.

"The more likely and more disturbing trend is the potential of eligible voters not being placed on the rolls, either due to backlogs or error," she said.

Some county clerks say they are swamped with forms and are adding staff and work hours.


Temporary union disclosure rules annoy bigs

More SEIU stories: hereAndy Stern stories: here

President Obama and Labor Sec'y Stern would suspend Bush's inconvenient union disclosure rules

Labor union trusts that provide a variety of benefits for workers must disclose detailed financial information under new federal rules designed to root out corruption, officials said Monday.

In announcing the requirement, the U.S. Labor Department cited several cases in recent years of union officers stealing from trusts established for retirement funds, job training and disaster relief.

It was not immediately clear how the rules might apply to a Service Employees International Union local in Los Angeles, whose spending practices are the subject of a criminal investigation. The United Long-Term Care Workers has a related health trust and worker-training charity and is associated with a housing corporation that was founded as a nonprofit to help low-income workers.

Meanwhile, Willis Edwards, vice president of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter of the NAACP and a member of the organization's national board, said the FBI has questioned him about $25,000 in consulting fees the local paid him last year.

Edwards said the payments were for work on a website and the NAACP had not been involved. "I earned every penny of it," he said. "I did nothing wrong."

He appears in a brief video extolling the work of Tyrone Freeman, president of the United Long-Term Care Workers, who later was removed from the union payroll because of internal corruption allegations. Freeman has denied any wrongdoing.

Edwards said the $25,000 had nothing to do with his participation in the video, which has been posted on YouTube.

The video also features tributes to Freeman from the Rev. Eric P. Lee, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, and Charisse Bremond Weaver, president of the Brotherhood Crusade.

In 2007, the local made $11,000 in donations and non-itemized payments to the Brotherhood Crusade and about $15,700 to the SCLC Dream Foundation, according to the union's financial filings with the Labor Department.

Earlier this month, Weaver said her role in the video was unrelated to any union money her group received. She also said she would withhold judgment about Freeman until more information about his actions becomes public.

"I've had a good working relationship with Tyrone and the union," Weaver said. She could not be reached late Monday.

Lee has not returned phone calls seeking comment. Freeman has told The Times that all the local's consulting payments, such as the one made to Edwards, were proper.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment Monday.

The disclosure requirements for trusts take effect in January, but the information generally will not be public until 2010, when unions file the first annual forms with the Labor Department. In many respects, the requirements mirror those already imposed on unions, which must disclose most salaries and itemize other expenditures.

The rules for trusts will apply to unions with at least $250,000 in annual receipts.

"With meaningful disclosure, the department hopes to deter potential misuse of union trusts . . . and allow union members to know exactly where their hard-earned dollars are being spent," Don Todd, a Labor Department deputy assistant secretary, said in a statement.

Unions have accused the Bush administration of adopting punitive disclosure rules because of an anti-labor bias, and the AFL-CIO has challenged some in court.

Attempts to reach officials with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the SEIU's state council were unsuccessful Monday.

Last month, The Times disclosed that the United Long-Term Workers and the charity have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Freeman's wife and mother-in-law. The union has spent similar sums on a Four Seasons Resort golf tournament, restaurants such as Morton's steakhouse and an exclusive Beverly Hills cigar lounge.

The Times' reports have led to the criminal investigation and a congressional inquiry. In one of its internal charges, the SEIU has accused Freeman of violating record-keeping standards for the charity, the housing corporation and a union health trust.


Who will bail out the News Union?

Related: "Spotlight: The Newspaper Guild" • More News Guild stories: here

Tree killers beset by leftism within and paper-stream waste issue

And the headlines about the newspaper industry are beginning to show it. Business Week headlined a story, “What Will Replace Big-City Newspapers”; The Guardian in the UK headlined, “You Can Smell The Fear As Newspapers Brace For 2009” and the Wall Street Journal’s headline about McClatchy renegotiating its debt went “McClatchy Bank Deal Eases Threat of Default”, although the McClatchy flagship Sacramento Bee played it far less dramatic with “McClatchy Co. Renegotiates Its Bank Loans.”

With companies like Gannett and McClatchy, the two largest US newspaper publishers, slashing away at just about anything that moves these days there are plenty of signs that their boardrooms are convinced there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and there can be no question that Wall Street’s problems are also the problems for newspapers, too.

That’s really a double whammy that Wall Street has dealt newspapers – first it downgraded newspaper shares so much (how much short selling was in there?) that newspapers valuations on the market are ludicrously low, and now that Wall Street is getting its comeuppance, newspapers suffer again because if advertisers can’t gain access to credit, lines of credit and all the rest, then they’re going to pull in on what they spend, and that means less advertising spending, especially for traditional media. It’s as simple and cruel as that.

Reading McClatchy’s statement on its debt renegotiation would indicate it was a pretty close thing that the company was nearing violating loan covenants. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have the money to pay its debt, but things were bordering the limits that lenders had placed on participating in that debt. And the lenders played hardball with McClatchy, drawing their ounces of blood, holding out for a 0.25% interest increase on its bank loans which will cost the company an additional $2.8 million a year, reducing its line of credit under certain circumstances, and placing severe limits on dividend payments.

McClatchy ran into trouble because its loan agreements called for a debt limitation of no more than five times cash flow. In normal times that’s an easy given. But these are not normal times and with cash flow getting hit really hard – July and August advertising revenues each down 17% over the year before -- then cash flows got much tighter with debt at a ratio of 4.5 times cash flow. Under the new agreement there is more breathing room with that ratio increased to 6.25% through Q4.

A real indication of how bad things are at the end of the year in newspaperland will be to see exactly where McClatchy’s debt ratio ended up. Obviously the company believes it will be more than 5% and that has to send a shudder throughout the industry. McClatchy’s share price has fallen 77% in the last year and its debt is rated at just about as bad as junk can get rated.

But it’s not just McClatchy in debt trouble; newspaper groups everywhere are doing the unusual for bottom-line purposes. For instance in St. Louis the Post-Dispatch laid off 20 employees last week, and according to Shannon Duffy, the St. Louis Newspaper Guild’s business representative, it all had to do with owner Lee Enterprises’ handling of its debt.

She told the St. Louis Business Journal, “They wanted to be able to report the severance in the 2008 fiscal year, but then show the savings in the 2009 fiscal year. Today (September 26) is the last weekday of their fiscal year. This was about bookkeeping.”

And then there is Media General that announced last week it was halving its dividend so the cash could be used to repay debt.

So all of that brings us back to our headline question: Who is Going to Bail Out Newspapers? And the obvious answer at first is certainly not the government, for as much as the money might be welcome there is always the fear that the price would end up being far too high to pay with government fingers meddling into a free press. But is that the final word?

The fact is that in the US free market forces seem to have been thrown out of the window these days. Wall Street will get its bailout and Congress has authorized $25 billion in loans for the auto industry, but newspapers are going to have to somehow manage it alone, even though as TV sage Walter Cronkite told journalism students at Columbia University last year, “In this information age and the very complicated world in which we live today, the need for high-quality reporting is greater than ever. It's not just the journalist's job at risk here. It's American democracy. It is freedom."

Are we getting to the point where “democracy” and “freedom” are at risk? Do we let our major newspapers succumb to the forces of the free enterprise system or are newspapers too important to “democracy” and “freedom” to allow them to fail -- we didn’t let the banks fail! Certainly the newspaper print product is getting thinner – less people producing smaller, thinner issues that are in too many cases are merely shadows of their former selves, so might we mention at this time that really dirty word “subsidy”.

The French newspaper industry, for instance, couldn’t exist without government subsidies, and the Swedes, who had hoped to reduce their newspaper subsidies, are now actually increasing them by 10%. "A special support is needed for newspapers with weaker market share so that readers can have real freedom of choice," said Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Sweden's Minister of Culture.

There are few places where that quote wouldn’t hold water, too, and in those societies where press subsidies would be considered an anathema, anti-competitive towards other forms of media and all the other standard reasons one can give, at the end of the day, should society allow free market forces to kill newspapers?

Things are probably getting to the point where that question should at least be debated.


Unionist ticks off AFL-CIO political agenda

Union bigs grab political power even as they lose members

Mark Gaffney, president of Michigan's AFL-CIO doesn't have to work hard at telling union members that the last eight years have been bad. Few have much use for George W. Bush. Nor do they have any love for John McCain. But he knows very well there are white, blue-collar union workers who just won't vote for a black man.

He's heard the stories. The guy who works in the mailroom who says he just isn't going to vote for president this year. The electrician who says he isn't biased, but some of his friends, well ... Will they abandon the ticket in enough numbers to prevent Barack Obama from carrying a state that voted for Al Gore and John Kerry, a state that is the most economically distressed in the nation?

"That's the real question, isn't it?" said Gaffney, 52, a lifelong Teamster who has led the labour federation for a tough nine years.

"You can't say (race) is not out there because it is out there. But I think in the end, the number will be pretty small."

Though he looks like a man who was born to be in a union hall, Gaffney is in fact a labour intellectual with a master's degree in industrial relations. "This is an extremely important election," he tells audiences around the state. "On just about every issue, Obama is right and McCain has been wrong."

He ticks off a series of votes and shakes his head. "Their free trade is putting our members and a lot of other people out of work.

"We've had nothing but bad trade deal after bad trade deal," Gaffney said. He admits that the campaign got a slow start among union folks. Part of it was the mess Democrats made of the primary.

"Normally, we'd have a corps of people who worked for Obama in the primary, but since he didn't campaign here, we had to start from scratch," he said. But in an interview, the labour leader said his numbers were gradually building. "We're at or slightly ahead of where (John) Kerry was at at this point," in the 2004 campaign.

But even if labour turns out its usual massive percentages for the Democratic nominee, there is another problem: the incredible shrinking unionized work force. As of last year, only 19.5 per cent of Michigan workers belonged to a union.

That figure has been falling nearly every year since the 1950s. The numbers are much grimmer when you look at the private sector.

There, thanks in part to the shrinking auto sector and the work-from-home computer revolution, unions only represent 7.5 per cent of all workers, both nationwide and in Michigan.

They aren't quitting the union; their jobs are vanishing, and the labour movement has had little success at organizing new workers.

The AFL-CIO leader knows that. Following the election, whoever wins, Gaffney intends to push hard for a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it much easier for workers to form bargaining units and join unions.

Last year it passed the House, but was bottled up in the Senate, where enough votes couldn't be found to limit debate.

That disappointed Obama, who then said: "The current process for organizing a workplace denies too many workers the ability to do so. The Employee Free Choice Act offers to make binding an alternative process under which a majority of employees can sign up to join a union."

"President Obama should be able to sign that bill within his first 100 days," Gaffney said. He didn't mention what he thought would happen if John McCain wins the election.

The Republican denounced the act in the Senate last year, calling it "deceptive" and a "gross distortion."

Labour leaders are hoping that if they can get the rank-and-file to focus on the issues, they'll forget any problems they have with colour.

- - -

How Clean Are Michigan Elections? Michigan election officials pride themselves on what they think is one of the smoothest-running and most professional election systems in the country.

Yet Common Cause, the non-partisan public service organization, and the Century Foundation have just completed a major study of "voting preparedness" in 10 major swing states that indicates that the Wolverine State has room for improvement.

Michigan did get outstanding marks for its centralized statewide "Qualified Voter File" and gets mostly "acceptable" grades on how it actually conducts elections. But Tova Wang, Common Cause's vice-president for research, said the state gets failing grades for how it handles ballots cast in the wrong precinct.

Michigan also makes it too easy for someone to challenge somebody's right to vote and doesn't do enough to recruit poll workers. The state also doesn't require that enough of the new optical scan voting machines be provided to all precincts everywhere.

What remains to be seen is how the new requirement that all voters display photo ID (or sign an affidavit) will work this November.

- Jack Lessenberry, a member of Wayne State University's journalism faculty, writes on issues and people in Michigan.

Related Posts with Thumbnails