Barack trained ACORN organizers in Class Warfare

More ACORN stories: here collectivism: here Alinsky: here

Part Two of a series: "What did Barack Obama teach ACORN?"
Read the entire series: here

It's time for America to learn what Barack Obama knows

You've heard the term "Class Warfare" and you may be hearing a lot more about it in the next four years.

When Barack Obama was a "community organizer" and trainer for an ACORN subsidiary, Project Vote, he taught from the 1971 book 'Rules for Radicals', by the late socialist Saul Alinsky. In the photo above-left, Obama is teaching Alinsky's principles of "Power Analysis" and "Relationships built on self-interest" as seen written upon the blackboard [click photo to enlarge.] This post contains another selection from Alinsky's "playbook of the Left."

Let's find out more about the man expected to be elected President of the United States next month.

The selection below, from Chapter 1, below, reveals:

• Community organizers have a Marxist view of society as divided into three rigid "classes".
• Voters divided into typical 'classes' carry 'thermopolitical' labels.
• To community organizers, our legal system exists for the upper class to criminalize the lower class.
• Invoking "hope" is a pre-planned to appeal to the lower class.
• Invoking "change" is a pre-planned to appeal to the middle and lower classes.
• Community organizers believe that folks in the middle class - the majority of our population - are "inert schizoids" who want change but are risk-averse.

Marxists make gross assumptions about the interests of people based upon rules that recognize a rigid class structure - "The Trinity" as described by Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals. Marxists have to do this because seizing power in a revolution is too time-consuming to be able to actually pay attention to people as individuals.

Most folks realize that we do not live in a rigid class structure at all ... that the United States is the most upwardly mobile society in the world. This Marxist concept, like socialism itself, was an idea successfully applied in European class warfare, and transposed well at the beginning of Our Progressive Century in America but wore off over time.

Nevertheless, today's Marxists like Barack Obama never disbelieved in "classism" and practice Class Warfare as Saul Alinsky instructed.
from "Rules for Radicals", by Saul Alinsky, Chapter 1: The Purpose

Class Distinctions: The Trinity

The setting for the drama of change has never varied. Mankind has been and is divided into three parts: the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a-Little, Want Mores.

On top are the Haves with power, money, food, security, and luxury. They suffocate in their surpluses while the Have-Nots starve. Numerically, the Haves have always been the fewest. The haves want to keep things as they are and are opposed to change. Thermopolitically they are cold and determined to freeze the status quo.

On the bottom are the world's Nave-Nots. On the world scene they are by far the greatest in numbers. They are chained together in the common misery of poverty, rotten housing, disease, ignorance, political impotence, and despair; when they are employed their jobs pay the least and they are deprived in all areas basic to human growth. Caged by color, physical or political, they are barred from an opportunity to represent themselves in the politics of life. The Haves want to keep; the Have-Nots want to get. Thermopolitically they are a mass of cold ashes of resignation and fatalism, but inside there are glowing embers of hope which can be fanned by the building of means of obtaining power. Once the fever beings the flame will follow. They have nowhere to go but up.

They hate the establishment of the Haves with its arrogant opulence, its police, its courts, and its churches. Justice, morality, law, and order, are mere words when used by the Haves, which justify and secure their status quo. The power of the Have-Nots rests only with their numbers. It has been said that the Haves, living under the nightmare of possible threats to their possessions, are always faced with the question of "when do we sleep?" while the perennial question of the Have-Nots is "when do we eat?" The cry of the Have-Nots has never been "give us your hearts" but always "get off our backs"; they ask not for love but for breathing space.

Between the Haves and the Have-Nots are the Have-a-Little, Want Mores - the middle class. Torn between upholding the status quo to protect the little they have, yet wanting change so they can get more, they become split personalities. They could be describes as social, economic, and political schizoids. Generally, they seek the safe way, where they can profit by change and yet not risk losing the little they have. They insist on a minimum of three aces before playing a hand in the poker game of revolution. Thermopolitically they are tepid and rooted in inertia. Today in Western society and particularly in the Unites States they comprise the majority of our population.

For Barack, All Roads Lead to ACORN, Alinsky

Related: "Getting to know Barack: Meet Saul Alinsky"
Saul Alinsky stories: hereACORN: here collectivism: here

Getting to know Barack Obama

Following the DNC Convention, Saul Alinsky’s son, L. David Alinsky, wrote a letter to the Boston Globe. “Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing his effectiveness,” the son wrote. “I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It’s a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.”

The great community organizing Obama did was through the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN is notoriously known for its radical, and often illegal, practices and adherence to the radical philosophy of Saul Alinsky. According to the Washington Post, Alinsky’s “disciples hired Barack Obama, a 23 year old Columbia University graduate to organize black residents on the Southside, while learning and applying Alinsky’s philosophy of street level democracy.”

Recently the Obama campaign has sought to distance the Senator from the radical organization, claiming Obama merely represented ACORN in a lawsuit enforcing the Illinois “Motor Voter” law. Apparently the Obama campaign does not want Obama’s ties to an organization that has a “decade long history of voter fraud, embezzlement and misuses of taxpayer funds” that Consumer Rights League Chief Public Advocate, James Terry testified about last month to the House Judiciary. Alinsky wrote: “An organizer works for change…does not have a fixed truth – truth to him is relative and changing.”

Obama trained ACORN activists. A 1995 Chicago Reader article on Obama stated “Obama continues his work largely through classes for future leaders identified by ACORN and the Centers for New Horizons.” Obama also ran Project Vote, known for widespread voter fraud, which Time magazine called “a non-partisan arm” of ACORN. In a speech to ACORN in 2007, cited by Newsmax, Obama gushed “I have been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois. ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it and we appreciate your work.”

ACORN follows Saul Alinsky’s teachings to a tee. In Rules for Radicals (which was dedicated to Lucifer), Alinsky wrote “the morality of means depends on whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.” ACORN voter registration fraud is just shy of becoming epidemic. ACORN employees are facing investigation, indictment or prison time for voter fraud in at least a dozen states. During the Democrat primary, the Obama campaign paid Citizen Services Inc., a subsidiary of ACORN, more than $800,000.

Like Alinsky, who wrote “multiple issues mean constant action and life”, ACORN, through its “affiliates”, has its hands in numerous socialist projects in addition to voter fraud. ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC) was beyond knee-deep in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failures which have riveted our economy. Promoting an ACORN housing development in Texas on its website in 2006, ACORN boasted “in addition to providing access to AHP grants, ACORN’s lending partners provide low cost, easier to qualify for mortgage loans.”

ACORN is also in the healthcare industry. According to their website, “ACORN’s campaign to win healthcare access for low and moderate income families continued in 2006 with a successful effort to pass an ordinance providing healthcare for every resident of San Francisco.”

Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants is also championed by ACORN. In 2000, ACORN and Grassroots Collabrative organized “a 10,000-person march in Chicago to demand amnesty for undocumented workers.” In 2005, ACORN in Palm Beach, FL organized a rally to stop “unfair deportations.”

While ACORN is against the privatization of public schools, ACORN has established or helped run several schools in the United States. According to their website “ACORN parents won victories in New York, creating the Rockaways New School and PS 245, and in Chicago, where they established the Nicholson and Mason 21 schools.” ACORN also established the ACORN High School for Social Justice in New York which website touts “the school offers an opportunity to engage in a comprehensive academic program and to participate in citywide campaigns dealing with issues on social injustice which affect Bushwick community and the larger Brooklyn community.” The school has a four year graduation rate of 41.9 percent.

Alinsky wrote “the disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.” For Obama and ACORN, disrupting our institutions, free markets, and the rule of law is the first step toward the socialist society that Alinsky sought. Alinsky surely would be proud of Obama and the vehicle (ACORN) that has helped propel his cause. Something in Obama clearly clicked while studying Alinsky, particularly Alinsky’s comment: “The organizer is in a true sense the highest level for which man can reach – to create, to be a ‘great creator’, to play God.” Obama wanted to be the one.

- Brad O’Leary


Barack should reconsider ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Editorial blasts union-backed candidate "fought alongside ACORN ... my entire career"

ACORN — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — is in trouble with elections officials again.

Nevada authorities raided ACORN’s Las Vegas office Tuesday. The group is accused of including nonexistent names, fraudulent addresses and even the names of Dallas Cowboys football players among the list of new voters it submitted to election authorities in Clark County, Nev.

ACORN workers are already facing criminal investigations or have had charges related to voter fraud filed against them in a number of states as a result of activities undertaken during the last several election cycles.

The group also pushed for relaxed mortgage rules for low-income borrowers, although it is not accused of illegal activity for that.

Barack Obama, who once worked for ACORN in Ohio, told members of the group as recently as last November that he had been “fighting along side ACORN ... my entire career.”

It’s time he reconsider his involvement and support for ACORN.

- Editors


Huge union slush-funds to be exposed

But Bush Administration may cancel revelations out of deference to Barack

Amid the finger-pointing over accountability and transparency on Wall Street, virtually unnoticed is a new disclosure rule issued last week by the Labor Department that forces unions to make public huge slush funds hidden for half a century.

At issue are T-1 trusts—rainy-day funds initially designed to retrain union workers in the event of workplace changes. The trusts were originally known as “nickel funds” because companies would contribute 5 cents for every hour worked by a union member, but current contributions can run as high as $10.

So how much money are we talking about? Aside from Big Labor bosses, no one rightly knows.

Since the funds aren’t taken directly as dues from a worker’s paycheck—they are pledges by the company as part of an overall collective bargaining agreement—union bosses have argued, effectively, that their own workers have no business knowing about them. And although the governing Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, enacted in 1959, demands that unions make available to their members a full accounting of union finances, successive administrations failed—or refused—to fully enforce the law.

The suspicion, however, is that the trusts are essentially offshore accounts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And while occasional stories surface of them being used to sponsor NASCAR races or political convention receptions, no one knows how the money is spent. But a good guess is that it’s not purely on behalf of workers and that labor bosses are supplementing their union salaries (which must be publicly disclosed) by also drawing pay for “administering” the trusts.

Private-sector unions have taken a hit in recent years, and a good deal of the credit goes to Secretary Elaine Chao’s Labor Department, which has been one of the few consistent bright spots in the Bush administration.

Working quietly and effectively, Chao has secured greater transparency to union books and aggressively targeted corruption. Under her whip, labor bosses like the Ironworkers’ Jake West can no longer bury $1.5 million in food, booze, and yacht-club fees as “office” or “educational” expenses, and the National Education Association can no longer itemize $69 million in a single year as nebulous “grants to joint projects with state and local affiliates.” Since Chao took over in 2001, the Labor Department’s scalp wall now boasts nearly 900 criminal convictions, most involving union-fund embezzlement.

Labor union leadership is fond of beating up on companies for allegedly failing to care about the workers they employ. It’s about time that these union bosses are subjected to the same scrutiny.

-Sam Dealey


ACORN voter fraud aids Barack

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union bigs versus The Little Guy

More EFCA stories: hereMore card-check stories: here

Barack, Dems want to force disinterested workers into unions without a secret-ballot elections

In an ad set to run during the debate tonight, McGovern takes aim at legislation that would deprive potential labor union members of private votes on union organization. The longtime liberal blasts "card check" as tantamount to a "sacrifice of democracy," saying working people deserve a private vote.

The Employee Free Choice Act (which involves neither freedom nor choice) would make it possible for employees to unionize by simply signing a card instead of by secret ballot, opening the door to bullying and arm-twisting of those voting "no" at the hands of union bosses, both before and after a vote succeeds.

Video: "McGovern: EFCA cannot be justified"

Democrats, licking their chops at the prospects of controlling the Senate, House and Presidency, would like to reward the labor unions with such a measure, which would constitute the biggest change in labor laws since the 1940s.

Unions, faltering in the face of falling memberships, have been pushing EFCA for several years during the Bush administration, gaining ground slowly, but always falling short of the 60-vote threshold in the Senate needed for an up-or-down vote. Even if the act had passed both houses, it would surely have met with a Bush veto.

Many will be surprised by McGovern's reasonable take on this issue, as a self-proclaimed supporter of unions, but Dave Weigel reminds us that of late, McGovern's liberalism hasn't been what it used to be.

In this case, McGovern is exactly what unions claim to be, but often aren't in practice - pro-worker.

- Mary Katharine Ham


Union members in the dark

More worker-choice stories: here

Colorado voters should curb gov't corruption

Amendment 54 backed by Aspen Times editors

Colorado’s election ballot is long and confusing, but late last week it got a little bit simpler when four measures were withdrawn. Voters needn’t waste their time studying or voting on Amendments 53, 55, 56 and 57 because they have been pulled from the ballot by the labor groups that supported them.

The amendments might still appear on your ballot, depending on where you live, but any votes cast on these measures will not be counted by the Secretary of State. So don’t worry about them.


Now here’s where it gets a little thorny. The four canceled measures were withdrawn from the ballot as part of a deal last week between business and labor groups in Denver. In exchange for pulling the pro-labor measures from the ballot, the labor groups have accepted $3 million from business groups to fight Amendment 47, the so-called right-to-work measure that would bar employers from requiring new workers to join unions as a condition of their employment. That’s right — business and labor interests struck a somewhat bizarre deal (some have already called it an unholy alliance) to remove several onerous measures from the state ballot; the good news for voters is that there are fewer complex issues to consider.

The only measure in this group that addresses a basic aspect of governmental operation is 54, which would bar certain government contractors from making political contributions during the terms of their contracts and for two years thereafter.

The idea here is to prevent payoffs to government officials in exchange for no-bid government contracts, which we feel is a common-sense move toward clean government. Isn’t that what constitutions are for?

Vote yes on Amendment 54.

Amendments 47 and 49 also remain on the ballot, and are seen as union-busting measures, but 47 is by far the most damaging. Unions fear the amendment will erode their membership rolls and coffers by making membership completely voluntary. Amendment 49 would prohibit government agencies from collecting union dues in the form of automatic payroll deductions.

To us, the first question to ask about all these measures is whether they merit a constitutional amendment. There should be a compelling reason to amend the Colorado Constitution, and we don’t think a tug-of-war between business and labor belongs in the state’s most fundamental guiding document — regardless of which side you’re on.

We actually see some merit in Amendment 47, which despite its anti-union roots would nonetheless protect workers’ freedom of choice, and Amendment 49, which would take the government out of the union dues-collecting business. But we don’t believe these issues deserve treatment in the state Constitution.

Vote no on amendments 47 and 49.

- Editors


Liberal group’s fraud shows voter ID need

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

The most fraudulent election in U.S. history

What do Barack Obama, Cynthia Tucker and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) have in common? I’ll tell you a few facts and you decide.

I’ll try not to load my words, as Cynthia Tucker did in her Sunday column blasting voter ID laws as the product of “pseudo-facts” and “overhyped allegations of voter fraud.” Readers of my column will, I hope, be outraged by their own thinking, not feelings emanating from pejorative terms.

My introduction to ACORN was in the 1990s. When the savings and loan debacle occurred and large numbers of S&Ls had to be taken into receivership, I was the eastern U.S. director of investigations for the Resolution Trust Corporation, the agency established to clean up the mess.

My staff of investigators worked with the FBI, federal prosecutors and local law enforcement on criminal matters and with internal and external lawyers to bring civil claims against those who caused major S&L losses.

The RTC took control of assets, such as foreclosed real estate, to sell on behalf of taxpayers.

That’s where ACORN came in. As an advocate of the poor, ACORN wanted RTC’s foreclosed homes and apartment buildings to be made available for free housing, rather than sold for market value to recover taxpayer funds. To make their point, instead of jawboning with Congress where the RTC mandates were made, they demonstrated and intimidated at RTC offices.

In our office in King of Prussia, Pa., for a time we had police officers on site to escort staff to and from their cars to reduce the chance of violence to their person or automobile by ACORN thugs.

Before last week’s Senate-sponsored credit market “rescue” legislation was passed and signed into law, the failed House version had a slush fund provision for ACORN.

The Republicans screamed “foul!” referring to ACORN as leftist, radical, a Democrat ally, corrupt and discredited. Personally, I agree, but you decide for yourself.

In July last year, seven ACORN workers were charged with felonies in the largest voter fraud case ever in Washington state. Their enthusiasm for registering Democratic voters led them to submit more than 1,800 fraudulent voter registration forms, filled out from the telephone book. Five pled guilty. ACORN paid a fine.

“This was an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls of King County,” said Dan Satterberg, King County prosecuting attorney.

After the smoke cleared in the 2004 Ohio presidential election, election officials reported that ACORN made a repeated practice of submitting large stacks of voter registration documents at the last minute, filled out months prior but held so late that any verification was impossible.

The Wall Street Journal wrote in that same 2004 Ohio election, an ACORN worker “was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey.”

The history of ACORN fraud and intimidation makes a long list. While Cynthia Tucker makes readers mad at mean Republicans trying to intimidate voters by asking them to show ID that proves who they are, ACORN is just one example that proves the need, for those of you who need proof.

I’m among all the rest who know instinctively that showing ID to prove who you are when you vote is not only the simplest form of common sense, it’s common courtesy to your fellow voters. If you need an ID, and if you aren’t so blinded by your rights that you can’t see your responsibilities, getting one before the election is pretty simple common sense, too.

What about Obama? His involvement with ACORN began in the early 1990s in training staff and providing legal representation. ACORN’s political action committee has endorsed him and is now working to support his campaign.

If you have been watching the news about Democrat-sponsored, high-energy, same-day registration and early voting, you might have noticed ACORN is involved. I suspect fraud, but to be fair and accurate, I don’t know.

If there are any real journalists left, maybe they could check it out and report the facts without loaded words.

- Terry Garlock, a certified financial planner, lives in Peachtree City.


Connecticut probes ACORN voter registrations

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

National epidemic of voter-fraud threatens to mar Obama victory

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has opened an investigation into allegations that a community activist organization submitted at least 10 false voter-registration cards in Bridgeport.

One of the phony registrations was for a 7-year-old girl in the Marina Village housing complex, whose age was listed as 27 on the voter card. Another registration came from a man who later said he couldn't have completed the voter card purported to be his, because he was in jail on the date of the document.

Joseph J. Borges, the city's Republican registrar of voters, filed the complain with state officials after months of local complaints on the tactics that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, was regularly filing applications that were ruled ineligible.

In response, a Bridgeport leader of ACORN on Tuesday night called the charges "part of a concerted and coordinated campaign by conservatives and the GOP to attack and discredit ACORN." The charges date back to the summer, when the Connecticut Post reported that ACORN applications were flooding the registrar's office and resulting in excessive extra hours of research to check their authenticity.

"We have many more complaints," Borges said Tuesday, adding that the 10 are just highlights. He said he went to Marina Village personally and interviewed the 7-year-old.

"I talked with the guardian and said I was just trying to verify the name and the girl
came down the stairs," Borges said, adding that the Social Security number was different and the youth was definitely not 27, as indicated on the voter card.

ACORN filed more than 8,000 voter cards in the city during its registration drive, but Borges said the piles of cards are riddled with duplicates and false information that was found by him and his staff.

Borges submitted evidence including the registration of a Stratford woman who said she was "pressured" into completing a card with a Bridgeport address. Another registration contained two voters registration forms with different signatures for the same person.

"We have three boxes of returned letters, with no such address, no such name," Borges said. "It's crazy."

On his complaint, Borges said the flood of ACORN-generated voter cards "has put a strain on my office and jeopardizes our ability to enter legitimate registration cards."

Nancy S. Nicolescu, director of communications for the SEEC, confirmed Tuesday that the commission took the complaint, but declined further comment.

"The only thing I think we can say we've received it, it's been docketed and it's under investigation," she said.

When the issue first broke over the summer, ACORN officials said that at least one employee was fired for trumping up voter registrations.

Emeline Bravo Blackwood, chairwoman of the East End ACORN chapter in Bridgeport, said in a statement Tuesday night that she is "proud" of the local and statewide drives that has registered 20,000 new state voter.

"It is shameful that partisan, right wing operatives -- who are clearly afraid of our ability to bring low income people to the polls on election day -- are more interested in slinging trumped up allegations at ACORN than in working with us in our campaigns to stop foreclosures and predatory lending, win paid sick days, raise the minimum wage, and make sure that low- income, working families have a seat at the table in our Democracy," she said.


ACORN Ohio big: We can't be fraud-free

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed community organizers for Barack overwhelm election officials

A national voter-registration group admitted to Cuyahoga County election officials Tuesday that it cannot eliminate fraud from its operation. The group blamed inefficiency and lack of resources for problems such as being unable to spot duplicate voter-registration cards or cards that may have been filled out by workers to make quotas.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, has turned in at least 65,000 cards to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in the last year. The board has investigated potentially fraudulent cards since August. The group has faced similar inquiries in other large Ohio counties. And Nevada state authorities recently raided ACORN's Las Vegas headquarters searching for evidence of fraud, according to the Associated Press.

Local representatives of the organization told Cuyahoga board members that they don't have the resources to identify fraudulent cards turned in by paid canvassers who are told to register low- and moderate-income voters.

Cuyahoga election workers flagged about 50 names on suspicious cards. The cards were to register the same names, raising the possibility that canvassers shared information when trying to make quotas.

"This is not something you can catch with your internal controls, apparently," said board member Sandy McNair at the meeting.

"Not perfectly, no," replied Mari Engelhardt, ACORN political director for Ohio.

Once stacks of registration cards are returned to ACORN offices, workers verify information by calling the phone number provided on the card, the board was told. If information is missing or ACORN identifies a suspicious card, it is given to the Board of Elections with a notice that it could be problematic.

ACORN workers who double-check cards can't be expected to remember names and addresses previously verified, said Teresa James, an attorney for Project Vote representing ACORN.

Engelhardt said supervisors sometimes fail to prevent different canvassers from attempting to register the same person.

"We do not have the resources to know if a particular card is fictitious," James said.

Voter-registration organizations cannot, by law, withhold registration cards from election boards. The groups are obligated to report potential errors, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner told The Plain Dealer.

Kris Harsh, ACORN's head Cleveland organizer, blamed the elections board for not scrutinizing ACORN's suspicious cards. He said the group can't be expected to catch everything.

"None of us have ever achieved perfection," Harsh said.

The elections board will continue its inquiry Monday, when it expects testimony from three people it will subpoena after a review of the ACORN investigation. The names appeared on multiple registration cards submitted by ACORN and other organizations.


Ethics expert examines Barack, ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Dems plant seeds of disaster

‘You’ve got only a couple thousand bucks in the bank. Your job pays you dog-food wages. Your credit history has been bent, stapled, and mutilated. You declared bankruptcy in 1989. Don’t despair: You can still buy a house.” So began an April 1995 article in the Chicago Sun-Times that went on to direct prospective home-buyers fitting this profile to a group of far-left “community organizers” called ACORN, for assistance. In retrospect, of course, encouraging customers like this to buy homes seems little short of madness.

Militant ACORN

At the time, however, that 1995 Chicago newspaper article represented something of a triumph for Barack Obama. That same year, as a director at Chicago’s Woods Fund, Obama was successfully pushing for a major expansion of assistance to ACORN, and sending still more money ACORN’s way from his post as board chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Through both funding and personal-leadership training, Obama supported ACORN. And ACORN, far more than we’ve recognized up to now, had a major role in precipitating the subprime crisis.

I’ve already told the story of Obama’s close ties to ACORN leader Madeline Talbott, who personally led Chicago ACORN’s campaign to intimidate banks into making high-risk loans to low-credit customers. Using provisions of a 1977 law called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Chicago ACORN was able to delay and halt the efforts of banks to merge or expand until they had agreed to lower their credit standards — and to fill ACORN’s coffers to finance “counseling” operations like the one touted in that Sun-Times article. This much we’ve known. Yet these local, CRA-based pressure-campaigns fit into a broader, more disturbing, and still under-appreciated national picture. Far more than we’ve recognized, ACORN’s local, CRA-enabled pressure tactics served to entangle the financial system as a whole in the subprime mess. ACORN was no side-show. On the contrary, using CRA and ties to sympathetic congressional Democrats, ACORN succeeded in drawing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the very policies that led to the current disaster.

In one of the first book-length scholarly studies of ACORN, Organizing Urban America, Rutgers University political scientist Heidi Swarts describes this group, so dear to Barack Obama, as “oppositional outlaws.” Swarts, a strong supporter of ACORN, has no qualms about stating that its members think of themselves as “militants unafraid to confront the powers that be.” “This identity as a uniquely militant organization,” says Swarts, “is reinforced by contentious action.” ACORN protesters will break into private offices, show up at a banker’s home to intimidate his family, or pour protesters into bank lobbies to scare away customers, all in an effort to force a lowering of credit standards for poor and minority customers. According to Swarts, long-term ACORN organizers “tend to see the organization as a solitary vanguard of principled leftists...the only truly radical community organization.”

ACORN’s Inside Strategy
Yet ACORN’s entirely deserved reputation for militance is balanced by its less-well-known “inside strategy.” ACORN has long employed Washington-based lobbyists who understand very well how the legislative game is played. ACORN’s national lobbyists may encourage and benefit from the militant tactics of their base, but in the halls of congress they play the game with smooth sophistication. The untold story of ACORN’s central role in the financial meltdown is about the one-two punch to the banking system administered by this outside/inside strategy.

Critics of the notion that CRA had a major impact on the subprime crisis ask how a law passed in 1977 could have caused a crisis in 2008? The answer has a lot to do with ACORN — and the critical years of 1990-1995. While the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act did call on banks to increase lending in poor and minority neighborhoods, its exact requirements were vague, and therefore open to a good deal of regulatory interpretation. Banks merger or expansion plans were rarely held up under CRA until the late 1980s, when ACORN perfected its technique of filing CRA complaints in tandem with the sort of intimidation tactics perfected by that original “community organizer” (and Obama idol), Saul Alinsky.

At first, ACORN’s anti-bank actions were relatively few in number. However, under a provision of the 1989 savings and loan bailout pushed by liberal Democratic legislators, like Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, lenders were required to compile public records of mortgage applicants by race, gender, and income. Although the statistics produced by these studies were presented in highly misleading ways, groups like ACORN were able to use them to embarrass banks into lowering credit standards. At the same time, a wave of banking mergers in the early 1990's provided an opening for ACORN to use CRA to force lending changes. Any merger could be blocked under CRA, and once ACORN began systematically filing protests over minority lending, a formerly toothless set of regulations began to bite.

ACORN’s efforts to undermine credit standards in the late 1980s taught it a valuable lesson. However much pressure ACORN put on banks to lower credit standards, tough requirements in the “secondary market” run by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac served as a barrier to change. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy up mortgages en masse, bundle them, and sell them to investors on the world market. Back then, Fannie and Freddie refused to buy loans that failed to meet high credit standards. If, for example, a local bank buckled to ACORN pressure and agreed to offer poor or minority applicants a 5-percent down-payment rate, instead of the normal 10-20 percent, Fannie and Freddie would refuse to buy up those mortgages. That would leave all the risk of these shaky loans with the local bank. So again and again, local banks would tell ACORN that, because of standards imposed by Fannie and Freddie, they could lower their credit standards by only a little.

So the eighties taught ACORN that a high-pressure, Alinskyite outside strategy wouldn’t be enough. Their Washington lobbyists would have to bring inside pressure on the government to undercut credit standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Only then would local banks consider making loans available to customers with bad credit histories, low wages, virtually nothing in the bank, and even bankruptcies on record.

Democrats and ACORN
As early as 1987, ACORN began pressuring Fannie and Freddie to review their standards, with modest results. By 1989, ACORN had lured Fannie Mae into the first of many “pilot projects” designed to help local banks lower credit standards. But it was all small potatoes until the serious pressure began in early 1991. At that point, Democratic Senator Allan Dixon convened a Senate subcommittee hearing at which an ACORN representative gave key testimony. It’s probably not a coincidence that Dixon, like Obama, was an Illinois Democrat, since Chicago has long been a stronghold of ACORN influence.

Dixon gave credibility to ACORN’s accusations of loan bias, although these claims of racism were disputed by Missouri Republican, Christopher Bond. ACORN’s spokesman strenuously complained that his organization’s efforts to relax local credit standards were being blocked by requirements set by the secondary market. Dixon responded by pressing Fannie and Freddie to do more to relax those standards — and by promising to introduce legislation that would ensure it. At this early stage, Fannie and Freddie walked a fine line between promising to do more, while protesting any wholesale reduction of credit requirements.

By July of 1991, ACORN’s legislative campaign began to bear fruit. As the Chicago Tribune put it, “Housing activists have been pushing hard to improve housing for the poor by extracting greater financial support from the country’s two highly profitable secondary mortgage-market companies. Thanks to the help of sympathetic lawmakers, it appeared...that they may succeed.” The Tribune went on to explain that House Democrat Henry Gonzales had announced that Fannie and Freddie had agreed to commit $3.5 billion to low-income housing in 1992 and 1993, in addition to a just-announced $10 billion “affordable housing loan program” by Fannie Mae. The article emphasizes ACORN pressure and notes that Fannie and Freddie had been fighting against the plan as recently as a week before agreement was reached. Fannie and Freddie gave in only to stave off even more restrictive legislation floated by congressional Democrats.

A mere month later, ACORN Housing Corporation president, George Butts made news by complaining to a House Banking subcommittee that ACORN’s efforts to pressure banks using CRA were still being hamstrung by Fannie and Freddie. Butts also demanded still more data on the race, gender, and income of loan applicants. Many news reports over the ensuing months point to ACORN as the key source of pressure on congress for a further reduction of credit standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a result of this pressure, ACORN was eventually permitted to redraft many of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s loan guideline.

Clinton and ACORN
ACORN’s progress through 1992 depended on its Democratic allies. Whatever ACORN managed to squeeze out of the George H. W. Bush administration came under congressional pressure. With the advent of the Clinton administration, however, ACORN’s fortunes took a positive turn. Clinton Housing Secretary Henry Cisnersos pledged to meet monthly with ACORN representatives. For ACORN, those meetings bore fruit.

Another factor working in ACORN’s favor was that its increasing success with local banks turned those banks into allies in the battle with Fannie and Freddie. Precisely because ACORN’s local pressure tactics were working, banks themselves now wanted Fannie and Freddie to loosen their standards still further, so as to buy up still more of the high-risk loans they’d made at ACORN’s insistence. So by the 1993, a grand alliance of ACORN, national Democrats, and local bankers looking for someone to lessen the risks imposed on them by CRA and ACORN were uniting to pressure Fannie and Freddie to loosen credit standards still further.

At this point, both ACORN and the Clinton administration were working together to impose large numerical targets or “set asides” (really a sort of poor and minority loan quota system) on Fannie and Freddie. ACORN called for at least half of Fannie and Freddie loans to go to low-income customers. At first the Clinton administration offered a set-aside of 30 percent. But eventually ACORN got what it wanted. In early 1994, the Clinton administration floated plans for committing $1 trillion in loans to low- and moderate-income home-buyers, which would amount to about half of Fannie Mae’s business by the end of the decade. Wall Street Analysts attributed Fannie Mae’s willingness to go along with the change to the need to protect itself against still more severe “congressional attack.” News reports also highlighted praise for the change from ACORN’s head lobbyist, Deepak Bhargava.

This sweeping debasement of credit standards was touted by Fannie Mae’s chairman, chief executive officer, and now prominent Obama adviser James A. Johnson. This is also the period when Fannie Mae ramped up its pilot programs and local partnerships with ACORN, all of which became precedents and models for the pattern of risky subprime mortgages at the root of today’s crisis. During these years, Obama’s Chicago ACORN ally, Madeline Talbott, was at the forefront of participation in those pilot programs, and her activities were consistently supported by Obama through both foundation funding and personal leadership training for her top organizers.

Finally, in June of 1995, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Secretary Cisneros announced the administration’s comprehensive new strategy for raising home-ownership in America to an all-time high. Representatives from ACORN were guests of honor at the ceremony. In his remarks, Clinton emphasized that: “Out homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent. It will not require legislation.” Clinton meant that informal partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN would make mortgages available to customers “who have historically been excluded from homeownership.”

In the end of course, Clinton’s plan cost taxpayers an almost unimaginable amount of money. And it was just around the time of his 1995 announcement that the Chicago papers started encouraging bad-credit customers with “dog-food” wages, little money in the bank, and even histories of bankruptcy to apply for home loans with the help of ACORN. At both the local and national levels, then, ACORN served as the critical catalyst, levering pressure created by the Community Reinvestment Act and pull with Democratic politicians to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a pattern of high-risk loans.

Up to now, conventional wisdom on the financial meltdown has relegated ACORN and the CRA to bit parts. The real problem, we’ve been told, lay with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, however, ACORN is at the base of the whole mess. ACORN used CRA and Democratic sympathizers to entangle Fannie and Freddie and the entire financial system in a disastrous disregard of the most basic financial standards. And Barack Obama cut his teeth as an organizer and politician backing up ACORN’s economic madness every step of the way.

- Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Institute.


Expert: Term limits for community organizers

More ACORN stories: hereWade Rathke stories: herefraud stories: here

Scandals at union-backed fraud group prove need for leadership turnover

An expert on nonprofit governance says nonprofit groups should be more careful about limiting the power of their leaders in wake of the recent embezzlement scandal at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn.

In May year, a whistle-blower in the organization forced the disclosure that Dale Rathke, brother of Acorn’s founder and chief executive, Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1-million from Acorn.

Dan Prives, an expert on charity finances, writes on Where Most Needed, that the situation raises significant questions about how much authority should be given to nonprofit leaders.

Mr. Prives writes that Wade Rathke, who founded Acorn in 1970, set up the organization in such a way that other employees and its board of directors could not easily follow its financial structure. That structure helped enable the embezzlement scandal, he says.

Worse, Mr. Prives writes, the organization has lost much of its influence and credibility.

“Executive tenure over a decade is always going to be problematic, especially since board tenure is typically much shorter,” Mr. Prives writes. “Some people would like to call it founder’s syndrome, but the issue isn’t about being a founder as much as it is about being in power long enough to be the only one remaining who really understands how everything works.

“The result is often a crash-and-burn scandal, confirming the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. “

Is it possible for long-tenured leaders to maintain successful organizations? Or should there be “term limits” for those who oversee nonprofit groups?

- Peter Panepento


Unionist: Beware Barack

More collectivism stories: hereMore EFCA stories: here

It takes one to know one

If this country had an honest observant press, Barack Obama would have been laughed off the stage long ago ("Obama's words & deeds," by Ralph Reiland, Oct. 6 and PghTrib.com).

Not just Obama's association with '60s radical William Ayers should be made known to the voters, but also Obama's entire background and mentors.

This really is a tipping point in American history. Should Obama be elected, we will be heading down a road from which we will not be able to backtrack.

Under the grotesquely misnamed "Fairness Doctrine," talk radio will be effectively silenced, leaving only the left-wing media to brainwash the public in a manner reminiscent of Pravda.

Under the equally misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," goons will browbeat employees to sign cards that will create unions without secret elections.

I was a member of the ironworkers union for 30 years. I know very well how "organizers" deal with nonunion employees. With millions of new dues payers, the union bosses will never again allow any type of political conservative to win office.

If Obama wins, those two drastic bills will dramatically change the American political landscape to a nonrecoverable state.

Reiland's column was on the money, but I am afraid that it will not reach enough voters to have any effect on the vote of the Obama youth, who in their chant of "Yes, we can" remind me of the Hare Krishna acolytes of the '60s.

Donald Melquist, Green Valley, Ariz.


Law enforcement officials swarm ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Troubles mount for union-backed, pro-Barack voter fraud group

Nevada authorities seized documents and records Tuesday in a raid on the Las Vegas headquarters of a community organization that works to get low-income people to vote.

Secretary of State Ross Miller said the raid was part of a monthslong voter fraud investigation of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which he said submitted fraudulent registrations, including forms for the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

"Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada, and anybody trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4," Miller said.

Miller said other voter registration forms used false names or information, or had duplicated information on multiple forms. Some of the forms were obvious frauds, Miller said, but he did not give an estimate of how many fakes were submitted.

Bertha Lewis, interim chief organizer for ACORN, said the group has been working with election officials to weed out fraudulent forms from the canvassers it hires to register voters.

"Today's raid by the secretary of state's office is a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than to discredit our work registering Nevadans," Lewis said.

The group received a subpoena two weeks ago seeking information on 15 employees who the ACORN group had previously flagged for turning in suspicious voter applications, Lewis said in a statement.

"For the past 10 months, anytime ACORN has identified a potentially fraudulent application, we turn that application in to election officials separately and offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual," Lewis said.

Lewis said ACORN turned in 46 problem applications submitted by 33 former employees to election officials in the Las Vegas area, where it has registered 80,000 people.

According to its national Web site, the group has registered 1.3 million voters nationwide for the Nov. 4 election. It has encountered complaints of fraud stemming from voter registration efforts in Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

Canvassers are required to sign forms acknowledging proper practices for registering voters, which can be used as evidence in fraud investigations, ACORN officials said.

"The fact is, this is hard work and there were some people that probably sat down on a couch and filled out names out of a phone book," said Matthew Henderson, southwest regional director for ACORN. "When we talk about fraud, that's really what we're talking about here—not an attempt to steal an election."

Miller said the Nevada investigation was not connected to activities in other states and that no one had been charged or arrested in Nevada.

Secretary of state spokesman Bob Walsh said that while ACORN submitted information on fraudulent registrations to county officials, the state's investigation went beyond that. He said state investigators were using information from other sources, including the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Nevada.

"You don't have to read too many cop novels to know that sometimes people will tell you a grain of truth to try to hide the rest of the truth," Walsh said. "I'm certainly not suggesting that ACORN is that nefarious, but at the same time just because they handed over 50 to you doesn't mean there aren't 150 others out there."

Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax said his office turned over roughly 200 suspicious applications to the secretary of state's office and that the county had received many more questionable forms from the group. He did not have a number.

State authorities descended on the ACORN headquarters about 9:30 a.m. with a search warrant and were allowed into the small strip mall office by a landlord, Walsh said. The offices were not staffed when authorities arrived.

The raid comes two months after state and federal authorities formed a task force to pursue election-fraud allegations in Nevada.

Several politicians reacted to news of the Tuesday raid by calling for stricter voting rules. U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency to cut off funding for the nonprofit's affordable housing programs.


Vegas ACORN fraudsters used Dallas Cowboys

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Pro-Barack, union-backed group busted

We're starting to get a little more information about the raid on ACORN's Las Vegas offices conducted by Nevada authorities earlier today.

FoxNews.com reports that, according to Bob Walsh, a spokesman with the Nevada Secretary of State's office, the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints that ACORN, which works to register low income voters, was submitting registrations with erroneous information, including non-existent and false names, and duplicates.

But it's still unclear how many of these fraudulent forms were submitted.

Secretary of State Ross Miller told Fox that the flawed registrations included the names of Dallas Cowboys football players. "Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada, and anybody trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4," Miller said.

Miller added that no ACORN employees or canvassers have been arrested or charged in connection with the raid.

A month ago, state and federal authorities launched a joint task force to investigate voter-fraud complaints.


ACORN dismisses Vegas raid

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

No comment from Obama for President campaign

Nevada authorities raided the headquarters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now on Tuesday, which now stands accused of submitting fraudulent voter registration forms. The raid follows a month long investigation into voter fraud at ACORN, which works to register low income people.

Amongst the fraudulent voter registrations was the Dallas Cowboys starting line-up. Secretary of State Ross Miller said, "Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada, and anybody trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4."

Miller said that the group submitted voter registration forms with false information, or duplicated information on multiple forms. He did not estimate how many forms received from ACORN were fraudulent.

Interim chief organizer of ACORN, Bertha Lewis, said of the raid:
"Today's raid by the secretary of state's office is a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than to discredit our work registering Nevadans," Lewis said.

"For the past 10 months, anytime ACORN has identified a potentially fraudulent application, we turn that application in to election officials separately and offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual."
Lewis said ACORN turned in 46 problem applications submitted by 33 former employees in the Las Vegas area, where it has so far registered 80,000 people.

Nationwide ACORN claims to have registered 1.3 million people for the November election. Complains of fraud in association with registration efforts have also been reported in Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Miller said at this point no one has been charged or arrested in Nevada. His spokesman, Bob Walsh, said investigators were using info from various sources, including the US attorney's office in Nevada and the FBI.


ACORN office in Vegas raided in voter-fraud probe

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group has direct ties to Barack Obama for President campaign

Nevada state authorities are raiding the Las Vegas headquarters of an organization that works to get low-income people to vote.

A Nevada secretary of state's office spokesman said Tuesday that investigators are looking for evidence of voter fraud at the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN. No one was at the ACORN office when state agents arrived with a search warrant and began carting records and documents away.

Secretary of State spokesman Bob Walsh says ACORN is accused of submitting multiple voter registrations with false and duplicate names. The raid comes two months after state and federal authorities formed a task force to pursue election-fraud allegations in Nevada.

Related Posts with Thumbnails