ACORN Board covers-up Rathke embezzlement

More ACORN: hereWade Rathke: here embezzlement: here

Organized labor's political shock troops sweep Rathke crime under the rug

At a historic meeting over the weekend, ACORN's national board voted to dismiss a lawsuit filed by several of its members who sought access to financial records that might shed light on what became of the money embezzled from the nonprofit by the founder's brother.

Two board members, Karen Inman and Marcel Reid, filed a lawsuit in August seeking bank statements, contracts and other information on behalf of the entire board. The group's chief organizer questioned their authority to bring the suit, however, and over the weekend the board as a whole asked them to rescind it.

Inman and Reid nonetheless appear to have won the access they sought in the lawsuit. Their attorney, James Gray II, said Monday that the board had instructed the accountants holding the records to cooperate with an investigation into a repayment plan that founder Wade Rathke helped set up in lieu of criminal proceedings against his brother, Dale Rathke.

An ACORN spokesman confirmed that account and issued a statement on behalf of President Maude Hurd, who said the board "is moving in a positive manner for a speedy resolution in the best interest of the organization."

Gray said the board has appointed a six-member committee, including three supporters of Reid and Inman, who will negotiate how the inquiry should proceed and who should spearhead it. His clients also maintain a mandamus action in civil district court in which they seek individual access to financial records, as opposed to access on behalf of the entire board.

"Everyone agreed they needed to have an orderly continuation of the investigation the lawsuit was designed to assist," Gray said. "That meant the person in possession of the records would turn those books over to those persons conducting that investigation. The only thing that still has to be worked out is who conducts the investigation and whether all parties are satisfied that it is thorough and adequate."

At one point during the marathon meeting, the delegation from California made a motion to remove Inman and Reid from the national board. Inman said the motion was tabled while the group of six negotiates how the inquiry into the embezzlement scandal should proceed.

"I think the major sticking point is and will continue to be that we want a forensic audit to see what happened," Inman said. "I don't know that we can really right this ship unless we know."

The 51-member national board convened in New Orleans on Friday to discuss the status of the lawsuit and other pressing matters, including Wade Rathke's future involvement in the organization. Rathke left ACORN in June and now serves as chief organizer of ACORN International, which does social justice work abroad.

Rathke said by e-mail that his group is "entirely separate" from ACORN, but Inman said he continues to exercise influence over the nonprofit as a whole. Over the weekend, the ACORN board appointed a committee to discern whether and how ACORN International fits into the nonprofit's extended family tree.


Why ACORN matters to Democrats

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Rasmussen surveys union-backed voter fraud group

Forty-five percent (45%) of voters say the liberal activist group ACORN is trying to register voters illegally, but they’re divided over whether Barack Obama has ties to the group, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Only 25% think ACORN, under investigation in several states for possible voter registration fraud, is not trying to put illegal voters on the rolls.

Sixty-nine percent of Republicans and 21% of Democrats believe ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is trying to register people to vote multiple times in violation of election laws. Forty-one percent of Democrats and eight percent (8%) of GOP voters disagree. Unaffiliated voters by more than two-to-one view ACORN’s efforts as consciously illegal.

That’s why 42% of voters say it is more likely that people will vote illegally this Election Day than for legal voters to be denied their rights at the polls. But 32% say legal voters are more likely to be denied the right to vote.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans think illegal voting is more likely, while 51% of Democrats say legal voters are more likely to be denied the chance to cast their ballot. Unaffiliated voters lean toward the probability of illegal voting, 47% to 26%.

A plurality of white voters (45%) agree with the Republicans. Forty-two percent (42%) of African-Americans think legitimate voters are more likely to be denied the vote.

In a survey earlier this month, 76% of voters said a person should be required to show photo identification at the polls before being allowed to vote.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).

On October 6, ACORN announced on its website “the conclusion of the most successful voter registration drive in history with more than 1.3 million new voters registered in 21 states in time for the 2008 presidential election.” The majority of new voters, the group said, are “young, African-American, Latino, and low-income Americans – groups which are all historically underrepresented in elections.”

Opponents say ACORN is flooding voter registrars with fraudulent applications that cannot be verified in time for next month’s election, raising the possibility of substantial illegal voting.

ACORN describes itself as “the nation’s largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people,” and 36% believe Obama, a community organizer early in his career, or his campaign is affiliated with the group. But 39% say they are not. Twenty-five percent (25%) are undecided.

Obama’s campaign hired an ACORN affiliate to help get out the vote during the Democratic primaries but now says it has no ties to the group. John McCain and Sarah Palin are increasingly questioning Obama’s ties to ACORN as more reports of illegal voter registration surface.

While 62% of Republicans say Obama or his campaign has ties to ACORN, 68% of Democrats believe they do not. Forty percent (40%) of unaffiliated voters think there is some kind of connection between the two, but 32% disagree.

McCain has been trailing Obama in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll in recent weeks.

Just 21% of voters have a favorable view of ACORN. Sixty percent (60%) view the group unfavorably, with 39% saying their opinion of ACORN is Very Unfavorable. Only four percent (4%) have a Very Favorable opinion of the group.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans and 43% of unaffiliated voters say their view of ACORN is Very Unfavorable, compared to 14% of Democrats.

Not surprisingly, given the communities ACORN serves, 44% of African-American voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of ACORN, while 64% of white voters view the group at least somewhat unfavorably.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters say they have been following news stories about the group. Only 10% say they have not followed news about ACORN at all.

Among those who say they are following news stories about ACORN Very Closely, belief that the group is deliberately registering illegal voters and that Obama or his campaign is affiliated with it exceed 60%.


Employee Forced Choice Act

More EFCA stories: here

Obama declares war on the 'middle class'

Related series: "What did Barack Obama Teach ACORN?"
Saul Alinsky stories: hereMore collectivism: here

Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" guides collectivist pusch

If elected, Senator Barack Obama will be my president as well. In these difficult times, I will support him in the few areas I can and major in challenging him where I must, but here is a summary of the reasons not to give him that opportunity.

In these perilous times, Obama’s lack of a proven record and relevant experience is a major concern. When you hire anyone to a critical job, you look to their experience. The President of the United States should not be an entry-level position! Experience matters! It’s not a sufficient qualification, but it’s certainly a necessary one.
Related video: "Middle Class"
Without a track record of impressive experience, voters look at a candidate’s judgment. That’s why Obama’s judgment in picking friends and advisors remains relevant. His close associations with the fraudulent-ridden ACORN, controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, convicted influence-peddler Tony Rezko, and unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers invite more questions than trust.

At a time when a troop surge has reduced violence, damaged al Qaeda and allowed the Iraqi government to make progress on key milestones, Obama still promises to “bring the war to an end in 2009!” He wants to save $9 billion a month in Iraq and shift the focus to Afghanistan. But he also wants to cut investments in missile defense systems and slow our development of future combat systems. Obama calls for a world without nuclear weapons and promises to develop no new nuclear weapons. Such judgments project weakness as Commander in Chief. Obama’s weakness would be provocative!

Obama says that he’s a “uniter,” but where’s the evidence? He voted with the Democrats 97 percent of the time. He’s a proven tax-and-spend Democrat with the most liberal voting record in the Senate. He’s only a uniter if you’ll unite with his partisan position. Unlike McCain, he’s never disappointed his own party by crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans.

Obama calls for “Change You Can Believe In,” but where is his record of championing positive reform in Cook County, in the Illinois legislature or in his short time in the US Senate. As Senator, he’s authored no important legislation and hasn’t even convened a hearing on the one subcommittee he chairs. He’s devoted his many gifts to chronicling his own life’s story and running his presidential campaign. While Alaska Governor Palin took on entrenched corruption in her own party, Obama benefitted from the equally corrupt Chicago Democratic machine. As they say—“High wind, big thunder, no rain."

His unrealistic and restrictive plan for energy independence is limited to investing in a few, new sources of energy that are not ready to carry the load for our energy independence. His partial plan does not provide for the “all of the above” reliable sources of power and jobs that industry and citizens need now.

Obama wants to raise corporate taxes, inheritance taxes, and income taxes and social security payments for the top wage earners. No reputable economist suggests raising taxes when America needs economic growth. Punishing success limits capital investment. Obama voted to raise taxes 94 times and never introduced any legislation to lower anyone’s taxes. You want Obama’s “Hope”—I hope you enjoy your change in taxes and the economic malaise it’ll create!

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said during an interview with Fox Business Network: "I like Sen. Obama very much….but his policy of anti-globalization, protectionism, is going to...give us a lot of inflation, ,,,ruin our relationships with the rest of the world, …slow down the rest of the world, and…make people frightened to add to employment. You are going to find companies leaving this country…. (H)is policy is really very, very naive, old-fashioned, 1960s."

FDR reminded Americans, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Obama talks hope but sells doom and gloom for the middle class. He justifies change by suggesting that we’re stuck in Iraq and reframes our economic downturn as a recession or worse. Obama blames the Bush economic policy for our current problems, but it was that same Bush plan that helped America bounce back quickly from the 2000 to 2001 downturn. Investor’s Business Daily reported IRS data that shows that the average U.S. income had increased five straight years through 2006.

The Bush economic plan isn’t the problem. Abuses on Wall Street and in financial institutions had been growing. Bush, McCain and many Republicans called for stronger regulations in 2005. Democrats refused to go along with proposed Freddie and Fannie reforms and helped expand the sub-prime mortgage fiasco by encouraging unwise “affordable housing” mortgages. Who are the top two recipients of PAC and individual contributions from Fannie and Freddie—Chris Dodd and Barack Obama! You want Obama in charge of reform?

For all his talk on self-reliance, Obama treats citizens as victims incapable of rising to the challenges they face. Obama’s “hope” rests in what government can do for you, not on what you can do for yourself or our country. At a time we are struggling to pay for the entitlements we already have, Obama calls for substantial government subsidies for healthcare, college, foreclosure relief, and alternative energies. Milton Friedman said it well, “There are no free lunches.” We can’t afford an Obama presidency and more “free” entitlements!

The Democrats chose an intelligent, eloquent but untested newcomer as their standard bearer. Charles warned us of the nagging doubt months ago: “The oddity of the Democratic convention is that its central figure is the ultimate self-made man, a dazzling mysterious Gatsby. The palpable apprehension is that the anointed one is a stranger—a deeply engaging, elegant, brilliant stranger with whom the Democrats had a torrid affair. Having slowly woken up, they see the ring and wonder who exactly they married last night.” This seemingly neverending campaign cycle has provided Americans with a long engagement, but don’t make the mistake of giving him the ring on November 4th.

- Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.


Obama: A union thug in disguise

More EFCA stories: here card-check: here worker-choice: here

Labor-backed Dem to force 'middle class' to pay union-dues, opposes worker-choice

My Obama number is one. I know him through our association at the University of Chicago Law School and through mutual friends in the neighborhood. We have had one or two serious substantive discussions, and when I sent him e-mails from time to time in the early days of his Senate term, he always answered in a sensible and thoughtful fashion. And yet, for assessing the course of his likely presidency, I don't know him at all.

It should come as no surprise that the traditionally liberal Hyde Park community is a veritable hotbed of support for Obama. So my manifest reluctance on his candidacy raises more than a single eyebrow: Loyalty for the home team counts.

The odd point is how his many learned and thoughtful supporters couch their endorsement. Almost without exception, they praise the man, not the program. Their claim is that Obama has proved himself to be a consummate politician who understands that the first principle of holding high office is to get reelected. His natural moderation in tone and demeanor, therefore, translate into getting advisers who know their substantive areas, and listening to them before making any rash moves. The dominant trope is that he will be a pragmatic president who will move in small increments toward the center, not in bold steps toward the left.

But is it all true? The short answer is that nobody knows. Virtually everyone who knows him recognizes that he plays his cards close to the vest, so that you can make your case to him without knowing whether it has registered. At this point, my fear is that the change in office will not lead to a change in his liberal voting record, as reinforced by a hyperactive Democratic platform. My great fear is that a landslide victory will give him solid majorities in both Houses of Congress, so that no stalling tactics by Republicans can slow down his legislative victory procession. At that point his innate pragmatism will line up with his strong left-of-center beliefs on issues that have thus far been muted during the campaign.

Put otherwise, Obama's vague calls for change that "you can believe in" are, to my thinking, wholly retrograde in their implications. At heart, he is an unreconstructed New Dealer who can see, and articulate, both sides on every question--but only as a prelude to championing the old corporatist agenda with a vengeance.

That program has three key components, which, taken together, can convert a shaky financial situation into a global depression. The first of these is his anti-free trade attitude that loomed so large in the primaries. But even Obama cannot repeal the principle of comparative advantage. Any efforts to scuttle NAFTA, deny fast-track approval to other agreements, or limit outsourcing will not be as dramatic as the Smoot-Hawley tariff. But combined, they would act as a depressant on general economic growth. Everyone would suffer.

Second, Obama is committed to strengthening unions by his endorsement of the Employer Free Choice Act, a misnamed statute that forces union recognition without elections and employment contracts through mandatory arbitration thereafter. That one-two punch could tie up the very small businesses that Obama seems determined to help. Tax relief won't work for firms that won't get formed because a labor fight is not in their initial budget.

And third, he is in favor of progressive individual taxes and high corporate taxes. It is as though the U.S. does not have to compete for labor and capital in global markets. My fear is that with his strong egalitarian bent, he has not internalized the lesson that high rates do not offset declining revenues.

Thus, even before we get to the added bells and whistles of the modern welfare state--windfall profits taxes, ethanol subsidies, health care--an Obama administration could lock us into a downward spiral by ignoring the simple fundamentals of sound governance. Boy, does this stalwart libertarian ever hope that his friends are right and his gloomy prediction is wrong!

- Richard Epstein writes a weekly column for Forbes.com


Obama employs a 'communist' tactic

More collectivism stories: here

"Accuse your enemy of what you do." - old Communist saying

ACORN has friends in high places. Barack Obama’s campaign is –strangely enough– demanding that a special prosecutor look into the investigations of the massive vote fraud that is being perpetrated by the radical group ACORN to determine if the investigations are politically motivated. The New York Times reports:
Seeking to portray law enforcement investigations into reports of fraudulent voter registrations in several states as an extension of the controversial firings of United States attorneys, the Obama campaign on Friday called for a review by a special prosecutor.

Bob Bauer, general counsel for the Obama campaign, sent a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Special Prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy, who is investigating the attorney firings, requesting that Ms. Dannehy also look into the whether F.B.I. investigations of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, were politically motivated.

In a conference call with reporters on Friday, Mr. Bauer suggested that there was “an unholy alliance of law enforcement and the ugliest form of partisan politics.”

“There is ample reason for us to be concerned about Republican involvement and we believe this ought to be included in the special prosecutor’s mandate,” Mr. Bauer said.
Given that Obama goes way back with ACORN, this attempt at misdirection is particularly audacious and clever. People who don’t track these issues closely may be fooled.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting video detailing the sordid history of ACORN:

- Matthew Vadum is Editor of Organization Trends and Foundation Watch, two monthly newsletters published by Capital Research Center, a Washington D.C.-based think tank that focuses on the politics of philanthropy.


'Big Labor' union thugs are back!

More EFCA stories: here AFL-CIO: here

Dem politics as usual: Organized labor never really went away

It's that time in this general election cycle for "Big Labor" to be back in the news. The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a release last week slamming Democratic U.S. House Gary Trauner for supporting a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act.

According to the NRCC, the bill denies workers the right to a secret ballot in voting on union affiliation. The NRCC also pointed out that Trauner has taken $81,500 from unions and other organizations.

Trauner said the NRCC release is misleading because the bill offers options and doesn't ban secret ballots. Its main thrust is to allow workers to get together and form a union so they can get ahead.

The NRCC releases also mention "labor bosses" and "Big Labor." Those phrases conjure up the image of a fat thug with a pinkie ring, smoking a cigar while sitting in the back seat of a long black car with sackfuls of money on the seat next to him.

The "Big Labor" tag has been used against Democratic candidates in many congressional races before this one.

"They do every single solitary election," said Kim Floyd, executive director of the Wyoming AFL-CIO.

Wyoming Democrats may rail against the corporate fat cats but they never have been as effective in the war of phrases as the Republicans.

The "Big Labor" and "labor boss" tags work here because Wyoming is a right-to-work state, not friendly to labor unions.

The congressional races this year are historic in that both Senate seats and Wyoming's U.S. House seat are all up for grabs.

The U.S. House race between Trauner and Republican ex-state treasurer Cynthia Lummis is the only close contest.

The Democrats have two credible candidates running for the two Senate seats but they are being outspent big time. Both Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso have millions of dollars to spend on the race.

Democrat Chris Rothfuss, a University of Wyoming instructor, has donations of about $20,000 in his race against Enzi but hasn't accepted political action committee (PAC) money.

Gillette attorney Nick Carter has received PAC money that has enabled him to use television ads.

Because people don't know who they are, the two candidates struggle to get their messages across.

This is especially so if the other side won't play.

No question that candidates for office have tight schedules, especially at this time in the election cycle.

Still, it's a disappointment when only one side shows up and the other side sends surrogates.

That's what happened at the League of Women Voters Forum in Laramie on Oct. 9.

Trauner drove to Laramie from Jackson and Carter came from Gillette. Rothfuss lives in Laramie so it was no hardship for him to attend.

Barrasso and Enzi skipped it and were represented by staff people. Lummis isn't an incumbent but she sent a substitute, too.

This may have been an exception and the missing had valid reasons for being missing. I know all the candidates have attended other forums.

In the past, however, this has been a pattern in congressional elections.

The incumbents, with their buckets full of money, running well ahead in the polls, don't always feel compelled to mix it up with challengers.

That's not good for the voters or the system.

When Vice President Dick Cheney was a member of the U.S. House he said he looked forward to his campaigns. He also once said he was disappointed when he had no formidable or even credible opponent to joust with.

With the exception of the U.S. House election, the historical congressional election so far hasn't been electrifying.

It's politics as usual.


Labor Dept. seeks ouster of corrupt SEIU bigs

SEIU: hereAndy Stern: hereTyrone Freeman: here embezzlement: here

Embezzlement of dues by Andy Stern's proteges casts a gloom over jumbo union

The U.S. Labor Department has asked a federal court to overturn the election of all officers at a troubled Los Angeles union local, alleging that the organization made it too difficult for challengers to qualify for the ballot.

In a civil complaint against the Service Employees International Union's largest California chapter, the department contends that the March election of local President Tyrone Freeman and his slate of officers violated labor laws.

Freeman is the target of a separate criminal investigation into the local's spending practices.

The election complaint notes that the local required candidates to collect more than 4,800 nomination signatures in three weeks from members who worked mainly as caregivers in private homes.

Only Freeman and his allies qualified for the United Long-Term Care Workers ballot.

The complaint accuses the local of "failing to provide a reasonable opportunity for the nomination of candidates." It seeks a new election under the department's supervision.

Freeman has denied any wrongdoing. The union's national headquarters has removed him from the payroll and placed the local into trusteeship because of the spending scandal.

All of the local's roughly 50 board members and other officers have lost their posts because of the trusteeship.

In response to the complaint, union trustee John Ronches, who was appointed by the SEIU, said in a statement that it would "work closely" with the Labor Department to ensure that the election of officers "sets the highest standards of fairness and democratic representation."

Meanwhile, five of the former board members have filed suit against the union, asking that the trusteeship be revoked.

They say that the SEIU illegally denied them representation at an internal hearing, and that they and the other board members should be restored to their positions.

Freeman is not part of that suit.

"The board is saying, regardless of what Freeman did, we want our union back," said Gary Goodstein, an attorney for the panel members.

In a statement, SEIU spokeswoman Michelle Ringuette said the board's suit is "frivolous," and the union is "confident the trusteeship will be upheld."

If the Labor Department prevails in its complaint, the suit brought by the ex-board members could become moot. Both actions were filed Friday in Los Angeles federal court.

The union has been under fire since August, when The Times reported that the local and a related charity paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to home-base businesses owned by Freeman's wife and mother-in-law.

The local also spent large sums on golf resorts, expensive restaurants and a Beverly Hills cigar club.

On Monday, The Times reported that Freeman ordered employees of the charity to work on campaigns for public office -- despite laws barring such practices -- according to people who said they took part in the activities.

Freeman later denied to the Internal Revenue Service that he required the charity staffers to work on the campaigns, said a person close to a 2006 IRS inquiry into the matter.

Attempts to reach Freeman about the campaign allegation have been unsuccessful. The IRS has declined to comment.

An SEIU executive vice president, Annelle Grajeda, has gone on leave because of allegations that her ex-boyfriend received improper union payments.

Grajeda also is president of the SEIU's California council and another Los Angeles-based local.

Last week, the SEIU ousted the president of its biggest Michigan chapter, Rickman Jackson, a former chief of staff to Freeman. The Times reported that Jackson's Bell Gardens residence was used as the address of a housing corporation associated with Freeman's local.

The SEIU later said that the corporation improperly paid to lease the house; the union has required Jackson to return $33,500 in payments.

The SEIU also has fired four of Freeman's top managers and assistants.

Two other employees either were fired or resigned after being accused of threatening colleagues suspected of speaking to The Times, according to an SEIU official.


Longshormen thugs guilty of false dues charges

More worker-choice stories: hereMore union-dues stories: here

Who is looking out for the little guy?

Federal labor board charges filed by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys has just paid off big for a group of Georgia employees ... to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars.

In September of 2005, Foundation staff attorneys filed unfair labor practice charges against the International Longshoreman's Local 1414 union in Savannah, Georgia. The notoriously thuggish longshoremen union bosses had been forcing nonmember employees to pay dues to seek work at a union-controlled hiring hall. This policy violated Georgia's Right to Work law, which holds that workers cannot be forced to pay any dues if they choose not to belong to a union.

In May, an NLRB settlement forced the union to partially reimburse nonmember employees, but until recently it wasn't revealed just how much money the union had previously extorted. According to the latest edition of the NLRB's regional newsletter (pdf), the union had no choice but to refund $250K to nonmember workers that union officials illegally collected.

Unfortunately, the NLRB's settlement only reduced workers' fees but did not end the requirement to pay union dues for use of the union controlled hiring hall. Employees are still challenging the forced fees as a violation of Georgia's Right to Work law.


Steeped in the socialist ethos

More collectivism stories: here

Ethics expert examines Obama, ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

Kurtz: Union-backed candidate has collectivist cred

During his first campaign for the Illinois state senate in 1995-96, Barack Obama was a member of, and was endorsed by, the far-left New Party. Obama’s New Party ties give the lie to his claim to be a post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist. Particularly in Chicago, the New Party functioned as the electoral arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). So despite repeated attempts to distance himself from ACORN, Obama’s New Party ties raise disturbing questions about his links to those proudly militant leftists. The media’s near-total silence on this critical element of Obama’s past is deeply irresponsible.

While a small group of bloggers have productively explored Obama’s New Party ties, discussion has often turned on the New Party’s alleged socialism. Was the New Party actually established by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)? Was the New Party’s platform effectively socialist in content? Although these debates are both interesting and important, we needn’t resolve them to conclude that the New Party was far to the left of the American mainstream. Whether formally socialist or not, the New Party and its ACORN backers favored policies of economic redistribution. As Obama would say, they wanted to spread the wealth around. Bracketing the socialism question and simply taking the New Party on its own terms is sufficient to raise serious questions about Obama’s political commitments — questions that cry out for attention from a responsible press.

In 2002, Micah L. Sifry, a former writer and editor with The Nation magazine, published Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America, a book that contains what is probably our best account of the rise and fall of the New Party. Although Sifry leaves us hanging on the socialism question, his chapter on the New Party is more than enough to raise disturbing questions about Obama’s radicalism, and about his ties to ACORN.

Sifry reports a quip by New Party co-founder, Daniel Cantor: “The shorthand strategy for accomplishing all this is to get the Bruce Springsteen, Lauryn Hill, and Pete Seeger vote united in one party.” The Peter Seeger vote does sound like shorthand for the old-time socialist Left — but also for far-left-leaning baby boomers in general. Bruce Springsteen and Lauryn Hill point to young blacks and whites on the left, perhaps including, but not restricted to, openly socialist sympathizers. In short, the New Party was a mid-1990s effort to build a “progressive” coalition to the left of the Democratic party, uniting left-leaning baby boomers with minorities, relatively militant unionists, and “idealistic” young people.

In contrast to Ralph Nader’s recent third-party campaigns, the New Party’s strategy was to work through “fusion.” Fusion parties were popular in the 19th century. Although these small parties had a separate line on the ballot, they often endorsed one of the major-party candidates. That meant these third parties didn’t have to act as “spoilers” in close elections. Yet by constituting themselves as separate entities and offering their endorsement as bait, fusion parties tended to push the major parties further to the right or the left. We see remnants of the old fusion-party pattern in New York State, where separate Liberal and Conservative parties sometimes shift elections by endorsing one or another major party candidate.

As the New Party’s founders put it, they were looking for a cross between the “party within the party” strategy favored by leftist Democrats and the “plague on both your houses” stance later adopted by the Naderites. That means Obama’s New Party ties place him on the far left end of the Democratic party, arguably with one foot outside and to the left of the party itself.

Does this make Obama “socialist?” Maybe so, but according to Sifry, the vague “New Party” name was chosen precisely to avoid such ideological pigeonholing. Maybe that vagueness was designed to avoid exposing the party as the socialist sympathizer it was. Or maybe the name was a way of avoiding complex internal struggles between competing ideological factions, some socialist and some not. (The answer is “both of the above,” I tend to think.) In any case, the New Party was clearly far to the left of mainstream Democrats, and according to Sifry, the party explicitly thought of itself as made up of committed “progressives,” rather than conventional “liberals.” That is entirely consistent with a famous 1995 profile of Obama by Hank De Zutter, which portrays him as closely tied to ACORN, and holding a world-view well “beyond” his mother’s conventional liberalism.

To get a sense of where the New Party stood politically, consider some of its early supporters: Barbara Dudley of Greenpeace; Steve Cobble, political director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coaltion; prominent academics like Frances Fox Piven, coauthor of the “Cloward-Piven strategy” and a leader of the drive for the “motor-voter” legislation Obama later defended in court on behalf of ACORN; economist Juliet Schor; black historian Manning Marable; historian Howard Zinn; linguist Noam Chomsky; Todd Gitlin; and writers like Gloria Steinem and Barbara Ehrenreich. Socialist? Readers can draw their own conclusions. At one point, Sifry does describe the party’s goals as “social democratic.” In any case, the New Party clearly stands substantially to the left of the mainstream Democratic party.

Unquestionably, ACORN was one of the most important forces behind the creation of the New Party. According to Sifry: “Wade Rathke, ACORN’s lead national organizer, was in on the founding discussions that led to the New Party, and the group’s political director, Zach Polett, also came to play a big role in guiding New Party field organizing for the party [in Chicago and Little Rock].” In fact, Sifry portrays ACORN’s leading role in the New Party as the result of a conscious decision by the organization to move into electoral politics in a more substantial way than they had been able to solely through their political action committee. In addition to Rathke and Polett, a key early supporter of the New Party was Obama’s closest ACORN contact, Madeline Talbott.

While ACORN played an important founding role for the New Party nationally, ACORN was clearly the main force behind the New Party chapter in Chicago. In general, New Party chapters built around an ACORN nucleus were the most disciplined and successful party outposts. Nationally, the New Party’s biggest wins were in Chicago, very much including Obama’s victory in his 1996 run for the Illinois state senate. Chicago’s New Party was actually formed around two core elements, ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 880. Yet, as Sifry notes, SEIU 880 was itself an ACORN offshoot.

Together ACORN and SEIU 880 were the dominant forces in Chicago’s New Party. True, there was also participation by open socialists, but these were not a majority of New Party organizers. You can certainly argue, as libertarian blogger Trevor Louden has, that whether openly or not, the New Party in Chicago and beyond was effectively socialist. It’s a powerful argument and worthy of consideration. After all, according to Rutgers University political scientist Heidi J. Swarts, ACORN’s leaders see themselves as “a solitary vanguard of principled leftists.” So a party outpost built around ACORN would be a party built around “principled vanguard leftists.” Sounds pretty socialist to me. Yet, as I’ve emphasized, we needn’t resolve the “socialism” question to conclude that the New Party, and particularly its Chicago branch, was far to the left of the Democratic party, and largely under the control of ACORN.

Consider “The People Shall Rule,” a look at some of Chicago ACORN’s electoral efforts co-authored by Madeline Talbott, Obama’s closest ACORN contact and a key New Party supporter. In describing former Chicago ACORN leader Ted Thomas’s successful run for alderman, Talbott stresses that, even after election, Thomas retained his ACORN ties. Thomas was invited to retain his seat on ACORN’s Chicago board, ACORN members continued to treat him as a leader, and Thomas continued to brainstorm and strategize with ACORN’s other organizers. Talbott is so busy detailing Thomas’s continued links to ACORN that she doesn’t even bother to mention that Thomas actually ran on behalf of the New Party. (See “NP Chair elected to Chicago City Council.”)

As so often with ACORN, technically separate organizations are often relatively meaningless designations for different branches of ACORN itself. And in Chicago, the New Party was very much an ACORN-dominated operation. Ted Thomas was a city alderman, de facto ACORN leader, and New Party chair all at once. So Obama’s ties to the New Party represent yet another important, and still unacknowledged, link between Obama and ACORN.

We already know that Obama’s ties to ACORN’s Madeline Talbott ran deep. Less known is that Obama’s links to Chicago ACORN/New Party leader Ted Thomas were also strong. Thomas was one of a handful of aldermen who stood with Obama in his unsuccessful 2000 race for Congress against Bobby Rush. Obama is also had long-standing ties to SEIU Local 880, an ACORN union spin-off and a bulwark of Chicago’s New Party. In his 2004 race for the Democratic Senate nomination, SEIU Local 880 strongly endorsed Obama, citing his long history of support for the group.

So the fact that Obama received the New Party’s endorsement in his first run for office in 1995-96 cannot be dismissed as insignificant. On the contrary, Obama’s ties to the New Party, and the New Party’s backers at ACORN (often the very same people), are long-standing, substantial, and reveal a great deal about his personal political allegiances. Because it was a fusion party, the New Party did not require that all the candidates it endorsed be members. Yet the New Party’s endorsements were carefully targeted. There was no attempt to endorse candidates in every race, or even to set up nationwide chapters. Carefully selected races in carefully targeted cities were seized upon — and only when the candidate fit the profile of a decidedly left-leaning progressive Democrat. In this way, the New Party set out to form a hard-left “party within a party” among the Democrats.

More than this, we now have substantial evidence that Obama himself was in fact a New Party member. We even have a photograph of Obama appearing with other successful New Party candidates. Clearly, then, it is more than fair to identify Obama with the hard-left stance of the New Party and its ACORN backers. In her recent study of ACORN and the Gamaliel Foundation, the two groups of community organizers to which Obama was closest, Heidi Swarts describes their core ideology as “redistributionist.” Joe the Plumber take note. Whether formally socialist or not, Obama ties with ACORN and its New Party political arm show that spreading your wealth around has long been his ultimate goal.

All this means that Barack Obama is far from the post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist he pretends to be. On the contrary, Obama’s ideological home is substantially to the left of the Democratic-party mainstream, so far to the left that he has one foot planted outside the party itself. And since the New Party Chicago was essentially an electoral arm of ACORN, Obama’s New Party tie, is yet another example of his deep links to the far-left militant organizers of that group. Obama’s account of his limited ties to ACORN in the third debate was clearly not truthful. Likewise, his earlier denials of ties to ACORN have fallen apart.

At what point will the press force Obama to own up to the full extent of his ties to ACORN? At what point will the press demand a full accounting of Obama’s ties to the New Party? At what point will the depth of Obama’s redistributionist economic stance be acknowledged? Barack Obama is hiding the truth about his political past, and the press is playing along.

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


ACORN delivers the goods for Organized Labor

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

ACORN and SEIU were founded by the same Alinskyite, Wade Rathke, who also boasts ties to Hollywood political cash

This historic election season likely marks the end of ACORN's uncanny ability to be both prominent and relatively obscure. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities. Since 1970, ACORN has grown to more than 400,000 member families, organized in 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 103 cities across the U.S. and in cities in Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, India and Peru.

For many, the group is synonymous with community organizing. Which is why so many Republicans among others, may relish ACORN writhing in the media spotlight. Senator John McCain is using recent controversy at ACORN to impugn Senator Barack Obama. However, GOP backed organizations have also been accused of voter fraud by switching individual party identification on voter registration cards.

Recent events seek to quash intra-corporate disputes when ACORN faces unprecedented upheaval, arguably from outside forces. Courageous whistleblowers Karen Inman and Marcel Reid continue the fight they began for transparency and accountability within ACORN. But recent actions by ACORN are cautionary tales about inter-corporate relationships, and management and control of non-profit corporations. And the breach of fiduciary duties and trust following a $1 million embezzlement dating back to 1999.

The Rathke Embezzlement

The embezzlement was originally concealed from the full Association Board, after which fellow ACORN board members elected Karen Inman and Marcel Reid to an interim management committee (IMC) to investigate the fraud after firing Wade Rathke, their founder and Chief Organizer. According to board minutes, Wade's termination followed news that he concealed for nearly a decade, an almost one million dollar embezzlement from ACORN during the years 1999 to 2000, allegedly by his brother Dale Rathke.

KAPFCU Federal Credit Union a certified community development financial institution joined Inman and Reid in overseeing a team of professionals to identify, preserve, account for, and otherwise protect ACORN assets and interests. The team includes attorneys who secured a temporary restraining order and are seeking additional injunctive relief for ACORN, the IMC, and eight board members dubbed the "ACORN Eight". Following these terminations, the ACORN board voted unanimously "that funds be created to allow (Inman and Reid) access to professional consultants . . . so that the will of the Association Board be carried out."

The IMC initially filed a TRO to preserve the financial books and records, and safe guard ACORN assets. Their case is ACORN vs. Rathke, et al., no. 08-8342, before the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana. Yet various ACORN staff and board members disparage what the ACORN Eight has done. "These dissenters claim the underlying petition was not properly authorized or in ACORN's best interests and should be withdrawn" says Inman.

Two weeks ago, Louisiana District Court Judge Michael Bagneris ruled in the referenced ACORN vs. Rathke, et al., case no. 08-8342, that ACORN and its affiliated organizations shall not destroy ACORN corporate books and records. He refused to dismiss the IMC's petition for ACORN. Instead Bagneris instructed ACORN directors to settle on who are its authorized representatives at its National board of directors meeting in New Orleans.

Reid and Inman arranged for experts to address the matter, personally and in writing. The two claim to "ultimately hope our fellow board members understand that ACORN remains susceptible to inappropriate manipulation by Wade". Both add, "we were authorized and need to pursue a forensic investigation, independent audit, and expedited discovery to identify and protect ACORN assets and interests." Inman and Reid consider it "negligent for any lawyer to advise differently, particularly as Wade travels outside the U.S., possibly putting ACORN assets beyond the reach of American courts, supposedly on behalf of ACORN International."

However, in a 38 to 12 vote, the ACORN Board of Directors voted to withdraw the Preliminary Injunction filed to access records and safeguard assets filed following the embezzlement. Judge Bagneris instructed ACORN directors to select authorized representatives at its Annual National Board of Director's meeting in New Orleans. However, Judge Bagneris also declared that even if the ACORN board voted to withdraw the preliminary injunction filed by the IMC; that individual voting members of ACORN have an absolute right under Louisiana law to review ACORN's corporate books and records. Judge Bagneris continued the proceedings until November 7, 2008 at 10:00 am.

When asked to summarize the strategy their opponents support, Inman and Reid explain it "is substantially managed by people who helped Wade conceal his brother's embezzlement; involves private negotiations with Wade with no legal constraints on his part; hijacks the prerogative entrusted to us by board vote; and as is being implemented through unauthorized contracting." Both Inman and Reid complain that "such deference to Wade and disregard of ACORN board members nearly transformed ACORN into a Rathke family alter-ego over the years." ACORN has a 53 member board consisting of low income neighborhood representatives. The sheer size and composition of this board makes it susceptible to manipulation by ACORN staff and, outside lawyers and consultants.

Media reports by the New York Times, The Times Picayune, and others suggest ACORN Eight detractors are ACORN's board president, Maude Hurd, and its interim chief organizer, Bertha Lewis. Inman and Reid add Steve Kest to the list, ACORN's executive director. They also include attorney Beth Kingsley of the D.C. law firm, Harmon Curran Spielberg & Eisenberg LLP. Kingsley is reportedly identified as ACORN's "outside counsel."

What is ACORN?

Since 1970 ACORN has taken direct action and won victories on issues of concern to our members, including better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. The hypocrisy of ACORN lies in the fact that the organization made famous by fighting for the voices of low income people to be heard in America, actively squashes these same voices of dissent within the organization.

Referencing ACORN, Marcel Reid explains that "ours is the voice for hundreds of thousands of otherwise disenfranchised people." Noting that voice must now rise above questionable voter registrations and America's financial crisis, Reid cautions fellow board members to overcome "the ACORN culture of acquiescence to Wade Rathke and his family so that ACORN vindicates the poor and moderate income people it represents." Reid and Inman emphatically assert with support of the full ACORN Eight, that they were "authorized and need to pursue a forensic accounting, independent audit, and expedited discovery to identify and protect ACORN assets and interests."

Ironically, the ACORN board voted to withdraw the lawsuit – but instead to continue an internal investigation into the embezzlement. This is essentially the same strategy the executive committee and senior staff members attempted when they learned about, and then concealed, the embezzlement from the full board. Thus, today's vote indicates that the full board may have acquiesced to the original cover up – even if they had known about the fraud at the time. However, authorizing the IMC was the Association Board's first attempt to exercise autonomy and control over ACORN by its membership.

Struggle for Control

The Association Board is ultimately responsible for everything that happens at ACORN, whether it is the Rathke embezzlement or recent allegations of voter fraud. The board can not simply say we did not know about the alleged fraud, the board must demonstrate that they acted reasonably, responsibly and with due diligence in performing their fiduciary duties. The IMC petition, a TRO and Preliminary Injunction were the first steps in that process. Thus, the IMC lawsuit was actually the best protection for the ACORN board of directors.

But ACORN does not provide board insurance for the Association Board. ACORN can not get board insurance since ACORN staff refuse to provide independently audited financial statements. And Presidential campaigns have already requested a special prosecutor to investigate ACORN. So when (not if) a federal investigation occurs; the actions and the inactions of the Association Board will be examined. Thus, the IMC lawsuit and other recommendations are the only actions that the Association Board can rely on as any defense to the federal investigations.

Consequently, the real struggle at ACORN is between the Association Board and ACORN staff. Under the Rathke's reign, senior staff wielded complete control of ACORN instead of the Association Board. Prompted by embezzlement which occurred in 1999 and 2000; the Association Board has recently taken charge of ACORN through the actions of the IMC. Therefore, it is no surprise that these actions have caused great upheaval within ACORN and its traditional cronies.

Summary: ACORN whistleblower Marcel Reid explains that "ours is the voice for hundreds of thousands of otherwise disenfranchised people." Noting that voice must now rise above questionable voter registrations and America's financial crisis, Reid cautions fellow board members to overcome "the ACORN culture of acquiescence to Wade Rathke and his family so that ACORN vindicates the poor and moderate income people it represents." ACORN whistleblower Karen Inman asserts with support of fellow board members known as the ACORN Eight that she and Reid were "authorized and need to pursue a forensic accounting, independent audit, and to preserve ACORN assets". Their efforts come after Wade Rathke, ACORN's former chief organizer, reportedly confessed to concealing an almost one million dollar embezzlement from the group, allegedly by his brother Dale Rathke.


ACORN's oldest trick in the book

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

It's too late to rein in union-backed voter fraud group

This is rich. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign is complaining to the Justice Department about the attention being focused on the determined effort by ACORN, Obama’s wholly owned vote-fraud division, to steal the 2008 election. Adding ignorance to gall, the campaign demands that what it calls a “Special Prosecutor” must investigate not ACORN but — you guessed it — the McCain campaign and the Bush administration.

The art form to which chutzpah has been raised in this instance is a letter from the Obama campaign’s top lawyer, Robert Bauer of the Perkins Coie law firm in Washington. Of course these days, due to the intricate web of traps for the unwary known as “campaign finance regulations” — for which Sen. McCain has no one but himself to blame — all candidates for high office need legal teams. Obama, though, is a special case.

When not scorching the earth to destroy ordinary citizens who have the temerity to ask the messiah blunt questions, or threatening political opponents with prosecution for campaigning against him, or promising war crimes investigations against the opposition party if Americans are daft enough to put his toadies in charge of the Justice Department, Obama comrades can be found editing the amendments to the last modification of their most recently restated campaign-finance reporting errors.

One day the candidate is taking money hand over fist from fictitious supporters like “Good Will” and “Doodad Pro.” The next day, he is illegally raising funds from foreigners (perhaps more than a staggering $63 million), including from Palestinians — who figure a candidate who pours tens of thousands of dollars into the coffers of a terror-supporting former PLO spokesman like Rashid Khalidi is a safe bet to make a prophet out of Jesse Jackson. On still other days, Obama finds himself having to explain his campaign’s misrepresentation of the $800,000 payday it gave his old pals at ACORN.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, is essentially a Marxist shakedown outfit. One of its main rackets is election fraud — but it can also be very helpful if you happen to be a Leftist activist who finds himself needing, say, to foment a riot, vandalize public property, shut down legislative hearings or opposition conferences, harass the families of elected officials, extort leave-us-alone pay-offs from banks, promote illegal immigration, or the like.

Like ACORN, Obama is a community organizer in the Saul Alinsky radical mode, and he goes way back — two decades back — with the organization. He represented ACORN as a lawyer, taught “organizing” to ACORN’s up and coming rabble-rousers, colluded with ACORN in Chicago “get out the vote” projects, funded ACORN when he sat on the boards of left-wing charities, and exploited ACORN’s enthusiastic support when he won his senate seat in 2004 — a victory the “non-partisan” ACORN can’t help itself but claim credit for.

And now, as the heat has been turned up on ACORN for tossing what little caution it has ever had to the wind as it goes into overdrive on Obama’s behalf, The One himself is riding to the rescue. In an Orwellian brush-back pitch, the Obama campaign demands that DOJ investigate the McCain campaign and Bush Justice Department officials for what it portrays as the trumpeting of “unsupported, spurious allegations of vote fraud.”

Before we get to that last farcical assertion (by the guy who wants to be responsible for enforcing federal law, no less), Obama ought to be embarrassed by the sheer stupidity the letter conveys.

Bauer addresses his complaints to both Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Connecticut U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy. Why Dannehy? Because, according to Bauer, she is the “Special Prosecutor” appointed by Mukasey to investigate whether crimes were committed in connection with President Bush’s firing of nine U.S. attorneys. “The appointment of a Special Prosecutor was necessary,” Obama’s legal beagle opines, “because the Department’s leadership was the focus of the investigation and unable to credibly undertake an independent, professional and credible inquiry.”

Wrong. Glenn Fine, the DOJ inspector-general appointed by President Clinton and retained by President Bush (since keeping George Tenet on at CIA was apparently not enough), issued a Democrat-pleasing report calling for an investigation of the already mega-investigated U.S. attorney firings — notwithstanding that the president’s termination of executive branch appointees is not a crime. Mukasey responded by selecting Dannehy to lead the probe. But Dannehy is not a “Special Prosecutor.”

Instead, because the investigation involves officials who worked in Washington at either Main Justice or the White House, the attorney general determined it would raise potential conflicts of interest to assign a prosecutor from Main Justice or the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington. As is routinely the case in such circumstances, the investigation was given to a veteran prosecutor from another district, in this case, Connecticut. The investigation, however, is still being done by the Justice Department. Dannehy is not independent. She reports to the deputy attorney general (which is standard — all district U.S. attorneys report to the DAG). The DAG reports to Mukasey. The Justice Department is not recused from the investigation (as it was, for example, when Patrick Fitzgerald prosecuted Scooter Libby or when Lawrence Walsh investigated Iran-Contra).

One has to figure that Obama, a U.S. senator running for president, and his hot-shot Washington lawyer grasp the elementary difference between “independent” and “not independent.” So why publicly file a letter that is so wildly off base? Obviously because the letter is a political document, not a legal one.

Obama clearly hopes to discredit the multiple ongoing investigations of ACORN by tainting DOJ with the Democrats’ trumped up claim that empty GOP allegations of election fraud prompted the U.S. attorney firings. The thin reed for this is David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in New Mexico who was dismissed after the state’s top Republicans complained that he was not moving on vote-fraud cases.

The claim won’t wash. To begin with, it’s not even accurate as to Iglesias. Obama’s lawyer suggests that election fraud “did not exist” in New Mexico; in fact, what Iglesias found was that whatever fraud his office had learned about could not be reached by federal law. That’s because, as Bauer conveniently fails to mention, elections — even federal elections — are state-run affairs. Absent strong evidence of an interstate scheme of fraud or, say, use of the U.S. mails to carry out the fraud, election improprieties do not violate federal law no matter how clear they may be.

Which brings us to ACORN. Obama’s longtime ally is now being investigated in at least 14 different states for election fraud. Cynically, Obama is banking on the fact that most people don’t grasp the state/federal distinction. By taking aim at the Justice Department, his letter obscures the fact that the numerous investigations of ACORN have been undertaken not by DOJ but by state authorities — and in some instances by Democrat law-enforcement officials who find themselves unable to turn a blind-eye to ACORN’s blatant tactics.

For example, in Nevada, where ACORN appears to have submitted thousands of phony voter registrations — including filings on behalf of the Dallas Cowboys’ star players — the FBI participated with other agencies in a raid on ACORN’s Las Vegas office. But the investigation is being run by state authorities, not the feds.

The choice to use the Cowboys makes perfect sense, for when it comes to fraud, ACORN truly is America’s Team. As Jim Hoft details in a useful Pajamas Media account, “The Complete Guide to ACORN Voter Fraud,” state agencies are examining ACORN’s activities not just in Nevada but in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Connecticut, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Michigan, and New Mexico (where Iglesias may be gone but ACORN is alive and well).

This year alone, ACORN has filed 1.3 million voter registrations, and already — without thorough scrutiny by forensic law-enforcement investigators — tens of thousands of them are known to be fraudulent. The group, moreover, is known to have bribed voters to register dozens of times and to have hired convicted felons as registration recruiters.

Interestingly, ACORN’s Nevada program is known as “Project Vote.” As detailed by Steve Gilbert at Sweetness & Light, Project Vote has long been ACORN’s “voter mobilization” arm. In 1992, it was directed in Chicago by a young “community organizer” named Barack Obama. The resulting registration of 150,000 new voters became the springboard for his political career. As observed about Obama’s efforts by top ACORN agitator Madeline Talbott (a staunch proponent of the lawlessness ACORN euphemistically calls “direct action”): “Barack has proven himself among our members. He is committed to organizing, to building a democracy. Above all else, he is a good listener, and we accept and respect him as a kindred spirit, a fellow organizer.”

ACORN is not just carrying out voter fraud in the here and now. Over the years, as Hoft recounts, several its operatives have been convicted for these activities. And how could it be otherwise? What voters need to understand is that ACORN is a revolutionary Leftist organization. It was founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke, a former member of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) — the Communist organization from which Bill Ayers’ Weatherman terrorist group split off in the late Sixties. It is adherent to the radical principles of Saul Alinsky, of whom Obama is a disciple — in fact, he authored a chapter in an anthology called After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois.

Under the aforementioned heading of “direct action,” ACORN has made fraud, extortion, harassment, and menacing core parts of its modus operandi. As a matter of principle, ACORN believes that the established bourgeois American order is racist, materialist, imperialist and illegitimate. ACORN no more cares about election laws than about other laws it decides must be circumvented in the service of the higher purpose it reveres: “Change.”

For nearly 20 years, Obama and ACORN have been attached at the hip. And now he rides to ACORN’s rescue.

- Andrew C. McCarthy chairs FDD’s Center for Law & Counterterrorism and is the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books 2008).


'It comes down to McCain or ACORN'

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group sets Executive Branch takeover

The November race is coming down to a clear choice: John McCain or ACORN. That was the stark warning issued at a McCain rally here Monday. The neck-and-neck race in Missouri is being threatened by some 34,000 new inner-city voters signed up by ACORN in St. Louis and Kansas City since August. McCain supporters say they fear this tidal wave of new voters will offset the solid lead McCain enjoys in rural Missouri.

“It comes down to McCain or ACORN,” former Missouri Sen. John Danforth told the crowd of about 3,000 gathered in this upscale Republican stronghold growing incongruously in the middle of a soybean field about 20 miles west of St. Louis.

Danforth, who along with former Sen. Warren Rudman heads McCain's "Honest and Open Elections Committee," pointed out that ACORN is under investigation in Missouri and several other states for registering thousands of bogus voters. In fact, Missouri has been rocked by voter registration scandals in two consecutive presidential elections after ACORN activists signed up non-existent voters, dead voters, and at least one dog to go to the polls.

According the latest Rasmussen poll, McCain is trailing in the urban centers and picking up steam in rural areas where largely conservative voters are desperately seeking to overcome the impact of ACORN’s questionable registration effort in inner-city neighborhoods.

McCain’s visit here is another indication of the importance both political camps have placed on Missouri voters. McCain came calling two days after Obama appeared in St. Louis and Kansas City. Both candidates have trooped across Missouri several times. Missourians have voted for the presidential winner in all but one election since 1904, and brings 11 electoral votes to the table.

McCain on Monday warned that Obama’s “spread-the-wealth” philosophy will threaten jobs and growth in the already weak economy.

His warning was seconded by Danforth.

“Obama would lead America in a direction it has never gone before,” Danforth argued. “The key to that [was exposed when] he said to Joe the Plumber, ‘When you spread the wealth around it is good for everybody,’

“The Obama tax program, which he calls lowering taxes on 95 percent, will take money from people who pay taxes and write $1,000 checks to 47 million Americans who don’t pay taxes,” Danforth said. “No president in the history of the United States has ever had such a program F.D.R. didn’t, Truman didn’t, Johnson, Kennedy, none of them did. This is new.”

For his part, McCain pushed the crowd on the importance of their participation come election day is what is increasingly being seen as a dead heat in the Show-Me State.

"My friends, we need Missouri on Nov. 4 and with your help we're going to win Missouri and bring real change to Washington," McCain told the sometimes raucous crowd. "We have 15 days to go. We're a few points down. The national media has written us off - as they have several times in the past.”

McCain also used his appearance to laud “Joe the Plumber,” an Ohio plumber named Joe Wurzelbacher who came to epitomize the Republican working man when he accused Obama of inciting socialism for announcing he intended “to spread the wealth around.”

“It is getting close to election day and last week it seemed like there were three candidates in the race, Sen. Obama, me, and Joe the Plumber,” McCain told the cheering throng. “Joe’s dream is so many people here’s dream -- America’s dream -- to own a small business and create jobs.”

McCain reminded the crowd that small businesses “create 84 percent of the jobs in America.”

“We should support small businesses, not tax them,” he said.

Robert Pabella, 65, a retired Boeing engineer who lives about 30 miles from the rally site in Winfield, Missouri, said he was pleased with McCain’s message. Understandably so, Pabella explained, because he is also the president of the Lincoln County Republican Club.

“The social programs Obama wants to implement are not fair to people with jobs who work and pay taxes. There has to be a balance. There has to be some help for people who are unemployed, who have lost their jobs, but to take away from those who have earned their way is just unfair,” Pabella said.

In addition to Danforth, McCain was joined at the rally by fellow Republicans Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.


ACORN turned loose on electorate

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Taxpayers foot the bill for union-backed voter fraud group

The United States Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Ohio Secretary of State, Democrat Jennifer Brunner, could continue her quest to place hundreds of thousands of non-authenticated voters onto the rolls of the state of Ohio just prior to the elections. The Court reversed the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and found that the GOP lawsuit was improper because it was brought by a private entity.

Upwards of 200,000 of the over 666,000 new registrations are already in question, and given the fraudulent registrations submitted system-wide by community organizer group ACORN, Ohio’s Democrat-led state government is poised to serve up an election a third-world dictator would covet.

McCain-Palin campaign manager Rick Davis held a press conference call on Friday to address the McCain campaign’s growing concern over more links between Barack Obama and community organizer group ACORN during this election. Allegations of voter fraud and voter registration fraud are now so widespread that the FBI has stepped in to investigate ACORN for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) violations in 14 battleground states.

Referring to the first bank bailout attempt that failed, Davis said, “Barack Obama actively supported a Senate plan to cut ACORN into a percentage of the profits that would be generated by a massive trillion dollar bailout as part of the failed negotiation attempt that Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress claimed was the deal that John McCain upset the applecart on. I think the American public is probably happy that that deal never transpired.”

The McCain campaign is also asking for full disclosure of the relationship between ACORN and the Obama campaign. Davis said, “We also have suggested that we examine exactly what voter registration activity was compiled by ACORN as a part of this relationship with the Barack Obama campaign. What did they do in turnout? What was the nature of the functions that they performed? And what did they get for the $800,000 that they spent on this?”

Republican House Leader John Boehner released a statement on Friday exposing the staggering amount of money ACORN receives from taxpayers. Boehner said, “An initial review of federal records shows ACORN affiliates have received at least $31 million in direct federal funding from American taxpayers over the past 10 years, and millions more indirectly through state and local agencies that receive federal block grants. … In conjunction with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its political allies in the Democratic Party, ACORN also played a key role in creating the financial crisis that ultimately put our entire economy in peril. It’s time for us to stop forcing American taxpayers to fund the ACORN machine.”

Obama is now downplaying both his historic and his existing ties to ACORN. Having never explained his ties to terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, among others, ACORN is just another in a long line of radical affiliations Obama has not fully disclosed. ACORN is a group Obama once worked for as a community organizer and trainer, a group he represented as an attorney in court, and a group he allocated funding to while serving on the board of the Woods Foundation under the mentorship of terrorist Ayers. While in the Illinois State Senate and now in the United States Senate, Obama worked to allocate funding to ACORN. This year, Obama’s presidential campaign paid ACORN-affiliate group Citizens Services, Inc., the sum of $832,000 for something the campaign categorized as “event activity.”

One of the founders of ACORN is the hard-left radical Wade Rathke, a member of the pro-Communist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Back in the 60s, a political faction within the SDS came to power as the elected leadership, a group calling itself The Weathermen (from the Bob Dylan song "Subterranean Homesick Blues" -- “You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”) In 1969, the Weathermen split off from the main SDS group -- the members assuming false identities and changing the group name to the more ominous Weather Underground -- and began their terrorist rampage of bombings and murder. Obama colleague, terrorist Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who later would become Ayers’ wife, were leaders of the Weather Underground terrorist group that claimed responsibility for 25 bombings including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, New York City Police Headquarters and a failed plot to blow up a dinner dance at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. The Weathermen accidentally set off the bomb in their own Manhattan apartment killing three of the group, averting the likely death of dozens of U.S. servicemen and women at Ft. Dix. It is from this group of radical, pro-Communist SDS activists that ACORN emerged, led by Rathke.

In an America where the Fourth Estate existed in the “mainstream,” Obama would have a lot of explaining to do.

- Connie Hair is a freelance writer, a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).

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