Thursday, December 03, 2009
ACORN: It is hard to keep your story straight when you are lying
Is ACORN engaged in a massive money laundering scheme? Although evidence abounds that the radical left-wing advocacy group-cum-organized crime syndicate is recycling funds mafia-style, government investigators and the media have paid scant attention to ACORN's money trail. Red flags that appear to signal unlawful activities by ACORN are everywhere yet ACORN's collaborators in the White House, Justice Department, and House Judiciary Committee, smugly ignore them.
If senior executives at a troubled publicly traded corporation were to provide completely different accounts of their company's financial standing, how long would it be before federal investigators stormed their offices? If federal authorities failed to act, how long would it be before the media and the public began to accuse the powers that be of complicity in their wrongdoing? We shall see.
I have just discovered that three senior ACORN officials have recently given wildly divergent accounts of the size of ACORN's budget.
ACORN current CEO and chief organizer Bertha Lewis claimed in October that ACORN had an "average budget" between "$20 [million] and $25 million a year for everything, all of the offices combined."
ACORN national president Maude Hurd reported in the ACORN entry of Erica Payne's handbook for liberal activists, The Practical Progressive, that ACORN's annual budget last year was $50 million.
That's double the figure quoted by Lewis, yet even $50 million seems impossibly low given ACORN's lucrative ongoing corporate shakedown rackets and other revenue sources. The four main ACORN affiliates alone -- ACORN Housing Corp. Inc., Project Vote, American Institute for Social Justice Inc., and ACORN Institute Inc -- took in a total of at least $106.9 million in donations from foundations and individuals from 1993 through 2008. And ACORN takes in untold millions every year in member dues from its 400,000 members -- a figure that has crept up to 500,000 in Bertha Lewis's recent public statements.
In "Understanding ACORN," an essay published earlier this year, ACORN founder Wade Rathke said ACORN's annual budget was north of $100 million. "Each year we raise and spend over $100 million, of which a significant part comes from dues and internal fundraising, but big chunks come from campaign support and labor and corporate partnerships," he wrote.
So, is it $100 million, $50 million, or $25 million?
No one seems to know just how large the entire ACORN network's budget is. One of the reasons is that housing and community development grants administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are difficult to track.
ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal funds since 1993, much of it through HUD. HUD often distributes the money to states and localities, which then allot the funds to many different nonprofit groups. Getting a total financial picture would require enlisting an army of Freedom of Information Act requesters and forensic accountants.
Complicating the accounting further, ACORN Housing Corp. Inc., one of the ACORN network's largest affiliate members and ACORN's primary recipient of federal funding, throws money around like a drunken congressman trying to get re-elected.
Taxpayer dollars go into the ACORN network through ACORN Housing and then they somehow disappear. Some of the money leaves ACORN Housing in the form of huge cash transfers to other affiliates within the ACORN network.
The press loves stories of moral hypocrisy. Catching a finger-wagging politician violating his or her own moral code warms the cockles of every reporter's heart. Indeed, sometimes journalists confuse hypocrisy for the real crime. "If a politician murders his mother," the late Washington Post editorial page editor Meg Greenfield once said, "the first response of the press ... will likely be not that it was a terrible thing to do, but rather that in a statement made six years before, he had gone on record as being opposed to matricide."
The crusade against moral hypocrisy necessarily hits conservatives harder, not because conservatives are more immoral but because they uphold morality more publicly, making them richer targets. The left aims much of its moralizing at moralizing itself -- "thou shalt not judge." Meanwhile, the right focuses on the oldies but goodies -- adultery, drug use, etc. I think we're right to uphold a standard even if we sometimes fail to live up to it.
What I don't think we hear enough about is intellectual hypocrisy. What's that? Well, if moral hypocrisy is saying what values people should live by while failing to follow them yourself, intellectual hypocrisy is believing you are smart enough to run other peoples' lives when you can barely run your own.
I know many smart liberals for whom no idea is too complex, no concept or organizational flow chart too hard to grasp. They want government to take over this, run that, manage some other things, and in all cases put people exactly like them in charge of pretty much everything. Many are geniuses, with SAT scores so high you could get a bloody nose just looking at them. But you wouldn't ask one to run a car wash.
The chairman of a small college's English department thinks it's obvious intellectuals should take over health care, but he can't manage the class schedules of three professors or run a meeting without it coming to blows or tears. A pundit defends government intervention in almost every sphere of economic life, but he can't figure out how to manage the interns or his checking account.
The most famous story of an intellectual hypocrite getting his comeuppance is the tale of George McGovern and his inn. The senator, 1972 presidential nominee and college professor thought he could run a vast, technologically sophisticated nation with a diverse population and an entrepreneurial culture. Then, after leaving Washington, he bought an inn in Connecticut to while away his retirement years. For a guy as smart as him, running an inn should have been child's play. But it went belly-up before the end of the year, with a contritely befuddled McGovern marveling at how much harder running a business was than he thought.
Or consider Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), currently subject of a House ethics investigation. Rangel heads the Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax code. He backs the imposition of an income tax surcharge on high earners to pay for health care, calling it "the moral thing to do." Yet he can't seem to figure out how to file his own taxes properly or, perhaps, legally.
Now, I also know lots of conservatives who are basket cases at everything other than reading and writing books and articles, giving speeches and thinking Big Thoughts (likewise, I know liberals who despise conservative moralizing about sex and religion who nonetheless live chaste, pious lives themselves). The point is that conservatives don't presume to be smart enough to run everything, because conservative dogma takes it as an article of faith that no one can be that smart.
Moral hypocrisy is still worth exposing, I guess. But we are living in a moment when revealing intellectual hypocrisy should take precedence. A J.P. Morgan chart reprinted on the "Enterprise Blog" shows that less than 10 percent of President Obama's Cabinet has private-sector experience, the least of any Cabinet in a century. From the stimulus to health care reform and cap-and-trade, Washington is now run by people who think they know how to run everything, when in reality they can barely run anything.
The Pretense of Knowledge
by Walter E. Williams
The ultimate constraint that we all face is knowledge -- what we know and don't know. The knowledge problem is pervasive and by no means trivial as hinted at by just a few examples. You've purchased a house. Was it the best deal you could have gotten? Was there some other house you could have purchased that 10 years later would not have needed extensive repairs or was in a community with more likeable neighbors and a better environment for your children? What about the person you married? Was there another person who would have made for a more pleasing spouse? Though these are important questions, the most intelligent answer you can give to all of them is: "I don't know."
Since you don't know the answers, who do you think, here on Earth, is likely to know and whom would you like to make these decisions for you -- Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, George Bush, a czar appointed by Obama or a committee of Washington bureaucrats? I bet that if these people were to forcibly make housing or marital decisions for us, most would deem it tyranny.
You say, "Williams, Congress is not making such monumental decisions that affect my life." Try this. You are a 22-year-old healthy person. Instead of spending $3,000 or $4,000 a year for health insurance, you'd prefer investing that money in equipment to start a landscaping business. Which is the best use of that $3,000 or $4,000 a year -- purchasing health insurance or starting up a landscaping business -- and who should decide that question: Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, George Bush, aczar appointed by Obama or a committee of Washington bureaucrats? How can they possibly know what's the best use of your earnings, particularly in light of the fact that they have no idea of who you are?
Neither you nor the U.S. Congress has the complete knowledge to know exactly what's best for you. The difference is that when individuals make their own trade-offs, say between purchasing health insurance or investing in a business, they make wiser decisions because it is they who personally bear the costs and benefits of those decisions. You say, "Hold it, Williams, we've got you now! What if that person gets really sick and doesn't have health insurance. Society suffers the burden of taking care of him." To the extent that is a problem, it is not a problem of liberty; it's a problem of congressionally mandated socialism. Let's look at it.
It is not society that bears the burden; it is some flesh and blood American worker who finds his earnings taken by Congress to finance the health needs of another person. There is absolutely no moral case, much less constitutional case, for Congress forcibly using one American to serve the purposes of another American, a practice that differs only in degree from slavery, which we all should find morally offensive.
Whether it is health care, education, employment or most other areas of our lives, I ask you: Who has the capacity to master all the complexity to make choices on behalf of others? Each of us possesses only a tiny percentage of the knowledge that would be necessary to make totally informed decisions in our own lives, much less the lives of others. There is only one reason for the forcible transference of decision-making authority over important areas of our private lives to elite decision-makers in Congress and government bureaucracies. Doing so confers control, power, wealth and revenue to society's elite. What's in the best interests of individual members of society, such as a person who'd rather launch a landscaping business than purchase a health insurance policy, ranks low on the elite's list of priorities.
Barack OBAMA said, in his Cairo speech: "I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story"
Dear Mr. Obama:
Were those Muslims that were in America when the Pilgrims first landed? Funny, I thought they were Native American Indians. Were those Muslims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving day? Sorry again, those were Pilgrims and Native American Indians.
Can you show me one Muslim signature on the United States Constitution? Declaration of Independence? Bill of Rights? Didn't think so.
Did Muslims fight for this country's freedom from England? No.
Did Muslims fight during the Civil War to free the slaves in America? No, they did not. In fact, Muslims to this day are still the largest traffickers in human slavery. Your own 'half brother' a devout Muslim still advocates slavery himself, even though muslims of Arabic descent refer to black muslims as "pug nosed slaves." Says a lot of what the Muslim world really thinks of your family's "rich Islamic heritage" doesn't it Mr.Obama?
Where were Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this country? Not present. There are no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking side by side with Martin Luther King Jr.. or helping to advance the cause of Civil Rights.
Where were Muslims during this country's Woman's Suffrage era? Again, not present. In fact, devout Muslims demand that women are subservient to men in the Islamic culture. So much so that often they are beaten for not wearing the 'hajib' or for talking to a man that is not a direct family member or their husband. Yep, the Muslims are all for women's rights aren't they?
Where were Muslims during World War II? They were aligned with Adolf Hitler. The Muslim grand mufti himself met with Adolf Hitler, reviewed the troops and accepted support from the Nazi's in killing Jews.
Finally, Obama, where were Muslims on Sept. 11th, 2001? If they weren't flying planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or a field in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people on our own soil, they were rejoicing in the Middle East. No one can dispute the pictures shown from all parts of the Muslim world celebrating on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other news networks that day. Strangely, the very "moderate" Muslims who's asses you bent over backwards to kiss in Cairo, Egypt on June 4th were stone cold silent post 9-11. To many Americans, their silence has meant approval for the acts of that day.
And THAT, Obama, is the "rich heritage" Muslims have here in America. And now we can add November 5, 2009-- the slaughter of American soldiers at Fort Hood by a muslim major who is a doctor and a psychiatrist who was supposed to be counselling soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. That, Obama, is the "muslim heritage" in America.
Buy Nothing Day: "It may have passed you by, but Saturday was Buy Nothing Day, a movement whipped up by the anti-consumerist organization AdBusters. They claim that ‘there’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth; we have to consume less.’ The day ‘highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of shopping’ promising that ‘for 24 hours you’ll get your life back.’ AdBusters has long campaigned on the evils of neoclassical economics and the way in which it has caused cataclysmic climate change, exploitation of developing countries and huge global inequality. However, no matter how much the group may hate today’s society, encouraging people to grind the capitalist system to a halt would of course perpetuate the problems they profess to be so concerned about.”
Why Won't We Face Iran's Evil?: "When tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets last spring and braved the most brutal repression the regime could inflict, Michael Ledeen was the least surprised man in Washington. In season and out, Ledeen has chronicled the profound weakness of the mullahocracy and its deep unpopularity with the Iranian people. Impatiently, year after year, he has identified opportunities for the United States to help the people of Iran replace their sinister and menacing rulers. After each new post on the subject, Ledeen signed off with "Faster please." The failure to grapple with the challenge of Iran is more than a strategic failure, he argues; it's a moral failure. Just as few in the democratic countries took Adolf Hitler at his word when he repeatedly promised to dominate the world and kill all the Jews, and few could squarely acknowledge the genocidal lengths to which the communists would go, so today the threat from the radical Islamists is minimized, whitewashed, or wished away."
Read the Numbers: Obama Will Bankrupt America: "When President Barack Obama entered office in January, the greatest problem America faced was neither the war in Afghanistan nor the recession. It was the imminent crisis of the welfare state. Not only has Obama failed to deal with this crisis, he is pursuing policies that will bankrupt America. In March, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, led by former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, calculated the total value of the federal government's "unfunded liabilities" as they stood at the end of fiscal 2008. The sum of these unfunded liabilities, the foundation discovered, stood at $56.4 trillion. That equals $435,000 for every full-time worker in the United States. How did Obama respond to this problem? First, he signed a $787-billion stimulus law. Obama repeatedly claimed this law -- that not one member of Congress read in its entirety -- was urgently needed to create jobs. In fact, most of the new spending it authorized was for longer-term projects, including creating a national system of electronic health records for every person in America in anticipation of Obama's plan to nationalize the health care system. Then, Obama offered his first federal budget. In 2008, President Bush's last year in office, the federal government spent $2.983 trillion. Under Obama's plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office, annual federal spending will climb to $4.982 trillion by 2019."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:35 AM