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September 05, 2008

Comments

From Obama:

You haven't heard a word about how we're going to deal with any aspect of the economy that is affecting you and your pocketbook day-to-day. Haven't heard a word about it. I'm not exaggerating. Literally, two nights, they have not said a word about it.

The rightwingers are going to try and use this to call Obama a liar. They are going to try and compare this to Palin's speech where she blatantly lied about the Democrats and Obama

We need to send a strong message that drilling for oil, getting rid of pork and reducing the tax burden has nothing to do with fixing our failing economy.

Daily Show has been on fire during the conventions. Both the reporting and the commentary have been hilarious.

Also last night, they had on Huckabee, who continues to be the most likable person alive.

Also last night, they had on Huckabee, who continues to be the most likable person alive.

No kidding.

Whatever problems Palin presents for the Democrats, I remain very glad that Huckabee isn't on the Republican ticket.

I wonder if people shouldn't stop talking in general terms about Obama's community organizing, and mention by name the organization for which he worked.

I'm amazed at how rarely Giuliani is ridiculed for his delivery of he-man lines. A Democrat with that lisp would have some extra-special nickname in the rightosphere, especially if he were given to macho posturing.

CC: Some of them maybe. “Friends of the Parks” sounds just dandy. But you don’t really believe that bringing ACORN into this would actually help do you?

I saw it pointed out elsewhere (maybe on Making Light?) that Jesus was a community organizer, and Pilate was a governor. FWIW.

OCSteve, considering that the vast majority of the people who view ACORN as part of some vast voter fraud conspiracy, simply because they got ripped off by people they were paying to do voter registration, are already unshakably opposed to Obama, I doubt that it would hurt much.

But you don’t really believe that bringing ACORN into this would actually help do you?

No. Voters hate people who worked for organisations that did Katrina relief work, save people from losing their homes, campaign for a living wage, and improve education. No, OCSteve, reminding people Obama worked for an organization that did awful, terrible, no-good, very bad things like that isn't going to do any good at all.

Well, obviously it isn't going to help him with the kind of conservatives who believe poor people ought to stay poor and badly educated, and that the people who suffered most after Katrina deserved it. You know: diehard Republicans.

JoshA is right. The Daily Show has been absolutely fantastic; I just wished it reached more people than it does. Between this segment and the one comparing the Republican commentators... laughing is quite the remedy after seeing such venom and hypocrisy.

I was thinking of this outfit.

http://www.samefacts.com/archives/_/2008/09/why_does_the_gop_hate_catholics.php>HT

I love the Daily Show, but the segments with the reporters on the scene can be Borat-like in their embarassment factor and I have to skip thru cause I become convinced that someone is going to blow up and rip one of them limb from limb.

The greatest collection of Car Wallpapers

The greatest collection of Car Wallpapers

OCSteve, I think what Charlie Carp was referring to is this bit of history described on Obama's wikipedia page:

After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer for three years from June 1985 to May 1988 as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side.[12][14] During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens.[15] Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute.[16]

I agree with him: telling people that Obama worked as the director of a community service organization associated with the Catholic Church would be helpful. Then again, I have a soft spot for Catholics.

Andy,

I'm not sure how many people actually watch Jon Stewart, but the availability must be pretty decent. I can watch it several times a day on a couple of networks, and I live in Canada. It's definitely a good source of info on what is going on in the US, the same as CNBC news is a good for a laugh (and Colbert for the OHL).

I don't recall which guest said it to Jon, but he said something to the effect that it's only the jester that can speak the truth in the king's court.

“Friends of the Parks” sounds just dandy. But you don’t really believe that bringing ACORN into this would actually help do you?

A revealing response, in two ways. First, showing that you had no idea for what organization Obama worked, but also showing that Emptywheel is correct:

The coordinated convention smear against community organizing is not only a racist dogwhistle (per Billmon), but part of a larger Republican effort (into which you appear to have bought), against ACORN and other organizations that work to register and mobilize poor people to vote.

In other words, it's not only about associating Obama with radicalism, it's about the long-standing, more-vital-than-ever Republican tactic of vote suppression.

CC: I was thinking of this outfit.

Turb: telling people that Obama worked as the director of a community service organization associated with the Catholic Church would be helpful.

Just seems that if it got any traction at all the RW would jut respond with ACORN! ACORN! ACORN! Given how often they are in the news lately, I’d avoid having Obama tied to the group right before the election.


KCinDC: simply because they got ripped off by people they were paying to do voter registration

I’d buy that the first time it happened. But when they don’t change their process and it keeps happening, year after year…


Jes: No, OCSteve, reminding people Obama worked for an organization that did awful, terrible, no-good, very bad things like that isn't going to do any good at all.

I took a load of stuff to Goodwill last weekend. I’ll assume that absolves me of all possible conservative type evil in your mind.

But when they don’t change their process and it keeps happening, year after year…

Yes, instead of using people to do voter registrations, they should use intelligent robots that are unable to tell a lie. Or pour all their effort into creating a web page that can deal with the requirements of doing voter registration, like a signature, and things like that. I'm sure that local registrars will be totally flexible with the promulgated rules on collecting voter registrations.

I saw it pointed out elsewhere

This one is making the rounds.

Just seems that if it got any traction at all the RW would jut respond with ACORN! ACORN! ACORN! Given how often they are in the news lately, I’d avoid having Obama tied to the group right before the election.

Sounds as if you're part of the effort.

ACORN has existed for decades, and done a ton of work to organize poor communities to improve their lives. If you're determined to buy into the Republican campaign to paint them as some sort of partisan "voter-fraud" operation, that's your choice. But it's willed ignorance.

Nell, I thought it was (as with OCSteve never having heard of Oxfam) a general ignorance that ACORN is known for doing anything other than "voter fraud". If you're OCSteve, whose connection with Goodwill is only ever donation and never need, you probably never have heard of ACORN in any connection other than the right-wing news talking up any voter fraud they can - however vaguely - link to Democrats.

@Slarti:

The full joke is a two-parter:

Jesus was a community organizer.
Pontius Pilate was a governor.

OCS, there's certainly a species of Republican that is beyond all reach; not just unwilling but apparently unable to distinguish between ACORN and the conference of Catholic bishops. One hopes they are not a majority even among Republicans, much less among the non-Democratic electorate.

One can hope as well that among those not in this group, shouting ACORN ACORN ACORN would have a negative consequence.

Nell: A revealing response, in two ways. First, showing that you had no idea for what organization Obama worked,

Why do you assume that? I mentioned Friends of the Parks because of their name and what they do on one side, vs. ACORN on the other. Or are you asserting that Obama has no connection to ACORN?

it's about the long-standing, more-vital-than-ever Republican tactic of vote suppression

Well, I’ll admit to wanting to suppress the votes of non-existent voters. You got me there.

Seattle case: 97% fake.
Kansas City case: 40% fake (of 35,000).

They had “issues” in 14 states including Ohio. It amazes me that some of the same folks quickest to look for election tampering at every turn will defend this group - especially when we have elections turning on just hundreds of votes.

i've watched the daily show for a long time (even in the pre-Stewart era in college).

this week has been as good as any i've ever seen

LJ: Doesn’t take a robot to verify random registrations. If 97% are fake, chances are you would catch on.

Are you saying, OCS, that Obama was working for ACORN in the 1980s?

It amazes me that some of the same folks quickest to look for election tampering at every turn will defend this group - especially when we have elections turning on just hundreds of votes.

Wait, are you saying that ACORN is involved in a conspiracy to commit electoral fraud? Such a conspiracy would involve not just fake registrations, but fake people using those registrations to show up and vote. Is there any evidence that this has happened? I mean, does ACORN have the budget to pay people to engage in a felony this way? Have there been any whistle blowers? Conspiracies are tough to keep secret and I imagine that any DA in the country would salivate over this, so where are the prosecutions for vote fraud?

The full joke is a two-parter:

Yes, I'm aware of that. I've seen it several times today.

Or are you suggesting that he should keep quiet about the work he did for that Catholic organization, lest someone mention that he represented ACORN in a successful suit to get his state to follow the law, and that ACORN supports his candidacy. If so, it's a bad trade: the ACORN card has already been played, and there's no chance it won't be played again.

There's no such thing as opening the door to a particular criticism from a Republican presidential campaign. It's always the kitchen sink.

If so, it's a bad trade: the ACORN card has already been played, and there's no chance it won't be played again.

No, no, I'm sure that THIS time, if Obama just refuses to mention anything positive about community organizing, McCain will do the honorable thing and refuse to play the ACORN card. Really, I'm sure that will work. I love holding this football.

My point is that calls for changing the process run into problems with what is required by law. Thus, claiming that ACORN could simply change their process is highly unrealistic.

It is also not clear to me how much is the collectors cheating and how much of it is pranking, but I have not spent much time investigating any of this. Googling turns up these links
here
ACORN officials in Kansas City said they turned in the four people who were indicted.

"We're very happy that they were indicted," said Claudie Harris with ACORN.

Harris said ACORN workers are paid by the hour and not by the number of voter registration cards they turn in.

"When you fraudulently defraud this, that gives us a bad name and what we're trying to do a bad name," Harris said.

ACORN officials said the four indicted have been fired.

here

But as Union Corruption Update indicated at length back in January, the evidence is damning: ACORN activists in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas padded the voter rolls with 35,000 or more fraudulent or questionable registration cards.

...Prosecutors later dropped the charges against one of the defendants, Stephanie Davis. Her identity had been stolen by Carmen Davis; information as to whether the two are related was not available in the four-count indictment dated January 5, 2007. Carmen Davis, who also goes by the name Latisha Reed, was accused of using Stephanie Davis’s Social Security number while employed as a voter registration recruiter for ACORN in August and September of 2006. Ms. Davis/Reed allegedly caused three false registration applications – all in the name of the same person, but with different addresses – to be filed with the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners.

Didn't see anything about the Seattle case, though getting indicted for three false registrations, and scaling that up to 35,000 or even 45% of that seems a bit far-fetched.

@OCSteve: How are non-existent voters going to vote? The fraud in question is against ACORN, which paid people who turned in worthless registration forms. (It's also a burden on local registrars who have to waste time processing applications that don't turn into registered voters.)

Workers paid by the application turned in is not good practice, but it doesn't create a danger of people voting twice, or people voting who are not qualified to do so.

They had “issues” in 14 states including Ohio.

No surprise there; they were one of the largest voter registration efforts out there, and the Republican vote suppression operatives were pressuring DAs and US Attorneys to make a legal case out of every "issue" possible.

And in at least one case they've pursued and held accountable their own workers.

Obama's community organizing experience just after law school was for an eight-parish project of the Campaign for Human Development, supporting a community devastated by the shutdown of steel mills.

As a state senator, he supported ACORN's right and ability to register voters.

ACORN supports his election? So do the vast majority of organizations devoted to bettering the lives of Americans in the bottom third of this very, very unequal economy.

And so, I thought, do you. If you want to see Obama become president, then quit smearing the people who are helping make that possible by registering low-income voters.

CC: Are you saying, OCS, that Obama was working for ACORN in the 1980s?

“For” as in a paid employee? I don’t think so. He worked with them on the asbestos issue, helping to train their staff - specifically with Madeleine Talbot. ACORN staffers returned the favor, helping out with Obama’s early political campaigns.

I wouldn’t have brought it up if there was no connection….

I see that the King County prosecutor makes the same point I have (from the link in my previous post, my emphasis):

According to King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, the misconduct was done "as an easy way to get paid [by ACORN], not as an attempt to influence the outcome of elections."

Turb: I think we’ve had the discussion on fraudulent registrations vs. fraudulent votes a few times here (not necessarily you and I – ObWi in general). But why should we be any less concerned with fraudulent registrations? It certainly sets the stage for more serious problems. (Like Washington state Governor 2004 – winner by 133 votes, but there were deceased voters, voters registered to storage lockers, and ineligible felons all in the mix.)

CC: There's no such thing as opening the door to a particular criticism from a Republican presidential campaign. It's always the kitchen sink.

I’m just saying pushing on this topic will result in push-back with ACORN. Other folks say well anyone concerned with that won’t vote for him anyway. But trying to clarify this issue won’t convince anyone who’s not already going to vote for him. So why bother and risk an Obama/ACORN news cycle close to the election?

At the very same time that Ronald Reagan was working with what became Al Qaeda. With support of McCain.

I find it very hard to believe that there's anyone whose vote is in play over such things. fact is, he wasn't working for ACORN. he was working for a venerable organization, one that the McCain campaign would do well not to ridicule.

OT - I look forward to Foxnews.com's similar report on the lies and untruths about Barack Obama.

Though one would hope they do a better job.

OCSteve: pushing on this topic will result in push-back with ACORN. Other folks say well anyone concerned with that won’t vote for him anyway. But trying to clarify this issue won’t convince anyone who’s not already going to vote for him. So why bother and risk an Obama/ACORN news cycle close to the election?

So it's best just to stand quietly and hold the football, eh?

I think Obama's asking what is probably the right question here, after explaining that among other things his community organizing experience explains who he is, why he's running:

What are _they_ advocating for? Who are _they_ fighting for? To make helping folks who've fallen on hard times ridiculous, maybe that's part of the problem -- they're so out of touch that they don't get the problems people are having.

[My transcription from memory, definitely not exact, but that's the drift. Video.]

"CC: Some of them maybe. 'Friends of the Parks' sounds just dandy. But you don’t really believe that bringing ACORN into this would actually help do you?"

I'd love to know when, exactly, Obama was an employee of ACORN, Steve. Since, you know, he never was. (There was a lawsuit he filed that had a long list of plaintiffs, including ACORN; that's as close as it gets.)

Barack Obama was never a community organizer for ACORN; that's a lie. (Not that it would be terrible if he was: what on earth is wrong with ACORN, beyond the crazed views of extremist rightwing nutbars hating all community-type or left-type organizations?)

CharleyCarp writes: "I wonder if people shouldn't stop talking in general terms about Obama's community organizing, and mention by name the organization for which he worked."

OCSteve:

Nell: A revealing response, in two ways. First, showing that you had no idea for what organization Obama worked,

Why do you assume that? I mentioned Friends of the Parks because of their name and what they do on one side, vs. ACORN on the other. Or are you asserting that Obama has no connection to ACORN?

Goalpost move. Obama never worked as a community organizer for ACORN: your response is a non-sequitur attempt to "smear" with a reply about a group that Obama never worked for (setting aside that any connection to ACORN is only a "smear" in the minds of nutbars.)

Thus, Nell assumes you don't know who employed Obama, rather than that you are beling deliberately dishonest by claiming he worked for someone he never did, or that a far more distant and tenuous connection is somehow identical to who his employer for years was.

Can I again urge you to please read Dreams From My Father, Steve? Thanks!

And looking further down this thread, could you please give cites for your claims? I'm afraid I'll disregard them until you do, given your fast and loose approach here. Thanks again!

"I’m just saying pushing on this topic will result in push-back with ACORN. Other folks say well anyone concerned with that won’t vote for him anyway. But trying to clarify this issue won’t convince anyone who’s not already going to vote for him. So why bother and risk an Obama/ACORN news cycle close to the election?"

Answer: "anyone concerned with that won’t vote for him anyway"

I'm fine with it; so far as I know, ACORN is an admirable organization. It might help if you knew anything about that that you'd learned beyond the filter of crazy extremist nutbar versions.

Just read about what Obama actually did, in Faith Of Our Fathers, and tell me how it isn't deeply admirable: that's all I ask. Then I'm happy to deal with all these nonsensical lies, in favor of letting more people know more about how great Obama was in what he did in his organizing job.

I just ask that you bother to look into the truth yourself. Judge for yourself, rather than relying on NRO, or Captain Ed, or whomever, to tell you what the facts are.

Gary, it appears that OCSteve has bought into the ACORN smear and is spreading it, but I don't think he's a nutbar.

OCSteve, you are a fucking idiot.

"(Like Washington state Governor 2004 – winner by 133 votes, but there were deceased voters, voters registered to storage lockers, and ineligible felons all in the mix.)"

NONE of these "voters" actually voted or influenced the election in any way other than in your fucking head.

Moron.

OCSteve, you are a fucking idiot.

"(Like Washington state Governor 2004 – winner by 133 votes, but there were deceased voters, voters registered to storage lockers, and ineligible felons all in the mix.)"

NONE of these "voters" actually voted or influenced the election in any way other than in your fucking head.

Moron.

MikeF, the posting rules forbid profanity, personal abuse, probably a bunch of other stupid things you wrote in your comment. OCSteve may be ignorant, even willfully so, but you're hurting our case by being a jerk about it. People with truth on their side can afford to be decent. Please stop "helping" in this manner.

If you're OCSteve, whose connection with Goodwill is only ever donation and never need,

Given Steve's prior descriptions of his childhood and upbringing here and elsewhere, you are way, way out of line and I believe you owe him an apology.

What everyone else said re OCSteve.

"I’m just saying pushing on this topic will result in push-back with ACORN. Other folks say well anyone concerned with that won’t vote for him anyway. But trying to clarify this issue won’t convince anyone who’s not already going to vote for him. So why bother and risk an Obama/ACORN news cycle close to the election?"

There are going to be Obama/Angry Left news cycles but this one has an upside and it gets at a genuinely important point.

I think Jon Stewart's "thousand points of bull---" will resonate with a lot of the same people that Palin is meant to energize. There are Christians who are sick of being manipulated by the GOP and if they see this as a guy who's genuinely dedicated to his community vs. one of those flat-earth crazies who have been using and embarrassing them for years they will identify with Obama and it will pay off.

I don't think the flat earth or committed pro-life votes are up for grabs but it would dull Palin's appeal and hurt the GOP in the long run.

Anyway the push-back is already happening and (hopefully) it's coming from people who are sincerely pissed-off by this so the risk/reward calculations don't really enter into it.

This will be extremely positive if it's a genuine grass roots response, we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.

"Gary, it appears that OCSteve has bought into the ACORN smear and is spreading it, but I don't think he's a nutbar."

Neither do I. I said he shouldn't buy into the characterizations of nutbars. (I imagine he's working off stuff like this, and Kurtz is a nutbar.)

MikeF, posting rules; you're way out of line.

Ack! what everyone else, including Anarch, said about OCSteve.

Also, MikeF: bye.

Here's an attempt to cool things down a bit.

Jon Stewart saves me the cost of a new TV. Listening to the speeches Wednesday, I was literally shouting at the television and was about ready to throw my remote at the screen. Then The Daily Show comes on and makes it all better. Thank you Jon Stewart. I really can't afford a new TV right now.

(Personally, though, I like Colbert more. I dig parody and Colbert is one of the best I've ever seen at it. Its a special treat when he has guests who don't 'get' his schtick. I giggle just thinking about it.)

Actually, Obama worked for the Campaign for Human Development, a well-known and highly respected Catholic charity, under the auspices of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

From the CCHD Website:
"The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) established the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Church's domestic anti-poverty program, in 1969 with two purposes. The first purpose was to raise funds to support "organized groups of white and minority poor to develop economic strength and political power." The second purpose was to "educate the People of God to a new knowledge of today's problems . . . that can lead to some new approaches that promote a greater sense of solidarity.""

"The CCHD philosophy emphasizes empowerment and participation for the poor. By helping the poor to participate in the decisions and actions that affect their lives, CCHD empowers them to move beyond poverty."

A release from Catholic Democrats on the subject:
http://www.catholicdemocrats.org/news/2008/09/palin_attacks_catholic_communi.php#more

All this shouting about ACORN is entirely beside the point and is merely designed to confuse and obfuscate.

Here's Malkin lying her ass off about how Obama worked for ACORN.

Maybe the Roman Catholic church will someday again have a pope like the one who inspired the creation of the Campaign for Human Development.

MikeF: OCSteve, you are a fucking idiot.

Well, you’d have to get in line in front of my wife to be the first to say that to me. Kind of takes the sting out.

To everyone else – I admit I’m pushing too hard. Kind of like the guy that just quit smoking. I realize it is counter-productive and I have to just give it up. But I see things in my way that seem so obvious – GOP, set trap – D type folks, jump right into it.
But yes – I need to give it up. I’ve had my say.

I understand your point, Steve. I just don't think there's any upside in letting the other side lie with impunity. We've seen that movie before. And working for the Catholic church is nothing to be embarrassed about, and is in fact something he can be, and clearly is, proud of.

The Washington Times headline this morning was (I'm paraphrasing) McCain Promises to End Partisan Rancor. OK, now's a good time. Tell that woman to talk about actual policy differences, of which there are many, and leave the slander at home. Same message to everyone else.

Obama said that if he caught anyone in his campaign impuning Bristol Palin, he'd fire them. I'd like to see something similar from McCain, but I won't: in the context of this campaign, his position on partisan rancor is just as phony as the claims the current president made on that score in 2000.

"But I see things in my way that seem so obvious – GOP, set trap – D type folks, jump right into it."

Old habits die hard.

But you must complete your turn away from the dark side, or forever will it dominate your destiny.

Gary: (I imagine he's working off stuff like this, and Kurtz is a nutbar.)

I was working off the LA Times story – but I see that Kurtz referenced it.

All: I have to say that I am really surprised time after time that you all have no problems at all with this group. I don’t think it is a “smear” when there are convictions, etc.

Ah. Whatever.

Done now.

"All: I have to say that I am really surprised time after time that you all have no problems at all with this group."

Steve, do you have any knowledge of ACORN that doesn't come from extremist right-wing smears? Pretty much everything they've written is, and I guess you don't realize this, a lie.

So far as I know, ACORN does good work in organizing people for political goals I approve of, like government programs to help the poor, recycling programs, yes, voter registration, and the like. Those are admirable programs and good work, and what's not to like?

All that stuff about how they're out to commit voter fraud is a bunch of total nonsense, and so is all that McCarthyite craziness about how they're a bunch of dangerous radicals out to cause riots, or whatever. It's all total crap. So far as I know (caveat: I'm no expert on them, and haven't been out conducting investigations; but every accusation that I've read, so far as I've looked at it, is total nonsense when I've checked it out; just like just about everything put out by Malkin and NRO and their ilk).

ACORN is, last I looked, mild-mannered liberal college students, doubtless leavened with a few dimbulbs, but nonetheless just an average harmless do-good group. So far as I know. Not more harmful or alarming than College Democrats.

ACORN issues:

Predatory lending
ACORN has fought against lending practices that it sees as predatory by targeting the national companies that practice them, working for stronger state laws against predatory practices, organizing against local financial scams, and steering individuals toward loan counseling.[2] Following a three-year campaign Household International (now owned by HSBC Holdings and renamed HSBC Finance Corporation), one of the largest subprime lenders in the country, and ACORN announced on November 25, 2003 a proposed settlement of a 2002 national class-action lawsuit brought by ACORN. The settlement created a $72 million Foreclosure Avoidance Program to provide relief to Household borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes.[2] The settlement came on the heels of an earlier $484 million settlement between Household, Attorneys General, and bank regulators from all 50 US states.[3]

Living wages

Living wage ordinances require private businesses that do business with the government to pay their workers a wage that enables them to afford basic necessities. ACORN has helped pass local living wage laws in fifteen cities including Chicago, Oakland, Denver, and New York City.[4] ACORN maintains a website that provides strategic and logistical assistance to organizations nationwide.

Katrina Relief

ACORN members across the country, particularly in the Gulf region, have organized fundraising and organizing drives to ensure that victims of Hurricane Katrina will receive assistance and will be able to return to affected areas. ACORN's Home Cleanout Demonstration Program has gutted and rebuilt over 1,850 homes with the help of volunteers. The ACORN Katrina Survivors Association formed in the aftermath of the storm is the first nationwide organization for Katrina survivors and has been working for equitable treatment for victims. Displaced citizens were bused into the city for the New Orleans primary and general elections. ACORN Housing Services have helped more than 2,000 homeowners affected by the storm and is an official planner working with the city on reconstruction.[5][unreliable source?]

Education

ACORN pushes education reform usually in the form of organizing neighborhood groups and "community" or "ACORN schools". In Chicago, ACORN has advocated for a certified teacher to be in every classroom. In California ACORN has documented the need for textbooks and school repairs. ACORN works with teachers unions to get money for school construction and more funding forschools.[6] ACORN opposes charter schools and for-profit schooling initiatives, most notably the proposed Edison Schools takeover of the New York City public schools in 2001.[6][unreliable source?]

]Gun Control

In 2006, ACORN intervened on behalf of Jersey City New Jersey in a lawsuit brought against the city, which challenged a local ordinance that limited handgun purchasers to one gun a month.[7] The ordinance was ultimately struck down as it violated the New Jersey Constitution's Equal Protection clause, and a state statute prohibiting towns and municipalities from enacting firearms legislation.[8]

This is not exactly the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade.

I must confess that I can't keep up with either the volume or the strong feelings.

So at the risk of having had the flow of logic ("logic"?) pass me right by today, I want to ask OCSteve a question in response to his as 7:23.

Lots of organizations have people connected with them who have been convicted of crimes in relation to their work for those organizations.

So if Jane Doe is a former Congressperson, now serving time for misusing her office, does that mean that it is off limits to mention that John Doe was once in Congress too?

One more.

You all keep talking about how the right tries to “radicalize” Obama. Those ties are there whether you want to believe it or not. Middle America does not believe that associations with Bill Ayers, or Wright, or ACORN are what they want in a president. You can think of what it would be like in your perfect world, or face reality. These ties hurt him.

My point has been to either throw them under the bus (getting crowded) or just let it lie and hope no one brings it up.

But I end up spending hours defending what I perceive to be these self-explanatory points. It’s TOO much damned work, and the reward is just to be smacked around again and again and again.

Good luck!

My point has been to either throw them under the bus (getting crowded) or just let it lie and hope no one brings it up.

But that seems more like expedient politics a la McCain, and not entirely in Obama's style.

Besides...I think what really is driving some folks like me is that >>I<< have sounded at least as "radical" as the Wrights in rhetoric over the years (not nearly as far as Ayers was in the 60s), but nobody who knows me or seen my work is ever going to accuse me of being a dangerous radical (being so close to the mild mannered Asian American stereotype that I am). That cognitive disjunct is really stopping me---how could I urge throwing Wright under the bus when I've said equally inflammatory things in public.

This is not exactly the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade.

I had friends in the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade...

(Um, and someone of them now work on Wall Street....)(should we scour New York of them?)

And read the rest of their history, and tell me what's wrong with it.

What you don't seem to filter for, Steve, is that the sources you read, like NRO and such, mostly lie.

Steve,

It probably feels lonely today , but you cause many of us to wonder why you see things differently than we do. Some of us respond inappropriately., but what I like about OBW is that most of the questions are respectful and heartfelt.

And I have one: I appreciate that many in "Middle America" are turned off by some of Obama's associations, just as many of the more liberal persuasion are turned off by some of the associations the Republicans have that we see as corrupt. e.g. Haliburton, K Street, etc.

My question is, do you see these as comparable or do you recognize that one set is biased and the other is really bad?

"Those ties are there whether you want to believe it or not."

"Ties" is the classic right-wing smear, Steve. "Links" is the other favorite word. They take some faint connection, and lie a lot about it.

By their logic, I have "ties" to all sorts of revolutionaries. Big whoop. I suppose I should throw myself under the bus.

"My point has been to either throw them under the bus (getting crowded) or just let it lie and hope no one brings it up."

My point is that practically every Democrat has "ties" by this logic to endless organizations that are "leftist," and to equally ominous people. What it boils down to is "Democrats all associate with dangerous revolutionaries and terrorists! Never vote for one!"

I could equally "tie" and give you "links" of just about everyone who has ever written for NRO to Confederate-defending secessionist, racist, organizations, or people of similarly despicable ilk, and from them to most Republican politicians, and staffers. I doubt you'd be too impressed unless the "ties" were extremely direct.

You're falling for nonsensical, McCarthyite, non-logic.

My point is that practically every Democrat has "ties" by this logic to endless organizations that are "leftist," and to equally ominous people.

Particularly for folks my age.

It's irritating when people raise the specter of "radicalism". When I was in college, this was not a bad word for 50% of the students there. It meant that we wanted to change the world to make things better, and the debate was whether to do it at once or incrementally.

The years have passed and changing the world isn't a simple as it seemed. But, dammit....it's NOT A SIN TO TRY.

Gary paints a mellower portrait of ACORN than I would. They're an organizing group, not the Boy Scouts. They work to enable poor people to make and win concrete demands that affect their lives for the better. This pits them against people and institutions who are in a position to meet those demands.

In that respect they're like unions. It involves conflict, a process of struggle. It's not all sweetness and light. ACORN is one of the several streams that come out of Saul Alinsky's theory and principles of organizing.

Poor people lack, along with resources, the confidence and sense of entitlement of many middle-class people. Getting them into the frame of mind and preparedness to make effective demands on the the highly educated, wealthy, and powerful people in a position to meet those demands involves bringing to the surface their anger at particular injustices. It involves developing and using the qualities they have that level the playing field against their targets: their numbers, trust in each other, and righteous outrage.

ACORN actions are rowdy and confrontational. They are designed to put the people with power at a disadvantage by taking things out of the realm of smooth, rational discussion that makes it all too easy for the powerful to palm off the less powerful with bland denials, excuses, or symbolic offers. They are designed to maximize the chance that the participants will win real gains, which does more to build the confidence to take organizing further than a million trainings.

These qualities don't endear them to the rich, the powerful, and those who value politeness above all.

I try to get out – you’z keep bringing me back…

Gary: What you don't seem to filter for, Steve, is that the sources you read, like NRO and such, mostly lie.

I referenced the LAT – IMO, one of the most left-leaning publications in the country. Hardly favorable to Republicans. This is your normal argument Gary. I console myself that you are not outright calling me an idiot – I just have “bad” sources I am too dumb to realize are “bad”.

Madeleine Talbot: Storming a city council meeting. Thug tactics? Middle America? Some votes there?

Oyster Tea: but you cause many of us to wonder why you see things differently than we do

Scratching my head too. ;)

My question is, do you see these as comparable or do you recognize that one set is biased and the other is really bad?

My side is really bad. Your side is biased. You win. Or, we all lose…

OK, Steve, now that you're pulled back in let me ask you this. How should Obama respond to these types of criticisms about the community organizations? Can you come up with what you would think an appropriate response would be that the GOP won't take offense to and respond in an attacking manner? Pretend you're advising him.

OK, Steve, now that you're pulled back in let me ask you this. How should Obama respond to these types of criticisms about the community organizations? Can you come up with what you would think an appropriate response would be that the GOP won't take offense to and respond in an attacking manner? Pretend you're advising him.

I wouldn't speak for OCSteve, but I think you're asking the wrong question here. The experience in Colorado in '04 and '06 are instructive. In those elections, the state legislature's and governor's races, in competitive areas of the state, were perceived as being about issues. The presidential election in '04 was perceived as being about personalities. Despite the Dems winning both houses of the state legislature in '04, and the governorship in '06, Bush carried the state.

There is no right response to criticisms about community organizations. If this election is about personalities -- maverick western POW vs young urban activist -- then I'll predict McCain wins narrowly. If this election is about issues -- jobs, health care, taxes, how the US plays its role in the world -- then I'll predict Obama in a landslide. Community organizations are about the past, hence personalities. The Dems have to make this an election about the future, hence issues.

There is no right response to criticisms about community organizations.

I don't know about this. It seems that there are some people who are nervous about Obama and would be reassured if someone told them "Obama used to be the director of a community service organization started by the Catholic Church"; I mean, this is a completely truthful statement and many people think positively about the Catholic Church's social services work.

I mean, this is a completely truthful statement and many people think positively about the Catholic Church's social services work.

Like for instance the 25% of the electorate who are Catholics and know very well what Sarah Palin thinks of them.

OK, I grew up in Bob Drinan country so my perspective is maybe a bit off but still...

"I referenced the LAT"

"Referred to" would be sufficient. So that's this piece linked in Kurtz's piece of looniness, right? I don't get it: what am I supposed to be alarmed at or bothered by about ACORN, or more specifically, about Obama, from this piece?

Or is there some other LA Times piece you're referring to?

Just out of curiosity, how sound or loony did Kurtz's piece strike you? Do you find his breathless explanations of all the "ties" actually alarming? Or do you agree with me that it, and that kind of logic, is kooksville?

Michael, do you honestly think the press is not going to ask Obama for a response about Palin's statement? I think you're wrong about that. It's already been one of the main snippets from her speach.

ok - cancel that last comment. I remember now that Obama already had a response, and actually I thought it was well phrased so maybe that will be the end of it.

I could equally "tie" and give you "links" of just about everyone who has ever written for NRO to Confederate-defending secessionist, racist, organizations, or people of similarly despicable ilk, and from them to most Republican politicians, and staffers. I doubt you'd be too impressed unless the "ties" were extremely direct.

You're falling for nonsensical, McCarthyite, non-logic.

OCSteve, this is the real point, the thing I wish you'd consider, even if you'd rather not address it here.

OCSteve, you observed "I think we’ve had the discussion on fraudulent registrations vs. fraudulent votes a few times here ... But why should we be any less concerned with fraudulent registrations? It certainly sets the stage for more serious problems. (Like Washington state Governor 2004 – winner by 133 votes, but there were deceased voters, voters registered to storage lockers, and ineligible felons all in the mix.)"

I've seen that you're a stand-up guy, a reason to read ObWi (as a moderately liberal from Seattle). But I disagree with this opinion.

The way the WA Governer's race played out decisively disproved the GOP accusations that the election was stolen from them. The WA GOP sued in Chelan County, in the mostly Republican part of the state east of the Cascades. A Republican judge heard their case and dismissed it with a clear declaration that there was no evidence of fraud presented.

I was unemployed and worked as a poll worker in the heart of Democratic support that year. At my polling place there were may opportunities for error, with people who had not voted in years trying to find where they were enrolled. We busted rear ends to try to give every person a chance to vote, provided that they were registered. This generated a large fraction of provisional ballots, set aside only to be counted AFTER the registration was verified.

The error rate that the WA GOP organization was outraged about was remarkably low, considering how little attention many voters pay to this fundamental civic act. (Actually the trial resulted in a few more bogus votes disputed by Democrats being thrown out than those disputed by Republicans.)

The Washington Secretary of State is a moderate Republican and another stand-up guy. He took a lot of heat from the state GOP chair and others who expected party loyalty to dictate the result, but the state and county officials followed the process written in the law. (By the way, Seattle's US Attorney was one of those fired for political reasons, because -- as TPM reported -- the same state GOP chair expected him to interpret a normal error rate as fraud because the final vote count did not elect a republican.)

In this recently-settled corner of the USA there is a bipartisan tradition of holding honest elections. I believe that the complaints you heard are baseless.

(I will try to find news archive links to document my recolllection by tomorrow.)

Respectfully,
another Steve

OCSteve: Those ties are there whether you want to believe it or not. Middle America does not believe that associations with Bill Ayers, or Wright, or ACORN are what they want in a president. You can think of what it would be like in your perfect world, or face reality. These ties hurt him.

Certainly they hurt Obama with people who are tied to the conservative ideology that the poor should stay poor, the middle-class should get poorer, and that black people ought to be respectful, quiet, and above all, not angry about how they and their families have been treated.

And some of those people are, despite being conservatives, smart enough to realise that McCain is a disaster and their sane choices are to vote for Obama or to not vote.

They may wish that Obama was a conservative - someone who'd go to a church with a pastor like Larry Kroon or John Hagee, because a close connection with a white man who makes nasty comments about Jews isn't "damaging" in the way a black man who gets angry about racism is. Someone who had direct, personal ties to men like Charles Keating and John Abramoff while they were committing their crimes, as John McCain does, rather than having an indirect and impersonal connection with a man like Bill Ayers twenty years after he stopped being a member of a radical organisation.

"Middle America" may include the white people who are poor enough that conservative ideology damages them with every breath they take, from the moment they're born after conservative ideology directed their mother should not receive health care during pregnancy, throughout their education as conservative ideology directs they should receive one as narrow and as poor as possible, throughout their working lives as conservative ideology directs they should be paid little, work long hours, be unable to afford good food, health care, a decent place to live, or the hope of a better life for their children. Even to their death, which is likely to be sooner rather than later, as conservative ideology directs that only those who can afford it may get health care.

And because of this grinding misery and hopelessness, the conservative tactic of whipping up hatred and despite against a group considered to be inferior may work - white Middle Americans may vote against their own best interests because of buzzwords like "pro-life!" or hatred of black people acting like they're as good as whites. This tactic of hate works reasonably well for the Republican party, and with it goes the attitude that people who want to change a country that offers the poorest citizens no hope, neither for them nor for their children, are somehow evil, bad, and wrong.

Wright is bad because he's angry. Ayers is bad because he's a "radical". ACORN is "damaging" because it tries to give poor people a better life, something conservatives are intrinsically, ideologically opposed to. But people who feel like that - who don't object to McCain's connections with Keating or Abramoff, who don't mind the things Hagee or Kroon say about Jews - but who are bitterly resentful of anyone who tries to improve the lives of the poorest people in the US, is never going to vote for Obama.

You spend a lot of time telling us what "Middle America" thinks, which I suspect - since you're not a source of polling data - is in fact what you think and feel - that you're sane enough to know Obama is better than McCain, yet your narrow conservative soul wishes he was the kind of man who would have ties to Abramoff, not Ayers.

Giving up here

You spend a lot of time telling us what "Middle America" thinks, which I suspect - since you're not a source of polling data - is in fact what you think and feel - that you're sane enough to know Obama is better than McCain, yet your narrow conservative soul wishes he was the kind of man who would have ties to Abramoff, not Ayers. and I hope you will act on the logical conclusions of your observations to help elect Obama.

There, fixed.

Middle America does not believe that associations with Bill Ayers, or Wright, or ACORN are what they want in a president.

Um, you live in a place where you'd have to live on a houseboat to be any closer to the East Coast. You know, where all those liberal elites live. I live in the Rust Belt of Northeast Ohio. I'll speak for "Middle America" if you don't mind.

liberal japonicus: *g* Well, I hope your "fix" is more accurate than my original.

It is a bugbear of mine, though. OCSteve says he knows how "Middle America" will react to Obama being linked to ACORN. He knows this how? He's done polling? Cluster sampling? He's read polls - which he isn't linking to? He's making stuff up out of his head?

Or he's expressing his own feelings, and projecting them on to "Middle America"?

referenced the LAT – IMO, one of the most left-leaning publications in the country. Hardly favorable to Republicans.

The LA Times, the one that prints Jonah Goldberg?

Or he's expressing his own feelings, and projecting them on to "Middle America"?

Well, I would posit that's he's probably a bit closer than some of us. Doesn't make him right, but I think it's true that "middle America" tends to be more conservative than we liberals think it is.

Also, concerning the WA 2004 election

The error rate that the WA GOP organization was outraged about was remarkably low, considering how little attention many voters pay to this fundamental civic act. (Actually the trial resulted in a few more bogus votes disputed by Democrats being thrown out than those disputed by Republicans.)

What struck me at the time was that the GOP challenged about a couple thousand voter registration...and caught up a large percentage of legitimate voters, many of whom would have been seen as obviously legitimate if the GOP had done some cursory fact checking. Their rate of error was about four or five orders of magnitude worse than the process that they were challenging...

So why bother and risk an Obama/ACORN news cycle close to the election?

At some point, Democrats will need to stop worrying about what Republicans and the lying liars that love them are going to say about every little thing they do.

Personally, I would have thought that moment ought to have come somewhere around 2002, maybe 2003. Unfortunately, it didn't.

Now is as good a time as any.

There is nothing whatsoever that Barack Obama, or in fact any other Democrat running for any significant office in this country, can do that will not be distorted and shrieked about by The Usual Suspects.

So, my advice is to say F them and carry on.

Here's Malkin lying her ass off

How can you tell?

Oh yeah, her lips are moving.

Badaboom.

Thanks -

Tsam: I do value the local perspective over national media reports for something like this – so I’ll take what you said seriously.


Phil: Um, you live in a place where you'd have to live on a houseboat to be any closer to the East Coast. You know, where all those liberal elites live. I live in the Rust Belt of Northeast Ohio. I'll speak for "Middle America" if you don't mind.

I live in a small town in a red county with a year round population of 8,000. Other than a couple of resort towns, Delmarva is nothing but farms. Much of the chicken on your supermarket shelf comes from here. Nothing quite like the smell of a chicken farm on a hot summer day…

The town where I was born and raised had a population of about 3,000. My family is split between central PA and Upstate NY. I have never lived in a US city (I lived in Darmstadt for years). The closest I ever came was the Philly burgs – and that was too close for comfort. Outside of work, every single person I know in the real world would be classified as rednecks by most folks here.

Sure Jes – no official polls. It’s all anecdotal. And as I’ve mentioned, there is no reason at all for you to even consider it. You are correct – it is very presumptuous for me to speak for anyone else. I’ll try to phrase it differently. (The people I know who I think are representative of Middle America would have a problem with this…)

Anyway – you are correct Phil, I should not presume to speak for the rust belt. You said you would – so please do. How would they feel about the things I’ve mentioned in this thread if it was brought to their attention?

Gary: Just out of curiosity, how sound or loony did Kurtz's piece strike you?

Over the top.

For some reason they always over reach - it would be more effective if they dialed it back a notch. That’s to the good in this case.

But I’m not supposed to discuss this or I’m “smearing” Obama.
;)

I live in a small town in a red county with a year round population of 8,000. Other than a couple of resort towns, Delmarva is nothing but farms. Much of the chicken on your supermarket shelf comes from here. Nothing quite like the smell of a chicken farm on a hot summer day…

The town where I was born and raised had a population of about 3,000. My family is split between central PA and Upstate NY. I have never lived in a US city (I lived in Darmstadt for years). The closest I ever came was the Philly burgs – and that was too close for comfort. Outside of work, every single person I know in the real world would be classified as rednecks by most folks here.

Rural people tend to be politically conservative. City people tend to be politically liberal. In both cases, it's because the political inclinations they prefer are generally a better fit for them.

I think it would be great if we could just get our heads around that and stop demonizing each other. We don't have to understand each other, we don't even have to like each other. A simple recognition that the other folks deserve to exist and have a right to their point of view would suffice.

We still won't agree, but at least then we could get on with sitting at the table and negotiating our differences, rather than yelling at each other.

I have no idea how to make that happen.

Thanks -

@OCSteve:

I hope you'll take seriously Tsam's information about the Washington state election. It seems to me that the subject has been hashed out factually on ObWi in the past, too, back before the administration fired the U.S. Attorney for Washington for not having brought "voter fraud" cases where there were none to bring.

I also hope you don't actually believe that the Los Angeles Times is one of the most left-leaning newspapers in the country (in its news coverage and features, which is what the cited article is), much less one of the most left-leaning publications.

Living as I do in a red, rural county, I will take a look at the LAT article with an eye to trying to pick up what it characterizes Obama as doing that would strike my neighbors as objectionable. When I check back in, if I haven't been able to pick up on it, I trust you'll help me spot the problems.

Meanwhile, as I said above (3:48 pm yesterday), Obama has a pretty good response that doesn't involve just keeping quiet and hoping no one brings up the subject of community organizing again.

Nell: I also hope you don't actually believe that the Los Angeles Times is one of the most left-leaning newspapers in the country (in its news coverage and features, which is what the cited article is), much less one of the most left-leaning publications.

My best response to that is just linking Patterico. He has been documenting it for years. They are pretty much the definition of liberal bias.

Living as I do in a red, rural county, I will take a look at the LAT article with an eye to trying to pick up what it characterizes Obama as doing that would strike my neighbors as objectionable.

No one would object to what the LAT says he was doing – it’s just the association with a group and their leader and some of the things they have done.

I really have to give up on this stuff. Most here just don’t understand why it could possibly be a problem. It’s obvious to me, but I can’t seem to find the right words to convey it to folks here.

I know media bias is a tough sell on either side. But Nell, and anyone else, I would only ask that you read even one of Patterico’s LAT “year in review” posts.

No one would object to what the LAT says he was doing – it’s just the association with a group and their leader and some of the things they have done.

Ah. So one has to have read a lot of anti-ACORN stuff elsewhere to make the connection.

Patterico. Well, I'll save the link for when I'm feeling heartier; thanks, OCS. Off to the drive-in.

"I'll speak for 'Middle America' if you don't mind."

I just spent seven years living in The Red Republican West, in Colorado, and now I'm living in Red North Carolina, fwiw. I also lived for nearly nine years in the Pacific Northwest, which is neither California nor the East Coast.

To be sure, I'm contaminated by having grown up in evil NYC, even though I only have 3 months of college, and have never worked a job that paid more than $18K a year, I'm such a member of the Elite.

OCSteve:

Gary: Just out of curiosity, how sound or loony did Kurtz's piece strike you?

Over the top.

Good to know; thanks. The thing is, this style of making loony long expositions and theories about the "links" between one person/group and another, and "tieing" them to another and another and another and another, all to produce some grand conspiracy theory about how so and so has been in a decades-long program to advance the agenda of so and so really is classic literal McCarthyism.

And the right -- and plenty of lunatic extremist leftists, as well -- just still loooove to use this nonsensical illogic. Conspiracy theories are just beloved by kooks of every ilk.

So, no, I'm not impressed by "ties" to Bill Ayers. Certainly not more than I'm impressed by how much Patrick Buchanan and Sarah Palin love each other -- but, then, I'm impressed that Buchanan remains a mainstream commentator, constantly on tv. In the end, though, I'm most interested in what policies I think a candidate is genuinely espousing now, and what I'm reasonably sure they're apt to propose, or veto, in office. People are, after all, capable of evolving their views. Both for better, and for worse.

"It is a bugbear of mine, though. OCSteve says he knows how 'Middle America' will react to Obama being linked to ACORN. He knows this how?"

I'd like to ask Steve directly: how many of your insights and views, Steve, come from emails and talks with your relatives, and from still finding your favorite rightwing sources credible?

Let me say that I give OCSteve tremendous credit for being extremely intellectually honest in being, over a long period of time, to reexamine many of his beliefs and assumptions, and think about them, and listen to what other people have to say, and give them consideration, and then think some more.

It's hardly easy for most people to examine their own assumptions, and to credit views from POVs they've a long history of discarding or finding incredible. OCSteve has been doing a lot of that over a long time now.

And it's hardly easy to start adopting some views of people you've long thought were crazy, and wrong, and The Enemy, and the people and sources you always laughed at. And it's equally hard to turn against sources and writers and thinkers and views and notions you once found credible.

And all that takes lots of time. I wouldn't respect Steve if he suddenly flipped to some kind of mirror of his previous views in the span of a week or a month. That would suggest not much thinking at all, but simply adopting one set of someone else's views for yet someone else's set of views, rather than working through one's own views on one's own, with all the attendent difficulty and struggle and emotional components.

So kudos to OCSteve, sez me, a guy I respect the heck out of, however much I may and will nag him about various specific views, or be unfair to at times in my own presumptions about his views or reasoning. Kudos.

Of course, soon we'll have you calling for worker's ownership of the means of production, Steve, and observing that the workers of the world have nothing to lose but their chains, and our Evial Plan Shall Be Complete!

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Bwaha!

"But Nell, and anyone else, I would only ask that you read even one of Patterico’s LAT “year in review” posts."

Okay, I'm going to bet that I know a hell of a lot more about Israeli/Palestinian issues, and Hamas, than either Patterico or you, and I'll say that insisting that Hamas be considered only a "terrorist organization" is an ideological litmus test without much accuracy. And I say that as a Jew, someone with plenty of friends and some relatives in Israel, and a lot at stake there, and as someone with no illusions about the actual murdering terrorist aspects of Hamas. But Hamas is a bunch of things, and in going on about how it can only be called a "terrorist organization," Patterico is... making a point I count against him, not for him. Strike one.

Other than that, I don't know anything about Michael Hiltzik, and don't care. Oops, dinner time, so I'll have to come back to this.

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