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The Young Republicans who brought down ACORN
November 15, 2009 11:48 AM   Subscribe

She is the Young Republican who "stung" ACORN. And he is her "pimp". Together they brought down ACORN.

This is the new generation of Republican operatives. If the GOP is to survive as a party, and thrive in the future, they'll need young people. And the young are coming.

"Above all, attack, attack, attack," she said, quoting Republican consultant Roger Stone. "Never defend."
posted by VikingSword (97 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Together, they fight civil rights!
posted by boo_radley at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2009 [88 favorites]


"Above all, attack, attack, attack," she said

Patton was Nixon's favorite movie, too.
posted by total warfare frown at 11:52 AM on November 15, 2009


Right, take THAT urban poor! You're no match for rich, bored 20 somethings from the suburbs!
posted by peppito at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2009 [84 favorites]


I eagerly await the upcoming release of her "private" sex tape.

Just like Carrie Prejean.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:00 PM on November 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


con⋅serv⋅a⋅tism /kənˈsɜrvəˌtɪzəm/ [kuhn-sur-vuh-tiz-uhm] –noun
1. the disposition to preserve or restore what is established and traditional and to limit change.
2. the principles and practices of political conservatives.

As if to prove Breitbart's point, Giles asked everyone in the room to copy down the words of Saul Alinsky, who is considered the father of community organizing — and is a great hero of the left. "All life is warfare," she quoted him as saying, "and it's the constant fight against the status quo that revitalizes society."

I'm detecting somewhat of a disconnect here.
posted by netbros at 12:03 PM on November 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Conservatives, he said, were co-opting the tactics used by civil rights leaders and antiwar activists of the 1960s in order to criticize the left. "We have to employ unorthodox tactics," Breitbart said. "We can beat them using their own tricks."

Funny, I don't recall Martin Luther King shouting anyone down at a townhall meeting by calling them a fascist communist.

perhaps because he realized that it would be a contradiction in terms?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2009 [16 favorites]


Together they brought down ACORN

Well, together they created a really convenient viral video for congresscritters to gnash teeth and wail about a largely-black boogeyman. But given that the recent legislation passed attacking ACORN is so blatantly unconstitutional even the Roberts court is going to have a hard time letting it stay in place, I imagine one of the largest community organization groups in America is not "down" any more than and other minority group currently being attacked by a flailing racist-yet-vocal minority is.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2009 [12 favorites]


Right, take THAT urban poor! You're no match for rich, bored 20 somethings from the suburbs!

The more things change ...
posted by joe lisboa at 12:11 PM on November 15, 2009


"Above all, attack, attack, attack. Never defend."

If you put everything you have in your offense you won't be able to keep what you take. What does it mean if top Republican strategists actually believe this? I really doubt that they do, so what does it mean if they're just saying it right now because that's what's useful right now?
posted by wobh at 12:12 PM on November 15, 2009


I'm not sure I get the point of this post. Isn't this story a few months old at this point?
posted by washburn at 12:12 PM on November 15, 2009


Together they brought down ACORN made their bones to be Fox commentators.

FTFY.
posted by fatbird at 12:12 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


made their bones to be Fox commentators.

Definitely. Having worked for a progressive youth organizing group, I can attest that we're going to see a lot more of these two in the upcoming years, especially Giles, who has a perfect storm of benefits: she's the daughter of a prominent Christian Conservative pundit, she's cute, and she's ingratiated with the Young America's Foundation. The next 60 years of her life is almost guaranteed to already be paved via Wingnut Welfare.

She's also benefiting heavily right now in conservative circles because of the slight matter of, oh, right, what her and O'Keefe did was completely illegal. So now she's a beloved right-wing martyr; the young, beautiful blond white daughter of a right-wing minister besieged by the lawyers of the evil, thuggish black people's group.

Prominent supervisory position at YAF or Heritage by 24; her number on Hannity/Beck's speeddial for "expert analysis" by 28, first book published by Regnery by 30. Guaranteed.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:23 PM on November 15, 2009 [34 favorites]


Oh crikey, I've interacted with kids who work at that Reagan Ranch Center, and something just ain't right with them. They're downright creepy.

They also scarily seem sincere about what they believe, but for no discernible reason.
posted by spiderskull at 12:25 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Umm, I thought the bill they passed to excluded ACORN from federal funding would've excluded Halburton, etc. Isn't this positive?
posted by jeffburdges at 12:27 PM on November 15, 2009


I'm not sure I get the point of this post. Isn't this story a few months old at this point?

There are no expiration dates on FPPs to metafilter. It doesn't matter if the story is old or not. In this case, the story has nothing to do with any particular date - the story is the new generation of Young Republicans and the future of the GOP, and ACORN is merely a convenient illustrative point about how the young generation of conservatives operates.
posted by VikingSword at 12:27 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, for values of "brought down ACORN" that mean "did not bring down ACORN" your post is absolutely accurate.

Did the particular idiots these people conned show horrible judgment? Absolutely. Did the particular ACORN folks these people conned break the law? That's for a court to decide.

But the idea that if by entrapping someone from an organization into a questionable or perhaps illegal arrangement you would somehow "bring down" the organization was valid, Geraldo Rivera and/or John Stossel would be King of the World.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, they didn't bring down ACORN. ACORN is very much alive and fully operational.
posted by spiderskull at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2009


Prominent supervisory position at YAF or Heritage by 24; her number on Hannity/Beck's speeddial for "expert analysis" by 28, first book published by Regnery by 30. Guaranteed.

Look out Michelle Malkin, there's a new game in town?
posted by Caduceus at 12:29 PM on November 15, 2009


Umm, I thought the bill they passed to excluded ACORN from federal funding would've excluded Halburton, etc. Isn't this positive?

There are a lot of issues with the bill.

But that's not the main thing here: if a less-crazy version of the bill gets passed (and I'm in favor of a bright line between service organizations and lobbying organizations myself), ACORN will not be "brought down."
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:30 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I'm going to trot out the Lee Atwater quote again:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
posted by boo_radley at 12:32 PM on November 15, 2009 [30 favorites]


Also, they didn't bring down ACORN. ACORN is very much alive and fully operational.

ACORN has serious problems as a result of this stunt - see the next to last link in the FPP.

And on an amusing sidenote, I was going to include a link to acorn.org, but I can't reach the site... it's not resolving. Probably just temporary technical difficulties, but ironic nonetheless.
posted by VikingSword at 12:33 PM on November 15, 2009


The thing that annoys me about these two is that some people are still referring to them as 'independent journalists' when it was clear from the get-go that they are conservative operatives looking to score to political points.
posted by clockworkjoe at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


From that next to last link:

NEW YORK — ACORN has been cut off by banks, the government and most of its private foundation funders, severely hampering its housing operations and raising the possibility that it will not survive in its current form, according to a lawsuit the group filed Thursday against the U.S. government. [emp. VS]
posted by VikingSword at 12:36 PM on November 15, 2009


Umm, I thought the bill they passed to excluded ACORN from federal funding would've excluded Halburton, etc. Isn't this positive?

No, that would have been the result if a legal, constitutional bill was passed that, say, blanket-banned federal money from going to organizations that were under investigation, committed fraud, let employees be gang-raped, etc.

The problem is, congresspeople realized that catch, and instead decided to pass an amendment that specifically said ACORN doesn't get money, which anyone who bothered to pick up a civics book in high school would immediately realize is a bill of attainder and completely unconstitutional.

I mean, for fuck's sakes, they actually CALLED the bill the "Defund ACORN act." I'm hard-pressed not to believe they didn't deliberately pass it this way for a two-fer of getting points for attacked a well-villified group, knowing their law would be overturned in time to raise more hype and vitriol for the 2010 elections. It's political cynicism at its finest.

At the very least, it ties up ACORN until SCOTUS strikes it down, meaning they likely won't have funds next year... not like they might need those to, oh, say register minorities and poor people to vote.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:38 PM on November 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


the real problem is that the corruption going on in executive boardrooms and the smoke filled rooms of politicians isn't as likely to show up on hidden camera as that of community organizers

it's not a function of crookedness that we see ACORN exposed while the bankers' schemes remain private - it's a function of privilege - ACORN plays with thousands and gets caught - the establishment plays with billions and gets off
posted by pyramid termite at 12:39 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Not only is ACORN alive and well, but Federal Employees, if they wish, can have an automatic charitable contribution sent to them from every paycheck via the Combined Federal Campaign. Just sayin. :-)
posted by Robin Kestrel at 12:39 PM on November 15, 2009


she's the daughter of a prominent Christian Conservative pundit, she's cute, and she's ingratiated with the Young America's Foundation.

And I think that it's horrible that they let this girl just whore herself in the streets. Good God, what is this country coming to when girls from nice Christian families sell themselves to their pimps for political advantage?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


Eponappropriate comment there, Boo Radley.
posted by sy at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2009


And on an amusing sidenote, I was going to include a link to acorn.org, but I can't reach the site... it's not resolving. Probably just temporary technical difficulties, but ironic nonetheless.

An amusing coincidence is not irony.

If these young Republicans are supposed to be a new breed, I'd suggest the author takes a look at the College Republicans over the last twenty-five years. This is the exact same kind of revolutionary-status-quo rhetoric that's been pushed since back in the days of Jack Abramoff.
posted by uri at 1:01 PM on November 15, 2009


Acorn has a few bad actors. Conservatives attack. Congress condemns Acorn, a group trying to get minority people the vote. The South has risen again in denying rights to the poor. This time, no hoods worn.
posted by Postroad at 1:14 PM on November 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Confucius say, from tiny ACORN, mighty hoax grow.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


What horrible children. It is a shame someone didn't do a better job of instilling wholesome values in them.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm detecting somewhat of a disconnect here.

Hilariously (if you can still laugh), they actually believe they are fighting the status quo.
posted by dhartung at 1:34 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]




Hilariously (if you can still laugh), they actually believe they are fighting the status quo.


But, we have a black president now. The whole world has gone mad! Truth is a lie! Up is down! The nation could have been delivered into the caring, stable, lily white, hands of John McCain and Sarah Palin, but that didn't happen. Instead, some Kenyan, Muslim, atheist, communistic fascist has control. I'm sure these kids feel like they're living in a Twilight Zone episode. It must be so confusing to be a young conservative these days. My heart bleeds for them.
posted by dortmunder at 1:57 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Thank God someone is taking the fight to uppity negroes. Perhaps next they can stage a coup and reinstate some democracy in America.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Though O'Keefe described himself as a progressive radical, not a conservative

I guess that makes Rush Limbaugh a Marxist! The circle of life is complete!
posted by blucevalo at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2009


Hannah Giles was in the middle of her guerrilla warfare lecture this weekend at the young conservatives leadership conference when a man in the audience interrupted her. "Please suck my cock!" he cried out. The crowd erupted in applause and whistles.

Republicans are so transparent.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:10 PM on November 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


anyone who bothered to pick up a civics book in high school would immediately realize [it] is a bill of attainder and completely unconstitutional.

I'm not sure I agree with that statement. Withholding discretionary funds may seem like a punishment, but the "defund ACORN act" doesn't do what you would expect a bill of attainder to do -- there are no fines, no jail or prison time...

I'd like to see in more detail how you assert that it's a bill of attainder, because "we're not going to give you any more money" seems a long way from declaring ACORN guilty of some crime and enacting fines or other punishment in the bill without benefit of a trial.
posted by chimaera at 2:15 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The problem is, congresspeople realized that catch, and instead decided to pass an amendment that specifically said ACORN doesn't get money, which anyone who bothered to pick up a civics book in high school would immediately realize is a bill of attainder and completely unconstitutional.

I'm so glad you can find a right to federal funding buried in the constitution. Because the actual consitution says:

Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Basically "what Congress taketh Congress can giveth and then taketh away again".

This won't even make it to the Supreme Court little alone a Federal Court of Appeal because even if you interpret it with the most liberal shade of rose coloured glasses the right of Congress to do whatever the hell it wants with the public purse is clearly enumerated in the Constitution.

Now if Congress fined them a dollar or called for the employees responsible to be imprisoned that would be a bill of attainder and therefore unconstitutional. But to remove federal funding from any organisation as Congrees sees fit is most certainly consitutional.
posted by Talez at 2:22 PM on November 15, 2009


Talez, the Constitution also clearly says in Article I, Section 9 "No bill of attainder shall be passed." That's much more direct than your reading of Section 8. The only way the Defund ACORN Act would be legal is if it levelly defunded all organizations with certain characteristics. This was what the original language tried to do but when it was pointed out to them that the language they chose would also include Halliburton and KBR and that any alternative language they tried to craft would do so too, they gave up and simply said "no more business with ACORN." And no, they can't do that; refusing to do business with a particular entity that can meet the qualifications met by other organizations is a "pain and penalty" even if they're not levying a fine.

I've seen numerous actual lawyers shrug and say there is no chance even the Roberts court would uphold this, and I think they know a lot more about it than you.
posted by localroger at 2:37 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


I've seen numerous actual lawyers shrug and say there is no chance even the Roberts court would uphold this, and I think they know a lot more about it than you.

Maybe these smart lawyer friends can teach you how to argue a point without resorting to an argument from authority.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:51 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


As if to prove Breitbart's point, Giles asked everyone in the room to copy down the words of Saul Alinsky, who is considered the father of community organizing — and is a great hero of the left. "All life is warfare," she quoted him as saying, "and it's the constant fight against the status quo that revitalizes society."
I'm detecting somewhat of a disconnect here.
Andrew Sullivan had a post the other day where he basically said the modern U.S. "Conservative" movement was actually not conservative in any way. They are basically reactionaries now. There isn't really anything they want to preserve; rather, they seek the make the U.S. into something new. The truth is, it's Liberals and Progressives who want preserve the status quo of women having the right choose, civil rights, and other achievements of the 1960s and the "liberal era". They just want to add Universal Healthcare, which fits into that framework well.

But "Conservatives" on the other hand want to create a new society with low taxes and massive wealth for the elites, forced pregnancy, and a government infused with religion. They want social services either gone or laundered through fundamentalist churches (i.e. 'faith based') so only the "right" people get help.

So it makes sense that for people who want to change society to be adopting the tactics and mindset of people like Saul Alinsky and becoming activists. They ought to come up with a different name though, and stop corrupting the language.
Umm, I thought the bill they passed to excluded ACORN from federal funding would've excluded Halburton, etc. Isn't this positive?
I think the law was changed when people realized what it would do.
Hannah Giles was in the middle of her guerrilla warfare lecture this weekend at the young conservatives leadership conference when a man in the audience interrupted her. "Please suck my cock!" he cried out. The crowd erupted in applause and whistles.
What the hell?
posted by delmoi at 2:55 PM on November 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


(er, it seems like that 'suck my cock' thing didn't actually happen :P)
posted by delmoi at 2:56 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe these smart lawyer friends can teach you how to argue a point without resorting to an argument from authority.

That's ridiculous. If localroger was making an "argument from authority" Talez was making an "argument by quoting a random sentence of the constitution that was only tangentially related".

Yes the constitution grants congress the right to tax and spend money. That doesn't mean it can randomly pick and choose specific people to deny funding any more then they could pick and choose individual tax rates for people based on how they felt about them. (say 100% tax for bob, and 0% tax for Jane).

Obviously the way the government taxes and spends money is constrained by the rest of the constitution.
posted by delmoi at 3:02 PM on November 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Confucius say...

Never, ever do this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:10 PM on November 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Talez's argument doesn't rest upon authority; that people who actually know things about the topic because it is their profession and life's work to know them is ancillary to the larger argument, which is in fact argumentation and deserving of refutation rather than dismissal.

(And I say "deserving of refutation" not because I disagree with him, but in the sense that if you disagree with him, you need to refute him and not seize on one sentence of many.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:13 PM on November 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


If the GOP is to survive as a party, and thrive in the future, they'll need young people. And the young are coming.

I'm not sure you really understand the dynamic. Obviously, for the GOP to survive as a party, they will need people to enter the "workforce" of their party to replace the ones who retire/die. The problem at hand is that after growing up only knowing presidents Clinton and Bush/43, comparing Democrats to Republicans, young people overwhelmingly pro-Democrat.

That the GOP will also happen to have enough young people to serve as rank-and-file staffers and activists to replace the retiring and dying ones is nothing to write home about.
posted by deanc at 3:25 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


When one young man asked: "Who else should we be looking out for now that ACORN has gone down? What organizations would you like us to target?"

Cringe. Hello people? We might also spend time crafting good policies and positive institutions based on a sound understanding of the needs of the American people, gained by good listening, valid analytics, and helpful feet on the ground.

Is this too much to ask?
posted by honest knave at 3:27 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad you can find a right to federal funding buried in the constitution.

I never said I did. I said the amendment specifically targeting a particular organization is unconstitutional. I also said it quite clearly. Why you leaped to declare that I said something completely different just to attack me I have no idea.

I'd like to see in more detail how you assert that it's a bill of attainder, because "we're not going to give you any more money" seems a long way from declaring ACORN guilty of some crime and enacting fines or other punishment in the bill without benefit of a trial.

Well, I had assumed linking directly to the Congressional Research Service's own lawyers in my previous comment would have been enough but if it desperately needs to be right here in a blockquote, fine, here it is again:
The specifics of the instant legislation appears to differ substantially from the regulatory goals of the existing legal regime regarding federal contracting and federal grants. Unlike the existing regime, this legislation focuses on relatively minor legal violations such as campaign financing, election laws, or disclosure requirements. Further, while current regulations may limit organizations to relatively short debarments, generally no more than three years, the instant proposal has no mechanism for these organizations to be relieved of their disability. In addition, this permanent exclusion would be imposed jointly and severally on ACORN and its affiliates, essentially establishing a per se rule that all affiliates and ACORN would be held responsible for the behavior of any other affiliates or ACORN, or an employee thereof.

In general, absent an agency proceeding to determine that ACORN and everyone of its affiliates have engaged in unlawful behavior, the permanent exclusion of all of these organizations would be difficult to justify as regulatory in nature. While the Supreme Court has noted that courts will generally defer to Congress as to the regulatory purpose of a statute absent clear proof of punitive intent, there appear to be several potential problems raised by attempts to find a rational nonpunitive regulatory purpose for this legislation. Thus, it appears that a court may have a sufficient basis to overcome the presumption of constitutionality, and find that the proposed Defund ACORN Act violates the prohibition against bills of attainder.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:37 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


what her and O'Keefe did was completely illegal.

Sorry, QUZYPHYR, I'm no fan of Fox "News," but if a couple of progressive 20-somethings did something similar to a conservative organization and gave it to MSNBC, and the conservative organization organization sued, would you likewise defend their right to not be taped without their consent, or would you call it investigative journalism and cite press freedom?

Yeah, I know the kids weren't journalists (were they at least bloggers?). Perhaps the government should start issuing official press registration cards so we can all tell the difference?

Not so easy, eh?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:38 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the second link: O'Keefe, 25, packed his grandfather's old wide-brimmed derby hat from his swing-dancing days, his grandmother's ratty chinchilla shoulder throw, and a cane he bought at a dollar store...

I'm not sure which is more embarrassing, that young white Republicans think this is how pimps still dress, or that the folks at ACORN bought it.

I mean, everyone know that without platform shoes, this outfit is woefully incomplete.
posted by Evangeline at 3:44 PM on November 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


Remember how Hannah became motivated? “one day I was jogging after work and I saw an ACORN, um, I was like, hmm, you know, I’ve never seen them before, I don’t like them . . . and, um, I came up with the idea” (she said this on Glenn Beck's show.).

So she dressed up like a prostitute. Must make her daddy proud.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:49 PM on November 15, 2009


Not so easy, eh?

No it's easy. Follow the fucking laws.
posted by Zalzidrax at 3:56 PM on November 15, 2009


XQUZYPHYR already linked to a summary of a brief by a lawyer (uh-oh, an "authority"). Which explains the case that the issues at hand are:

(1) whether “specific” individuals or entities are affected by the statute, and (2) whether the legislation inflicts a “punishment” on those individuals. Under the instant bills, the fact that ACORN and its affiliates are named in the legislation for differential treatment would appear to meet a per se criteria for specificity.

And that the test for punishment most likely will rest on:

(2) where the type and severity of burdens imposed are the “functional equivalent” of punishment because they cannot reasonably be said to further “non-punitive legislative purposes;”

So, the question is for those who think this is so obviously not a bill of attainder, what was the non-punitive purpose of this legislation specifically targeted at ACRON?
posted by betaray at 3:56 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or ACORN as they are more popularly known.
posted by betaray at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


What is this crap and why is it posted here?
posted by borges at 4:04 PM on November 15, 2009


betaray: I was just speaking of the "it's illegal to tape someone in Maryland without their consent" law, which, Zalzidrax, could shut-down much investigative journalism if it were upheld.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:06 PM on November 15, 2009


So she dressed up like a prostitute. Must make her daddy proud.

These are soldiers for their Christ and their America. Sometimes a soldier must adopt the guise of their adversary in order to infiltrate their camp and defeat them.

Republicans are now reading the Art of War. Yawn.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:07 PM on November 15, 2009


ZenMaster, it's not about whether they or their target were left or right, it's about what state they decided to do it in. Wiretap laws are state specific. Lots of states -- including my native Louisiana -- specifically make it legal to tape any conversation to which you are a party, without informing the other parties, or even to tape it if you aren't a party if one of the parties knows of the taping. The places that have this almost always have it specirfically to grease the tracks for undercover police operations, particularly so that cooperative individuals can wear a wire without a court order, but it applies to anybody.

Maryland, where the stunt went down, takes a very different view, which is that unless all the participants in the conversation are aware of the taping, the taping is illegal unless there is a court order. Linda Tripp ended up in hot water for taping her good friend Monica Lewinsky for the exact same reason, and only escaped consequences because of a combination of the scandal shitstorm and some fancy lawyering.

This makes the ACORN stunt especially stupid because they not only didn't know or care they were breaking the law, they didn't know they could have done it perfectly legally by taking a road trip.
posted by localroger at 4:09 PM on November 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


I have just one more thing I'd like to talk about personally before I bow out of this to people who are much smarter than me.

That doesn't mean it can randomly pick and choose specific people to deny funding any more then they could pick and choose individual tax rates for people based on how they felt about them. (say 100% tax for bob, and 0% tax for Jane).

One would assume the equal protection clause would kick in and make that kind of conduct unconstitutional.

Which leads me to ask this question.

Whether or not this is a bill of attainder wouldn't ACORN still be protected under the equal protection clause given that the 14th amendment does apply to corporations? Would it apply to this sort of congressional conduct given that they're trying to sanction ACORN through legislation?
posted by Talez at 4:24 PM on November 15, 2009


These two are reminiscent of young Republicans Dinesh D'Souza and Laura Ingraham who at Dartmouth College in the early 80's stole private correspondence and secretly taped a meeting of the Gay Student Alliance and published it in the Dartmouth Review, outing students to family and friends. Both have gone on to famous and wealthy careers in the conservative propaganda machine. Making your mark on the backs of the disadvantaged seems to be a rite of passage for these types.
posted by JackFlash at 4:25 PM on November 15, 2009 [24 favorites]


I got my first home loan through Acorn in 2000. They knocked the rate down by 1% IIRC. When I went to their center, they were helping some not-so-well-off people buy houses, which at the time seemed like a good thing. Now I wonder if it these were subprime borrowers who are now thoroughly screwed. I never should have gotten their benefits--I only qualified because they considered me low income, which in Fairfax County, VA cuts off around 70k.
posted by jewzilla at 4:44 PM on November 15, 2009


Now I wonder if it these were subprime borrowers who are now thoroughly screwed.

Unlikely.
posted by betaray at 4:51 PM on November 15, 2009


isn't d'souza a rino? democrate in disguise? actually it doesn't matter what your affliation is if your of the mind set to use and abuse anyone for your own gain, short or long term!
It must however be pointed out so there are no other victims!

Acorn did just that, bought up the vote through the housing market, blew up the financial market because of it, and placed it all on the american people's pocket book to pay for it!
posted by ifonly at 5:27 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ugh, the Newshound link on Hannity begging for money for Giles' defense fund is disgusting, especially since she's totally playing an ad hominem (funny, for an ideology that hates the "race card"). "I'm a 20 year old girl!"

Yeah, and so are a lot of shoplifters. You broke the law. Just because it was for "the greater good" or to "expose corruption" doesn't mean you get away scott free. If the police broke into someone's house to search for cocaine, they'd get in trouble if they didn't have a warrant. Chances are, though, it doesn't matter. Even if they fine you all $5 mil, Brietbart and Murdoch will still bail you out, and you'll get a cushy job working for Fox.

Congratulations, you're now living the Republican dream. You don't even have a college degree yet, but you'll earn a large salary producing nothing of value, unless you really think pointless conjecture is really a precious good. Milton Friedman would be so proud.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:30 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pretty, intelligent conservative ideologues on the rise ... NOT. They can pat themselves on the back and celebrate their ingenuity all they want. They call stopping a small-time liberal organization nibbling at the edges of public funding a victory; meanwhile their conservative heroes and other "upstanding" organizations are shoveling billions out the back door. These people are patsies, nothing more. Smug, hateful, self-important patsies.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:42 PM on November 15, 2009


I'm starting to wonder if O'Keefe's talent isn't so much being lucky or skilled at finding corruption as posing the right questions to get controversial replies. This works especially well, because he can always throw away the failed results, and he can always edit a mediocre attempt.

If you look at his earlier work, like his Planned Parenthood stunts, you notice that he deliberately puts the employees in difficult situations, where they would have to go against a nice, young, likable person. The reality is that most people in that situation probably would do the bad thing (ie not calling the police on them). Also, the phone calls to investigate racism seem as edited as all hell. It'd be one thing to specifically ask to donate money to fund a black woman's abortion, and to a pro-choice person, that does sound like a good gift. After all, that can help to break the cycle of poverty. The fact that the Planned Parenthood employees never explicitly confirm that it's for a racist reason implies to me that it's not what he actually said over the phone.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:49 PM on November 15, 2009


Congratulations, you're now living the Republican dream.

to persecute low income people, break the law, and make a crapload of money doing it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:51 PM on November 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Talez's argument doesn't rest upon authority; that people who actually know things about the topic because it is their profession and life's work to know them is ancillary to the larger argument, which is in fact argumentation and deserving of refutation rather than dismissal.
Pope Guilty: I have no idea what you are trying to say. Localroger was the one accused of making an argument by authority, by Talez.
These are soldiers for their Christ and their America. Sometimes a soldier must adopt the guise of their adversary in order to infiltrate their camp and defeat them.
Don't forget the walls of Jericho, where everyone spoke with one vice, god destroyed the walls, and then they rushed in and killed ever man, woman, and child except for a prostitute, who had been their spy. See, the bible says being an under cover prostitute is OK, Just like annihilating an entire town.
posted by delmoi at 5:54 PM on November 15, 2009


I don't know if ACORN is alive or dead, but I can tell you what happened on the ground after that story broke, and it's an interesting twist on things.

ACORN is (or was) on of the big players in Health Care for America Now. They had an organizer on the ground in my community, and while he wasn't the most effective activist the world has ever seen, he WAS able to devote himself to the effort full-time. So in terms of communication, setting up events, etc..keeping everybody connected and informed in terms of health care reform, he was pretty essential. After this story broke, he disappeared, as did his statewide coordinator, as did the Health Care for America Now coalition that was active in my community. We're still out there, trying to get the job done, but we're all volunteers working day jobs and all that that implies.

Health Care for America Now was one of the lone voices calling for a robust public option. The degree to which the powers that be fell in line in condemning ACORN, a major player in HCAN--well, let's just say that from time to time this particular veteran of many a political fracas sees things--smells things--that just seem a little odd.

No idea if I am right or I am wrong, but I think it's a distinct possibility that these two idiots handed more mainstream elements just the opportunity they needed to marginalize more radical calls for reform.
posted by halcyon_daze at 5:56 PM on November 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


Apparently, this video is what got O'Keefe so angry at ACORN. I can see the controversy, but I can't see getting angry. It's a poor person squatting in a home they got evicted from.

Yes, you can argue that it's the bank's property (or the future owner's), but nobody was using it, and the former owner needs a roof over her head.

Seems to me somebody can't stand seeing people stand up for the poor. Too much cognitive dissonance. After all, didn't Reagan say those people are supposed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:15 PM on November 15, 2009


Dear Republican Party:

Congratulations on getting yourself these up and coming workers. It's good on ya that you got folks with this kind of energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to humiliate themselves and break the law to get the goods for you.

But don't forget that you reap what you sow, and having made these angry junkyard dogs of politics you might find them biting your hand instead of guarding your junkyard. You think you control them, but one day Sarah Palin comes around with a couple of honeyed steaks and your servants become your tormentors

How'd that work out for you in NY-23? See ya in 2010.
posted by localroger at 6:19 PM on November 15, 2009


>
Ditto. Young conservatives are disturbing. They're like the p-zombies of political agents. They may walk and talk like humans, but they seem just a bit too poised, too preppy, and too enthusiastic. They also lack that vital amount of cynicism towards Corporate America and the world of the Baby Boomers that you expect from a young person.

Basically, imagine if you met a person who seems entirely normal, save for their entirely jet black eyes (including the sclera). Nothing that should matter is explicitly wrong, and yet you feel chills going down your spine.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:22 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Poverty is not morally superior, no matter how it makes you feel.
posted by four panels at 6:25 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty: I have no idea what you are trying to say. Localroger was the one accused of making an argument by authority, by Talez.

Actually, SeizeTheDay was the one that stepped in on my behalf. I didn't accuse anyone of anything.
posted by Talez at 6:33 PM on November 15, 2009


it seems like that 'suck my cock' thing didn't actually happen :P

No, it happened, but she was in disguise. Oh, you mean at the conference? Where they totally ignored her appearance, because Republicans are all substance these days? Yeah, there I invected. Mea culpa.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:37 PM on November 15, 2009


Sorry, QUZYPHYR, I'm no fan of Fox "News," but if a couple of progressive 20-somethings did something similar to a conservative organization and gave it to MSNBC, and the conservative organization organization sued, would you likewise defend their right to not be taped without their consent

Yes. There is no "journalism" exception to the law, so why you're creating a strawman like that seems silly. It's illegal to record private conversations without dual-party consent in Maryland.

Not so easy, eh?

No, actually I guess it was. I guess actually understanding a law overrides having a snarky retort on a message board. Our legal system is so weird.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if either of them will grow a conscience before they die.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2009


These are soldiers for their Christ and their America.

Well, traditionally, Mary Magdalene was believed to have been a prostitute, but shame on you for suggesting that Christ was her pimp. Are there no depths that today's conservatives won't sink to?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:55 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


That the legislation against ACORN is a bill of attainder is hardly a slam-dunk case. See here and here.
posted by shivohum at 7:05 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


XQUZYPHYR: I honestly wasn't trying to be snarky, although I can understand how my earlier post might've seemed that way.

The ACORN bit was obviously a juvenile stunt, but my point was about unintended consequences. IANAL, but I suspect that a law that prohibits videotaping someone without their consent could be said to have a potential chilling effect on "real" investigative journalism, however that's defined. I bet it would be struck-down if a journalist ever took it all the way to the SCOTUS.

How many clips have we all seen where a journalist (eg. from 60 Minutes) ambushes some deserving douchebag in a parking lot? Would we really want the journalist to be put in jail just because the douchebag was practicing his douchbaggery in Maryland?

That's why, although these twentysomethings may be annoying and sophomoric, we should all probably unite against their prosecution under this law.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:08 PM on November 15, 2009


So, the question is for those who think this is so obviously not a bill of attainder, what was the non-punitive purpose of this legislation specifically targeted at ACRON?

My view would be that it does not deprive ACORN of any life, liberty, or property, and it could be supported by congressional findings that it was necessary to suspend federal funds to ACORN affiliates in order to ensure that federal funds were being properly spent and not used for unlawful purposes. The courts would probably review for rational basis, under which the statute withstands scrutiny almost every time. There have been five statutes in the history of the country that were declared unlawful bills of attainder. I do not think that any have been based on the withholding of federal funding, which is a subject where federal courts are very reluctant to muck around.

I read earlier in the thread that somebody was calling the legislation "blatantly" unconstitutional. That's nonsense. The CRS said that courts may find a sufficient basis for holding the statute unconstitutional. I think even that equivocal non-conclusion is wrong. But we'll get to see how it plays out in the EDNY in all events.
posted by Slap Factory at 7:25 PM on November 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


we should all probably unite against their prosecution under this law.

Perhaps. Do you think we should do this before or after the two are prosecuted for soliciting?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 PM on November 15, 2009


Ah, but they weren't actually soliciting, were they? They were looking for advice on how to report their income from soliciting.

As honest, patriotic citizens (?).
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:02 PM on November 15, 2009


Well, you say the whore and her pimp were just pretending; ACORN says their employees were just pretending to give "advice." Is the whole thing then just a couple of people having some laughs? If that's true, then no one did anything wrong at all.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:10 PM on November 15, 2009


I'm having trouble following your argument ... Did the clown kids actually solicit the ACORN workers for money in exchange for sex?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:30 PM on November 15, 2009


This really is stupid. Does anyone really think that anyone outside of cloistered, far-right, white, upper-middle-class people believe that pimps ever (much less still) dressed like Huggy Bear? Does anyone who doesn't wish the worst on the poor or the black recognize the Acorn workers as playing along with the obvious out-of-touch -- let's call them Ivory Tower -- rich wanker Conservatives? We see now why you shouldn't "play along" with rich, upper-middle-class white Ivory-Tower conservative wankers, but seriously. Really? Really?
posted by dirigibleman at 9:45 PM on November 15, 2009


The word “attainder” derives from the word “attainted,” as in “ostracised” or “damned.” A Bill of Attainder was a law that named specific individuals and deprived those people of their civil rights — the right to trial on the charges of which they were accused. A Bill of Attainder telescoped the entire prosecution into a single decree. Along with “ex post facto” laws that criminalize past conduct, Bills of Attainder were made unlawful by Article I, Sec. 3, Clause 9 of the United States Constitution, which states: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto shall be passed.”

While I am not familiar with the language of the bill that defunded ACORN, it seems unlikely that the act both created a crime and convicted the corporation of comitting it. While I wish the 14th Amendment prohibited legislation that favors or disfavors one person/corporation over others, the equal protection clause has relatively little bite in this context, because legislation for "social purposes," enacted under the "police power," will pass judicial review so long as they manifest a "rational purpose," that can be satisfied quite easily and rarely if ever leads to a law being overturned.

The truth is, this expose was very damaging to ACORN, and while I am moved to despise the smug little deceptrons that pulled it off, and find the adulation heaped upon them by these socialites, one really must remember that enemies are everywhere, video is forever, and counseling criminal conduct is always blameworthy.

Words to live by: ANYONE who approaches you with a suggestion that you commit an illegal act in the name of a progressive cause should be suspected of agent provocateurism, and promptly outed to the rest of the group.
posted by eltopo at 11:14 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, every political movement should be driven by the young, what with their lack of nuanced views and absolute surety that they know everything.

I kid. There is a reason young people are often interested in activism. The problem is that activism, of any flavour, will wear down the staunchest of believers. The world, even the US political world, is a complex place. Not everything fits into these boxes we carefully label "liberal" and "conservative" (with a fresh sharpie donated by some sympathetic donor.)

The real test? Let's just see how sure of herself this young lady is 5 or 10 years form now. Right now, she is as stereotypical as her perceived granola-girl liberal counterpart. Both world-views invite serious criticism.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:32 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saw no language in the Defund ACORN Act that I read that would have restricted the applicability to ACORN.

All restrictions applied to "organizations" and only sections (c)(1) and (c)(2) emphasized that ACORN was included as an organization, i.e. the title, these sections, and selective application are the only evidence that this is a bill of attainder.

The court may simply invalidate sections (c)(1) and (c)(2) without changing the bill. It then becomes a bill of attainder only through the intention that the bill be applied selectively, which seems subtle.

POGO has started listing other contractors that should be effected. I'd happily sacrifice ACORN for the chance to pursue these guys!

I think an ideal ruling would uphold The Defund ACORN Act but order the defunding of other covered organizations, like Xe Services. I'd expect ACORN's lawyers must appeal to selective application when arguing that its a bill of attainder, so the judge may have some basis for sure a ruling.

If the court totally ignores the selective application issue, individuals harmed by "covered organizations" when spending government money may still gain standing to sue the government under the Defund ACRON Act. I'm pretty sure there are people harmed by pollution released during government contract work by Halliburton Oil, who have filed fraudulent regulatory reports and fraudulently overcharged on government contracts.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:07 AM on November 16, 2009


Anatomy of a debate comment:
ZenMasterThis:
Sorry, QUZYPHYR, I'm no fan of Fox "News," but if a couple of progressive 20-somethings did something similar to a conservative organization and gave it to MSNBC, and the conservative organization organization sued, would you likewise defend their right to not be taped without their consent, or would you call it investigative journalism and cite press freedom?

Good point, even if it does have a concern-troll opening. Overall, +3.

Yeah, I know the kids weren't journalists (were they at least bloggers?). Perhaps the government should start issuing official press registration cards so we can all tell the difference?

Nice! +5

Not so easy, eh?

FAIL. - a zillion.
posted by JHarris at 8:55 AM on November 16, 2009


Maybe I missed this, but why is it that these young Republicans weren't attempting to start their own ACORN (sans whatever shady dealings they thought were going on with ACORN)? ACORN is a community-based advocacy group, who act for and with low- and moderate-income families. If the fear was a surge of voter activity from a certain segment of the population, why try to shut it down when you could raise the awareness and voter turnout in your chosen group?

In short: why do young activists who claim to love their country so much hate democracy?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on November 16, 2009


Is progress moving so fast and with such force that all of this energy is necessary to keep it at bay?
posted by Legomancer at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2009


I kid. There is a reason young people are often interested in activism. The problem is that activism, of any flavour, will wear down the staunchest of believers.

Ain't that the truth. But you have to start somewhere. The thing is that there is always a fresh supply.

Failed activism is like the Velvet Underground: hardly anyone buys your album, but everyone that does starts a band. Sure, Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide and Howard Dean never won a primary. But every single one of their volunteers ran for office or got a job as a campaign director or volunteer coordinator.

The thing is that the latest generation of Republican activists are not the Barry Goldwater volunteers. Rather, they're more like the Republican analogue to the ANSWER: in the same way that the left has a ground of dead-enders left who spend their time "protesting for protests' sake," we now have a bunch of dead-enders from the Bush era who are going to play out their lives worrying about the community organizers under their bed and the Marxist-Fascist-conspiracy to register people to vote. For the next generation or two, we're going to have a fringe movement of real-life conservative internet trolls.
posted by deanc at 3:10 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Howard Dean won the Vermont primary.

Yeah, I know.....
posted by halcyon_daze at 4:37 PM on November 16, 2009


Howard Dean won the Vermont primary.

Yeah, I know.....
I forgot about that! I'm ashamed of myself.

BTW, halcyon_daze, if you're mentioning that as a reminder of lost hopes, I feel your pain. Those days on the Dean campaign were good ones.
posted by deanc at 4:45 PM on November 16, 2009


Good memories, no lost hopes.

I refuse.
posted by halcyon_daze at 10:35 PM on November 17, 2009


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