Evidence ACORN and Citizens Services Inc. are not separate entities

Ok, bear with me here. This is getting into the minutia…
In a prior post, I linked to an email from ACORN which issued a call for people to work for ACORN and get out the vote for Obama in the Ohio primary. The recruits were not to call the Obama campaign but to apply directly to ACORN. Here is the email from a blog post dated February 21, 2008:

GOTV for Obama! Ohio ACORN is doing a Get Out The Vote project with the OBAMA Campaign. Ohio ACORN is hiring canvassers to go door to door encouraging voters to vote for Barack Obama.
ACORN is hiring in Cleveland (216)431-3905, Columbus (614)425-9491, Cincinnati (513)221-1737, for Dayton (call Cincinnati), and for Toledo call Cleveland. Or email polnatoh@acorn.org and your inquiry will be routed to the appropriate person in each of these cities. Intake and training will be held daily at local ACORN offices. Canvass begins on Wednesday Feb. 27th and will work through election day. Please, only persons wishing to work all or most of these days (Saturday and Sunday included) should inquire.
Please do not contact the Obama campaign directly regarding this post as they are not the organization doing the hiring and it will only distract their staff and volunteers from the other important work they are doing on behalf of Senator Obama.

A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article details this activity paid for by the Obama campaign to the tune of over $800,000.

Obama is the CSI’s first national candidate, although the company has worked for several regional candidates in recent years, said Jeff Robinson, CSI’s executive vice president.
“Our contracts were relatively small for Obama,” he said, declining to specify amounts because of “proprietary” rights of CSI’s clients. The largest project for Obama was during the Ohio primary, he said.
“That was a very short-term contract for one week of work. In Ohio, they asked us to do canvasses in five cities statewide,” Robinson said.
The Ohio primary was March 4. According to FEC records, the Obama campaign paid Citizens Services Inc. $832,598.29, from Feb. 25 to May 17.

I wonder why the payments extended to May if they did only one week of work.
Later in the Trib-Review article, Citizens Services Inc., attempts to create distance from ACORN.

Sunday Alabi, an ACORN activist and spokesman in St. Paul, is one of CSI’s three-person board of directors. Alabi described CSI as a nonprofit consulting firm related to ACORN.
“I do not know the day-to-day work of what they do. I’m on the board,” Alabi said, referring other questions to [Jeff] Robinson, the executive vice president.
Robinson said CSI is a “not-for-profit political and campaign management firm, much like any political consulting firm.”CSI is not tax-exempt under any IRS code, he said. Without tax-exempt status, the organization isn’t bound by IRS restrictions for nonprofits on political activities.
“We have a wide range of clients. We provide political campaign management. We provide field services,” Robinson said. “Our clients are typically considered liberal. Our clients are labor unions, liberal to progressive candidates, nonprofit organizations on the liberal side of the political spectrum.”
In 2006, CSI collected all the signatures and managed successful statewide ballot measure campaigns in Missouri, Ohio, Colorado and Arizona to increase the minimum wage, he said. “We have a good reputation. We provide good services.”
Regarding CSI’s nonprofit status, Robinson said: “We are organized specifically not to make money, but we make money. There are no profits. We have a staff of 60 people around the country, and that eats up our entire profit. We’re not a for-profit corporation, but we are not a group like a United Way.”
CSI is a “separate organization entirely” from ACORN, he said.
“ACORN is a client of ours,” Robinson said. “ACORN has a lot of different partner organizations. We are a partner, but we are separate.”

If ACORN and CSI are separate, then why was ACORN Ohio recruiting for GOTV activities? If ACORN has tax exempt status (not completely sure on that) and receives taxpayer money for educational services (they do), then they should not be engaging in partisan activities. If these sources are accurate then they did do partisan activities in the Ohio primary. One wonders what they will be doing with taxpayer money in November.

The plan is to "spread the wealth around" – Obama

Obama to plumber: “”It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too.”

Wealth by luvnews
I saw this first at Breitbart.tv

This is why learning more about Obama’s ties to the New Party and Democratic Socialists matters. I hope the S-word comes up in the debate this week.

Next – What does "tax cut" mean?

I am shocked that the media has not been reporting this stuff but even more shocked that the McCain camp has not been contesting it at every turn.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama’s tax cut to all working families is not what it appears.
The IRS will become even more of a welfare bureau if Obama has his way.
Commenters, please address the facts and logic in this article and not the fact that it came from the WSJ.

Obama's connection to the Democratic Socialists of America: Is it relevant?

Barack Obama’s connections to the Democratic Socialists of America (check out some of the recommended readings at this link) has been the topic of much scrutiny just in recent days. As far as I know, this was first reported by a New Zealand based libertarian blogger, New Zeal, back in January, 2008.
The New Zeal site has a weath of background on the DSA and an affiliated socialist group called the New Party. Newsbusters reports that to be an approved candidate, one had to sign a contract and agreement with the party’s socialist objectives.
Obama sought the endorsement of the New Party for his 1996 state senate race and was referred to as a member by the Populist. After his victory, the Democratic Socialist newsletter indicated that Obama attended the New Party convention to thank them for their support and help.

New Party Update
by Bruce Bentley
The Chicago New Party is increasely becoming a viable political organization that can make a different in Chicago politics. It is crucial for a political organization to have a solid infrastructure and visible results in its political program. The New Party has continued to solidify this base.
First, in relation to its infrastructure, the NP’s membership has increased since January ’95 from 225 to 440. National membership has increased from 5700 in December ’95 to 7000. Currently the NP’s fiscal balance is $7,000 and receives an average of $450/month is sustainer donations.
Secondly, the NP’s ’96 Political Program has been enormously successful with 3 of 4 endorsed candidates winning electoral primaries. All four candidates attended the NP membership meeting on April 11th to express their gratitude. Danny Davis, winner in the 7th Congressional District, invited NPers to join his Campaign Steering Committee. Patricia Martin, who won the race for Judge in 7th
Subcircuit Court, explained that due to the NP she was able to network and get experienced advice from progressives like Davis. Barack Obama, victor in the 13th State Senate District, encouraged
NPers to join in his task forces on Voter Education and Voter Registration.

Notice what Obama’s task force work was – voter education and registration. Eventually, that work was with ACORN, who is the center of fraud investigations in 10 states now.
A bit more insight into the DSA/New Party ideology can be found in their purpose statement:

The purpose of The Corporation shall be to organize the activities of the members of the Democratic Socialists of America. Its activities shall include education and advocacy. We share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.

Back in March of this year, the DSA became aware of the flap over Obama’s connections first reported in January. Writer Bob Roman provided this perspective on interest in Obama’s DSA/New Party roots:

Obamarama
This is interesting if you’re an extreme right-wing ideologue of if you’re a DSA member. It probably doesn’t mean much for mainstream politics. Right-wing bloggers have discovered Chicago DSA’s 1996 endorsement of Obama for the Illinois State Senate and Obama’s participation that same year in a University of Chicago Young Democratic Socialists townhall meeting on “Economic Insecurity”. This news started in New Zealand (it is the world wide web indeed) where a local libertarian has been obsessing over Chicago DSA’s links to mainstream Chicago politics. The news gradually (by web standards) spread to right-wing blogs here in the States. It even managed to pop up in a few conservative mainstream venues. More recently, the conservative Accuracy In Media combined this with some juicy Communist Party associations (communist mentor unmasked!) and threw it out as an example of how the news media has a liberal bias for not reporting the story.
Of course, many right-wingers had been convinced Obama is a “socialist” already. If you’re wondering why, it’s mostly because the term “socialist” for these folks has about as much content as “fascist” does for many lefties; it’s an insult not a description. So the news from New Zealand was greeted with an “Aha” by these folks more than anything else.
Much of this noise sounds pretty nice to lefty ears; you can’t buy this kind of publicity. But as it’s all been on right-wing sites, not too many folks bother to follow up on the links, even when they were provided.
On the other hand, this ten day wonder had been pretty much ignored by the left. Until recently when In These Times ran a story warning of the eventual “Red-Boating” of Obama should he win the Democrat’s nomination for President. They probably have it wrong. For influencing more than a handful of voters, the story has no legs. But because DSA and “socialism” generally has become a hate object among the sort of folks who blow-up Federal office buildings and reproductive health clinics (or would like to), the eventual implications for Barack Obama (and for the country) may be far more serious.

Well, I don’t want to blow up any buildings or health clinics but I do think a candidate’s intellectual and political philosophy matters. I don’t hate socialists but I do not want to live in a socialist nation. As Rudolph Penner said yesterday on C-Span, capitalism is not perfect but the alternatives have been worse.
I spoke to a former Hillary support this morning who said she believes her party has been taken over by the far left wing of the party. The party has left behind the centrists. Obama’s leftist heritage matters a lot to her.
As Joe Biden said in the VP debate, “past is prologue.” What does Barack Obama’s affiliation with the far left, socialist New Party say about the prologue of an Obama administration? What in his background and political record says he will now move to the center, and unite the nation? Will someone mentored by the DSA best lead us from economic crisis?
These are fair questions and I am getting increasingly frustrated that the mainstream media will not ask the Obama campaign about these issues. If Obama has moved away from his early mentoring, I would like to hear how, why and when it happened. Wouldn’t you?

Obamanomics and the subprime lending crisis

Researching Barack Obama’s philosophical influences, I came across an article called Obamanomics by David Moberg and published in the left-leaning, In These Times.
The March, 2008 article is worth a read in light of the current economic troubles. Moberg predicts the current crisis and discusses Obama’s position regarding the financial industry at that time:

Subprime plans
When it comes to many of the larger issues hounding the economy, Obama hasn’t done much to distinguish himself. He has not been a visionary on the subprime crisis, and his adviser Goolsbee indicated in a New York Times column that the only problem is the rampant fraud that was an integral part of subprime lending. In his proposal to deal with the subprime mortgage debacle, Obama does not support the foreclosure moratorium and interest rate freeze that Clinton and many citizen and labor groups advocate.
But Dean Baker, co-director of the Center on Economic and Policy Research and an early forecaster of housing bubble problems, argues that Obama’s plan is admirable because it is less of a bank bailout than Clinton’s. The problem now, he points out, is not so much the interest rates that are resetting at a higher level, but that the value of people’s houses has declined to less than what they initially paid. Baker advocates guaranteeing people facing foreclosure an option to rent their homes at fair market value. This would avoid many evictions and pressure banks to work out more favorable mortgage agreements.
Obama’s main flaw seems to be excessive caution, not favoritism to the financial services industry, which has contributed almost as much to him as it has to Clinton. But Obama is not beyond influence.
Obama’s national finance chair is Penny Pritzker. Chicago’s wealthy Pritzker family owned half of Superior Bank, a pioneer in subprime lending. When the bank failed in 2001, the family signed a sweetheart deal with federal regulators that let it off with a profit while many depositors lost money. (But Penny’s brother, J.B. Pritzker, is a major Clinton supporter.)
And for years, executives of Exelon, the Illinois-based nuclear utility, have been among Obama’s biggest contributors. (Obama insists nuclear power should not be ruled out as a potential energy source, even if he also promotes alternatives.)

There are many culprits in the current financial melt-down. However, I am puzzled that Obama is viewed by the general public as better able to handle the economy than McCain.
The Pritzker connection seems troubling. Given her experience with subprime lending, I wonder why she was not sounding the alarm.

Another Black Monday – Dow down 800

I remember the 1987 Black Monday; this one isn’t quite as black in percentage terms but we may not be finished.
Wow, glad we passed that bailout rescue plan.
I am not actually sure how I mean that. One could say if the rescue plan was still in doubt then the bloodletting would be worse. But then one might say the rescue plan is inadequate to address the serious fear which appears to infiltrate the financial markets.
Chime in…

"Let's not overreact…" Legislators talk about Fannie and Freddie

The Wall Street Journal has done a good service and excerpted comments about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from legislators now leading the effort to fix things.
It is getting increasingly clear that legislators charged with oversight of the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises), were so focused on making housing available that they did not heed warnings of how such manipulations altered the market. We will now pay for this.
Here is a particular telling exchange:

Senate Banking Committee, Feb. 24-25, 2004:
Sen. Thomas Carper (D., Del.): What is the wrong that we’re trying to right here? What is the potential harm that we’re trying to avert?
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan: Well, I think that that is a very good question, senator.
What we’re trying to avert is we have in our financial system right now two very large and growing financial institutions which are very effective and are essentially capable of gaining market shares in a very major market to a large extent as a consequence of what is perceived to be a subsidy that prevents the markets from adjusting appropriately, prevents competition and the normal adjustment processes that we see on a day-by-day basis from functioning in a way that creates stability. . . . And so what we have is a structure here in which a very rapidly growing organization, holding assets and financing them by subsidized debt, is growing in a manner which really does not in and of itself contribute to either home ownership or necessarily liquidity or other aspects of the financial markets. . . .
Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.): [T]he federal government has [an] ambiguous relationship with the GSEs. And how do we actually get rid of that ambiguity is a complicated, tricky thing. I don’t know how we do it.
I mean, you’ve alluded to it a little bit, but how do we define the relationship? It’s important, is it not?
Mr. Greenspan: Yes. Of all the issues that have been discussed today, I think that is the most difficult one. Because you cannot have, in a rational government or a rational society, two fundamentally different views as to what will happen under a certain event. Because it invites crisis, and it invites instability. . .
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.): I, just briefly will say, Mr. Chairman, obviously, like most of us here, this is one of the great success stories of all time. And we don’t want to lose sight of that and [what] has been pointed out by all of our witnesses here, obviously, the 70% of Americans who own their own homes today, in no small measure, due because of the work that’s been done here. And that shouldn’t be lost in this debate and discussion. . . .

I wonder how many of those Americans now have lost those homes.
Some of my readers will assume I am posting information which makes Democrats look bad because I am a conservative. While that temptation is there, I am truly hopeful that those responsible will see why the crisis is upon us and learn from it. It is the ideas that are at issue, not the intent. The desire to promote home ownership is a good one, but the manipulation of markets to pursue that aim has been a disaster. If Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Barack Obama, etc., articulated this for the people, this would be hopeful. However, I do not see this; in fact, here is what Barack Obama says about the crisis:

The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has created a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression.

Whose greed and irresponsibility is he talking about?
Knowing how the mess started is a big part of knowing how to get out of it.

Rep. Phil English talks to constituents about the economic rescue plan

Earlier this evening, Rep. Phil English met with a group of constituents in downtown Grove City for well over an hour. Rep. English summarized his reasons for voting no on the massive 700 billion package as well as other issues of interest to Western Pennsylvanians.
Rep. English said he wanted to help enact legislation to aid the ailing economy but wanted to get it right rather than do something rapidly. English said he believed the defeated House bill would have established a dangerous precedent for the government. He also wanted to make sure that there were no golden parachutes hidden in the new version of the bill which was voted on in the Senate this evening. On the plus side, he believed the rescue plan could be structured in such a way that profits would go to toward deficit reduction.
Going forward, English called for tax reform and incentives favorable to small business as a part of any rescue package. He pointed out that Republicans called for focused regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2005. However, it was the Democrats in Congress that blocked reform. English also recounted a long list of accomplishments which have benefitted the people of his district.
Tonight, the Senate passed their version of the rescue plan by a 74-25 margin. The bill has become a part of the longstanding effort to pass mental health parity legislation with a variety of tax cuts and other incentives to bring the votes of Representatives in the House.