Mea culpa time. I was wrong about ACORN the first time I posted about it. I still believe the thesis of that post, but I think I was a bit ignorant of the scope of the corruption involved. And a little exchange on Facebook led me to realize that a lot of people (most perhaps) are still living in the happy little world where registering Mickey Mouse was only a little bit of comic relief for the Morning Zoo crowd. In fact, there are some people that still honestly believe that ACORN is being attacked for purely racial motivations. Orly?
Here’s what ACORN’s all about:
- An organization that lobbies extensively for living-wage legislation fought to exempt itself from minimum wage laws: ACORN argued that paying its workers less than the minimum wage aided its organizing efforts.
- According to the AP they have a history of screwing their own workers (the ones who are black and poor.): According to an NLRB [National labor Relations Board] case accusing ACORN of unfair labor practices, “field organizers were expected to work long hours each week — 54 hours — and were paid at a salary of $16,000 annually until January 2001, when the salary was raised to $18,000.”
- It has financial disclosure more opaque than a CIA-funded meth lab. And has had a chronic inability to pay taxes.
- Let’s not forget that its leadership covered up the embezzlement of a million dollars, and fought tooth and nail against its own board members who wanted to audit the books.
- Oh, yeah, then there’s that little, “we have no problem giving tax advice on importing underage prostitutes from Central America“
- Oh, and they filed a bunch of fraudulent voter registrations.
- UPDATE: And for those of you who, like I used to, believe that registration fraud doesn’t end with fraudulent voting: We were soooo wrong. But not like that would determine an election.
There’s a video making the rounds that’s causing a considerable stink around the interwebs, enough that it even got a segment on the Glen Beck show where it fit seamlessly into the vast left-wing conspiracy. The teeth-gnashing and angst about this video may not be quite comprehensible to those of a left wing bent, I’m sure most just look at this video called “the Story of Stuff” and see just an innocuous environmental video about how we’re damaging the planet. The problem is, there’s a bit more to it than that. There are rather unsubtle political assertions going on all throughout the video that have no relationship to the environment, and unfortunately for an educational video, no relationship to facts. One of the more egregious examples is how the narrative is stressed to breaking so the narrator can give a factually inaccurate aside on how the U.S. spends half its tax dollars on the military, which is only true if you take the intellectually dishonest route of saying things like Medicare and Social Security are not government expenditures of tax money.
The sad thing is, when you lie to a kid (and yeah, some of the assertions in this film are pretty much the moral and factual equivalent of lies) you discredit yourself. Once the kids seeing this film come across a credible source that says the U.S. has had a pretty constant area of forestation since the early 20th century, and that area is considerably more than 4% of the original, they’re likely to shitcan the entire argument, including the valid points about consumerism. By that point, it ain’t going to do much good to explain “no we meant only 4% of the original old-growth forest is still untouched.” That rationale is good for campaign ads, not so much educational videos.
Also, it might have been a little more honest to mention that the happy little government asked the evil fat corporations to dip the pillows the fire retardant neurotoxin. After all, fire retardant neurotoxins cost money, and we know that the evil fat corporations would let your head burn if they could make a buck, right? Come on, can’t your strawmen be consistently malevolent?
Anyway, here are the original video weaved in with some rebuttal. Not on board will all the rebuttals, but it does a good job of highlighting all the places where there are arguable assertions.
Anyone following my blog should realize I have a strong libertarian streak, which may in fact confuse some people who’ve read my Hostile Takeover books and/or Prophets. The planet Bakunin plays a central role throughout, and while it has a functioning anarcho-capitalist society, its not portrayed as a shining Heinleinesque utopia of the competent man, I’ve described it more a Somalia with venture capital.
So why would I take a world embodying some of my deeply held ideals and portray it in an, at best, ambiguous light?
There are two reasons.
First reason, utopias are boring places to write about. We have the perfect society, now what? In order to have any conflict the story has to turn into soap opera dealing with nothing larger than the character’s personal interrelationships, or you have to pull elements from outside the story into the “perfection,” or throw your characters outside their perfect world (see: Star Trek TOS). In all three cases, the “utopia” is relegated into the background.
Second reason, a utopia requires one of two prerequisites. The first possibility is the idea that human society is somehow perfectible and everyone will realize the perfection once its glory is made manifest, a belief I find naive and somewhat creepy. The second possibility is much more sinister; that those forming the utopian order insure that everyone realizes and accepts the perfect order. Human history is painted red with the blood of those who didn’t accept the latest vision of the perfect society. Utopia, in practice, is synonymous with totalitarianism.
Every time I see a perfect society in SF; orderly, clean, free of acrimony or dissent, I have to wonder what happened to the oddballs, the assholes, and the people that didn’t fit in to this perfect realm. Where are the asylums, the prisons, the re-education camps, the mass graves. . .
(And in a truly amazing coincidence, after I wrote this, I ran across a video that perfectly encapsulates this thought, and ties it into our beliefs about the nature of man.)
Test post while I’m having blog issues.
UPDATE: Turns out the “official” 60K-70K figure wasn’t so official. In fact it was some guy talking out his ass. (Still working on fixing this blog, sheesh.)
UPDATE: Some less questionable figures here. Don’t you wish the MSM could do basic math?
We had somewhere between seventy thousand and two million people march into Washington in what has got to be the cleanest and most peaceful angry mob of terrorists to ever march on a nation’s capitol.
(The asshat who wrote the terrorism quote deserves the Godwin award for inappropriate and offensive analogies: “Glenn Beck is an actual terrorist, and the people attending his rally in DC tomorrow are al-Qaeda in America.” Really, Mr. Pareene? Too bad the government isn’t offering cash for clues, or perspective bailouts.)
Also, that “two million” figure is kind of interesting. Most of the bloggers I’ve seen are skeptical of it, and the origin of the figure as far as I’ve been able to source it, comes from a memo out of the Democratic Congressional leadership. The author of the post about it theorizes that it might have been a way to try and raise impossible expectations so the protest looked like a failure (HA HA you only got 20% of our inflated estimate) If that’s the case, it was a serious misfire. The number got picked up and passed through enough news sources that people quoting the figure had MSM backup, going to show how full of crap the MSM is. Since most people aren’t forensic photo analysts, they’ll see a crowd picture and just think “that’s a hell of a lot of people.” They’ll go with whatever number they’re told about the picture; ten thousand, hundred thousand, a million. After a certain point our eyes just see “many.”
My guess is somewhere between 100K and 350K.
Van Jones has quit the Obama administration, so apparently I can’t use him to point out to people that, no, actually this really is a radical left administration. It’s a shame, because it was really interesting to hear the rationalizations when someone says that “no this really is a center left administration,” and you bring up Van Jones. . .
I suspect that there will be a lot of teeth gnashing on the left about the self-admitted rodeo clown, Glen Beck, for targeting this guy in retaliation for the Color of Change boycott of his show. Van Jones will become a martyr showing the danger of right-wing talking heads. . .
Serious problem with that characterization, the Color of Change boycott happened after Glenn started talking about Van Jones. Newsbuster lede:
President Obama’s controversial green jobs czar –a self-described “rowdy black nationalist” and “communist”– is a co-founder of the same unsavory left-wing pressure group that is urging an advertiser boycott of Glenn Beck’s TV show after Beck did several unflattering news packages on the czar.
Please note the date of the article, August 12th. So it looks less like a talking head being vindictive about someone being mean to him, and more like a person in the White House manipulating a private organization to shut up political speech they didn’t care for. Which should you find more disturbing in a free society? (Also makes you wonder about basic fact checking at the AP, is it that hard to find out when Glenn started reaming this guy vs. when the Boycott started?)
Two more incidental things. Saying that he signed the truther statement but didn’t agree with it is a good sign that he belongs in the legislative branch, not the executive. And he did say one thing I agree with, Republicans are a-holes.