Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why Did Obama Join Reactionaries in Dumping on ACORN?

Originally posted at Daily Kos

I was reading a great posting by powwow at FDL's The Seminal this morning. It reviewed David Cole's remarks on President Obama's refusal to apologize for the U.S. government kidnapping/rendition to torture of Canadian Maher Arar. Daphne Evitar and Something the Dog Said already diaried on that, to little notice here at Daily Kos.

But farther down powwow's article I discovered something initially reported last April, but appears to have gone without comment or notice here: that after all the verbiage about how the right went after ACORN, how ACORN was unfairly set-up by right-wing operatives, complete with doctored video... when a U.S. judge ruled that Congress's bill of attainder attacking ACORN was unconstitutional, the Obama administration backed up Congress, and defended the attack on ACORN.

Who would have thought Obama, the vaunted one-time community organizer, would join with the right to attack community organizers?

We know now that the whole ACORN video incident was a setup and a scam, and that ACORN employees did nothing illegal. Just earlier this month a Congressional report cleared ACORN of any wrongdoing (after ACORN had dissolved itself to reform under a new name). A diary noting the courage of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in not voting for the illegal bill of attainder against ACORN hit the recommended list here at Daily Kos as recently as January 28 of this year. See also this highly recommended April 9 diary asking "ACORN exonerated: The tapes were edited. Will the media retract and apologize?"

But when, after Federal District Judge Nina Gershon struck down the illegal ban on funding for Acorn on March 12, the Obama administration appealed this decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. I have never seen this reported at Daily Kos.

Here's how it was reported at back on April 21 (emphasis added):
A federal appeals court was asked Tuesday to allow enforcement of legislation stripping the embattled activist group ACORN of government funding....

Tuesday, Stern was asking the circuit for an emergency stay pending appeal of a March decision by Eastern District Judge Nina Gershon, who granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the funding restrictions.

Gershon found that the legislation was an unconstitutional bill of attainder, a rarely litigated bar in the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 9) on legislation punishing a single person or group.

She denied the government's motion for a stay pending appeal on March 31 and [Mark] Stern headed for the 2nd Circuit, where he argued Tuesday before Judges Roger J. Miner, Jose A. Cabranes and Richard C. Wesley in ACORN v. United States, 10-992.

Stern claimed that Congress had the right to instruct agencies to withhold funding from ACORN amid "indisputable reports of ACORN mismanagement nationwide."

"This is a case of taking steps on the appropriation of federal funds," Stern said. "And if Congress sees widespread mismanagement, it says 'time out.'"
WTF? ACORN had already been cleared by this time. What is Stern and the Obama DoJ talking about? And, btw, don't tell me Stern is a right-wing Bush left-behind. Stern's years at DoJ go back to the Clinton administration, and he received a DoJ special commendation award in 2007 for his work in the U.S. v Philip Morris landmark case.

What's worse is that the role of the Obama administration in perpetuating the right-wing attacks on ACORN goes unremarked by the Daily Kos community. That smacks of hypocrisy to me, though more likely it is simply a willful blindness to the bad policies of the Obama administration, a blindness born of misplaced loyalty and a deep wish for change.

So what say you, Obama loyalists? How can you alibi this betrayal? More nice pictures of the First Family?

I'm getting tired of Obama's lies: on secret prisons, on torture, on supporting community organizers, on FISA, on indefinite detention, on transparency. Jon Stewart captured some of the hypocrisy of the Obama administration the other day in a brilliant routine at The Daily Show.

The Circuit Court, by the way, reserved decision on the ACORN appeal from the Obama DoJ, and in the meantime left the ban on funding in place, until the appeal was decided.

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