Smile, You're on Hidden Camera

The ACORN videos and the future of investigative journalism

No one wants to see Sean Hannity or Michael Moore pursuing truth in crushed-velour ass pants, but thanks to the efforts of investigative pranksters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, such spectacles may be in the offing. Posing as the world's least discreet international sex traffickers, the enterprising duo visited ACORN offices around the country and explained that they were interested in purchasing a house for themselves and some underage hookers from El Salvador. In at least five instances, ACORN employees responded in shockingly helpful fashion, offering advice on how to hide earnings on tax returns, claim their adolescent harem as dependents, and write off condoms as business expenses.

While it's one thing to commit voter registration fraud, embezzle a million bucks, and commingle funds of legally separate affiliates, it's another thing entirely to jeopardize the welfare of a dozen imaginary teen sex slaves. O'Keefe and Giles posted their first video on BigGovernment.com on September 10th, and within days, the Census Bureau cancelled a contract it had awarded ACORN to help out with the 2010 census, the House of Representatives had voted to cut off all funding to the organization, the 
Senate had voted to cut off funding as well, and ACORN itself had decided to stop taking new walk-in clients until it could review its operations. It's hard out there for a community organizer!

For fake pimps and hos, however, the future looks as bright as Lil Wayne's diamond-encrusted choppers. While news media outlets have been conducting hidden-camera stings since at least 1976, when 60 Minutes set up a fake health clinic in Chicago to lure medical lab personnel who'd be paying kickbacks to doctors for sending them patients who needed blood and urine tests, O'Keefe and Giles have shown what can happen when you go beyond the template established by Mike Wallace and company and also incorporate the tactics of original prankster Alan Funt, who, in 1947, pioneered the genre of surreptitiously documenting the targets of his practical jokes.

In the traditional approach to hidden-camera journalism, reporters attempt to obtain visual documentation of events that they know or strongly suspect are already occurring. For example,  a TV news team gets a tip from an insider that local Jiffy Lubes are charging customers for services they don't perform, then rigs a car with cameras to capture such deceptions on tape. With hidden-camera entertainment, however, producers simply invent unlikely scenarios designed to provoke dramatic responses, then turn the cameras on and wait for the fun to erupt.

This is what Giles and O'Keefe did. Indeed, while ACORN and its employees have been charged with numerous transgressions, attempting to turn fancy men and their frails into taxpayers on a path towards home ownership  was not one of them. Instead, that idea sprung from the minds of the young filmmakers. "One day I was jogging after work and I saw an ACORN, and I was like, hmm, you know, I've never seen them before, I don't like them," Giles explained to Fox News' Glenn Beck. "And I came up with the idea: What if a prostitute walked into ACORN, had no legal paperwork at all, and wanted a house to set up her business?" Echoing Giles at Biggovernment.com, O'Keefe explained how the duo upped the ante "by posing the most ridiculous criminal scenario [they] could think of." Thus, Grandma's fur coat, the funkadelic sunglasses, and the imaginary tween sex slaves.

The ACORN employees depicted in the videos took the bait, and voila, we now have a new template for 21st century news-gathering. O'Keefe and Giles produced a story that prompted government action, had every major news organization in the country playing catch-up, and may lead to the downfall of a nationwide organization that has been a political force for decades, all for a reported total cost of only $1300. At a time when newspapers can barely afford enough ink to give us our daily crossword puzzle fix, that may be a little steep for most dailies to invest in a single story--but for better funded operations and individuals like The O'Reilly Factor, Rush Limbaugh, The Daily Show, and any blogger who has a day job, there's no longer room for excuses--why aren't they out there breaking stories of similar magnitude?

Certainly there are countless organizations and programs worth investigating. Indeed, if after snaring only $53 million from the federal government since 1994, ACORN was somehow in line to get $8.5 trillion in stimulus money, as Sean Hannity recently insisted, then the Laura Bush Library Program, which has received more than $73 million in the last three years, must be eligible for $8.5 trillion-gazillion. Spend a few minutes perusing  the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, and you can find hundreds of expensive government programs that attract little scrutiny. In May, the Cato Institute's Chris Edwards compiled a sampling of them: Healthy marriage promotion gets $150 million a year. Community abstinence education gets $117 million. The Seniors Farmers Market program gets $22 million. Who exactly is getting all this money and what are they doing with it?

One imagines the rabbi in Washington, DC who's been collecting nearly $500,000 a year from the federal government to promote marriage, even though he sometimes merely ends up telling Woody Allen jokes to empty rooms, is less inclined to help steer fake pimps and hos toward the path of home ownership. And the Illinois library that's getting $420,000 to teach employees how to use Facebook, instant messaging, and Second Life may have little interest in giving tax advice to sex traffickers. But don't you want to know for sure?

After all, if there's one thing we've learned from 60 years of hidden-camera entertainment, it's that corruption lurks everywhere. Parents who are willing to sign up their kids for a Lord of the Flies-style reality series, complete with rabid boars and countless other dangers? Yes, they exist. People who are willing to endorse a hamburger grill that just blew up in someone's face, as long as they get $20 for doing so?  They're out there.

Of course, many states, including two in which O'Keefe and Giles taped their exchanges with ACORN employees, have laws against surreptiously recording in-person conversations in settings where there's a reasonable expectation of privacy. News organizations, suspicious spouses, and voyeurs regularly break such laws, however, and in the wake of the ACORN tapes, no one seems too concerned about the privacy implications of the case. Perhaps as investigative pranking becomes more and more common, some pushback will occur as people decide their right to speak freely in private is more important than protecting make-believe sex slaves. Until then, every subsidized farmer who hires illegal aliens with government hand-outs and crisis pregnancy center staffer who gets underwritten by the Department of Health and Human Services to tell teen girls that abortion causes breast cancer should be on notice. That chatty pimp who keeps showing up at your place of business asking for advice on how to smuggle underage hookers into the country just may be Ashton Kutcher on the hunt for a Pulitzer.

Contributing Editor Greg Beato is a writer living in San Francisco. Read his Reason archive here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Hannah, Obama wants me to be the father of your children.

  • ||

    I love girls with palindromic names. Palindromes are hot.

  • Apple||

    Can you post a link to a hi-res version of that image? You can crop the pimp dude out if you want.

  • ||

    They should give an award out to young conservatives like these who risk their popularity with their peers to reveal the truth about thug-organizations like ACORN.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Hannah:

    [sings]sit on my face, and tell me that you love me![/sings]

  • Sean W. Malone||

    This Parents Rights/Marine Patriot guy is still not sure where he is.

  • Xeones||

    Sean, Parents Rights is performance art.

  • Xeones||

    Back to the point: Hannah Giles is an attractive woman.

  • ||

    I found a pic here:

    http://minx.cc/?post=292384

  • JB||

    These 2 deserve a Pulitzer. Actually they deserve better, but they deserve a Pulitzer more than anyone else who will get one this year.

    As for the MSM, I wonder when one of them will actually grow a pair and speak truth to power: Mr. President, how many girls did you help sell into sexual slavery during your stint as a 'community organizer'?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Since the mainstream media was deliberatly determined NOT to do their real job and investigate entities like ACORN for purely partisan political purposes, somebody else was bound to do something.

    The mainstream media created the vacum and somebody else moved to fill it. If the media doesn't want somebody else to start doing their job, they should start actually doing it themselves.

  • ||

    I love girls with palindromic names. Palindromes are hot.

    Totally. Going both ways is teh hawtness.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    She looks too much like an 18 year old for my tastes, but whatever floats everyone's figurative boats.

  • ||

    "She looks too much like an 18 year old for my tastes,"

    I always wondered who frequented those granny porn sites. I guess now I know.

  • The White Devil||

    "Since the mainstream media was deliberatly determined NOT to do their real job and investigate entities like ACORN for purely partisan political purposes, somebody else was bound to do something.

    The mainstream media created the vacum and somebody else moved to fill it. If the media doesn't want somebody else to start doing their job, they should start actually doing it themselves."

    Proving once again that free markets work.

  • The White Devil||

    "I always wondered who frequented those granny porn sites. I guess now I know."

    Warty?

  • ||

    "She looks too much like an 18 year old for my tastes, but whatever floats everyone's figurative boats."

    Translation: I like 'em 13 and Salvadoran.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Look John, I dated more than enough 18 year olds in college. There is nothing interesting about it to me anymore... Insecurity and stupidity aren't traits I look for in my women now.

  • ||

    "There is nothing interesting about it to me anymore... Insecurity and stupidity aren't traits I look for in my women now."

    If only women lost those traits as they got older.

  • Kevin||

    Look John, I dated more than enough 18 year olds in college.
    Who said anything about dating?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "If only women lost those traits as they got older."

    Zing.

  • ||

    The WAPO and the NYT are losing millions every month. How many papers could they have sold with this story?

  • ||

    """These 2 deserve a Pulitzer. Actually they deserve better, but they deserve a Pulitzer more than anyone else who will get one this year."""

    I don't know why, the videos reminded me of Michael Moore's TV Nation days, if anyone remembers that show. I thought the right hated that type of thing.

  • Omegis13||

    I'm waaaaaaay freaking tired.

    Was this piece for such examples of investigative journalism, or against it due to invasion of privacy?

    To me, it would have been one thing if this occurred in a private residence, but it took place in a private office that operated with an open-door policy to the public. As far as I'm concerned, this was recording was fair game.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    when 60 Minutes set up a fake health clinic in Chicago to lure medical lab personnel who'd be paying kickbacks to doctors for sending them patients who needed blood and urine test

    The problem with 60 minutes doing it is, exposure. Each anchor can only do it once. Steve Kroft did it to a used car salesman that was rolling back odometers. That was his first 60 Minutes story. And his last undercover. Geraldo did it once in disguise with drug dealers and almost got caught.

    I'll tell you what, it takes balls. Someone could pull you out in alley and put a firm ass-beating on you, or worse. Wait and see. It'll happen.

  • ||

    """The WAPO and the NYT are losing millions every month. How many papers could they have sold with this story?""

    Assuming people would have stopped watching Glenn Beck long enough to get one. ;-)

    It's really more of a video story anyway.

  • ||

    """Someone could pull you out in alley and put a firm ass-beating on you, or worse. Wait and see. It'll happen."""

    Take your camera, film themselves beating you up, and put it on YouTube.

  • ||

    "It's really more of a video story anyway."

    Like they don't have websites and can't print stills? Breitbart is dripping out all of these videos and turning it into millions of hits over weeks. It is brilliant. And the kind of money making high circulation stunt that newspapers used to do back when they were in business to make money as opposed to push lefitst propeganda

  • ||

    The stills don't really carry the weight, sure they could put the videos on their website but how would that help then sell more papers.

    The selling of papers was the context to which I was responding.

  • ||

    The apologist nature of this piece is just too much. First, the pair are just pranksters- I could accept that by itself. Then portray 53 million of our dollars going to this organization as petty. Toss in Sean Hannity's name and a "Bush was worse" for good measure. Then we get to the charge of "illegal" taping taking place at an organization funded with our money. And to top it all off...I just can't beat the actual quote:

    Perhaps as investigative pranking becomes more and more common, some pushback will occur as people decide their right to speak freely in private is more important than protecting make-believe sex slaves.

    The employees had their "right to privacy" violated! Work in the private sector if you want privacy. There's even a suggestion or two this is no big deal because the sex slaves are imaginary. I'm guessing the "14 year old girls" the cops use to lure online pervs with are imaginary too. As are the explosive and weapons that are to be "sold" to hit men and terrorists being investigated.

    Was this supposed to be sent off to KOS or huffpo? I see no need to protect this shitty organization. For a magazine named Reason...

    (no drink for you. Doesn't count if it's intentional)

  • Some Guy||

    If only women lost those traits as they got older.

    There are few things more hilarious than a formerly hot chick who's passed her "sell-by" date and hasn't quite realized it yet. That's what makes 20-year high school reunions so much fun.

  • ||

    """I'm guessing the "14 year old girls" the cops use to lure online pervs with are imaginary too. As are the explosive and weapons that are to be "sold" to hit men and terrorists being investigated.""

    Yeah, but they get arrested, that's the punchline that never occurs in the video. If the crimes are the video are so bad, they should have went to the cops first, I would think anyone who has taped video of a crime would be obligated to report the crime.

    If Juan Carlos is really connected to smuggling operations, he isn't anymore, and any associates of his will stay away. It would be sad if the video blew a couple of years of FBI work.

  • ||

    That was probably the worst article I have ever read on Reason. I am sorry but "this is not the worst" and "everyone else does something" and "you shouldn't be recording people using tax payer money to do stupid things" are so insipid as to be beneath response.

  • Big Racism||

    "If Juan Carlos is really connected to smuggling operations, he isn't anymore, and any associates of his will stay away. It would be sad if the video blew a couple of years of FBI work."

    Even if it prevented $8 Billion in stimulus money going to ACORN?

    Fuck the FBI.

  • ||

    Tricky, like the FBI ever does anything but show up and have press conferences to take credit after the local cops have already broken the case.

  • ||

    Perhaps as investigative pranking becomes more and more common, some pushback will occur as people decide their right to speak freely in private

    Hold it right there, These tapes weren't made in "private". They were made in a publicly accessible business setting. This was not a privileged relationship, and in fact I'm not sure you could say there was any kind of relationship at all - these were employees talking to people who just walked in off the street.

    In most states, the recordings are perfectly legal. Even in states with very strict "wiretapping" laws requiring the consent of every person on the tape, the courts have carved out exceptions so no criminal violation occurs if there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • Hanyou||

    Privacy rights, not only from government, but from other people, are very important to me. One of the things that troubles me about a lack of SOME regulation on the internet is that I think videos which have violated a person's privacy should not be freely distributed. This puts me at odds with some libertarians--the ones who would argue that videos "have no moral status."

    I say that not to make an irrelevant point but to stress how concerned I am about my right to say or do what I want on my property without the public knowing about all the nuances of it (provided it's not abusive or in violation of someone else's rights). But that's the point--it's MY property.

    I echo the sentiments of everyone else here when I say there is an enormous difference between MY property, or YOUR property, and public property. Ideally, these sorts of organizations wouldn't get government funds at all--but as long as they do, the employees who work there can have no expectation of privacy. Unless and until we stop funding organizations like ACORN, I have no problem with subjecting their employees to every manner of public scrutiny AS LONG AS THEY ARE WORKING ON MY PROPERTY, that is, property funded by my tax dollars.

    I applaud Giles and O'Keefe. Transparency of these government organizations should be promoted--the sooner people realize how inherently corrupt they are, the better.

  • ||

    I know I got slapped down earlier when I suggested that ACORN was built up by the right so that they could have something to slap down. I still believe that. Maybe they used sleazy hardball tactics, but I still don't recall any issue where they've ever had success.

    So my explanation of why the mainstream media didn't catch on to ACORN before now is that ACORN is not and has never been as important as the right wing makes it out to be. ACORN, as we can all see plain as day, never had its shit together....not even close to having it together. They registered Mickey Mouse to vote and helped pimps get tax relief. I'm supposed to take that organization seriously? I had never heard of them before the GOP fall of 2006.

  • ||

    Maybe you are right Lamar. But so what? All the more reason to defund them. Further, if they really are that unimportant and just built up by the right, why are so many liberals trying so hard to defend them?

  • ||

    """Tricky, like the FBI ever does anything but show up and have press conferences to take credit after the local cops have already broken the case.""

    Not true at all John, but I'll play.

    Ok, then they should have given it to the "proper" authorites.

    """So my explanation of why the mainstream media didn't catch on to ACORN before now is that ACORN is not and has never been as important as the right wing makes it out to be."""

    Maybe a little of that, but I don't think the videos show crimes to the level Fox news, and some people on this board is claiming, so law enforcement isn't that interested, so media isn't that interested. Of course, it will be played as if LEOs are all about being liberals.

  • Tomcat1066||

    "She looks too much like an 18 year old for my tastes, but whatever floats everyone's figurative boats."

    Sean, that's a feature, not a bug ;)



    [Also note that I like the looks of 18 year old girls. I prefer a bit more maturity.]

  • ||

    John, I guess the hoopla served some purpose if it got the organization "defunded". I'd like to see what numbnuts funded them in the first place. Also, and I don't mean that as a defense really, but I can see how people will defend an organization with which they share ideals even if they have no idea how incompetent and corrupt the organization actually is. They are defending an ideal but are using perhaps the worst proxy imaginable.

  • ||

    Actually, the videos do no show how ACORN is corrupt. That was their central thesis according to Biggovernment.com. So they failed at that. It does show something about who they hire. But that doesn't mean the whole thing is bad.

    Allowing a few bad apples into the Army didn't mean the Army it's self was corrupt.

    However one views the "bad apples" concept is ok, as long as it's applied equally, not as partisans. Unless you like moral relativism.

  • ||

    TrickyVic,

    Why are you so obsessed with crimes? I doubt the people on the videos actually committed a crime. At most they were abetting or attempting to abet. But that is pretty thin gruel.

    But so what? No one is demanding ACORN go to jail. They are only asking that they stop getting federal funding. I would think that the standard for getting federal funds ought to be a little higher than "we didn't technically commit a felony".

    I don't get why you have such a problem with Giles and O'Keefe other than you don't seem to like their political views.

  • ||

    "Actually, the videos do no show how ACORN is corrupt. That was their central thesis according to Biggovernment.com. So they failed at that. It does show something about who they hire. But that doesn't mean the whole thing is bad."

    If you can get five people in five un related offices in different parts of the country to agree to help you import underage prostitutes, your organization has a systematic problem. People don't just become depraved. I doubt that O'Keefe and Miles were the luckiest people on earth and found the only five people who were willing to do this. Since none of the people seemed phased by the proposal, I also seriously doubt this was the first time they had tried to help someone commit a crime.

    Give it up Vic. You are just making yourself loook like a leftist hack.

  • ||

    If the GOP hates ACORN why didn't the GOP move to defund it when they held 2.5 of 3 branches of government.

    Nothing cracks me up more than the right forgetting it held almost absolute power for 6 of the last 9 years.

  • ||

    "she looks too much like an 18 year old for my tastes"

    That's code for "flat chested"

  • Mad Max||

    From the article:

    'every . . . and crisis pregnancy center staffer who gets underwritten by the Department of Health and Human Services to tell teen girls that abortion causes breast cancer should be on notice.'

    Interestingly, the article fails to mention that it's Planned Parenthood, not prolife crisis pregnancy centers, which have been exposed on video trying to cover up sex crimes, and that one of the guys who did the exposing went on to make the famous ACORN videos:

    'Exposing pro-abortion university health clinics and Planned Parenthood's criminal cover-up of child rape were the first major sting operations of undercover investigator James O'Keefe, who is now famous for exposing the systemic corruption within ACORN . . .

    'James O'Keefe is a 25 year-old Rutgers graduate and a veteran of Live Action films, the group led by UCLA student Lila Rose, 20, which began a series of sting operations in order to uncover a culture of corruption rife within the abortion industry.

    'In one such operation, O'Keefe placed phone-calls to Planned Parenthood development offices posing as a "donor" requesting that his money be used specifically to abort an African-American child who might someday steal his own child's spot in college through "affirmative action." No staffers hung up the phone, and one was even recorded saying, "We can definitely designate it for an African-American."

    'In 2007, O'Keefe posed as a 23-year old "boyfriend" accompanying Rose, also posing as his 15-year-old "girlfriend," in another sting that showed a Los Angeles Planned Parenthood staffer offering them advice as to how to arrange for the abortion and cover-up the statutory rape.

    'Rose later developed this operation into a nationwide sting in which she showed that Planned Parenthood staffers were willing to cover up the statutory rape of 14 year-old girl by her 30-year-old boyfriend.'

  • PoliTech||

    Most people never heard of Obama before the primary election season, does Lamar mean to suggest that the president and his policies are also not to be taken seriously?

    Who ever hear of him? Why should I care?

    Obama and the Democrat party in general certainly can't be thought to "have their shit together" any more than the Acorn organization. I mean the Dems have the majority in the House and Senate, with a Democrat sitting president, yet they still can't get their agenda moving forward. Why? It's not like the other side of the isle can do anything to stop them.

    If you were a resident of Illinois you would have heard of ACORN sometime in the last twenty years. Worst kept secret evar!

    ACORN Housing programs have been making headlines since '87. They have been organizing protests of bank lending policy since then as well.

    If you just heard about ACORN lately, it would seem to reflect more on you than it does on ACORN's corruption and/or the investigative reporting thereof.

  • ||

    "If the GOP hates ACORN why didn't the GOP move to defund it when they held 2.5 of 3 branches of government."

    Perhaps these videos may have had something to do with them getting defunded. Further, the GOP has been saying ACORN is dirty for years only to be told by leftists how great they are. Now, finally they have the proof.

  • ||

  • ||

    ""Give it up Vic. You are just making yourself loook like a leftist hack.""

    Because that's how you view people who disagree.

    """Why are you so obsessed with crimes? I doubt the people on the videos actually committed a crime."""

    That's fucking funny as hell, if you want to see who's obessed with crimes, watch Fox news, and look at ACORN=Enron's posts of list of alledged crimes.

    """I don't get why you have such a problem with Giles and O'Keefe other than you don't seem to like their political views."""

    Someone told me this wasn't about politics.
    Assume what you want. I have no real problems with them. I think their videos are amateur, but they are amateurs, so that's not a negative thing, but we someone starts talking about how award winning their videos are, I disagree. Not because of any feelings I have toward the crew. I don't know them. What they did was like a good school project. The problem I have with this whole affair is not the people making the video, but how righwing media outlets are hyping it.

  • ||

    """the GOP has been saying ACORN is dirty for years""

    So why didn't they do something about it when they had power.

  • ||

    ""Give it up Vic. You are just making yourself loook like a leftist hack.""

    Because that's how you view people who disagree."

    No. That is how I view people who defend the indefensible on their side. I disagree with Lamar and MNG. But I don't call them hacks because they admit the obvious even when it relects badly on their side.


    "The problem I have with this whole affair is not the people making the video, but how righwing media outlets are hyping it."

    And if they had caught a rightwing organization doing the same thing, you would still be angry about how it is being hyped right? You are just pissed that someone on your side got caught doing something stupid.

  • ||

    "So why didn't they do something about it when they had power."


    So I guess ACORN should get funds forever no matter how many videos there are of their employees facilitating underage prostitution because the GOP didn't defund them? That is reatarded even for you Vic.

  • ||

    "Most people never heard of Obama before the primary election season, does Lamar mean to suggest that the president and his policies are also not to be taken seriously?"

    He gave the keynote address at the 2004 convention, lubenozzle. That's traditionally the up and coming guy's place. He was going to run for Prez either now or in 4 years. Anybody even remotely interested in politics knew who Obama was, both on the right and the left. Whereas nobody really knew who ACORN was. So you lose.

    No, I'm honing my theory here, and your comment that ACORN is a Chicago fixture (though present elsewhere) leads me to believe that ACORN is an Obama surrogate. You can attack ACORN, and if the listener is wearing his decoder ring, he knows you are talking about how corrupt Obama (former communist organizer) is. It's a proxy war!

    "If you just heard about ACORN lately, it would seem to reflect more on you than it does on ACORN's corruption and/or the investigative reporting thereof."

    No doubt. What I think is so amazing about ACORN is that they were able to do nothing of any importance for so long, yet also be so incredibly important starting just after 2006, and corresponding to the rise of Barack Obama, who just happened to be a community organizer.

  • ||

    """ And if they had caught a rightwing organization doing the same thing, you would still be angry about how it is being hyped right? You are just pissed that someone on your side got caught doing something stupid.

    First, I'm not on either team, and I would be saying the same thing if the facts were the same and the team is different. If you think I'm partisan, it's only because you've convinced yourself of that because it fits your argument.

  • ||

    """So I guess ACORN should get funds forever no matter how many videos there are of their employees facilitating underage prostitution because the GOP didn't defund them? That is reatarded even for you Vic."""

    I didn't say that. You are putting words in my mouth and then calling me retarded for what YOU said. Good one.

    """If you can get five people in five un related offices in different parts of the country to agree to help you import underage prostitutes, your organization has a systematic problem.""

    Really John, if detainees were treated the same way in five different facilites, wouldn't that say that the Army has a systematic problem?

    Resorting to personal attack doesn't help your argument and makes you look like the doofus.

  • ||

    Perhaps we need to make sure this type of political speech complies with FEC law. This type of unbalanced reporting is the biggest threat to our country today.

  • ||

    "Really John, if detainees were treated the same way in five different facilites, wouldn't that say that the Army has a systematic problem?"

    uhh yes.

  • Ryan||

    "No one wants to see Sean Hannity or Michael Moore pursuing truth in crushed-velour ass pants"

    Speak for yourself... I would lol for quite some time.

  • ||

    Ryan, beware what you ask for, once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.

  • ||

    Well, if you went into 5 different restraunts of the same chain, and got food posioning, wouldn't you consider that a problem?

    One incident might have been accepted as isolated, 5 makes it systematic.

  • ||

    Well, if you went into 5 different restraunts of the same chain, and got food posioning, wouldn't you consider that a problem?

    Leave Applebee's alone.

  • PoliTech||

    lubenozzle, check. The personal attack does so much to improve your point Lamar.

    So 2004 is now the political starting point, for things that are "Important," got it. Glad to know the goal post location of the moment.

    Obama legally representing Acorn equates to a "Proxy War" on my part? Hardly. "ACORN is an Obama surrogate" are your words, not mine.

    Here are the Facts: Barack was never an ACORN community organizer. ACORN never hired Obama as a trainer, organizer, or any type of employee. ACORN was not part of the voter registration drive Obama ran in 1992.

    In his capacity as an attorney however, Obama DID represent ACORN in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois to force compliance with a federal voting access law. See the "Motor Voter" law and the Legal Eagle Award in 1995 that Obama received.

    I make no unfounded claims about Obama's involvement with Acorn other than his actual involvement with Acorn, a point which I make now.

    I was comparing the ham fisted policies of Acorn with the ham fisted policies of the Democrat party. I find the comparison amusing.

    As for Acorn doing nothing of importance before 2006, again you tip your hand to show your own political and social naiveté.

  • ||

    "lubenozzle, check. The personal attack does so much to improve your point Lamar.

    Sorry, I got out of hand.

    "So 2004 is now the political starting point, for things that are "Important," got it. Glad to know the goal post location of the moment."

    Actually, I was right before.

  • ||

    Well, if you went into 5 different restraunts of the same chain, and got food posioning, wouldn't you consider that a problem?

    One incident might have been accepted as isolated, 5 makes it systematic.


    If someone took this and suggested that Applebee's was corrupt and trying to poison people, they'd be laughed right off the Internet. Acorn is a shitty organization with noble intentions and awful hiring practices. They deserve defunding, but that doesn't mean there's an Acorn conspiracy.

  • ||

    "Obama legally representing Acorn equates to a "Proxy War" on my part? Hardly. "ACORN is an Obama surrogate" are your words, not mine."

    I didn't say anything about legal representation. I think the association for most is more relaxed.

  • ||

    I'm just not convinced. Whenever you say ACORN, I expect you to finish your sentence with how Sarah Palin is the future and other tales from the world of delusion. Yes, ACORN is a non-issue, especially now that its defunded (never should have gotten money in the first place).

  • ||

    The legality of the tapes became irrelevant as soon as people began to watch them. The scenes depicted were so over-the-top in the realm of corruption and demonstrated such a lack of humanity on the part of the ACORN workers that, regardless of whether or not Giles and O'Keefe should be sued for making the tapes, ACORN had to be limited and needs to be investigated.

    BUT.

    Best of luck getting that to happen, with Obama endorsing/relying on them as heavily as he did during the campaign.

  • Rich||

    One incident might have been accepted as isolated, 5 makes it systematic.

    I heard a guy today defend ACORN by claiming it's only bad employees ("Even *Sears* might have a few") that are problematic, not the wonderful *organization* that is doing God's work, so there's no need to investigate the whole thing.

  • ||

    "Maybe a little of that, but I don't think the videos show crimes to the level Fox news, and some people on this board is claiming, so law enforcement isn't that interested, so media isn't that interested."

    How does this not rise to the level of being criminal? A group FUNDED by tax dollars is wasting them and being criminal in their actions. If my not paying TAX MONEY TO SUPPORT THESE GROUPS in the 1st place is criminal than those very groups misusing that very same money fucking damn well better fall under the law. If you can't see that your BLIND.

  • ||

    Anyone who talks badly about Acorn is probably just diplaying their latent racism or they are a holocaust denier. This base of the republican party has been growing angrier in recent weeks as conspiracy theories about ACorn run rampant.

    Sarah Palin and Glenn Back will be a tough ticket for Obama/Biden to run against in 2012 but it will be a very interesting race. I wonder what it is about these teabaggers that has caused them to pick Palin/Beck to represent the republican party in 2012. I sense that they connect with the religous devotion of Glenn Beck and the unwillingness to read magazines or newspapers that Sara Palin has shown us.

  • ||

    He gave the keynote address at the 2004 convention, lubenozzle. That's traditionally the up and coming guy's place. He was going to run for Prez either now or in 4 years. Anybody even remotely interested in politics knew who Obama was, both on the right and the left. Whereas nobody really knew who ACORN was. So you lose.

    Sort of. I can tell you're not from this shithole state we call Illinois. Barack is president because, and only because, Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for US Senate, persuaded his wife to attend swingers' clubs before they got divorced a few year before the 2004 Illinois US Senate election. Ryan dropped out of the race and the previously virtually unknown Barack Obama won the race almost by default. Then, being the only black US senator, he was invited to give the speech at the DNC (and his wife was given a high paying no-show job at UIC hospital doing public relations work). That is where his stardom came from - not some great political career or record of achievement. Prior to the DNC speech, which only happened because a guy took his wife toa swing club, running for president could not have been even remotely possible even in Barack's narcissistic mind. Mayor of Chicago or Illinois governor maybe, but there would be zero basis to think he could have run or was on schedule to run for president in 2008 or 12 or 16. He completely fell into the position through dumb luck, being the sole black guy, not being obviously insane, and being sufficiently charismatic.


    His success has zero to do with his policy positions. It's all about hot swinger sex.

    Remember this Howard Stern piece?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqAiarOhC2U

  • Bertha Lewis||

    "What I think is so amazing about ACORN is that they were able to do nothing of any importance for so long, yet also be so incredibly important starting just after 2006,"

    Facilitating voter fraud does tend to get folk's attention.

    (keep shredding, Deshawn)

  • ||

    "Facilitating voter fraud does tend to get folk's attention."

    Well its a good thing they waited until the Democrats were assured of winning before they started the fraud.

  • ||

    """"""I heard a guy today defend ACORN by claiming it's only bad employees""

    I heard that a lot with the detainee issue.

    I agree that five incidents probably means you have a systematic problem. However, it's more likely to be true if it's the same type of incident, like the same sexual humiliation technique.

    The people in the videos seemed very willing to do what the camera crew wanted. It's not as if ACORN said go out there house hookers. But I agree, the willingness of their employees to break laws should warrant an investigation.
    ""

  • ||

    """How does this not rise to the level of being criminal?""

    To the level of criminallity as being hyped.

    No underage hookers were brought across the border. At best you have a conspiracy charges.

  • Bertha Lewis||

    "No underage hookers were brought across the border. At best you have a conspiracy charges."

    And that ain't criminal. Right?

    (faster Deshawn)

  • ||

    Sure conspiracy is criminal, but it's not the same as actually committing the crime. Right?

  • ||

    """His success has zero to do with his policy positions. It's all about hot swinger sex.""

    Did we change the subject to Bill Clinton? ;-)

  • ||

    """Jack Ryan, the Republican candidate for US Senate, persuaded his wife to attend swingers' clubs before they got divorced a few year before the 2004 Illinois US Senate election. ""

    And who was his wife???

    I don't blame Ryan one bit for wanting to get kinky with that.

  • PoliTech||

    Jack & Jeri Ryan "It's all about hot swinger sex" ... Why yes, yes it is.

    Bill Clinton & Monica "Not so hot swinger sex" and a cigar.

    Well some guys do find Romanesque woman attractive so ...

  • PoliTech||

    Romanesque - Rubanesque ... derned spell check.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Wow, over the years Greg Beato just has not gotten any smarter.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Obama and some other thugs got the Jack/Jeri Ryan divorce records unsealed. THAT put Barry over the top, not Ryan's misdeeds.

    As for the videos, if anyone has a problem with them but NOT with the MSNBC-aired "To Catch a Predator" shows - where they set up child molesters and have them arrested - then I don't know what to tell you. IMO, they're both necessary, though I won't watch the NBC thing - but I do support what they do, 'cuz it gets child molesters put in jail where they belong.

  • ||

    """Bill Clinton & Monica "Not so hot swinger sex" and a cigar."""

    Not Bill and Monica, Bill and Jennifer Flowers.

  • Plant Immigration RIghts Suppo||

    Has anyone in this thread mentioned Borat yet? I really think these people owe a lot to Baron Cohen's work. He really showed what can be done with this type of tactic.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Obama and some other thugs got the Jack/Jeri Ryan divorce records unsealed. THAT put Barry over the top, not Ryan's misdeeds.


    This is a scandal.

    Does not anyone care?

  • Wat||

    "As for the videos, if anyone has a problem with them but NOT with the MSNBC-aired "To Catch a Predator" shows - where they set up child molesters and have them arrested"

    You mean people who were communicating with imaginary children, are you sure you are really a libertarian? Are you sure all of these people actually forced themselves on girls? I don't think so... again I question you being a libertarian.

  • abercrombie milano||

    Not Bill and Monica, Bill and Jennifer Flowers.

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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