The Ultimate Organizer: An Interview With ACORN’s Founder Wade Rathke


The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

It seems no matter which political party in America holds the majority, a Washington/Wall Street corporate centric axis dominates policy making. Indeed, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin recently observed that banks, “Frankly Own the Place.” Among liberal-progressive activists like myself, this condition has facilitated a confrontational mindset.

Our experience suggests that the power and wealth concentrated in the hands of a few will not be voluntarily relinquished. Hence, everything from healthcare reform to bankruptcy protection for aggrieved homeowners is perceived by many of us as a high stakes pitched battle between struggling families and feculent corporate behemoths. Although activism has certainly facilitated important victories on behalf of working people, fighting for economic justice often seems analogous to climbing an endless wall.

ACORN And Burger King And Glenn Beck, Oh My

Glenn Beck’s program on Fox News is a daily cavalcade of crazy and yesterday was no exception. Beck’s guest was Scott Levenson, the national spokesman for ACORN. As ACORN is a perennial target of Fox News paranoiacs like Beck, there was bound to be a major train wreck looming. And Beck didn’t disappoint (video).

The occasion for the visit was a recent report that ACORN employees in Nevada had been charged with violations related to voter registration. This is where panicky right wingers rush to mischaracterize such charges as voter fraud, when in fact, none occurred. So Beck was true to form as he asserted the same old tired lies in his signature juvenile style – substituting funny faces and noises for rational debate.

The real comedy came when Beck attempted to offer an analogy that was ludicrous on its face. Levenson defended ACORN as a victim of employees who failed to comply with the organization’s standards. Beck sought to argue that ACORN was responsible for the misbehavior of their employees and ran a tape of the infamous Burger King bather (who had his buddies shoot a video of him bathing in the restaurant’s sink) to make a point that must have made sense somewhere in his cartoon brain.

Actually, Beck’s point had something to do with ACORN’s management being deficient because fourteen or so ACORN employees, out of some 13,000, were alleged to have submitted fake registration forms. Beck contended that this proves it was not a case of a rogue employee, but an unacceptable pattern of malfeasance. And after telling Levenson to “pipe down” and cutting off his mic, Beck said:

“If you had that many employees at Burger King bathing in the sink, would you ever eat a burger there? Ever? No. This is unreasonable to believe he had that many bad employees.”

Well, I did a quick Google search looking for criminally wayward Burger King employees and found this:

  • Burger King employee arrested in homicide
  • Burger King employee arrested for giving away free meals, stealing
  • Burger King Employee Arrested After Jumping Through Drive-Up Window to Attack a Customer
  • Burger King employee arrested for serving pot
  • Burger King employee arrested for alleged identity theft
  • Ex-Employee, Pal Arrested in Burger King Kidnap Case
  • Burger King employees arrested for faking robbery
  • Coke Being Sold At Burger King
  • Burger King Franchise Pays $400,000 for Alleged Sexual Harassment of teens
  • 27 illegal aliens working at seven Delaware Burger Kings

Granted murder, drugs, robbery, etc., are not exactly in the same league as unlawful bathing, but some people might consider those to be serious offenses too. It should also be noted that the Burger King violators represent only those with the sort of criminal profile likely to be written up in the news. There are surely corporate personnel who have engaged in more mundane activities ranging from pilfering office supplies to extortion or other financial improprieties.

#%&* the Republican Party

I meant to go to sleep 2+ hours ago, I really did. But failing that, I thought I’d check the latest news on the tubes, and boy was that ever a mistake. I read about 6th the Circuit court decision to challenge 600k+ new registrations, and now I am WIDE FREAKIN’ AWAKE pissed off. Feel free to follow along on a near 2 am ramble and rant….

F%&* the GOP

Oh, every two years, predictably, they go on and on about the sanctity of the right to vote, and how evil Democratic allied groups are perpetrating voter fraud on an unsuspecting populace by registering all sorts of (OMIGOSH) people to vote, conveniently glossing over the fact that most of the people thus registered are poor, or minority, in their rush to judgment over the relatively few suspect registrations. Every two years, predictably, there’s an outcry over a group called ACORN, which inevitably pays some less than scrupulous persons to gather new voter registrations, and said persons get lazy, or bored, or just stupid, and sign up Mickey Mouse to cast a ballot.

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