Archive - Sep 21, 2009

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Memo to everyone talking about the ACORN Tapes: I DON'T GIVE A SHIT.

This is normally the point where, as a bit of a segue or a rhetorical device, I would say "I want to. I really do." But I can't even artistic-licence lie about it. I don't give a shit. And thus, I am largely content to completely ignore the story. And not in that way that conservatives are complaining the mainstream media" ignoring" it, by which they mean "talking about other things too during time that could be spent reinforcing our worldview", but actually actively ignoring it.

And the reason I'm actively ignoring it is that it doesn't fucking matter. I mean it REALLY doesn't matter. If you don't know, here's what happened. A couple of "conservative activists" who I'm pretty sure are douchebag disciples of Andy Breitbart, grabbed a hidden camera, dressed up in "prostitute" and "pimp" outfits from the Halloween Superstore, and solicited advice from representatives in ACORN offices on subjects such as concealing illegal income from the IRS. The resulting advice seemed mildly shocking, eyebrows were raised, and the MATTER WAS LOOKED INTO.

And when I say "looked into", I mean not actually looked into, because that's not how these things worked. What I mean is, the proper political reaction to the tapes was looked into, and the decision was made, across the board, from media to pundits to politicians, that the effort necessary to defend ACORN, to put the tapes in a favorable context, was simply not worth the hassle. So the Congress cut off federal funding to ACORN and the wingnuts passed out noisemakers. I mean actual noisemakers from a party store, not old Limbaugh and Beck tapes.

The only interesting thing to be found in the whole sorry matter is as a data point for the political health of America, and upon further reflection, this canary I've been carrying around in this cage since Bill Clinton got elected is still dead, and starting to smell a bit. Not unlike this ACORN thing, which stinks to high heaven.

First, there was no investigation. Not by the media, not by the government, and not by the police. The tapes, as filmed and edited by the "conservative activists", have been accepted at face value, even though the people promoting them are wrong about everything all the time. I've seen the people perpetrating the "sting", and I'd be a more convincing pimp. I'm just saying.

But even that doesn't matter. Let's assume that everything in the tapes is the true, unvarnished, unfiltered truth about some low-level ACORN employees. The employees were fired, and the organization is conducting an internal investigation. Those steps are usually more than is necessary when a low-level employee is caught on tape doing something embarrassing and unprofessional. And I know this, because the same damn week the ACORN tapes broke wide, a low-level employee of Fox News was caught on tape giving directions to a crowd of teabaggers at the 9/12 protests so that they would do what Fox News wanted them to do on camera. Which is embarrassing and unprofessional. She didn't even get fired. Fox was just allowed to say that she was a low level employee who made a mistake, and it didn't reflect badly on the honesty of the news channel or the authenticity of the 9/12 protests at all.

ACORN, on the other hand, got all its funding pulled in a bipartisan vote of Congress, and even that isn't stopping calls for a special prosecutor. A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR. For ACORN. You have got to be shitting me. An organization that exists largely to help poor and minority Americans, and help get them involved and voting has a few employees fuck up and they're cut off and potentially being specially prosecuted in less than a week. But the banks can rip everyone off, mercenaries can massacre civilians and steal billions, and our government can torture people to death, and it takes YEARS to get to the point where we might have investigations even though, for example, former CIA heads are writing letters asking us not too.

It's funny how that works, isn't it? If a community organizer dares to tell a pimp how he can hide shady income from the IRS, the entire national organization that employed them is vilified and taken down. But if an accountant does the same for an Enron, or an Exxon, or Citigroup, they get an expense account and a hefty annual bonus, and nobody on cable news would even think of calling for their heads on platters. I mean, it's almost as if a different set of rules applied for the poor and for minorities, but that can't be the case, because if there were, I'm sure someone would have brought it up in the context of Jimmy Carter's remarks last week. And I'm pretty damn sure they didn't.