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This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Wednesday 27 January 2010

The Republican Wrong – You’re Nicked

Back in 1970, a young man from New Orleans called Wade Rathke founded a group to lobby for lower income citizens, this being the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now, better known by the acronym ACORN. This body has lobbied for better and more affordable housing, improved wages, and has mounted drives to increase voter registration.

These actions, together with the expansion of ACORN over the years, have brought controversy, most notably during and since the 2008 Presidential Election: there have been accusations of voter fraud directed at the organisation, although the numbers proved have been minuscule compared to those suggested. Most significantly, the idea has been floated that ACORN is a far-left associate of the Democratic Party.

But the real trouble for ACORN came last September, when two “Conservative” activists, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, recorded several undercover videos where Giles posed as a prostitute, with O’Keefe pretending to be her pimp. Presenting themselves at ACORN offices, they would ask about tax evasion and trafficking of underage sex workers from Central America. The conversations never involved any formal assistance from ACORN, and moreover, O’Keefe has been accused of dubbing the sound. Nevertheless, the impression was bad for ACORN and there were subsequent moves to cut off state and federal funding.

And the whole saga may have ended there, but for Monday’s events in New Orleans, when the same James O’Keefe was one of four arrested amid accusations that they had attempted to plant a listening device at the office of Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu. The alleged crime is in the felony category (that means it’s serious).

The undercover videos were featured strongly by one broadcaster alone: no prizes for guessing that this was Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), whose “stars” Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity used them to demonise ACORN. So far, although Fox have reported the arrest, Beck and Hannity have maintained total silence.

That must be difficult for them. And while they’re keeping quiet, here’s a simple question: where did the use of the suffix “gate” originate?

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