The sexual exploitation of children is intolerable. This is a moral absolute from which there can be no deviation. Right, left, and center, we know this to be true.
So when a pair of young muckrakers recorded several employees of the tax-subsidized organization ACORN offering advice to help facilitate child prostitution, it was clearly as newsworthy as it was despicable. However, most national media outlets ignored this outrage when the story broke on September 10, 2009.
Posing as a pimp and prostitute trying to set up a child sex slavery operation, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles visited five ACORN offices. During each encounter, they sought guidance on how to obtain financing for a brothel that would house a dozen or so underage girls smuggled in from El Salvador. On at least two or three occasions, Giles mentioned she was in danger from an abusive ex-pimp.
At all five offices, ACORN staff counseled the pair on a combination of tax evasion, money laundering, staying under law enforcement radar, welfare fraud, and human trafficking. One employee in Baltimore even recommended they claim some of the child sex slaves as dependents. “Honesty is not going to get you the house,” advised another in Brooklyn.
Yes, this is the story that most mainstream media outlets refused to cover as it unfolded over the past week.
If not for relentless airing on Fox News, promotion on the Drudge Report, and viral duplication on the right side of the blogosphere, the damning videos released by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government might not have received wider circulation than any fleeting Internet meme. Fortunately politicians took notice and quickly moved to defund ACORN, the recipient of at least $53 million in federal funds since 1994.
The mainstream media was finally forced to acknowledge the story, but initially did so with headlines like “Census Bureau Drops Acorn From 2010 Effort” and my personal favorite from Reuters, “U.S. Senate Denies Funds For Poverty Group.” To call that burying the lede would be fantastically inadequate.
Then the usual media suspects moved on to playing the blame game. Five days after the release of the first video, the New York Times published Conservatives Draw Blood From Acorn, its first original reporting on the scandal. MSNBC ran a segment called “Nuts vs. ACORN.”
Eventually even network television had to admit there was a story. Katie Couric led the national evening news anchors with her broadcast on Tuesday, September 15. NBC’s Meredith Vieira reported the story on Wednesday morning, and after laughing the story off as something better left “to the cables,” ABC World News anchor Charlie Gibson finally aired the story Wednesday evening. His broadcast followed a denouncement of the ACORN staffers by the White House.
Why the delay? Simple. Liberal reporters and producers were unable to ferret out an angle that could exonerate ACORN from culpability. They were stymied. The established media narrative demands ACORN be portrayed as a group of valiant crusaders against poverty. They’re to be hailed as noble community organizers under unfair scrutiny by a racist right wing attack machine.
Even the latest video of a San Diego ACORN employee offering assistance with smuggling child prostitutes into the country hasn’t derailed that narrative. Because the ACORN sting was the brainchild of conservative activists it is considered inherently flawed, unworthy of serious investigation.
BigGovernment.com has released devastating videos of ACORN employees offering to abet child prostitution in five cities – Baltimore, New York, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. – and more are reportedly on the way. The indecency in these videos is not a fluke.
ACORN doesn’t have just a few bad apples, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested. Incriminating videos have implicated nine employees. If ACORN Housing employs 250, as ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis attests, then we have at least 3.6 percent of the ACORN Housing workforce willing to help facilitate a child prostitution ring. Even if we include all 750 full- and part-time ACORN staffers, nine rotten apples would be a noteworthy 1.2 percent of the paid ACORN workforce. And it may well be that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
It is by the grace of public funding that ACORN’s doors stay open. An estimated 40 percent of ACORN funding comes from government sources, enough that taxpayers have a right and an obligation to demand transparency, accountability, and rigorous oversight. Both houses of Congress agree, and voted this week to bar ACORN from access to federal money. Several states followed suit, withdrawing funds and launching investigations into the group’s practices.
At best, ACORN is an organization with a toxic corporate culture that attracts or fosters morally reprehensible behavior. At worst, it is as corrupt and contemptible as ongoing allegations of widespread voter registration fraud, tax code violations, and contribution fraud would suggest.
Lashing out at everyone from the filmmakers to George Bush, Karl Rove, and the right in general will not make this scandal disappear. And neither will shameful incidents of media malpractice, feminist silence, and false equivalencies from the liberal blogosphere. Any degree of support for child sex slavery is indefensible. Period.
Perhaps I should have titled this piece, “Child Sex Trafficking Shouldn’t Be A Partisan Issue.” It shouldn’t be, and yet, for some, it’s acceptable to look the other way when it threatens to undermine a liberal organization.
Ever hear of a hot sheet motel?
When I was growing up in the Bronx, we called them no-tell motels until the local news popularized the term “hot sheet motel” to describe the grimy, STD incubators rented out by the hour to prostitutes, drug dealers, and addicts. The Northeast Bronx, especially Boston Road, was so infested with these crime havens we started calling it the sleaze belt.
Adolfo Carrión Jr., President Obama’s pick to lead the White House Office of Urban Affairs, knows a little something about hot sheet motels. While Carrión was serving as a New York City Councilman in late 2000, the Giuliani administration responded to citizen outcry about the motels by proposing new zoning laws to prevent new construction of these blights. Carrión helped block those laws. Here’s how this Chicago-style political tale played out:
When angry residents of the Baychester community demanded that Mayor Giuliani rid the area of the motels and the crime they breed some years ago, the former mayor proposed a radical rezoning that would prevent more motels from opening there. This was set for quick approval when a couple of major property owners hired Mr. Ramirez’s [Roberto Ramirez, former Bronx Democratic Party Chair] law firm to stop the plan.
Mr. Ramirez assigned his top land-use associate, Linda Baldwin, to convince the local community board to back down. With a little bit of double-talk, a dash of deception, and the connivance of Mr. Ferrer [Fernando Ferrer, Borough President at the time], the plan was killed. And who exactly is this Linda Baldwin that “Boss” Ramirez turned to? She’s Mrs. Adolfo Carrion.
Carrión, who clearly had the public’s best interest at heart, accepted a $2,000 political contribution from Oscar Porcelli, one of the appreciative property owners. The conflict of interest stemming from his wife’s involvement was exposed by Mary Lauro, a Community Board member and strong supporter of the Giuliani plan. After becoming Bronx Borough President in 2002, Carrión refused to reappoint his whistleblower to the Board.
That wasn’t the last time community board members experienced backlash after failing to support Carrión. In 2006, he replaced four members of Community Board 4 after they rejected the plan for a new Yankee Stadium. The plan, which drew significant opposition regarding displaced parkland and large taxpayer funded subsidies, was later approved by the City Council. Carrión’s most visible role as Borough President has been Cheerleader-in-Chief for the Yankees, and he has been accused of neglecting community interests in his quest to get the new ballpark built.
Questionable campaign donations, conflicts of interest, and Chicago-style politics? Sounds like we’ve got another Democrat who’ll be a great fit for the Obama administration. Does Carrión get bonus points for getting arrested with Al Sharpton?
Oh, and those hot sheet motels? Well, Carrión was only for them before he was against them. Bowing to political pressure as Borough President, he made repeated attempts to cleanse the Northeast Bronx of the seedy establishments, but only a few have been eliminated. Not shocking considering he continues to accept campaign contributions from pro-hot sheet property owners.
I have little patience for frivolous lawsuits that drain taxpayers’ wallets to give lowlifes an outlet for their vanity or easy access to get rich quick by exploiting the letter of the law. That’s why I get almost giddy when a fully merited lawsuit surfaces.
Michelle Malkin reports that Fox Business Network filed suit against the U.S. Treasury Department over failure to respond to legitimate Freedom of Information Act requests. The Network sought data on the allocation of bailout funds that … gasp … would give the American public the transparency promised by Hank Paulson when he ascended to the bailout throne earlier this year.
Kevin Magee, Executive Vice President, FOX News commented, “The Treasury has repeatedly ignored our requests for information on how the government is allocating money to these troubled institutions. In a critical time like this amidst mounting corruptions and an economic crisis, we as a news organization feel it’s more important than ever to hold the government accountable.”
Steven Mintz, Esq. of Mintz & Gold LLP, and legal counsel for the network added, “Despite the several requests for expedited information filed by FBN, it has become apparent that the Treasury will not cooperate without mounting legal pressure. Therefore, we have filed a complaint in the Federal Court in New York and ask the Court to make the Treasury provide the information sought by the journalists at FBN.”
Justice and government accountability – dare I hope?
How often do you hear someone start a sentence with the words, “I can’t believe ….” I can’t believe it’s raining. I can’t believe Obama got elected. I can’t believe another Chicago politician is corrupt.
But really, all these things are well within the realm of believability. I prefer to think of them as remarkable – not shocking, not even really surprising, but definitely worth a remark or two. In that spirit, here are some remarkable items I wish I could find surprising:
Arizona ranks among the worst states in the nation when it comes to emergency preparedness. Since Arizona governor Janet Napolitano has done such a stand up job addressing her state’s disaster response capabilities, it’s only natural that she will oversee Homeland Security for the Obama administration. (via The Weekly Standard)
The increasing number of Orthodox Jews in the Riverdale section of the Bronx doesn’t sit well with at least one resident. Michael O’Brien is calling for a boycott of local shops that have adapted their business practices to respond to shifting neighborhood demographics. He is offended by the lack of Christmas decorations at the Jewish deli and outraged that the Dunkin Donuts across the street from an orthodox yeshiva doesn’t serve sausage and egg sandwiches.
Some liberal feminists consider the Twilight YA series to be dangerously misogynistic Mormon apologia. I prefer not to link to them, but here’s a Google search to point you in the right direction if you’re so inclined.
Mounting evidence suggests that teenage girls seeking spiritual mentoring and camaraderie on pagan social networking sites are being lured into inappropriate relationships with adult men.
South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson played the black friend card this week in a revoltingly calculated (and easily anticipated) attempt to assure the public that his 12 year membership in a segregated country club is irrelevant to his candidacy for national RNC chairman.
And finally, the Detroit bailout bill passed in the House of Representatives with a vote of 237-170 on Wednesday. 32 “Republicans” were among those who voted in favor of the “rescue package.”
Like I said, no surprises.
You know what the race for Republican National Committee national chairman could use this year? A couple of candidates who embrace conflicts of interest with relish. Done and done:
In a highly unusual move, 37 self-identified conservatives on the 168-member Republican National Committee have formed a group to vet candidates for the $200,300-a-year, elected post of Republican national chairman, The Washington Times has learned.
An e-mail in which the group dubbed itself the RNC Conservative Steering Committee defines its goal as to ensure the election of a reliably conservative national leader. The group of vetters, however, itself includes several of the candidates for national chairman.
Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis and South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawson have both declared candidacy for the position of RNC national chairman and are reportedly members of this new Conservative Steering Committee. If Dawson and Anuzis need to have the obvious conflict of interest spelled out for them, they’re clearly not qualified to provide leadership for a party that already suffers from a tarnished public image. But of course, we already knew that about Katon Dawson.
In less than an hour, Barack Obama’s thirty minute infomercial will air on NBC, CBS, and Fox. The three million dollar media buy also includes air time on Univision, MSNBC, BET and TV One.
This extravagant prime time broadcast will be funded, in part, by a fraudulent donation racket deliberately facilitated by Team Obama.
Take a stand tonight. Use your remote control to show the country and the world that the American people are sickened by Barack Obama’s campaign finance fraud. We’re not interested in another half hour of carefully scripted pablum. Let his campaign know that we’re not buying what they’re selling, even if the Shamwow guy himself offers up an endorsement.
Barack Obama can slice and dice pineapples in mid air or guarantee a sleigh full of confidence and a sack full of pride, but it won’t matter. You see, people buy infomercial products knowing that they have the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, and their credit card companies to protect them from fraud. But Americans know that their votes are the only things to protect them from an Obama administration.
So tonight, show your support for John McCain by NOT tuning in to one of the seven channels airing Obama’s As Seen On TV Extravaganza. ( I promise you’ll be able to catch it on the Internet later, or you can check out Michelle Malkin’s live blog of the Obama variety half hour.)
Instead, take the thirty minutes between 8pm and 8:30pm eastern time to join John McCain’s voter-to-voter phone bank. Come on, you know you have at least thirty unused cell phone minutes this month, so make a few calls to Ohio or Pennsylvania and help get out the vote.
Leave the infomercials to Chef Tony and Ron Popeil.