Obama, ACORN and their starring role in the mortgage crisis
By Frank Salvato
web posted October 13, 2008
Barack Obama, congressional Democrats and Progressive-Left operatives – with the help of the mainstream media – have done a great job of spinning culpability for the mortgage crisis onto the Bush Administration, congressional Republicans and, in particular, John McCain. This is a notable moment in the history of political spin because as the facts present, Democrats and Progressive-Leftists – not Republicans –are the ones directly responsible for the current financial crisis in which our country is embroiled. At the center of this culpability are Barack Obama and ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
In order to understand how Barack Obama and ACORN are directly to blame for the mortgage meltdown, we first have to understand what ACORN is and how Barack Obama was affiliated with them...and make no mistake; Barack Obama was most definitely affiliated with ACORN.
The Roots of ACORN
From a comprehensive and thoroughly researched piece by Stanley Kurtz in the National Review titled, Inside Obama's ACORN, we come to understand that ACORN has its roots in the anti-capitalist tenets of the 1960s radical left group the National Welfare Rights Organization. This groups' goal was to force a radical reconstruction of what they described as "America's unjust capitalist economy" by forcing the elimination of eligibility restrictions for those trying to attain inclusion on the welfare roles, thus creating an overloaded system, a crisis, so as to affect that reconstruction.
Over the years, ACORN morphed its mission into one that champions a diverse set of objectives, all with an overriding goal seated in the tenets of anti-capitalism and the destruction of the US economy. The group targets privately owned companies in their pursuit of unreasonably crafted municipal living wage laws that have literally driven said companies from the areas where jobs are needed. They continue their campaign to eliminate welfare role eligibility restrictions as they crusade to roll back welfare reform. And, in an area directly related to our subject, they actively employ coercive tactics to manipulate financial institutions into abandoning best business practice by affording low-interest loans to unqualified borrowers.
It is important to understand this statement fully; "...they actively employ coercive tactics to manipulate financial institutions into abandoning best business practice by affording low-interest loans to unqualified borrowers."
In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. This law requires financial institutions to offer credit, including home ownership opportunities, to under-served populations. Translated, the Community Reinvestment Act forced financial institutions to offer credit – mortgages – to unqualified borrowers. To add teeth to this law, provisions were included to punish financial institutions that did not embrace the horrific business practice of lending money to those unable to pay it back.
Because of the Community Reinvestment Act, any financial institution that wants to expand or merge – any financial institution that has earned the right to grow because of its utilization of good business practices – has to prove it has complied with the Community Reinvestment Act otherwise the growth move can be blocked through regulation set-up to enforce the law. ACORN, under the guise of affecting "affordable housing for the poor" routinely employs intimidation tactics (both physical and verbal), public charges of racism and threatens to use the Community Reinvestment Act to block business expansion. These actions have enabled ACORN to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and "organizational contributions" (read: bribes) from America's financial institutions.
Indisputably, the actions of ACORN, in their intimidation of financial institutions that make up the mortgage banking industry, serve as the chief catalyst for the mortgage crisis and the financial meltdown we are experiencing today. By coercing the mortgage banking industry into lending to those who were unqualified to borrow, ACORN instigated the collapse of the housing market and, as a result, is directly responsible for qualified borrowers – you and I – being unable to secure legitimate lines of credit today.
But how does this relate to Barack Obama?
Barack Obama's Connection to ACORN
When a young Barack Obama was first starting in his career as a "community organizer," he caught the eye of Madeleine Talbot, the Chicago chapter head of ACORN. Talbot was so impressed with Obama's organizational skills in his effort to attain asbestos abatement at a low-income housing project that she invited Obama to help train her own staff in the art of community organizing.
In an article by Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN leader and a member of ACORN's National Association Board, published in Social Policy titled, Case Study: Chicago — The Barack Obama Campaign, Barack Obama is cited as being a key figure in ACORN's yearly leadership-training seminars. Foulkes also exposes the fact that the much-touted Project Vote campaign which Obama takes credit for organizing was, in fact, in direct partnership with ACORN.
Barack Obama was retained to represent ACORN in a legal action regarding an Illinois law addressing what has come to be known as "motor-voter" voter registration. He was intentionally and specifically sought because of his days working with Madeleine Talbot.
After Obama officially left ACORN and began to craft his political career he tapped into his time at ACORN to field his volunteer staff. Having trained many of the ACORN leaders in Chicago there was a well-spring of enthusiasm for his candidacies throughout the organization, candidacies that include his 1996 congressional campaign, his 2000 State Senate campaign, his 2004 US Senate campaign and today's 2008 presidential campaign. It should be noted here that Obama sought and received endorsements from ACORN's political arm for his political contests.
A minimal effort into researching then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama's pet projects reveals that on several occasions he introduced legislation complimentary to ACORN's goals including legislation addressing the municipal living wage and the financial sector. And when Obama sat on the boards of the Woods Foundation and the Joyce Foundation he was afforded the wherewithal to direct grants to ACORN, which he did.
Putting Two-and-Two Together
There are many, including HotAir.com's Ed Morrissey, who will rightly point out that,
"It's important not to get too carried away with the ACORN connection in the collapse. The real trigger came when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began buying up all of these loans and converting them into securities."
But a gun doesn't shoot without bullets and ACORN's manipulation of the mortgage banking community in securing low-interest loans for unqualified borrowers manufactured the "bullets" that were shot by the gun owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Every crisis begins with a single act but most often that act remains hidden in the shadows of the crisis. It took years to uncover the mechanics of the September 11th, 2001 attacks yet we understood all those years of planning and training in a single moment. Hitler's rise to power didn't begin with his ascension to chancellor, it began in a Munich beer hall years before. And the movement that is incrementally facilitating the encroachment of socialist democratic ideology in the United States didn't start in the 1960s, it started circa World War I.
In the case of the mortgage crisis and the subsequent financial meltdown that has caused hundred-point slides in the stock market in recent days, it started with training people – community activists and their coordinators – how to coerce financial organizations into employing bad business practices by providing loans to people who could never, ever pay them back.
Barack Obama trained Madeleine Talbot's budding ACORN staff how to organize people to action. He returned yearly to provide leadership-training seminars. And after ACORN employed the practice of coercing financial institution into providing low-interest loans to unqualified recipients Obama served as their legal counsel.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have acted as the mechanism for the initiation of today's financial crisis, but ACORN and Barack Obama exist as the genesis, the single act that morphed into financial catastrophe for our country and, very likely, the world. To deny this elementary fact is to employ the math that got us into this mess.
And Barack Obama wants us to trust him with leading our country?
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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