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The video above is being touted by right-wing bloggers as "proof" that ACORN, SEIU and other groups are a shadowy socialist conspiracy behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. They do this by putting unsourced statements in between clips of Laura Flanders talking to a Occupy organizer and by making conclusions that would get you a failing grade in even a basic class on logic.
The same right-wing bloggers behind the video are also spreading the nonsensical idea that ACORN is running Occupy Orlando. Forget for the moment that ACORN no longer exists and take a look at the horrible, horrible logic used by these conspiracy theorists:
Questions continue to arise regarding who, exactly, is behind the Occupy Wall Street movement (as you know, the Blaze has explored this subject a number of times already).
Considering the framework behind the mass protests, it’s virtually impossible to ignore that progressive groups are likely heavily involved in the movement. This is especially true as the days go on and unions and other special-interest groups dig their nails into a movement that holds a great deal of potential political power.
This is a clear example of projection. Conservatives know that their "movements" aren't really movements and are paid-for enterprises created by their financiers in order to make it look like their extreme ideas are supported by the masses. So they assume that the left does the same thing. As someone who has been working on the left for more than a decade in volunteer and professional capacities, nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most talked-about concerns among left-wing activists is the fact that the people with money on our side rarely fund our movements the way the other side does. Left-wing activists rarely have the opportunity to make fighting for what is right a career, because the money just isn't there.
ACORN, one of many groups that have created angst among conservatives, seems to be finding its way back into the headlines once more. While the organization’s leaders claim that it has been disbanded, evidence seems to suggest the contrary. In fact, ACORN may be re-branding and some charge that its new chapters are heavily involved in helping to organize the protests.
Last week, a reader sent the Blaze some intriguing e-mails he’s been receiving from an Orlando, Florida-based group called “Organize Now.” He explained that he originally signed up to receive updates from ACORN back in 2009 (before the group shuttered).
While e-mails from ACORN have stopped, this new group — Organize Now — has begun e-mailing him, touting Occupy Wall Street and asking recipients to support the movement. Here’s a portion of the text from a recent message he claims to have received
This is all pretty straightforward stuff in the reality-based world. Conservatives killed ACORN by lying about it, which meant that the people who worked for the organization had to find new jobs. So they found jobs that matched with their existing skillsets and that meant that often people who worked together in one organization in a particular area found themselves working with some of the same people in these new jobs.
Many groups, including Organize Now, agree with the things that Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Orlando have been saying and, as happens across the political activist spectrum, these groups helped out by sending e-mails letting people know about what was happening. Every progressive group sends these kinds of e-mails. So does every conservative group. To suggest that such an e-mail means that Organize Now, which has a few former members of ACORN on staff, is actually ACORN and is behind Occupy Orlando, is laughable at best, and tin foil hat-type stuff at worst. I'm leaning a bit more towards the tin foil hat explanation.
Groups like JudicialWatch have been tracking what they see as a re-branding of ACORN for months. After all, discovering these connections and understanding what’s going on beneath the surface is paramount. While ACORN claimed that it was shutting down back in 2010, JudicialWatch wrote the following in a report entitled, “The Rebranding of ACORN,” this past August:
…evidence clearly suggests the following:
New and existing ACORN “spin-offs” are alive and well and will surely continue to flaunt state and federal laws in a blatantly partisan effort to register people — eligible or otherwise — who will vote for the reelection of Barack Obama and other liberal candidates across the country in 2012.
Let's remember, of course, that there was no evidence that ACORN ever did anything wrong as an organization and was, in fact, extremely responsible in attacking fraud. There is, of course, no evidence that these new groups have any connection to ACORN beyond having some of the same employees. And, let's realize that every conservative organization registers people in blatantly partisan ways, too.
Now, it’s possible the Rolle has simply moved on to work with a new group (Organize Now) and that she is assisting this totally ACORN-unrelated organization with her community organizing skills. That’s, of course, an option that must be highlighted to be entirely fair in covering this story.
This is a completely sane and accurate explanation of what happened in this story and kudos to the conservative blogger for pointing it out. Shame on the blogger for immediately rejecting reality to put the tin foil hat back on.
Among the links mentioned above, is an article from Media Matters for America. In it, the leftist group dismissed reports by Fox News, the Blaze and other media outlets that seem to showcase some bizarre patterns of former ACORN staffers embedding themselves in the Occupy movement.
Yes, it is quite bizarre that people who worked for ACORN -- a group that helped register voters who are being screwed over by the system -- would show up at protests designed to highlight the fact that people are being screwed over by the system. Hard to imagine why anyone who worked for ACORN would have any interest in Occupy Orlando or Occupy Wall Street.
The point that Media Matters appears to be glossing over is that, as JudicialWatch has noted, there seems to be a rebranding campaign going on. Of course, one could argue that all of these former staffers are simply finding one another because of the closely-knitted nature of the community organizational movement. But this seems unlikely.
Yes, it does seem unlikely that people who know each other and share the same values would attend events that are directly related to those values. It also seems unlikely that this conservative blogger could pass that basic logic class I mentioned earlier.
Now, let’s circle back around to our tipster, who purportedly never signed up for Organize Now e-mails, but magically began receiving them. Remember, he was on the ACORN list previously. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to wonder if ACORN’s Florida e-mail lists were turned over to Organize Now. Of course, this is conjecture — however the facts seem pretty compelling.
Yes, we know that there is no way for anyone to get an e-mail address without there being a conspiracy behind it. So the fact that I'm somehow on the e-mail lists, despite never signing up for them, of the Backstreet Boys and for Human Events Daily proves there is a conspiracy between boy bands and conservatives to make my life suck more.
And let's go to that last line again -- "the facts seem pretty compelling." The title of the post is "Is ACORN Organizing, Sustaining & Planning Occupy Orlando?" Sure, it's written as a question, but Jon Stewart and others have long ago shot down the conservative tactic of using questions to imply conclusions, which is exactly what this post is arguing. It's clear that the blogger wants to answer the title question with a big "YES!!!1!11!!" Again, "the facts seem pretty compelling." Here are his facts: A few former members of ACORN who know each other and work together have attended Occupy Orlando events and sent out emails in support of the Occupy movement. Oh, and a guy was on an email list he didn't sign up for. That's it. There are no more facts offered. There you have it, definitive proof that ACORN started the entire Occupy Wall Street movement and is controlling the Occupy Orlando events. And we would've gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for those darned conservative bloggers.