Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pork in the Stimulus Package?

Update (2/8 3:28p): more Michael Steele inanity.

One of the things Republicans have been complaining about is the money supposedly earmarked for ACORN. Some of the angst is due to their false allegations last fall that ACORN was involved in voter fraud. Well. Not only was ACORN not involved in voter fraud, there is not money earmarked for ACORN.

Now, I bring this up for a few reasons, the most important of which I'll lay out last.

But first, in the weekly Republican address, Michael Steele question if power had gone to the Democrats head. His complaints are that congressional Democrats fashioned the stimulus bill without Republican ideas and that the bill is full of spending. Well. The past 8 years, if not 2 decades, has proven that Republicans ideas are bankrupt, both figuratively and literally. And as Pres. Obama has recently made clear, as far as spending, "that's the point!" Most economists across the political spectrum agree that their should be more spending in the package than tax cuts. But still, or rather, Steele, the Republicans insist on opposing the package? Even John McCain found the gall to talk smack after having his behind gift-wrapped to him this past November.

Let me remind Republicans, "bi-partisanship" does not mean you get your way.

Then we have former Vice President Dick Cheney getting chesty about the war on terror. I mean, with the mess we've created in the Middle East, Gitmo being used as recruitment material for terror groups, you'd think he'd go somewhere and hide. But no. So. If you didn't already think little to nothing of Cheney, let me inform you that KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton where Cheney was CEO until 2000, has been charged with bribing the Nigerian government for defence contracts.

But now, for the coup de grace. I opened this post with ACORN and the stimulus bill for the particular purpose of distributing information I've just received that tells a story of ACORN helping a family buy property they had been renting that had been foreclosed on. Yeah. The Republicans are despicable.


A Startling Statistic & an Appeal from ACORN


Fifteen percent of all houses and apartments in the
United States stood empty at the end of 2008 - a record
19 million homes - according to data released this week
by the U.S. Census Bureau. Vacant housing units in the
fourth quarter increased nearly 7 percent compared with
the same period in 2007, largely because of bank
foreclosures and owners who abandoned their

San Francisco Chronicle
February 5, 2009


ACORN: Starting the Recovery - Ending Foreclosures

ACORN February 6, 2009

Dear friends,

I have an amazing story to share with you - a story of
a community coming together and, through collective
action and civil disobedience, saving the home of a
family of renters in Oakland caught up in the
foreclosure crisis. And not just save the home, but
help them buy it from their foreclosed landlord!

The reason I'm sharing this with you is because we are
going to be doing this exact same thing in cities
around the country and I wanted to invite you to join
in the fight to end the financial crisis and save the
homes of individuals caught in the storm.

But first, here's the story of Eddie and Martha Daniels
of Oakland, California.:

At 6:00 am on Wednesday, February 4, more than 30
members of ACORN gathered at the home of Eddie and
Martha Daniels in West Oakland, armed with prayers,
cell phones, and the hope that Wednesday would not be a
day in which yet another family who had done no wrong
was claimed as a victim of the raging foreclosure

Since 2006, the Daniels had paid their rent each month
to their landlord, who had not told them that he was
not, in turn, paying the mortgage on time. The
landlord's lender had foreclosed on the property and
terminated the lease, and on Wednesday the sheriff was
scheduled to come to their home and evict the Daniels,
a family on the verge becoming another statistic in the
national economic catastrophe.

ACORN members rallied their neighbors, spoke with local
media, including one radio station that broadcast live
from the home, and flooded the sheriff's office with
calls urging compassion and forbearance of the
scheduled eviction. At the same time, ACORN Housing
Corporation was working furiously behind the scenes
with the lender to negotiate a stay on the eviction,
which successfully came through.

This alone would have saved their home, but what
happened next was uniq ue: ACORN Housing Corporation
was able to counsel the Daniels and help them apply for
a VA loan that would enable them to purchase the very
property from which they were almost evicted earlier
that day!

Maud Hurd, ACORN's President, said, "This shows the
power of communities coming together to fight back
against the foreclosures that are taking our homes and
ruining our neighborhoods."

Amen. And that's why I wanted to write to you. Today
ACORN is launching a national effort modeled on what
happened yesterday in Oakland: the ACORN Home
Defenders. The Home Defenders gives everyone an
opportunity to stand in solidarity with families like
the Daniels as they face the economic maelstrom
engulfing our country. It is designed to help keep
families in their homes and put pressure on our elected
officials to address this root cause of the economic

The Home Defenders program links members of local
communities with families who have taken the bold step
of refusing to cooperate with the foreclosure process.
It responds to the desperate calls for help found in
the grim foreclosure statistics (2.3 million families
faced foreclosure in 2008) and echoes the sentiments of
leaders like Toledo,=2 0Ohio-area Congresswoman Marcy
Kaptur who recently said, "Stay in your homes. If the
American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed,
don't leave."

The urgency of this crisis demands immediate action. So
the Home Defenders program is rolling out in two
stages. The first stage will include eight "Tier 1"
metro areas: Baltimore, MD; Contra Costa County, CA;
Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Oakland,
CA; Orlando, FL and Tucson, AZ. Initial trainings for
people located in these metro areas will take place
during the second week in February, with kick-off
events scheduled to occur during the 3rd week of the

The second stage will include 16 "Tier 2" metro areas:
Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Broward County,
FL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver,
CO; Detroit, MI; Durham, NC; Flint, MI; Minneapolis,
MN; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; San Mateo County, CA;
and Wilmington, DE. Trainings and kick-off events will
occur a few weeks after those in the Tier 1 cities.

New cities are continuing to join this campaign, so if
you do not live near any of the metro areas listed
above, you can still participate in actions to save the
homes of families in your community as they come on-
board. For people who live in areas that will not have
local organizers helping drive this program, ACORN is
creating Home Defender Tool-Kits that help you fight=2
0back against the crisis in your neighborhood.

I urge you to take this step in helping local families
fight back against the crisis caused by reckless
financiers who made billions in bonuses in equity-
stripping schemes designed to set homebuyers up for

By showing that communities are refusing to participate
in their own decimation, we will force elected
officials to finally shift their emphasis from bailing
out Wall Street to bailing out Main Street.

Join with me.

In strength and solidarity,

Bertha Lewis ACORN CEO and Chief Organizer

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