Friday, October 30, 2009

How I Overcame Fear and Rejected the ACORN 8 Alternative

I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
General George S. Patton, Jr.:
You must be single minded. Drive for the one thing on which you have decided. You will find that you will make some people miserable; those you love and very often yourself. And, if it looks like you are getting there, all kinds of people, including some whom you thought were loyal friends, will suddenly show up doing their damndest, hypocritical best to trip you up, blacken you, and break your spirit.
One almost never hears of paralyzing joy or happiness. The adjective "paralyzing" is usually combined with the word fear. Fear can take on many forms. In most cases, it is the driving force behind the decisions that follow. In 2008, the fear I encountered involved my family, our safety and loyalty to my race and political party. When others are aware of your fears, they can make the most of opportunities to capitalize on them; whether it is a fellow whistleblower warning you away from Fox News, or liberals throwing the word racist in the face of conservatives.

Often, it is the fear of being alone that paralyzes. To avoid being alone, women (and men) can make bad choices in mates or politics. A person will align with a group or organization that adds support or disproves a claim. In July of 2008, I aligned with both The New York Times and former board members of ACORN that had formed a group called the ACORN 8. On October 21, 2008, New York Times reporter Stephanie Strom, with whom I had been working on an ACORN expose, told me that her editors had told her to “stand down,” because the ACORN/Obama story was a "game changer" and it was their policy not to print a "game changer" that close to the election.

My sense of having a reliable system in place to help expose the truth disintegrated. I will always wonder about the timing of the release of the Kingsley report (a report by an ACORN lawyer that showed huge problems within the organization related to the connection between the ACORN entities) to Strom when she was hot on the story of ACORN and Obama campaign corruption and about to be made to "stand down" on it by "higher up." I began to suspect that the same group who had decided to “wait until after the election to go after Wade Rathke, and whose representative had warned me about going on Fox the weekend before the election may have had an ulterior motive for releasing the report to Strom right before a potentially damaging expose on ACORN/Obama.

A screen shot of the July 29th 2008 meeting by the ACORN Interim Staff Management Committee (ISM) details the efforts that ISM members including Karen Innman and Marcel Reid to protect Obama by not exposing Rathke before election day 2008.

As an ardent Democrat, I listened to Reid and continued to work with the ACORN 8 but the questions returned after I was shown a copy of the same Kingsley report by Reid of the ACORN 8 on the eve of my first interview on Fox News with Eric Shawn, on Mother's Day morning. I was later interviewed by Fox News' Megyn Kelly the following morning and about a month later by Bill O'Reilly on the Factor about how the New York Times killed an Obama/ACORN expose on October 21, 2008.

The current situation in Louisiana is eerily familiar to the struggle that I witnessed in early 2009 between the ACORN control group and the ACORN 8 and I expect more such situations as ACORN crumbles.
“A new battle is brewing at the controversial community group ACORN, as ousted and disgruntled leaders in Louisiana reportedly plan to form their own group with the same name...
"...ACORN fired [Beth] Butler over apparent concerns about a lack of 'accountability' in her work leading the Louisiana chapter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Butler was close to ACORN founder Wade Rathke, whose brother Dale was accused of embezzling about $1 million from the group a decade ago.
"...Butler said she was fired because she refused to fire members of a land trust board whom national ACORN leaders wanted ousted. She said ACORN national is 'going out of business' and wanted the board gone to seize control of its funds and assets. She called the ordeal 'all completely inappropriate and unethical.'
"Vanessa Gueringer, who sits on the Louisiana and national board of ACORN, told the Times-Picayune, that Stephen Bradberry, the employee installed as Butler's replacement, is an 'illegitimate interloper.'"

Screen shots of the ISM committee meeting notes and a legal memo by ACORN's former lawyer Steve Bachmann appear to support Butler's claims:

Like the new ACORN group forming in New Orleans, Louisiana, the ACORN 8 was made up of former board members and members of ACORN. Initially, I supported the ACORN 8 as an improvement over the current ACORN control group. But I eventually realized that, also like the Louisiana ACORN off-shoot group, ACORN 8 is engaged in a power struggle with ACORN National and not what is needed.
In March of 2009, the DC chapter of ACORN faced the same type of administrativeship that dissolved the New Orleans branch as this 3/6/2009 letter by Mary Spencer, acting president of the DC chapter to Bertha Lewis, CEO of ACORN illustrates:

  1. Why is the DC Chapter being penalized because several persons from this area were removed from membership by the National Board after asking that the ACORN’s financial records be made available, which has never been done? Is there a certain number of persons that warrant such actions be taken against a chapter or is this something that is once again made up to make the appearance of a reason for putting DC in administrativeship? (emphasis mine)

  2. Regarding confidential information being leaked, I can assure you that since no DC members have access to any of ACORN’s confidential information, we the DC chapter should not be the fall guy for such actions. May I ask what confidential information is being referred to in this statement?

I had already begun to wonder if I could really fight ACORN with ACORN, but after reading this letter forwarded by Marcel Reid of the ACORN 8, I knew that it was time to go at this alone. I believed that ACORN was a subversive organization committed to turning poverty into a profit and America into a socialist country. I also came to realize in the months leading up to March, my admitted fears had been used against me by others and I had become a prisoner of the those fears.

When TV/Radio host's Glenn Beck's producers invited me to appear on his show in March, I turned it down. The thought of appearing on TV was terrifying. I had declined previous interviews in great part because of that fear, especially after an attempted break-in of my home, out of concern for my family, as Beck mentioned on air. I had a long talk with Beck's producers and Cleta Mitchell of the Republican National Lawyers Association, happily provided information and disclosed the circumstances of my termination from ACORN/Project Vote.

Fear and outside influences kept me off Fox the weekend before the election. Fear and a sense of loyalty to Strom kept me from immediately exposing the New York Times by releasing our email exchanges before March of 2009 and fear tied me to Marcel Reid, who used those fears to manipulate and control me. In the end, fear did not prevent me from realizing that I was no longer ideologically aligned with the ACORN 8. I was no longer the far left radical who wanted to change the system, and I no longer felt that I had to stand with my Democratic party.


Nancy said...

You are a very brave woman. I pray that you and your family will be protected as you speak out and let the truth be known. We need more brave soldiers like you.

MathMom said...

I was born in 1954. My memories start sometime around the time the Berlin wall was erected, and I remember so many stories about how people were gunned down trying to make their brave run through No Man's Land to the West.

I could not believe my eyes when in 1989 the people of both East and West Berlin finally breached that wall, while the soldiers stood down. At some point, they could not kill them all, and had to admit defeat.

You are one of the first to run across a different "no-man's land" to intellectual freedom, and I wish for you safety for your family, and continued bravery on your part. Godspeed, and thank you.

Z said...

Ditto MathMom

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