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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  October 9, 2008
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McCain Still Can Win, By Exposing Obama and ACORN

It would be the height of irony for Obama. "the Senator from ACORN," to benefit from the financial crisis that his kind of thinking created with his personal help as organizer, trainer. lawyer, funder and political supporter and win the Presidency.

Decision on the second presidential debate: McCain on points, but no knockdown.

To win, McCain needs at least one knockdown.

Being a disabled war hero running against a war zero is not a big plus today.

Being a veteran United States Senator running against a rookie United States Senator is not a big plus today.

Being a septuagenarian running against a man who is only a bit older now that former Presidents John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard Milhouse Nixon were when they contested for the Presidency in 1960 is a minus.

Being a white man running against a person that the bulk of the mainstream media want to become America's first African-American President of the United States is a minus.

Good news: McCain still can win.

Bad news: If McCain continues to campaigns on the notion that Obama is fit to be president but not as good a choice as McCain, then Obama will win.

To win, McCain must expose Obama's unfitness and overcome the huge mainstream media bias in favor of Obama.

It is a difficult, but not impossible, task.

McCain biggest problem with the presidential debates is that they make it seem like Obama is fit to be president.

That problem is exacerbated by liberal media bias built into the debates.

NOT bias that is readily obvious to viewers and listeners.

Something subtle: bias in question selection.

Hannity and Colmes are not co-moderating the debates.

So far two moderators from liberal PBS (Jum Lehrer and Gwen Ifill) and one from the in-the-tank-for-Obama network, NBC, (Tom Brokaw) have formulated or selected all the questions.

It's a big advantage for Obama.

Brokaw isn't hawking a book on the age of Obama like Ifill, but like her he stayed away from questions about Ayers, Wright, ACORN, abortion and judges.

Andy Martin, Executive Editor, ContrarianCommentary.com, suggested after the second presidential debate that the Obama-Ayers relationship is the key to a McCain victory.

Martin:

"We can devastate [Obama] with the truth.

"Bill Ayers gave Barack Obama a $100 million checkbook. Can anyone reasonably believe that Ayers entrusted the money he personally had raised to someone untried whom Ayers did not know well and could not trust? Garbage! Ayers knew and trusted Obama before he wrote him a check for $100 million dollars.

"Likewise, can anyone believe David Axelrod's latest lie, that Obama accepted a check from Ayers for $100 million dollars ($50 million Annenberg and $50 million matching) without knowing who was behind the money, and who Bill Ayers was? Equally garbage.

"Who did Obama think Bill Ayers was? An Ed McMahon substitute, delivering $100 million from Publishers Clearing House? These men, Obama and Ayers, knew each other intimately before the Annenberg deal went down. No honest person can hold a contrary opinion.

"We can hit Obama with a devastating critique and challenge: if you won't tell the truth about Ayers, and subject your academic years to searching cross-examination, we will apply the common law 'adverse inference rule' and draw a negative conclusion from your silence and secrecy. Ayers is the linchpin of our strategy, but not the only pin. Obama has a lot of shadows, a lot of unknowns in his life. It is fair game to shine some light on his dark corners and shady past.

"We can attack and destroy and conquer the enemy with the truth. We don't have to lie or distort. The truth is Obama's greatest enemy...."

The truth IS Obama's greatest enemy and the ignorance of the truth is the key to an Obama victory.

Martin is right to emphasize the Obama-Ayers relationship, on which, to put it gently, Obama has been less than completely candid.

Unfortunately, except for Fox, the television media has not subjected that relationship to scrutiny and Obama has handled the problem reasonably effectively simply by saying Ayers did detestable things, but he (Obama) was a mere child at the time and holding the relationship against him would be unfair guilt by association.

In fact, we all reveal much about ourselves by choosing with whom to associate and how to associate with others and not paying attention to voluntary associations is absurd.

Obama is not a priest, a minister, a rabbi or an imam trying to help sinners appreciate the errors of their ways and repent.

And a proper understanding of Obama's relationship with Ayers requires an appreciation of ACORN (the Association of Community organizations for Reform Now) and Obama's relationship to it, which began when Obama was no longer a mere child and continues today.

It is the conventional wisdom to blame Wall Street for the financial crisis, but that is simplistic.

Wall Street bears blame, to be sure, but the underlying problem is that too many mortgages are not being paid on time or at all and that is directly traceable to the pressure of ACORN to make loans that never should have been made as well as borrowers taking those loans when it was foreseeable that they could not pay them in case of an economic downturn in the real estate market.

The truth is that President Bush and Senator McCain both pushed for Treasury Department oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after President Bush was re-elected, but the Republicans did not have 60 Senate votes and the Democrats, including the new Senator from Illinois, blocked that oversight.

Republicans traditionally oppose needless and burdensome regulation, but they did not deem regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac needless and burdensome.

Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a National Review Online contributing editor, has been researching and writing about ACORN.

If all the voters read in time what Mr. Kurtz has written about it, McCain/Palin will win big.

Mr. Kurtz's latest article, "Planting Seeds of Disaster: ACORN, Barack Obama, and the Democratic party," is an excellent expose that MSNBC won't be calling to its viewers' attention.

Mr. Kurtz focused on the genesis of the current financial crisis:

"ĎYouíve got only a couple thousand bucks in the bank. Your job pays you dog-food wages. Your credit history has been bent, stapled, and mutilated. You declared bankruptcy in 1989. Donít despair: You can still buy a house.' So began an April 1995 article in the Chicago Sun-Times that went on to direct prospective home-buyers fitting this profile to a group of far-left 'community organizers' called ACORN, for assistance. In retrospect, of course, encouraging customers like this to buy homes seems little short of madness."

Obama, not McCain, was promoting the madness.

Mr. Kurtz: "At the time...that 1995 Chicago newspaper article represented something of a triumph for Barack Obama. That same year, as a director at Chicagoís Woods Fund, Obama was successfully pushing for a major expansion of assistance to ACORN, and sending still more money ACORNís way from his post as board chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Through both funding and personal-leadership training, Obama supported ACORN. And ACORN, far more than weíve recognized up to now, had a major role in precipitating the subprime crisis."

Before he was in position to fund ACORN, Obama did his version of public service (not to confused with service in the United States military, the Peace Corps or VISTA, "the domestic Peace Corps": community organizing!

Mr. Kurtz:

"Iíve already told the story of Obamaís close ties to ACORN leader Madeline Talbott, who personally led Chicago ACORNís campaign to intimidate banks into making high-risk loans to low-credit customers. Using provisions of a 1977 law called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Chicago ACORN was able to delay and halt the efforts of banks to merge or expand until they had agreed to lower their credit standards ó and to fill ACORNís coffers to finance 'counseling' operations like the one touted in that Sun-Times article. This much weíve known. Yet these local, CRA-based pressure-campaigns fit into a broader, more disturbing, and still under-appreciated national picture. Far more than weíve recognized, ACORNís local, CRA-enabled pressure tactics served to entangle the financial system as a whole in the subprime mess. ACORN was no side-show. On the contrary, using CRA and ties to sympathetic congressional Democrats, ACORN succeeded in drawing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the very policies that led to the current disaster.

"In one of the first book-length scholarly studies of ACORN, Organizing Urban America, Rutgers University political scientist Heidi Swarts describes this group, so dear to Barack Obama, as 'oppositional outlaws.' Swarts, a strong supporter of ACORN, has no qualms about stating that its members think of themselves as 'militants unafraid to confront the powers that be.' 'This identity as a uniquely militant organization,' says Swarts, 'is reinforced by contentious action.' ACORN protesters will break into private offices, show up at a bankerís home to intimidate his family, or pour protesters into bank lobbies to scare away customers, all in an effort to force a lowering of credit standards for poor and minority customers. According to Swarts, long-term ACORN organizers 'tend to see the organization as a solitary vanguard of principled leftists...the only truly radical community organization.'"

Obama's manner is calm and reassuring (unlike, say Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton), but that's because he's smarter and even more fixated on taking national political power.

Mr. Kurtz explained ACORN's "inside strategy" and refuted claims that ACORN was not significantly to blame as follows:

"Yet ACORNís entirely deserved reputation for militance is balanced by its less-well-known 'inside strategy.' ACORN has long employed Washington-based lobbyists who understand very well how the legislative game is played. ACORNís national lobbyists may encourage and benefit from the militant tactics of their base, but in the halls of congress they play the game with smooth sophistication. The untold story of ACORNís central role in the financial meltdown is about the one-two punch to the banking system administered by this outside/inside strategy.

"Critics of the notion that CRA had a major impact on the subprime crisis ask how a law passed in 1977 could have caused a crisis in 2008? The answer has a lot to do with ACORN ó and the critical years of 1990-1995. While the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act did call on banks to increase lending in poor and minority neighborhoods, its exact requirements were vague, and therefore open to a good deal of regulatory interpretation. Banks merger or expansion plans were rarely held up under CRA until the late 1980s, when ACORN perfected its technique of filing CRA complaints in tandem with the sort of intimidation tactics perfected by that original ďcommunity organizerĒ (and Obama idol), Saul Alinsky.

"At first, ACORNís anti-bank actions were relatively few in number. However, under a provision of the 1989 savings and loan bailout pushed by liberal Democratic legislators, like Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, lenders were required to compile public records of mortgage applicants by race, gender, and income. Although the statistics produced by these studies were presented in highly misleading ways, groups like ACORN were able to use them to embarrass banks into lowering credit standards. At the same time, a wave of banking mergers in the early 1990's provided an opening for ACORN to use CRA to force lending changes. Any merger could be blocked under CRA, and once ACORN began systematically filing protests over minority lending, a formerly toothless set of regulations began to bite.

"ACORNís efforts to undermine credit standards in the late 1980s taught it a valuable lesson. However much pressure ACORN put on banks to lower credit standards, tough requirements in the 'secondary market' run by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac served as a barrier to change. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy up mortgages en masse, bundle them, and sell them to investors on the world market. Back then, Fannie and Freddie refused to buy loans that failed to meet high credit standards. If, for example, a local bank buckled to ACORN pressure and agreed to offer poor or minority applicants a 5-percent down-payment rate, instead of the normal 10-20 percent, Fannie and Freddie would refuse to buy up those mortgages. That would leave all the risk of these shaky loans with the local bank. So again and again, local banks would tell ACORN that, because of standards imposed by Fannie and Freddie, they could lower their credit standards by only a little.

"So the eighties taught ACORN that a high-pressure, Alinskyite outside strategy wouldnít be enough. Their Washington lobbyists would have to bring inside pressure on the government to undercut credit standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Only then would local banks consider making loans available to customers with bad credit histories, low wages, virtually nothing in the bank, and even bankruptcies on record."

Blame Obama and the Democrats, not McCain and the Republicans, and don't expect Obama and the Democrats to fix things if they take full control.

Mr. Kurtz:

"As early as 1987, ACORN began pressuring Fannie and Freddie to review their standards, with modest results. By 1989, ACORN had lured Fannie Mae into the first of many 'pilot projects' designed to help local banks lower credit standards. But it was all small potatoes until the serious pressure began in early 1991. At that point, Democratic Senator Allan Dixon convened a Senate subcommittee hearing at which an ACORN representative gave key testimony. Itís probably not a coincidence that Dixon, like Obama, was an Illinois Democrat, since Chicago has long been a stronghold of ACORN influence.

"Dixon gave credibility to ACORNís accusations of loan bias, although these claims of racism were disputed by Missouri Republican, Christopher Bond. ACORNís spokesman strenuously complained that his organizationís efforts to relax local credit standards were being blocked by requirements set by the secondary market. Dixon responded by pressing Fannie and Freddie to do more to relax those standards ó and by promising to introduce legislation that would ensure it. At this early stage, Fannie and Freddie walked a fine line between promising to do more, while protesting any wholesale reduction of credit requirements.

"By July of 1991, ACORNís legislative campaign began to bear fruit. As the Chicago Tribune put it, 'Housing activists have been pushing hard to improve housing for the poor by extracting greater financial support from the countryís two highly profitable secondary mortgage-market companies. Thanks to the help of sympathetic lawmakers, it appeared...that they may succeed.' The Tribune went on to explain that House Democrat Henry Gonzales had announced that Fannie and Freddie had agreed to commit $3.5 billion to low-income housing in 1992 and 1993, in addition to a just-announced $10 billion 'affordable housing loan program' by Fannie Mae. The article emphasizes ACORN pressure and notes that Fannie and Freddie had been fighting against the plan as recently as a week before agreement was reached. Fannie and Freddie gave in only to stave off even more restrictive legislation floated by congressional Democrats.

"A mere month later, ACORN Housing Corporation president, George Butts made news by complaining to a House Banking subcommittee that ACORNís efforts to pressure banks using CRA were still being hamstrung by Fannie and Freddie. Butts also demanded still more data on the race, gender, and income of loan applicants. Many news reports over the ensuing months point to ACORN as the key source of pressure on congress for a further reduction of credit standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a result of this pressure, ACORN was eventually permitted to redraft many of Fannie Mae and Freddie Macís loan guideline[s]."

It should come as no surprise that when Democrat Bill Clinton became President, the seeds of the current financial crisis germinated and a day of reckoning should have been foreseen.

Mr. Kurtz:

"ACORNís progress through 1992 depended on its Democratic allies. Whatever ACORN managed to squeeze out of the George H. W. Bush administration came under congressional pressure. With the advent of the Clinton administration, however, ACORNís fortunes took a positive turn. Clinton Housing Secretary Henry Cisnersos pledged to meet monthly with ACORN representatives. For ACORN, those meetings bore fruit.

"Another factor working in ACORNís favor was that its increasing success with local banks turned those banks into allies in the battle with Fannie and Freddie. Precisely because ACORNís local pressure tactics were working, banks themselves now wanted Fannie and Freddie to loosen their standards still further, so as to buy up still more of the high-risk loans theyíd made at ACORNís insistence. So by the 1993, a grand alliance of ACORN, national Democrats, and local bankers looking for someone to lessen the risks imposed on them by CRA and ACORN were uniting to pressure Fannie and Freddie to loosen credit standards still further.

"At this point, both ACORN and the Clinton administration were working together to impose large numerical targets or 'set asides' (really a sort of poor and minority loan quota system) on Fannie and Freddie. ACORN called for at least half of Fannie and Freddie loans to go to low-income customers. At first the Clinton administration offered a set-aside of 30 percent. But eventually ACORN got what it wanted. In early 1994, the Clinton administration floated plans for committing $1 trillion in loans to low- and moderate-income home-buyers, which would amount to about half of Fannie Maeís business by the end of the decade. Wall Street Analysts attributed Fannie Maeís willingness to go along with the change to the need to protect itself against still more severe 'congressional attack.' News reports also highlighted praise for the change from ACORNís head lobbyist, Deepak Bhargava.

"This sweeping debasement of credit standards was touted by Fannie Maeís chairman, chief executive officer, and now prominent Obama adviser James A. Johnson. This is also the period when Fannie Mae ramped up its pilot programs and local partnerships with ACORN, all of which became precedents and models for the pattern of risky subprime mortgages at the root of todayís crisis. During these years, Obamaís Chicago ACORN ally, Madeline Talbott, was at the forefront of participation in those pilot programs, and her activities were consistently supported by Obama through both foundation funding and personal leadership training for her top organizers.

"Finally, in June of 1995, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Secretary Cisneros announced the administrationís comprehensive new strategy for raising home-ownership in America to an all-time high. Representatives from ACORN were guests of honor at the ceremony. In his remarks, Clinton emphasized that: 'Out homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers one extra cent. It will not require legislation.' Clinton meant that informal partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN would make mortgages available to customers 'who have historically been excluded from homeownership.'"

Let's send the bill to Bill Clinton and ACORN!

The result, Mr. Kurtz, was "disaster."

Mr. Kurtz: "In the end of course, Clintonís plan cost taxpayers an almost unimaginable amount of money. And it was just around the time of his 1995 announcement that the Chicago papers started encouraging bad-credit customers with 'dog-food' wages, little money in the bank, and even histories of bankruptcy to apply for home loans with the help of ACORN. At both the local and national levels, then, ACORN served as the critical catalyst, levering pressure created by the Community Reinvestment Act and pull with Democratic politicians to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a pattern of high-risk loans."

Mr. Kurtz rightly urged us to look behind the curtain: "Up to now, conventional wisdom on the financial meltdown has relegated ACORN and the CRA to bit parts. The real problem, weíve been told, lay with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, however, ACORN is at the base of the whole mess. ACORN used CRA and Democratic sympathizers to entangle Fannie and Freddie and the entire financial system in a disastrous disregard of the most basic financial standards. And Barack Obama cut his teeth as an organizer and politician backing up ACORNís economic madness every step of the way."

It would be the height of irony for Obama. "the Senator from ACORN," to benefit from the financial crisis that his kind of thinking created with his personal help as organizer, trainer. lawyer, funder and political supporter and win the Presidency.

If Obama does win, things will worsen instead of improve.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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