Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a New York Post article by a guy named Stanley Kurtz of something called the Ethics & Public Policy Center. I refuse to link to the article or to Kurtz. I will offer the catchy titles of two of Kurtz’s offerings, the one I will address and the other just plain notable for its offensive "wit": "O’s Dangerous Pals" and "Founding Brothers" (still recycling Ayers).
Okay, okay, it’s clear enough what to think of these items without having to even look any further–you don’t need me to link to them to know they’re right wing hit pieces.But to the purpose: "O’s Dangerous Pals", to summarize, contends that the financial crisis was brought on by loaning to poor African-Americans. It asserts this by blaming the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN), Madeline Talbot (of ACORN), and, of course, Barack Obama (worked with ACORN). I will spare you the details, but basically it claims the CRA forced lenders to make high risk loans at sub-prime rates and that groups like ACORN used "intimidation tactics" (like demanding to be treated equally for loan consideration!) to force even more of these risky loans to the shady poor and unreliable minorities of this world…and all of this due to liberal guilt, nonetheless. Oh my.
First, I had to write back to my friend–"I don’t know all the facts here but here’s what the author wants you to take away from this:You can of course SEE all the sign posts for the right wing in the piece:
1. Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (who was president?)
2. This Act "was made riskier by unwise amendments and regulatory rulings"–I guess we’ll take his word for it, but it’s here to lead you to REGULATION is bad and is actually the root of all problems!
3. ACORN is "radical" and "forces" (can you believe that?) banks (poor things) to make sub-prime loans (I’ll have to check with real sub-prime lending started in earnest–but I doubt it was because of ACORN in Chicago, IL).
4. loans to "un-creditworthy poor and minorities" (the Right seems to really HEART minorities)
5. Fannie and Freddie–"government sponsored": to push the reader into "govt is bad" mode.
6. Clinton Admin "pressured" banks just like ACORN did!
7. Margaret Talbot, apparently can change the world! And influences Fannie Mae.
8. Obama trained and funded these bolsheviks who love the poor and dark-skinned peoples and likely would have trained them pesky injuns too.
So, after reading this with jaw agape at such audacious racism cloaked in laughably "reasoned" arguments for the financial collapse I went to the Googles to do some research (truth be told, I knew nothing about any of this before reading the Kurtz piece), reasoning that anything presented so offensively must be false on its face. The rhetoric would not need to be cloaked in a white sheet if its premise were true.
Google Talbot and Obama and you get NOTHING BUT right wing screed parroting the same story. CRA (read Carter era), Clinton (CRA tweaks in ’95), and ACORN (necessary to have this group involved to tie to Obama).It took me a little effort to find a refutation (maybe more of these are coming?) but I did, and I found it where I should have looked in the first place, at Campaign for America’s Future. In a piece called "Firing Back on the CRA Libel" Sara Robinson shoots out 11 false claims in the hit pieces and sets the record straight.
For people reading that blog. It’s a great piece and very useful. But here’s the problem…It’s too damn easy to Google the story the Right is peddling and too hard to find some truth. How does the Left fight this Google War in order to get real information on the first page of hits instead of racist misinformation?