Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Now THAT'S Karma

The right wingers have been going after ACORN with impugnity since last year. With recent revelations about bad actors getting caught up in gotcha journalists Republicans in Congress felt like they finally had ACORN right where they wanted them. And so, as is the norm these days, they jumped first and asked questions later in order to try to either

A)Put Democrats on the spot on whether they would vote against ACORN which has been a big time Democratic supporter or

B)Defund ACORN which they feel will give them an advantage nationally in voter registration efforts.

But unfortunately for them they ended up casting too wide of a net.

The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.

In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) picked up on the legislative overreach and asked the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to sift through its database to find which contractors might be caught in the ACORN net.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gumman both popped up quickly, with 20 fraud cases between them, and
the longer list is a Who's Who of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors.
The language was written by the GOP and filed as a "motion to recommit" in the House, where it passed 345-75.

reaching out to its members to identify other companies who have engaged in the type of misconduct that would make them ineligible for federal funds.

Now all year political junkies have noticed that Republicans have tried to position themselves as strong on national security again. Putting aside for the moment the fact that they took us into the war in Iraq under false pretenses, they seemed to really feel that by advocating torture and abuses of our Constitution that people would just flock to them in droves in the midterms next year. Hell there has even been talk about trying to get Dick Cheney to run for President in 2012. Well even if they had an ice cube's chance in hell of such a turnaround I don't think defunding almost the entire Military Industrial Complex is going to be helping that cause.

Now as a progressive I believe there is definitely a need and a place for our military. But there is no doubt that defense contractors have gamed the system to maximize their profitablilty. A lot of that gaming having to do with pretty much bribing Republicans and some corporatist Democrats to protect their interests. Our system of military procurement is severely broken and nobody has been willing to truly take it on. Maybe, just maybe, the Republicans have now done us a favor that no Democrat would have ever had the stones to pull off. And all because they were trying to score cheap political points against an organization that does a lot of great work in some of he worst neighborhoods in our country. And if we can get our military procurement problems under control that will have a tremendously positive effect on our long term deficits and debt.

Talk about a hidden benefit.

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