Not O’Keefe Again!

organic-spies-spookNew Orleans    James O’Keefe, the infamous video scammer, showed up on my ACORN Google Alerts a couple of days ago, threatening once again to release daily videos that would overturn the election. Yawn. Really? He has been so thoroughly discredited so frequently in recent years that I have to admit I didn’t even open the alert and see what it was about. Just more self-promotion promoting a candidate whose entire platform and program is nothing but self-promotion.

Then a colleague mentioned a problem in their battleground state and the fact that there was a kerfuffle about videos having been mentioned by Trump in the debate. I replied that it was obviously minor since I hadn’t seen anything in local or national papers yet. Well, that was then, and this is now, since a story finally ran in the middle of the New York Times with comments indirectly alluded to elsewhere about “dirty tricks” for Hillary and troubling comparisons about the accuracy of the major candidates’ moral compasses.

It turned out this time that the O’Keefe video burned a couple of tangential operatives that may or may not have been obliquely involved in low levels of the Clinton campaign. The discussion ostensibly was about planting provocateurs in Trump rallies who might or might not provoke Trumpeteers into random acts of violence. Yes, you’re wondering, why bother, isn’t this an organic and natural part of Trump rallies anyway? Well, perhaps but the operatives were trying to entice O’Keefe’s pretend “donors” and may, or may not, have been gilding the lily for the bucks. One of the operatives who was off-camera reportedly was an old friend and colleague, Bob Creamer, a native of Shreveport and former community organizer with Illinois Public Action in the 1980s, who used to stop by and visit during Christmas when he was visiting his family, and in later life, now married to Congresswomen Jan Shaklowsky of Chicago, has made his career as a political consultant and organizer. In short, I’m biased. I like Bob. I detest O’Keefe.

All of which is neither here, nor there, because my real problem is not this tempest in a teapot, because I have to admit how jaded I am since all I see is small potatoes, but how is it still possible that any and everyone involved at any level of political, activist, or organizing life has not learned the lessons from the ACORN-O’Keefe attack to thoroughly vet any and every one that they do not know well when they are doing any business whatsoever. Ok, you may say I’m not a trusting person, but that’s OK, because I’ll freely admit, I’m not a trusting person, but why would anyone fall for O’Keefe’s ridiculous ploys anymore?

Is it possible on the right or the left that part of the standard interview process and contractor terms don’t require a guarantee against loose lips and sinking ships mandating vetting or permissions before any discussions in or away from the office with random folks? How can it be that the lessons of the slanderous ACORN takedown are not tattooed on the arms or worn like an amulet by every political organizer and campaign employee from high to low? I don’t get it.

Somehow memory is fleeting from cycle to cycle and 2009 is so yesterday, but geez can’t we get our act together finally and do right on this? O’Keefe continues to be a bad penny who keeps popping up, simply because we allow his shtick to survive.


Two New Strikes Against the Video-Scammers – Is This Tactic Finally Out?

planned_parenthood_capitol_ap_imgNew Orleans    The anti-abortion fakers with the front organization, Center for Medical Progress, have been the right wing and Republicans’ cat’s paw for months now in their relentless attack on Planned Parenthood. Without a doubt they have cost the organization time and money, and curtailed desperately needed services in one community after another, because of their scurrilous sneak attacks and unsubstantiated allegations that Planned Parenthood was selling fetuses.

Politically, the organization has built up sturdy bulwarks against these smears. The Department of Health and Human Services has forcibly engaged a number of the states who tried to arbitrarily defund the organization. The threats to shut down the government were met with a more serious promise from President Obama to veto any conditions, and deals were made, House Speakers were switched out, and supporters held firm.

More recently the legal front has turned a trickle against these folks into a tidal wave. A female Republican prosecutor for Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, agreed with the Lieutenant-Governor to investigate Planned Parenthood’s operations, but a funny thing happened after the grand jury “followed the evidence where it took them,” and instead issued indictments against principals with the California-based video-scammers for falsifying government documents and the like. We could hear the hot air escaping from Congressional balloons all over the country.

The beef on misusing government property rested on creating fake drivers’ licenses like they were teen drinkers or something. Their defense had been unusual. They claimed they were journalists and this was the way investigative reporters operate. Needless to say, such a defense was met with guffaws at best.

More seriously a federal judge in California has now issued an injunction that these folks cannot release anymore of the videos they took of Planned Parenthood in this manner. Furthermore the judge indicated that he had based his order on the fact that he had watched hundreds of hours of their videotape and could find no evidence that anyone “admitted to engaging in, agreed to engage in, or expressed interest in engaging in potentially illegal sale of fetal tissue for profit.”

Bam! You can hear misogynists, Presidential candidates, evangelicals, and other self-proclaimed moralists’ jaws flapping wide open when they hear that. Talk about much ado about nothing! They don’t have squat on Planned Parenthood!

After all of the James O’Keefe mess where his editing was malicious and his feet made of clay in recent years it seemed like this gotcha video tactic, begun in the assault against ACORN and continued against various progressive institutions from NPR to NEA and programs, might have finally played out. Now with the latest humiliation in the mayhem caused by the video-scammers and Planned Parenthood, can anyone ever believe any of this balderdash again? Has this tactic finally worn out its unwelcome role in the American political scene?

Let’s hope we don’t need a third strike to finally rule this out and say, lesson learned.