Hey CNN, Why Use Rick Berman to Attack ACORN?

CNN has been gaining a great deal of attention for a series of reports it has done on the voter registration activities of ACORN. Recently, correspondent Bill Tucker taped a report on ACORN that was aired on CNN Headline News, followed by commentary by a gentleman named Rick Berman from an organization called the "Employment Policy Institute" who proceeded to attack ACORN for its alleged "fraud."

OK, so we're talking about voter registration fraud, we're near the end of possibly the most important election in 30 years, and they bring on a guy from the Employment Policy Institute to bash ACORN? Why would he care? What gives?

Well, Mr. Berman has much to care about when it comes to ACORN. You see, ACORN doesn't just register poor and minority voters. It also fights for living wages, and it has been on the front lines trying to force employers to pay a decent wage to their lowest-paid workers. This sticks very firmly in Mr. Berman's craw, because Mr. Berman - surprise - runs a Washington DC firm that lobbies against the minimum wage.

According to SourceWatch.org, Berman represents or has represented the fast food, restaurant, tobacco, and pesticide industries to name a few. He is notorious for his staunch opposition against the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of the restaurant lobby. And now he's on the pundit circuit attacking ACORN for registration fraud even though he has no expertise in elections, election law, voting rights issues or anything else of relevance to our democratic franchise.

And so I ask why, CNN, are you lending credibility to this person - a man called "Dr. Evil" by people who know him all too well - when he has nothing but personal opinions and an agenda to offer to the story? What are you trying to accomplish by letting a person with a separate financial motive speak on your "news" program to cast aspersions on a group that he seeks to destroy on behalf of his corporate clients?

Please ask CNN why they think Rick Berman - who has no expertise in voting issues, but who does have a powerful personal financial interest - has any business speaking about voting issues on a news program:

For more information on the amazingly creepy Mr. Berman:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?tit le=Richard_Berman
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/0 5/60minutes/main2653020.shtml

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Bless John McCain...for now

John McCain surprised me today. I feel I should give him his due.

For days, his and Sarah Palin's fear-mongering attacks on Barack Obama have led their rally attendees to shout racial epithets and even threats of violence. Today, McCain dialed down the rhetoric to the point of admonishing audience members who made ridiculous accusations and assertions. But when he did the right thing by correcting them, his supporters rewarded him with scorn.

Fearing the raw and at times angry emotions of his supporters may damage his campaign, John McCain on Friday urged them to tone down their increasingly personal denunciations of Barack Obama, including one woman who said she had heard that the Democrat  was "an Arab."

Each time he tried to cool the crowd, he was rewarded with a round of boos.


"Come on, John!" one audience member yelled out as the Republicans crowd expressed their dismay at their nominee. Others yelled "liar," and "terrorist," referring to Barack Obama.

John McCain today attempted to reverse the dangerous course his campaign recently embarked upon. This is commendable, and I applaud him for it. Perhaps he just didn't realize how insane the GOP "base" actually is, and decided they shouldn't be inflamed. Perhaps he found them (understandably) frightening. Whatever the reason, he made the right call.

It was a belated but welcome act of courage on McCain's part for which I am grateful. Without it, violence was a distinct possibility. For his effort, his audience did all but engage in open revolt.

Considering the negative reaction from the raw meat-loving GOP core the question becomes: Does John McCain have the courage to continue doing the right thing even if it means losing the presidency?

If the answer is "yes" then John McCain may yet save his political legacy. If no, at best McCain will be relegated to the dustbin of history; at worst, he will be responsible for creating a political chasm that could dwarf the one for which George W. Bush is responsible.

This is McCain's moment. Let's pray he really does put "Country First."

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