News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Utopian Devolution

Don't know if you've been paying any attention to ACORN, one of the apparent instigators of the subprime meltdown and also famous for members being found guilty of organized vote fraud in several states. One of the interesting commonalities to me is the policing of corporations by utopians such as Ralph Nader and ACORN which fight for social justice but refuse even the minimum wage to their own employees and unlawfully prevent their own employees from unionizing. Then again the history of utopian organizations reveals a consistent devolution from industrial society down to impoverishment, rule by fiat, sexism, and other resurrections of pre-industrial society.

July 9th,2008 The New York Times reported[1] that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, was found to have embezzled $948,607.50 from the group and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000. ACORN executives, including Rathke, did not inform the whole board, nor law enforcement, but signed an enforceable restitution agreement with the Rathke family to repay the amount of the embezzlement. Wade Rathke stated to the Times that "the decision to keep the matter secret was not made to protect his brother but because word of the embezzlement would have put a 'weapon' into the hands of [...] conservatives who object to [ACORN]'s often strident advocacy on behalf of low- and moderate-income families and workers." A whistleblower revealed the embezzlement in 2001; the Rathke brothers both departed ACORN in 2008.[1] [2]

The brother, Dale Rathke, embezzled nearly $1 million from Acorn and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000, Acorn officials said, but a small group of executives decided to keep the information from almost all of the group’s board members and not to alert law enforcement.

Dale Rathke remained on Acorn’s payroll until a month ago, when disclosure of his theft by foundations and other donors forced the organization to dismiss him.

Biff: So, seven long years after being found embezzling from the organization, Dale Rathke was still an employee on the ACORN payrool. His restitution settlement? Pay back US$30,000 a year. How much was ACORN paying him per annum? $US38,000. Do the math. He owes US$948, 607. No doubt his play was to divert his ACORN salary to paying back the "loan" for him painlessly. At 30k per year, it would take 32 years to pay back the "loan" during which time, he'd profit from any and all investments, annuities, and so forth which acrrue from his cool million. Not a bad plan eh? At his age, Dale would probably have died prior to paying off all the money.

...In addition to vote fraud, ACORN has displayed a penchant for treating its workers poorly, despite the group’s close ties to Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Locals 100 and 880 (Rathke is chief organizer for Local 100, representing several thousand workers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas). It’s more than a little ironic that ACORN for nearly 15 years has been leading heavily union-backed campaigns to force private- as well as public-sector employers in cities and counties across the nation to pay workers a “living” wage, while severely underpaying and otherwise exploiting its own community foot soldiers. Indeed, ACORN for years had blocked attempts by employees to unionize until the National Labor Relations Board told them otherwise. In March 2003, the nonprofit group lost its final appeal of an NLRB ruling holding that ACORN had violated its employees’ rights.

ACORN doesn’t even like paying the minimum wage, let alone a “living” one set several dollars an hour higher. In 1995, ACORN’s California chapter went to court seeking an exemption from having to pay its workers the state minimum, at the time $4.25 an hour. The group lost. In its unsuccessful appeal, ACORN argued that being forced to pay its workers the minimum wage would violate its First Amendment rights. The presiding judge termed the argument “absurd.” Welcome to the real world of employment.

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