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      Colin Powell was the first black secretary of state. He was the consummate insider, who climbed the military bureaucracy with great skill and vigor. A man who always knew what had to be done to get ahead and get along. In Vietnam, for example, he understood his role perfectly: his time as a young U.S. Army Major posted in Saigon, when, after the My Lai Massa […]
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You don’t have to be stupid to be ignorant.

minervaSteven, a friend who is ex-military, and a heavy equipment mechanic, said to me this morning at breakfast,

“You don’t have to be stupid to be ignorant.”

Booman’s slight of dakinkat is a case in point.

Booman is not stupid. myiq notes that Booman can be sharp, but Booman is about as sharp as a bag of oranges on this issue.

If he was only embarassing himself with his naive assertion about the incorruptibility of ACORN and each and every one of its staffers, then I wouldn’t feel any need to comment, especially because I don’t doubt that the vast majority of ACORN personnel are well-intentioned people doing good works. He chose to use his ignorance as a tool to drag others in the mud, however, so he must be called to account.

Once again, it is a simple matter to demonstrate the intellectual and moral inadequacy of a Booman commentator by simply weighing his case against dakinikat. He makes the salacious claims, so the burden of proof falls on him. Please read dakinikat’s post and read his response to her post, especially the comments section.

Unraveling the Greed

Wells Fargo and Acorn

dakinikat ties the facts of the Wells Fargo case to the local history in her home district in New Orleans. Jacobson, in the NYT article, says that Wells Fargo targetted black churches to use their influence as a means of getting their parishoners to take out subprime loans with Wells Fargo. dakinikat relates this data with the meetings with subprime lenders that took place in churches by her home, seminars that tended to be sponsored by ACORN. That they sponsored the seminars does not mean that they knowingly worked against the best interests of the community. dakinikat also notes that ACORN is a bag organization in New Orleans (hardly a surprise, such things are common for both parties). She further notes that convictions of public officials on non-profits (not ACORN representatives) are a matter of public record.

Booman states that dakinikat is not telling the truth on the basis that her data does not conform with his experiences in Philadephia. Further, he rejects the claims of the ACORN 8 as right wing talking points.

The status of the claims of the ACORN 8 are open. Booman appears certain that they have no merit. He might be right. ACORN employees have been convicted and indicted, however, which suggests that complaints against ACORN can be more than right wing talking points, despite Booman’s idealizations. Perhaps they faced Republican judges.

It is worth noting that the head of ACORN is right when he notes that the number of cases against ACORN, and the number of convictions that have stemmed therefrom, are relatively small when one considers at the size of the organization. It is also important, as noted earlier, to not judge the many by the conduct of the few.

Booman appears comfortable with judging the conduct of the many by the conduct of the few. In doing so, he is employing the logical fallacy of generalizing from the particular. Then, on the basis of this fallacy, he proceeds to insult someone who is using her training to fight for the very same lending practises that he lauds ACORN for promoting.

For Booman to be right, we have to accept his assertion that ACORN and its employees are incorruptible, that their behavior is lock-step across each and every community that they operate in, that the ACORN sponsored church events with home loan lenders in dakinikat’s home district were not of the type propagated by Wells Fargo, and that the finance student who is working to fight against lending practises that exploit the poor is a liar and an agent for the Republican agenda.

ACORN employees have proven to be corruptible. dakinikat’s conference presentations are peer-reviewed, so they pass the truth test. In these publications she’s argued for regulation of said industries, which means she is arguing against the Republican agenda. It’s not unreasonable to assume that at least one of the home lending meetings involved a subprime mortgage lender. The only point that remains in Booman’s favor is the question of the role of ACORN in these loan meetings. It can be quickly dismissed, if we accept that ACORN would have worked with the lenders that offered the best deals for their constituents, even if these were necessarily subprime. They are, after all, only human.

Booman’s case fails on the balance of probabilities. His assertions about ACORN’s purity are empirically false, practically naive, and only have their force via a logical fallacy. His accusation about the talking points is non-sensical, given her academic presentations. That these claims found his assertion that she is not to be trusted, indicate that his judgment about her truthfulness and intellectual adequacy is not trustworthy. His wrongness about her truthfulness does not make him a liar, but that he dirties her name based on such a pathetic claim means he is a scoundrel.

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