Monday, December 23, 2013

Breakthrough by James O'Keefe

 I had been aware of O'Keefe's "sting" videos that exposed the amorality of the ACORN staffers, which subsequently caused Congress to cut off its funding, but I hadn't heard much about some of his organization's, Project Veritas, other capers, which he describes here. O'Keefe seems to have taken a lot of heat for his attempt to expose fraud and and misbehavior at both government agencies and supposed independent organizations that receive government support. It seems that when you offend the powerful and their pet media mouthpieces, being right is no protection from persecution or prosecution.

O'Keefe is seen as a tool of the Right, but he has this to say about it:

"If my targets seem to skew 'left,' it is for a reason. The left makes huge claims about government and its capabilities. Those who manage the government and other publicly funded social services all too often persuade themselves of their virtuousness, even if their virtue is subsidized with other people's money. Given their idealism, they refuse to cast judgment on their mission and tolerate almost no judgment from others.
Our target has never been the people who consume the benefits, whether they be unwed mothers or crony capitalists. Our target is the system that provides the benefits."

In a section on exposing the flaws in a voter registration system that requires no positive form of identification, there's a quote from Minnesota Representative Mary Kiffmeyer:

"If you have no system that deters and detects fraud and you don't determine the identity of voters, the electoral system cannot inspire public confidence."

It seems to me that this principle applies equally well to many other government "freebie" programs. If the voters as a whole are not confident that welfare fraud is being promptly detected, medicare cheaters are swiftly prosecuted, and disability fakers are kept off the rolls, then how can we support those "safety nets" wholeheartedly?

After O'Keefe's minions exposed "holes" in the voter registration system in North Carolina, the Board of Elections instituted some training for its poll personnel:

"They're talking about O'Keefe right now - exhibit about the video is on the screen at today's statewide, several hundred person training. They're using it as an example of 'red flags' for officials to look out for - lederhosen and arm casts. The recording inside polling stations issue has come up repeatedly..."

Typical government response, attack the superficial symptoms of a problem rather than the problem itself. It reminded me of an anecdote told by Richard Feynman about how he demonstrated the lax security on the Manhattan Project by showing the brass how he could "crack" any safe in their offices. Rather than put in place policies to increase security, the dictate was "Keep Feynman out of your offices."

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