Michael Gaynor
Rule of law, not Alinsky's rules/Jerry Brown v. Andrew Breitbart
By Michael Gaynor
November 16, 2009

Exposing the corruption and criminality of the Left is essential, but "using their own tricks" may be a slippery slope or criminal.

Turnabound may be fair play...or foul.

The Judicial Confirmation Network (www.judicialnetwork.com) properly preaches the rule of law:

"We believe that the proper role of a judge or justice is to interpret the law and the Constitution — not make up the law and deprive the people of the right to govern ourselves.

"We believe that a judge or a justice should not use the power of the court to impose his or her personal or political agenda on the people."

Like judges, citizens should obey the law and not "impose...personal or political agenda" despite the law.

Saul Alinsky, in Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, published in 1971, deemed "Does the end justify the means?" a meaningless question and insisted that the real and only question regarding the ethics of means and ends is, and always has been, "Does this particular end justify this particular means?"

Wikipedia summarizes Alinsky's rules of the ethics of means and ends as follows:

• The judgment of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.

• In war the end justifies almost any means.

• Judgment must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.

• Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available and vice versa.

• The less important the end to be desired, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.

• Generally, success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.

• The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.

• Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.

• You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.

• Goals must be phrased in general terms like "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," "Of the Common Welfare," "Pursuit of Happiness," or "Bread and Peace."

Last weekend Hannah Giles, who played the prostitute in the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN videos, and Andrew Breitbart, who strategized the release of the videos, lectured on "guerrilla warfare" at a Young America's Foundation conference in San Barbara, California.

The Los Angeles Times article on the lecture concluded:

"'There is a new spirit alive,' said Andrew Breitbart, whose website first broadcast the ACORN videos....

"When one young man asked: 'Who else should we be looking out for now that ACORN has gone down? What organizations would you like us to target?' Breitbart and Giles listed a number of organizations that they said had demonstrated a 'dangerous' liberal bias. Among them: the Apollo Alliance, a coalition that aims for energy independence; and the Service Employees International Union.

"Breitbart said the ACORN videos, along with the recent tea party protests, represented a shift in right-wing activism. Conservatives, he said, were co-opting the tactics used by civil rights leaders and antiwar activists of the 1960s in order to criticize the left. 'We have to employ unorthodox tactics,' Breitbart said. 'We can beat them using their own tricks.'

"As if to prove Breitbart's point, Giles asked everyone in the room to copy down the words of Saul Alinsky, who is considered the father of community organizing — and is a great hero of the left.

"'All life is warfare,' she quoted him as saying, 'and it's the constant fight against the status quo that revitalizes society.'"

Exposing the corruption and criminality of the Left is essential, but "using their own tricks" may be a slippery slope or criminal.

To date, the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN story is based on surreptitious recording at ACORN offices in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York, San Bernardino and San Diego.

Problem: one-party consent makes recording legal in Washington, D.C. and New York, but not in California, Maryland or Pennsylvania

The article also reported: "In her lecture Friday about how to take down liberal organizations and expose what she called media corruption, Giles sought to stir others to action. 'Above all, attack, attack, attack,' she said, quoting Republican consultant Roger Stone. 'Never defend.'"

But surreptitious recording is illegal in Pennsylvania, Maryland and California (and Ms. Giles' homestate, Florida).

That sting exposed ACORN's own willingness to facilitate criminal conduct and did not appear to constitute entrapment, but it may result in felony prosecutions that Ms. Giles, James O'Keefe (the "Pimp") and even others will have to defend.

On November 12, 2009, Breitbart's BigGovernment.com recently posted an article by titled "The Hypocrisy of Jerry Brown, California's Top Cop," reporting that (1) California Attorney General Jerry Brown's communications director had resigned after admitting that he had regularly taped telephone conversations with reporters without their permission, even though California criminalizes the recording of private telephone conversations without consent, and (2) "[a]pparently California's Attorney General thinks that he and his cohorts can sidestep the very laws that they are using as justification for their investigations of ACORN filmmakers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles."

Time will tell whether General Brown prosecutes anyone for surreptitious videotaping at perhaps three California ACORN offices, but a November 10, 2009 BigGovernment post — "Exclusive: Audio from ACORN Claims Jerry Brown Will Whitewash Investigation" — reported that an ACORN spokesperson had "been in communication with Brown's office and assure[d] the crowd that 'the fault WILL be found with the people that did the video — not ACORN.'"

IF Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe are prosecuted in California, perhaps they and their families will not defer to others in conducting their defenses.

"The Other McCain" reported that O'Keefe had told the liberal mainstream media that he and Ms. Giles "receiv[ed] help and advice from a conservative columnist and Web entrepreneur. When O'Keefe had filmed the first two videos — in the District and Baltimore — a friend urged him to share his project with Andrew Breitbart, a conservative Internet entrepreneur who had plans to launch an anti-liberal site called BigGovernment.com. Breitbart said he was skeptical after a June phone call with O'Keefe about what he had, but when the video was rolling in his basement office in Los Angeles in late July, Breitbart said, he gasped."

IF there was a June 2009 phone call, it apparently preceded ALL of the surreptitious videotaping. Doug Giles (Ms. Giles' father): "The truth of the matter, from a timeline standpoint, is that they hatched their plan in May of '09, fine-tuned it from May 20th — July 23rd, and then launched July 24th, fully accomplishing their mission by the end of August."

IF Breitbart watched ACORN sting videos in "late July" of 2009, then he seems to have watched them before surreptitious recording in California.

IF, as "The Other McCain" reported, Breitbart scheduled "media interviews for his BigGovernment.com operation" and exercised such control that he did not permit "Hannah Giles to appear on her father's 'Clash Radio' program," perhaps General Brown will offer the 20-year old Ms. Giles and also 25-year old O'Keefe a pass in return for their cooperation in a prosecution of Breitbart.

Time will tell.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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