Michael Gaynor
CAL-YAF vice chair claims involvement in "Pimp and Pro" ACORN sting, condemns Catholic critics
By Michael Gaynor
February 22, 2010

Eden and Doino had taken fair and balanced exception to conservative activists turning to the radical Alinsky for guidance. Eden/Doino did NOT criticize "boldness and creativity" or join what Hartsock called "the...lying, gossiping mainstream journalists — who flocked to the New Orleans story like mosquitoes to a bugzapper — throwing them down with their own punches in the face of their knee-jerk, endless-retraction-warranting conjecture." Rather, they warned, rightly, against accepting the Alinsky attitude that the end justifies almost any means.

James O'Keefe, "Pimp" in the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN sting, concluded his first article at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government.com (biggovernment.com/jokeefe/2009/09/10/chaos-for-glory/#more-274) this way: "ACORN has ascended. They elect our politicians and receive billions in tax money. Their world is a revolutionary, socialistic, atheistic world, where all means are justifiable. And they create chaos, again, for its own sake. It is time for us to be studying and applying their tactics, many of which are ideologically neutral. It is time, as Hannah [Giles, "Pro" in the sting] said as we walked out of the ACORN facility, for conservative activists to 'create chaos for glory.'"

Christian Hartsock, a fellow Renew America contributor, describes himself at www.RenewAmerica.com as a 23-year old "filmmaker, author, columnist and activist" with a B.A. in Film and Video Production from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara who currently produces, directs and writes films, such as the recent conservative rap music video 'Victicrat' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhPqmJynQPU) and "worked with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles on the ACORN investigation videos as well as the upcoming investigation videos, contributing as a B-Roll producer. He also notes that he is Vice Chairman of California Young Americans for Freedom (CAL-YAF) and Editor-in-Chief of PoliticalVanguard.com.

A New York Post article (www.nypost.com/p/news/national/duo_who_turned_this_trick_2sjQ58MdtwmSXxhfVELmZL), reported that O'Keefe and Ms. Giles claimed that they had researched for six weeks, "scavenged together their costumes from friends, except for the pimp coat, which was on loan from O'Keefe's grandmother" and "did the ["Pimp and Pro" sting] entirely on their own and paid for it themselves," but I believe Hartsock contribute das a B-Roll producer, as he claims.

In "The Garbage of Eden" (February 15, 2010) (www.renewamerica.com/columns/hartsock/100215), Hartsock buttressed my belief by castigating "conservative Catholic writers Dawn Eden and William Doino, Jr. [for] join[ing] the herd of pious, tisk-tisking finger-waggers who have taken to the high ledges to point and throw rocks at James O'Keefe, a friend of ours, upon his arrest and public flaggelation at the hands of inferiority-complex-ridden mainstream journalists and junior-high-school-rate chattering pundits." The article strongly suggests that Hartsock took any criticism of the sting personally.

Eden and Doino had written an article titled "Tricks Are for Kids: O'Keefe arrest shows dangers of conservatives' love affair with Rules for Radicals" (February 9, 2010) (www.bustedhalo.com/features/tricks-are-for-kids).

After reading Hartsock's claim that "even more egregious to us than the predictable lies emanating from the liberal media machine has been the small clique of pompous Pharisees in the conservative movement like Dawn Eden and William Doino, Jr. who have shown up to the public flogging of James O'Keefe with their own bull whips," I accessed that article in search of vituperation from out-of-control conservatives who had lost their way.

Instead, I found this:

"... a curious thing happened along the way of exposing the alleged Alinsky-like tactics of the modern Left: Some conservatives became Alinskyites themselves.

"Case in point: the recent arrest of James O'Keefe, who shot to fame last September after he and a female undergrad, Hannah Giles, dressed as a pimp and prostitute to secretly videotape ACORN employees who seemed eager to aid their purported illegal activities. As the 25-year-old self-described 'investigative journalist' began to make national news (in stories featuring photos and video of the barely legal Giles in her 'hooker' garb), he boasted to the New York Post that he was using Alinsky's tactics against the Left to beat them at their own game. When posting his ACORN videos on the Big Government blog, he often pointed out which of Alinsky's rules he used to make the clips."

Eden and Doino had taken fair and balanced exception to conservative activists turning to the radical Alinsky for guidance. (O'Keefe himself had written that ACORN is "a revolutionary, socialistic, atheistic world, where all means are justifiable.)

Eden and Doino:

"O'Keefe's contention that his adaptation of radical tactics was 'the future of activism' found an approving audience among numerous conservatives and libertarians. A typical reaction was that of Cato Institute Senior Fellow Richard Rahn, writing in the Washington Times: 'We can hope that Ms. Giles and Mr. O'Keefe will serve as role models for millions of other young Americans who see that the present generation in Washington is stealing their financial future and liberty.'

"Even Alinsky's biographer, Sanford Horwitt, expressed admiration, telling an interviewer that an earlier O'Keefe YouTube prank — in which he complained to a credulous Rutgers University official that the Lucky Charms cereal served at the school was offensive to Irish-Americans — was 'pretty creative.' Adding, 'I give him points on humor and having some balls.'"

"O'Keefe's follow-up act has not been nearly as successful. On January 26, he and three male associates were arrested for allegedly plotting to tamper with the telephone system of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. All four were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony. Since his arrest, O'Keefe has issued a statement saying, 'the sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu' — accused of selling her vote for Obamacare — 'was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator.'

"The mainstream media — already hostile toward the young upstart for scooping them on ACORN — misreported the story, falsely reporting the accused were charged with wiretapping, and both O'Keefe and his supporters have justifiably criticized liberal journalists for their bias. Still, upon reflection, his much-heralded exposé of ACORN should have set off warning bells for his conservative supporters. Was it really necessary to have an undergrad disguised as a scantily clad prostitute to expose the organization? Might this lurid sexual angle be a reason for the story's popularity? And did not his helping a young woman exploit herself on national television belie his supposed concern that ACORN might be enabling the exploitation of real-life prostitutes? Or was he simply following Alinsky's third rule of ethics — that 'in war the end justifies almost any means"?

Eden and Doino clearly had not lost their way, but Hartsock was so upset by their article that he called them "ineffective cowards who can't distinguish their friends from their foes" and asked them to leave the conservative movement: "To those who would rather embrace the security of pompous legalism and pusillanimous do-nothing 'activism,' smugly raising their chins while throwing our movement's true, brave warriors under the bus for their boldness and creativity while they are already being chastised for it; to those whose contribution to the conservative movement is sitting in a safe, comfortable position while condescending to the game-changing contributions of those like James, Hannah and Lila, who have literally risked their security, lives, reputations and freedoms for the movement — on behalf of said movement — thanks, but we are no longer in need of your services."

Eden/Doino did NOT criticize "boldness and creativity" or join what Hartsock called "the...lying, gossiping mainstream journalists — who flocked to the New Orleans story like mosquitoes to a bugzapper — throwing them down with their own punches in the face of their knee-jerk, endless-retraction-warranting conjecture." Rather, they warned, rightly, against accepting the Alinsky attitude that the end justifies almost any means.

To the question "Was it really necessary to have an undergrad disguised as a scantily clad prostitute to expose the organization?", Hartsock responded: "Well, it worked, didn't it?" Yes, it did work. But that begs the question instead of answers it. (I suspect that the sting would have worked if Hannah Giles had been dressed more modestly, but that the videotape of Ms. Giles, especially the B-Roll on which the talented Hartsock acknowledged working, increased the attention paid to the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN sting and Ms. Giles.)

Similarly, Hartsock dealt with the questioning of means simply by citing the end achieved — "the fact that O'Keefe's 'adaptation of radical tactics' has effectively defunded truly evil organizations to the tune of millions of dollars simply by using words, hidden cameras and basic principles of investigative journalism — opening taxpayers' eyes to the returns on their investments in the form of federally-funded would-be underage teen brothels and bureaucratic hornets' nests of clandestine corruption."

It's not that simple, however. In the District of Columbia and New York, recording with the consent of any party is lawful, but in Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and Florida, it's a crime and investigative journalists (with or without quotes), professional or amateur, old or young, "progressive" or "conservative, are not entitled to surreptitiously record in jurisdictions that prohibit surreptitious recording.

Incredibly, Hartsock "wonder[ed] if, as a Jew, [Eden] would feel the same about those who deceptively housed Jews in their attics, lying to German interrogators during World War II." I expect that Eden, as a Catholic convert, would explain that such heroic resistance to Nazi Germany's persecution of the Jews to protect the God-given right to life was right...and hardly comparable to a curious couple surreptitiously recording in violation of state law in the hope that they might capture something useful on tape to discredit ACORN or men entering a United States Senator's office under false pretenses in an attempt to access a telephone closet and show that the Senator's phones were working and just not being answered. St. Thomas Aquinas explained: "A human law has the character of law to the extent that it accords with right reason, and thus derives from the eternal law. Insofar as it falls short of right reason it is said to be unjust law, and thus has not so much the nature of law as of a kind of violence." Section 2242 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church elaborated as follows: "The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directions of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' 'We must obey God rather than men': 'When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.'" Content-neutral prohibitions on surreptitious recording are both constitutionally and divinely permissible and "creat[ing] chaos for glory" is not.

Hartsock even ranted: "Dawn Eden is a convert, a single woman who preaches about chastity in books such as The Thrill of the Chaste, no doubt because it fits her life experiences. It is too easy to point out that Catholic theology does not advocate being frigid, as though the point of femininity is to be chaste. There is no 'thrill' to being chaste.... Her entire analysis is so off that it is frankly laughable, and her analysis is obviously half-off because she is unmarried. With what experience would Dawn Eden know about marital sex? Yet she speaks on this topic... to promote her pet topics and help her build a center-right brand for her speaking engagements on a topic she knows little about...."

Hartsock's outrageous and ill-considered ad hominem attack on Ms. Eden contrasts sharply with the high praise for Ms. Eden of Maggie Gallagher, President, Institute for Marriage and nationally syndicated columnist: "At the heart of The Thrill of the Chaste is this mystery story which as it unfolds reveals our deep human longing for a love that matters, for a sexual union that is real. A brave, beautiful book."

Although the 23-year old Hartsock deemed Ms. Eden unfit to speak about love and sex, last October Cardinal Renato Martino, then president of the Roman Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, expressed in writing his hope that Ms. Eden's "personal witness to the virtue of chastity and to the authentic meaning of love, which is rooted in [her] deep faith in Jesus Christ, be an inspiration to many who are searching for fulfillment and peace in life."

National Catholic Register's Robyn Lee commended Ms. Eden for "fearless[ly] sharing details of her personal life so that others might learn from her mistakes," and added that "[h]er story...makes for an eye-opening and persuasive witness."National Review's Michael Potemra deemed Thrill "[a]n intelligent, culturally aware, and (not least important) highly entertaining account of how one woman was able to break free of a culture of sexual objectification" and commended Ms. Eden for "remind[ing] us forcefully that our happiness does not, in fact, lie in the cycle of sexual gratifications, or in being a 'winner' in the manhunting/womanhunting game; it consists of a life of love and respect for others, whether one is married or single."

Media Reseaarch Center's Brent Bozell described Ms. Eden as "a wonderful spokeswoman for — and defender of — chastity," "not a caricature of an 'ultra-right-wing evangelical," to whom chastity came "as a new spiritual commitment as she came to embrace the idea of Christianity and the Catholic faith" (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-bozell/2010/01/22/bozell-column-vh1-and-virginity-cynicism-and-censorship#ixzz0fvws59t9).

Hartsock harrumphed: "It is no surprise that warriors like James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles and Lila Rose are subjected to the pressures of our foes, but that they suffer the frustration of armchair theologians is outrageous."

Frustrating as it may be, no one is above either divine or civil law and law is supposed to be administered impartially. St. Paul taught that "there is no respect of persons with God" (Rom. 2: 11), and Title 28, Chapter I, Part 453 of the United States Code prescribes that each Supreme Court Justice take the following oath: "I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God."

That means that the answer to the question whether an act de-funding an organization is a bill of attainder is the same, whether the organization is ACORN or Catholic Charities.

It also means that entering a United States Senator's office under false pretenses is a federal crime, regardless of whether the Senator is Mary Landrieu or Jim Demint or the enterer is a James O'Keefe suspicious of Senator Landrieu or an ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis suspicious of Senator Demint.

Exposing wrongdoing is laudable, but committing a felony to do so is not and "creat[ing] chaos for glory" is not an end that permits any means.

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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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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