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ACORN, Ecuador, Chevron, and the hidden video camera

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Readers and viewers have asked me to offer my opinion on the discovery by a couple of conservative activists that a couple of workers at the Washington DC office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or ACORN were giving advice on how a pimp and a prostitute can hide themselves from IRS scrutiny.

The "pimp" and the "prostitute" were "played" by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, she a columnist at TownHall.com in Washington, D.C, he a filmmaker and activist.

What they reportedly did was go around America on a tour of different ACORN offices posing as pimp and prostitute. According to CNN, most ACORN offices called the police on them with the exception of the Washington and Baltimore offices. Here's the video of what was said in the ACORN Washington office:

Now, what do I think? Well, the ACORN workers were wrong of course. Do you think I'm going to defend someone giving tax evasion tips to a pimp and his, well, you know. (I can't help but wonder if O'Keefe and Giles were sleeping together during their tour posing as people who were in the sex business. I mean all that talk and travel had to make them horny at some point, right?)

I also think it's a lot like the Chevron Ecuador case, where Ecuador Judge Juan Nunez was secretly caught on video in a meeting talking about the Chevron case and how he could rule and what the cost would be - $27 billion. Even though the Judge picked his words carefully, it was clear he knew about "that other thing" (because he used those words) which were the bribe arrangements where two environmental consultants would pay $3 million for the right to get a part of the remediation work the $27 billion was to pay for, in part.

Here's that video:

The cry in that case was that the consultants worked for Chevron; actually that's not exactly true but I'll deal with that in another blog post. The whine in the ACORN case was that the videos were made without the knowledge of the workers. In both episodes my response is if the subjects know that they're doing the right thing, they don't care if a camera or camcorder's in the room.

The simple fact that being secretely filmed is an issue for both the Judge and the ACORN workers means they knew they should not have been in those situations saying what they said.


The ACORN workers on camera were advocating a corrupt practice. The Judge and his friends in the Chevron video were caring out a corrupt practice.

I tell everyone I know this: if you're always in the right, you can't fear the use of a camera or camcorder because it will show that you were correct in your actions. The video made by O'Keefe and Giles doesn't damage the overall intent of ACORN at all; but it does call into question the ethics of some of the workers hired to staff the offices in certain cities, like DC.

The best action for anyone is to have their own camcorder. It's a good idea to have video evidence of one's actions anyway. But the bottom line is to just be on the right side of an ethics fight and to use the Golden Rule: do onto others as you would have others do on to you.
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