The ACORN Tapes

I’m about to write a very long-winded post on the story that dropped from Breitbart on the NEA “scandal”, and in doing so, I need to clear the air about ACORN. When the ACORN tapes hit the street, I considered posting about it.

My initial reaction was this:

1) I’m a libertarian. In my world, prostitution would be legal.
2) I’m a libertarian. In my world, the IRS would be illegal.

Thus, I wasn’t all that up in arms about an organization advising someone on how to hide the proceeds of a prostitution business from the IRS. In fact, I was a bit jealous — nobody exists to help me hide MY legal income from the IRS! Who’s gonna help out us engineers?!

But, then I started to actually dig into the story, and there were two additional bits of information that pushed me to the other side of the fence:

3) ACORN was advising these folks on how to bring in underage girls from overseas to work as prostitutes. Libertarianism doesn’t quite extend to human child sex trafficking.
4) ACORN is an organization that I learned is significantly funded by the government. I’m against government funding of most things, but I’m particularly against government funding of groups which are working very hard to advise people how to break the law.

So I’m pretty glad to see that ACORN got what was already likely coming to them, in the form of public ridicule and scorn and being tossed off the public dole. Advising someone on how to hide the fact that you’re bringing in foreign children to work as whores is despicable, and ACORN should be ashamed for what their employees did on those tapes.

  • southernjames

    You’ve got to have been almost wilfully ignorant to not have been aware of your points 3 and 4; like almost immediately, if you pay the slightest bit of attention. Glad you managed to somehow stumble onto the information.

    Some of us have been aware that Acorn sucks from the government tit since around the time of the inauguration of one of their former attorneys/consultants, who was also the candidate it actively supported – including (allegedly) by “getting out the vote” from some “fictional” citizens.

    Libertarianism doesn’t QUITE extend to human child sex trafficking?. QUITE ???? What – does it butt right up against it?

    Let me get this straight – you’re perfectly fine with a community organization allegedly designed to help low income people with things like housing, education, and jobs, also advise someone on how to successfully operate an illegal prositution business (which BECAUSE it is illegal, creates drug addicted and exploited young victims whose lives are used up and ruined, as they as controlled by gang or underworld thugs; with those thugs’ presence HARMING the very community and neighborhoods this organization is supposed to help – your fondness for the movie “Pretty Woman” notwithstanding) – so long as:

    a) the organization is not in whole or in part supported by federal funds; and
    b) the El Salavadorian immigrant girls they plan to illegally smuggle in, in order to horrifically exploit, are at least 18 and not 13.

    Wow. Interesting moral compass you’ve got there.

  • Brad Warbiany


    I fundamentally believe that human beings should be free to sell access to their bodies. I also fundamentally believe that human beings should be able to keep the entire fruits of their labor.

    Thus, no, I don’t have a problem with someone explaining to anyone how they can hide income from the taxman, whether that income is legally or illegally obtained, so long as that income is not obtained through force or fraud.

    Now, I am not arguing for prostitution, only that I believe making it illegal it is an infringement on freedom. As you point out, making it illegal has a lot of secondary consequences, such as the creation of a black market leading to exploitation. However, the existence of exploitation doesn’t make me sit down and say the IRS deserves a cut of the proceeds too. That’s just adding insult to injury.

    As for ACORN, if you’re going to dance with the devil (government), you might as well dance to his tune.

    Regarding the El Salvadorean girls, again in my libertopia we’d have little to no immigration restrictions, so “illegally smuggle” is your term, but yes, if they were 18 and capable of making their own decisions it’s a much different question than at 13.

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  • southernjames

    So I AM correct that as long as conditions a) and b) above are met, you’re fine with a community organization helping someone set up a prostitution ring via use of illegally smuggled in (18 year old) girls from South America. Who are also, by the way, going to not know one word of English and will be both desperate and illiterate. Did you know that one of the Acorn reps was “advising” the stingers to be real careful to LIMIT the amount of education they were planning to make available to the girls, when a stinger mentioned (as a form of “moral justification”) that the girls could learn to read and get an education while being exploited/controlled as dependant streetwalkers?.

    I bet you’re cool with that too. I mean, we can’t let those girls get dangerous thoughts of freedom and liberation once they are ensnared in the trap Acorn thinks it is helping these people set, now can we? How is that going to impact our return on investment?

    The reality as opposed to your fantasy world, which is what we are dealing with here with Acorn’s actions, is that prostitution IS illegal, and that the USA is (still, for now) a sovereign nation with clearly defined borders which are technically supposed to be enforced – just as Mexico strongly enforces ITS southern borders. As China enforces its borders. Etc.

    But you don’t care about that. So as long as a) and b) are met, you’re fine with it – as you’ve now made it clear.

    Hmmm. Alrighty then. How about if I create a community organization and help somebody set up a street walker operation in YOUR neighborhood. And then invest to get a piece of the action myself. How about right next door? Got a problem with that? If so, why? I promise to accept no federal dollars and also just use 18 year-olds – so that will make it perfectly kosher in your book, right?

    And then as soon as your currently young child turns 14 or 15, whenever Pops is at work we are going to be regaling him/her with our tales of all the $$$$$ to be made if he/she will simply allow us to market their vagina or butthole or mouth to our patrons who have been cruising up and down right in front of YOUR house most of YOUR child’s life — to prep him/her for his/her 18th birthday – that big day, will be the day when Pops can keep his big fat utopian nose out of our business, or face very unpleasant consequences. (Sorry, it is how we roll, in this REAL world as opposed to your libertarian fantasy one, where everything is legal and the doctrine of unintended consequences does not exist).

    And once we get sonny boy or your little girl employed, he/she is not getting out, until we say so. Again, sorry – but we do have business to run here. But that’s ok. We’ll keep him/her nice and passive and cooperative with all the free Coke/Meth/Oxy/Vicatin he/she needs to stay productive and also dependent upon us. You got a problem with that? Why?

    As it is perfectly fine with you for this to go down in a low income minority neighborhood in the downtown of whatever city, outside of which you live in your nice whitebread suburban neighborhood, then since I am sure you are not a hypocrite, I will assume it should be fine for it to happen RIGHT NEXT DOOR to you, too. Right?

    As look as our Acorn-outfit accepts no federal dollars and your kid or any other kid we bring in, has turned 18.

  • Brad Warbiany

    Yeah, because there are never any brothels in nice suburbs.

    You’re assuming that making illegal makes it not happen in neighborhoods like mine. And you’re assuming that no young person can resist the allure of the dollars and drugs, despite being raised with morals and ethics. Making it illegal doesn’t mean the predators don’t exist, so you still have to raise your kids not to give in to it.

    Of course, if we’re operating in a world where it’s illegal, we’re operating in a world where it’s discreet. In the condo complex I live in, there’s enough units that there’s probably a drug dealer (if not my complex, probably not far away). Why don’t I know about it? Because whoever runs it is smart enough not to go blabbing all around town what kind of operation he’s running. The linked story above was a high-end mansion in an Atlanta suburb where there was suspicion for years, but I suspect the madam in that place was smart enough not to go blabbing around to 15 year olds what was going on.

    And the opposite scenario, if it’s legalized? Well, you don’t see strip clubs in the middle of residential areas, do you? So I think it’d be unlikely to occur in neighborhoods like mine.

    So if it’s illegal, it will remain very discreet. And if it’s legal, it will be run by legitimate businesses who will operate in business areas (as strip clubs do now).

    So you’re trying to offer some nightmare scenario — it could be happening in your city, in your town, ON YOUR STREET!” — without realizing that most of these nightmare scenarios don’t already exist for a reason: ordinary people don’t stand for it.

  • jon

    “Libertarianism doesn’t quite extend to human child sex trafficking.”

    well, walter block extends it to voluntary slavery, so, that’s not entirely correct, to the extent that voluntary slavery comes in the form of 1) human 2) sex 3) trafficking among 3) emancipated young adults. obviously, any sane definition of “child” stretches my point thin, but you didn’t mention voluntarism whatsoever.

    voluntarism, the essence of libertarianism.

    now, indicate that “human child sex trafficking” is wholly involuntary, and you’re in business. and so ought the gallows be, i might add.

  • southernjames

    You’re shifting the debate to the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution. That is changing the subject. My post was MY response to YOUR reaction to the Acorn sting.

    Shorter Brad: So some community organization is advising people on how to cheat the IRS, and set up a prostitution ring using girls imported from El Salavador? No problem!! Prostitution should be legal anyway, I’m an open borders guy anyway, and yay rah, let’s encourage tax evasion.

    Oh wait, since they are a) getting federal funds and b) the girls may be a couple of years “too young” (isn’t that just being irrationally subjective, Brad? – too young? Says who? By what measure?) ….FOR THESE TWO REASONS ONLY, I guess I need to officially, kind of, sort of,(‘doesn’t QUITE extend’) frown on Acorn after all.

    Which I find, with all due respect, to be a despicable outlook. That is just my opinion.

    And to respond to your shifting of the subject, my guess is that the reason the guy in your condo complex running a call girl operation is discreet, is because it is….illegal. And in terms of making assumptions, in YOUR hypothetical world, you’re assuming that if it becomes legalized that guy will either a)fold up shop and find a store front location next to the strip club, or b) retire from pimphood altogether, since he is otherwise, I am sure, a conscientious law abiding citizen (sarcasm).

    Yeah in Libertarian Utopia fantasy land, I guess that is what will happen. But in the real world populated by real people that I live in, another alternative may be that he stays in business a few units down from you – except now you and your wife and child will be WELL aware of what he is doing, because he can go ahead and be more open and in-your-face about the whole thing. Why? Because what he is doing is no longer illegal – he just doesn’t have the right zoning permit; and he’s just violating (for now, until he can successfully bribe 4 out of the 7 board members) the Condo Regs.

    He’s become a mere Condo nuisance, as opposed to a felon. Kind of like that other neighbor of yours who constantly lets guests park in your numbered parking spot, not to mention failing to scoop his dog’s poop, in clear violation of Section IV, Common Area Rule 4.b. “Damn, when will the Association DO something about that jerk, honey? I’ve sent four angry emails!”…”Well, dear, his brother-in-law is president of the Association board, you know.” Sigh..

    And yeah, the nightmare scenario of pimps setting up shop and having an in-your-face operation on MY street doesn’t happen because “ordinary people” like me, who think prositution is an abomination, can and will call the cops, and the cops will respond, becuase as of right NOW, they’ll be responding to a FELONY, as opposed to a city zoning code violation.

    In which case, in the real as opposed to navel gazing hypothetical fantasy world, a desk clerk, after routing me through 3 separate departments, will finally refer me to old Charlie Smith over at code enforcement, who is really swamped right now, but he will try to swing by sometime next week, when he is in my neighborhood citing some folks on his list for watering on even numbered days, when the water restrictions limit us to odd-numbered days, and he’ll knock on the door and have a little talk with Vincenzo at 1463 Street to see what’s going on.

    Thanks but no thanks.

  • Brad Warbiany

    Again, here’s where you led into this: “(which BECAUSE it is illegal, creates drug addicted and exploited young victims whose lives are used up and ruined, as they as controlled by gang or underworld thugs; with those thugs’ presence HARMING the very community and neighborhoods this organization is supposed to help)”. You followed that with the threat that my kids will be pressed into service and exploited through the use of drugs and coercion.

    By your admission, one of the key aspects that causes this to be run by brutal underworld thugs who get their prey hooked on drugs is the fact that this is illegal — i.e. that prey has no alternative method for justice because the prostitution is their meal ticket. Yet in the next breath you suggest that if it’s legalized, it’s still going to be next door and less discreet, without allowing for the fact that it might no longer be run by predatory underworld thugs.

    A black market creates ALL SORTS of unintended consequences. But you know what it doesn’t do? Stop willing buyers and sellers of the banned substance/service from buying and selling.

    What I don’t do is suggest that I have any right to stop Vincenzo from running a little brothel on his own property, even if that property is physically near mine. You may not like where this logic leads, but the logic is consistent. I don’t have to like how my neighbors utilize their freedom, but then again, they don’t always have to like the way I utilize mine. Freedom isn’t about liking or approving of what your neighbor does, it’s about whether you have any legitimate right to interfere.

  • southernjames

    You’re arguing pro vs. con for legalization again. The hypothetical what-if. I assume, that as with gambling which no matter where it is legalized and in what form, it still leads to heavy involvment by thugs and the underworld; illegal side gambling activities in spite of the available legal avenues for indulging in it; loan sharks, bribes, coercion and ruined lives – the same will hold true when prostitution and drugs are legalized. One of the biggest drug problems for kids in my very drug abuse heavy area (S. Florida) is abuse of LEGAL prescription drugs, like Oxy, and Vicatin. Sold on the black market. By thugs.

    Versus you – Your assumption is that making it all legal will lead to the elimination of black market and thugs and underworld involvement. Freedom for everyone. Utopia. And no problems for you either – if you don’t like Vinnie’s legal brothel operating right next door to your family -no sweat – you and the family will just move away.

    I’ll just leave it at that. We see the hypothetical what-if scenarios differently.

    What we DO have, however, is the current reality, in terms of what is legal and illegal.

    And so I return to my original premise which is –unlike you, I have a very huge problem with what Acorn was caught doing, even if all of their funding came from places like SEIU union member dues and no federal dollars were involved, instead of just some federal money; and even if the proposed El Salvadorian girls were 18 and not 13. What they were doing is truly odious; and for someone to NOT think so, well – – I’ll let that be.