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January 14, 2010

Coakley's Record

Is Martha Coakley committed to justice?

Radley Balko asks that question in a Politico piece on the public track record of the Democratic candidate for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts. I hadn't heard before of her involvement as a district attorney in the infamous Amirault child abuse case in the 80's.

If you aren't familiar with the Amirault case, or would like a refresher, look no further. In a 2004 post I assembled links to the whole series of Wall Street Journal articles on the case by Dorothy Rabinowitz for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. If you're new to the story, prepare to be chilled to the bone.

Asked recently by the Boston Globe about Coakley's participation in the Amirault case, Rabinowitz replied:

“Martha Coakley was a very, very good soldier who showed she would do anything to preserve this horrendous assault on justice.”

Great....just what Americans are looking for in the next generation of U.S. Senators....good soldiers....who do what the higher-ups in the political hierarchy tell them to do.

Ace has lots more on Coakley's role in the Amirault aftermath, including this excerpt from a Coulter column....

The allegations against the Amiraults were preposterous on their face. Children made claims of robots abusing them, a "bad clown" who took the children to a "magic room" for sex play, rape with a 2-foot butcher knife, other acts of sodomy with a "magic wand," naked children tied to trees within view of a highway, and -- standard fare in the child abuse hysteria era -- animal sacrifices.

There was not one shred of physical evidence to support the allegations -- no mutilated animals, no magic rooms, no butcher knives, no photographs, no physical signs of any abuse on the children.
It's one thing to put a person in prison for a crime he didn't commit. It's another to put an entire family in prison for a crime that didn't take place.
Coakley wasn't the prosecutor on the original trial. What she did was worse.

At least the original prosecutors, craven and ambition-driven though they were, could claim to have been caught up in the child abuse panic of the '80s. There had not yet been extensive psychological studies on the suggestibility of small children. A dozen similar cases from around the country had not already been discredited and the innocent freed.

In July 2001, the notoriously tough Massachusetts parole board voted unanimously to grant Gerald Amirault clemency. Although the parole board is not permitted to consider guilt or innocence, its recommendation said: "(I)t is clearly a matter of public knowledge that, at the minimum, real and substantial doubt exists concerning petitioner's conviction."

Immediately after the board's recommendation, The Boston Globe reported that Gov. Jane Swift was leaning toward accepting the board's recommendation and freeing Amirault.

Enter Martha Coakley, Middlesex district attorney. Gerald Amirault had already spent 15 years in prison for crimes he no more committed than anyone reading this column did. But Coakley put on a full court press to keep Amirault in prison simply to further her political ambitions.

By then, every sentient person knew that Amirault was innocent. But instead of saying nothing, Coakley frantically lobbied Gov. Jane Swift to keep him in prison to show that she was a take-no-prisoners prosecutor, who stood up for "the children." As a result of Coakley's efforts -- and her contagious ambition -- Gov. Swift denied Amirault's clemency.

Thanks to Martha Coakley, Gerald Amirault sat in prison for another three years.

Also via Ace, here's a pretty good summation of Coakley's attempt to advance her career at the expense of an innocent man.

Rabinowitz has more to say about Coakley in a new WSJ op-ed.....via Hit & Run

January 13, 2010


Google says they are reconsidering their relationship with China, based on cyber-attacks they have experienced, as well as regime attempts to target Chinese human rights and democracy activists.

But not everybody is convinced of Google's sincerity. I'm not as cynical as this guy. I don't think Google just realized that they call it totalitarianism for a reason. But I am inclined to believe they have learned some lessons in three years about the nature of the regime. They need not have any base, profit-driven motive for drawing a line in the sand for the Chinese government. It's not as though China is a huge revenue source for the company.

UPDATE 1/13: WaPo - Google China cyberattack part of vast espionage campaign

More at Hot Air

UPDATE 1/14: via Slashdot, a report that VeriSign researchers have determined that the cyberattacks were in fact carried out by "agents of the Chinese state or proxies thereof."

UPDATE 1/15: Another FP article says censorship may be an excuse for China to monopolize their Internet industry

An Arrest in Qom

An Arrest in Qom by John Hannah at FP.

On Jan. 12, several agents from the Islamic Republic's intelligence ministry raided the home of Mohammed Taqi Khalaji. They took Khalaji into custody and confiscated his computer, satellite receiver, and hundreds of notes, books and personal letters. The agents also seized the passports of Khalaji and members of his family, banning them all from leaving the country. Khalaji's family does not currently know where he is being detained and Iranian authorities are refusing to provide any information.

Khalaji is a prominent cleric in Qom, the center of Iranian Shiism. Since June 12, he has been a courageious critic of the Iranian regime's crackdown on peaceful protests and a supporter of the so-called Green Movement. Khalaji was known to be close to Iran's most prominent dissident cleric, the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, and is an ally of Ayatollah Sanei -- another well-known reformist cleric who has come under whithering attack from the regime following the massive Ashura demonstrations of Dec. 28. Clearly, Khalaji's arrrest is of a piece with the Islamic Republic's escalating -- though so far miserably unsuccessful -- efforts to crush all signs of peaceful opposition. Khalaji now joins hundreds, if not thousands, of other brave Iranians dragged from their homes and illegally detained for exercising their most fundamental rights of citizenship.

Read the rest. (via Martin Kramer)

"Game Change" Excerpt

If you haven't seen the excerpt from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's "Game Change" , in New York Times Magazine yet....do it. It's the John and Elizabeth Edward-Rielle Hunter-2008 campaign story in all its train wreck detail. Incredible really, how his advisors were forced to contemplate outing him to save their party from potential disaster.

January 12, 2010

See if You Can Get a Job This Way


Pepper and Salt in the WSJ

Reid's Dance

The attention Harry Reid is getting for his 2008 comments about candidate Obama seems to defy the old adage that all publicity is good publicity. Even as he is forgiven by Obama, rallied around by his congressional soulmates, and excused by the usual suspects from the racial grievance industry, Reid's public image continues to sink like a stone.

Racial insensitivity aside, people have got to be asking the same question about Reid that I ask myself every time I see Robert Gibbs....can't we, as a nation, do better?

Don't do anything rash, Democrats. We like Harry Reid right where he is....at least for ten more months. Besides, he's hoping to get the benefit of the doubt that he has been unwilling to grant so many others in his long history of racial posturing. He doesn't cut a sympathetic figure for either side. Is there any question now that many Democrats wish Reid would do a "Dodd", and go away so they'd have a chance to save his Senate seat in November for the party?

I don't think I'm departing much from conservative talking points when I say I didn't think what Reid said was particularly insensitive. He made a candid observation about the candidate's electability, which lots of people did and still do agree with. I found the quote from Game Change attributed to Bill Clinton to be far more insulting and objectionable than what Reid said, and I'm a little surprised more people haven't reacted to that.

In the same way, I suppose, that black rappers are cool to use the n-word in their songs and videos without causing offense, I guess the first black President is permitted to say things like "a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee", and get only a ripple of criticism.

Much of the punditry and blogging on the right seems content to go easy on the outrage over Reid's remarks and focus instead on the obvious double standard...that, and on watching Reid squirm.

Of course the Trent Lott comparisons were inevitable, but Reid's remarks don't, as they say, rise to the level. Even in the context of a speech honoring the 100th birthday of a reformed Dixiecrat, Lott's suggestion that a segregationist President would have been a good thing for America got him rightly hounded out of a GOP leadership position. Reid's stumble over the English language doesn't really come close.

Still the double standard jumps out and grabs you, and it should not go unremarked upon. One need only imagine a conservative office holder saying what Reid said...let alone what Clinton said...to envision the left with their hair on fire demanding resignations, just as they did with Trent Lott, and with the manufactured quotes they used to try to smear Rush Limbaugh.

Obama and the Democrats make no bones about admitting that Reid and Clinton are treated differently because they are political allies. Their positions on matters of "social justice" are, as Obama arrogantly claimed today, "on the right side of history".

Clearly the debate we should be having would include talking about that history....especially as it involves the Democratic Party. Here are a couple of good pieces on the problematic history of Democrats on matters of race...

The Democrats' Missing History

The Democratic Party's Legacy of Racism - Mackubin Owens - 2002
(via Dr. Sanity)

Then the debate could move on to a discussion of how well current Democratic policies on race...(racial preferences, racial quotas, disparate impact laws, opposition to school choice..) actually serve the long term interests of blacks in America, as opposed to just serving the interests of Democratic politicians. That would be a conversation on race worth having.

I trust that one day enough American blacks will recognize the condescension and "the soft bigotry of low expectations" for what they are, and will fight back in sufficient numbers against the implicit Democratic Party statement about them that they are unable to compete with the rest of society on a playing field that is not tilted in their favor by government. Polls show that they already reject the misguided policy of employing official government-enforced racial discrimination as the solution to the problem of racial discrimination. Till then...

John McWhorter asks "What's wrong with 'Negro' anyway?"

And Ward Connerly's column is full of straight talk and good sense...like this...

It's certainly true that racial incidents are not all created equal. What one individual finds offensive may not be to another. Thus, the words of Mr. Lott may have been more insensitive to some than the comments of Mr. Reid. Nonetheless, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the spirit of forgiveness is universal—except when it comes to conservatives.

For my part, I am having a difficult time determining what it was that Mr. Reid said that was so offensive.

Was it because he suggested that lighter-skinned blacks fare better in American life than their darker brothers and sisters? If so, ask blacks whether they find this to be true. Even the lighter-skinned ones, if they are honest with themselves, will agree that there is a different level of acceptance.

Was it because he used the politically incorrect term "negro"? If so, it should be noted that there are many blacks of my generation who continue to embrace this term. In fact, "negro" is an option along with "black" and "African-American" on the 2010 Census.

Was it because he implied that Mr. Obama might be cut some political slack because of his oratorical skills or his looks? If so, that fact was not harmful to Joe Biden, who was elected vice president after praising Mr. Obama as "articulate" and "clean-looking."

Or, finally, could it be viewed as offensive that Mr. Reid suggested that blacks often have a distinctive way of speaking? If that is, indeed, the offense, then I will offend a lot of individuals when I assert that I can tell in probably 90% of the cases whether an individual is black merely by talking to him on the telephone.

And on that double standard...well, Victor Davis Hanson is a gifted wordsmith. Let him tell it...

The Strange Thing About Nemesis…

…is that the deity picks its victims on the basis of irony and arrogance. For every media-frenzy about ethical lapses of columnist Armstrong Williams taking Bush administration money for hawking No Child Left Behind, there is a Jonathan Gruber, the MIT go-to pundit on health care, who raked in $400,000 from the Obama administration for … hawking ObamaCare.

For every racially insensitive Trent Lott, Senate party leader, there is a racially insensitive Harry Reid, Senate party leader. For every illegitimacy story about Levi Johnston and Sarah Palin’s daughter, there is a John Edwards’ love child. For every supposed Bush fabrication, there is Barack Obama on You Tube swearing he will air all the health care debate on C-SPAN (sort of like his old public campaign financing promises, or closing Gitmo within a year, or getting out of Iraq by March, 2008, or …).


But, of course, by now you readers protest!— why haven’t we heard of Gruber, why did the media go easy for so long on Edwards (and his complicit wife), why is Harry Reid still majority leader?

The answer is that those on the left are moralists, smarter people who pass up their own personal agendas to help the community. They think of society, not self, and so when they err, they do it under stress, in accidental fashion, and with no lasting significance — not like their selfish Neanderthal cousin conservatives, for whom transgression is a valuable window into their flawed souls. Bushisms became a media pastime, but no one suggests that a president who says Cinco de Quatro, or 57 states, or references the “Austrian” language is a Dan Quayle wrestling with potato.

Read it all.

January 6, 2010


Jen Rubin notes that when Nancy Pelosi lies, she figures she might as well make it a whopper....

“There has never been a more open process for any legislation.”

Well, we can’t say this sort of thing is out of character, can we? She seems not to recall that the Senate hid the bill until Sen. Bill Nelson’s vote had been bought and then rushed a bill to a 1:00 a.m. vote right before Christmas. She seems not to recall that the House staged a Saturday vote and broke her pledge to post the bill online 72 hours before the vote.

Mark Hemingway asks, “It’s no secret that Pelosi and Democratic leaders are desperate to pass health care reform, but do they really think delusional lies are the best way to win over the public?” Well, yes, I think they do. That’s why they keep saying things such as “we must pass it or go bankrupt.” That’s why they deny that there will be health-care rationing while they cut $500B out of Medicare. That’s why they refuse to call taxes “taxes.” That’s why they insist we are going to keep our insurance as the Mayo Clinic gets out of the Medicare business. That is why they boast that they are cutting spending on health-care when, as the Heritage Foundation points out, “total U.S. health care spending would increase by 0.7%, or $234 billion through 2019. . . and that’s after taking into account what little savings would be achieved by cutting Medicare benefits and encouraging employer to cut health benefits by taxing private insurance plans that are ‘too generous.’”

In short, the Democrats are reduced to making up stuff, both on substance and on process, because what is in the bill is unpalatable to a majority of voters. And they certainly don’t want to discuss the details or put any of the final back-room bribery . . . er . . . legislative compromising . . . on C-SPAN.

And if Obama has lost Jack Cafferty of CNN....well...one can only ask what's next?....dogs and cats living together in harmony?

UPDATE 1/9: This short note from Jay Nordlinger's column today:

Reading about Obama’s campaign promises, and the stark un-transparency of the health-care legislating, I thought of a famous story about Earl Long: Shortly after being elected in Louisiana, he broke some campaign promise. His press secretary said, “They’re asking about this. What do I tell ’em?” Earl shrugged and said, “Tell ’em I lied.”

January 3, 2010

Catch Phrases To Forget

Bloggers (especially) take note of Ron Rosenbaum's Slate column on the worst of the clichés, catch phrases and comments we all encounter every day on the web and in the media and popular culture, many of which are long overdue for the scrap heap. Just sayin'.

The catchphrase of the decade.

January 1, 2010

Leftist Projection

Noemie Emery - Secondhand Hate

For years now, those on the left have conflated resistance to any item of their agenda--high taxes, extravagant spending, laxity on crime, what have you--with motives of a dark nature: racism, nativism, fear of "the other," and various species of "hate."


But it was the appearance in 2009 of the real first black president that lifted this theme to a whole new level: The left, which invented first "hate speech" (opinions they didn't like) and then "hate crimes" (crimes judged less on the criminal's actions than on what he was presumed to be thinking), has now gone on to its epiphany, which is "hate" defined not by your words or deeds but by what other people have decided you really think. "Hate" is no longer what you do or say, but what a liberal says that you think and projects on to you. You are punished for what someone else claims you were thinking. It hardly makes sense, but it does serve a political purpose. You could call it Secondhand Hate.

Emery has examples galore. MoDo is Exhibit A. Read it all.