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Naked Shorts

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Okay, that doesn’t have to do with anything.  It’s just my favorite new thing I learned–the actuality is quite dry (it means people who short stocks without having first borrowed the stocks to be in physical possession of them–something that’s illegal, by the way).

But I just like the term.  It reminds me of things having to do with boxers.

Anyway.  Here’s a quandry, and I’ve got a couple of them these days.

First, in regard to the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts on Tuesday night.  I’m no longer a registered Democrat, but I vote Democratic all the time, I’m in favor of a single payer universal health system, and I was also in favor of a Democrat in that seat so that the US Congress might get at least some of the health care reforms passed.

The problem is, I wasn’t in favor of Martha Coakley.

Not even a little.

For me, Martha Coakley is way too well connected to the Fells Acre day care child abuse case.

In case you don’t know about that one, it was one of several prosecuted during a sort of witch-hunt hysteria about child abuse in the late Eighties.  And it was notorious, in no time flat, for the number of absurd charges that were brought with no physical evidence whatsoever against three memebers of the family that ran the center.

When the children were originally asked if anybody had done anything “bad” to them, they all denied it.  It was only after they had been placed in the room with a psychologist who would not let them see their parents until they “just told what happened”–and were kept in that room for hours–that any accusations of abuse were heard.

And the accusations were ridiculous.  Supposedly, there was a rape with a butcher knife–but no such wounds were found on any child, there was no blood, there was no butcher knife.   People were accused–and later convicted–of commiting acts of abuse during periods of time when they could demonstrate that they were not in the area where the abuse theoretically occured.   There were bizarre accusations of things that supposedly occurred in public that somehow nobody ever saw.

There’s an interesting article on Coakley’s behavior as the Massachusetts attorney general and her involvement in the Fells Acre mess here:


I can’t vouch for the site, since I don’t know it, but the information in the article fits what I knew before.

Coakley didn’t prosecute the Fells Acre case, but when it became so clear to virtually everybody in the state of Massachusetts that not only had the Amiraults not committed any abuse, but no abuse had ever occurred in the first place, that the Board of Pardons and Parole recommended that the last Amirault in jail be let out immediately, Coakley fought tooth and nail to keep him locked up and refused to listen to any of the evidence that exculpated him. 

I wouldn’t vote for Coakley to save my life.  In fact, I think it’s a pretty good bet that keeping people like Coakley out of office is a prerequisite to saving my life.  The Fells Acre case makes the case against the Duke Lacrosse players look fair, and that one was deliberate fraud.

I found it hard–in fact impossible–to take seriously the claim that one of the reasons we wanted Coakley in the Senate instead of Brown was that she cared about human rights and Brown, well, was a Republican.  Coakley’s record makes me think she cares not a whit about rights of any kind.  

Hell, it makes me think she cares not a whit about linear thought.

I have no idea why, but I am more and more getting into these kinds of messes–where the candidate I should want to vote for (because of stands on issues, say, or affiliation with ideas or groups I favor) runs smack into the wall of that candidate’s individual behavior.

If I’d been living in Massachusetts through this, I would have wanted to vote for the Democrat, but I wouldn’t have touched Martha Coakley.

It works the other way around, too.  One of the people running for the Senate in Connecticut next time, to fill the seat of Chris Dodd, who is retiring, will be the state’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal.  Blumenthal is far to the left of me, and I don’t like a lot of his political positions on a lot of things.

But when Bill was dying, people in Blumenthal’s office helped me with information and in other ways when our insurance company tried to reject his proposed liver transplant, something that, if it had come in time, might have given us another ten or fifteen years. 

That is not a small thing, and I owe the guy’s staff and the guy.

So–do I vote for him or not?  And in the case of somebody like Coakley, given that dilemma, should I vote for the party and “hold my nose,” as the saying goes, for the person?

I’m sure I’m wrong to think, as I can’t help doing, that this used to be easier.  That when I was younger, it was more often the case that I respected the person when I liked the politics. 

It’s  more likely that I didn’t know as much as I do now, and wasn’t paying as much attention. 

Whatever it is, though, it’s depressing.

Written by janeh

January 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'Naked Shorts'

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  1. I knew about Coakley’s role in the Amirault case, and about choked when she was bragging during the election about how tough she was on child molesters. I need people to be tough on real criminals and not imaginary ones.
    Without naming individuals, I understand the problem of liking how someone proposes to vote but not caring much for how they’ve behaved in office. I would say that abuse of public authority is the point at which the politician should not be in office regardless of policy considerations. Of course, I also don’t think people inclined to abuse their authority will get me good policy over their term in office.
    Owing a politician whose policies I don’t like is new for me, as a number of politicians have refused to place me in their debt. I know this sounds a little crazy, but I think you should vote for the candidate who is best for the state or nation, and pay off the debt with a campaign contribution, or with working for the campaign. Helping the man make his case so the voters can decide is not the same as using your vote against what you believe to be the country’s best interests.
    But that can’t be–and shouldn’t be–an easy decision.


    22 Jan 10 at 4:54 pm

  2. I had no idea Coakley was involved in that. (I dare say if I still lived in MA, I would have.) Could not have forced myself to vote for her, then.

    I thought she was just an entitled jerk–that I would have voted for because she was a D.

    Oh, well.



    22 Jan 10 at 9:31 pm

  3. I heard about the false child abuse accusations, and the refusal to let the last accused out of prison. It’s horrifying.

    About the issue of holding your nose and voting – that’s something I take for granted. I think I was infected young by the local saying that the politicians of the (then two) political parties were ‘lawyers and merchants, and merchants and lawyers’ – in other words, in policies and honesty there wasn’t much to chose between them. Add to that the fact that the federal and provincial politicians of the same party can be totally different in so many ways (even to the point of a provincial politician campaigning against the same party in a federal election) and a lot of people end up ‘voting strategically’, as I think they call it. Balancing off the person, the party, the chances of either winning overall, and then voting. I have voted Conservative, Liberal and NDP, depending on who was running, what else was going on, and what the party leader was doing/saying. I voted for a long-term old-school conservative several times because he was a decent guy and a good representative and his party hadn’t yet undergone its massive change. Now that it has, they could run John A. MacDonald himself, our famous and flawed first prime minister, and I wouldn’t vote for him.

    So I guess I’m saying that you just have to make the best choice you can out of those offered to you.

    Some people run themselves if they don’t like the choices, but I don’t think I’d do that. I think I would be extremely unsuited for a political life.


    23 Jan 10 at 8:17 am

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