When liberals don’t like the courts

Conservatives have spent years railing at the liberal propensity to by-pass the legislative process and head straight for the courts.  It turns out, though, that there are situations in which liberals prefer to avoid the court all together — and will take legislative action to try to avoid it.  Those situations arise when a decades old murder trial might implicate some of the President’s friends.

The background here is a bit complicated, so stick with me.  In 1970, a bomb exploded at the Park Police Station in Francisco, wounding several people and killing one police officer, Brian McDonnell.  The most likely suspects were members of the Weather Underground.  If that name seems familiar to you, it should.  The Weather Underground was, of course, Bill Ayers’ and Bernadine Dohrn’s domestic terrorism creation.

In 1971, another police officer, Sgt. John Young, got killed in an attack on the Ingleside Police station.  That murder remained unsolved until 2007.  In that year, things suddenly changed:

Interest in the incident was reignited in 2007 after federal prosecutors charged a group of alleged former Black Liberation Army members in the 1971 murder of San Francisco police Sgt. John Young at the Ingleside Station in San Francisco.

The grand jury that investigated the Ingleside case also looked at the Park Station bombing. But the results of the probe were not released. No one has ever been charged with McDonnell’s death.

Although Ayers denied any connection between the two bombings, an informant claims that there is indeed a connection:

But Larry Grathwohl, a former FBI informant, who infiltrated the Weather Underground in the 1970s rejected Mr. Ayers characterization of nonlethal bombings of buildings and police stations.

“That’s simply not true,” he said during Thursday’s press conference. He claimed that the [1970] bombing was allegedly done by Bill Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn.

Mr. Ayers has repeatedly denied any involvement in the bombing. He has called Mr. Grathwohl a “paid dishonest person” in a newspaper interview.

But Mr. Gratwohl insists that Ms. Dorn was involved and said he has testified under oath to this. He said in early 1970, Mr. Ayers visited him and other operatives in Buffalo, N.Y., and said Mr. Dohrn had been forced to plant the bomb at Park Station because others were not active enough in committing violence. Mr. Ayers also knew the composition of the bomb and where it had been set.

The possible connection between the two cases — two Left wing groups bombing two police stations in two consecutive years — means there is a chance that, during a trial against the BLA members for the 1971 murder, something might come out implicating the Weather Underground and Bill Ayers in the 1970 murder.  And it’s a really, really bad thing when the President’s good buddy, the man in whose living room he started his political career, turns out to be at the center of a cop killing.

All of which gets us to today’s story.  This coming Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Stupidvisors is going to vote on a resolution calling for the Feds to drop the case against the seven members of the “San Francisco 8” for the 1971 murder of Sgt. John Young:

The full Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on a controversial resolution calling on the state to drop charges against seven men accused of murder in the death of a San Francisco police sergeant in 1971 — a measure that has angered current and former police officers to no end.

The resolution, authored by Supervisor Eric Mar and co-sponsored by supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Sophie Maxwell and Chris Daly, urges Attorney General Jerry Brown questions how evidence was obtained and urges Brown too drop the case entirely.  [Sic]  The resolution contends that the only evidence in Sgt. John Young’s murder case was obtained through torture, and that “the case was reopened based on questionable claims of ‘new’ evidence.”

As you can imagine, San Francisco’s police department is very upset about the Stupidvisor’s proposal. Some San Franciscan’s are upset too.  Here are excerpts from just a few of the reader comments:

Hey…BOS [Board of Stupidvisors] and Mar, Mirkarimi, Maxwell and Daly in particular…WHAT do you think you are doing? If there is any “wrong doing” or “ill-gotten” evidence in this case, it WILL come out in a court of law.


It is not the job of the BoS to acquit someone of murder charges or to make public proclamations that they should be acquitted based on ignorance of the evidence. If my supervisor comes to my house and I throw him in my trash, will I get fined because he’s compostable?


It is not the job of the BoS to acquit someone of murder charges or to make public proclamations that they should be acquitted based on ignorance of the evidence. If my supervisor comes to my house and I throw him in my trash, will I get fined because he’s compostable?

Most of the 29 comments left (so far) are in the same vein.

Many of the comments attribute the Stupidvisor’s attitude to the kneejerk Progressive hatred for cops and its passion for politically motivated cop killers.  (Does the name Mumia Abu-Jamal ring any bells?) As I said at the beginning of this post, though, I think this one goes deeper.  While liberals generally kind of fancy politically Left murderers (“Tookie” Williams, anyone?), I don’t recall the Board of Stupidvisors ever before getting between a defendant and someone charged with murdering a police officer.

The difference here is that the trial has dangerous implications for President Obama.  Much as liberals adore having the courts make public policy, they fear the fallout when criminal courts are charged with finding facts.  And so you have the unedifying spectacle of a local legislative body trying to short circuit a criminal trial against men against of murdering a police officer, just because there is the faint possibility that the trial could prove embarrassing to the President of the United States.

LA Times hides damaging video of Obama

The LA Times has admitted that it possesses a video of Barack Obama cheerfully attending a radical Muslim meeting at which the speakers hurled the usual violent and threatening invective at Jews and at Israel.  Also attending were Ayers and Dohrn.

One might think that, given next week’s election, the LA Times, which is another failing old media outlet, would have a scoop here and publish it, both to increase its circulation and so that people could make up their own minds about Obama’s beliefs and affiliations.  The Times, however, has refused to do so, apparently for fear that it could harm Obama’s chances in the upcoming election.

As Charles Johnson says, if this is true, “this is media malfeasance of an almost astounding degree. They have a video that could change the stakes in this election and they’re hiding it. And they’ve been hiding it since last April.”  The fact that the Times is standing there doing nothing even as it holds actual news (not just the usual puff pieces) is shocking and should change immediately.

Since we know, though, that the LA Times will do nothing, rather than see the Obamessiah go down in well-deserved, it’s up to us to do something:  If you’re a blogger, blog.  If you’re an emailer, email.  And whatever else you do, let the Times know what you think.

I’ve got a parlor game for you

Charles Johnson, at LGF, working off the top of his head, put together a list of Obama’s troublesome associations:

* Rabidly anti-Israel Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi. The Obamas were regular dinner guests at Khalidi’s Hyde Park home for years.

* Terrorist sympathizer Ali Abunimah, who runs the viciously anti-Israel web site Electronic Intifada.

* Unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

* Reverend Jeremiah Wright. What more needs to be said?

* Anti-Israel foreign policy adviser Samantha Power — fired after calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.”

* Anti-Israel foreign policy adviser Robert Malley — fired when it was revealed he has been holding talks with Hamas.

* Hatem El-Hady, former official of the Hamas-linked charity Kindhearts, closed by the Justice Department. El-Hady’s web page suddenly vanished from the Obama campaign site with no explanation, after being exposed by LGF and others.

* Tony Rezko — a Chicago fixer currently in a whole lot of legal trouble.

He ends by saying:  “There are more, I know; this is just off the top of my head.”

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to add to that list.

More on guilt by association

Yesterday, I write a long post opining that the attacks against Obama because his friends would automatically trigger in liberals an urge to analogize the situation to the 1950s anti-Communist hearings, which would, of course, raise the “guilt by association” mantra. I also explained why, in Obama’s case, guilt by association is an appropriate charge. First, because the icky people at issue (Wright, Ayers, Dohrn, Rezko) aren’t just ships that pass in the night but are, in fact, long-time acquaintances whom Obama actively courted; and, second, because even if he didn’t seek them out, moderate voters still need to scrutinize closely a candidate who attracts every wacko, anti-American, terrorist nut who is crawling out of the political woodwork.

At the time I wrote the post, I hadn’t actually seen anyone use the phrase “guilt by association.” I was simply paying attention to the MSM’s upset regarding the debate and their horror that Gibson and Stephanopoulos would tacky enough to question Obama about his associates. The media, terrified that Obama might be shown in a bad light, felt it was singularly unfair to ask Obama why he was so comfortable hanging with America haters. The fact that voters might also find that an interesting question didn’t seem to occur to Obama’s media fans.

A perfect example of this showed up in yesterday’s mail, when I received The New Yorker magazine, which had a post-election analysis that is emblematic of the media’s outrage. Hendrik Hertzberg is the lead political commentator for that magazine, so he got pride of place in The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” section. Hertzberg’s writing drips with outrage that Gibson and Stephanopoulos, rather than encouraging Obama to challenge George Bush (whom Hertzberg seems to have forgotten is not running this year), actually asked Obama about his spiritual, intellectual and social buddies. Hertzberg doesn’t explain why this was such an outrage; he just assumes his readers will know — and, since they’re mostly fellow Lefties, I guess they will. You can see what I mean in this passage:

If Gibson and his partner, George Stephanopoulos, had halted their descent at the level of the fatuous, that would have been bad enough. But there was worse to come. In the seven weeks since the previous Clinton-Obama debate, the death toll of American troops in Iraq had reached four thousand; the President had admitted that his “national-security team,” including the Vice-President, had met regularly in the White House to approve the torture of prisoners; house repossessions topped fifty thousand per month and unemployment topped five per cent; and the poll-measured proportion of Americans who believe that “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track” hit eighty-one per cent, a record. [At this point, I was mumbling to myself, “Ah, Hendrik. It’s not 2004. This election isn’t about George Bush. You’re a Progressive. Look forward.] Yet for most of the next hour Gibson and Stephanopoulos limited their questioning to the following topics: Obama’s April 6th remark about “bitter” small-towners [something that needed to be addressed considering the firestorm that remark created]; whether each candidate thinks the other can win [He’s right; that’s a stupid question]; the Obama family’s ex-pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. [I love Hertzberg’s neutral language: it’s just Obama’s “ex-pastor.” That phrase really fails to describe a 20 year relationship that Obama cultivated, and about which he boasted, until people learned a little more about that ex-pastor]; Clinton’s tale of sniper fire in Bosnia [Considering voter’s sense that Clinton is a liar, and always has been, this question was definitely appropriate]; Obama’s failure to wear a flag lapel pin [I’ve never connected with this issue, but Obama has been popping that pin on and off as fast as the weather changes]; and Obama’s acquaintance with a college professor in his Chicago neighborhood who, while Obama was in grade school, was a member of the Weather Underground. [Aha! There’s the really sneaky one. There’s the “guilt by association” thing. Poor Obama. This Ayers guy made some bad friends in the 1960s, but why should Obama suffer? It’s perfect sleight of hand, hiding the fact that Ayers blew up buildings, attempted to murder people, aided murders, and is utterly unrepentant.]

Although Hertzberg mere implies the guilt by association argument in the above riff, I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that in his actual blog he develops it at length. (As to my predictive abilities, I know how liberals think; I just no longer believe in how they think). Indeed, Hertzberg even used the same format that I predicted, which is to refer to the 1950s hearings as the starting point for the political horror now being visited on the innocent Obama:

McCarthyism is a term rarely heard since the Cold War ended, but, like “red-baiting,” it used to get tossed around on the left entirely too loosely during the nineteen-sixties and seventies. There were those who failed to understand that it’s not red-baiting to point out that a person is a Communist—if that person really is a Communist. McCarthyism is a little more complicated. It wasn’t McCarthyism to deny a government worker who was a member of the Communist Party access to classified materials. It wasn’t McCarthyism for the A.C.L.U. to bar Communists from membership. It wasn’t McCarthyism to fire a person from a public-school teaching job for being a Communist if that person was using his or her position to propagandize to students. Similarly, it wasn’t McCarthyism to call somebody a “Communist sympathizer” if that somebody sympathized with the salient features of Communism, such as one-party rule, totalitarian repression of alternative opinions, the abolition of civil liberties, and murderous gulags. But it was, and is, McCarthyism to try to comprehensively ruin a person’s life solely because that person was once a Communist (or a Fascist, or a racist, or a radical Islamist)—or even if that person is still a whatever-ist but doesn’t actually do anything about it.

The central feature of McCarthyism, however, was accusing people of being Communists or Communist sympathizers who were not, in fact, either. And one of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s favorite evidentiary techniques for carrying out this particular form of character assassination was “guilt by association.”

Guilt by association is another tricky term. The Communist Party is an association, and being a member of that association does indeed makes you guilty of being a Communist. A garden club is also an association. But being in a garden club with a Communist doesn’t make you a Communist. And being in a garden club with an ex-Communist doesn’t even make you an ex-Communist.

Hertzberg, of course, brings self-righteous heat to his discussion, above, and he’s a very good writer, but it is precisely the argument I envisioned liberals making. He then goes on the explain that Ayers isn’t really a bad guy at all, complete with a numbered list, which I’m happy to fisk:

1. Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, were prominent members of the Weather Underground nearly forty years ago, when Barack Obama was a child. They are now, respectively, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an associate professor of law at Northwestern. [Hertzberg operates in a world where, if you’re a professor, you must be a good guy. In fact, as Sol Stern points out in a much quoted City Journal article, Ayer’s professorial status, coupled with his unchanging political views, does not make him just a harmless old hippie. Instead, it makes him a toxic political activist, whose beliefs have far reaching consequences.] They long ago abandoned the political ideas they supported in their youth, which speaks well for them, but they never acknowledged that those ideas were mindless and vicious, which does not. [This is completely untrue. As both the Sol Stern article and audio clips from Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, establish, they are as committed to the revolution as they ever were, with their only regret being that they hadn’t gone further and been more successful.] They live in the same Chicago neighborhood as Obama.

2. When Obama first ran for state senator, in 1995, the incumbent he hoped to replace introduced him to Ayers and Dohrn at a social gathering in their home. Ayers later donated two hundred dollars to his campaign fund. [As I asked in my original post, what it is about Obama that attracts terrorists, including Hamas, and America haters. Even if Obama doesn’t seek them out, Americans should be allowed to understand why they seek him out.]

3. For three years, ending in 2002, Ayers and Obama were both on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a local foundation that gives grants to anti-poverty and arts programs. Ayers is still on the board, which currently has nine members, mostly bankers, lawyers, academics, and businesspeople. [It’s hard to believe that Obama had not figured out by this time who Ayers was. Clearly, either because he’s a doormat, or because he’s utterly unprincipled, or because he agrees with Ayers agenda, Obama was happy to continue in an association with someone who tried then to blow up America and who continues to advocate it now. (And see this Hugh Hewitt column on Obama’s passivity in this regard.) No matter which excuse one offers on Obama’s behalf, he does not come across as Presidential material. Well, maybe President of an anti-American, Marxist, banana republic, but not President of the United States of America.]

4. There is absolutely no evidence that Obama ever sympathized with the politics of the Weather Underground, and there is overwhelming evidence (read his books) that he didn’t and doesn’t. [Well, as to that, we differ, Mr. Hertzberg. Obama has surrounded himself by people who hate America. Brush aside his “hope” and “anti-cynicism” waffling, and you get a man who does, in fact, believe that America is unfair and that its most powerful citizens, whether rich or poor, are racist, gun-crazed, homophobic, xenophobic, money-mad, imperialists. Given this viewpoint, if he loves his country, he’s an idiot; and if he things these problems are legitimate and need to be overturned, he’s pretty much in the same bed as Mr. Ayers politically, isn’t he?]

I find amusing the fact that the most recent spin on Obama’s dismal showing in Pennsylvania is that Americans are racists, which is a profoundly insulting, knee-jerk analysis from the Left. It’s not that Americans are racists, it’s that they’re not fools. Obama is the ultimate oreo, that black pejorative term for a person who has dark skin but who is, on the inside, white through and through. He was raised in a white home, he went to an expensive boarding school, he went to Ivy League undergraduate and law schools, his speech and presentation are those of a white person. There is nothing black about Obama except for his forced, politically oriented self-identification as a black man. His skin color is the least of it, not the most of it.

Actually, Obama isn’t really an oreo — black on the outside, white on the inside. His real color isn’t white, it’s Red. A look at his history hints at an internal political world that goes far beyond mere guilt by association, much as Hertzberg wishes it would just stop there.

Obama isn’t being tarred and feathered for waving at his goofy ex-hippie neighbor in the driveway, or for sleeping through 20 years of boring sermons by his loony, but loving preacher. (And you can just see the sitcom Hertzberg is pretending this whole kerfuffle really is, can’t you?) Obama is a committed Leftist, from his reliance on his father’s political views, to his twenty year mentorship at the feet of a radical, black power preacher (whose politics and religious views are themselves 1960s’ offshoots of Leftism), to his political alliance with a radical Marxist who to this day continues to espouse the same radical views.

They seek him out; he seeks them out. This isn’t guilt by association. This is guilt on its own terms.

Guilt by association *UPDATED*

On the liberal side of the American political world, one of the lingering horrors of the McCarthy era is “guilt by association.” Certainly that was the lesson I, a young liberal, took away from teachings about that era. As I learned it, it wasn’t that the HUAC hearings were aimed at discovering genuine Communist infiltration into the military, weapons development and politics. Instead, in the intense (and irrational) anti-Communist hysteria of the period, the hearings were aimed at discovering who talked to whom.

For that reason, as I was taught, if you were a victim of this witch hunt, your actual political beliefs didn’t matter. Instead, it was who you knew that was the determining factor in whether you would be destroyed. That is, even if you weren’t a Communist, if your best friend was, you were guilty by association.

This phrase, “guilt by association,” has been running through my head a lot lately in this latest election. The MSM tried tarring John McCain very hard because Pastor John Hagee, who is a friend of Israel (good), but not a friend of Catholics (bad), is a supporter and because McCain has not repudiated that support. In MSM land, this was obviously a sign that McCain is anti-Catholic, although he’s never given any indication by word or deed that this is so.

This “guilt by association” tendency isn’t limited to the MSM, of course. When Ron Paul’s candidacy looked as if it had legs, a lot of people in the blogosphere were very upset by the fact that White Supremacists were latching on to him. They found even more upsetting the fact that he didn’t disavow these people. The nail in the coffin, though — and something that distinguishes Paul from McCain — is the fact that the White Supremacists weren’t just picking up on subliminal Paulian code that appealed to them, they were recognizing one of their own.

All of which gets me to the increasing number of stories about Barack Obama’s connection to a lot of unsavory (from my point of view) people: Jeremiah Wright, anti-Semite and anti-American; Tony Rezko, probable criminal; and William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, unrepentant, homegrown Leftist terrorists.

With each new revelation, the defense that both Obama and his followers offer is that Obama can associate with these people without either agreeing with or trying to advance their politics. In other words, Obama shouldn’t be brought down by that old McCarthyite bugaboo of “guilt by association.”

Obama made this point explicitly when he likened his friendship with Ayers to his friendly relationship with Tom Coburn. Since we know that Obama, despite his friendly relationship with Coburn, does not share Coburn’s extreme pro-Life stance (abortion should be illegal and abortionists should then be tried as murderers), why in the world should we assume that Obama, despite his friendly relationship with Ayers, Dohrn, Reszko and Wright shares their terrorist, anti-Semitic, anti-American, criminal viewpoints? Obama’s problem, he and his supports argue, if there is in fact a problem, is that he’s just too nice a guy.  [UpdateHere’s a nice Dean Barnett piece on Obama’s indiscriminate friendliness.]

I think Obama’s problem is bigger than just being indiscriminately friendly. Unlike McCain, who had not courted either Hagee specifically or anti-Catholics generally, Obama has actively courted people with noxious attitudes, and he’s courted a lot of them. In other words, Jeremiah Wright isn’t just a powerful pastor for whose political support Obama is grateful, since it will throw a lot of votes his way. Instead, Obama has had a close affiliation with him for more than twenty years — Obama has sought him out and explicitly identified him as a mentor. This is not a casual acquaintance with someone who has some interesting and, perhaps, distasteful eccentricities; this is someone whose intellectual influence Obama actively sought.

The same holds true for Obama’s association with the Ayers/Dohrns. A rising politician can’t always choose his fans, but Obama has had a much closer relationship than that and, on Obama’s side, it’s been one in which he or his wife has sought them out. After all, it was in their home that he launched his political career, and it was his wife who intentionally put them together on panels that would advance that career. Obama wasn’t just be a nice guy, friendly to random supporters; he was courting them. In the political world, one doesn’t go the extra mile to court someone unless one feels that there is a common cause.

Obama himself might challenge my argument by saying “But I didn’t know that Wright was anti-Semitic and anti-American [presumably having slept through all of Wright’s sermons and tossed his newsletters]; and I didn’t know that Ayers and Dohrn were domestic terrorists [since I am ignorant of recent history and never bothered to listen to anything the two of them are still boasting about now]; and I had no idea Rezko was a crook [because I think it’s normal to get sweetheart deals on valuable property when I’m a politician who can be of use to the person throwing the deal my way]. I’m innocent. I knew nothing. [A wonderful new use of the Sargent Schultz defense.]”

Even if Obama’s “I know nothing” defense is true (and it’s a very worrisome defense from someone who claims the intelligence and acumen to be leader of the free world), I still don’t think it changes the fact that we have to view him with suspicion because of those who are drawn to him. Even if he doesn’t embrace them, why do they embrace him?

It’s apparent that Obama’s political message — the real message, not just the vapid “change” stuff — is appealing to people who hate America, who hate Israel, who hate Jews, who hate capitalism and who hate to abide by pesky little things like laws. No matter what he says about them, or how he tries to disassociate himself from them, they continue to view him as a kindred spirit. And as a handy dandy chart on both Obama and Hillary demonstrates, quite a few of them see Hillary as a fellow-traveler too. (I know of no such chart that can be made for McCain, but please correct me if I’m wrong.)

No matter what Hillary’s and Obama’s best intentions are regarding terrorists and America haters, they’re sending a message that’s resonating with that crowd. And if it’s resonating with the hate America crowd, no matter how Hillary or Obama try to disavow seeking that crowd out, their message must be analyzed, in part, by considering their most defended fans.

UPDATE: Here’s another example of an unsavory character who feels that an Obama presidency will best serve his political ends. Whether or not Obama sought him out his irrelevant. This person’s desire to associate with Obama is significant in itself, and Obama’s passivity here doesn’t lessen what is, in my eyes, ideological guilt by association.

Oh, and another example just crossed my radar here.