Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just How Serious Are Obama’s Ties to Weather Underground Terrorist?

From Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe:
Should voters care that Barack Obama is friendly with William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, two onetime leaders of the Weather Underground terrorist group that committed dozens of bombings and other violent crimes between 1969 and 1975? That question came up during the recent Democratic debate in Philadelphia, and scorn by the bucketful was heaped on the ABC moderators who asked it.

The Washington Post’s Tom Shales, for example, was appalled that Obama should be confronted with “such tired tripe” as the fact that he “once associated with a nutty bomb-throwing anarchist.” Michael Grunwald of Time derided the “extremely stupid politics” responsible for questions like the one about the “obscure sixties radical” with whom Obama “was allegedly ‘friendly.’” Other commentators were even more outraged.

The chorus of protests echoed Obama’s own defense. When George Stephanopoulos challenged him to explain his relationship with the unrepentant former terrorists -- “I don’t regret setting bombs,” Ayers told The New York Times. “I feel we didn’t do enough” -- the senator dismissed the issue as irrelevant.

“This is a guy,” Obama said, “who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that [my] knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.” His links to the ex-Weathermen he brushed aside as “flimsy,” saying he was sure “the American people are smarter than” to think he shares the terrorists’ radical views.

Obama didn’t leave it there. His campaign issued a 1,300-word “fact check” pooh-poohing his connection to Ayers and Dohrn as “phony,” “tenuous,” “a stretch” -- but simultaneously defending them as “respectable fixtures of the mainstream in Chicago.”

Yet Obama’s ties to Ayers and Dohrn aren’t nearly as trifling as he suggests, and their views -- today, not 40 years ago -- are about as “respectable” and “mainstream” as those of, say, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s
incendiary minister.

The key facts, reported by Ben Smith in, are these: Barack Obama’s political career was launched in Ayers’s and Dohrn’s home, when a group of “influential liberals” gathered in 1995 to meet the young organizer who was Illinois lawmaker Alice Palmer’s chosen successor. In the years that followed, Obama and Ayers would serve together as (paid) board members of the Woods Fund, a leftist Chicago foundation, and appear jointly on academic panels, at least one of which was organized by Michelle Obama. Ayers would even donate money to one of Obama’s political campaigns.

Arguably, none of this would matter if Ayers and Dohrn had long ago repudiated their violent extremism. But they have always refused to apologize for their monstrous behavior. “We weren’t extreme enough in fighting against the war,” Ayers avowed to the Chicago Tribune in 2001. In a memoir published that year, he exulted: “Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon.” America, he said after Sept. 11, “is not a just and fair and decent place. . . . It makes me want to puke.”

In Chicago the other day, radio producer Guy Benson discovered video recordings of Ayers and Dohrn speaking at a reunion of antiwar radicals in November 2007. To live in the United States, Dohrn told the group, is to be “inside the heart of the monster” that is such a “purveyor of violence in the world.” Ayers denounced America as an imperial warmonger steeped in “jingoistic patriotism, unprecedented and unapologetic military expansion, white supremacy . . . attacks on women and girls, violent attacks, growing surveillance in every sphere of our lives, on and on and on.” (Audio clips have been posted at the indispensable PowerLine blog.)
If a Republican candidate had connections this close with a Ku Klux Klan leader, it would fatally taint his candidacy. It’s hard to see why a different standard applies to Obama.

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Blogger James Pawlak said...

If either of those thugs would post a million dollars cash bond to never return to the USA I would contribute to their travel expenses (I suggest Cuba or Iran as destination points).

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting how this blogger, Marquette Warrior, distorts the facts.

He links to the Chicago Tribune,1,5440774.story
which wrote this about The Woods Fund, where both Obama and Ayers served:

"The two men served together for three years on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a grantmaking organization founded in 1941 to help the city's poor."

However Marquette Warrior writes this about The Woods Fund:
"Obama and Ayers would serve together as (paid) board members of the Woods Fund, a leftist Chicago foundation. . . "

So helping the poor and writign grants, is now "leftist". I serve on a similar community board with 25 other neighbors. By this standard I am responsible for eeverything these people did 25 years ago.

Here is the real story:

I guess these are the kinds of tactics we can expect the next 6 months.

Dann Dobson
St. Paul, Minnesota

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fact Check on Clinton Attacks on Obama and Ayers
April 17, 2008

Obama Turned Eight In August 1969, The Days Of Rage Occurred In October 1969. Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961. He turned eight on August 4, 1969. The Days of Rage, in which William Ayers participated, occurred in October 1969. [Obama Birth Certificate, UPI, 10/21/81]

William Ayers Participated In The "Days Of Rage" In 1969. The AP reported, "In the autumn of 1969, the Weatherman, led by Bernardine Dohrn and Mark Rudd, converged on Chicago and planned a series of demonstrations to dramatize their beliefs. The riots, which came to be known as the "Days of Rage," caused thousands of dollars in damage in the downtown and Near North Side areas and resulted in injuries to several policemen. Rudd and Ms. Dohrn were named in federal riot indictments with ten others -- William Ayers, Kathy Boudin, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Michael Spiegel, Howard Machtinger, Terry Robins, Lawrence Weiss, Linda Sue Evans and Judy Clark. Another prominent activist, Cathy Wilkerson, was arrested on state charges of mob action and resisting a police officer. Some surrendered years ago. Two -- Ms. Dohrn and Ayers, son of the former chairman of Commonweath Edison Co. -- surfaced Wednesday. Charges against Ayers had been dropped in 1978 but Ms. Dohrn still faces charges of aggravated battery and jumping bail." [AP, 12/3/80]


Chicago Sun Times: Obama's Connection To Ayers Is A "Phony Flap". The Chicago Sun-Times wrote in an editorial, "But Ayers, it is also true to say, has since followed in the footsteps of the great Chicago social worker Jane Addams, crusading for education and juvenile justice reform. His 1997 book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, has been praised for exposing how Cook County's juvenile justice system all but eliminates a child's chance for redemption. Is Barack Obama consorting with a radical? Hardly. Ayers is nothing more than an aging lefty with a foolish past who is doing good. And while, yes, Obama is friendly with Ayers, it appears to be only in the way of two community activists whose circles overlap. Obama's middle name is Hussein. That doesn't make him an Islamic terrorist. He stopped wearing a flag pin. That doesn't make him unpatriotic. And he's friendly with UIC Professor William Ayers. That doesn't make him a bomb thrower. Time to move on to Phony Flap 6,537,204." [Chicago Sun-Times, 3/3/08]

Washington Post: Obama-Ayers Link "Is A Tenuous One." The Washington Post reported in a fact check, "But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one. As Newsday pointed out, Clinton has her own, also tenuous, Weatherman connection. Her husband commuted the sentences of a couple of convicted Weather Underground members, Susan Rosenberg and Linda Sue Evans, shortly before leaving office in January 2001. Which is worse: pardoning a convicted terrorist or accepting a campaign contribution from a former Weatherman who was never convicted?" [Washington Post, 2/18/08]

Woods Fund President Harrington: "This Whole Connection Is A Stretch." The Washington Post reported in a fact check, "Whatever his past, Ayers is now a respected member of the Chicago intelligentsia, and still a member of the Woods Fund Board. The president of the Woods Fund, Deborah Harrington, said he had been selected for the board because of his solid academic credentials and 'passion for social justice.' 'This whole connection is a stretch,' Harrington told me. 'Barack was very well known in Chicago, and a highly respected legislator. It would be difficult to find people round here who never volunteered or contributed money to one of his campaigns.'" [Washington Post, 2/18/08]

Noam Scheiber Of TNR: "I Don't See Evidence Of Any Relationship" Between Obama And Ayers. Noam Scheiber of The New Republic wrote, "Ben says Ayers and Obama were, at best, casual friends. Even that seems to overstate things, though. I don't see evidence of any relationship. The only concrete connection we know of is the meeting, which was attended by a number of local liberals; their contemporaneous membership on the board of a local organization; and a $200-donation by Ayers to one of Obama's state senate campaigns. (Obama also once praised something Ayers had written about the juvenile justice system.) I'm not saying they couldn't have been casual friends; just that there isn't much evidence for that at this point." [The New Republic, 2/22/08]

Birdsell: Obama Links To Ayers Were "Pretty Slender Ties." The New York Sun reported, "'Those are pretty slender ties to a controversial figure,' the dean of Baruch College's School of Public Affairs, David Birdsell, said of Mr. Obama's links to Mr. Ayers." [New York Sun, 2/19/08]

RHETORIC: He was then asked about his association with William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground, a radical group from the 1960s and '70s. Ayers was quoted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as saying he did not regret setting bombs and that "we didn't do enough." [Washington Post, 4/17/08]


On September 11, 2001, A Story About William Ayers' Memoir Was Published In The New York Times; The Interview Occurred Prior To Publication. "'I don't regret setting bombs,' Bill Ayers said. 'I feel we didn't do enough.' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago." [New York Times, 9/11/01]


Ayers Is A Professor Of Education At UIC. According to his website at UIC, "William Ayers is a school reform activist, Distinguished Professor of Education, and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he teaches courses in interpretive research, urban school change, and youth and the modern predicament. He is the founder of the Center for Youth and Society and founder and co-director of the Small Schools Workshop. A graduate of the Bank Street College of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University, he has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education. His interests focus on the political and cultural contexts of schooling as well as the meaning and ethical purposes of teachers, students, and families." [Ayers UIC Site, Ayers Personal Site, Accessed 5/31/07]

Ayers Advised Chicago Mayor Richard Daley On School Reform Issues. Bill "Ayers is now mainstream -- an educator with distinguished professor status. He has written three books about education and has advised Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley on the subject of school reform." [AP, 10/14/01]

Terkel: Ayers Is A "Sensitive And Gifted" Writer And Teacher. Studs Terkel wrote, "William Ayers is as sensitive and gifted a chronicler as he is a teacher." [Beacon]


Bill Ayers And Bernadine Dohrn "Became Respectable Fixtures In Mainstream Liberal Chicago Years Ago." Alexander Cockburn wrote in and op-ed for the Las Vegas Review Journal, "Late last week, the Clinton campaign was leaking stories about support for Obama from the former Weather Underground couple Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, both of whom became respectable fixtures in mainstream liberal Chicago years ago." [Las Vegas Review Journal, 3/2/08]


1979: Charges Against Ayers Were Dropped Because "The Government's Case Was Based On Illegal Wiretaps." The New York Times reported, "William Ayers was a fugitive, too, for nine of those years, but the Federal charges against him, Miss Dohrn and other members of the revolutionary organization were dropped in 1979, when it was ruled that the Government's case was based on illegal wiretaps." [New York Times, 12/5/80]

Ayers "Served No Time." "William Ayers: Surrendered and pleaded guilty in 1980 to possession of explosives and served no time. Teaches early childhood development at the University of Illinois." [Boston Globe, 9/19/93]

12:46 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

"The two men served together for three years on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a grantmaking organization founded in 1941 to help the city's poor."

However Marquette Warrior writes this about The Woods Fund:
"Obama and Ayers would serve together as (paid) board members of the Woods Fund, a leftist Chicago foundation. . . "

There are different ways to "help the poor," and leftists favor some of them and oppose others.

Your formulation is simply a euphemism. You are refusing to address the foundations actual agenda.

4:16 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Anonymous said...

You are just quoting stuff from the Obama campaign, and it just quotes liberal journalists and the UIC website (!).

4:18 PM  

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