The People Who Surround Barack Obama – Part 1

I’ve told people time and time again: “it’s not Barack Obama I’m worried about.  It’s the people he surrounds himself with.”  Whether it be Reverand Wright or Father Pflager, there is just something about the company Obama keeps that should give people a moment of pause.

Now, I started this thinking that I’d put this all in one post.  But I decided to split this up a bit, given the amount of information I was able to uncover publicly.  This is especially true with the subjects of the first post: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Barack Obama has publicly downplayed any connections he’s had to William Ayers or Bernardine Dohrn for some time now.  He acknowledged that Ayers was a “guy who lives down the street”, but with no direct connections to him or his family.  In reality, that’s an outright lie.  There is more then enough documentation to link William Ayers and Barack Obama as having a direct working relationship.  The contacts are numerous.  Furthermore, there are numerous connections between Ayers, Dohrn, and the Obamas over a long period of time.

Much of their work interaction was at the Woods fund and the Chicago Annenburg Challenge, anywhere from the mid-1990s to around 2002. 

Just to clear things up a bit, there were two distinct charitable organizations where Ayers and Obama interacted.  The first was the Woods Fund, in which Obama joined in 1993, and Ayers joined in 1997.  Then, there was the Annenberg Challenge, which was started by Ayers, and Obama was invited to join.  This invitation was undoubtedly brought about by Ayers and Obama’sinteraction at the Woods Fund.  William Ayers isn’t going to have someone join his little party without knowing what the man is going to do with the money they bring in.  Ergo, he brought someone in who would advance the same political Marxist ideology.  Stanley Kurtz documents some of his research into the documentation that exists concerning Obama’s tenure at the Annenberg Challenge:

Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.

The CACwas the brainchild of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Among other feats, Mr. Ayers and his cohorts bombed the Pentagon, and he has never expressed regret for his actions. Barack Obama’s first run for the Illinois State Senate was launched at a 1995 gathering at Mr. Ayers’s home.

The Obama campaign has struggled to downplay that association. Last April, Sen. Obama dismissed Mr. Ayers as just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” and”not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis.” Yet documents in the CAC archives make clear that Mr. Ayers and Mr. Obama were partners in the CAC. Those archives are housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago and I’ve recently spent days looking through them.

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago’s public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation’s other key body, the “Collaborative,” which shaped education policy.

The CAC’s basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.

One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obamacampaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama’s “recruitment” to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.

The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students andtheir parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland’s ghetto.

In works like “City Kids, City Teachers” and “Teaching the Personal and the Political,” Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? “I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist,” Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk’s, “Sixties Radicals,” at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.

CAC translated Mr. Ayers’sradicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with “external partners,” which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).

Mr. Obamaonce conducted “leadership training” seminars with Acorn, and Acorn members also served as volunteers in Mr. Obama’s early campaigns. External partners like the South Shore African Village Collaborative and the Dual Language Exchange focused more on political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism than traditional education. CAC’sin-house evaluators comprehensively studied the effects of its grants on the test scores of Chicago public-school students. They found no evidence of educational improvement.

I actually listened to an interview of Stanley Kurtz (the now infamous Chicago radio interview  the Obama camp tried to shut down through seminar callers).  He noted in that interview that Ayers was never officially documented as being at any of the meetings, such as in the typed minutes.  However, handwritten notes in the margins identified his presence at meetings that Obama also attended.

There’s a reason why I mention this.  I’ll get into it later.

Now, Obama claims that he barely knows William Ayers.  In fact, during one of the Democrat Primary debates, the campaign response was as follows:

This is a guy 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 somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense…

This same stance is used by all of Obama’s sycophants…er…supporters.  In short: “he knows of him, but doesn’t know him personally”.  Also: “well, what Ayers did was nearly 40 years ago.”  This is where the lie fits in.

Would any of you have a relationship with a terrorist who still feels he’s done nothing wrong?  If there is any doubt about any misgivings William Ayers has (or even Bernardine Dohrn, for that matter) concerning his impetuous youth, consider the following New York Times article, published (of all dates) September 11th, 2001:

No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives; In a Memoir of Sorts, a War Protester Talks of Life With the Weathermen

“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. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings. And he still has the ebullient, ingratiating manner, the apparently intense interest in other people, that made him a charismatic figure in the radical student movement.

Today, Mr. Ayers and Ms. Dohrn, 59, who is director of the Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern University, seem like typical baby boomers, caring for aging parents, suffering the empty-nest syndrome. Their son, Malik, 21, is at the University of California, San Diego; Zayd, 24, teaches at Boston University. They have also brought up Chesa Boudin, 21, the son of David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, who are serving prison terms for a 1981 robbery of a Brinks truck in RocklandCounty, N.Y., that left four people dead. Last month, Ms. Boudin’s application for parole was rejected.

So, would Mr. Ayers do it all again, he is asked? “I don’t want to discount the possibility,” he said.

“I don’t think you can understand a single thing we did without understanding the violence of the Vietnam War,” he said, and the fact that “the enduring scar of racism was fully in flower.” Mr. Ayers pointed to Bob Kerrey, former Democratic Senator from Nebraska, who has admitted leading a raid in 1969 in which Vietnamese women and children were killed. “He committed an act of terrorism,” Mr. Ayers said. “I didn’t kill innocent people.”

Frankly, I don’t buy the shtick that because this stuff was done when Barack was eight-years old, that somehow Time has changed the radical leanings of Ayers and his wife.  It’s clear that this is not the case.

Dohrn is just as unrepentant and radical as her husband.  An explanation as to why she never got her law license, even though she passed the bar, is as follows:

Yet Dohrn wasn’t licensed to practice law. Though she passed the bar exam, the ethics committee turned her down because of her rap sheet. That limited the type of work she could do at Sidley Austin, which she left after a few years.

“Dohrn didn’t get a license because she’s stubborn,” Trienens said. “She wouldn’t say she’s sorry.”

That’s not all she refused to say. In 1981, Dohrnwas summoned before a federal grandjury investigating an armed robbery involving other members of the Weather Underground. She refused to cooperate, for which she served seven months in jail.

Some also might take issue with Dohrn’smore recent actions, like stiffing that grandjury in 1981. Critics can be forgiven for questioning what kind of example that sets for law students.

So it’s real clear that the Obamas, after years of knowing Ayers and Dorhn, undoubtedly knew exactly where these guys stood politically.  I seriously doubt someone who openly admits to the New York Times that he felt he hadn’t done enough (as far as terrorism), and a woman who screwed herself out of a lucrative career as a lawyer because she REFUSED to admit what she did in the past was wrong are going to be shrinking violets when it comes to casual conversation about things like politics.

I’ve already shown you, in one instance, where Obama and Ayers were involved in a project.  There are other contacts that not many people are aware of.  On November 20th, 1997 Michelle Obama organized and participated in a panel that included her husband, Ayers, and Dohrn.  Furthermore, both Obama and Ayers were involved in another symposium in 2002 on intellectualism.  Additionally, all three people – Barack Obama, Ayers, and Dorn  – were also involved a 2005 blatantly anti-Israel symposium at Columbia University, as the following New York Sun article notes:

In bringing professor Khalidi to Morningside Heights from the University of Chicago, Columbia also got itself a twofer of Palestinian activism and advocacy. Mr. Khalidi’s wife, Mona, who also served in Beirut as chief editor of the English section of the WAFA press agency, was hired as dean of foreign students at Columbia’s SIPA, working under Dean Anderson. In Chicago, the Khalidis founded the Arab American Action Network, and Mona Khalidi served as its president. A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN witha commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. (There were also testimonials from then-state Senator Barack Obama and the mayor of Chicago.)

Then there was the 1995 “coming out” gathering for Barack Obama that Ayers and Dohrn hosted at their home.  This was the official announcement by Alice Palmer that she had hand-picked her replacement in the Illinois State Senate.  It also appears that Ayers also held a fundraiser for Obama in 1996, according to The Nation article:

At the beginning of the campaign a few reporters called to explore Obama’s backgroundas a community organizer. Soon enough the right learned of his association with Ayers, who had hosted a fundraiser for Obama in 1996 and contributed $200 to his state senate campaign in 2001.

But there are other incidental connections.

Furthermore, in the 1980s, both Michelle Obama and Bernardine Dohrn worked at the same law firm.  Michelle was an intern, and Bernardine was a clerk (her conviction at that time prevented her from taking the Illinois Bar Exam).  Obama also worked at the same law firm, which is how he first met his wife.  So, that places Dohrn and both Obamas in the same company.  All four – Michelle, Barack, and William – would eventually wind up at the University of Illinois, Chicago in teaching or staff positions.

Also, some people have gone on the record as underlining what type of connection existed between Obama and Ayers.  In a February 22nd, 2008 Politico article:

Neither Ayers nor the Obama campaign would describe the relationship between the two men. Dr. Young described Obama and Ayers as “friends”…

As Ben Smith at the Politico reported, David Axelrod (Obama’s chief strategist) confirmed that, indeed, there is more then just a “person down the street” relationship between Obama and Ayers:

I didn’t get to ask Obamaabout his relationship with Bill Ayers today, but did ask his chief strategist (and reigning expert on Chicago’s political tribes), David Axelrod, about the two men.

“Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school,” he said. “They’re certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together.”

It is also reported in the same article (which points out that there is a major discrepency between the sage of the Ayers / Dohrn kids, and those of the Obama children) that Dohrn is still active in the same school that Barack and Michelle’s kids attend.

So, there’s MORE then enough information out there, reported from relatively credible sources, that indicate that the relationship between Ayers, Dohrn, and the Obamas has been going on for a long time now.  Obama’s stance on Ayers doesn’t wash.  Period.

So why wouldn’t Barack Obama be proud of his relationship with William Ayers…I mean, outside of the obvious reason that Ayers and Dohrn being terrorists (and not at all ashamed of that fact)?  Why does Ayers not take umbrage with The Nazarine’s actions to distance himself with a former colleague?

It’s real clear, especially given the stigma that the Ayers / Dohrn name brings to any involvement that these two have an understanding that they need to move about in the background.  They’re fully aware of their past, how radioactive their youthful “indiscretions” are in a post-9/11 world, and how it might damage their cause when presented to the Great Unwashed (that would be people like you and I, whom they deem far less intelligent they themselves).  So, they work in closed liberal circles, and manipulate things outside the public spotlight.  This explains why they attend meetings without officially being in the record. 

In looking through all this information, I guess the one thing that stood out the most was just how much influence the people around Barack Obama may have.  Consider an interview with both Ayers and Dohrn in 2006:

Despite their critiques, Ayers and Dohrn are eternal optimists. Over coffee, Dohrn reflected that their activist days can serve as a metaphor for a “candle” that illuminates the past—and the future.

“The issue holding us back today, to me, is the idea that what you do won’t make a difference. The elite powers tell us the world is too complicated. They spend a lot of energy fostering despair,” she argues.

The candle shows us that “it’s not true,” Dohrnsays. “I don’t think it’s all the complicated issues of what kind of an economic society we really want andhow are we going to deal with globalization and all of that.  Those are tremendously complex challenges but they’re solvable by human creativity and ingenuity and collective effort.”

Stay vigilant. The light will come.

The opposite of Dorhn’s “despair” is “hope”.  It’s clear both Ayers and Dohrn are looking for “change” within the Democrat party.

I’m sure this is all purely coincidental.

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