Skip to comments.Who Is Bill Ayers?
Posted on 03/03/2008 7:57:37 PM PST by bahblahbah
An approving nod to the Sun-Times for finding it no big deal that Barack Obama is on friendly terms with Bill Ayers, even though, back in the day, Ayers was a Weatherman who "bombed the U.S. Capitol, a bathroom in the Pentagon, and even cased out the White House." The Sun-Times regrets that Ayers "remains sadly unreflective about his Weatherman days, as revealed in his memoir Fugitive Days. . . . 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."
Having gone so far as to compare Ayers to Jane Addams, the Sun-Times beat a swift retreat to a shrug. "Ayers," the editorial summed up, 'is nothing more than an aging lefty with a foolish past who is doing good."
I admired Fugitive Days for answering the $64 question, "What were they thinking?" To me, his refusal to disassociate himself from his old self made the book credible, though others wanted something more ashamed and repentant. At any rate, a few days after the book was published 9-11 happened. That same morning, the New York Times carried an interview with Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn that began with Ayers saying, "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough." The book was damned and disappeared.
Writing about William F. Buckley a few days ago, I quoted conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg scowling at the Obama-Ayers relationship. How come, Goldberg wondered, "being a radical means never having to say you're sorry"?
Is Ayers, for all his good works, unapologetic and unreflective?
I interviewed him when his book came out. "I gave up something precious--my own individual mind and heart," he told me then. "The distinction I'm making is that I don't think we should apologize for our extremism. I should apologize for a lot of other things."
Of the day he bombed the Pentagon, Ayers says, Everything was absolutely ideal. ... The sky was blue. The birds were singing. And the bastards were finally going to get what was coming to them.
On another occasion, Ayers stated: Theres something about a good bomb Night after night, day after day, each majestic scene I witnessed was so terrible and so unexpected that no city would ever again stand innocently fixed in my mind. Big buildings and wide streets, cement and steel were no longer permanent. They, too, were fragile and destructible. A torch, a bomb, a strong enough wind, and they, too, would come undone or get knocked down.
''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.
As Bloomberg News reported recently, Obama and Ayers have crossed paths repeatedly in the last decade. In 1997, Obama cited Ayers critique of the juvenile justice system in a Chicago Tribune article on what prominent Chicagoans were reading. He and Ayers served together on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago for three years starting in 1999. In 2001, Ayers also gave $200 to Obamas state Senate reelection campaign.
Many details of the 1995 meeting are shrouded by time and by Obamas and Ayers refusals to discuss it.
The exact date is not known, but it was in the second half of 1995, before Palmers decision late in her losing congressional primary against Jesse Jackson Jr. to jump back into the special election for her state Senate seat. (Her decision produced a rift between her and Obama, who was able to get her thrown off the ballot on technical grounds.)
Thats too long ago thats ancient history, Palmer said, when asked of the meeting.
Dr. Young and another guest, Maria Warren, described it similarly: as an introduction to Hyde Park liberals of the handpicked successor to Palmer, a well-regarded figure on the left.
When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the living room of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Warren wrote on her blog in 2005. They were launching him introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.
The article Rezkowatch links to. Mideast Parley Takes Ugly Turn At Columbia U.
Hot Air commenters pointed me toward this 2002 conference website, where Dohrn spoke and Ayres and Obama spoke on the same panelIntellectuals in Times of Crisis.
Theres more: Rezkowatch links to this item to claim that Obama, Ayres and Dohrn all gave testimonials at a farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi in 2005, although the exact date of the dinner isnt clear from the article.
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 with a 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.)
Here are two long, rather meandering articles from Aaron Klein. They are worth reading completely. I'm just going to paste the intro of one of the articles.
Obama raised funds for Islamic causes:Speeches for Palestinian refugees called code for Israel's destruction
Obama worked with terrorist Senator helped fund organization that rejects 'racist' Israel's existence
The board of a nonprofit organization on which Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe" and supports intense immigration reform, including providing drivers licenses and education to illegal aliens.
The co-founder of the Arab group in question, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, also has held a fundraiser for Obama. Khalidi is a harsh critic of Israel, has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror and reportedly has worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.
In 2001, the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit that describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, for which Khalidi's wife, Mona, serves as president. The Fund provided a second grant to the AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.
Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund's website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.
Obama served on the Wood's Fund board alongside William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
I didn't get to ask Obama about 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."
He called Ayers current defense of his 1960s bombings "objectionable, and I think Barack would also say that was objectionable. I don't think he's ever had an in-depth discussion [with Ayers] about them." And he cast the whole subject in the context of Obama's broader message.
"We can relitiigate again and again these 40-year-old battles," he said. "He thinks what was done then was wrong and outrageous, and he believes that you cant defend the indefensible but hes looking forward, hes not looking back."
UPDATE: There's been a bit of confusion about Axelrod's line on the kids, who -- as the Guardian's Daniel Nasaw noted -- aren't the same age. Obama's kids went go the the University of Chicago Lab Schools, where Ayers kids, who are much older, had gone. However, Bernardine Dohrn is still active at the school, and an Obama aide said that was the connection.
Ayers' son Malik is roughly my age (27), his son Zayd is three years older, and Rhodes Scholar Chesa Boudin, Ayers and wife Bernadine Dohrn's foster son, is also roughly my age.
I know this because I went to summer camp with Malik and Chesa when we were little boys, at Ramapo Country Day Camp right across the Hudson from New York City. Ayers held a teaching post at Columbia that year.
Meanwhile, Obama's daughters Sasha and Malia are 6 and 9, respectively.
Unless 63 year-old Ayers and Dohrn, who is three years older, have much younger kids that I'm not aware of, I think Axelrod is mistaken about their kids going to the same school.
I've got no sound so I can't vouch for this but here is John Batchelor on fox news talking about this. Fox News: Weatherman Bill Ayers Was Obama's "Mentor"
1. My TV remarks were based upon reporting available from several sources. In 1995, Ayers and his wife the also famous radical figure Bernardine Dohrn held a meet-the-candidate event at their home in Hyde Park, attended by candidate Barack Obama, Alice Palmer the outgoing 13th District senator, and several other prominent citizens.
2. Also, Ayers and Obama served on the Chicago based sixty-seven year old philanthropy Woods Fund together as directors from 1999 until Obama left the board December 11, 2002. Together they voted on several key awards to others linked to supporting Obama's campaigns, such as Rashid and Mona Khalidi, founders of Arab American Action Network. Also voted money for a project at Northwestern where Mrs Ayers works.
3. Also, Ayers and Obama appeared at several forums together over the years, associated with Chicago thought. All documented. One significant at the University of Chicago in 1997, another at the University of Illinois in 2002. Worthy and substantial.
4. Also, Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod has characterized the relationship carefully. Mentioned convivial interchange. Check the remark: "Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school. They're certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together."
(There is a wide age gap between Obama's children and Ayers' children, but this is the record.)
5. Also, Ayers is quoted in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, saying among other things, "eloquence to bombs." The full piece is deeply ironic, and it is sobering to read it and consider that this very newsprint was buried in the building. I understand that Ayers is not to be faulted for the irony, but there it is.
6. Ayers is 62. Obama is 46. This is a large enough age difference to describe the relationship as senior to junior. And while Ayers is a distinguished professor of Education at the University of Illinois, and widely known as a figure form the 1960 and 70s, at the time of their association in Chicago, Barack Obama was a Lecturer at the University of Chicago and a popular neighborhood senator who was not yet nationally successful or established.
7. Definition of mentor: 1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. 2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
8. Here is a link to one of the pieces I have published on the recent associations of Barack Obama in Chicago politics: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=25166
8. Your observations are appreciated. And thanks for the Youtube clip. Always happy to correct the record, the language and the inquiry to suit new information and new perceptions; in this instance I am satisfied my remarks accurately represented the record so far. Living history needs many eyes.
Radicals never say sorry
LA Times ^ | February 26, 2008 | Jonah Goldberg
Where do liberal terrorists go when they manage to escape real
“hard time” in prison?
Academia, of course.
Ayers and Dohrn should have been executed as traitors just like the Rosenbergs. Quite a few other “Sixties Radicals” should have met the same fate.<>p>
Instead you’ll note that Ayers is a professor of “education,” being paid with tax dollars to pass his noxious anti-American notions on to the teachers of your children. Angela Davis has a big bucks sinecure at Santa Cruz and there are many others who should no longer be breathing. If a country won’t defend itself against its real enemies maybe it’s lost its vitality and its claim to being a sovereign state.
I hope all who have so much information have saved all on a hard drive. We can’t be sure if FReeRepublic will be here in the future.
And while Ayers is a distinguished professor of Education at the University of Illinois, and widely known as a figure form the 1960 and 70s, at the time of their association in Chicago, Barack Obama was a Lecturer at the University of Chicago and a popular neighborhood senator who was not yet nationally successful or established.
The Univ. of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is where I retired from a few years ago. You have no idea just how liberal and radical this big city public institution really is. I could raise the hair on your back with some of the stories I could tell. UIC’s auditorium is where Louis Farrakhan gives most of his huge audience speeches at each year. There is a large Palestinian student movement on campus (along with other radical Arab groups) and they are always marching around campus for one reason or the other. The Univ. hired a transvestite as one of their “star” business professors in Economics. They hired Stanley Fish, a well-known deconstructionist lefty who writes for lefty mags such as the New Yorker and others, as Dean of Liberal Arts (I met him as our Dept. of Math was under his auspices, and I worked directly for the Dept. Head). There’s more. Maybe later. So, Bill Ayers is just one of many social/commie/libs/anarchist radicals that UIC hires as profs or as Admin staff.
Why are we worried so much about Osama when we have scum like this teaching our children (and a presidential candidate that cozies up to him). Perhaps Jefferson was correct — right here is where the battles should be fought.
This is sickening..and very scary.
William Ayres is from Glen Ellyn, IL (a high end Chicago suburb, as you probably know) and his father, who I believe is William Ayres, also, but deceased, was the head of Commonwealth Edison for many, many years...................
Agreed. In addition to scum like Ayers and Dohrn we should start with our own southern border.
Bill and Bernadine are unrepentant domestic terrorists.
“William Ayres is from Glen Ellyn, IL (a high end Chicago suburb, as you probably know) and his father, who I believe is William Ayres, also, but deceased, was the head of Commonwealth Edison for many, many years...................”
Yes, isn’t it interesting how the young intellectuals (in past history, the young nobles or aristocracy) were often the fomenters of revolution. Wealthy Glen Ellyn is just a couple of towns over from the western suburb of Chicago that I live in (Downers Grove). We are in DuPage County, one of the most conservative counties, if not the most conservative,in the state of IL. Young Ayres must have had considerable guilt over his wealthy upbringing in a conservative part of the State.
By the way, what a wonderful horse on your home page. I assume it’s yours. My cousins (who have a horse farm in Marengo Illinois) raise and train Morgans. What is your horse, besides beautiful?
Yes, he is an off-the-track Thoroughbred. A handful, to say the least and not for a beginner, but I have been around horses all my life and decided to kick it in the butt when the opportunity came up for me to buy him from his trainers. The prognosis is not great for Thoroughbred horses who don’t win, and while they all had the highest expectations for this guy, he was injured and they wisely decided his career was over - at age 3. I got him for a song, which is what happens, since MOST T-breds don’t end up being Secretariat. It’s a real shame. He has a new home now in North Carolina, and we will be moving there at the end of this month. I boarded him for a while here in western ‘burbs of Chicago, but hubby and I purchased property south of Asheville and after a lifetime of snow, we’ll be looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains and of course, my horse(s) in the pasture! I hope to get him a few buddies I can work with (just for trails and pleasure) but at least give a home and some hope to the others, just like my guy, who don’t make it in the racing world - Can’t wait!! Morgans are great horses and Marengo is a lovely area, isn’t it??
Thanks, I was wondering what this guy looked like. I want to know why he has not been arrested for treason as there is no staute of limitation on that charge.