Skip to comments.Obama's Plumbers ... (There's a certain eloquence to bombs)
Posted on 09/12/2008 8:46:36 AM PDT by IrishMike
There is a secret group in the Obama-Biden campaign tasked with shutting off any leaks from the record that links Barack Obama to his longtime adviser and mentor Bill Ayers, professor of education at the University of Illinois and unrepentant Weatherman terrorist and fugitive from the 1970s.
This surprising fact has been developed by Chicago-born and Ralph Nader-supporting Professor Steve Diamond of Santa Clara University Law School, who maintains the Global Labor and Politics blog and has pieced together over many months the unusual surreptitious activity around the public records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) grant now housed at the University of Illinois and Brown University.
Since the spring, Diamond has led the investigation into the intimate working relationship between Obama and Ayers that dates back at least to the beginning of 1995 and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Grants.
Diamond believes this group is not harmless. "It's a 'Plumbers' unit. You know, we are old enough to recall the Plumbers in Richard Nixon's White House. This is like that. The job is to stop anyone trying to use the (Chicago) Annenberg (Challenge) papers to figure out how Ayers and Obama worked together on education."
The "Plumbers" were a Nixon administration fiasco, the so-called secret White House Special Investigative Unit 24 tasked to stop the leaks of classified material. Once revealed, the Plumbers unit led to more bizarre discoveries that culminated in the Watergate impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974.
Diamond believes this Obama-Biden "Plumbers" unit was responsible for the harassment of Stanley Kurtz of National Review, who sought access to public records of the now defunct CAC at the University of Illinois Library in Chicago in mid-August. He also believes it may have played a part in frustrating his own investigation of similar CAC records in the papers of the nationwide Annenberg Challenge program that are housed at Brown University. The question now is who among the major figures in the Chicago progressive circle, as well as former Annenberg Challenge officials, are unofficial members of Obama's Plumbers? And who among other responsible officials of the University of Illinois are their unwitting allies?
There is a substantial independent report from a major Democratic source that confirms Diamond's suspicions. The source confirms the unit is led by Bill Ayers himself and likely includes Tom Hayden and other members of "Progressives for Obama." Most critically, the Democratic source says this unit has direct access to media adviser David Axelrod of the Obama-Biden campaign.
Obama has struggled since the primary contest with Mrs. Clinton last spring to avoid answering candidly about his relationship with Ayers. His motivation is entirely obvious, seeking to avoid the political damage that would result from exposure of his friendship with a strident radical who posed standing on an American flag to promote his 2001 autobiography "Fugitive Days" and who was quoted in the New York Times on September 11, 2001 as saying, "There's a certain eloquence to bombs."
In April 2008, Obama, speaking to George Stephanopoulos, described Ayers -- as if from a great distance -- as "a guy who lived in my neighborhood." Obama also mislead Stephanopoulos with the peculiar characterization of Ayers as "a professor of English." In September, Obama dropped the brittle pose of not knowing intimate details about Ayers and told Bill O'Reilly, "I haven't seen the guy in a year and a half," and, "I come to Chicago. He's working with Mayor Richard Daley, not known to be a radical. So, he and I know each other as a consequence of work he's doing on education. That is not an endorsement of his views."
Obama went on to answer a question that O'Reilly actually did not ask in the course of the conversation. Obama declared, "This guy is not part of my campaign. He's not some adviser of mine."
The leaking that the "Plumbers" unit has blocked so far began last spring when Diamond posted several literate articles on his Global Labor and Politics blog on how Obama, an outsider to Chicago, had risen so swiftly in the Cook County machine.
On June 18, Diamond posted "That Guy Who Lives in My Neighborhood," in which he discussed the CAC for the first time, using research he'd done from the CAC papers on file at Brown University. Diamond was puzzled when an additional request to Brown for more information was met with silence; and he now wonders if this was an oversight or the work of the "Plumbers."
Kurtz ran into the Plumber unit August 11 when he requested CAC documents at the University of Illinois library in Chicago. Kurtz was denied access, and there have been several inconsistent explanations as to why. What is now believed more accurate is that the former executive director of the CAC, Ken Rolling, who was a long-standing associate of both Ayers and Obama, contacted the library officials to stop Kurtz's inquiry.
There are inconsistent statements made by Rolling about the reason for and timing of his intervention, and he told the Chicago Tribune that he got involved because of surfing on the net from his home in Mississippi, despite the fact that there was no mention of the CAC on the net before August 11 -- except in Steve Diamond's blog.
What is clear is that by mid-August Rolling was in communication with major University of Illinois officials, including B. Joseph White, the university's president, Thomas Bearrows, the university's counsel, and Tom Hardy, the university's executive director for university relations. An August 23 Ken Rolling e-mail to Bearrows (obtained by the Freedom of Information Act) points to telephone communications the day before between all of the principals involved in the decision to withhold the documents from Kurtz and others.
What is not answered at this time is when and why Rolling was in regular contact with university officials, though the few facts indicate Rolling began his interference -- and Diamond calls him "the lead Plumber" -- at exactly the same time Kurtz made his request: August 11. Did a university official give Rolling a heads-up?
Most significantly, the August 23 e-mail indicates a range of materials that Rolling wants to review personally and to restrict in the documents. "I can be at the UIC library between 9:00 am and 10:00 am on Monday August 25 to review the files." Much of the material Rolling aimed to review relates to the first year of the CAC, 1995, when Ayers and Obama were most active together in making decisions on the large cash awards. Thanks to the FOIA, we know the response by Bearrows to Rolling's request was suggestive -- "as promised, we will carefully consider the concerns that you identify..."
Importantly, we do know that at least one of the awards in 1995, the largest that year, went to a group led by Ayers and his partner and fellow radical Mike Klonsky.
Who is Ken Rolling? He was a member of the Woods Foundation board that was responsible for awarding the grant that first brought Barack Obama to Chicago as a community organizer. Later, Ayers is said to have been involved in choosing Rolling to be executive director of the CAC.
It seems more than coincidence that Obama, as a 33 year-old junior lawyer at a modest Chicago law firm, was then brought onto the CAC board as chairman, despite the prominence of other members that included two university presidents. In a September 10 New York Times article on Obama and education that mentions Ayers and depends upon Rolling as an informant, one of the presidents, Stanley O. Ikenberry of the University of Illinois, remembered about the choice of Obama as chair, "It was unusual: here you had a person trained in the law chairing a board on school reform."
The CAC documents were again opened to the public on August 26, several days after the exchange of information between Rolling and library officials. We await Stanley Kurtz's forthcoming articles to explicate the details of the Ayers-Obama-Rolling CAC working relationship. What is not clear is whether or not all the CAC materials are yet available for the full discovery of the relationship between the unrepentant radical Ayers and the guarded presidential candidate Obama.
Obama is a plumber himself. He apparently likes pipes just ask Larry Sinclair.
We would rather report on dolls depicting Governor Palin than to talk about how Obams is and was linked to terrorism.
I hope that liberals are following my tagline.
Obama and his plumbers
“The source confirms the unit is led by Bill Ayers himself and likely includes Tom Hayden and other members of “Progressives for Obama.””
Uh. Tom Hayden is dead.
you should post the picture jake
We have obvious political differences, but I am nonetheless impressed with the quality of Steve Diamond’s research.
Thanks Irish Mike, I tried to post this article this morning but I guess I didn’t do it right. This is powerful information that needs to be widely disseminated.
Are you sure Hayden is dead? I thought I saw him on the tube at an anti-war rally earlier this year.
“Uh. Tom Hayden is dead.”
Just a guess, but maybe he meant Hayden Panettiere.
Thanks Irish Mike, I tried to post this article this morning but I guess I didnt do it right. .
I screwed up so many times at first I was kicked off and suspended for a few days,...... several times.
Welcome to the addiction for conservatives that is FReerepublic.
“Uh. Tom Hayden is dead.”
Someone better tell Tom Hayden that...
That never stopped a Democrat from being involved in politics before.
Wishful thinking... he writing story's http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=49A1E0CD-3645-42EE-A445-356FEE29FBE9
The Tom Hayden who is Ted Turner’s ex-wife’s ex-husband is still living.
Hayden’s not dead. he’s alive and well, and still trying to “undermine the system from within”.
“Tom Hayden is dead.”
“I’m Tom Gayden! With a G.”
really, a must read
Only if he died since April. Google him and you'll find a link to an article he wrote then.
GOOGLE IS BLOCKING ACCESS TO STEVE DIAMOND’S BLOG “GLOBAL POLITICS AND LABOR.”
THIS IS THE BLOG WHERE DIAMOND IS CHRONICLING THE OBAMA/AYERS/ANNENBERG CONNECTIONS.
GOOGLE IS REQUIRING A GOOGLE REGISTRATION TO ACCESS THE CONTENTS.
THE REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT IS NOT COMING FROM STEVE DIAMOND.
I HAVE ACCESSED THIS BLOG MANY TIMES TO FOLLOW THIS STORY, BUT TODAY I CANNOT VIEW THE PAGE UNLESS I REGISTER WITH GOOGLE.
Tom Hayden is not dead. He did an interview about two weeks ago.
Yes its telling me I have to be invited to view this blog but nowhere is there anything that lets me get invited.
I could swear I read that he had died in the past six months or so. Perhaps he was just really ill or something?? My bad. He still has time to find the Lord and I hope he does.
Steve Diamond locked his blog that contained the article about the Obama “Plumbers.”
From The Real Barak Obama:
“Picking up on Dillons September 10, 2008, NYT article, Dr. Stephen Diamondwhose articles on the CAC situation have all previously been posted at RBOrecapped events in Obama/Ayers/Annenberg Update: The NY Times finally mentions the A-word. Unfortunately, the article was only to be found on Diamonds Global Labor and Politics blog until, earlier this morning, he locked his blog, which is currently available to invited readers only.
This is still very weird.
The complete Diamond post was posted at HilaryClintonForum and I post it here:
That's A for Ayers, Bill (”I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer”) Ayers, and A for Annenberg, as in the $160 million (not 150 as the Times mistakenly reports) seven year long Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC).
And the Times finally had the courage to put both names in the same article.
Of course, they still missed the heart of the story, but perhaps this will finally convince folks that unlike Gertrude Stein's Oakland, in Chicago there is something there when it comes to Obama, Ayers and Annenberg.
Followers of the story of Bill Ayers and Barack Obama will quickly see the missing key points of the New York Times version:
1. What was the role of Bill Ayers in the appointment of Obama to the chairmanship of the CAC?
To their credit the Times notes that Obama was “far outranked” by others appointed to the board by the Bill Ayers-led working group that secured the Annenberg grant (unfortunately they leave out the role of that working group in selecting the board), such as the former President of the University of Illinois Stanley Ikenberry and the former President of Northwestern University Arnold Weber.
So how did 33 year old newly minted lawyer Obama get the nomination to the board and how did he become chair? Even Ikenberry thought it odd that a lawyer was running a board focused on education reform: “It was unusual.” Obama had to “earn the respect” of the other more prominent Chicagoans.
The Times avoids discussing just exactly what might have brought Ayers and Obama together in the Challenge, which I believe was, in part, their shared history together in school reform going back to 1987-1988 when Ayers was an activist in the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools and Obama’s Developing Communities Project was a member of that Alliance.
That leads to the second key missing point.
2. Why no discussion of one of the central goals of the CAC: the shoring up of the crumbling “Local School Councils,” (LSC’s) the central institution in the “radical” Chicago school reform movement of that 1987-88 period?
This is, of course, critical to understanding the answer to the first question. The LSC’s were a new power center, set up to watchdog teachers and principals neighborhood by neighborhood, school by school, in the wake of an unpopular teachers’ strike in 1987.
Ayers loved the idea as it was consistent with his bureaucratic and authoritarian “solution” to the problems of Chicago schools. These harked back to the New Left period when black power groups provoked a teachers’ strike in 1968 in Ocean Hill-Brownsville and white activists much like Ayers scabbed on the striking teachers.
Initially business groups, like those NU President Weber represented on the CAC, liked them, too, because they reined in the teachers’ union. (This is why the right makes a mistake when it tags the CAC as a “far left” reform - Ayers is not a leftist but an authoritarian.) But he and soon the new Mayor Daley began to sour on them and criticized Ayers’ proposal to spend millions of CAC money on recruiting and training LSC activists fearing that it would be viewed as a “political threat” according to CAC board minutes.
Obama sided with Ayers and the money was spent.
Now we are beginning to understand why Ayers wanted Obama on that board: he would be a reliable political ally in what was becoming a new battleground in the ongoing Chicago “school wars” as they were called at the time.
In fact, as soon as the ink was dry on the $49.2 million check from Walter Annenberg, Obama and Ayers and Rolling were comrades in arms against Mayor Daley, whom CAC Executive Director Rolling explained later tried repeatedly to wrest away the Annenberg grant from the hands of those running the CAC.
(By the way, how about that Ken Rolling - he was at the Woods Fund that helped finance Obama’s position at the DCP in the mid-80s and later funneled the DCP money in the 87-88 school wars, then was recruited by Ayers and Obama to join them running the CAC and most recently has been the lead Plumber trying to prevent public access to CAC records held at the University of Illinois. None of this is yet on the record, though, at the Times.
(UPDATE on the Plumbers: Now that Brown University's Annenberg Institute has announced that its CAC archives are being made available, I wrote to them again and asked them to respond to information requests that they ignored this past summer for 1) copies of the 1995 board minutes of the CAC - the period when the Challenge got off the ground - and 2) for confirmation whether or not Mayor Daley himself had applied for a Challenge grant in competition with Ayers and co.
(Those two requests were made this past June AFTER I began blogging on the CAC with information from records that Brown had previously readily and politely provided. But this follow-up was met with stony silence. Now Brown is telling me the archives have always been open, despite the fact that their press release indicates the contrary. And no word yet on why they ignored my follow up requests. They do state, however, that no one has been in contact from the now-dissolved CAC about blocking open access. Well, Plumbers can be expensive so perhaps it was a do-it-yourself job. I will keep readers posted.)
And while Daley would hand Bill Ayers the key to the city, naming him Chicago Citizen of the Year in 1997 and even shaking hands with the ex-terrorist, behind his back he was pushing legislation in Springfield to gut the power of the LSC’s, taking dead aim at the explicit purpose of the Ayers-conceived CAC. No wonder Weber was gun shy about spending the CAC money on the structure.
(Weber would step down from the board in the wake of that pro-LSC effort although I could not conclude from the records I have reviewed that his resignation was linked to the Obama/Ayers/Rolling effort.)
So at least the CAC is on the record in our paper of record. Given that it occupied seven years on a critical policy matter in the young life of the Democratic nominee, one wonders why it took so long.
It's obvious, of course, why Obama never mentions it:
* the CAC was an abject failure - their own research, which Rolling recently tried to prevent the public from seeing - concluded the effort had “no effect” on student outcomes;
* and, of course, while sharing a fox hole with the unapologetic former terrorist Bill Ayers in the Chicago School Wars is harmless if one is planning, as Obama was at the time, on stepping into the shoes of the late black Mayor, Harold Washington, it is altogether a different matter when one is running for President of the United States.
But the voters of the United States nonetheless deserve to know and understand precisely what this long-standing relationship between Ayers and Obama was all about. And yet we know more about the relationship between John McCain and the corrupt savings and loan shark Charles Keating than we do about Ayers and Obama.
More importantly the voters deserve to know what the substance of that relationship is today.
For example, is Obama giving serious consideration to the reparations-based proposal made by his education advisor Linda Darling-Hammond and strongly endorsed by Ayers to repay the “education debt” they contend is owed by whites to people of color?
Obama first told the electorate that he has nothing to do with Ayers at all, attempting to dismiss him as an aging radical who is just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood.”
Last night, though, he told Bill O’Reilly only that he has not “seen” Ayers in a year and a half. That means, of course, they have “seen” each other since Obama announced his run for the Presidency and one is left wondering, do we now have to go back and ask about telephone and email contacts?
Why not clear the air with the full story? Isn't it about time?”
See my post above with updated information.
Looks like this may be a phony story:
From a recent FR thread:
He has a message up accusing Batchelor of printing lieshe never interviewed with Batchelor and Batchelors purported quotes of him are fabrications.
4 posted on Fri Sep 12 13:10:20 2008 by the Real fifi”
From a Google search:
“Global Labor and Politics: Alert to Global Labor Readers: John ...
Sep 11, 2008 ... I never provided Real Barack Obama these quotes, I never spoke to John ... Email sent to John Batchelor in reply to request for interview: ...
globallabor.blogspot.com/2008/09/alert-to-global-labor-readers-human.html - 99k - 11 hours ago - Cached - Similar pages”
But the google cache is not there for that link.
FYI, here is the Google search that resulted in the link above:
It was the second item in the search.
No, the commie is still kicking...
Tom HaydenAnd there's THIS ---->> Tom Hayden.com
In January 2008, Hayden wrote an oped piece for The Huffington Post supporting Barack Obama's presidential bid in the Democratic primaries.
Maybe you're thinking of Abbie Hoffman? He kicked off in 1989 at 52yo. (good riddance)
Yes, it is a must read and after your post to me, there is even more added info.
An interesting thread.
>>>We would rather report on dolls depicting Governor Palin than to talk about how Obams is and was linked to terrorism.
Memories of Daniel Pearl. The reporter murdered by terrorists. Funny how his last article was about the funding of Al Qaeda coming out of East Africa....
Not too surprising. The primary job of the Chairman of the Board was to figure out ways to divert funding to Ayers and his friends, in such a way as to stay out of jail. Being a lawyer was vital to the real job. No University President would want to touch it.
Obama was a nobody....until he joined the New York Public Interest Research Group in the mid-80s. From that point on, he was on the radical fast track.
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