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The Connection Between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers.—

I have been looking into the background of links between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, in particular, their having served together on the board of the Woods Fund for several years.

For those who don't want to read my entire post, I'll start with my conclusion: It seems to me that Obama's serving on the board of the Woods Fund for a few years with a former member of the Weather Underground is not fundamentally different from my serving for more than a decade on a law faculty with one.

For those who are interested in Barack Obama's contacts with Bill Ayers, the best thing that I've seen was published by Ben Smith at Politico in February:

"I can remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers' house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the senate and running for Congress," said Dr. Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care, of the informal gathering at the home of Ayers and his wife, Dohrn. "[Palmer] identified [Obama] as her successor."

Obama and Palmer "were both there," he said.

Obama's connections to Ayers and Dorhn have been noted in some fleeting news coverage in the past. But the visit by Obama to their home — part of a campaign courtship — reflects more extensive interaction than has been previously reported.

Michael B (mail):
Bill Ayers and Dohrn at DtN
4.18.2008 2:55am
Fearless:
Wow.

I am shocked. Someone at VC actually has a reasonable point of view on something.

You better watch out Lindgren, you are risking being kicked off VC. I think they want only anti-Obama pieces, no matter how unreasonable or petty.
4.18.2008 4:22am
Combat Action JAG:
That someone like Bernadrine Dohrn is given the imprinteur of respectability by being on tne NW Law faculty is distrubing. But one has to wonder how she was even admitted to the Bar.

Of course she also worked at Sidley &Austin, the same place poor little Michelle Obama worked before she could become proud of America.

No wonder we attorneys have such a poor image to most Americans.
4.18.2008 4:39am
Combat Action JAG:
Wait - I see from the entery about her on Wikipeida that she has not been admitted to the New York or Illinois Bar because of her criminal record. Yet Sidley Austin once employed her and now NW Law employs her. Even more disgraceful.
4.18.2008 4:46am
davod (mail):
Of course this raises the question did Michelle Oama pass the bar?
4.18.2008 5:32am
Public_Defender (mail):


I am shocked. Someone at VC actually has a reasonable point of view on something.

You better watch out Lindgren, you are risking being kicked off VC. I think they want only anti-Obama pieces, no matter how unreasonable or petty.

Give me a break. I think a few of the posts are wrong and unfair, but as blogs go, this one is about as fair as they come. Plus, the blog posters don't delete even strong criticisms of their posts. If you want a strong pro-Obama blog, go to Washington Monthly or Andrew Sullivan's page.
4.18.2008 8:41am
ichthyophagous (mail):
How closely were Ayers and Obama associated? They won't tell. But the real issue here is that so many Chicago Democrats don't seem to mind hobnobbing with people like Ayers. In associating with him, Obama appears to have done only what was considered normal in his peer group.
4.18.2008 8:42am
Public_Defender (mail):

Wait - I see from the entery (sic) about her on Wikipeida (sic) that she has not been admitted to the New York or Illinois Bar because of her criminal record. Yet Sidley Austin once employed her and now NW Law employs her. Even more disgraceful.

False.

The information has been deleted from the Wiki page because it is not true. The misconception appears to have come to be because someone cited a non-comprehensive list of Illinois lawyers that she was not on.

According to the Wiki discussion page, here's her official bar listing:


Full Licensed Name:Michelle Obama; Full Former name(s):Michelle Lavaughn Robinson; Date of Admission as Lawyer by Illinois Supreme Court:May 12, 1989; Registered Business Address: Not available online; Registered Business Phone: Not available online; Illinois Registration Status: Voluntarily inactive and not authorized to practice law - Last Registered Year: 1993


Inactive status is normal for lawyers who want to do something other than practice law. It lets them avoid CLE requirements and may allow them to avoid high regular registration fees.
4.18.2008 8:49am
PersonFromPorlock:
Public_Defender:

I dunno, there seem to be a lot of new posters here all of a sudden, all saying "Awful tone! So unworthy!" A cynic might scent troll.
4.18.2008 9:04am
~aardvark (mail):
The question I have for VCers, who in one way or another have come out to support McCain's candidacy, is if they will look as diligently into McCain's butt kissing with the most vile element of the evangelical community. We are not talking about inviting stormtroopers to the house for tea and crumpets, but it goes far beyond a mere introduction at someone's home.

I have no problem Obama and Ayers crossing paths on more than one occasion. I am even willing to entertain the notion that Obama's worldview has in some way been shaped by this connection. So what? I've crossed paths with Noam Chomsky and Robert Bork. I've had conversations with both of them and my worldview undoubtedly has been influenced by both of them. Does that mean that I should be shunned by both the Left and the Right now?

The problem here is with double standards. No, the media is not more protective of Obama--if anything, the media has been most protective of John McCain of all the candidates, even before McCain secured the nomination.

Here's an example. Only a couple of days ago, USAToday had an investigative article claiming that Obama is not as distant from lobbyists as he wants everyone to think. Their evidence? Obama has 38 lawyers working on his campaign that work for firms that have lobbying interests.

WoW! What a concept! This is the ultimate guilt-by-association smear, considering that McCain has more than that number of senior campaign staff who are actual lobbyists! Did USAToday mention this fact in the interest of full disclosure? Of course not! It's so much more fun to poke wholes in Obama's popular image.

Perhaps the media does not see it--they are not very good at collective navel gazing. But certainly VCers should recognize their own limitations. Unlike the public media, you have no legal obligation to your readers. However, I believe that most VCers do have concerns about balance (ok, I can think of two exceptions who are rather shameless in this regard), about being seen as fair. This does not mean that you have to examine McCain-Obama parallels every time you mention one or the other. But you should at least consider how a similar analysis would reflect on the other candidate. The same issue came up repeatedly in connection with Wright--not once did any VCer mention McCain's own pastor problem that si far more egregious than Obama's.

If you want to play a game of gotcha, be prepared for it to come back and bite you on the ass.
4.18.2008 9:08am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Aardvark,

Nice try at changing the subject. The reason Obama is getting a lot of attention is because he and Hillary are engaged in a heated battle for the Democrat nomination. McCain has the republican nomination sewed up. His problem is getting noticed while these two Democrat party titans are battling it out.

Second, the reason Obama SHOULD be getting attention is because he is a blank slate. He came out of left field (pun intended) and no one knew anything about him. Thanks to the nomination process we are learning a lot more about him. And the people he hangs out with, and does business with, and whose church he goes to, and whose money he accepts. All the things that we already know about Hillary and McCain.

You get to know a person better by knowing who his friends are and who his enemies are than you do by hearing him speak. A good politico will tell you what he believes you want to hear. But his friends and enemies are a truer view into his soul. Keep this in mind as you judge people.

I realize that it is hard for those on the Left to find themselves subjected to the anal exams that only those on the Right have been subjected to by the MSM. The screams of anger have been heard from coast to coast. It amuses me that they MSM is forced into this by this pair of Democrats, each with their own sycophants in medialand.
4.18.2008 9:49am
wm13:
Public Defender, I believe the point was that Bernadine Dohrn was denied admission to the Illinois bar because of her criminal record. That is why she has to teach at a law school, rather than actually practice law.

It isn't surprising that Sidley Austin hired her: most biglaw firms hire law school graduates before they are admitted to the bar. And personally I don't have a problem with law firms hiring felons if the Character and Fitness Committee (or whatever they have in Illinois) has approved them. A felony conviction isn't supposed to be a lifetime sentence of starvation. In this case, I guess the Character and Fitness Committee didn't approve, however.

I leave to others whether it is appropriate for public or private universities to hire convicted terrorists, noting only that the lib/lab America-haters who staff the universities of course didn't see an issue at all, though the faculties protest pretty regularly whenever a prominent Republican official gets near a campus. What contemptible people university professors are!
4.18.2008 9:58am
Justin (mail):
Ummm, other than proving every single day the following Word Problem:

"Having Black Friends": *In-Denial?) Racist:: "Voting for Obama":(In Denial?) Partisan Republican

Your entire attack is this: You're concerned about his relationship with Ayers. So you looked into their joint past. And there's not much there. And you looked into their connection at the Woods Foundation. And there's not much there. So you looked at where the money's gone to. And it's a combination of nonpartisan and traditional center-left charities like the Nature Conservative and the Urban Justice Initiative. Oh wait, and there's ACORN - a get out the vote effort that like any voter registration system targeting non-Republicans in the last 8 years has been wrongfully, and without evidence, accused of voter fraud, oooh, you're now terribly concerned.

Now the accusations against ACORN are about as silly as you can get - a person with even a passing interest and an IQ above 80 should be able to realize what's going on. ACORN pays individuals to go out into urban communities and get them to register people to vote. They can't exactly moniter these people's actions, so they pay them as independent contractors, by the name signed. The large majority of these people did their job, but certain enterprising young "contractors" decided it would be easier to just make up a ton of names to increase their dough. When ACORN found out about this in a couple instances, it was THEY who alerted the BOE and pushed for prosecution. But Republicans had a better idea -- and screamed voter fraud and pushed for voter laws that would hold ACORN legally and criminally responsible for the actions of their contractors. One can only wonder what the benefit of doing this is - other than to shut down ACORN, who some perceive as registering more Democratic voters than Republican voters, of course.

And guess how many of these fraudulent registrations tried to vote in the general election? If you guessed "1", try again -- go lower.

But Lindgren, who did so much research to find Obama's nefarious connection to ACORN, couldn't be bothered to do even the minimal research to to determine that the accusations of voter fraud against ACORN are themselves fabricated. But he voted for Obama, so you should be Really Concerned.
4.18.2008 10:01am
Randy R. (mail):
Oh, please, Moneyrunner. I'm a little tired of the Right complaining about how the so-called LiberalMedia runs everything. That's a tired dog that has run it's course.

So we shouldn't investigate McCain simply because he is not a blank slate? How ridiculous. If you want to smear Obama by guilt by association, then let's also do it with McCain. And McCain has certainly courted the religious right wingnuts to a degree that should make anyone pause.
4.18.2008 10:10am
Anderson (mail):
Justin, I don't really see why you're bashing Lindgren and his post -- his comment about ACORN was very much an aside and didn't affect his conclusion in the slightest.

If you treat a sensible post like it's from Bernstein or Kopel, you're going to convince everyone that it doesn't pay to be sensible.
4.18.2008 10:33am
Ken Arromdee:
And personally I don't have a problem with law firms hiring felons if the Character and Fitness Committee (or whatever they have in Illinois) has approved them.

Does she now admit that it's wrong to kill people, though? I don't have a problem with someone hiring felons, but hiring unrepentant felons is another thing.
4.18.2008 10:35am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
You better watch out Lindgren, you are risking being kicked off VC. I think they want only anti-Obama pieces, no matter how unreasonable or petty.

I understand your pain Fearless. But you must be patient. Once Obama is elected ruler for life President no negative comments about him will be allowed anywhere.
4.18.2008 10:51am
nicestrategy (mail):
JL has done the work that an ABC news intern should have been tasked to do.

Thank you for once again making the media look like the tone deaf morons that they are.
4.18.2008 10:59am
SeafoodGumbo (mail):
One angle of the Obama/Ayers connection that the media should ask the family about is the fact that Obama and Ayers participated in a couple forums that "were set up by none other than Michelle Obama in her capacity as University of Chcago PR executive; evidently she too saw nothing wrong in glad handing with terrorists."
4.18.2008 11:11am
Jeffery W Wilson (www):
~aardvark:


The question I have for VCers, who in one way or another have come out to support McCain's candidacy, is if they will look as diligently into McCain's butt kissing with the most vile element of the evangelical community. We are not talking about inviting stormtroopers to the house for tea and crumpets, but it goes far beyond a mere introduction at someone's home.

It seems to me that the controversy here appears to be Professor Ayers' unrepentance with regard to terrorist and seditious acts of which he admits leading. Are you somehow equating "vile element[s] of the evangelical community" with admitted (though unconvicted) criminals?

I have no problem Obama and Ayers crossing paths on more than one occasion. I am even willing to entertain the notion that Obama's worldview has in some way been shaped by this connection. So what? I've crossed paths with Noam Chomsky and Robert Bork. I've had conversations with both of them and my worldview undoubtedly has been influenced by both of them. Does that mean that I should be shunned by both the Left and the Right now?

Your supposition that Barack Obama's worldview has been shaped by interaction with Bill Ayers may be correct.

By the way, neither Noam Chomsky nor Robert Bork is connected, much less led, any organization committed to the overthrow of the government. So yes, you might be shunned, but not by willfully interacting with an avowed educator terrorist.

Perhaps the media does not see it--they are not very good at collective navel gazing. But certainly VCers should recognize their own limitations. Unlike the public media, you have no legal obligation to your readers. However, I believe that most VCers do have concerns about balance (ok, I can think of two exceptions who are rather shameless in this regard), about being seen as fair. This does not mean that you have to examine McCain-Obama parallels every time you mention one or the other. But you should at least consider how a similar analysis would reflect on the other candidate. The same issue came up repeatedly in connection with Wright--not once did any VCer mention McCain's own pastor problem that si far more egregious than Obama's.

I'm a big fan of balance. If you have evidence that John McCain is involved in any way with individuals who advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government, trot it out. I'll bet it will get a fair hearing here.
4.18.2008 11:15am
alkali (mail):
By the way, neither Noam Chomsky nor Robert Bork is connected, much less led, any organization committed to the overthrow of the government.

Unless (as to Bork) you count the Nixon administration.
4.18.2008 11:16am
Bandon:
Here's my subjective scoring of this thread so far:

Aardvark is right. Any similar scrutiny of McCain's associations over the years would dig up much more real dirt than the current "guilt by association" attacks on Obama. (Can you say Keating Five?)

As Anderson said, Justin's bashing of a sensible post does not make sense.

And Randy R is right to criticize Moneyrunner's paranoia about a liberal media conspiracy. McCain has long been a media darling, and it should not be unreasonable to expect "equal opportunity" smearing of all the candidates by the media.

Maybe the media think that they are being fair if they dig up the same size pile of dirt on each candidate. They may be feeling that Obama's dirt pile is still too small.
4.18.2008 11:26am
JosephSlater (mail):
Allow me to join both those (i) tipping the hat to Prof. Lindgren for a fair and principled post; and (ii) still thinking that this blog, on the whole, has indulged in far too many substance-less attacks on Obama.
4.18.2008 11:29am
sbron:
The real problem is that a creep like Bill Ayers is a Professor of Education (not English as Obama stammered during the debate) at a major University. Part of the blame for 50% dropout rates among Blacks and Latinos, and the widespread anti-Americanism in our K-12 curricula can fairly be placed on Bill Ayers and his fellow travelers.

The 60's SDS and Weather Underground accomplished _nothing_. Working in concert with the Nixonian right, they have demoralized and weakened our nation with a toxic brew of multiculturalism and racial/ethnic preferences and separatism. Obama was campaigning as a post-racial candidate, but he is stuck in 1968.
4.18.2008 11:32am
Visitor Again:
What a laugh, calling Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn terrorists. Whatever one thinks of their tactics, neither one killed anyone, and they never even injured anyone as far as I know. The terrorists and mass murderers of that time were in Washington, D.C.--Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and the like.
4.18.2008 11:38am
Bart (mail):
Professor Lindgren:

It seems to me that Obama's serving on the board of the Woods Fund for a few years with a former member of the Weather Underground is not fundamentally different from my serving for more than a decade on a law faculty with one.

Your comment begs the question is why a member of a terrorist organization was ever permitted to join a law or any other college faculty?

Given the calls for UC to remove Yoo from the faculty of UC Berkeley School of Law, this observation is interesting on a different level.

William Ayers was a member of the terrorist organization the Weather Underground, which bombed and murdered people to "protest" the Vietnam War. The University of Illinois at Chicago hired and tenured Ayers as a Distinguished Professor of Education.

With exquisite timing, Ayers told an interviewer right after 9/11 that he did not regret his bombing campaign and wished he could have done more. UI took no action to fire Ayers. Indeed, UI had not comment at all about one of its faculty wistfully wishing he could have bombed and murdered more people.

In comparison, John Yoo wrote a memorandum of law.

Are those of you condemning the faculty at UC for not condemning and shunning John Yoo for writing his memo willing to condemn the faculty at UI and Northwestern for not condemning and shunning the terrorist Bill Ayers and his fellow Weather Underground member?

Are those of you calling for UC to revoke tenure for and fire Yoo willing to also call for the same action by UI and Northwestern for not condemning and shunning the terrorist Bill Ayers and his fellow Weather Underground member?
4.18.2008 12:06pm
Bender (mail):
Visitor Again


What a laugh, calling Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn terrorists. Whatever one thinks of their tactics, neither one killed anyone, and they never even injured anyone as far as I know.


Ayers and Dohrn were never convicted of killing anyone. The evidence the FBI gathered against them and their ilk demonstrates beyond doubt to any reasonable person that Ayers and Dohrn were accomplices before and after the fact to multiple terrorist acts that did in fact kill people. That this evidence is inadmissible in court does not vitiate its probative value for people making judgments outside of the legal system.
4.18.2008 12:07pm
Michael B (mail):
"Allow me to join both those (i) tipping the hat to Prof. Lindgren for a fair and principled post; and (ii) still thinking that this blog, on the whole, has indulged in far too many substance-less attacks on Obama." Joseph Slater

Joseph, your "substantive" riposte, contra McCain in a recent and related thread, consisted in mentioning the word "Iraq," along with some schedenfreude about a single incident in that theater.
4.18.2008 12:19pm
Michael B (mail):
"With exquisite timing, Ayers told an interviewer right after 9/11 that he did not regret his bombing campaign and wished he could have done more."

Am not sure, but I believe it was the day of 9/11, or the day immediately prior, something along those lines and something BHO would most certainly have been aware of.
4.18.2008 12:22pm
therut:
Am I to believe Obama in NOT taking money from lobbyists? What is your definition of lobbyists? How about NOW, AFL-CIO, NEA, anti-2nd amendment groups,Numerous Unions,tial lawyers etc. Are these not lobbyists groups? Has he or will he take money from these lobbyists during his campaign? Or is only groups that support Republicians lobbyists? Just wondering. And futher more what is wrong with lobbyists? Someone should shut down all left and right wing groups and take away the right to free speech and assembly and the right to petition your government. Is this what Obama and the LEFT supports? I would not be surprised or is it just good political lying and mis-direction of political speech?
4.18.2008 12:43pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

With exquisite timing, Ayers told an interviewer right after 9/11 that he did not regret his bombing campaign and wished he could have done more.

Ayers' interview with the Times was conducted in the weeks before 9/11 and published in a bizarre coincidence on 9/11. Unless you believe the Times or Ayers had inside info about the impending attacks while conducting the interview &planning the publication of the times that morning, a coincidence is all that interview is. Now this doesn't forgive Ayers' comments about not setting off enough bombs, but it should put to rest the notion that Ayers sympathizes with the 9/11 terrorists.
4.18.2008 12:44pm
calmom:
The fact that someone seeking election to the state senate in Illinois would hobnob with someone involved in planning bombings, without any sort of soul searching about whether he should do this or not, says it all. In the Democratic milieu of Chicago politics, radical terrorists from the 60's are now mainstream.

O. J. Simpson was never convicted of murder either, but would you be caught dead in the same room with him?
4.18.2008 12:45pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Joseph, your "substantive" riposte, contra McCain in a recent and related thread, consisted in mentioning the word "Iraq," along with some schedenfreude about a single incident in that theater.

No, Michael, that is incorrect. What I have said in a few of these threads is that, in my opinion, it would be better if discussions about Presidential candidates focused on important substantive issues, such as Iraq, and not these substance-free "gotcha" talking points of the right wing.

If the post you are referring to is the post I think it is, the thread was about the "electability" of the candidates. I gave my opinion that Iraq would be a bigger problem for McCain than the "bitterness" remark would be for Obama. And I did mention two things in Iraq that had gone badly recently (I reject your catty term of "schedenfreude"): car bombings and desertions from the army.

As I stressed in my earlier posts, reasonable minds can disagree about what is happening in Iraq and/or their effect on "electability." Although, to support my point, I'll mention two more things. First, the most recent Zogby poll has Obama *even* with Hillary in PA. Other polls have Hillary still in the lead, but it seems that the "bitterness" issue hasn't hurt Obama they way some have hoped it would. Second, some new polls on public sentiment in Iraq have just come out, and the view of a majority of Americans does not seem as positive as those of Sen. McCain.

As I said on the previous thread, however, reasonable minds can differ on Iraq, the economy, and other important issues of the day. I just wish folks on this blog (and in national debates) would turn their attention to these issues, and not the manufactured "gotcha" issues that, fortunately, seem not to be getting that much traction in the real world.
4.18.2008 12:47pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

"With exquisite timing, Ayers told an interviewer right after 9/11 that he did not regret his bombing campaign and wished he could have done more."

Am not sure, but I believe it was the day of 9/11, or the day immediately prior, something along those lines and something BHO would most certainly have been aware of.

Man, guilt by association is something else. Because I may choose to run for public office some day, I hereby denounce and disown any and all Clayton Cramer statements that might be construed as being anti-gay, now or in the future. I will continue to read his firearms postings, but I will chant afterwards, "Shame, shame, everybody knows your name," to take the curse off.
4.18.2008 12:48pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Bart.
You don't have to be named Aubrey to notice that a fair number of people don't see the problem.
A good number of other people think that's a problem.
Among those not seeing the problem is BHO.
And he doesn't understand, not so he would think about it in a productive fashion, that others think that's a problem. He simply can't conceive of it as a problem--that he schmoozes with terrorists--and he's so far from seeing it as a problem that it never occurs to him that others might. So he is blindsided by it. A cannier pol would have figured out that a non-trivial portion of the electorate are against terrorists who blow up Americans, and taken some pro-active steps to deal with the issue.
4.18.2008 1:10pm
philosophystudent:
I'd actually guess that not many people read the paper on 9/11/01. My attention, at least, was turned towards the television set. It's quite possible that Barack Obama never saw the original article.

All in all, I am no fanboy of Obama, but this guilt-by-association has altogether gotten out of hand.
4.18.2008 1:11pm
Falafalafocus (mail):

O. J. Simpson was never convicted of murder either, but would you be caught dead in the same room with him?

Arguably, some have (sorry. I couldn't resist).
4.18.2008 1:24pm
whit:
"What a laugh, calling Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn terrorists. Whatever one thinks of their tactics, neither one killed anyone, and they never even injured anyone as far as I know"

great. and i appreciate the response earlier to this. regardless, it is not a necessary requirement of being a terrorist, to have killed or injured somebody.

i have heard the same argument used to defend the ecoterrorists at the U of washington. the problem is the assumption is wrong. you can still be a terrorist and commit a terrorist act that does not involve death or injury.

it's semantical anyway. assume he isn't a terrorist. blowing up buildings is bad, whether or not that meets your narrow definition of terrorism
4.18.2008 1:36pm
bwan:

"What a laugh, calling Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn terrorists. Whatever one thinks of their tactics, neither one killed anyone, and they never even injured anyone as far as I know"


it is their tactics that make them terrorists. the fact that they weren't very good at being terrorists just makes them fools on top of being terrorists. or maybe that's redundant?
4.18.2008 1:44pm
alkali (mail):
If it matters, here is a report in today's LA Times on the connections between Ayers and Obama:

The evidence linking Obama, who was born in 1961, to the two former militants, now in their 60s, remained thin, despite the appearance of a slickly produced, anonymously issued five-minute video titled "Obama's Terrorist Connections" on YouTube that sought to exploit the alleged tie.

Obama and Ayers moved in some of the same political and social circles in the leafy liberal enclave of Hyde Park, where they lived several blocks apart. In the mid-1990s, when Obama was running for the Illinois Senate, Ayers introduced Obama during a political event at his home, according to Obama's aides. Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, later contributed $200 to Obama's state campaign.

Obama and Ayers met a dozen times as members of the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a local grant-making foundation, according to the group's president. They appeared together to discuss juvenile justice on a 1997 panel sponsored by the University of Chicago, records show. They appeared again in 2002 at an academic panel co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Library.
4.18.2008 1:48pm
NattyB:
So, the US Government kills millions of Vietnamese, and supported the Khmer Rogue who killed millions of Cambodians, as well as conducted a war that led to the death of over 50,000 american boys for NOTHING. Vietnam went communist. The world didn't end.

Bill Ayers tried stopping this injustice. Disagree with his methods, but there's no question who was the bigger perpetrator of injustice and evil during this time period. That was the US Government. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Are we going to denounce Menachem Begin? The King David hotel was pretty nice.
4.18.2008 1:51pm
calmom:
Technically, I suppose, Osama Bin Ladin has never killed anyone either. That is, with his own hands. Does that take him out of the definition of 'terrorist'.

Obama keeps saying that he has the best 'judgment' to be President. What kind of judgment is it to not see the problem with socializing with unrepentant terrorists?
4.18.2008 1:51pm
Philistine (mail):
@Bender


Ayers and Dohrn were never convicted of killing anyone. The evidence the FBI gathered against them and their ilk demonstrates beyond doubt to any reasonable person that Ayers and Dohrn were accomplices before and after the fact to multiple terrorist acts that did in fact kill people.


Who did they kill?

It has always been my understanding that the only ones killed in a Weather Underground bombing were 3 of the group themselves when a bomb they were making exploded.

Not that this doesn't mean he isn't a terrorist--but to what are you referring?
4.18.2008 1:59pm
Steve P. (mail):
Disagree with his methods

Umm, yes. That is kind of the point. Blowing up stuff doesn't make you a good person, in general.
4.18.2008 1:59pm
Philistine (mail):
Hmmm.... I may have one too many negatives in that last sentence.... :)
4.18.2008 2:00pm
ejo:
what would be beyond the pale for the Hyde Park/City of Chicago liberal intelligentsia? torching a synagogue but not getting the fire going? lynching a black person but not tying a proper knot? No wonder the faculty/liberal class made so many apologies for communist mass slaughter-if you spout the right rhetoric, the body count is irrelevant.
4.18.2008 2:16pm
anonthu:
Bill Ayers tried stopping this injustice. Disagree with his methods, but there's no question who was the bigger perpetrator of injustice and evil during this time period. That was the US Government. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Are we going to denounce Menachem Begin? The King David hotel was pretty nice.

I think you forgot to add a <sarcasm> tag
4.18.2008 2:31pm
Visitor Again:
The evidence the FBI gathered against them and their ilk demonstrates beyond doubt to any reasonable person that Ayers and Dohrn were accomplices before and after the fact to multiple terrorist acts that did in fact kill people.

What utter bullshit. What multiple terrorist acts killed people that might be attributed to the Weather Underground (not just Ayers and Dohrn)? And what is the evidence that implicates Ayers and Dohrn? I wouldn't believe FBI assertions on this unless the evidence is forthcoming. The FBI of the time was totally corrupt when it came to dealing with the far left.
4.18.2008 2:50pm
ejo:
ask them-they admitted the bombings and Ayers was quite proud of himself. I would be willing to bet he was also an apologist for the mass killings of Mao and didn't have too much problem with the "re-education" that occurred after we left Viet Nam.
4.18.2008 2:52pm
Visitor Again:
I can think of only two acts attributed to the Weatherpeople that killed or injured anyone and there is no evidence implicating Dohrn or Ayers in them. One is the New York townhouse explosion which killed three members of the Weathermen, one of whom set of the explosion accidentally. The other is the tragic killing of a graduate student at, as I recall, University of Wisconsin, who stayed to work all night and was unexpectedly present when a bomb was set off by the Weather Underground.
4.18.2008 2:53pm
josh:
As a Obama I supporter, I still can't deny a non-supporter the right to not choose Obama b/c of any past associations.

I too reserve the right to point out the hypcrisy of condemning one candidate's past associations without similarly condemning the other candidates' past associations -- regardless of whether the Republican candidate supported by most of the bloggers and commenters here has sewn up the nomination.

The hypocrisy is not cured by the posture of the nomination process. Obama and Clinton are currently running against each other, but all the candidates are simultaneously running against each other, as well. If that wasn't the case, for example, McCain wouldnt have chimed in about the "bitter" comment.

But, overall, the substance of this post is emminently more fair than most Bernstein posts, which simply seek to smear those with whom he disagrees. As an Obama supporter, I was curious to leanr the facts behind the Ayers and Wright relationships. The facts are out, and they don't change my vote.
4.18.2008 2:55pm
ejo:
only one wisconsin grad student (I won't count the three killers who blew themselves up as a tragedy). I guess they weren't so bad after all. why, I am sure we have all belonged to groups that have killed innocent grad students and have been darn proud of it. right?
4.18.2008 3:01pm
Visitor Again:
You people are now twisting the meaning of terrorist. Terrorism has become a thought crime or a crime against property in your peverted definition. You are publicly smearing people as terrorists who never killed or injured anyone with full knowledge that the public conception of terrorist is one who kills the innocent for political ends.
4.18.2008 3:07pm
Visitor Again:
only one wisconsin grad student (I won't count the three killers who blew themselves up as a tragedy).

Who did the three who blew themselves up kill? No one. You liar.
4.18.2008 3:08pm
bwan:

You people are now twisting the meaning of terrorist. Terrorism has become a thought crime or a crime against property in your peverted definition. You are publicly smearing people as terrorists who never killed or injured anyone with full knowledge that the public conception of terrorist is one who kills the innocent for political ends.

the american heritage dictionary

terrorism n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

bill ayers own words: "guilty as sin...free as a bird"
"Kill all the rich people. ... Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents."

again, the fact that he was incompetent and never managed to kill anyone is hardly evidence in support of him being an upstanding citizen and not a terrorist.

(apologies for the troll feeding. i'm feeling stubborn today.)
4.18.2008 3:21pm
pete (mail) (www):

You people are now twisting the meaning of terrorist. Terrorism has become a thought crime or a crime against property in your peverted definition.


The weathermen bombed numerous buildings across the country including the pentagon, a judge's house, the New York State Department of Corrections, national guard offices, electrical towers, police stations, and the U.S. Capitol and threatened to bomb more all in order to advance their political agenda of terrorizing the citizens of the US. Any reasonable definition of terrosism would include these actions as terrorism.


Who did the three who blew themselves up kill? No one. You liar.


They killed themselves.
4.18.2008 3:31pm
Gaius Marius:
Technically, I suppose, Osama Bin Ladin has never killed anyone either. That is, with his own hands. Does that take him out of the definition of 'terrorist'.

Aside from his own military service in WWI, Adolf Hitler never killed anyone with his own hands either.
4.18.2008 3:37pm
pete (mail) (www):

Aside from his own military service in WWI, Adolf Hitler never killed anyone with his own hands either.


I am pretty sure he did not actually kill anyone with his own hands in WWI either as he was a bike messenger.
4.18.2008 4:04pm
PC:
Was there this much concern about GWB's connections to Middle Eastern terrorist financiers in the run up to the 2000 or 2004 elections? If guilt by association is the game, I have a piece of software that maps some very interesting social network graphs...
4.18.2008 4:32pm
PC:
terrorism n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.


You've just described the US government.
4.18.2008 4:34pm
Gaius Marius:
terrorism n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.


You've just described the US government.


Not true when Congress gives authorization thereby making the use or threatened use of force lawful.
4.18.2008 4:43pm
Gaius Marius:
Was there this much concern about GWB's connections to Middle Eastern terrorist financiers in the run up to the 2000 or 2004 elections? If guilt by association is the game, I have a piece of software that maps some very interesting social network graphs...

I'm sure you have a piece of software that maps some very interesting social network graphs about the Clintons, too.
4.18.2008 4:46pm
Falafalafocus (mail):

You've just described the US government.

Only if you assume that the phrase "a person or an organized group" means the same thing as "societies or governments". I don't see any indication of that in the american heritage dictionary.

In any event, your argument is irrelevant to the topic of whether Bill Ayers is a terrorist or whether Barrack Obama has significant ties to him (or even if other candidates have similar, unreported ties).
4.18.2008 4:46pm
Gaius Marius:
Aside from his own military service in WWI, Adolf Hitler never killed anyone with his own hands either.



I am pretty sure he did not actually kill anyone with his own hands in WWI either as he was a bike messenger.


That figures. What a sissy!
4.18.2008 4:47pm
Gaius Marius:
So, the US Government kills millions of Vietnamese, and supported the Khmer Rogue who killed millions of Cambodians, as well as conducted a war that led to the death of over 50,000 american boys for NOTHING. Vietnam went communist. The world didn't end.

Bill Ayers tried stopping this injustice. Disagree with his methods, but there's no question who was the bigger perpetrator of injustice and evil during this time period. That was the US Government. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Are we going to denounce Menachem Begin? The King David hotel was pretty nice.


Nice to see Osama Bin Laden posting on this blog now.
4.18.2008 4:49pm
Perseus (mail):
Many details of the 1995 meeting are shrouded by time and by Obama's and Ayers' refusals to discuss it.

Ahh. Those Radical Chic events. Who do you call to give a party?
4.18.2008 4:51pm
Gaius Marius:
All in all, I am no fanboy of Obama, but this guilt-by-association has altogether gotten out of hand.

Hmmmm...that echoes the awfully familiar defense asserted at the Nuremberg Trials.
4.18.2008 4:56pm
PC:
I'm sure you have a piece of software that maps some very interesting social network graphs about the Clintons, too.


Indeed it does! I'm non-partisan in the approach. In order work out bias -- actually, to measure bias and weight it -- I used Bill Clinton as another subject. I haven't run McCain or Obama through it yet because the spider is still being worked on. It's also easier to gather information on current and former presidents than it is to get on candidates (that will change soon).

Regardless, I think a lot of people would be absolutely shocked at the connections you can uncover.
4.18.2008 4:57pm
Gaius Marius:
Am I to believe Obama in NOT taking money from lobbyists? What is your definition of lobbyists? How about NOW, AFL-CIO, NEA, anti-2nd amendment groups,Numerous Unions,tial lawyers etc. Are these not lobbyists groups? Has he or will he take money from these lobbyists during his campaign? Or is only groups that support Republicians lobbyists? Just wondering. And futher more what is wrong with lobbyists? Someone should shut down all left and right wing groups and take away the right to free speech and assembly and the right to petition your government. Is this what Obama and the LEFT supports? I would not be surprised or is it just good political lying and mis-direction of political speech?

How dare you find fault in the Democrat's Christ-Child, Barack Hussein Obama. Don't you realize that he is the long-awaited Messiah who will usher in a new religion that will be written in gospels according to St. Markos Moulitsas, St. George Soros, St. Jeremiah Wright, and St. William Ayers?
4.18.2008 5:02pm
Gaius Marius:
Regardless, I think a lot of people would be absolutely shocked at the connections you can uncover.

You should run your software on the Kennedy men. I'll bet one will see a lot of mafiosos and women who died under mysterious circumstances in their network.
4.18.2008 5:06pm
Public_Defender (mail):

Public Defender, I believe the point was that Bernadine Dohrn was denied admission to the Illinois bar because of her criminal record. That is why she has to teach at a law school, rather than actually practice law.

This is as true as the story that the reason John McCain survived the POW camp when others died is that he was a Viet Cong spy.

Actually, that's not even a story that I've heard. I even made that up. But as long as truth doesn't matter, the sky's the limit.
4.18.2008 5:07pm
Anderson (mail):
I am pretty sure he did not actually kill anyone with his own hands in WWI either as he was a bike messenger.

Being unfair to Hitler is a challenge, but this manages to do it. He was a messenger, but you couldn't ride a bike in the trenches where he was going to &fro with the messages. I believe "runner" is the more correct title.

I don't know that he killed anyone, but you didn't win the Iron Cross, 1st Class for being a sissy in WW1.
4.18.2008 5:15pm
PC:
Only if you assume that the phrase "a person or an organized group" means the same thing as "societies or governments". I don't see any indication of that in the american heritage dictionary.


So Hamas is no longer a terrorist organization? I'll let the appropriate people know.
4.18.2008 5:17pm
Anderson (mail):
Terror is just one of the many services that Hamas offers.
4.18.2008 5:30pm
Visitor Again:
They killed themselves.

Since when do you call people who kill themselves "killers?" You are trying to call the Weatherpeople killers when, with the single exception of the Wisconsin bombing--the perpetrators of which were convicted and served time--they at most were guilty of property destruction. Do you think Ayers and Dohrn really would have been on the streets so quickly had they been involved in killing anyone?

As for the commenter who called me a troll, just because I disagree with you doesn't make me a troll. And the public conception of terrorist is one who kills innocent persons for political ends. You are twisting the meaning in order to accuse Barrack Obama of consorting with terrorists. You are guilty of two perversions--changing the meaning of terrorism from that the public generally uses and then using guilt by association to attack Obama. Disgusting but in tune with what generally appears on the VC blog in pieces about Obama (with the exception of this piece by Lindgren).
4.18.2008 5:30pm
pete (mail) (www):

Being unfair to Hitler is a challenge, but this manages to do it. He was a messenger, but you couldn't ride a bike in the trenches where he was going to &fro with the messages. I believe "runner" is the more correct title.


My understanding was he did both bike and running and that his fellow soldiers considered him both brave and lucky. I never called him a sissy, but from what I have read he never shot anyone during the war or anything similar. He got shot at a lot and barely missed being blown up on multiple occasions and was injured and gassed.

I think he did personally beat up people in the early years of the Nazi movement. This is just what I remember from reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich a couple of years ago.
4.18.2008 5:38pm
ejo:
with the exception of that one insignificant grad student, who was just some proletariat cheesehead after all. if you set off bombs in public places, you are going to kill people. fortunately, several managed to kill themselves before killing innocents. I see them on no higher moral plane than the palestinians who get stopped before the checkpoint all wired up.

so, therefore, I would not call you a troll, just morally twisted.
4.18.2008 5:40pm
pete (mail) (www):

Since when do you call people who kill themselves "killers?"


here is the first definition of killer from Answer.com: One that kills. You are seriously arguing that a person who has killed someone is not a killer. I have to give you credit for trying.


they at most were guilty of property destruction.


They are guilty of property destruction with bombs that were meant to terrorize people into enacting their political agenda. They said do what we want or we will start bombing stuff and then they started bombing stuff when the government did not do what they wanted. That is a pretty standard definition of terrorism.

It is amazing what lengths people will go to defend Obama.
4.18.2008 5:51pm
bwan:

As for the commenter who called me a troll, just because I disagree with you doesn't make me a troll. And the public conception of terrorist is one who kills innocent persons for political ends.


i called you a troll for posting nonsensical rantings, even after presented with pretty obvious facts that negate your claims. say, for example, a dictionary definition of the word terrorism that clearly defines a terrorist as more than just one who kills innocent people. you can cling to your definition all you'd like - that won't make it true.


You are guilty of two perversions--changing the meaning of terrorism from that the public generally uses and then using guilt by association to attack Obama.


guilt by association? maybe. it seems like it would be fair to ask a presidential candidate to comment on his association with an unrepentant terrorist. i don't think this makes obama a terrorist. nor do i think him going to wright's church makes him an america hater. nor do i think his long association with rezko that he likes to fib about makes him a criminal.

i do think he has an amazing lack of judgement for who he spends his time with for a candidate who is supposed to be running on "judgement."
4.18.2008 6:03pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

What a laugh, calling Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn terrorists. Whatever one thinks of their tactics, neither one killed anyone, and they never even injured anyone as far as I know.


right- so it's okay to go around detonating explosives because the potential to not harm or kill anyone is present...

in each case of sitting on either board with these people- you didn't have to.
4.18.2008 6:22pm
Anderson (mail):
I think he did personally beat up people in the early years of the Nazi movement

Little old ladies, maybe -- he carried a whip in the early days, but was never particularly brawny, to say the least.

Someone should figure out how many 5-year-olds Hitler could've taken in a fight. As opposed to having them shipped off to gas chambers.
4.18.2008 6:30pm
PC:
Someone should figure out how many 5-year-olds Hitler could've taken in a fight.


17. What I really want to know is why Obama hasn't rejected and denounced Hitler beating up 5-year-olds?
4.18.2008 7:10pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Randy R.,

Oh, please, Moneyrunner. I'm a little tired of the Right complaining about how the so-called LiberalMedia runs everything. That's a tired dog that has run it's course.

I recognize that you may have reading comprehension problems, and if they are genuine I am sorry for the affliction. However, I am fairly sure that you are using the typical Liberal trait of deliberately misstating what I said. If the Liberal media ran everything we would be bankrupt, a direction that is the logical end point of that leading member of the Liberal media, the NY Times.

What I said was that the Liberal media is no longer passing off the sins of either Hillary or Obama because both have adherents who are willing to highlight these faults despite the desperate cries from the Left of "let's Move On." How does it feel?

So we shouldn't investigate McCain simply because he is not a blank slate?

I have no problem with investigating McCain. In fact I'm sure that there will be a lot of that going on. In fact, the media was in love with "Maverick John" when he was putting his thumb in the eyes of Conservatives. It was the Right -- in the person of Rush Limbaugh -- who may well have been his most ardent critic. Of course that will change as soon as the Democrat blood bath is settled and the media takes its usual sides.

How ridiculous. If you want to smear Obama by guilt by association, then let's also do it with McCain. And McCain has certainly courted the religious right wingnuts to a degree that should make anyone pause.

"Smear by association" is a nice way of making his association with questionable characters off the table.

The fact is he's done nothing, he has a wafer-thin legislative record, he wrote an autobiography about nothing. So when you have such a man running for president, all you can tell about him are who he has chosen to spend his life with. He's chosen to spend his life with this kind of yuppy play terrorist who led the Weather Underground, and the neo-segregationist, racist, ranter like Jeremiah Wright. That's really all we know about Barack Obama, and it's entirely legitimate to ask him about it.


Have a nice day.
4.18.2008 7:34pm
PC:
If the Liberal media ran everything we would be bankrupt, a direction that is the logical end point of that leading member of the Liberal media, the NY Times.


This is another tired dog considering we have the $10 Trillion Dollar Man in office...
4.18.2008 8:18pm
pete (mail) (www):

I think he did personally beat up people in the early years of the Nazi movement

Little old ladies, maybe -- he carried a whip in the early days, but was never particularly brawny, to say the least.


Just from memory of Rise and Fall, since I do not have it in front of me, I think he was involved in several small riots and street brawls, usually against communist groups and speakers from other parties. I think he was even arrested for assault on one of these groups at least once in the years before the Beer hall putsch. I do not remember how specific the book was with the details of the violence and whether he actually attacked anyone personally.
4.18.2008 9:08pm
whit:
"You people are now twisting the meaning of terrorist. Terrorism has become a thought crime or a crime against property in your peverted definition. "

no. you are lying, or at a minimum, misstating the position

terrorism is not defined by THOUGHTS. it is defined by ACTIONS.

thinking it is ok to blow up a building does not make you a terrorist. BLOWING UP A BUILDING (especially to promote a political agenda) DOES.

and yes, crimes against property CAN BE (and often are) terrorism.

ecoterrorists lighting up the UW research building certainly qualifies, for instance.

and again, it's SEMANTICAL. if you want to redefine terrorism to ONLY include acts that cause injury or death to others, then you can discount a LOT of terrorism. but again, that's just semantics. regardless of what you call them - they were bad d00ds who used explosives.

that's irrefutable.

no "thought crime" there.

"As for the commenter who called me a troll, just because I disagree with you doesn't make me a troll. And the public conception of terrorist is one who kills innocent persons for political ends."

again, false. the public (rightly) generally views acts like - blowing up SUV's in a car dealership, committing arson (as done recently in woodinville area to protest development), etc. is terrorism also.

i realize that many leftists think all property is theft, so is that why destroying property for political reasons, intending to cause fear is not terrorism in your eyes?

again, it's a childish attempt to redefine words. and it's largely irrelevant in that even if we accept your twisted definition, it does not minimize the evilness of these people. a terrible act is a terrible act regardless of what you call it.

if mcveigh had blown up the federal building when it was unoccupied, he still would have been a terrorist. but admittedly not as BAD a terrorist (or as good if you are on the evil inverse scale). if he had blown up himself in the process of trying to blow up the building, he still would have been a terrorist. lack of competence does not make you less a terrorist. just less a successful one.

i am not even addressing the obama/ayer connection. that's really not the point for me. the point is that i can't stand this (classic) redefinition and moral equivalence exercise.
4.18.2008 9:30pm
~aardvark (mail):

What I said was that the Liberal media is no longer passing off the sins of either Hillary or Obama because both have adherents who are willing to highlight these faults despite the desperate cries from the Left of "let's Move On." How does it feel?

Apparently, you are the one, Moneyrunner, who has comprehension difficulties in reading your own tripe.

No one is complaining about the media highlighting faults on HRC or Obama. The problem is making mountains out of molehills--something that has been the hallmark of Republican politics since Nixon.

Another problem--something you clearly do not comprehend--is that the media has collectively, and quite openly, continues to have a love affair with John McCain.

The fact that many newsroom-level journalists have liberal views is not surprising. But one should recognize that 1) just because it may be more common, it is not the only view in the newsroom and 2) professional journalists with liberal credentials usually do not wear their politics on their sleeves (unlike their more conservative colleagues who are only too happy to complain about viewpoint discrimination even when none exists).

We do not have--and likely never had--a "Liberal media". We now have an almost entirely Corporate media. And while the beat journos may be largely liberal, the editors and publishers, as well as columnists, are consistently conservative. So you're right--if the corporate media ran the economy, they'd be just as lousy at it as the current president or, for that matter, John McCain.
4.18.2008 9:34pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Aardvark,

Debating with someone who believes that the MSM is not overwhelmingly and obviously liberal is an obvious exercise in futility.

The rest of your points are equally nonsensical.

But thanks for playing.
4.18.2008 10:20pm
Uncommon Nonsense:
Hey Moneyrunner, how was ABC (mainstream media if there ever was any) being "overwhelmingly and obviously liberal" in the debate on Wednesday? Every one of the "gotcha" questions against Obama were from right-wing talking points. I think Sean Hannity would take umbrage at being called liberal, but YMMV, of course.
4.18.2008 10:46pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Uncommon Nonsense:

Don't you get it yet? Your name is particularly apt.
4.18.2008 11:29pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"And while the beat journos may be largely liberal, the editors and publishers, as well as columnists, are consistently conservative."

Krugman, Dowd, Collins, Freidman, Herbert, Rich - consistently conservative?
4.18.2008 11:41pm
Uncommon Nonsense:
Are you speaking in code? I get that you want to avoid answering a question posed directly to you, but I doubt that's what you meant. So it's safe to assume that you don't have an answer? Why am I not surprised?
4.18.2008 11:44pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Say "Goodnight" Gracie.
4.19.2008 12:07am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
You Obama supporters make some excellent points. Brilliant, actually. I'd really like to see these arguments gain wider circulation. People like Ayers and Dohrn, Marxist revolutionaries who advocated the violent overthrow of the US government (and as far as we know, have not stepped back from that), and took actions designed to accomplish that goal, are to be applauded--not condemned. People like Jerimiah Wright, who say: "God DAMN America", and accuse the US government of creating the AIDS virus to exterminate the Black race, are the real patriots.

I wish there was a more effective way for Obama's supporters to get the message heard. There will be true social justice once the really smart people are in charge. Sell it, baby!

PC wrote:

Was there this much concern about GWB's connections to Middle Eastern terrorist financiers in the run up to the 2000 or 2004 elections? If guilt by association is the game, I have a piece of software that maps some very interesting social network graphs...

Guilt by association is very, very bad, but guilt by implied association is just dandy. That's what I'm talking about. You guys are so smart, that I can't even keep up. I even missed the fact that GW Bush is running in '08.
4.19.2008 12:18am
~aardvark (mail):
Elliot,
Nice cherry-picking. Now take a look at the list of columnists at Townhall.com (all syndicated).

MR,
I rest my case. You are clearly and unequivocally superior to anything I will ever be. Can you ever forgive me for my doubts?
4.19.2008 1:06am