Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another Ayers migraine for Obama

And believe me, I know a good deal about migraines as I tend to have them more often than most do. But this one will add more fuel to the fire for Barack Obama. Marathon Pundit is receiving a cavalcade of hits today with a photo that only emphasizes the radical past of Bill Ayers. Captain Ed also picks up on that photo and one other. He also links to this profile in Chicago Magazine about Ayers as he started promoting his book "Fugitive Days":

At 55, Bill Ayers, the notorious sixties radical, still carries a whiff of that rock 'n' roll decade: the oversize wire-rim glasses that, in a certain light, reveal themselves as bifocals; a backpack over his shoulder—not some streamlined, chic job, but a funky backpack-of-the-people, complete with a photo button of abolitionist John Brown pinned to one strap.

Yet he is also a man of the moment. For example: There is his cell phone, laid casually on the tabletop of this neighborhood Taylor Street coffee shop, and his passion for double skim lattes. In conversation, he has an immediate, engaging presence; he may not have known you long but, his manner suggests, he's already fascinated. Then there is his quick laugh and his tendency to punctuate his comments by a tap on your arm.

Overall, it is not easy to imagine him as part of the Weatherman, a group that during the late sixties and early seventies openly called for revolution in America, led a violent rampaging protest in Chicago, and took credit for numerous bombings around the United States. ...

In the pantheon of radicals of the sixties and seventies, Ayers's place is unique. "He was not as notorious as Bernardine Dohrn," says Don Rose, a political consultant who has written about those times. "But what made Ayers of particular interest then was that he was the son of a captain of industry. Now he's interesting because, of all the farther-out radicals, he has achieved the most scholarly reputation." ...

Certainly there are moments when Ayers has the sound of the sixties down pat, like when he tells me, "Imperialism or globalization—I don't have to care what it's called to hate it." And then there are moments when he sounds light-years away from his radical sensibilities, more like an old grump lamenting today's uninformed youth: He tells me a story about going into Starbucks and having the young woman behind the counter mistake his photo pin of John Brown for Walt Whitman. "And when I told her, no, it's John Brown, she said, 'Who is John Brown?'"

But I am struck by another part of that story. What are you doing in a Starbucks? I ask the man who professes to hate globalization.

"Oh," he says. "I have an addiction to caffeine." ...

He walked out of jail and into his first teaching job, at a daycare center in Ann Arbor. Soon he was the 21-year-old director of the place. It was there he met Diana Oughton, a beautiful and accomplished young woman. They fell in love and attended SDS conventions together. As the war dragged on and U.S. politics became more polarized, some of the war resisters—including Ayers, Oughton, and Dohrn—turned more militant. They started a group called the Weatherman, a name inspired by the Bob Dylan song lyric "You don't need a weatherman / To know which way the wind blows."

In 1969, they decided to "bring the war home" by staging a protest in Chicago during the trial of the "Chicago Eight" radicals accused of conspiring to cross state lines to incite a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention here. (Their conviction was later overturned.) "The Days of Rage," as the 1969 protest was called, brought several hundred members of the Weatherman—many of them attired for battle with helmets and weapons—to Lincoln Park. The tear-gassed marches, window smashing, and clashes with police lasted four days, during which 290 militants were arrested and 63 people were injured. Damage to windows, cars, and other property soared to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Around this time, Ayers summed up the Weatherman philosophy as "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents—that's where it's really at."

"The rhetoric was excessive because the times were excessive," says Ayers. "The war had escalated, so naturally the language escalated. No one thought I meant that literally."

Between 1970 and 1974, the Weatherman took credit for 12 bombings, including one of the United States Capitol and another involving several police cars. The group always emphasized that their targets were property, not people. And, in fact, no one was injured—except, of course, some of the Weatherman's own.

In 1970, a bomb that was apparently being built in a Greenwich Village townhouse, occupied by at least five members of the Weatherman, accidentally exploded—killing three of the group, including Ayers's beloved Diana Oughton. In Fugitive Days, Ayers tries to imagine what happened. Maybe Diana tried to stop the others from their path? Maybe they all drank too much coffee and smoked too many cigarettes?

Maybe Diana saw that this bomb, packed with nails and screws, would have exacted a heavy human toll if it had ever reached its destination—a New Jersey military base. Could she have, in a gesture of sacrifice, crossed the wires herself? "I'll never know what happened," he says. "That's the price I have to pay."

The deaths—and two federal indictments—sent Ayers and his remaining comrades underground. The fugitives eluded the FBI for ten years through a series of constantly changing identities and locations. In one of the most haunting scenes in Fugitive Days, Ayers wanders through remote Midwestern cemeteries, looking for the gravestones of babies who, like them, had been born between 1940 and 1950 but had died shortly thereafter. It was from those headstones that the fugitives would build their new identities. Overall, Ayers figures, he had at least 12 separate aliases while living in 15 different states. The one he used most often was "Joe." Bernardine's favorite was "Rose," and to honor her, Ayers got the rose tattoo he now sports on his forearm.

In 1980, Ayers and Dohrn turned themselves in. (The first words Ayers's father said to him were, "You need a haircut.") By then they had had two children together, and the bombing conspiracy charge against the couple had been dismissed due to government misconduct.

Dohrn plea-bargained to charges of inciting to mob action and resisting police officers. She was sentenced to three years' probation and a $1,500 fine. Ayers was not charged. Even then he showed a way with words: "Guilty as hell, free as a bird—America is a great country," he said.

The next year, a Weatherman killed a Brink's guard and two state troopers in a bungled armored truck robbery. Kathy Boudin, the daughter of an esteemed New York civil rights lawyer, was sentenced to 20 years to life for her role in the crime; Ayers and Dohrn adopted her infant son. Today Ayers says it was partly because of "[the boy's] questions of who he is and what the background of his mother's life was that [Ayers] started to write this memoir."

Now the writer of the piece doesn't ask any sort of hard questions, but she does do a decent job of explaining who Ayers was and still is. Make no mistake about it folks, Bill Ayers still possesses those same radical views (sans Starbucks due to his "addiction") about the establishment and how "evil" the US government is. And Obama still hasn't had to answer any serious questions regarding Ayers, or his wife Bernadine Dohrn.

And he should be asked about them. He should be grilled about his relationship to these two people. He can't spin it away the way he did in the last debate. Then Obama claimed to not have the ties that so many know he does. You don't have a fundraiser/coming out party for someone you barely know in your home. Obama had exactly that. The kickoff for his first foray into politics was convened in the home of Bill Ayers. The man is a former domestic terrorist, and Obama's connection to such a man is one that should have voters seriously questioning his motives, and his judgment.

If one associates himself with such people, it goes without saying that you must believe in things they believe in. Now many of his supporters may claim that "Of course they believe in the same thing. Both Obama and Ayers stand for change." That's nonsensical. Ayers and his Weathermen minions advocated change through violence. If that's the change that Obama is espousing (which he hasn't said that, so don't put words in my mouth) then no one should support him. But the point is that he does have ties to Ayers that goes beyond just an "acquaintance." He knows him. He knows of his past. We're not sure if he's aware of their present-day beliefs or comments but he might want to check them out before he continues to peddle the "I was eight years old" meme. Bill Ayers isn't somebody that any self-respecting person would want to be associated with.

Until Obama opens up and answers questions about his ties to Bill Ayers, the questions will continue to come. And they do speak a good deal of his character and judgment -- two attributes a president has to maintain. We're not going to elect a man who doesn't know the people he associates with, or someone who can't seem to see the blatant drawbacks of those same people.

Publius II

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ayers and Dohrn believe that the US is an evil, despicable country whose government should be overthrown so that communists can rule. Wright agrees with them that the US is an evil, despicable country. Obama's fundraiser, the one with ties to Islamic terror groups, obviously believes that the US is evil and despicable.

There are a whole lot of lefties among Democrats who support Obama and agree with Wright, Ayers and Dohrn. It is appropriate to question whether Obama agrees with them.

But regardless of Obama's attitudes, it is certain that a lot of people who think like them will be given positions in his administration. After all, lots of them had positions in the Clinton administration and in Carter's.

S

May 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Joe Gringo said...

Likely to be exposed In the coming weeks: the Weather Underground's contacts and cooperation with European ultra-Left terrorist groups and Cuban and North Vietnamese intelligence agencies, and Ayers' support for the PLO and radical Islam.

On another note.......you need to have your own radio show man.....you rock on Hugh Hewitt's show.

May 6, 2008 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Syd And Vaughn said...

Joe,

TY very much for that, but honestly I'm small potatoes. I don't even put myself in that league, Sorry, but I don't. And yes, I've had the same sentiments from others.

Thomas

May 7, 2008 at 12:22 AM  

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