Obama – Ayers Was Much More Than “Just A Guy In The Neighborhood”- The Character Issue Strikes Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAC also funded programs designed to promote “leadership” among parents. Ostensibly this was to enable parents to advocate on behalf of their children’s education. In practice, it meant funding Mr. Obama’s alma mater, the Developing Communities Project, to recruit parents to its overall political agenda. CAC records show that board member Arnold Weber was concerned that parents “organized” by community groups might be viewed by school principals “as a political threat.” Mr. Obama arranged meetings with the Collaborative to smooth out Mr. Weber’s objections.

The Daley documents show that Mr. Ayers sat as an ex-officio member of the board Mr. Obama chaired through CAC’s first year. He also served on the board’s governance committee with Mr. Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws. Mr. Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Mr. Obama. Mr. Ayers spoke for the Collaborative before the board. Likewise, Mr. Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the Collaborative.

Mr. Ayers’s defenders claim that he has redeemed himself with public-spirited education work. That claim is hard to swallow if you understand that he views his education work as an effort to stoke resistance to an oppressive American system. He likes to stress that he learned of his first teaching job while in jail for a draft-board sit-in. For Mr. Ayers, teaching and his 1960s radicalism are two sides of the same coin.

Mr. Ayers is the founder of the “small schools” movement (heavily funded by CAC), in which individual schools built around specific political themes push students to “confront issues of inequity, war, and violence.” He believes teacher education programs should serve as “sites of resistance” to an oppressive system. (His teacher-training programs were also CAC funded.) The point, says Mr. Ayers in his “Teaching Toward Freedom,” is to “teach against oppression,” against America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.

MCAULEYSWORLDWEBLOG NOTE: With less than 50% of the Seniors Graduating fron High School in the County’s largest cities (Some cities, like Detroit – have only a 24% Graduation rate) where is the focus on reading and writing. Liberal teaching agendas and Social Promotion is the worse possible form of racism. 

The Obama campaign has cried foul when Bill Ayers comes up, claiming “guilt by association.” Yet the issue here isn’t guilt by association; it’s guilt by participation. As CAC chairman, Mr. Obama was lending moral and financial support to Mr. Ayers and his radical circle. That is a story even if Mr. Ayers had never planted a single bomb 40 years ago.

Mr. Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122212856075765367.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Obama “Did Favors For Rezko” – Claims To The Contrary Are False

Chicago Sun Times

Obama’s letters for Rezko

NOT A FAVOR? | As a state senator, he went to bat for now-indicted developer’s deal

June 13, 2007

As a state senator, Barack Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Tony Rezko’s successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens.

The deal included $855,000 in development fees for Rezko and his partner, Allison S. Davis, Obama’s former boss, according to records from the project, which was four blocks outside Obama’s state Senate district.

The deal included $855,000 in development fees for Rezko and his partner, Allison S. Davis, Obama’s former boss, according to records from the project, which was four blocks outside Obama’s state Senate district. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/425305,CST-NWS-obama13.article

Remeber that after law school, Obama went to work for the firm of Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland. The “Davis” in that Firm is the same “Davis” who benefited from Obama’s letter above. During Rezko’s stint in ghetto rehab, Davis Miner, Obama’s employer, represented three community groups in partnership with Rezmar. Through them, the law firm helped Rezko obtain $43 million in government funds. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/02/01/rezko/

Obama’s letters for the first time show the Democratic presidential hopeful did a political favor for Rezko — a longtime friend, campaign fund-raiser and client of the law firm where Obama worked — who was indicted last fall on federal charges that accuse him of demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state business. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/425305,CST-NWS-obama13.article

Hillary’s Eight Questions For Obama on Rezko – He Hasn’t Answered Them Yet

PRESS RELEASE

MEMO: Questions Sen. Obama Should Answer About Tony Rezko

To: Interested Parties
From: Clinton Campaign
Date: Monday, March 03, 2008
Regarding: Questions Sen. Obama Should Answer About Tony Rezko

The trial of indicted influence peddler Tony Rezko – longtime friend and political patron of Sen. Barack Obama — starts today . Sen. Obama’s name has already surfaced in pre-trial documents submitted by the prosecution and, according to media reports, is likely to surface again as the trial progresses. Democrats deserve the answers to these questions as they consider their votes:

1. Will Sen. Obama release all documents related to his relationship with Tony Rezko, including all documents related to his controversial land transaction?

Howard Wolfson asked top Obama strategist David Axelrod this question on ABC’s This Week and the campaign has yet to respond. [ABC’s This Week, 3/2/08]

2. When, specifically, did Sen. Obama become aware of Mr. Rezko’s legal problems?

On national television this January, Sen. Obama said “no one had an inkling” of Rezko’s legal troubles during the course of their relationship. Actually, it was already widely reported that Mr. Rezko was under investigation for participating in a kickback scheme prior to their controversial land transaction. [CBS, 1/23/08; Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/05]

3. Sen. Obama has returned money from several individuals who are publicly associated with Mr. Rezko. How much money did Mr. Rezko bundle for Sen. Obama’s campaigns in total, including people who are not business associates of Mr. Rezko? How many fundraisers did Mr. Rezko hold for Sen. Obama? Has there been an internal investigation to determine how many straw donors Mr. Rezko used to funnel money to Sen. Obama?

The Obama campaign has returned money from people who are publicly associate with Mr. Rezko. But they have not revealed who much Mr. Rezko bundled for Sen. Obama in total. The Chicago Sun Times reported that the Obama campaign “declined to say” whether they maintained a list of the money that Mr. Rezko raised for Mr. Obama over the course of his career. [Chicago Sun Times, 1/23/08]

4. Much of the upcoming trial involves Mr. Rezko’s efforts to control state boards as a means to defraud the state government. Have Sen. Obama and Mr. Rezko ever communicated about potential appointments to Illinois boards and commissions? It’s been publicly reported that Sen. Obama lobbied these same state boards to secure contracts for campaign donors. Did Sen. Obama ever confer with Mr. Rezko concerning how to successfully lobby state boards?

The indictment alleges that Mr. Rezko manipulated state government boards to defraud the people of Illinois. At the same time, “Mr. Obama met with three state pension boards,” urging them to give contracts to specific firms. Later, employees of these companies “donated more than $300,000 to help Mr. Obama win his seat in the United States Senate in 2004 and set fund-raising records early in the 2008 presidential race.” [New York Times, 10/01/07]

5. The New York Times reported that Sen. Obama attended a business meeting on behalf of Mr. Rezko to impress potential investors for his business schemes. How many events did Sen. Obama attend on behalf of Mr. Rezko to impress investors? What was his role? Why did Sen. Obama agree to attend?

The New York Times reported in June that “Former Rezko associates said that Governor Blagojevich attended one of the dinners, and that at Mr. Rezko’s request, Mr. Obama dropped in at one for Middle Eastern bankers in early 2004, just as he was starting to pull ahead in the Senate primary. The visits, Mr. Rezko’s partners said, helped impress foreign guests.” [New York Times, 6/14/07]

6. How many times did Senator Obama visit Tony Rezko’s house? What was the purpose of these visits?

The Times of London reports that “The court is also expected to hear from John Thomas, an FBI mole, who reportedly witnessed Mr Obama and Mr Blagojevich making frequent visits to Mr Rezko.” [The Times, 3/3/08]

7. Did Sen. Obama intercede on behalf of Mr. Rezko in any governmental capacity?

The Chicago Sun Times reported that “As a state senator, Barack Obama wrote letters to city and state officials supporting his political patron Tony Rezko’s successful bid to get more than $14 million from taxpayers to build apartments for senior citizens.” They have not said whether there were any other actions that Obama took for the benefit of Rezko. [Chicago Sun Times, 6/13/07]

VOTER FRAUD REPORTED IN MICHIGAN – 200,000 NEW REGISTRATIONS – ACORN GROUP TIED TO ACTIVITIES: By Detroit Free Press

BY L.L. BRASIER • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • September 14, 2008

Several municipal clerks across the state are reporting fraudulent and duplicate voter registration applications, most of them from a nationwide community activist group working to help low- and moderate-income families.

The majority of the problem applications are coming from the group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has a large voter registration program among its many social service programs. ACORN’s Michigan branch, based in Detroit, has enrolled 200,000 voters statewide in recent months, mostly with the use of paid, part-time employees.

There appears to be a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications,” said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office. “And it appears to be widespread.”

Chesney said her office has had discussions with ACORN officials after local clerks reported the questionable applications to the state. Chesney said some of the applications are duplicates and some appear to be names that have been made up. The Secretary of State’s Office has turned over several of the applications to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Friday declined to confirm whether an investigation was taking place.

In recent years, ACORN’s voter registration programs have come under investigation in Ohio, Colorado, Missouri and Washington, with some employees convicted of voter fraud.

ACORN officials said they were looking into the problem.

“We’ll do an investigation to see what’s happening,” said David Lagstein, a spokesman for the Detroit office. “If it’s really as many as that, it warrants further investigation.”

In Pontiac, where several thousand applications have been submitted by ACORN in the last few weeks for the November election, the clerk’s office is finding that numerous applications are sometimes filed under one name.

“What it causes is a slowdown of our operations,” said Pontiac City Clerk Yvette Talley. “They’re steadily coming in, and we are finding a huge number of duplications.”

Talley said she could not provide an exact number.

Clerks are required to check their records against a statewide database of all registered voters within their jurisdiction, so it would be unlikely that duplications would allow voters to cast their votes more than once, Talley said.

“We catch them all, but it’s taking up a lot of our time,” she said.

In Oak Park, clerk Sandra Gadd said they have been seeing “lots of duplication” from ACORN in recent months but were reassured by ACORN officials that the group was working to correct the problem.

“They’ve been very cooperative,” Gadd said. “I spoke with them this week. They called me, and they’re willing to go door-to-door to do whatever they have to do to take care of this.”

ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization for low- and moderate-income families. Created more than 30 years ago, it has branches in 100 cities and claims 350,000 families as members. It works to help create affordable housing and health care, and to improve job conditions and neighborhood schools.

Lagstein said ACORN’s Detroit office has hired dozens of employees for the voter registration program and that any problems likely stem from sloppiness or incompetence — not an intent to let people vote more than once.

“We’re proud of our efforts to increase voter registration, and we have aggressive training for our staff to make sure the cards are filled out appropriately,” he said.

ACORN has a method to track the workers who filled out individual registration cards, which will allow investigators to question the workers, Lagstein said.

“We certainly do our best to keep the duplications as low as possible, so we’ll have to evaluate what’s happening here,” he said.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008809140383

MAD LIBS – Palin Derangement Syndrome Overwhelms Media

THE WEEKLY STANDARD

by William Kristol
09/22/2008, Volume 014, Issue 02

The liberal media are angry. Very, very angry. How do we know? Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post‘s chronicler of all things media, says so:

 

The media are getting mad. Whether it’s the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches. Maybe it’s a sense that this is crunch time, that the election is on the line, that the press is being manipulated (not that there’s anything new about that).

 

Of course, politicians are always trying to manipulate the media. And the liberal media are always allowing themselves to be manipulated by liberal politicians. So why the foot-stamping snit by liberal journalists? Not because “the press is being manipulated.” Rather, because the American people are resisting manipulation by the media.

For, as Kurtz goes on to say, the media “are increasingly challenging false or questionable claims by the McCain campaign.” In other words, the media are going after McCain. In his piece Kurtz cites two allegedly false claims from McCain ads that are in fact basically true–or, at least, no more one-sided than dozens of other campaign ads. Back when Barack Obama was coasting toward victory, normal campaign exaggerations (“You know, John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years”) didn’t fill the media with loathing for Obama. Now the McCain camp’s exaggerations do.

Why? Because McCain is doing well. And because Sarah Palin is surviving–even flourishing in the midst the liberal media onslaught.

When the media get mad, they don’t just pout. They pounce. How? By any means necessary. The day of Kurtz’s article, September 11, ABC’s Charlie Gibson conducted his first interview of Sarah Palin. Gibson asked: “You said recently, in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a holy war?”

Palin responded, “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

“Exact words,” Gibson triumphantly retorted.

Not so fast. As Palin explained, quite eloquently, what she was saying was in the spirit of Lincoln: “Let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.” The tape of Palin’s church appearance bore out her interpretation and revealed Gibson’s mischaracterization. “Pray for our military men and women,” she had said, “who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.” Gibson had made it sound as if Palin were claiming to know God’s will, rather than praying that U.S. actions might be in accord with God’s will and in a cause worthy of God’s blessing.

No doubt the mere fact of Palin’s asking for any kind of blessing on our troops and our national leaders at some backwoods Alaska church was sufficiently distracting to the scripters of Gibson’s questions that they didn’t look closely at the wording. God knows (so to speak) what they believe at a place like that! Why, their kids probably even enlist in the Army to fight our enemies. Speaking of enemies: Within hours of the ABC interview, the Washington Post distorted straightforward remarks made by Palin that same day to U.S. soldiers deploying to Iraq. She praised them for going over to help “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.” Palin clearly meant that our soldiers would be fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq–a group connected to the al Qaeda central command responsible for 9/11. The Post claimed to believe that Palin was asserting a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11–as if she thought soldiers now heading to Iraq were going to fight Saddam’s regime–and triumphantly noted that even the Bush administration no longer asserted such a connection (it never did, in fact).

 

Palin’s remarks should have been unexceptional: We’ve been fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq for several years now. But the media are desperate to try to make her look foolish. In the same interview, she praised Ronald Reagan for having won the Cold War. What a gaffe, some media watchdogs barked. The Soviet Union didn’t collapse until three years after Reagan left office! Gotcha!

Not a chance. Sarah Palin is quickly proving to be more than a match for the mad, mad media. Having foolishly started a war with her that they can’t win, the liberal media would be well advised, for once, to implement their own favorite war-fighting strategy: cut and run.

–William Kristol

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/558zdiqa.asp?pg=2

 

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