Thursday, May 15, 2008

Barack Obama needs to be asked about Ayers and the Annenberg Challenge

Source (1)
Investor's Business DailyAnnenberg Papers: Putting On Ayers?Wednesday August 27, 6:54 pm ET
When Obama's association with William Ayers was raised at a Democratic debate this year, Obama replied: "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood. ... He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis."
Tuesday's release of papers from a Chicago school reform project known as the Annenberg Challenge shows once again Barack Obama has a problem with the truth.
The long-sought records that were kept under wraps at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), show that Obama and Ayers attended board meetings, retreats and at least one news conference as the education project got under way. The records also show the two continued to attend meetings together during the 1995-2001 operation of the program.
Clearly the relationship between Ayers and Obama is much deeper and longer than Obama admits. They in fact were partners in various entities and regularly exchanged ideas, including on how to turn Chicago schools into re-education camps to create a generation of social revolutionaries.
Tuesday's release of the papers of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge were sought by the National Review's Stanley Kurtz, who had met a stone wall erected by Obama's UIC friends. UIC temporarily closed the supposedly public archives after Kurtz inquired. Ayers, who has long taught there, may have had a hand in suppressing the documents showing Obama to be a liar.
The UIC records show that in the 1990s, Ayers was instrumental in starting the Annenberg Challenge, securing a $50 million grant to reform the Chicago Public Schools, part of a national initiative funded by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, who died in 2002.
Obama was given the Annenberg board chairmanship only months before his first run for office. He ran the fiscal arm that distributed grants to schools and raised matching funds. Ayers participated in a second entity known as the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, the operational arm that worked with grant recipients. They met and talked often.
When Obama first ran for office, articles in the Chicago Defender and the local Hyde Park Herald mentioned his Annenberg chairmanship among his qualifications.
During Obama's tenure as Annenberg chairman, Ayers' own education projects received substantial funding. As we've noted in our series, "The Audacity of Socialism," Ayers, now a tenured distinguished professor of education at UIC, works to educate teachers in socialist revolutionary ideology, urging that it be passed on to impressionable students.
One of Ayer's descriptions for a course called "Improving Learning Environments" says prospective K-12 teachers need to "be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and ... be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, teaching for social justice and liberation."
The Annenberg papers are quite extensive -- 132 boxes containing 947 file folders with 70 linear feet of material. They undoubtedly contain more surprises regarding Obama's relationship with Ayers, one of many relationships Obama has sought to hide.
Obama is actively trying to suppress a campaign ad by an independent group that notes Obama's long and intimate relationship with Ayers. The ad is put out by the conservative American Issues Project (AIP) and financed by Texas billionaire Harold Simmons.
Simmons was one of the main funders of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Democrats cry Obama is being "swift boated" and blame that examination of John Kerry for his loss, not his less than swift campaign.
The ad factually states: "Obama's political career was launched in Ayers' home. And the two served together on a left-wing board. Why would Barrack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it? Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?"
We say not nearly enough. As columnist and political analyst Michael Barone points out, Obama has left no papers from his Illinois Senate days. Nor has he listed his law firm clients or provided more than one page of his medical records.
Obama has tried to distance himself from Ayers, his former campaign contributor and foundation colleague. When asked in the Pennsylvania debate if he could "explain that relationship for the voters and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?" Obama's lame response was that "the notion that somehow, as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense to me."
It makes sense to us. Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground organization that bombed the U.S. Capitol and Pentagon four decades ago, wasn't just a passing acquaintance to Obama.
When Obama was making his first run for the Illinois Senate, Ayers and terrorist wife Bernadine Dohrn had Obama to his house for a 1995 campaign event. Ayers also served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago for three years and made a donation to the Friends of Barack Obama in 2001
The AIP ad has run about 150 times in markets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan.
Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer has warned station managers suggesting their broadcast license might be at risk: "Your station is committed to operating in the public interest, an objective that cannot be satisfied by accepting for compensation material of such malicious falsity."
Bauer has also written twice to the Justice Department demanding "prompt action to investigate and to prosecute" Simmons and AIP for violation of campaign laws and individual contribution limits. The problem is that, as the Annenberg papers show, the ad is breathtakingly true and accurate.
The only thing needing investigating is why Obama is trying so hard to hide his past. Full disclosure is change we can believe in.

Source (2)
Newly Released Documents Highlight Obama’s Relationship With Ayers
by Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Documents released Tuesday by the University of Illinois at Chicago shed some light on Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, a founding member of the 1960s and 1970s radical group the Weather Underground.
Obama’s association with Ayers, who now teaches at the university, has become an issue in the Illinois senator’s presidential campaign. The Weather Underground took credit for several nonfatal bombings on targets that included the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, and critics accuse Obama of rubbing elbows with an unabashed 1960s radical.
Obama has said that, although he knew Ayers as a professor involved in community outreach efforts in Chicago, he doesn’t share Ayers’ extreme views.
The massive collection of newly released documents — 140 boxes full of them — includes agendas that clearly put Obama and Ayers in the same room for meetings of Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational initiative that Ayers was instrumental in starting and that Obama chaired in the 1990s.
Ayers Unrepentant for Weather Underground’s Violence in 1960s, 1970s
The initiative was funded by $49.2 million from the Annenberg Foundation with the intention of establishing community partnerships that would improve schools.
FOX News was among several news organizations that reviewed the university’s records by appointment. In one agenda, a March 15, 1995, meeting featured Obama making introductions and Ayers giving a briefing.
But more than a year later, Obama pushed the group to be bolder in its reforms, according to the Associated Press, which also reviewed the documents. Minutes from an October 1996 gathering show that Obama, a guest at a meeting of the collaborative, raised questions about what the group should be doing.
The AP reports the minutes characterized Obama’s concerns as twofold: Whether the group was raising additional money and whether money was being used “to prop up existing organizations as opposed to creating fresh educational practices in the schools?”
“At the end of five years, will we have broken the mold? Not much seems to be bubbling up that is inspiring or substantive,” the minutes say, paraphrasing Obama.
Even so, Stanley Kurtz, a contributing editor for the conservative magazine National Review, thinks Obama’s association with Ayers should raise questions in the minds of voters who wonder of Obama is as mainstream as he claims to be.
“The fact that Obama and Ayers were working together stems from the pretty sharp left-leaning ideology that both of them shared to some extent,” Kurtz said.
Ayers did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.
The Obama campaign, meanwhile, is fighting a conservative group called the American Issues Project over a TV commercial that links Obama to Ayers. The campaign argues that the nonprofit group is violating federal laws regulating political ads by nonprofits.
The group filed a document with the Federal Election Commission last week identifying Texas billionaire Harold Simmons as the lone financier of the ad, contributing nearly $2.9 million to produce and air it. Simmons is a fundraiser for John McCain and was one of the major contributors to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which aired ads in 2004 against John Kerry.
The Obama campaign issued a response ad to the group’s ad, which says, “With all our problems why is John McCain talking about the ’60s trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers? McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers’ crimes committed when Obama was just eight years old. Let’s talk about standing up for America today.”
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said if “McCain’s consultants are going to go out and make ads that are misleading about Barack Obama, we are going to make sure that they are answered we have to make sure that the truth is out there and that we are answering with force.”
McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers released a statement responding to Burton that said, “It’s absurd and disingenuous for the Obama campaign to say we are running this ad. They are trying to blame us and use a straw man to take this issue off the table. If he thinks having a relationship with an unrepentant terrorist is not an issue that concerns the American people, he is deluding himself or being naive.”
FOX News’ Bret Baier, Craig Wall and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Barack Obama needs to be asked about his connections with the former Weather Underground honcho William Ayers and Professor Rashid Khalidi. Dr. Khalidi was a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982. During this time the US State Department considered the PLO a terrorist organization.

Khalidi has direct ties to Obama.

Bill Ayers: people murdered by the Weather Underground
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid's letter to the Chicago Tribune to clarify some of those Weather Underground bombs did indeed kill folks. HT CDO
“Liam Ford and Mark Jacob:“You state in your ‘Questions and Answers About Bill Ayers,’ April 24, page 4, that ‘The only people known to be killed or hurt by Weather Underground bombs were bombers themselves.’ “We ask for a correction of this false statement.“The FBI report on the Weather Underground states, under the title of ‘WUO Bombings and Attempted Bombings,’ that on February 16, 1970, ‘A bomb detonated at the Golden Gate Park Branch of the San Francisco Police Department killing one officer and injuring a number of other policemen.’ “The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation authored a 1979 pamphlet on the WUO that reported, ‘On October 18, 1974, Larry Grathwohl, a former member of the WUO, testified before a US Senate Subcommittee that Bill Ayers, a WUO leader, had told him that Bernardine Dohrn, another WUO leader, had to plan, develop and carry out the bombing of the police station in San Francisco. Ayers told Grathwohl the bomb was placed on the window ledge and he described the bomb that was used to the extent of saying what kind of shrapnel was used in it.’“Please tell us when and how you intend to correct the record so that we can inform our readers and members. “Cliff Kincaid, editor, Accuracy in Media.”
Dr. Khalidi is an “activist” and has been part of the PLO. Dr. Khalidi was a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982. During this time the US State Department considered the PLO a terrorist organization and the PLO was involved with terrorist attacks. WAFA was not an independent, unaffiliated news organization. While it is true that the PLO has moderated over time and moved in the mainstream of Palestinian politics, that is not the point. What we are talking about is perception. Dr. Khalidi, notwithstanding his current work, cannot pretend he was some outsider with no ties to the policies and practices of the PLO in the late 70s.

Dr. Khalidi is a real professor and has written real books. But he is not some neutral observer. He served on the PLO “guidance committee” at the Madrid peace conference. It does not matter that he was critical of the PLO’s handling of the Oslo peace process. He was still part of the PLO side and the Republican political strategists will focus on that fact. And Khalidi has direct ties to Obama.

These are not imagined. Before getting his job at Columbia University Rashid Khalidi was a Middle East professor at the University of Chicago, where he befriended none other than US presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama. In 2000 Khalidi held a successful fundraiser for Barack. I am not saying or inferring or suggesting that Obama did anything wrong in letting Khalidi hold a fund raiser.

Barack also played a role in getting funding for Khalidi’s Arab American Action Network during his tenure on the board of the Woods Fund. That is another unexplored black hole.

And here is a shocking development–Dr. Khalidi has some strong opinions. During an appearance on Al-Jazeera Khalidi said the following about the Washington Institute:
By God, I say that the participation of the sons or daughters of the Arabs in the plans and affairs of this institute is a huge error, this Israeli institute in Washington, an institute founded by AIPAC, the Zionist lobby, and that hosts tens of Israelis every year. The presence of an Arab or two each year can’t disguise the nature of this institute as the most important center of Zionist interests in Washington for at least a decade. I very much regret the participation of Arab officials and non-officials and academics in the activities of this institute, because in fact if you look at the output of this institute, it’s directed against the Palestinians, against the Arabs, and against the Muslims in general. Its products describe the Palestinians as terrorists, and in fact its basic function is to spread lies and falsehoods about the Arab world, of course under an academic, scholarly veneer. Basically, this is the most important Zionist propaganda tool in the United States.

While Obama has made efforts to cultivate support among Jewish Americans, the attention that will inevitably be focused on his relationship with Khalidi will create some uncomfortable moments to say the least.

Dr. Khalidi is not a mere academic. According to Campus Watch:
A glance at Khalidi’s work shows why this is a step in the wrong direction for Columbia University. His writings and statements routinely cross the line from education into a political advocacy that is not just extremist but often factually wrong. Four examples:
On American foreign policy. Following Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Khalidi called the widespread resistance to this act of aggression an “idiots’ consensus” and called on his colleagues to combat it.[i] . . . .
Khalidi asserts that the U.S. government has “yet to support the independence of Arab Palestine,”[iii] despite open endorsement by President George W. Bush of a Palestinian state[iv], and nearly $1 billion in direct U.S. aid to the West Bank and Gaza since 1993.[v]
And beware anyone who disagrees with Khalidi! He throws reckless accusations out against them, such as calling Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz “a fanatical, extreme right-wing Zionist.”[vi]
On Palestinian violence. Khalidi glorifies anti-Israel violence as contributing to “political enlightenment”[vii] and unsurprisingly admires those who carry it out. His loyalty to Palestinian terrorist groups run so deep that he actually dedicated his 1986 valentine to the PLO, Under Siege, to “those who gave their lives . . . in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon.”[viii] The book whitewashes PLO violence against Israelis and Lebanese, as well as the Syrian occupation.

On media coverage. When Palestinian violence garners unfavorable publicity, Khalidi’s response it to blame the messenger, not the murderers. Thus, in response to Palestinians lynched two off-duty Israeli officers on October 12, 2000, Khalidi did not critique the perpetrators of this crime, but railed against the “prostitute” and “cynical” media that dared to show Palestinians triumphantly displaying bloodied hands after the killings.

In like spirit, he faults not those Palestinians who erupted in joyous street celebrations at the murders of 3,000 Americans on 9/11, but the media for having the temerity to report these occurrences.[ix]

On Israel as a U.S. ally. In Khalidi’s fevered imagination, Israel is not a democratic ally but an “apartheid system in creation” and a destructive “racist” state. In his efforts to indict the Jewish state, Khalidi is quite prepared to make up accusations, such as his claim that Israel’s army has “awful weapons of mass destruction (many supplied by the U.S.) that it has used in cities, villages and refugee camps.”[x] This is a plain lie. That so few Americans agree with his bizarre reading of Israel’s democracy as a menacing enemy state causes him to dismiss them as “brainwashed.”[xi]

Remember, the point is not what U.S. policy should be toward Israel or Palestine. Instead, the question is the nature of the relationship between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi.

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