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article imageOp-Ed: Why the Obama-Ayers Connection Matters

By Maggie M. Thornton     Aug 26, 2008 in Politics
Documents have been released today regarding Obama's connection to William Ayers, a 1960s-era terrorist and current college professor. Is there reason for concern about the Obama-Ayers friendship?
Stanley Kurtz, a National Review Online contributing editor, is on the trail of the Obama-Ayers political and personal relationship. Fox News is breaking that documents are being released at this moment - 132,000 boxes and 50,000 pages, some of which are records of meetings and memos between Obama-Ayers, reported by Craig Wall on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.
Kurtz has sought access to, and been denied until today, some 900 files which have been sequestered at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where William Ayers is a professor.
1) Obama was the Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). Kurtz believes that Obama got the position at the behest of Ayers. Obama assumed the chairmanship a few months before his first run for office.
2) While Obama was at the Board helm of Annenberg Challenge, Ayers' own educational projects received significant funding, so much so that CAC "struggled with conflict of interest concerns."
3) Kurtz asserts that Obama and Ayers would have worked closely to politically shape Chicago's views on education.
4) When Ayers and his wife (Weather Underground Organization (WUO) member, Bernadette Dorn) held a fundraiser for Obama's U.S. Senate bid, it wasn't incidental, but Kurtz says, is "evidence of an ongoing political partnership."
5) After Kurtz received permission to view the files, and then that permission was withdrawn, Ann Weller, professor and head of the Special Collections Department told Kurtz that
The Collection is closed because it has come to our attention that there is restricted material in the collection.
Kurtz believes that these files may link Obama to CAC "Obama-approved" monetary gifts to political allies, as well as answer questions about "Obama's leadership style...."
6) The sequestered documents in question have been housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago "rent free."
Kurtz says that five of the 947 folders are restricted; one of those contains auditor's reports, another record of Board meetings. Weller told Kurtz that the library does not have a gift deed for the documents, and used that as an excuse to delay release:
I [Kurtz] have no way of verifying Weller’s claim that the library has no signed deed of gift, but how likely is it that a collection of such size and importance would have been housed in the library, and listed in publicly accessible international library catalogues, without this very basic detail having been attended to?...One obvious question is whether Bill Ayers and perhaps even Barack Obama himself may be connected to the donor.
7) The Annenberg Challenge was phased out in 2001 and morphed into the Chicago Public Education Fund. Obama served on the Board's Leadership Council for approximately three years, along with Ayers' father, Thomas Ayers, and Ayers' brother, John.
8) In addition to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Obama and William Ayers co-chaired "A clearing-house for ideas, for resources..." known as the Collaborative for five years (1995-2000). The obvious conclusion is that Obama and Ayers worked closely together in the top leadership positions of the most powerful education reform arms of the Chicago school system.
9) Mike Klonsky is another tie to the radical positions of Ayers. He received a $175,000.00 grant from CAC. Klonsky blogged on the Obama '08 website until approximately June 26, 2008 when his radicalized political views and connection to Obama became known. This from Gateway Pundit:
Mike Klonsky, a former blogger on Obama '08 and associate of the radicals who formed the terrorist group the Weatherman, received a $175,000 grant from the William Ayers/Barack Obama-led Annenberg Challenge to run the Small Schools Workshop.
Klonsky belonged to the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and was best friends with friends William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn who later became famous for their acts of terrorism....Between 1979 and 1981, Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CPML) chairman and Obama supporter Mike Klonsky was repeatedly feted with state-dinner-level visits to Beijing.
From Global Labor and Politics - How is it under that bus, Comrade Klonsky?:
No sooner than Global Labor blogged...about the role in the Obama campaign of Mike Klonsky, former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers' longtime comrade-in-arms from their days in SDS to the Chicago School Wars they fought in the 80s and 90s alongside Barack Obama, and presto he's gone....In fact, it's like he was never there.
So, is Ayers just a guy in Obama's neighborhood?
"He's a guy who lives in my neighborhood," Obama said with a shrug, as if to say, "Don't we all have to put up with these cranky old domestic terrorists wandering through the yard?"
It's a question worth asking. When Obama denounced Ayers terrorist actions, out of pure political necessity, the silent message that glared like a deer in the headlights was that Ayers' political ideology was not being denounced. Can we ignore that Ayers had Obama at his side as he powerfully shaped Chicago's public schools? What shape did they take... did Ayers' radical views impact the schools?
On August 25th, 2008 a McCain spokesman is quoted as saying:
Soon enough everyone will learn that Ayers donated money to Obama, held a fundraiser to launch his first political race in his home, served on the board of the Woods Foundation with Obama, and headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (the records of which Stanley Kurtz will gain access to tomorrow), an organization which Obama supported and for which he may have approved grant money.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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