The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, August 18, 2008
UPDATED The Obama-Ayers Cover Up
Read the whole thing.
Meanwhile Tom McGuire adds:
Trouble in the Workers Paradise?
Barack Obama and unrepentant Weatherman Bill Ayers worked together on public school reform in Chicago for several years through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, co-founded by Bill Ayers and originally chaired by Barack Obama. This aspect of the Ayers/Obama relationship got surprisingly short shrift when Obama was asked about Ayers at the Philadelphia debate and has also been concealed by the Obama website's "Fact Check" and in their recent denunciation of Jerome Corsi's book.
And now the whiff of cover-up grows stronger. Stanley Kurtz, writing at NRO, details his attempt to gain access to hundreds of Chicago Annenberg Challenge records housed at the Richard J. Daley Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Although initially assured that the documents were available to the public, Mr. Kurtz has since been given shifting stories the gist of which seems to be that the documents are off limits. And who is making this determination? The library won't say, although it is entirely possible that Bill Ayers is the guiding force behind this delay.
So let's see - Obama has been misrepresenting his relationship with Ayers to the press (this misdirection of Ben Smith of The Politico from last February is a comedy classic) and now someone is blocking access to the records detailing the workings of the group founded by Ayers and chaired by Obama. In another world the press would smell a cover-up. In this one? My guess has been that the mainstream press will remain in the tank for Obama rather than risk annoying their remaining readers by appearing to be pawns of the right-wing attack machine.
Mr. Obama also fit in at Hyde Park’s fringes, among university faculty members like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, unrepentant members of the radical Weather Underground that bombed the United States Capitol and the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War. Mr. Obama was introduced to the couple in 1995 at a meet-and-greet they held for him at their home, aides said.
Now, along with Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Ayers has become a prime exhibit in the effort by Mr. Obama’s presidential rivals to highlight what could be politically radioactive associations. In 2001, Mr. Ayers said he did not regret the Weatherman bombings. Even so, in Hyde Park, he and his wife were viewed favorably for their work in addressing city problems. Mr. Ayers was just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood,” Mr. Obama said recently.
The two men were involved in efforts to reform the city’s education system. They appeared together on academic panels, including one organized by Michelle Obama to discuss the juvenile justice system, an area of mutual concern. Mr. Ayers’s book on the subject won a rave review in The Chicago Tribune by Mr. Obama, who called it “a searing and timely account.”
Now what basis could the Times have for noting that "The two men were involved in efforts to reform the city’s education system"? It can't be the meet-and-greet fundraiser where they were "introduced" (As if - per The Politico, the fundraiser was in the second half of 1995; Obama was already chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was kicked off in January 1995). It can't be a panel on the juvenile justice system. It wouldn't be their overlap on the Woods Fund of Chicago, a general charity.
I think the Times knows more than they are comfortable telling. As to the nature of their discomfort, well, as noted I think they want to leave their readers in a comfort zone.
UPDATE: Richard Fernandez has a nice summary (read it all...):
Stanley Kurtz at the National Review Online describes how he was first granted and then denied access to the records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a fund worth $50 million led by Bill Ayers and chaired at one point by Barack Obama. Kurtz’s research purpose was to discover the extent of Barack Obama’s relatinship with Ayers, and the part the Candidate played in Chicago educational politics. The Wikipedia entry notes that the Challenge suggests that its story and the role it played in the politics of education in Chicago promised to be an interesting one.
The Collaborative’s responsibility was to help identify potential grant recipients, prepare requests for proposals and develop other means for the Challenge to intervene in supporting the local school council-led reform process in Chicago. In 1995 the mayor of Chicago succeeded in the first of several efforts to undermine the power of these councils. But the Challenge fought back by funneling millions of dollars into the councils and associated reform groups, including $175,000 to the Small Schools Workshop. The Workshop had been established in the early 1990s by William Ayers who hired Mike Klonsky, a Chicago cab driver who had earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of South Florida, and former activist with Ayers in Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS. Klonsky had achieved limited notoriety in 1977 when he traveled to Beijing to seek the endorsement of Communist China for a political party he had helped establish in the United States, the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist).
At times the attempt by the Challenge was controversial. An effort to funnel $2 million to the Local Schools Councils was criticized by one Challenge board member, Arnold Weber, a business sector representative and former President of Northwestern University, who saw the Councils as a potential “political threat” to school principals. Of course, the councils were formed precisely to provide parent and political activists with the power to influence schools. Board chairman Obama offered to meet with the Collaborative to resolve the concerns raised by Weber.
The answers to many of the controversies may be contained in the CAC’s own voluminous records, which Kurtz had been granted permission to inspect. He wrote of the trove with same anticipation as Edmund Dantes might have felt when he found the cave of jewels beneath on his fated island:
a large cache of documents housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)… that document cache contains the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The records in question are extensive, consisting of 132 boxes, containing 947 file folders, a total of about 70 linear feet of material.
As Kurtz prepared to board his flight to Chicago with written permission in hand to access the documents, he received a message informing him his access to the CAC documents had been pulled.
Just before my plane took off, I received an e-mail from the special-collections librarian informing me that she had “checked our collection file” and determined that “access to the collection is closed.” I would be permitted to view the single CAC-related file from the Office of the Chancellor records, but nothing from the CAC records proper. … After arriving in Chicago, I found a message, not from the special-collections librarian, but from Ann C. Weller, professor and head, Special Collections Department. In answer to my question of who had authority over access to the collection, Weller said, that “the decision was made by me” in consultation with the library director. Weller stated that no one currently has access to the collection and added that: “The Collection is closed because it has come to our attention that there is restricted material in the collection. Once the collection has been processed it will be open to any patron interested in viewing it.”
It’s an interesting story because it illustrates how much importance people put upon controlling information. If Kurtz had been represented by someone else, or if he had hired a graduate in education to study CAC as a case study in effective advocacy, he might gotten further. As it was, he probably set off every alarm bell in an unspecified outer defense shield. In this case, it’s not clear who is controlling the information, whether it is at the behest of William Ayers, Barack Obama or whether it has just happened that way. Until the documents are opened — “after the collection has been processed” — then it may turn out there is nothing in those archives at all but dry-as-dust accounts discussions between Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and others and between Barack Obama, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and others. Umberto Eco, writing about a search for the truth — and a crime — in a fictional library, wrote this dialogue between his two principal characters, the novice Adso of Melk and the monk William of Baskerville.