Friday, October 10, 2008

More on Guilt by Association

Another interesting item that I've come across in the last few days relates back to my post "Low Blows & Lies: What to Talk About When You're Losing on the Issues". In that post, I mentioned Sen. McCain's ties to the U.S. Council for World Freedom a right-wing extremist group. Over the last few days, we keep hearing the McCain campaign jabbering on about Sen. Obama's associations with William Ayers. Sometimes the complaint being leveled against Sen. Obama seems to be that there is relationship at all with Ayers; other times the complaint is more nuanced and seems to be limited to suggesting that Sen. Obama hasn't been truthful about the nature of that relationship. You know what's coming, don't you? You betcha! According to the article "McCain didn’t report ties to Contra group" by Kenneth P. Vogel in Politico:

As a freshman congressman in the early 1980s, John McCain did not disclose his connections to a controversial group that was implicated in a secretive plot to supply arms to Nicaraguan militia groups during the Iran-Contra affair.

McCain did not list his service on the board of the U.S. Council for World Freedom on mandatory congressional disclosure forms asking about positions he held outside government.

Moreover, Vogel writes in "Dems hope Singlaub is McCain’s Ayers" that Sen. McCain wrote to the U.S. Council for World Freedom in 1984 to resign from the organization, but allowed his name to remain on the letterhead in 1985 and attended the group's 1985 award ceremony.

So, if the real concern is Sen. Obama's "lack of truthfulness", then perhaps Sen. McCain is throwing stones at his own glass house (did I just mangle that cliche?). On the other hand, if the real concern is Sen. Obama's "relationship" with William Ayers, then I guess that we should be sure that nobody else -- especially nobody tied to Sen. McCain -- has an "association" with Ayers. I know that I can't surprise you anymore... (and, in light of the amount of information and the lack of time that I have right now, pardon me for simply quoting the Daily Kos diary entry "The Annenberg Foundation - Terrorist Financers " by Jimmy Crackcorn nearly in its entirety [spelling errors in original]):

In 1968 William Ayers was leader of the Weatherman, a well known domestic terrorist organisation.

In 1993 William Ayers, Anne Hallett, and Warren Chapman decided to apply for a grant from the Annenberg Foundation for $49.2 Million to improve and reform Chicago's public schools.

In 1994 Ayers, Hallett and Chapman gathered a 73-member Chicago School Reform Collaborative Working Group from organizations involved in school reform to help them draft a proposal which was submitted to Vartan Gregorian, president of Brown University, for review and approval. Adele Smith Simmons, Deborah Leff, and Patricia Albjerg Graham helped negotiate its approval by Gregorian.

In 1995, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was awarded the $49.2 millon grant by the Annenberg Foundation.

Who are these scary people that showed such poor judgement that they were willing to fund and work with a known domestic terrorist?

The following is a list of people who found William Ayers acceptable to work with. Some are Republicans, some are Democrats, some have endorsed John McCain in 2008 and some even currently work on John McCain's 2008 campaign. Most are well respected people but apparently they all loves them some terrorists.

Someone should make an ad calling the Annenberg Foundation a terrorist financer and see how many republicans freak out in response to this garbage:

[video of McCain campaign attack ad omitted]

Walter Hubert Annenberg, Terrorist Financer Provided William Ayers with a $49.2 Million grant.

During his lifetime, it is estimated that Annenberg donated over US$2 billion. "Education...", he once said, "holds civilization together"[8]. Many school buildings, libraries, theaters, hospitals, and museums across the United States now bear his name. His collection of French impressionist art was valued at approximately US$1 billion in 1991 and was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City upon his passing in 2002. In 1990, he donated $50 million to the United Negro College Fund which was the largest amount ever contributed to the organization

Walter's widow, Leonore has endorsed John McCain in 2008

Vartan Gregorian, Terrorist Sympathizer Pro Bono education advisor to Annenberg Foundation who approved $49.2 million grant to William Ayers.

President of Brown University (1989–1987); president of the Carnegie Corporation (1997– ); former president of the New York Public Library; former professor of Southwest Asian history, dean, and provost of the University of Pennsylvania

Ted Sizer, Terrorist Sympathizer Pro Bono education advisor to Annenberg Foundation who approved $49.2 million grant to William Ayers.

Founding chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) (1984–1997); professor of education at Brown University (1983–1997); former headmaster of Phillips Andover (1972–1981); former dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1964–1972)

David Kearns, Terrorist Sympathizer Pro Bono education advisor to Annenberg Foundation who approved $49.2 million grant to William Ayers.

Chairman of the Alexandria-based New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC)—a 1991 school reform initiative of President George H. W. Bush; former Deputy Secretary of Education (1991–1993) under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the George H. W. Bush administration; former president, CEO and chairman of Xerox

Kearns worked for John McCain's 2000 campaign and works current for his 2008 campaign.

Warren Chapman, Terrorist Sympathizer Worked directly with William Ayers on grant proposal.

Senior program officer for education at the Joyce Foundation; former state coordinator at the Illinois State Board of Education for the Illinois Alliance of Essential Schools—a regional center of the Coalition of Essential Schools (1986–1992)

Anne Hallett, Terrorist Sympathizer Worked directly with William Ayers on grant proposal.

Executive director and founder of the Cross-City Campaign for Urban School Reform; former executive director of the Wieboldt Foundation (1986–1993); former executive director of the Citizens Education Center in Seattle (1983–1986); former executive director and founder of the Chicago Panel on School Policy (1982–1983); former chair, founder, and chief lobbyist for Citizens for Fair School Funding in Seattle (1976–1982)

Adele Smith Simmons, Terrorist Sympathizer Negotiated on behalf of William Ayers for grant proposal.

President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1989–1999); vice chair and senior executive of Chicago Metropolis 2020—a project of the Commercial Club of Chicago (1999– ); senior associate at the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago (1999–2005); former president of Hampshire College (1977–1989); former assistant professor of East African history at Princeton University (1972–1977) and Tufts University (1969–1972); former dean of students at Princeton University (1972–1977); former dean of Jackson College for Women of Tufts University (1970–1972); Ph.D. 1969, University of Oxford; B.A. 1963, Radcliffe College

Deborah Leff, Terrorist Sympathizer Negotiated on behalf of William Ayers for grant proposal.

President of the Joyce Foundation (1992–1999); president and CEO of America's Second Harvest (1999–2001); director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library (2001–2006); president of Public Welfare Foundation (2006– ); former senior producer at ABC News (1983–1989); former producer at WLS-TV ABC 7 News in Chicago (1981–1983); former director of public affairs at the Federal Trade Commission (1980–1981); former civil rights attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice (1977–1979); J.D. 1977, University of Chicago Law School; A.B. 1973, Princeton University

Patricia Albjerg Graham, Terrorist Sympathizer Negotiated on behalf of William Ayers for grant proposal.

President of the Spencer Foundation (1991–2000); professor of the history of education (1977–2006) and former dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1982–1991); former dean of the Radcliffe Institute (1974–1977) and vice president of Radcliffe College (1976–1977); former assistant professor (1965–1968), associate professor (1968–1972), professor (1972–1974) of the history of education at Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University; former assistant professor of the history of education at Indiana University (1964–1966); former high school teacher, Norfolk, Viriginia (1955–1956, 1957–1958), New York City (1958–1960); Ph.D. 1964, Columbia University; B.S. 1955, M.S. 1957, Purdue University

Arnold R. Weber, Terrorist Pal Served on founding Board of Directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

President of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago (1995–1999); member of the board of directors of the Arie and Ida Crown Memorial and the Tribune Company; former president of Northwestern University (1985-1994) and the University of Colorado (1980–1985); professor of labor economics and friend and colleague of George P. Shultz at MIT, the University of Chicago, and in the Nixon administration

Weber has donated money to John McCain's 2008 Campaign.

To repeat, one of the people "associated" with Ayers contributed to Sen. McCain's campaign, the estate of another has endorsed Sen. McCain, and a third works for Sen. McCain's campaign. And, while it is impossible to tell whether the others are Republicans or Democrats, it certainly cannot be denied that the group has, overall, a very impressive resume.

I'll be waiting for Sen. McCain to (a) attack all of these people (and the Annenberg Foundation) for their associations with Ayers, (b) give back the money that he received from Arnold Weber, (c) reject the endorsement from Leonore Annenberg, and (d) fire David Kearns. After all, they each had an "association" with Ayers that, it could be argued, was much more involved that Sen. Obama's association.

And, as long as I'm on the subject of associations, we may as well take one more look at the Alaska Independence Party that Gov. Palin's husband Todd was a member of for seven years and which Gov. Palin spoke highly of when she addressed their recent convention ("Keep up the the good work," she told the AIP). I know that I've written about this subject somewhat extensively, but I came across an interesting article in Salon ("The Palins’ un-American activities") with yet more information on the AIP and its founder.

Before getting to the amazing bit of new information, it is worth taking a moment to consider a few things that the founder of the AIP, Joe Vogler, has been quoted as saying. For example, we have this gem: "My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand." And this:
When the [federal] bureaucrats come after me, I suggest they wear red coats. They make better targets. In the federal government are the biggest liars in the United States, and I hate them with a passion. They think they own [Alaska]. There comes a time when people will choose to die with honor rather than live with dishonor. That time may be coming here. Our goal is ultimate independence by peaceful means under a minimal government fully responsive to the people. I hope we don’t have to take human life, but if they go on tramping on our property rights, look out, we're ready to die.
But the item in the Salon article that caught my attention was this:

Vogler's greatest moment of glory was to be his 1993 appearance before the United Nations to denounce United States "tyranny" before the entire world and to demand Alaska’s freedom. The Alaska secessionist had persuaded the government of Iran to sponsor his anti-American harangue.

That's right … Iran. The Islamic dictatorship. The taker of American hostages. The rogue nation that McCain and Palin have excoriated Obama for suggesting we diplomatically engage. That Iran.

AIP leaders allege that Vogler, who was murdered that year by a fellow secessionist, was taken out by powerful forces in the U.S. before he could reach his U.N. platform. "The United States government would have been deeply embarrassed," by Vogler’s U.N. speech, darkly suggests [Lynette] Clark [AIP chairwoman]. "And we can’t have that, can we?"

So back to the comparisons: A Vietnam-era domestic terrorist who has since become a major figure in charitable organizations seeking to advance educational opportunities for low-income children and who has worked with well-known and influential people of all political persuasions vs. a candidate who attended conventions of and praised (and whose husband was a member of) a right-wing secessionist political party whose leader advocated violence against the United States and who sought to use Iran as a proxy to denounce the United States before the United Nations. I don't know about you, but it's an easy call for me.

As I asked before: Does Sen. McCain really want to play the game of guilt by association?


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At Saturday, October 11, 2008 2:39:00 AM , Blogger Schmedly said...

Can we really know the involvement of persons associating with extreme, desperate, passionate minded idealists that will go to any length to mold the world to their own ends.

A track record of such associations would indicate the person's mindset.

Why was Obama associating with Ayers? Perhaps Obama was trying to convince him to turn over a new leaf. "Sell out your ideals, chase a buck and control $40M+ dollars and live the high life."

Or perhaps he egged Ayers on. "William, I think you out to get out there and terrorize and frighten the people of Chicago, your neighbors, with death and mayhem until you get your way."

On the other side we could have had Todd Palin inciting Joe Vogler to talk to his Iranian pals he met at the Sourdough Bar, raise some real dough, buy lots of guns and ammo, perhaps WMDs, then use it all to take back Alaska from an oppressive federal government.

I hope that our candidates' involvement with those on the fringe brought reason and peace to the hearts of the radicals.

I am ignorant about Ayers idealism, but I personally define a terrorist, domestic or otherwise, as one who would consider it a great achievement to kill many innocents to leverage power. Ayers might be a domestic sleeper cell.

The sources you provided regarding Joe Vogler paints him as an extreme property rights advocate who is willing to fight to the death against the government. Well, since the federal government is oppressive in Alaska and I guess some of them are pretty riled up over it.

An example of this oppression is the TONGASS TIMBER REFORM ACT (signed by G.H.W. BUSH). Note the passion in the STATEMENT OF HON. DON YOUNG, A U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM ALASKA during hearings "...and in prior hearings as the Federal Government in Federal process with a Federal hand plunged the Federal dagger into the renewable resource timber economy and into hundreds of families in Southeast Alaska. It has taken almost six years to bleed the industry and the timber families. The industry is almost dead, but the hearts of families still beat faintly for yet another Federal hearing about the Tongass."

Of the two extremists, I'd prefer Joe as my neighbor. Since he is dead, he is insignificant...but Ayers on the other hand....

A direct connection to a terrorist is inexcusable but I suppose people can change. An indirect connection could simply be an oversight.

The Annenberg Foundation definitely needs to do better background checks...they probably just asked Obama if the guy was OK and he said yes.

At Saturday, October 11, 2008 9:59:00 AM , Blogger MSWallack said...

Given that Ayers was the founder of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, I seriously doubt that any of the people who became associated with that charitable organization, including Sen. Obama, should be expected to have done their own investigations or background checks into other board members or the founder of the organization. Do we really want a society where we are all expected to perform background checks on our friends, neighbors, and business associates?

At Sunday, October 12, 2008 11:03:00 AM , Blogger Schmedly said...

In 1995, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was awarded the $49.2 millon grant by the Annenberg Foundation.

Certainly they should have checked this guy out before giving him that kind of money and social status. It is a matter of prudence and responsibility. No, it is not necessary to perform background checks on your friends, neighbors or business associates. But someone you are giving responsibility over $50M? Definitely!


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