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Monday, November 10, 2008

Bill Ayres Comes Out of the Woodwork

Last week it was Jeremiah Wright who burst back on to the national scene casting himself in the role of a victim. Now it’s Bill Ayres’ turn have his say. Anything these two men could have to say can only bedevil the Barack Obama transition team.

In an opinion piece published Friday, Nov 7, by In These Times, Bill Ayres expresses his feelings about what he calls a “surreal campaign season.”

Ayres writes that he’s still in a daze “What was all that mess?”

According to the unrepentant domestic terrorist, Ayres, he’s been minding his own business by hanging out with his kids, taking care of his elders, working, teaching, writing, and participating “in the never-ending effort to build a powerful and irresistible movement for peace and social justice.”

Uh let’s see, might that movement for peace and social justice actually be Marxism?

He writes about how it was in years past when he wrote his 2001 memoir Fugitive Days. According to Ayres it was an exhilarating and difficult time while he was part of the resistance against the war in Vietnam.

It was a time when the world was in flames, revolution was in the air, and the serial assassinations of black leaders disrupted our utopian dreams.

Ayres claims that the media offered up “extravagant and fantastic assertions” about what he did, but then he quickly moves on to the current political season.

Ayres repeats the mantra that he and Obama served together on the Woods Foundation board, they knew each other as Chicago’s Hyde Park neighbors, and that he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, held a coffee gathering at their house for Obama and they donated to his campaign for the Illinois State Senate.

Ayres failed to mention other well-documented engagements they attended together. See Another Obama/Ayres Connection.

Obama’s political rivals and enemies thought they saw an opportunity to deepen a dishonest perception that he is somehow un-American, alien, linked to radical ideas, a closet terrorist who sympathizes with extremism—and they pounced.

Ayres blames Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign for providing the guilt by association “script” that demonized people Obama knew.

Then Ayres blames Sean Hannity of Fox News for springing the story that Ayres was a terrorist on Sen. John McCain during a March 13 interview.

Ayers is an unrepentant “terrorist,” he explained, “On 9/11, of all days, he had an article where he bragged about bombing our Pentagon, bombing the Capitol and bombing New York City police headquarters. … He said, ‘I regret not doing more.’ “

Ayres claims that McCain couldn’t believe it and that even he, Ayres, couldn’t believe it??? What couldn’t he believe, that he actually said this in 1980 when he walked free from tyranny charges for the bombing of the New York police headquarters in 1970?

"Guilty as sin, free as a bird, America is a great country."

Or maybe he can’t believe that he actually said this:

"I don't regret setting the bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

You would think that this op-ed piece would be a perfect time for Ayres to clearly come out and disavow, once and for all ,what he said just for the sake of his association with his neighbor, Obama, but NO. Once again Ayres tried to slip by.

Anyone who thinks that Ayres should be given a free pass for things he did when Obama was only 8 years old needs to read the firsthand account Fire In the Night by John H. Murtagh. Here’s an excerpt.

In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called “Panther 21,” members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan . . .

Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family’s life, there was never any doubt who was behind it. Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The same cell had bombed my house, writes Ron Jacobs in The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. . .

As the association between Obama and Ayers came to light, it would have helped the senator a little if his friend had at least shown some remorse. But listen to Ayers interviewed in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, of all days: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Translation: “We meant to kill that judge and his family, not just damage the porch.” When asked by the Times if he would do it all again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.” . . .

Ayres claims that when Gov. Sarah Palin got hold of the story it went viral, but the Ayres story went viral long before Palin was even considered to run alongside of McCain.

He is upset that someone in the crowd chanted “Kill him! Kill him!”

He even got hate messages on his voice mail. Imagine that. Is there a law against hating unrepentant self-confessed domestic terrorists?

He’s happy that every time that McCain or Palin mentioned his name, they lost a point or two in the polls.

Really? Don’t think so! Facts don’t support that. Actually McCain had gained slightly on Obama in the polls just before the economy suddenly went south.

Imagine the kind of ego that actually thinks his name carries more weight with American voters than the economy completely tanking!!!

Ayres wants to offer his readers a few lessons from the 1960’s and to suggest what is really important to take away from the long, strange trip he’s been on. Could any of us be less interested in what he has to say with regard to his outmoded anarchist political philosophy?

Once again he brings up the subject of his connection with Obama yet refuses to share the full extent of his relationship with Obama. Ayres has principles, you know, and those principles don’t allow for an old fashioned notion of “guilt by association. “

McCain and Palin demanded to “know the full extent” of the Obama-Ayers “relationship” so that they can know if Obama, as Palin put it, “is telling the truth to the American people or not.”

This is just plain stupid.

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy’s heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

The McCain-Palin attacks not only involved guilt by association, they also assumed that one must apply a political litmus test to begin a conversation.

Many Americans, perhaps the 46% of Americans who didn’t vote for Obama, actually do believe that “You are known by the company you keep.”

I’m sure there are a lot of folks who will shake their liberal fingers at such an antiquated notion of “guilt by association.” Let me remind them that one day they just might have a wild teenager, perhaps not unlike a young Bill Ayres, and I’d be willing to bet plenty that they’ll choke when they hear themselves saying to their little darling, “Well, you ARE known by the company you keep!